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Intense pain in the lower back, sometimes with pain in the buttocks and on the outside of the leg denotes pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the foot. Often accompanied or preceded by lumbago and may be the first warning of disc problems. This pain is caused by lifting badly or bending awkwardly and often appears after childbirth.
An exercise which can help gently stretch and strengthen the sciatic nerve follows: Lie on the back with one knee placed over the other and pull the knees gently toward you, using your hands. You will feel the stretch in your buttock. Change knees around to stretch the other side.