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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

10 Best Exercise for Sciatic Nerve Pain

The tormenting and shooting pain of the sciatic nerve in your back and legs can get you down! The pain may be so extreme that you may be tempted to stay down. Here are some exercises that can help you find relief from your sciatic nerve pain.

What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?

The sciatic nerve is a single nerve which is the longest and widest nerve in the human body, running from the top of the leg to the foot on the posterior aspect. It begins in the lower back and joins with several branches from both the anterior and posterior divisions of the lumbosacral plexus. Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by compressed discs in the lower back and hips, ruptured disc, or due to an injury.

There are a number of exercises which when performed on a daily basis can bring relief from sciatic pain.

1.  Sitting Pigeon Pose

Sitting pigeon pose

Sitting pigeon pose (variation of Gomukhasana), Credits: pixabay

This pose is also known as Kapotasana, and is a variation of Gomukhasana.

How to:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs spread out in front of you.

  2. Keep your back straight, then slowly bend your right leg, and bring your right ankle towards the top of the left knee.

  3. Lean forward and try to reach your thighs. Or you can also move your trunk towards the opposite side of the bent leg.

  4. Place your left hand on the right ankle and another hand on the ground. This variation should only be performed if the patient feels comfortable doing it.

  5. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Stimulates the internal organs, stretches glutes, groins, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and neck

2.  Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis stretch

Piriformis stretch, Credits: pixabay

This exercise helps in fighting pain caused by piriformis syndrome.  It can also help reduce sciatic pain symptoms.

How to:

  1. Lie on your back and stretch your legs flat.

  2. Now slowly bring the affected leg towards your chest, while holding the knee with your hand and grabbing the ankle with the other hand.

  3. Pull the knee towards your opposite side until a stretch is felt.

  4. Hold in this position for 30 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

Benefits: It provides relief from the sciatic nerve pain, and improves muscle functioning.

3. Knee to Chest Pose

Knee to chest pose

Knee to chest pose, Credits: pixabay

This pose is a great pose for strengthening your abdominal muscles and lower back.

How to:

  1. Lie down in a supine position with legs flats on the floor.

  2. Bend both your knees and bring towards your chest. Hold your knees with your arms just like you are hugging them.

  3. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat two to four times for each leg.

Benefits: It stretches your hips and thighs, improves flexibility in the lower back area and stimulates the abdominal area.

4. Cat and Cow Pose

Cat-cow stretch

Cat-cow stretch, Credits: pixabay

The cat-cow pose is a combination of two poses and is performed as a gentle warm-up exercise.

How to:

  1. Kneel down on your knees.

  2. Get into a tabletop position by putting both your palms on the floor.

  3. Look up towards the ceiling by pressing your hips up towards the ceiling just like cow pose.

  4. While exhaling, release from the position by bringing your head down between your arms as you tuck your pelvis.


  1. The cat and cow pose improves spine flexibility and can help decompress the lower back.

5. Cobra Pose

Cobra pose

Cobra pose, Credits: pixabay

Cobra pose is a back-bending asana that is practised as a part of Hatha Yoga.

How to:

  1. Lie down on your stomach with your palms outstretched on the ground.

  2. Take a deep breath, raise your upper body, shoulders and chest away from the floor.

  3. Look forward.

  4. On your exhale, release slightly. Repeat the pose with deeper stretch.

Benefits: Removes spine congestion, relieves abdominal and back muscles pain.

6. Sciatica Nerve Floss

Sciatica nerve floss

Sciatica nerve floss, Credits: wikimedia

Sciatica nerve floss is a gentle type of exercise that stretches the irritated nerves in your back.

How to:

  1. Sit on a chair with both legs hanging off the edge

  2. Put both your hands on your thighs

  3. Straighten out one of your knees while looking up towards the ceiling

  4. Now, lower the leg while bringing your neck down

  5. Return to starting position

  6. You can also perform this exercise while sleeping, with your hands folded or on your back.

Benefits: It helps relieve lower back pain by massaging the tensed nerve. This exercise also helps “massage” the sciatic nerve when it’s compressed by the surrounding muscles.

7. Knee Rolls

Knee rolling exercises are great for lower back pain which also increases the range of motion in this area.

How to:

  1. Lie on you back with your legs spread on the ground

  2. Bend your knees while keeping your feet on the ground

  3. Allow both your knees to roll over to one side as far as is comfortable

  4. Hold on for a few seconds, then bring them on the other side

  5. Repeat the position for 30-seconds

  6. Try to find time to do this exercise every 2-3 hours.

Benefits: It relieves any tension in tight muscles present in the lower back. It helps regain flexibility, and lost rotation associated with sciatica.

8. Seated Flexion

It is a seated exercise that helps activate the head and neck muscles and builds strength.

How to:

  1. Sit on the edge of a seat or bed

  2. Place both your hands on your thighs

  3. Slightly bend forward and let your spine and lower back relax

  4. Now move your hands down towards your legs, and return to the start position

  5. Repeat up to 10 times in a row, trying to perform this exercise every few hours.

Benefits: Helps address facet joint problem and disc problem. Improves sciatic nerve pain by relaxing your lower back muscles.

9. Mckenzie Bends

McKenzie bend exercise can be done in a seated or standing position. It is usually recommended to relieve pain in hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

How to:

  1. Start standing next to a wall

  2. Lean towards the wall, to support yourself so that you are leaning on the wall

  3. Glide your hips towards the wall while keeping your feet in the same position. Go far as long as you are comfortable.

Benefits: It provides rapid relief from the painful leg and lower back pain.

10. Standing Extension

Standing extension

Standing extension, Credits: wikimedia

Standing extension is one of the most common and easy to perform exercises that can help you find relief from sciatic nerve pain.

How to:

  1. Stand up straight

  2. Try to lean back as much as you can, you can also provide support to your lower back with your hands

  3. Slowly return to the start position

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens your leg muscles. Helps release tension from the lower back and provides relief from the sciatic nerve pain.

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