There’s an adage that goes “How do you know if someone’s got back pain? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you,” and it’s just as true when someone is experiencing the debilitating symptoms of sciatica. It’s hard to think of anything else when you’re feeling a stabbing, throbbing or burning pain through the seat and down the leg when standing, sitting, walking or resting, but for up to 5% of the population, it’s a daily reality. While for most the prognosis is good, a full 30% can still be having problems 2 years later, according to research published in the British Medical Journal. With a surge in interest in non-surgical treatment options, many are turning to practices like Yoga to ease their symptoms. What causes sciatica, and which yoga exercises will be most soothing for sciatica?
Sciatica is Not a Disease
Surprisingly, sciatica is not actually its own diagnosis, but a set of symptoms. In an article published by Harvard Health, common culprits for the symptoms of sciatica include herniated or ruptured discs, narrowing of the space between the bones in the spine, and also piriformis syndrome, where a small muscle in the buttocks grips and compresses the sciatic nerve. Safely moving through an exercise or yoga regimen requires you have an awareness of the source of your pain so that you don’t further irritate it. If your doctor has given you the go-ahead, the following yoga exercises can help relieve sciatica symptoms:
- Reclined Pigeon Pose
Start in a reclined position with the knees bent. Slowly bring the right knee into the chest and hold for up to 30 seconds, softening the muscles through the seat. Cross the right ankle at the left knee to create a figure 4 shape. After flexing the right foot back toward the right knee, use the right hand to press the right knee away from the chest. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the left.
- Cradle Rock
Start seated with legs extended forward. Bring a bend to the right knee and use the left arm to hold the right shin parallel to the floor in front of the chest. Place the right hand about 6-12 inches behind the seat on the right side, and lean back, bringing a bend to the left knee. Gently roll around across the right side seat and sacrum. After 1 minute, repeat on the left.
- Hamstring Stretch
Sit toward the front edge of a sturdy chair with a tall spine and both feet flat on the floor. Extend the right leg forward, resting the heel on the floor, flex the foot so the toes point up. Hold the sides of the seat, and on a breath out, gently fold forward from the hip crease, keeping a flat back as long as possible. Hold for up to 1 minute, repeat on the left.
- Psoas Stretch
To lengthen the deep hip flexors, start in a reclined position with legs extended or knees slightly bent. Stack the palms behind the head, elbows wide. Keep the back and shoulders flat and lean the upper half of the body toward the right side, so the left elbow points back behind the head. Extend the left leg long and press out through the heel. Soften through the midsection and make sure not lift the left hip. Hold for up to 1 minute, repeat on the left.
Sick of Struggling with Sciatica Symptoms?
At HealthStar Clinic, our focus is the help you feel happier and healthier, and our facility provides a team-based approach for the most efficient treatments for your condition. Using the expertise of chiropractors, nurses, and physical therapists, we make sure we can pinpoint the cause of your discomfort and then provide a comprehensive, individualized plan to support your improvement. Please contact us today for an examination and to learn more about the non-surgical treatment options available to you!