Sciatic nerve pain is a common problem for many people. Sciatic nerve pain can be defined as pain deep in the posterior hip and running down the back of the leg. This is caused by an impingement on the sciatic nerve which runs through a group of small but very powerful muscles called the lateral rotators, specifically the piriformis muscle. Doctors may call it sciatic pain, sciatic nerve pain, sciatica or piriformis syndrome.
The sciatic nerve can be impinged or irritated in two places. Either it is compressed in the spine due to a bulging disc or other imbalance in the vertebral column or it can be directly restricted by the piriformis, under which the sciatic nerve runs. In some people, the sciatic nerve innervates (runs through the middle of) the piriformis; you can imagine the impact a tight piriformis muscle would have on that nerve!
In my experience, 9 times out of 10 the pain is coming from tight muscles deep in the posterior hip and can be relieved with some bodywork and gentle stretching. Use the stretch in this video daily to ease muscle tension and give your sciatic nerve room to breathe.
Also, it’s important to remember to move around a lot during the day, especially if you have the kind of job that keeps you sitting for long periods. Sitting creates tension in the hips and can cause sciatic nerve pain. If you must sit for long periods, take frequent breaks. Even getting up to walk around the office for five minutes every two hours makes an enormous difference and can be just the ticket to avoiding future sciatic nerve pain.13
Alyson McGregor says
I love the videos and the idea of a video library!! Fantastic! My areas of concern are neck, shoulder, and hamstrings! Videos showing stretches helping the rotator cuff and the anterior muscle in the shoulder would be great!
Excellent, Alyson, I’ll get some videos going right away for those areas. I know just the ticket!
OH MY GOODNESS. I had no idea how tight those muscles were on me. I wonder what age my body feels like? lol
I experience the “sciatic nerve” pain. Especially when driving.
Thanks so much for sharing this video. Now I have 2 exercises that I’ll do regularly. The other exercise is the one with the dowel being lowered behind your head to stretch neck, shoulder, upper back muscles. I love that video of yours, too!
I’m still amazed that our pains do not usually come from where we think they come from. Glad you know your muscles and how to get to the root of the problem.
Melody, you crack me up. I’m so glad you actually take action and DO something for your body! 🙂 Congrats on being seriously awesome and taking care of yourself!
Hi Suki, I found your video on utube for sciatic nerve pain stretching exercise two days ago. The pain down my left buttock and leg has completely gone. The right leg is still affected.
Is it normal for one leg to improve before the other? Or am I doing something wrong?
Many thanks for the exercise, I have had pain down both buttocks and legs for two years after coping well with sciatica for many years in my lower back until the last couple of years when it began to affect my legs.
Hey Eirwen, glad one leg is improving! In my experience, it’s rare to have sciatica down both legs, and you say it’s coming from your spine? Have you had imaging to confirm an impingement at that level? If the sciatica you’re experiencing is the result of a herniated or bulging disc putting pressure on the nerve, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach to reduce spinal compression. It might be that one leg was impinged at the piriformis level and the other is higher up which is why one leg got better before the other. It’s really hard to say exactly without more info. You might want to work privately with a professional since your situation is a bit more complex. If you’re in Seattle and want to schedule a session, I’d love to work with you 🙂
Sharon smith says
I loved it and it really is working for me. Excellent video