by Veneta Vanicek 

Hi everyone! I’m Netty, one of the chiropractors here at Backworks. It has been a while since we were able to see our patients so I wanted to share a few things about managing sciatica. 

Lower back pain is by far the most common problem we encounter but true sciatica is relatively rare. “Sciatica” is actually a blanket term for a set of symptoms which occur when something is pressing on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and runs all the way down to your toes. The most common cause of compression is a bulging disc in your lower back, however, can also be caused by bony changes, swelling, or injury. When this happens, you may experience symptoms such as strong leg pain, pins and needles, weakness or numbness down into your lower leg or foot. 

Although distressing and upsetting, it is important to remember that this rarely leads to serious problems, and most people recover very well. In addition to putting an ice pack (or frozen peas) on your lower back and staying as active as possible, there are some very simple stretches you can do at home that can help ease off the pain. These are called nerve “flossing” and no, they have nothing to do with that dance!

Imagine a continuous string starting at the back of your head, running through your whole body, and ending at the tips of your toes. This represents your spinal cord and the long nerves that come out of it. “Flossing” this string helps to stretch and mobilise the irritated nerves which are causing your pain. Here are some general guidelines before you start: 

– No rush! Take your time and avoid sudden, jerky movements. 

– Take slow, deep breaths as you go. 

– Try to keep your muscles relaxed (as much as you can). 

You are now ready to start flossing! 

Step 1: Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported. Relax your shoulders. 

Step 2: Slowly straighten your knee (on the side that hurts) – if the pain increases, lower it down a notch, until the pain eases. 

Step 3: Point your foot and toes up and towards you, and tilt your head backwards. Hold this for 5 seconds if comfortable. 

Step 4: Point your foot and toes down, and nod your head forwards. Hold this for 5 seconds if comfortable. 

Step 5: Do 5-10 repetitions, 3 times a day. 

Remember: toes down – head down; toes up – head up.

If you are experiencing any sciatic symptoms I would recommend contacting your chiropractor for further advice. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us on 01702 342329, email us at or message us on Facebook. 


Satishkumar, B., Dibyendunarayan, B. and Ramalingam, T., 2017. Effectiveness of Nerve Flossing Technique in Chronic 

Lumbar Radiculopathy. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy – An International Journal, 11(1), p.44. 

Ellis, R. and Hing, W., 2008. Neural Mobilization: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials with an Analysis of Therapeutic Efficacy. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 16(1), pp.8-22. 2020. Nerve Flossing: What It Is, Purpose, And Exercises. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 April 2020].