3 Best Exercises to Relieve Sciatica

(Last Updated On: July 28, 2017)

Sciatic nerve is the longest nerve, which runs from back of pelvis, through buttocks and down both legs, ends at the feet. When sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed at or near origin of nerve, it causes a symptom called SCIATICA. The symptoms associated with Sciatica are leg pain, numbness, tingling, Weakness and symptoms might radiate till feet. The Symptoms radiate depending on the level where the nerve is compressed or irritated.

Common conditions that reproduce Sciatica Symptoms


  • Lumbar Herniated Disc
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Isthmic Spondylolisthesis
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle Strain
  • Spinal Tumor
  • Infection
  • Fracture
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

5 Ways to Treat Sciatica Symptoms

  • Physiotherapy
  • Medication
  • Steroids Injections
  • Compression packs
  • Surgery (rarely)

There are other alternative therapies like manual manipulation/ chiropractic, acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy and massage therapy to treat Sciatica symptoms.

Exercise to Avoid Sciatica Pain

Knee to Chest

beautiful sporty woman lying and doing stretching exercise isolated on white background

Start position: Lie on your back. Bend your knees, feet flat on the floor and keep upper body relaxed.

Action: Grasp one knee with both the hands and bend in towards your chest. Do the stretch to the level comfortable and if pain/symptoms increases stop immediately. Hold for 20-30 seconds with controlled deep breaths. Repeat 5 times, alternating legs initially, later increase to 10 counts each leg.


  • Do not tense up through the neck, chest or shoulders.

Variation: Grasp both knees and press into chest.

Piriformis Stretch


Start Position: Lie on your back. Bend both knees and lay feet flat on the floor and upper body relaxed.

Action: Rest your right foot on Left knee. Grasp left thigh and pull it towards your chest. The stretch should be felt on right buttock. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and take deep breaths. Same way repeat for other side.  Repeat each leg 2-3 times initially, once the flexibility increase do it 7-8 times each leg.


  • Use a towel around your thigh if you can’t hold it.
  • Do not let your tailbone come off the floor.

Cat and Camel


Start Position: Quadruped position (On all four limbs), knee bend 90 degree right directly under the hips, hands on the floor directly under the shoulder and head straight.

Action: Cat– Exhale and then raise your head and push your hips upwards, creating an “angry cat” arch in your back. Lower abdominal and reach chin towards ceiling.

Camel– Inhale and slowly begin the movement by bringing your head and pelvis towards each other which rounds your back. The back arches up and hollow out abdominals while head remains tucked. Do all the movements slowly and gently, and don’t force, stop immediately if pain/ symptoms increase.

Each cycle should take 5 seconds and repeat 5 times initially and increase to 10 times.


  • Do not jerk the movement because that is a sign you are lacking control.
  • Ensure that the pelvic and neck motion start and finish in sync.

Looking for Physiotherapy for Sciatica Pain? Avail Portea’s Physiotherapy Services at Home.

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Dr. Hirna Bhatt holds a Master degree in Physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University U.K and a Master degree in Acupuncture from Nagpur University. She is specialized in musculoskeletal conditions and have over 3 years of experience in treating patients. Besides working as a therapist, she has keen interest in painting and craft work. She quotes, “Do what makes you happy, success comes in that happiness.”


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