Back Pain and Sciatica: How to Begin a Simple and Easy Exercise Program

by coachz on March 30, 2009

How to Begin a Simple and Easy Program of Exercise for Back Pain and Sciatica Relief

We will discuss the piriformis muscle stretching exercise, the psoas major muscle stretching exercise, and the hamstring (also known as the leg biceps) muscle stretching exercise.

In order to live a comfortable life in retirement, millions of Americans sacrifice now by putting money into their 401K and other retirement plans. One question to consider is: What good is it to have this nest egg when my hips and back hurt so badly that I can’t enjoy it? Like a financial plan, ensuring a future without low back pain and activity restrictions requires regular and consistent diligence. This article outlines an exercise program that is simple and easily done at home—without requiring exercise equipment or access to a gym or fitness facility.

Exercise program to stretch the back and legs

The following are some stretches that aid in pain relief by helping take stress off the low back and hips and may greatly reduce the advancement of arthritis in the spine. These exercises should be performed in a pain free manner. If pain is experienced, it is best to discontinue the exercises and consider being evaluated by a licensed physical therapist that specializes in treatment of the spine. If one already has low back pain or other health condition, it is advisable to first be evaluated by a physician and, as appropriate, receive guidance on how to do the following exercises by a spine specialist.

1) Piriformis muscle stretching exercise

The piriformis muscle runs from the back of the femur (thigh bone) to the sacrum (base of the spine). Tightness in this muscle has been linked to sacroiliac joint dysfunction and even sciatica-type pain along the sciatic nerve. To stretch the piriformis, lie on your back and cross the involved leg over the other. With both knees bent, place both hands together under the knee of the other leg (the lower leg), and gently pull the bottom leg toward your chest and hold both thighs closely until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.

Hold 30 seconds


1-2 times per day

2) Psoas Major muscle stretching exercise

The Psoas Major muscle attaches to the front portion of the lower spine (from thoracic vertebra 12 through lumbar vertebra 5) and can greatly limit low back mobility when tight. It often is one of the sources of low back pain in patients who have difficulty standing for extended periods or kneeling on both knees. This muscle can be stretched in a half kneeling position (kneeling on one knee). Rotate the leg outward and tighten the gluteal muscles on the side you’re stretching. Next, lean forward through the hip joint rather then bending through the lumbar spine. A stretch should be felt in the front of the hip that the patient is kneeling on.

Hold 30 seconds


1-2 times per day

3) Hamstring muscle stretching exercise

The hamstrings run from the back of the ishial tuberosity (pelvic bone) to just below the back of the knee. They are responsible for bending the knee and assisting the gluteal muscles to extend the hip. These muscles are very important to stretch because, when tight, they make it nearly impossible to sit up straight. People who do not sit with an erect posture run the risk of early onset of degenerative disc disease and neck pain. Tight hamstring muscles are also associated with low back pain. One way to gently stretch hamstring muscles is to lie on the back and grasp the leg behind the knee with the hip flexed to 90 degrees and the knee bent. Attempt to straighten the knee with the toes pointed back toward you.

Hold 30 seconds


1-2 times per day

This is meant to be a stop-gap measure, something to get you going until you can initiate a complete, individualized program…such as those below!




Good luck and let me know what you think! Any products on the side panel are super for back problems!

1) Get an ice-compression brace for the times when nothing else works for the pain…it will! I know!get

2) New Balance running shoes, they have awesome heel cushioning that makes such a difference when pain makes you count your steps all day long, just to make it through the day!

3) WalkFit Orthotics for the days when you can’t wear your New Balance but need cushioning and support.

4) Bone & Joint Natural Pain Reliever! It really helped me when nothing else would!

5) And others…..

All of which, with the exception of the scooters, I was in a wheelchair for a while but not any more, work!

See also:

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr., The Bad Back Guy
Skype: johnzajaros1

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