We have been battling sciatica for as long as we have been on this planet.
You might think that that was an exaggeration but I am quite serious, after all, imagine in your mind for a moment the stain one puts their body under while running around barefoot - chasing a mammoth with a spear.
More running equals tighter muscles and tighter muscles most often end up causing problems with sciatica.
In 2005, the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine estimated that more than 5 percent of the adult population just in the United States alone suffers from sciatica, and over a lifetime, an individual has a 40 percent probability of experiencing it. But if that sounds just a bit dramatic we have some good news, properly thought out, targeted yoga practice can help relieve most of that pain and even pain from the nearby regions.
The sciatic nerve, also called the ischiadic or ischiadic nerve, is a large nerve, which begins in the lower part of the sacral plexus and runs through the hip joint and down the lower limb. It is the longest and widest single nerve in the human body, going from the top of the leg to the foot on the posterior aspect. The sciatic nerve provides the connection to the nervous system for nearly the whole of the skin of the leg, the muscles of the back of the thigh, and those of the leg and foot.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
Lower back pain
Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
Burning or tingling down the leg
Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
Constant pain on one side of the rear
A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Sciatica can also be caused by a small but significant muscle deep within your hip—the piriformis. In fact, another study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine showed that nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by this muscle.
If the piriformis is tight (and due to exercise and other conditions it often is), it exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve and pushes it against the tendons beneath it, which can cause pain; this is known as the piriformis syndrome.
Stretching your piriformis muscles can literally reduce any pain especially sciatica and lower back pain. It also helps reduce tightness in the back of your legs, buttocks, hamstrings, and perhaps your calf muscles.
Bellow, we have outlined the poses that do the most work toward ending sciatica, reducing pain and feeling great again. They have the best effect if practiced in the same sequence as outlined.
Childs pose or Balasana is an excellent low impact way to stretch the spine and the gentle compression of the stomach and chest can benefit the organs.
Kneel with your back straight and your feet pointed toward each other.
Extend the arms in front of you
Sit back b moving your hips towards your feet, your knees slightly apart and your head relaxing towards the floor
Stay for 1 – 2 minutes
Lizard pose has multiple benefits to it, it is a deep hip and groin opener, stretches the back leg’s hip flexors and quadriceps and will absolutely help with sciatica.
From Child’s Pose, push up on all fours and step your left foot forward into a lunge
Allow your hips to draw forward toward your left foot until you feel an appropriate amount of intensity along the inner top of the right leg.
You can rest your hands or fingertips on the floor or you can place your hands or elbows on the inside of your front leg
Stay in this pose for 3 to 5 minutes then repeat to the other side
In twisted Lizard, one hand pushes the front knee to the side while the chest rotates towards the sky.
A fantastic pose to open the hips, experience strong rotation of the front hip and provide the quadriceps and hip flexors a nice stretch for the side that has the leg back.
From Lizard Pose, walk your left foot to the right and place your shin and knee on the floor in Sleeping Swan Pose.
Bring your left knee over to the left so the left foot rests in line with the center of your body.
Stay in this pose for 3 to 5 minutes.
Half – Shoe Lace
A great hip opener and decompression for the lower spine when folding forward.
Begin by sitting straight with your right leg drawn over your left so that your knees are stacked and your foot is sitting back near your hips while the other is extended.
Keep your hands at your sides.
In order to relieve sciatica without making the situation worse, elevate your sitting bones by sitting on a cushion so that the knees are below them. *Beware of hips rotating backward while seated; we want them to rotate forward.
Stay in the pose for 3 – 5 minutes
Sitting Swan Pose
Place your left ankle over the right knee, bend the right leg and bring the heel in towards your hip
Keep the left foot flexed to support the knee
Stay in the pose for 3 – 5 minutes on each side
Eye of the Needle Pose
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent
Place your right ankle on top of your left knee
Draw your left knee toward your chest, reach your hands around your shin and interlace your fingers.
As you draw your knee towards you, keep your sacrum down and your shoulders and head on the floor.
Hold both sides for 3 – 5 minutes each.
Knee to Chest Pose
This pose is a gentle stretch for the spine and a mild exercise for the hip joints.
Lying on your back draw your right knee to your chest clasping both hands on the knee
For a gentle stretch of the upper spine, you may bring your forehead toward your knee as well.
Lying Spinal Twist Pose
This pose relaxes tension in the muscles and meridians. It is an excellent pose to end your practice with since it helps relieve any and all kinks and strains. Bringing the knee close to the chest will relieve sciatica.
To do the spinal twist first lie on your back and bring both knees up toward the chest, feet off the floor.
Cross the left leg over the right
Then twist both legs to the right
You may want to lay your right hand over the knees to hold them closer to the floor and you can also turn your head and reach with your left arm to bring the left shoulder closer to the floor and make the twist more complete.
Hold the pose for a minute or so and then change.
Bring both knees into your chest and interlace your fingers around your shins
Keep your sacrum, shoulders and chin down.
To finish lie down flat on your mat or carpet, arms by your side, palms facing upward and relax your whole body.
We truly hope that whether you are an athlete, a runner, a martial artist or someone who works in their garden a lot, you will find this information beneficial and implement these practices into your lifestyle.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions using the email email@example.com
We would be delighted to help anyway we can.