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Hip pain and sciatica are excruciating.

I can remember when I was struggling with hip pain, I felt like I was a living version of the exact opposite of the song, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.

This was because every little thing I did was excruciating. Taking a simple step forward left me with debilitating pain. Even standing completely still hit me with stinging zingers down my leg.

Shoot, putting on pants ended up turning into some sort of fishing game, where I would drop my pants on the floor and try to wiggle my foot as far into my pant leg as possible before I said a quick prayer, bent down, and pulled on my pants.

This is how it was every day—all day—until I figured out how to make the pain stop.

Now, I'm so excited to share these exercises for rapid pain relief with you!

5 Exercises You Can Do Right Now for IMMEDIATE Hip/Sciatica Pain Relief

If you've got hip pain or sciatic pain and want to feel better right now, give these simple exercises a try.

1. Let your knees fall toward each other.

This exercise may sound ridiculously simple, but this was my go-to position whenever my sciatica flared up. After a couple of breaths in this position, you are sure to feel better.

Here's what you need to do in order to get the most benefit from this therapeutic exercise:

  • Lay down on your back in a neutral position. (This means you want to make sure there's a space between your low back and the floor.)
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor wider than your hips. If you're on an exercise mat, you may want to set your feet on the outside edges of your mat.
  • Turn your toes so they point toward each other.
  • Let your knees lower toward each other. In theory, your knees will touch and you will feel a great stretch and opening around your tailbone. If your knees don't touch, scoot your feet so your legs are closer together.
  • Hold and breathe. As you inhale, try to fill the painful spot with air. Then, as you exhale, feel that spot deflate.

2. Get a great stretch with Figure 4 stretch.

modification of pigeon pose, figure 4 stretch

The Figure 4 stretch, which is also a modification of Pigeon pose, is another great way to stretch tight hips and relieve pain.

Although I've got my foot lifted in the picture, you can choose whether you want to

  • keep your foot on the ground,
  • place your foot on a yoga block or thick book, or
  • hold the back of your thigh with your hands.

It's up to you. Just make sure to choose what's best for you and your body right now.

Now that you know about your leg lifting options, here's how to come into the Figure 4 stretch:

  • Lay down on your back in a neutral position. (This means you want to make sure there's a space between your low back and the floor.)
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor in line with your SITs bones. (These are the two bones you can feel near your tailbone when you take a seat on a hard surface.) Your feet should be about a fist's distance apart.
  • Cross your right ankle just past your left thigh.
  • Feel yourself rotate your right leg open from your hip. Notice how when you do this, your right knee moves farther away from you.
  • Double-check to make sure your low back stayed in neutral and is still lifted away from the floor.
  • Now, it's your choice about whether you want to intensify this stretch. If you do, lift your leg or set your left foot on an object. If you feel a great stretch where you're at, stay here.
  • Hold and breathe.
  • When you feel like the muscles have relaxed, come out of this stretch and do the other side.

Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah.
I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains.

3. Find relief with the Yoga hamstring stretch.

yoga hamstring stretch

Although this might look similar to the hamstring stretch you did in gym class, I can guarantee you this stretch is way more effective.

In order to get the best pain relief from this stretch, make sure to read these directions carefully. I know this looks familiar, but don't presume you know what you're about to do.

  • Lay down on your back in a neutral position. (This means you want to make sure there's a space between your low back and the floor.)
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor in line with your SITs bones. (These are the two bones you can feel near your tailbone when you take a seat on a hard surface.) Your feet should be about a fist's distance apart.
  • Hug your belly button toward your spine.
  • Lift your right leg, and reach the sole of your foot toward the ceiling.
  • Slide your left leg straight on the floor.  Keep reaching through your left leg to keep your leg muscles active.
  • Lace your fingers behind your right thigh. Make sure your hands are closer to your crotch than your knee.
  • Press the back of your right thigh into your hands, and press your hands into the back of your thigh.
  • This even energy exchange should make your hips feel like they can rotate back to neutral.
  • Hold here and breathe.
  • When you're ready, place your feet on the floor and do the other side.

4. Stretch and strengthen important hip muscles with Crescent lunge.

Anjaneyasana, Crescent lunge

Crescent lunge is a 1, 2, punch for your hip pain. First, you get awesome strengthening and stabilizing work for the hip of your front leg. Then, you get a great stretch in the front of the hip of your back leg.

The very best part, though, is that with one hip's muscles strengthening while the other set stretches, you can make a maximal impact on your body in a very short period of time.

What does this mean? Maximal and lasting pain relief!

Here's what you need to do in order to get the most relief from this popular yoga pose.

  • Begin standing with your feet about a fist's-width apart.
  • Put your hands on your hips.
  • Bend your knees, and reach your right leg back. Stay lifted onto the ball of your right foot. (Don't let your heel lower down.)
  • Make sure your hips are straight up and down and not angled forward. (Sometimes, when we reach a leg behind us, we tend to bend at the waist and tilt our hips.)
  • Hug your belly button toward your spine.
  • Reach your arms straight toward the ceiling. Make sure the palms of your hands face each other.
  • Hold and breathe for five (or more) breaths.
  • When you're finished, step your back foot up to the front and do the other side.

5. Rotate your pelvis in Downward facing dog.

downward facing dog to relieve midback pain

All-day long, your body is fighting gravity. By the end of the day, you might feel like your body is being crumpled.

To help relieve pain and tension, you want to get into a position that allows the pull to reverse. This happens when you have your head lower than your hips.

This awesome pose is the perfect way to naturally traction your spine and relieve pain quickly. Here's what you need to know to get the most benefit from this pose:

  • Begin in an upsidedown V position. It doesn't particularly matter if your feet are close together or hip-width apart, but it does matter where your hands are. You want to make sure your hands are at least shoulder-width apart.
  • Press the floor away with your arms and notice the eyes of your elbows rotate forward.
  • Rotate your pelvis so it feels like you're sticking your butt out to the top of the wall behind you. If you feel like you need to bend your knees in order to do this, go ahead. This feeling of sticking your butt out is probably the #1 most important thing to do when you're in this pose.
  • Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  • Hold and breathe.

What Muscles Could Cause Hip/Sciatica Pain?

When you're trying to figure out what is causing your hip or sciatica pain, make sure to check out these muscles:

You can do this. I believe in you.

This list can seem overwhelming at first, but try to really focus on where you feel your pain. By pinpointing a specific painful spot, you can get a good idea of a starting point.

For example, if you have sciatica or think you have sciatic-type pain, start by investigating your piriformis. The piriformis and iliopsoas are normally partners in crime, so it's a good idea to investigate both.

If you don't have sciatic pain per se, think about where you have hip pain. For example, a painful spot right on the outside of your hip could be gluteus medius, gluteus minimis, or the tensor fasciae latae and iliotibial band.

If you've got pain on the front part of your body, check out your iliopsoas, sartorius, and rectus femoris.

Pain on the back of your leg could be from your hamstrings or gluteus maximus, and pain right in the middle of your bottom could be from your gluteus maximus or piriformis and the deep lateral rotators.

When you become a member of the Custom Pilates and Yoga community, you’ll learn simple, strengthening exercises to help you enjoy your favorite activities with less pain and more energy.

Call Your Doctor When...

Although these exercises will help you relieve pain if you have tight or weak muscles, they won't do a bit of good if you have skeletal issues or torn muscles or tendons.

You should absolutely contact your doctor if:

  • your pain increases when you do these exercises.
  • you don't notice decreased pain after two weeks.
  • you notice numbness or tingling.

It's okay to want to try to relieve your pain yourself, but it's also okay to get your doctor's help.

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