Yoga – Giving You Sciatica Relief!
Are you dealing with shooting pains or numbness from Sciatica? Sciatica is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. Sciatica is due to compression and inflammation of the spinal nerves. A sharp pain radiates from the lower back to the leg and foot in a pattern determined by the nerve that is affected. It feels like an electric shock and increases with standing or walking. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating.
Yoga can reduce the pain of Sciatica without meds. BELOW are Five of the best Yoga Poses that can help Sciatica and most common Back Pain! When doing Yoga, be sure to listen to your body. If a pose causes shooting pain, don’t do it. Yoga should never hurt. It can at times be challenging, but yoga should never hurt. The goal is to strengthen the area around the nerve without causing pain in the least invasive way possible. Start with some deep ujjayi breathing. Holding our breath tightens the muscles and if we fear pain, we’re even tighter. In order to allow the muscles around the lower back to soften, start by connecting with your breath this will release the fear that’s associated with the sharp pains of sciatica.
Note: Sciatica pain has the potential to get worse. Seek immediate medical attention if you have progressive lower extremity weakness, numbness in the upper thighs, and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Reminder, while doing Yoga relax and let Yoga do it’s job, releasing all the stress and help with your pain.
1. Bridge pose. Sciatica is often caused by tight hip flexors (from sitting too long), which “turn off” the large gluteal muscles. This is a concept called Reciprocal Inhibition, and it’s one factor that starts a cascade of reactions and compensations leading to the final injury pattern. Restore strength to the gluteus Maximus by doing 3 sets of bridge pose lifts, holding for 5 breaths each. Too easy? Alternately lift one foot at a time off the ground while you maintain the lift.
2. Runner’s lunge (dropped knee). Stretch out those pesky hip flexors with this variation of runner’s lunge. Shift your body weight forward, and increase the stretch through the front of your rear thigh by scooping your pelvis under and up (posterior pelvic tilt).Check that your front knee is aligned over your front ankle; if it’s travelled too far forward in order for you to feel that stretch in the rear leg, scoot your rear knee back a few inches and re-do the stretch. Holding a static stretch like this for 30 seconds is long enough to allow for muscle relaxation and restoration of the normal muscle length.
3. Warrior 3. This pose challenges your balance and increases glute strength on the standing leg. When you raise your right leg, your right hip should stay even with your left (don’t allow it to turn up toward the sky!). Spinning your right foot such that your toes point to the floor can help guide you into the correct alignment. Arms can reach forward, or rest your hands on your hips if the full version is causing your form to collapse.
4. Pigeon pose (or Figure 4 stretch). Pigeon pose allows for deep relaxation and stretching of the gluteal muscles, specifically the deep external rotators. NOTE: If you have an entrapment of the sciatic nerve at the piriformis or at one of the lesser recognized external rotators, this stretch may actually aggravate your sciatica, and should be avoided until you’ve visited an Oakland sports chiropractor who specializes in sciatica. Non-surgical treatments such as Active Release Techniques (ART) are performed by specially trained Oakland chiropractors, and can reduce this nerve entrapment. Figure 4 stretch is an alternate version of pigeon that may be performed lying on your back, and which is often less strenuous on the knee joints. With bent knees and soles of feet on mat, cross your right ankle over your left knee. Thread your hands through and grasp the back of your left thigh. Guide that thigh into your chest to deepen the stretch. Dorsiflex both of your ankles to protect your knees!
5. Frog stretch. Frog movements help restore internal rotation to tight hips. The trick to frog pose is to have adequate padding for your knees, so grab a blanket or an extra yoga mat. From an all-fours position, spread your knees as wide as you can, shins and feet in line with your knees. Lean forward onto your forearms, and then shift your weight forward and back and work into any tight spots you find. Go slowly and gently, and only stretch into the range that feels comfortable and safe.