Sciatica: 10+ Harmful Exercises to Avoid (Yoga/ Stretches/ Gym)

One cannot express the pain a person suffering from Sciatica goes through in words. But, If you have Sciatica and looking for ways to find relief and avoid Sciatica flare, then you are in the right place. Here, we will let you know the exercises that make your pain more aggressive and should be avoided. You will also learn how to reduce excruciating pain by doing some common Sciatica pain exercises.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a pain that occurs in the ‘Sciatic Nerve.’ The sciatic Nerve is the longest Nerve that extends from the lower hip/buttocks to the ends of both the legs. If a person is suffering from consistent pain that is felt to be radiating along the path of the Sciatic Nerve, then there is a high probability of the person suffering from Sciatica.

Is Sciatica A Serious Problem?

Sciatica is found to be a common problem among people. It can be cured if treated right and dealt with by taking necessary precautions. We request you to keep reading the article to know the necessary precautions. Remember that, for the right treatment, it is advisable to visit a doctor at the right time.

A Big No For These Exercises:

It is found the most common reason for Sciatica is the problem of a bulging disc. This causes terrible back pain, radiated further to one of the legs, and sometimes becomes more severe. When the pain triggers, most of us make common mistakes of stretching the legs’ muscles or beginning to do any exercise. However, we must know that any wrong exercise makes your pain more intense or even cause some serious damage to the Sciatic Nerve.

Here we have jotted down the list of exercises that one should avoid if suffering from Sciatica:

  • Squats (Sit-Ups): Squats are a famous exercise to make your lower body stronger. But it can trigger pain and damage the lower spine for sciatica patients.
  • Gym Workouts (Leg curls/ Leg Extension/ Leg Press): The exercises include lifting heavy weights using leg muscles. This can create pressure on your lower back, thus causing compression in the muscles and worsening your pain.
  • Bent-over Row: To ease the sciatica pain, it is advised to ignore any vigorous exercise that might create inflammation of nerves. Bent-over rows will cause the flare if not done using the right posture.
  • Abdominal Stretches: Abdominal stretches are another exercise that creates pressure on your backbone. It is recommended you avoid this exercise too.
  • Hamstrings Stretching: Sciatic Nerve might get damaged or affected while doing hamstrings exercises.

  • Weightlifting: Lifting heavy weights should be ignored to avoid lower back pain.
  • Rotating Stretches: When you move your pelvic area by the side of the lower back, this creates pressure on your herniated disc, which might irritate the sciatic Nerve.
  • Running: Running will worsen your symptoms as the exercise will pressure the affected nerves. One should avoid running if not healed completely.
  • Leg Circles: This exercise includes swinging your legs in full circles. It also irritates the sciatic Nerve. It is also a harmful exercise for sciatica sufferers.
  • Hurdlers: The exercise is done by lifting both the legs upside. We know it relieves the lower body, but it causes spinal stress for patients with Sciatica.
  • Cycling: The exercise comes last on the list as it is unnecessary to avoid completely. But cycling for hours might pull your nerves, which will cause inflammation.

Feel Good with These Exercises:

The main reason behind avoiding the above exercises includes causing less pressure on bulged discs and sciatic Nerves. However, some exercises might help soothe your pain and lessen the symptoms of Sciatica. The exercises given below are considered beneficial in Sciatica treatments. These exercises are as follows:

  1. Swimming: Swimming relaxes the body, and the affected nerves are not triggered.
  2. Walking: Walking is a good exercise for everyone. However, it is best to reduce the inflammation caused by Sciatica and is also considered an effective Sciatica exercise. 
  3. Yoga: Few Yoga exercises also ease sciatica pain. One must not do stretches that cause pressure on the lower body and hurt the sciatic Nerve.


It is found that the right exercises and body posture can help one heal from Sciatica. Also, exercises help ease the pain without needing surgery or medication. Healthy eating habits and no stress also bring positive effects on Sciatica patients.

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