The pain can be excruciating but there is an effective way to stop your back muscles from freezing up so much.
Many people experience lower back problems in the US, with almost 60-80% of people suffering from some kind of back pain. You could be experiencing minor stiffness or intense pain.
It is important to ensure that your back and spine are flexible and in good condition. Your entire body is dependent on it after all. You can try exercises that improve strength and flexibility of back muscles, especially the ones found in the abdominal, hip, pelvis, and lower back area, according to The Hearty Soul.
A sciatica nerve pain can be debilitating and can be caused by a ruptured disk, a narrowing of the spine canal (called spinal stenosis), and injury. Certified physical therapist Mindy Marantz told Healthline, “Identifying what doesn't move is the first step toward solving the problem.” Another expert, Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, said that the best way to lessen the pain is to do “any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.”
Here are six stretching exercises that will alleviate the pain:
Start by kneeling on all fours. Then bring the right leg ahead and put in front of your body. The right lower leg should be on the ground, horizontal to your body. Put your right foot in front of your right knee while your right knee stays to the right.
Then stretch out the left leg behind you on the floor. The top of the foot should be on the ground and toes should point back. Transfer your body weight from hands to legs then sit up straight with hands on either side.
While exhaling, lean down over your front leg with support from your arms. Do it on the other side as well.
Lay down on your back and bring the right leg to a right angle. Lock your hands behind the thigh.
Lift your left leg and place the right ankle on top of the left knee. Hold this position. This pigeon pose stretches the piriformis muscle that can get inflamed and then presses against the sciatic nerve.
Repeat with the other leg.
This stretching exercise can ease pain and tightness caused by sciatica in the hamstring area. To do this, place your right foot on a slightly higher surface but below hip level. You can use things around the house like a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Your legs and toes should be straight.
Then, bend your body slightly forward toward your foot. Keeping going further until you feel the leg stretching. Don't pull so much that you have pain. Then release the hip of raised leg downward than lifting. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Kneel down and place your hands on the bottom of your feet. If you find that hard you can place your hands on your back too. This stretch flexes your abdominal area and obliques. Push your hip up and forward without putting pressure on your lower back. This can improve your core stability and improve posture as well as relieve pain.
Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet close by folding your legs as if you're crisscrossing them. The soles have to touch each other and sit with a straightened back. Then, press down on your knees with your hands to feel the stretch. If you want to stretch more, pull in your feet towards your body.
Lie down on the floor on all fours. Then slowly stretch your legs and place your knees further apart. Your feet should be behind your knees. The palms of your hands should be directly under your shoulders with fingers pointed forward. Point your head towards the floor and focus on a point between your hands. Keep your back flat and push the palms into the floor while you drop your shoulders down. Push your lower back towards the back and top of your head towards the front. Breathe deeply and hold the position for 1-3 breaths.
Cover image source: Illustration