Nerve mobilization or “flossing” is an exercise used to tension or stretch peripheral nerves. It can be used for a variety of injuries, however today we will focus on flossing for low back and sciatic pain!

The goal of nerve flossing is to improve nerve function by promoting blood flow and releasing tension on the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as any scar tissue that may have developed.

Many people who suffer lower back pain will also suffer from sciatic pain. The sciatic nerve refers to a nerve that’s roots originate in the lower back, and predominately travels into the buttock, down the back of the thigh, calf and into the foot. The nerve can become effected due to a number of issues such as a lumbar disc bulge or herniation, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) or muscle spasm/tightness in the low back or buttocks.

Recent research has shown that nerve flossing or mobilization for the sciatic nerve and lower back pain has significantly helped improve flexibility, decreased pain and disability, and improve overall functional movements.

To floss your sciatic nerve:

1. Sit in an upright posture with feet flat on the floor.

2. LEVEL 1: Begin by slumping forward, straightening and lifting one leg.

3. LEVEL 2: Slowly point the toes of right foot up towards the rest of your body.

4. LEVEL 3: Finally tuck your chin in towards your chest.

*** This is the where the nerve will experience the most tension or stretch. Although it is normal to feel tension, if you are experiencing high levels of pain you can slowly work up to this position by starting with Level 1 and working your way up to 3 over several weeks!
Once you have found the level you are comfortable with you can simultaneously slowly lower the leg and bring the neck back to neutral upright position. This is one repetition!

5. Reps and sets will vary by person but generally you can start out with 3 sets of 15-20 reps!

*Remember that although this can be a fantastic exercise for lower back and sciatic pain, it’s always important to get checked out by an appropriate musculoskeletal therapist such as a chiropractor or physical therapist to help determine if this exercise is appropriate for you!

Holland Landing Health Centre is located in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in chiropractic treatment please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at


Neto, Tiago, et al. “Effects of lower body quadrant neural mobilization in healthy and low back pain populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Musculoskeletal Science and Practice 27 (2017): 14-22.



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