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education and Exercises for sciatica pain relief



The sciatic nerve is both the largest AND longest nerve in the entire human body. The sciatic nerve consists of spinal nerves from segments in the lower back beginning at L4 all the way down to sacral segments of S3 including L4, L5, S1, S2, S3. The nerve is responsible for providing BOTH sensory and motor function to major areas of the thigh, lower leg, feet, and toes. Which is why if you have sciatica issues you may notice a combination of pain, pins and needles, and weakness in major muscle groups. As you can gather, it plays a very important role in your movement and when the sciatic nerve’s health is disrupted it disrupts your life! No worries though, we are here to help!

The goal with sciatica pain management is to find a relieving position that eases the painful symptoms. Below you will see some different positions we call “nerve flosses” to ease the tension and painful symptoms.


Think of gliding or flossing a nerve the same was you would your teeth. As opposed to elongating or stretching a nerve from both the beginning and ending point we are manipulating our head and foot position to always allow some slack at one end of the nerve.

Start in a comfortable position lying flat on your back. Pull the painful leg up towards your chest and grab behind the thigh. Be sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Begin by extending the knee. IMPORTANT. Once the knee reached a fully extended position be sure to keep your TOE pointed downward! When you return to the bent knee position pull the foot backward toward your shin. Transition very slowly through each phase.

You will notice several different variations in the video.

Repeat this process 8-10 times for 3-4 times per day.


Begin sitting in a comfortable position on the edge of a high table. Sit with a slouched posture. As you kick your leg up also pull your foot towards you. At the same time extend your head back and look up towards the ceiling. Transition
back through each phase as you lower the leg back down and bring your chin towards your chest. Transition very slowly through each phase. Do not rush holding the positions at end range.

Repeat this process 8-10 times for 3-4 times per day.


Phase 1: Prone on Stomach

Just see how your symptoms respond by laying in a more extended spine position. If no symptoms worsen over a 2 minute period, progress to the next phase.

Phase 2: Prone on Elbows

Keep your pelvis glued to the table. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times. If no symptoms worsen then progress to the next phase.

Phase 3: Repeated Extension to Elbows

Repeat for 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Hold for 1-2 seconds in the extended position. Again, be sure to keep your pelvis glued to the table.

Phase 4: Repeated Extension [FULL]

Place your hands in a push up position. Fully extend your arms as you keep your pelvis down. You may not be able to reach full elbow extension but try to press as far as your mobility and symptoms will allow. Transition through each
phase slowly. Think about pushing up your head, then chest, followed by the sternum, then upper stomach, and lastly your belly button. Repeat 2 sets of 6-8 repetitions. If no symptoms worsen progress to phase 5.

Phase 5: Repeated Extension with Overpressure

The subtle difference in this progression is exhaling all of the air out of your lunge and allowing your stomach to ‘sag’ in the most extended position. If done correctly you should feel more pressure in your lower back. This is a
more advanced position but be cautious. Assess your symptoms both during, immediately after, and several hours after you perform.


With each of these exercises the goal is to CALM things down. We do not want to irritate your sciatica. Establish your baseline tolerance to these movements and build from there. If any of these positions or movements make your pain/symptoms worse; STOP IMMEDIATELY. We are always here to help answer your questions!

These exercises and positions shown are just a small example of ways we can modify your symptoms to get you back to the activities you enjoy with less aggravation and disruption. It’s important to remember that what works for one person may or may not work for you.

We believe in testing and retesting to ensure our treatments are creating the positive changes we want in your symptoms, pain, and movement. An example may be that typically you can only sit for 5 minutes without your sciatic pain flaring up. After completion of one or a series of exercises you can now sit for 40 minutes before your symptoms are triggered.

  1. Prescription Medication
  2. An orthopedic surgeon consult
  3. A back cracking session
  4. MRI Diagnosis
  5. Surgery

Dr. Bryan Keith

Myomuv PT

We help active adults and athletes return to the activities they love without pain, without taking time off, and feeling more confident and capable than ever before.