5 Stretches and Exercises to Avoid if You Are Suffering From Sciatica
(and How You Can Get Lasting Relief)

Back Muscle
Dennis Passetto C.P.T and Founder of MySciaticaExercises.com

The following stretches are excellent stretches but are listed as ones to avoid, because of the fact that they can often irritate your sciatic nerve and make the underlying cause for your sciatic pain worse over time.

Over a decade of research by The Healthy Back Institute and other institutions such as the University of Maryland has shown that generic exercises and stretches (which is what you will find all over the internet) can be counterproductive.

When a person has one or more of the common conditions that lead to Sciatica, like muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions, it is recommended that they start with specific corrective stretches and exercises to you and your needs instead of generic stretches, that often times provide no benefit or make the condition worse.

Many of the stretches listed in this article put the pelvis in an abnormal position contributing to your pain.

As always, please consult your physician before beginning any stretching or exercise program. When your Sciatica has been corrected, or upon clearance from your doctor you can begin these stretches/exercises again.

At the end of this article you will see the stretches and tips that our Sciatica experts recommend as well as a Free Sciatica Relief Guide and Stretching Chart that you can download for free.

 

5 Abdominal Stretches

The motion of arching your back can stretch the abdominal muscle and can make the current instability of your pelvis even worse. You will see how you can safely correct the pelvis position further in this article.

* Please note we are not saying this stretch or activity is bad or should be avoided entirely. Research simply states that it should be avoided during a Sciatica flare up or if a person is unaware of what is causing their Sciatica in the first place.

 

4 Downward Facing Dog

This particular stretch emphasizes stretching of the hamstrings, which also stretches the sciatic nerve. If you are experiencing sciatic pain right now, you may want to wait around 48-72 hours before doing this particular stretch.

* Please note we are not saying this stretch or activity is bad or should be avoided entirely. Research simply states that it should be avoided during a Sciatica flare up or if a person is unaware of what is causing their Sciatica in the first place.

 

3 Standing or Seated Hamstring Stretch

This particular stretch also emphasizes stretching of the hamstrings, calves and will also stretch sciatic nerve. The pelvis may already in an abnormal position and stretching the hamstring can make matters worse.

Instead, you can try a stretch like our seated figure four stretch which will be demonstrated in a later slide.

*Please note we are not saying this stretch or activity is bad or should be avoided entirely. Research simply states that it should be avoided during a Sciatica flare up or if a person is unaware of what is causing their Sciatica in the first place.

 

2 High Impact Exercises or Repetitive Movements - Running, Biking, Swimming

These repetitive motions create muscle imbalances in the quadriceps and hamstrings which can also put your pelvis in an abnormal position.

*Note - if you are going to swim, swim breaststroke as it is less linear and less likely to cause further muscle imbalances contributing to Sciatica.

*Please note we are not saying this stretch or activity is bad or should be avoided entirely. Research simply states that it should be avoided during a Sciatica flare up or if a person is unaware of what is causing their Sciatica in the first place.

 

1 Leg Curls/ Leg Extensions

Leg Curls - Any leg or glute exercises should start off using very light weight or body weight. Too much weight will add pressure to the lower back and can cause a relapse of your sciatica. Keeping the legs straight during core exercises like sit-ups makes the lower back a fulcrum and puts too much stress on the weakened muscles.

Leg Extensions - In most cases, the quadriceps (front of legs) are already stronger than the hamstrings, the opposing muscle group (back of legs). You typically don’t want to strengthen an already overpowering muscle group until the weaker muscle group has been addressed.

In just a minute you will learn why some muscles become too strong, others too weak, and how to correct them. Correcting these muscle imbalances is one of the only ways to address the root cause of sciatic pain.

Do you know which particular imbalances are causing your pain? Find out in our free relief guide which is available for download at the end of this article.

*Please note we are not saying this stretch or activity is bad or should be avoided entirely. Research simply states that it should be avoided during a Sciatica flare up or if a person is unaware of what is causing their Sciatica in the first place.

 

Recommended Stretches and Sciatic Pain Relief Tips

SEATED FIGURE FOUR STRETCH - This is one of the many stretches that we recommend for treating Sciatica. This simple stretch can often relieve the pressure off of the sciatic nerve by stretching the piriformis muscle.

STEP 1A: Being sitting, on the edge of a non-moveable chair, your knees should be no higher than your hip and your feet should be flat on the floor.

 

STEP 2: Crossed Leg Position

STEP 2A: Once sitting comfortably, bring the affected (side) leg up and over the opposite knee. If you can not get your ankle over your knee, then straighten out your good leg and then put your affected leg as high up your shin as you can, holding the affected leg in position. If you can, you may try to curl your good leg back as close to the leg of the chair, to get the best stretch possible.

STEP 2B: Once in that position stabilize the bent leg with both hands one hand on the foot keeping the leg in position then push down on the bent legs knee with the other hand while at the same time leaning your trunk forward. Only go as far as you comfortably can, come out of the stretch and repeat, only on the affected side.

 

STEP 3: Crossed Leg Forward Position

STEP 3A: We can suggest that you hold the stretch for 3-5 seconds and repeat 5-8 times, as many times per day as you can tolerate.

 

Download Your Free Copy of Our Sciatica Relief Guide

We have shown you one of the stretches we recommend and many that are NOT recommended. Our Free Sciatica Relief Guide - Say Goodbye to Sciatica is your next step. It contains a printable stretching chart and tips that you can start implementing right away. Get free instant access to this guide below.

Here is Some of What You'll Get:

  • done Uncover conditions that cause Sciatica and which one is causing your pain...
  • done Learn about the real differences between Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome...
  • done Do exercises help relieve your Sciatica pain, and if they do, are you stretching correctly to correct your muscle imbalances…
  • done Other factors that are contributing to your pain, like the foods you are eating! (yes, foods!!!)
  • done Avoid harmful drugs, dangerous and expensive surgeries. Find out the many other methods you can use to relieve your sciatica pain…

* Request a free copy of our
Free Sciatica Relief Guide - Say Goodbye to Sciatica!

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Sources:
The University of Maryland Medical Center. Back Pain and Sciatica, 2012, Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.

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