Sciatic Nerve Variations

Sciatic Nerve Flexibility Slump Stretch

Welcome back to Foundation Physical Therapy'sYouTube channel my name is Christian Compean I'm a fellowship trained physical therapistfellowship trained in orthopedics. Today we're going to go over how to differentiate betweentightness in the hamstring or restrictions in the sciatic nerve that can feel like tightnessin the hamstring. So If I'm on a run and I'm feeling like there's some tightnessin the hamstrings or after my run there's some tightness in the hamstrings. First thingto do is to figure out is it really the hamstrings that are feeling tight or is that where myflexibility is limited. So it's a very process. What you do is you come to edge of a chair.Your feet don't have to dangle but a low

chair might make this kind of a little odd.What you do is sit up very tall. Your posture will change dramatically what you're doinghere. If I sit up very tall then I try to straighten this leg out the barrier that I'mgoing to encounter there is going to be more than likely my hamstring. So I feel that nicehamstring stretch its something also that I can do in my chair at work if I'm stuckin a chair all day. I can always sit up tall and I can stretch this hamstring then I canstretch this hamstring. Now if I do that and I say well that doesn't really feel likethe stretch or tightness that I'm getting when I'm on my run, what I can do is I canslouch down and I can drop my chin to my chest.

When I do this, what I've done is I havetensed the nervous system to some extent by flexing the spine. Now if I go to straightenout this leg in this slump position what I feel is very different. It's not this verylocal stretch in the hamstring just behind my thigh. I can feel this down into the calfand even up into my lower back. That's because what this is doing is it's tensing the sciaticnerve. The sciatic nerve gets very much vilified. It's a very important nerve it does a lotof really good things, it just gets in trouble a lot and it can be perceived as hamstringtightness so you stretch the hamstrings stretch the hamstrings and you never get rid of thistightness that you're feeling down the leg.

So flexibility and mobility of the nervesis just as important as flexibility of the muscles it just never really gets talked aboutfrom what we've seen and what's out there kind of in YouTube land. So very simple ifI come down here and this is kind of more of the flexibility that I'm lacking ratherthan the hamstring flexibility like this then what I do is simple. I stay in a slumped positionand I can just swing the leg gently up and gently down. I want to just go up and downuntil I feel that start to loosen up a little bit. Now nerves don't like to be just stretchedand held in one positon. What a nerve should do and what a nerve wants to do is just basicallyslide through the tissue. So there's not

holds here there's nothing aggressive there'snothing pushing its just a good mobility activity to warm me up. It's almost like a dynamicwarm up. Another variation of this is if you get out here and it feels pretty easy thenyou can get to that position and you can also pump the toe up and down and that'll increasethe sliding or the gliding of the nerve and you'll feel a little more of that tension.If it's really tight and you don't want to irritate it then what you would do is pullthe toe up first. You get in your slump position actually first, pull the toe up first andslowly start to straighten it out until I feel the tiniest bit of tension down the backof the leg. Then I would point that toe and

I would turn it off completely then I wouldbring it back up and that would turn it back on. And again I don't want to bring on anydiscomfort. It shouldn't be like a muscular stretch that you push real aggressively intoit should be something comfortable that feels really well. I mean really good. So that'sa real quick way to differentiate between hamstring tightness and actually neural tensionin the sciatic nerve and a quick way to address both anywhere really. Even if you're sittingdown at work or out and about you can have a seat really anywhere and really work onthese things. So hope you enjoyed this. I remind you that movement is a gift so enjoyit.

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