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Active Straight Leg Raises

Active Straight Leg Raises

This is my favorite 'go to' exercise for the dreaded 'Sciatica' condition in my clinic. Patients with the following conditions have a tendency to have decreased ability to raises their leg without pain:

  • Sciatica
  • Lower back pain
  • Herniated lumbar spine discs
  • Pinched Nerves
  • Lumbar ridiculopathy
  • and more

When there is decreased stability in the pelvis, there will be excessive and destructive movement in the area. This adds a great deal of stress to the areas and opens the door to disc problems, pinched nerves and other injuries. To deal with this I like starting off my patients with this exercise:


  • Squeeze both hands into the ground before initiating leg movement
  • Press the opposite leg into the floor at all times throughout the movement.
  • Don't be surprised if the leg flexibility isn't as good as it normally is: since you locked your pelvis into place on the floor the hip flexibility will look less
  • Don't let yourself hold your breathe

Perform 5-10 repetitions, 2-3 times per day to increase your pelvic stability and reduce stress on the lower back and sciatic nerve. To find out if this exercise is right for you, you need to be evaluated for an 'Exercise Prescription'.

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