Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain

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When dealing with sciatic nerve pain, it's important to understand what causes pain in this nerve and the types of exercises that can be done to relieve it. Work on hip flexibility and the piriformis, which is the external rotator of the hip, with advice from a doctor in this free video on exercises for sciatic nerve pain.

Part of the Video Series: Physical Therapy Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi my name is Patrick McCarthy. I'm a doctor of physical therapy here at Wilmington Orthopedic Group and one thing I would like to talk to you today about is sciatic nerve exercises. The sciatic nerve is a nerve that comes from the L1 through L5 nerve roots and is a common source of discomfort in a lot of low back pain patients. A couple ways to kind of help treat it well first you need to kind of diagnose what might be wrong with it. One could be stenosis which is a narrowing of the canals where the nerve roots come out. Another is if you just have a tight piriformis so flexibility can often lead to sciatic nerve impingement. So a couple of different ways I treat it here in the clinic is kind of going after both but one is hip flexibility and importantly the piriformis which is the external rotator of the hip. So one stretch I'm going to show today is a stretch where you just bring up the ankle and cross it over the knee. After you do that you can either take your right hand and press the knee out giving a stretch or if you can tolerate it, grabbing the opposite leg so left leg and pulling it up towards your chest just to you feel a pull in that piriformis muscle. A second stretch that often gets results is, let's go ahead and straighten this leg out, is bringing this leg up towards your chest and then crossing over, grabbing it with the left hand. That right there helps pull across there and gives a little bit of relief to that sciatic nerve that could get impinged.

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