First of all , it’s important to exclude the more serious conditions such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis, tendonitis and compression of nerve roots with your health practitioner before you begin your stretches. Also it's a good idea to go to our EXERCISES stretches page to understand more about stretching before you begin.
The Piriformis is a muscle, often implicated with Sciatica. It is attached to the spine in the lower back area and across the backside to each femur in the thighs. You can see the Piriformis here in the PIC on the left. You can also see how the Sciatic Nerve itself going right through, or beneath the Piriformis muscle. It’s a very deep muscle which sits below the gluteal group.
The nerve when inflamed, causes sciatica. One of the reasons for this is that when the Piriformis Muscle is too tight, it exerts pressure on this nerve causing pain down the leg, or more general pain in the buttocks, lower back and thigh. If you feel your pain more in the backside area rather than the lower back, it would be reasonable to assume that it is a tight piriformis that is the source of the trouble.
This condition is referred to as Piriformis Syndrome – its one of the major causes of sciatica, and it’s a real pain in the butt! If you have it, you will greatly benefit from doing stretches on a daily basis. There are a number of things you can do to help deal with this, including deep tissue massage, rest and anti-inflammatory treatment but of course, this website is all about pilates and I want to show you a couple of excellent sciatica stretches.
Sciatica Stretch- Stage 1: It’s a good idea to start gently, because you don’t want to exacerbate the pain.
Lie on your back with knees bent up.
Pick up your right leg and place the right ankle on the left knee – if you find this difficult, it means the piriformis is very tight, so ease your left leg away a little.
With your left hand, gently push the knee away from you.
Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or so.
Repeat with other leg, even if it’s not a problem.
Sciatica Stretch- Stage 2: This sciatica stretch is a much stronger one which you should do only after you have done the first and feel quite comfortable with it.
Again, pick up your right leg and place the right ankle on the left knee.
Now, pick up the left leg (using both hands around the thigh), and gently pull that leg towards you.
Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or so and repeat with other leg.
BELOW you have access to our online Correct Posture Test which will help you to discover exactly what stretches will be of benefit to you. This is available when you receive for our monthly newsletter. The NEWSLETTER, (called NEWSY PILATES STUFF), provides useful illustrated information about exercises and stretches, a little bit of gossip, and video stretches - and of course it's FREE. The form below is a simple one and requires little time to complete.