Sciatica is a symptom associated with pain that radiates down the posterior or lateral portion of the thigh and leg. This pain can start from the low back and extend all the way down into the feet, but most often these symptoms are felt starting in the gluteals and extends down the back of the thigh.
Sciatic pain is caused by some kind of impingement of the sciatic nerve. This can occur where the nerve roots are exiting your spine, or where the nerve is traversing through the posterior hip muscles and ligaments.
To treat these pains your goal is to open up space for the nerve and to ensure that the nerve is free to slide up and down through its distribution. Yes, the nerve needs to move and can move about 1 cm in either direction depending on your position.
Below are stretches to perform at home if you're experiencing sciatic pain. One of the most important stretches you’ll ever do is for your hip flexors. Keeping this muscle mobile will allow your lumbar spine to be more relaxed and in good posture. Stretching your hip external rotators like the piriformis will reduce tension and pressure on the sciatic nerve itself. Lastly, doing a nerve floss of the sciatic nerve will help maintain its mobility and breakdown any adhesions that formed.
For best results, coming into FunctionSmart PT to see your ART certified therapist may be the best option!