Sciatica Pain Relief While Sitting: A Surprisingly Simple Natural Remedy

Each of these positions opens the hip angle to more than 90 degrees and helps to lengthen the hip flexors, giving them a chance to relax a little more and hopefully take some pressure off of the sciatic nerve being irritated. If you have a soft mat that you can lay on the floor and if the height of your desk allows for it, you could take this one step further and take a kneeling position or half-kneeling position (like a kneeling hip flexor stretch) while you sit to open up both (or just one) of your hips to a 180-degree angle.

2. Sitting cross-legged or with one leg crossed over the other knee

Whether you find yourself seated in a chair, car, couch, or even on the ground, a possible way to sit with sciatica and get some relief would be to sit cross-legged or have one leg crossed over the other knee (very similar to the Figure 4 stretch). Doing so will stretch the piriformis muscle which, when tight, can irritate the sciatic nerve that runs directly underneath it. Sitting this way may help lengthen that muscle, reduce the compression on the nerve, and provide you with some relief.

3. Sitting with some lower back support

Giving the lower back some support, whether it is by using a lumbar roll cushion or sitting in a chair with built-in lumbar support, can help provide your muscles with enough help to let them relax a little more to take enough pressure off of the sciatic nerve so that you can experience some relief.

Frequently asked questions on sciatica while sitting

Does sitting make sciatica worse?

Sitting too much, especially for longer periods of time, can be something that triggers or worsens your sciatic pain. When sitting, the muscles that support the alignment of your pelvis and lower back can become tighter and compress on the sciatic nerve. Taking frequent breaks to move around or stretch may help to relieve the tightness in this area and reduce the pain.

Where does the sciatic nerve run?

The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs through the hips and buttocks (underneath the piriformis muscle) all the way down the legs.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by a compression on the sciatic nerve, which branches through the lumbar spine and runs through the glutes and all the way down the legs. Compression on the nerve can happen in several ways, such as a bulging or herniated disc, pinching of the nerve by decreased space in the lumbar spine, or from tight muscles (like the piriformis) pressing on the nerve.

How do I get my sciatic nerve to stop hurting?

To improve your sciatica pain, it is important to first find the true root cause of your pain. Sciatica may develop over time as the result of muscle imbalances around the pelvis and lumbar spine. This impacts the alignment of the structures and function of the muscles in these areas, ultimately compressing on the sciatic nerve and causing pain. Using a combination of muscle release and corrective stretching and strengthening exercises, you may be able to improve the alignment of your body and the functioning of the supporting muscles, addressing that root cause to improve your sciatic pain.

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