Sciatica is a specific collection of symptoms that occur when pressure is applied to your sciatic nerve. This pain can be debilitating and challenging to treat. When you feel the pain of sciatica, here are the best sciatica stretches to help you find relief.

Why are sciatica stretches so important?

Your sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It originates from the lumbar, or lower, spine and runs through the buttocks and down both legs. Because it is so long, if you are experiencing sciatica, you may experience pain and symptoms along the entire length of the nerve.

Sciatica symptoms can include:

  • Pain: Sharp and shooting or dull and persistent pain that may occur anywhere along the sciatic nerve, including the back, hips, thighs, and calves.
  • Numbness: You may experience loss of sensation in any part of the back, hip, or leg.
  • Pins and needles sensations: When numbness fades, you may experience tingling “pins and needles” sensations. These can range from mild to very unpleasant.
  • Weakness: Weakness may be episodic or may occur and not recede.

In very rare cases, patients may experience loss of bowel or bladder control. This is considered a medical emergency, and patients should go to the emergency room immediately. This symptom can indicate involvement of the spinal cord, which can be permanent and very serious.

Sciatica is caused when an issue causes impingement or compression of your sciatic nerve. There are a number of causes of sciatic pain, including:

For some patients, sciatica stretches can help to relieve the pressure and pain of sciatica.

15 of the best sciatica stretches

Some of the best sciatica stretches work to relieve pressure on the nerve without adding extra stress anywhere else in the body. Yoga for sciatica is also available to everyone, at all levels of fitness.

Although these are some of the best sciatica stretches for pain relief, it is crucial to talk with your doctor before performing any of them. If you have underlying conditions that are causing your pain, it’s important to coordinate other treatments with your doctor.

It’s also important to listen to your body as you stretch. Sharp, stabbing pain or a stretch that increases pain may not be safe for you. Remember to keep your breath even and steady as you stretch. Back off when it feels unsafe.

That being said, once you have approval from your doctor, consider adding these sciatica stretches into your routine. You can bring many of these stretches together, or they can be completed one at a time.