A pinched or compressed sciatic nerve causes pain and difficulty standing, sitting and even lying down. The sciatica is a major nerve that runs from the spinal cord, where it splits and extends down the back of the buttock cheeks and back of the leg. Stretching exercises performed twice a day can help relieve pain and increase mobility during flareups.
If your sciatica is acting up, a slow, forward bending stretch may help provide some relief. However, move very slowly and carefully, never pushing. During a flareup, your forward bending flexibility may be decreased, so go only as far as you can without forcing the stretch.
Hands at your sides, stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend forward, keeping head and neck loose. Reach your hands toward your knees, and if you can, rest them on your calves while slowly bending as far forward as you can. Hang loosely, relaxing all the muscles of the back and lower back, and then come back up, bracing your hands against your knees and thighs as you slowly roll upward back to your original starting position.
Start this stretch lying on your back, knees bent, feet resting on the floor. If your sciatica is acting up, it will be difficult to keep your legs flat and straight, so keep them bent at the knee. Inhale, and then very slowly, while exhaling, bring your knees toward your chest, using your hands to help if necessary. If this is difficult, have someone gently help you lift your bent legs toward your chest. With your hands behind your knees, gently pull the knees toward the chest, feeling the stretch along the lower back and through the buttock muscles. This stretch should provide some relief, but again, be careful not to push it.
Start this stretch lying on the floor, knees slightly bent and feet on the floor. Place your arms on the floor at your sides, or extend them outward, just below the shoulders. Pull the abdominal muscles in toward the spine. Bring up the right leg, bent at the knee, and very slowly twist toward the left, letting the weight of your leg stretch the back side of the hip and buttocks on that side. If you can, try to lower the knee to the floor. If necessary, have someone help provide stability in the leg as you move, keeping the abs tucked in and both shoulders on the floor. Repeat with the other side.