Sciatica Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Sciatica Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m going to show you some stretches and exercises for sciatic pain. So let’s get started. You guys ready? Yeah! So the space kitty scared off pups, and we’ll start off lying down on the ground. The first exercise is just going to be the pelvic tilt, so propping your knees up. With the pelvic tilt you want to actually rotate your hips almost like you’re trying to flatten out your back on the ground. So just going this way. Almost like you’re pushing your belly button down to the ground and flattening it out. So if i had my hand here I try to be squishing it like that. Tightening up those core muscles. So just a pelvic tilt flatten it out to the ground, hold it for about three to five seconds, relax, and do 10 of those. And you should really be tightening up those muscles. I call it almost like you’re fake laughing “hahaha,” it tightens up those core muscles. So holding it there, three seconds do about ten. tThen you’re going to go up into a bridge, so lifting the bottom up off the ground and trying to get your body in a pretty straight line. So coming up here, pretty straight doesn’t have to be super straight, but you don’t want to try and go past it. And then slowly come down one segment at a time. So you’re not just plopping back down, it’s a really controlled coming back down. So again doing about 10 of those as well, nice and slow. Then you’re going to go into a piriformis stretch to stretch out that piriformis muscle down here, which is where the sciatic nerve goes underneath that muscle and sometimes when it’s really tight it pushes on that sciatic nerve. So the next one is just a figure 4 stretch. Take the leg that you want to stretch and cross it over where your ankle is just on top of your thigh. Then take your hands and grab the other leg and pull up towards you, holding a stretch. And you should feel that stretch right through there. Now sometimes people might not be quite flexible enough to grab right here, so if you have a belt or strap, you can wrap it around your leg and then pull it up as well. And so you’re going to hold that stretch for 30 seconds and do it three times. And make sure you do both sides even if the other side is not really bothering you, if you have some back issues going on, you want to keep each side pretty equal to each other so make sure you’re stretching both sides. So 30 seconds, three times and you can alternate back and forth to give each one a break. Then you’re going to go into a sciatic kind of stretch / glide, some people will call it that you’re just stretching the nerve. Some people say that you’re gliding, it it doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s the same movement. So now grab underneath the leg that you want to stretch, pull your toes up towards you, tighten it up and you’re just going to raise your leg until it gets tight and then slowly come back down. So this is going to be a continuous movement. So see I’m stretching out that nerve and coming back down, or some people might say it’s gliding a little bit. You want to go til you feel some discomfort, but you don’t want it to be pain. You don’t want it to be shooting stabbing pain because if you’re stretching that nerve, those nerves are pretty fragile vessels, so you don’t want to over stretch them, or you’re just going to irritate them a little bit more. So just do about 10 of those and then that’s it. And then i’m going to show you some stuff sitting down in a chair. The next one is neural flossing of the sciatic nerve, so again this one you’re really kind of trying to move that sciatic nerve, so you don’t want to over stretch it. You don’t want to be to where it’s pain, you just want it to be kind of flossing back and forth. So what you’re going to do, is you’re going to extend your head back and kick out at the same time, and then flex your head forward and bring your knee back down. So it’s going to be a kick-out, look up and forward back in. Up. Forward. So you’re just kind of taking that nerve and flossing it back and forth. It doesn’t have to be a super fast movement, just nice and controlled and again not to the point of pain. You might feel a little bit stretch, you might feel a little bit of tingling if it’s really irritated, but you don’t want to be pain. So just do about 10 of those. Now the last exercise is one where you don’t want to do a lot again, but you want to make sure you’re doing it right. So you’re going to take a stool, something that you can prop the side that you want to work up on the side, so just prop it up. Now the key to this is to make sure that your leg doesn’t roll in because if you have a sciatic nerve issue, when you’re doing the exercise, if you roll your leg in, you’re taking the slack off of that nerve, so then you’re not actually really getting the movement that you want to. Try and keep your leg straight forward and try and keep your neck in a neutral position without going back or without going forward because again, it’s all connected so that affects the sciatic nerve as well. So keep your upper body nice and upright, like pretty straightforward, arms down by the side, and then you’re going to side bend or lean to the opposite side of your leg, but again try not to make your head or neck going in a different position. Not your leg and different position. So just kind of going over this way. Now this is one that you really want to make sure that you’re doing that good technique where you want to make sure your physical therapist sees it first, and even when you do at home you might want to do it in front of a mirror the first time to make sure you’re doing that movement correctly. I’m gonna do the other side so you can see it. So leg straight out, foot forward, head up, and just side bend to the other side, so opposite side. You don’t have to go very far because again if that nerve’s irritated or pinched somewhere, you’re going to feel it maybe even just propping your leg up, so just start off with about 10 of those, and then that’s it for the day. So there you have it, those were your stretches and exercises for sciatic pain. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section. If you’d like to check out some other videos, go to And remember be safe, dont let Remy bite your fingers off, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

88 Replies to “Sciatica Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. The figure 4 stretch is my go-to but I will definitely try the others you show.
    Thank you for the wonderful videos you post. 🙂

  2. Great stretches. Love all your videos. Is it possible to feel the pinch of a sciatic nerve pain in the front of the thigh? The quads? Or is that something else. It often feels like my tight, nerve feeling runs from my butt to the front and side of my thigh.

  3. hi dr jo, do you know what can i do if i have tendencies to roll my ankle? like even when normal walking.

    i have high arch, small feet and heavier upper body. always find myself out of balance, and sadly sprained my ankle from a 100cm height landing yesterday.

    i did it without thinking and over estimated my ability that was rusty. appreciate!

  4. Wow. Thank you Doctor Jo. I was only doing the figure 4 stretch but I tried everything in this video and it helped so much. This routine will be my go-to from now on.

  5. unfortunately my hands and feet are still struggling….I've got global Peripheral Neuropathy, ….sorry for any typo's!

  6. I get a lot of sciatica ,but ,as a fibro sufferer The worst pain I get iis in my heel.It`ll waken me from a deep sleep ,and feels like someone is sticking burning  hot pokers in the softest part of my heel? It`s not cramp ,and I cannot stand and place any  weight when this happens.Last night it woke me  about  2am ,and by 5 am I had to  cave and take my prescribed  morning morphine  early.
    Anything you can suggest  which could  help an attack ,would be  truly  appreciated..Thankyou.

  7. Good refresher for me plus a couple of extra exercises my therapist did not show me. As always I exercise common sense. No gung-ho motions.

  8. Thank you so much, I never had pain but after lifting in the gym I hurt my lower back while doing dead lift, Iv been doing these every morning, my back feels amazing

  9. Oh my gosh this has helped me so much I've only been doing it for 3 days but already there's a huge improvement! Thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for this helpful video! And thanks for all that EYE CANDY! … those GORGEOUS pooches! They were extremely therapeutic as well!

  11. Dr already you uploaded one video in 2012 now you come n upload new one, diz is differ 4m that. Pls tell Dr diz or tat is best video, sorry for qng? I want to clarify that's it.

  12. Very sore after doing a heavy lift, and laid up for for the last 12 hours. Spent 15 minutes on this and much more flexible already! Thanks.

  13. iam suffering from the L5 and S1 problem as per my MRI scan report …is these excises really help me ..come out from the pain

  14. Hello! I'm suffering with sciatica pain for about a month now, maybe more. I love streching and it happened when I was doing my splits. From that time I can't put mt leg upper than 90 degrees, I can't sit and touch my knee with my head because I feel pain in my bottom and under knee. When I feel better I start to strech and everything is worse again. I know I shouldn't have streched but I can't live without it. When your exercises are going to help me, if I do them every day?

  15. i am suffering almost 5 weeks for the leg pain. my doctor said it was sciatica but my xray lumbosacral is normal.

  16. i have herniated disc it has been 5 months now I can walk and run but I cannot bend forward as I would earlier and after sitting for 2 hrs I have that pain again in my lower back how long will it take to heal completely I'm only 18 I'm scared I love playing football will I be able to play it again?

  17. Hello dear Dr Jo. I,m suffering about three weeks from sciatic nerve through my right leg from pelvis to my sole. It was so painful at the beginning. But at present I can't move and Walk well. please guide me what to do.Thanks

  18. OMG Thank you I am so glad you exsist. I just noticed two days ago a slight pain in my lower back/buttocks area. I have had issues with sciatica before so I knew I best get on top of it. I really love your videos they have taught me so much and I love how clear and informing your content is. I would like to know How often can we stretch and exercise per day? Is there a such thing as a limit? Thank you again Dr. Jo I am so happy right now and not in pain LOVE LOVE LOVE NEW SUBBY!!!

  19. I have about 7 years
    sciatic nerve problems
    on right side of my body
    I can't sleep for long enough
    I can't sit and I can't work okay can you help me please

  20. Hi Eric,
    Iam suffering from lower back pain for the last 8-9 months….I have visited my doctors and physio's but can't relieved. My report says (1) Mild reduction of L4-L5 disc and (2) Partial sacralisation of L5-S1 disc space.
    Can you please help with this.

  21. I have also this problem I am a international player plz send your contact number madam
    aamir from Pakistan

  22. Dr. Jo…. Thanks for your video…. I am suffering from a sciatica pain on right side leg(L4 & L5 compressed according to MRI and X-ray ) recently took injunction also I wanted to know these exercises are enough or you want me to do other streches with these ….plz replay me… can I do these steches on Bed?
    Thanking you n awaiting……

  23. I have slip disc problem in L5 S1 , it's compress left leg's nerves..u can also say it , sciatica age is just 22..plz help me out this pain..

  24. Dr. Jo: Can one squat with sciatic pain? Front squats seem to provoke my pain, although I can back squat as well as deadlift without trouble at all.

  25. is this solvable? ? because so many doctors have told me that it could be for life time and it hurts me a lot. I'm just 19 year old and whole study I have had stop.

  26. Your stretching demos seem to be more effective Dr Jo . Thanks . I drive tractor trailers and my sciatica / numbing pain seems to be getting better . 😋👍

  27. and after standing or walking for an hour its little bit hurts in my knee so can I use this exercise for knee also or something have you ?

  28. DR. Jo, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I hadn't had a pinched nerve in many years, and thispast weekend, it came back again. With your exercises I feel much better. Thank you!! 2/4/18

  29. That was really sweet at the end. You hoping we feel better soon. It’s validating that you’re acknowledging that we are here because we are in pain and you care more than just that we follow your exercises, but also that we move toward wellness, and your compassion is much appreciated. Thanks you.

  30. Hlo mam I got acl surgery 4 months before but from some days there is cracking sound in my knee is this normal

  31. Sciatica nerve has pinched for me 3 months ago, I am feeding numbness in my legs upto feet.. Can I do this exercises? Please reply me.

  32. I have getting pain in the middle of right buttock and in bottom right leg ,back of the foot are these excercises are enough ,from past few days only I am getting this pain..

  33. Can't do it. Can't lift my foot straight (without bending knee) while laying straight. It make something very tighten, hurt and numbness through the back of the whole legs. I fell from 2 feet high chair without knee bending. Knee and hip joint seem to be fine and no back pain. But little pain in hip. Seem like tendon and nerve stuck in hip joint ligment. What can I do? Can't affort MRI scan and surgery.

  34. How are knee pain and sciatic pain connected? When I am trying to do the flossing exercise where the leg extends and the head tilts back, the knee is in pain. Is this because the quad muscle is weak? Thank yoU!!

  35. Amazing amazing amazing! Careful with the last exercise, can generate discomfort again after the great pain release from the rest of the stretches thanks a ton!

  36. Thank God for you, on day 1, I felt pain relief enough to walk without flinching, after weeks of pain agony!!!

  37. Doc jo.. i feel pain on my lower back left side..the pain runs down to my thigh and legs..i fell numb amd it sciatic?

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