Stop Sciatica Pain with Pilates

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Alisa demonstrates the most effective Pilates mat exercises for stopping sciatica pain and keeping it away for good. You’ll begin this quick session with a stretch that is likely to stop your pain immediately. Alisa then leads you through a series of key exercises that you can memorize and practice on your own to bring long lasting relief and prevent future flare ups.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Chris
    Chris 1 year ago

    Hi Alisa – Thanks for the sciatic nerve focus. Having a client who had a hip replacement about a year ago, I try to be cautious. She is having sciatic nerve problems, is extremely tight in her hips and legs. Beginner reformer and a few mat exercises have been great for strengthening her core. What precautions should I use doing these exercises with her would you recommend please? Thanks.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Chris, For a hip replacement it depends on what movements her doctor says are ok for her. There are 2 types (in my basic knowledge) of hip replacements–pne type goes through the back of the hip and one through the front. From what I’ve learned from people who have had one or the other, the posterior approach usually has some contraindications in movement while the anterior approach has none. If she’s had the posterior approach, she should avoid crossing the leg over the center of the body too far during exercises like leg circles as well as avoiding things like deep splits. Everything in this video should be fine for her, just don’t force anything and keep in mind that your best bet with questions like this is to talk to the doctor or PT.

  2. Crystal 2 years ago

    The first time I tried this class, I couldn’t thread my hands through and grab my thigh at all (although I was still able to get enough stretch to loosen up my hip). Over time, I was able to reach my thigh by raising my head and shoulders. Last night, I was able to grasp and stretch the thigh with my back flat on the floor and relaxed, really opening up the other hip. I experience moments like this more and more the longer I continue to do Pilates; it’s continually astonishing to me how much Pilates has changed my body. Even the most basic exercises can still challenging for me, but they get a little more accessible every day. Thanks for that!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Crystal I loved reading your comment this morning. It means so much to know that this video and Pilates in general has given you so much relief and now pleasure in your body. Keep it up, it only gets better the more you listen in and discover what your body is asking for.

  3. Brizzo 2 years ago

    This has become my “must do before I start the day” class. My back and left hip are always aching when I wake and these exercises, specifically, make that pain subside. It feels like it calms my body down and my back and hip relax. I now pause the video and do three or four sets of most of exercises to get stronger and just be able to do it longer. Thank you for this wonderful class!,

  4. LindyLou 3 years ago

    Dear Alisa, this work out or should I say ”pain out” really works. I have no doubt the entire routine assisted in removing my pain but the stretch where you sit back on your heels and then gently reach your hands and arms diagonally to one side felt amazing. I could actually feel my back let go and relax into Bliss Land. Your explanation of what was happening to the body during each move made so much sense and helped me appreciate how each stretch was benefiting my body. Needless to say this routine has now become a weekly must do. Thank you for giving me a powerful, simple and life improving work out.

    Much love,

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      LindyLou I couldn’t be happier to receive this note, hearing that your back goes from painful to Bliss Land is beyond rewarding as a teacher! Thank you and I hope we can bring you more of that feeling. xo, Alisa

  5. rosiemathisen 5 years ago

    This workout has helped me so much over the last couple of weeks when my back, hip and knee went into excruciating spasm. Your bent leg stretch was my saviour for the first 48 hours and I have been doing the whole workout every day. Thanks a bundle. And yes, not just for sciatica pain!!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      rosiemathisen, I can’t tell you how happy your note made me this morning! Sending you wishes for continued relief!!

  6. Cecilia Borders 5 years ago

    I love this workout, Alisa! Many clients need this more dynamic set of exercises for their sciatica. Clients who are not in the middle of bad inflammation of their sciatica will love these to keep the sciatica away and prevent it from returning. Thanks so much!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      You’re welcome Cecilia! You can also give those clients the Ladder Barrel Leg Stretches. Those are brilliant for sciatica too :).

  7. choi
    choi 5 years ago


  8. Ynowak 7 years ago

    I don’t have sciatic issues, but the class felt really good! Your cues are excellent.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      That’s great to hear! These movements are where I start with clients who are having sciatica but I use the same ones for when my back is feeling funky too. Sounds like I should do another one of these and name it something more general :).

      • joesmat 7 years ago

        That is a wonderful idea Alisa! Yes, please do another video soon on back pain. Maybe you could include stretches that target the IT Band, Gluteals, Psoas and Hamstrings to mention a few, as they too are frequently named as possible causes of back pain even with people who keep fit.
        It’s all in the detail as I see it and you did that very effectively.

        • joesmat 7 years ago

          Excuse me, I forgot to also include targeting the Si joint which is very frequently involved and not easily dealt with.
          Thank you so much.

  9. joesmat 7 years ago

    Alisa, it is immediately apparent that you are very familiar with the exercises you intimated really target the sciatica problem. Thank you for demonstrating and articulating the stretches so very clearly.
    The first exercise – the standing stretch with the bent knee and foot across the standing leg above the knee, and pushing the buttock back and maintaining a straight back is really a very”active stretch”. I have done it many times, but, never knew it helped with sciatica. Thank you for sharing that.
    I too, like the active stretch aspect of the exercises commonly referred to as the Piriformis stretch. Sliding the bent leg back and forth across the opposite leg really hits the tight spots in the gluteals and hip musculature.
    These are little “gems” and thank you very much.

  10. pilatesangel 7 years ago

    I am sure you have had this series planned for a while but I am going to pretend you did that for your new friend 🙂 Thanks Alisa! I am still dealing with the sciatic issues but every additional stretch I can learn always helps!!

    • pilatesangel 7 years ago

      As a question on the matter, I have not discontinued my Pilates or Yoga practice but flexion of my spine in several exercises is extremely painful and many days I still cannot straighten my affected leg. I like the strap to assist so perhaps I keep using a strap until the inflammation lessens…

      • Alisa Wyatt Author

        Sweet Angel! Thinking more about your little body from our 1 hour together makes me suspect that you have had too much of a good thing somewhere along the line and that perhaps your SI joint is both de-stabilized with some overly flexible ligaments as well as overstressed from tension in your glutes and quads. First course of action: avoid the movements that bother your back until the inflammation stops! I know it feels okay when you’re doing it but if you know it makes you hurt later, just leave it out. Second, explore movements that elongate and lift you up out of your hips–for example, simple reaching up with your arms and allowing your torso to lift with the arms. Gentle side kicks could be helpful for you too, particularly ones that take your leg behind you to open the front body and relax the hips. Finally, I know this has been going on for some time and I encourage you to seek help from someone you trust whether that’s your doctor, an acupuncturist or any other modality that you know makes you feel relaxed and in control. It’s so important in our livelihoods to be taken care of as much as we take care of others. I hope this long answer isn’t too much information–you have been on my mind. Please feel free to write to me directly if you’re not feeling progress I would love to help.

        • pilatesangel 7 years ago

          Ah so thoughtful, that’s why I love you Alisa! I will take your suggestions to heart and I may touch base with you directly with further questions! You are right in the fact that we forget sometimes to take care of ourselves! Great point! Thanks!!! xxoo

          • Alisa Wyatt Author
            Alisa Wyatt 7 years ago

            Please do Angel I would love nothing more than to help you find the fix! Big hugs.

  11. lghammerle

    Hi Alisa, I like the addition of the sliding the knee in/out on the piriformis stretch (first exercise you did on the mat). Like you said, it makes the stretch active rather than static or a hold/release pattern. Thank you for sharing!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      I always find the active stretches are the ones that work to both increase flexibility and build strength. Thanks for watching!!

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