If you suffer from sciatica symptoms, you may have never considered that your tight hamstrings might be a contributing factor. But tight hamstrings place increased stress on your lower back—which in turn can aggravate your sciatic nerve.
Here are 2 easy hamstring stretches that may help alleviate your sciatica symptoms:
1. Supine Hamstring Stretch
The supine hamstring stretch is relatively simple, and it is gentle on your lower back.
- Begin by lying flat on your back.
- Next, bend your knees towards the ceiling—while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Draw one knee towards your chest, and place your hands below your knee to aid this process.
- Extend your opposite leg out, and then repeat the entire process with your opposite leg.
2. Wall Hamstring Stretch
The wall hamstring stretch is more advanced than the supine stretch, and should be avoided if you are in acute pain.
- Begin by lying flat on your back with your feet in front of a wall.
- Raise your knee up on your stabilizing leg, then slowly raise the opposite leg straight up against the wall.
- Try to achieve as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. If you are new to stretching, you can slightly bend your knee—and work your way up to 90 degrees over time.
- Repeat the entire process with your opposite leg.
If you are new to stretching, begin with holding each of the above stretches for 10 seconds. You can then slowly work your way up to 30 seconds.
Additionally, you can help remind yourself to perform the above hamstring stretches by tying your stretching to a daily activity. For example, every time you brush your teeth you can perform the above two stretches.
Before starting any exercise program, make sure you first get the thumbs up from your doctor—you don’t want to risk further aggravating the underlying cause of your sciatica symptoms.