Healthy Hips - What to do for Sciatica

In late October 2015, I had my first (and only, so far) experience with sciatica. The strange pain that would either be in my right glute, back of the thigh, or even just above the back of the knee was alarming, especially since I had a troupe performance and a special Advanced Artistry intensive with Yasmina Ramzy coming up. While I could still function normally, certain movements (like getting up from a chair or out of the car) were very painful. I was amazed that my dancing was minimally affected, other than deep hip circles and dancing with caution. However, I knew dancing without treating it would make it worse, so I immediately started researching solutions. While the problem wasn't resolved before I went to Toronto for the intensive, all of my pain was gone within about six weeks. As of this writing in late February 2016, it hasn't reoccurred.

Sciatica can be caused by various circumstances, depending on your own lifestyle, so please consult a physician for guidance. I am not a health care professional.

Many people develop sciatica due to disc issues or during pregnancy, but I believe I personally developed sciatica because of not stretching the hip muscles enough following dance training and performing (this is very common among dancers, I found out) and from long sessions of driving without sitting properly. Plus, some recent life issues (day job and dance job) were very stressful for me and in general I was not taking the time to alleviate the stress, so my muscles were absorbing it. While I do get a monthly massage and my massage therapist worked on my hip that session, I knew I needed to spend some time researching solutions and putting the ideas into practice.

The sciatic nerve actually fascinated me. If it's under pressure, it can affect muscles all the way from the pelvis to the foot! From what I read, I needed to focus on the piriformis and psoas muscles, as well as the IT band. When these areas are tight, they can I already had "liked" the Core Walking Program on Facebook and found many of the posts helpful as I researched advice for stretching and posture corrections. Therefore many of the links here go to, though I am not affiliated with their program in any way. I recommend reading through the articles I have linked below and testing out what resonates with your individual situation.

Info about the psoas

Great stretch for the IT band

Pigeon pose for the piriformis muscle

Driving tips for sciatica and piriformis syndrome (this was especially helpful for me)

Reflexology for sciatic nerve disfunction

Best treatments for sciatic nerve pain

8 easy yoga poses to relieve sciatica pain in 16 minutes or less

Sciatic nerve pain relieve begs for good posture and core tone

Video of "frog belly" for stretching the piriformis (ended up being one of my favorite stretches)

Video for piriformis release

Video for using a tennis ball to massage for sciatic nerve relief

One last note, don't forget to acknowledge that you need to eliminate or at least alleviate stressful life situations. Getting away from my day job for a week while I focused on dance in Toronto did wonders for my sciatica. I was worried about the 10 hour drive there making it worse, but knowing I had a week to focus on healing while expanding my dance abilities helped me greatly. During the week away, I was able to spend quiet, quality time stretching and attending to the issue. It didn't hurt that I didn't have to drive in stop-and-go traffic for five days, either!