18 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief You Can Do at Home

By Savanna Stone
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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain, numbness, or weakness along the sciatic nerve, the nerve that runs from your lower back through the butt and down the leg. Usually, sciatica is caused by a bulging, herniated, or other disc issue because the disc presses against the sciatic nerve and causes pain or numbness. 


Many doctors agree that the best way to relieve pain from sciatica is to stretch in a way that will externally rotate the hip. The following stretches are known to help do just that. These stretches can also benefit those with lower back pain as well as those with sciatica.


Stretches without any tools:


Pelvic tilt

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent.
  2. Simply press the small of your back into the ground.
  3. Hold for about three to five seconds. Repeat this ten times.

Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent.
  2. Lift your butt off the ground so there is a straight line from your shoulder blades to your knees.
  3. Slowly release back down one inch at a time.
  4. Do this ten times.


Pigeon pose/piriformis stretch 

  1. Lie face up on the ground with your legs bent. Place your right ankle on your left knee. 
  2. Lift both legs up, grabbing under your knee at your right thigh, using your arms to pull your right leg toward your body as far as is comfortable for you. If you want more of a stretch, pull your left leg toward your body (which will pull your right leg even farther).
  3. Hold in this position for as long as it is comfortable for you. 
  4. Repeat on the other side.

This stretch helps relieve tension in the piriformis muscle, which can help reduce pain from sciatica.


Gliding stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent.
  2. Grab your right thigh just under your knee, and pull your leg up with your leg still bent.
  3. Flex your foot, then straighten your leg as far as is comfortable. 
  4. Glide through from a straight leg to a bent leg. Repeat this ten times.
  5. You should feel a nice stretch, but no pain. Do this on both sides.

Flossing sciatic nerve stretch

  1. Sit in a chair.
  2. Lift your right leg so it is parallel to the floor as you look up to the ceiling simultaneously.
  3. Then look down as you let your foot rest back on the floor.
  4. Repeat this ten times on both sides.

Sciatic lean

  1. Sit in a chair with your right leg propped up on a small stool.
  2. Keeping your spine straight, lean to your left side slightly. Try not to let your right leg fall inward, and keep it straight.
  3. Do this ten times on both sides.

Sitting pigeon pose

Don’t do this pose until you are comfortable doing the regular pigeon pose.


  1. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right leg to put your right ankle just above your left knee.
  3. Lean forward, keeping your right ankle in place, and reach for your toes.
  4. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable, and switch to the other side.

Forward pigeon pose


  1. Get on the ground on your hands and knees.
  2. Bring your right leg forward to the ground in the front of your body as you straighten your left leg back with your toes pointing back.
  3. Breathe in then as you exhale, lower yourself to the ground in front of you as far as you can, supporting your weight with your arms. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable.
  4. Do this on both sides.


Knee to opposite shoulder

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Lift your right leg up by grabbing your thigh under your knee.
  3. Pull your right leg up toward your left shoulder and hold for as long as it feels comfortable to you. You should feel a nice stretch without pain.
  4. Do this on both sides.

Supine piriformis stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the opposite side of your left leg. Grab your knee, and pull it across your body.
  3. Hold for as long as it feels comfortable, and do this on both sides.

Sitting spinal stretch

  1. Sit on your butt with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee, placing your foot on the outside of your left leg.
  3. Twist your body to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee for a deeper stretch.
  4. Hold this position for as long as it feels comfortable. Do this on both sides.

Knee to chest

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Place your right ankle on your left knee and bend both legs.
  3. Grab the bottom leg and lift both legs toward your chest. 
  4. Hold for as long as it feels comfortable, and repeat on both sides.

Standing hamstring stretch

  1. Stand up straight near a table or chair.
  2. Lift your right leg and place it on top of the table or chair. (If you aren’t the best at balancing, make sure you have an object to hold onto for support.)
  3. Lean forward and try to touch the toes of your right leg, letting your body relax and hang like a rag doll.
  4. Hold this position for as long as it feels comfortable. Do this on both sides.


Stretches with the Chirp Wheel+:


Resting on any size Chirp Wheel+:



  1. Simply rest against the Chirp Wheel+ to start and loosen up the muscles in your lower back.
  2. If you feel your body is okay with it, you can lift your hips up and roll back and forth on the wheel.

Glutes release (Note: For the following stretches, it is best to use the Deep Tissue Chirp Wheel+.)

  1. Start by sitting on your butt with your knees bent and the wheel under your legs.
  2. Bring your hands back for support as you lift your butt and place the wheel under your right glute with one hand.
  3. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Lean back on your right hand for support as you press your knee down with your left hand. 
  4. Roll back and forth for as long as it feels comfortable.
  5. Repeat on both sides.


Side Glutes Extra Release

  1. Place the wheel behind you. Lift your bottom onto the wheel so the left side of your bottom is on the wheel. Straighten your left leg. Then lift your right leg by crossing it over your left leg. Adjust the wheel if necessary so that it rests on the right side of your butt.
  2.  Use your left hand to support yourself on the ground and place your right hand on your hip for added support. 
  3. Gently rock back and forth over the muscle. For added pressure, lift your straightened leg off the floor.
  4. Do the same thing on the other side.

Piriformis Release

  1. Place the wheel behind you. Lift your bottom onto the wheel so the right side of your bottom is on the wheel. Lift your right foot up and rest it on the top of your left thigh.
  2. Rock back and forth over the whole muscle. 
  3. Angle your leg down or up to experiment and feel different areas that need released. Rock back and forth. 
  4. Do this on both sides.

For more stretches to help with lower back pain, check out this blog post.


References

Ask Doctor Jo. (2016, October 17). Sciatica Stretches & Exercises. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX-QI4wRpiE

Ask Doctor Jo. (2018, May 21). 5 Best Sciatica Stretches for Piriformis Syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UoITjubrgE

Heitz, D. (2017, April 13). 6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/back-pain/sciatic-stretches

LoRox Aligned Life. (2016, April 21). Sciatica Foam Rolling Sequence. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ2eBL5KyNw

Miller, R. (2020). Sciatica Exercises for Piriformis Syndrome Video. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/video/sciatica-exercises-piriformis-syndrome-video

Purczynski, M. (2016, June 10). Treat Sciatica Symptoms Uisng Foam Roller. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xExPlA1sMk

Veritas Health. (n.d.). Sciatica Causes and Symptoms Video. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/video/sciatica-interactive-video