10 Piriformis Stretches to Relieve Sciatica and Any Lower Back and Hip Pain
More and more people suffer from lower back pain. Usually, this is a result stemming from the irritation of your sciatic nerve. But this type of pain can also spread down to your limbs and feet.
This pain can have an effect on one’s daily routine, and many have been looking for ways to naturally get rid of it. Well, look no further.
The nerve we mentioned, sciatic, lies deep in one’s buttock. And due to its closeness to the piriformis muscle, if there is any swelling or constriction in this specific muscle, the consequence can be nerve pain and irritation.
This muscle joins the top of your femur to your spine. It plays a vital role in the outwards movements of your upper leg, foot, and hip. And the nerve in question passes beneath this muscle.
Having explained this, in some cases, it may occur that the nerve passes through the muscle, and this can lead to so-called ‘sciatica symptoms’ , which are caused by the piriformis syndrome.
This leaves the individual with hip and lower back pain that doesn’t seem to go away on its own. This, in turn, leads to limited movement and poor balance.
Luckily there are exercises one can do to fix this, but it is always advisable to consult with your physician as there may be other, underlying causes for the pain you feel.
Another word of advice when doing these piriformis stretches is to always stay within your own personal limits of comfort. Remember, don’t push it as it might lead to further complications. In this specific case, pain (even a little amount) is NOT gain.
Make sure to also warm up before stretches. It can be anything from going up and down the stairs to taking a walk. Do these light warm up exercises for a few minutes. After you’re done with them, you can start with the stretches numbered below.
1. Supine Piriformis Stretch
1. Lie down. Your knees should be bent upwards.
2. Cross the affected leg over your other leg. Do this by simply bending it towards your chest.
3. Proceed by grabbing the knee using one hand and your ankle using the other. Now just slowly pull towards your shoulder. Do this until you feel a stretching sensation in the buttock glutes.
4. Hold this position for about 30-60 seconds and then release.
We believe this video will help clear up any confusion and show you the right way to do it:
2. Standing Piriformis Stretch
1. As the name states, you should be standing for this one. Now just place your affected leg over the knee of your other leg. It should look a bit like the number 4.
2. Next, lower your hips at a slow pace towards the ground. Make sure to properly bend the knee of your standing leg.
3. Now simply lean forward using your torso. Extend the both arms in a parallel direction with the ground. It’s important to keep the spine straight while doing this.
4. Hold it for 30 seconds to a minute. Once you’re done, do the same after you’ve switched legs.
Note: In the case where you are finding it hard to find your balance, you can use the wall for support. Just be sure your feet are distanced from the wall by twenty-four inches.
Once again, here is a helpful video below:
3. Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
1. Lie down on your back. Bend your affected leg upwards. Do this through positioning the foot close by the back of the knee of your other leg.
2. Next thing you do is tuck the foot behind the knee of your other leg and then just twist the leg to the other side (opposite). Your knee should be touching or facing the ground.
3. Position your hand on the side where your knee is. Raise your other arm in the air.
4. Now just slowly begin lowering the other arm in the direction of your knee. The idea is to make your shoulder touch the ground.
5. Stay in this position for about 20 seconds. Then switch legs.
6. Lastly, return to your initial position of lying on the ground. Stretch both of your legs. Then bend both of your knees at the same time and slowly pull them towards your chest using your hands.
Note: Don’t worry if you can’t touch the ground with your shoulder on the first try. Comfort is most important here, and you shouldn’t force it. You know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Once again, here is a helpful video below on how to do it right:
4. Long Adductor Stretch
1. Start off by sitting on the floor and stretch the legs as far apart from each other as you can. Remember, the moment you start feeling any pain or discomfort, stop! That means this is your limit and you shouldn’t try to exceed it by stretching your legs any further than they already are.
2. Proceed by gently tilting your torso towards the ground. Position your hands next to one another on the ground.
3. Lean forward slowly, trying to touch the ground with your elbows.
4. Hold this position for about 10 to 20 seconds and then release.
Note: In the case of you feeling any other leg pain, such as behind your knees, it is wise to do some other warm up leg stretches before giving this one a shot.
Here is a video to help you:
5. Short Adductor Stretch
1. This stretching exercise also requires you to be sitting on the ground. Simply position your feet’s soles in front of your pelvis.
2. Use your hands in an opposite manner to hold the ankles. This means your right hand should be holding your left ankle and the other way around.
3. Try and touch the ground with your knees by slowly and gently pushing them downward.
4. Hold this position for 30 seconds then release. Move your legs in a fluttering position (similar to a butterfly) for another 30 seconds.
Note: For an even deeper stretch, try using your elbows in order to push the knees downward, bending your torso and maintaining your back in a straight position.
Here is a video to help do it right:
6. Side Lying Clam Stretch
1. Lie down on your side. Your affected hip should be on top.
2. Proceed by bending your legs backward. This should look a bit like the letter L. Do this while keeping one of your feet over your other one. The legs should be parallel to one another.
3. Make sure your spine isn’t bent, and that the affected hip remains directly on top.
4. Raise your top knee in an upward position, making sure your feet remain together, and that your body stays in the original pose.
5. Now just slowly return your knee to its original position. Repeat this 15 times.
Here is a helpful video for you:
7. Hip Extension Stretch
1. Your starting position should be on all fours on the ground. Make sure that the hands are aligned with your shoulders.
2. Move your weight from your affected leg and raise your leg upwards in the direction of the ceiling. Your knee should be bent.
3. Now just slowly lower the leg back to almost the initial position. Repeat this 15 times.
Here is a video to show you exactly how:
8. Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
1. This is also a stretching exercise which requires you to be lying down. Your back should be straight and your legs flat.
2. Bend your affected leg in an upwards position. Position your foot on your other leg’s outer side. This should be near your knee.
3. Gently and slowly pull your affected leg’s knee across your body’s midline using your opposite hand. Do this until you feel a stretch, but remember, no pain. If there is some, it means you just need to loosen the stretch a little bit.
4. It is important that your hips and shoulders stay glued to the ground while doing this.
5. Hold this for 30 seconds, then return to the original position and switch to the other leg. Repeat this stretching exercise about 2-3 times.
Once again, here is a video to aid you with any confusion:
9. Buttocks Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle
1. Again, this exercise should be done on all fours.
2. Proceed by bringing the foot of your affected leg under your trunk. Now twist it in the opposite direction. This should be near the hip, and your knee should be pointing towards your shoulder.
3. Your next step is to lower your head until you are touching the ground with your forehead. For support, best to lean your arms on the floor.
4. Now slowly proceed by stretching your non-affected leg out behind you. Do this while maintaining your pelvis in a straight position.
5. Now just slightly push the hips towards the ground.
6. Hold this position for 30 seconds before returning to the initial one. Don’t rush. Repeat this stretching exercise 2-3 times.
Here is a video on how to do it properly:
10. Seated Stretch
1. As its name states, you should sit on a chair for this one. Cross your affected leg over the knee of your other leg.
2. Bend forward slightly, making sure to also bring the chest forward. Make sure your spine is straight at all times.
3. Hold this position for a few moments. Then try and bend yourself a bit further. Once again, the most crucial thing is that you don’t feel pain while doing this.
4. Hold this position for a total of 30 seconds before releasing slowly. Then just repeat the whole process with your other leg as well.