Sciatica is a symptom pertaining to pain felt throughout the sciatic nerve and its branches. This nerve runs from the lower back, through your buttocks and down your legs. Sciatica itself is not a medical condition, but rather an effect of a separate condition that affects the nerve. These disorders include spinal stenosis, herniated disks and piriformis syndrome.

There are several treatment options a doctor would recommend for a person suffering with sciatica. Physical therapy and pain medication are the two easy and obvious choices to begin with. For more severe cases of sciatica, the doctor may try steroid injections in the affected area. These would reduce inflammation and reduce the pressure put on the nerves. Unfortunately, this method is not a viable long term solution, as steroid injections can have long term side effects. There is also the option of surgery, but this is should only be a final resort, as surgery can be expensive and take quite a toll on your body.

Physical therapy is the simplest, cheapest and possibly the most effective way of reducing the effects of sciatica. Exercises and sciatica stretches can be done to improve flexibility, correct posture and increase the strength of the muscles in your back. In doing this, you train your body to have better biomechanics which will reduce the pressure put on the sciatic nerve. They can be done on your own time without running up a large bill, unlike other treatment options. If the pain is still too much, medication can also be taken in conjunction with physical therapy.

A common cause of sciatica is piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks region of the body. It is possible for this muscle to contract or have spasms that will compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain. A good stretch to reduce these effects is the piriformis stretch. To do it, lay on your back and put one knee to your chest. You will be stretching the side opposite the knee you bring up, so if you wanted to stretch the left piriformis, you would bring your right knee to your chest. Next, cross the other leg over your knee and pull in the bottom leg with moderate strength, so that you feel a stretch in your buttocks region. You should hold this stretch for about 20 seconds.

Physical therapy is a great way to fight sciatica, and there are plenty of other sciatica stretches and exercises that you can perform to improve the strength and flexibility of your body.

There are several treatment options available for sciatica. However, the best long term and cost effective treatment options are sciatica stretches and physical therapy to alleviate back and leg pain.