Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Spasms

by Chekwube Ndubisi

About Chekwube Ndubisi

Chekwube Ndubisi has been writing professionally since 2008. She is a medical writer and avid health enthusiast writing for BioPlan Associates and The American College of Ob/Gyn. Ndubisi has doctoral degree in pathobiology and molecular medicine and a Master of Science in cellular and molecular biology.


The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and travels through the pelvis and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatic nerve spasms typically occurs when a muscle, a herniated disc or a tumor pinches or compresses the sciatic nerve. This results in a sharp pain that radiates from the lower back to the legs, buttocks and feet, notes the MayoClinic.com. Stretching exercises are recommended to increase blood circulation to the surrounding tissue, alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce the nerve spasm.

Lower Back Stretch

Muscle tension or spams in the lower back can apply pressure to the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatic nerve spasms, pain and discomfort. Stretching muscles in the lower back is recommended by The New York Times to alleviate the pressure the sciatic nerve and reduce the nerve spasm. Begin this exercise by lying on your back. Bring both legs together and bend your knees. Place both arms at the side of your body and slowly roll your knees to one side of the your body. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat this stretch on the other side of your body.

Hamstring Strech

A hamstring stretch is recommended by Spine-Health.com to loosen the hamstring muscles. Tightness or tension in the muscles of the hamstring increases stress to the lower back and may result in compression of sciatic nerve and sciatic nerve spasms. Hamstring stretches help to alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Begin by lying on your back with both legs extended in front of you. Place one hand or a towel behind the knee of your affected leg. Slowly extend your leg straight up so that the sole of your feet faces the ceiling. Continue this raising the leg until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold this position for 10 seconds and gradually increase it to 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch twice daily and remember to breathe while performing this stretch.

Back Flexion Stretch

The back flexion stretch stretches and strengthens muscles in the back and reduces sciatic nerve spasms. Begin by lying on your back. Bring both knees toward your chest and simultaneously bring your head towards your knee to form a balled up position. Hold this position for eight to 10 seconds and complete eight to 12 repetitions of this stretch.

Supine Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is located in the hip and runs in close proximity to the sciatic nerve. When this muscle becomes irritated or tight, it can compress the sciatic nerve resulting sciatic nerve spasms and a radiating pain. Supine piriformis stretches is recommended by Spine-Health.com to stretch this muscle, alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce sciatic nerve spasms. Begin by lying on your back with both legs extended in front of you. Bring your right leg toward your chest by holding the knee with your right hand while using the left hand to grasp the ankle. Leading with your ankle, bring the right knee towards the left knee until you feel a stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat this stretch three times on each leg.

Photo Credits:

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.