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.1