1.) Avoid Incorrectly Stretching Your Hamstrings
Hamstring stretches can worsen your sciatica symptoms. This is because many of these hamstring stretches are actually stretching and irritating the sciatic nerve. A common hamstring stretch is the hurdlers stretch, where you are sitting with your legs stretched and you reach towards your toes to achieve a stretch in the back of your thighs. If your ankles are pointed upwards, this actually places considerable strain on the sciatic nerve. In general, nerves do not like to be stretched and will become irritated when they are held in a lengthened position for a prolonged time.
An alternative way to stretch your hamstrings, while avoiding irritation to the sciatic nerve is completing a hamstring stretch on aa step. First place the foot on the leg you want to stretch on a step. Make sure to keep your foot flat on the step throughout the duration of the stretch, so that you don’t risk irritation to the sciatic nerve. Next push your hips backwards and hinge your torso forward, while keeping your knee relatively straight. This should provide a gentle stretching sensation in the back of thigh.
2.) Temporarily Avoid Heavy Weights
Heavy squats and deadlifts put strain on your lower back region called the lumbar spine where sciatica can stem from. Depending on your symptoms, heavy lifting may exacerbate your sciatica pain and you may need to decrease or avoid weights for a short period of time. A physiotherapist or chiropractor can help you determine how to modify your gym volume.
Instead temporarily do gentle exercises that don’t aggravate your sciatica symptoms.
3.) Sitting for More Than 20 Minutes
As mentioned before, prolonged sitting causes compression in your lower back which can make sciatica nerve pain worse. When sitting, try to get up every 20-30 minutes. Try walking around or stretching for a minute and then go back to sitting. Also it’s important to use an ergonomic office chair to keep your back in an optimal position when you sit. These chairs allow you to adjust them to fit you and support your back.