Physical Therapy For Sciatica: 5 Stretches For Pain Relief

By Team Movement For Life | June 13, 2018

Looking to get relief from back and leg pain caused by sciatica? You’re in the right place. Check out these 5 poses, and get the physical therapy for sciatica that you need!


Pigeon Pose (Reclining)

This is a great pose for opening the hips and stretching the back, used in yoga.

  1. Begin by lying on your back. Bring one of your legs upward, to a right angle. Lock both of your hands behind your thigh.
  2. Bring up your other leg, placing the ankle on top of the opposite knee.
  3. Hold the position. This helps stretch the piriformis muscle, which is often a cause of sciatic pain.
  4. Switch legs, and repeat the exercise.

Pigeon Pose (Sitting)

If you’re able to easily do the pigeon pose while reclining, it’s time to move to the sitting version.

  1. Stretch out on the floor, with your legs directly in front of you.
  2. Bend your right leg. Put the ankle on top of your left knee.
  3. Lean forward, pushing your upper body towards your thighs.
  4. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds to stretch out the muscle in the lower back and glutes.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Knees To Opposite Shoulder

This stretch offers sciatica pain relief, by stretching and loosening both the piriformis and gluteal muscles.

  1. Begin by lying on your back, extending your legs.
  2. Bend your right leg gently, clasping your hands around the knee.
  3. Pull the right leg across your body towards the opposite shoulder, holding it for up to 30 seconds. Pull only hard enough to feel a stretch – if you feel pain, reduce the force you’re using.
  4. Push your knee down, returning to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for a total of 3 reps, alternating each leg.

Sitting Spinal Stretch

This stretch helps relieve back pain and decompress the spine, and is quite simple.

  1. Sit on the ground in a neutral position, with your legs stretched outward.
  2. Bend your right knee until you put your foot flat on the floor, past your opposite knee.
  3. Place your left elbow on the right knee. Gently turn your body toward the right, flexing the spine.
  4. Hold the position for 3 seconds, and repeat for 3 reps on either side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This stretch helps relieve hamstring tightness caused by sciatica.

  1. Find a flat, elevated surface such as a bench or a chair that’s at (or below) hip level. Place your right foot on this surface.
  2. Keep your leg and toes straight. Bend your body forward, towards your foot, like you’re trying to touch your toes. The deeper you bend, the more intense the stretch.
  3. Push the hip of your raised leg downward. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side.

Fight Back Against Sciatica With These Stretches!

Surgery isn’t the only option for sciatica pain. These stretches are great for physical therapy for sciatica, and can help you find the relief you need from the discomfort of minor-to-moderate sciatica.