Strain and injury to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back are the major causes of low back pain. The pain is typically more spread out in the muscles next to the spine, and may be associated with spasms in those muscles. The pain may move to the buttocks but rarely any farther down the leg.
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts in the lower back.
- It forms near the spine and is made up from branches of the roots of the lumbar spinal nerves.
- It travels through the pelvis and then deep into each buttock.
- It then travels down each leg. It is the longest and widest single nerve in the body.
Sciatica is not a diagnosis but a description of symptoms. Anything that places pressure on one or more of the lumbar nerve roots can cause pain in parts or all of the sciatic nerve. A herniated disk, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or other abnormalities of vertebrae can all cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Some cases of sciatica pain may occur when a muscle located deep in the buttocks pinches the sciatic nerve. This muscle is called the piriformis. The resulting condition is called piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome usually develops after an injury. It is sometimes difficult to diagnose.
Pain or numbness due to sciatica can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to cause immobility.
The pain most often occurs on one side and may radiate to the buttocks, legs, and feet. Some people have sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness in other parts. The affected leg may feel weak.
The pain often starts slowly. Sciatica pain may get worse:
- At night
- After standing or sitting for long periods of time
- When sneezing, coughing, or laughing
- After bending backwards or walking more than 50 – 100 yards (particularly if it is caused by spinal stenosis — see below)
Sciatica pain usually goes away within 6 weeks, unless there are serious underlying conditions. Pain that lasts longer than 30 days, or gets worse with sitting, coughing, sneezing, or straining may indicated a longer recovery. Depending on the cause of the sciatica, symptoms may come and go.
6 Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief
1. The Knee To Chest Stretch Exercise
- Start by lying on your back, then bend your knees to a 90 degree angle.
- Make sure your feet is firmly on the floor and wrap your hands around one of your knees and pull the knee to your chest.
- Keep this posture steady for 20 to 30 seconds and then switch to your other leg.
2. The Gluteal Stretch Exercise
- Start just as in the previous exercise.
- Lift up your left leg and then rest your ankle on your right thigh.
- Then you wrap both your hands around your right thigh and then pull your thigh closer to you.
- Keep this posture steady for 20 to 30 seconds and afterwards you relax.
- Try this exercise 3 times and then switch your legs.
3. Try The Knee Lifts Exercise
- Start just as in the last two exercises, then let your arms be flat by your sides.
- Let your back be on the floor, then lift up your legs till they are just about a foot from the floor.
- Gently lower them.
- Repeat this exercise 5 times.
4. The Hamstring Stretch Exercise
- Start by sitting on the floor, make sure your back is straight up with your legs stretched out and about a hand-width apart.
- Take a deep breath.
- As you exhale, try and lean forward from your hips and let your hands reach for your toes.
- Let your collarbone be pushed towards your feet.
- Keep this posture for 20 to 30 seconds, then sit back up.
5. Try Out Back Extensions Exercise
- First, lie face down and let your feet be flat on the floor.
- Keep your hands on the floor with your elbows by your body.
- Your fingertips should be at eye level.
- Then push down on your hands in order to arch your back, keep this posture steady for 5 to 10 seconds.
- You should then lower your back to the floor and repeat the exercise 10 times.
6. The Piriformis Stretch Exercise
- Start with your back on the floor and then bend your knees, make sure your heels are towards your buttocks.
- Cross one leg over the other, keep your ankle at rest.
- Bring your knee out by using your muscles.
- Ensure you stretch your hips lightly.
- Keep this posture for 20 seconds.
- You should switch to your other leg and keep the posture for 20 seconds.
- Achieve an extensive stretch by pushing out your leg.