2 Self-Care Techniques for Sciatic Pain
Sciatic pain, or pain that shoots down the leg, can affect up to 40% of people in Friendswood during their lifetime. Sciatic pain can arise from injury or degeneration from any of the discs in the low back region from the L4, L5 or sacral nerve roots from S1, S2 and S3. It can also be caused by spasm of muscles in the glute, like Piriformis – also known as Piriformis Syndrome.
Factors that may cause pain to radiate down the leg include:
- Prolonged sitting or driving
- Strenuous physical activity
- Mental stress
- Spinal Disc Injury
- Other degenerative disorders of the spinal disc or SI Joint
The good news is, there are things you can do today that can help relieve the symptoms of sciatic pain.
Stretch It Out!
The Sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the human body, normally passes behind a muscle located in the glute, called Piriformis. When this muscles become tight or contracted due to muscle spasm, it can potentially press against the sciatic nerve causing irritation and pain. Stretching this muscles can help relieve pain in the leg. Here’s what you do!
Begin in a seated position with the legs extended in front of you then cross the left ankle over the opposite knee. With the right hand, grab the knee and bring it in toward the chest using the left hand for support as you rotate toward the stretched hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for the other side.
Figure 4 Stretch
Begin laying on the back with the knees bent. Cross the left ankle over the opposite knee, like sitting in a chair. Grab the right thigh and bring it in toward the chest. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
To stretch the hamstrings, a group of muscles on the back of the leg, begin seated with the legs extended in front of you. Using a towel, belt, or stretch strap, wrap the strap around the ball of the right foot. Recline backward, laying flat, holding on to the strap. Raise the right foot toward the ceiling, keeping the knee straight and the opposite leg flat on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
Roll It Out!
Although stretching is very effective for relieving pain in the buttocks and leg, there is another tool to add to your self-care arsenal called Foam Rolling. Foam rolling is also known as Self Myofascial Release. This technique uses a device made of dense foam that helps move and release the tissues in the muscle that holds everything together, called myofascia.
Foam Rolling for Piriformis
Sitting on the affected side, place your foam roller behind you at the hip. Lower yourself onto the forearm on the affected side. This will be your support. Place the foot of the unaffected side across the affected leg. This will be your mover. Lift the hip onto the foam roller. Alternate your body weight between the forearm and the foot to achieve a rolling action. When you find areas of tenderness, hold the roller over the area for about 5-10 seconds and roll it out. Continue rolling for about 60 seconds. For a more intense roll on the Piriformis, cross the affected leg over the moving leg.
Foam Rolling for Hamstring
Sitting upright with the legs extended in front, place the foam roller under the knees. Using the upper body for support, lift the buttocks and straighten the knees. Walk the roller up the back of the thigh using the upper body until it meets the sits bones. Walk the roller back down toward the knees and repeat. When you find areas of tenderness, hold the roller over the area for about 5-10 seconds and roll it out. Continue rolling for about 60 seconds.
For a more intense roll or to isolate one leg at a time, cross one leg over the affected leg.
If any pain or discomfort occurs with any strengthening, stretching, or self-care exercise, you should always consult the advice of a health care professional to make sure there is not underlying cause for the pain.
Any pain that becomes chronic or does not go away with self-care activities should always be taken seriously. Don’t wait to get help. At Forever Well Chiropractic, Dr. Haywood can educate you on your condition and provide tools to help your body heal right.