Hey friends! SUFFERING FROM SCIATICA? YOU’RE NOT ALONE. In our planet, “Low back pain and sciatica are the second biggest cause for the leave from work—just behind the common cold,” says Fishman. Sciatica has an astonishingly negative impact on our daily life. Good news is that there exist yoga poses to cure sciatica pain!
I hope you’ve read the first part of this series “Back Pain Yoga Cure, The Series on Yoga for Super Healthy Back@2019”. This part addresses the most common types of back pains, their prevention, and cure. Please take some time to check – HERE.
How Severe the Sciatica Pain Could Be
It was five years back when I came in contact with dreaded Sciatica. No, it didn’t attack me! There was someone who was almost howling from the pain. The place was the physiotherapy center of my workplace. It is a hub of technology, offering an array of degree and diploma courses in Engineering. A place where I spend a major part of my life.
This physiotherapy center, I believe, was the oldest but the most resourceful and sought-after in the city. Ok…I drifted from the topic.
So, here I had my first introduction with sciatica pain. (And I had to visit the center because of my spondylitis…well, another story…if interested, find here).
She must be in her late fifty. I heard her voice- a cold, hissing cry. Perhaps stung by bees or worse…a scorpion. The conclusion came from my spinning head as the body surrendered on a traction bench. I was already in fear with own “worsening neck-pain and vertigo”.
So as soon as, the physiotherapist, came in my range I quickly inquired. This is how I learned about sciatica pain. He told me that her …nerves are pinched by…! Just a part I could understand what he said. But I could correlate with my own spondylitis where my …nerve was pinched by…
She was taken to the room where the therapist helps the patients with various stretches and yoga poses. In the meantime, I almost slept on the traction bench.
After a while when I woke up, the center was filled with a calmness, which often pervades after a storm. I saw her sitting on a chair, a bit tired but relaxed. She was 95% out of pain now.
Yoga Poses for Maximum Benefits in Sciatic Pain
Next day I decided to be present when she was through her “physiotherapy-session”. Efforts of physiotherapist were worth appreciating. His job is really a tough one. Just imagine- with each visiting patient, he is doing various yoga stretches and movements. After each session, he can be seen sweating profoundly.
Most of the movements and stretches were involving hip flexure. That says hip opener yoga poses viz. Pigeon Pose, Bridge Pose, Half Fish Pose will be the most blessing for a sciatic patient.
By this time you must have understood that-“I am neither a doctor nor a nurse” (Disclosure). Whatever I share here, is from my own life experiences.
I didn’t read human anatomy though. I was rather more interested in the anatomy of an electron. But, the circumstances taught me what teachers and professors couldn’t.
Human Anatomy- Bitter Facts
Human anatomy is the most complicated one. Not in terms of understanding, but from its own structure. Creator had to really work hard in creating a human body which comprises a brain superior to other species on the planet!
In order to maintain Homosapiens’ ( Scientific term for humans) sanity, God provided him with numerous nerves, censors, muscles, bones which when used sparingly, started crossing, disturbing, and pinching each other.
Have you ever heard any dog, horse, camel, elephant… having spondylitis or sciatica? Some animals are too bulky to do their Pilates, Stretches, and Yoga. Why on the earth, none of their nerves is pinched by some other muscle or bones! I am going to ask my “vet-sister”.
Certainly, almighty knows and understands woos of those unspoken creatures. They can’t see a doctor and tell about their ailment when in their natural habitat. My goodness, again changing my course.
Got it! It’s happening to me. It can happen to anyone. Drifting from its course or place may occur. The sciatic nerve is not an exception. Which causes Sciatica Pain.
What Is Sciatica- The sciatic nerve @longest in your body!
There are two sciatic nerves—one for each leg. These are the longest nerves in the human body. Each originates from several nerve roots that exit from the spinal cord, then thread through apertures in your sacrum and merge to form the main body of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve passes between layers of the deep buttock muscles (gluteus medius and gluteus maximus), through the deep muscles of the back of the thigh, and down through the outer edge of your leg to your foot.
Same are also, responsible for controlling muscular movements in the thigh and leg. Which is also sending, sensory input to your brain. Oh poor! One nerve and so many responsibilities.
Naturally, when this gets irritated and inflamed, results in sciatica pain.
Sciatica-Major cause of back pain
Sciatica is a major cause of low back pain and leg pain. There are two possible reasons for the condition-
- Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a *herniated disc. In case you are experiencing pain in your mid-lower back, painful electric shocks down your sciatic nerve, and/or tingling, burning, weakness, or numbness in your legs or feet. These can be signs that an acute herniated disk is pinching the nerve, which is a bigger problem than sciatic pain alone.
*Herniated Disk- This condition occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing.
Some herniated discs cause no symptoms. Others can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.
- Sciatica can also be caused by a small but significant muscle deep within your hip—the piriformis. In fact, another 2005 study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine showed that nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by this muscle.
The piriformis is one of a few small deep hip rotators that is used in thigh-rotation and extension. The sciatic nerve is sandwiched between the piriformis and the small hard tendons that lie against the bone of the sacrum- a triangle-shaped bone between your two hipbones in the pelvis.
A tight piriformis exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve and pushes it against the tendons beneath it, causing terrible pain.
And this complicated anatomy causes the piriformis syndrome.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
- Hip pain
- 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 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.
Yoga Poses to Soothe Sciatica Pain
1. Dandasana- The Staff Pose
Seated Staff Pose may appear simple, but it’s an intense strength-builder for the upper back, chest, and abdomen. This pose is also the foundational posture for other seated poses. By providing the structural basis for all seated poses, it is essentially the seated version of Mountain Pose (Tadasana), which is the base of all kind of standing poses.
How to Do
- Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso.
- To check alignment, sit with your back against a wall.
- Sit towards the front of the sitting bones, and adjust the pubis and tailbone equidistant from the floor.
- Stay there for 5 breaths.
2. Rajkapotasana- Pigeon Pose
Also known as advanced piriformis stretch.
The pigeon pose elongates the back, opens the hips, groin, hamstrings, and relieves pressure on the lower back and sciatic nerve. Open hips are crucial for the proper functioning of our body. Which further help to improve posture, alignment, and overall flexibility.
In order to release the negative feelings from the system, we need “hips opener poses” like the pigeon pose. Since stress, tension and anxiety are often stored in this area of the body.
How to Do
- For Pigeon Pose, start from all fours (on hands and knees).
- Bring your right knee forward and place it more or less behind your right wrist.
- Now slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes.
- Draw your legs in towards each other to help keep your hips square.
- Switch legs and maintain breathing.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana- Half Fish Pose
Twisting poses are the best when it comes to benefits these offers. Twists increase flexibility in your spine, calm the mind, relax the nervous system, improve digestion, and cleanse the internal organs.
Half Lord of the Fish pose is a popular seated twist to energize the spine and stimulate the digestive fire.
How to Do
- Sit erect with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Ensure your feet placed together and spine absolutely erect.
- Now, bend your left leg such that the heel lies next to the right hip.
- Now, place the right leg next to the left knee by cross over the knee.
- Start twisting from your waist, neck, and shoulders towards the right, and set your gaze over your right shoulder.
- You have the option to place your arms in various positions to increase or decrease the stretch.
- Now simply place the right hand behind you, and the left hand on the right knee to deepen into the stretch.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds, as you breathe slowly, yet deeply.
- Exhale and release the right hand, and then the waist, chest, and finally the neck. Relax as you sit straight.
- Switch on the other side, and repeat the steps.
4. Salabhasana- Locust Pose
Salabhasana strengthens and increases flexibility throughout the entire back of the body, including the spine, legs, buttocks, and all of the muscles surrounding your ribs and upper torso. Locust Pose is the best yoga pose to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the chest.
By lifting the front of your torso, you deeply stretch the front upper torso. This helps to open the lungs improving their breathing capacity. The same movement further improves posture and helps relieve stress and fatigue caused by drooping forward.
Also, lying on your belly exerts pressure that positively stimulates your internal organs. This helps to improve the digestive system.
How to Do
- Lie on your belly with your legs straight.
- Place your arms at your sides with palms up, your chin gently resting on the floor. Without lifting your legs or head, begin stretching forward through the top of your head and back via your toes.
- As your body lengthens, the major back muscles, including your erector spinae muscles ( Three parallel running muscles groups) are activated. Thus creating a stable base of support. Slowly lift your head, shoulders, and legs (together) off the ground.
- Keep breathing while feeling elongation and elevation in your back and stomach area.
- Now lower your head, shoulders, and legs to the floor simultaneously in order to exit the pose.
5. Bhujangasana- Cobra Pose
Cobra pose, or Bhujangasana, is a backbend that stretches the muscles in the front of the torso, the arms, and the shoulders. It is an excellent pose for increasing the flexibility of the spine, as well as reducing back pain.
How to Do
- Lie face down on your mat. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and palms down to either side of you.
- Keep all ten of your fingers and all ten of your toes are pressing into the floor. Your toes should never be tucked under you.
- Also keep your elbows close to your body, pointing behind you instead of out to the sides.
- Pull your shoulders slightly back — down and away from your ears.
- Engage your abs by drawing your belly button toward your spine.
- Keeping your hands, your hips, and the tops of your feet firmly planted on the floor, begin to lift your upper torso.
- Tilt your chin upward and lift your chest toward the ceiling, open your heart to the sky.
- Remember: you can use your hands for support, but don’t put too much pressure in them yet. Try to let your back and abs do most of the work to lift you. Also don’t crave for deeper expression initially. Cobra formation takes time.
- If it feels uncomfortable to tilt your chin up, try keeping your neck straight and gazing at the floor. Leave your head relaxed and comfortable.
6. Ankles Over Knees Stretch
This pose helps to rotate your hip and stretch the piriformis. Sustained practice of this pose lengthens your piriformis and increases overall flexibility and strength.
How to Do
- Lie down on the floor.
- Bend your right leg at the knee.
- Place the right foot on the thigh of your left leg.
- Pull the thigh of the left leg towards your torso so that it is raised off the ground.
- Hold the stretch for five seconds and then release. Repeat this stretch three times on both legs.
7. Lying spinal twists
When you perform spinal twists lying on your back, you shed all the tension from your waist and hips area. After doing all seating and standing postures you must seal your practice with this pose, just before Savasana.
How to Do
- Bend your hip and knee at 90-degrees angles and try to touch the floor.
- Doing this will help stretch your piriformis by internally rotating your hip.
- Bend your hip and knee so that they are both forming 90-degree angles.
- Try to touch the bent knee to the floor on the other side of your body.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
- Do this stretch three times on both legs.
Seal Your Practice with Savasana. You can download everything about savasana and other important yoga poses in “Back pain yoga cure the series”.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’re in pain (…because of sciatica), remember this is curable. It may happen to anyone. Try to keep changing your position on the office chair (do some Office Yoga) or your driving seat…
Yoga poses recommended above are the best when it comes to relieving your badaas nerve sciatica- the culprit of causing you discomfort! But only after consulting your doctor.
And, I did ask my “vet-sister” about animals having diseases like sciatica, spondylitis. Guess what! “Animals don’t suffer from these kinds of diseases, including BP, because these are trigerred via our most badaas brain” she replied.
Hmm, stop using (misusing!!) your brain to stay fit. That said- Don’t let the stress creep in your life. Learn how you can manage your stress most effectively! Also rest well and never procrastinate! This is how you can maintain your wellness.
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Wait for the next series which is on FIBROMYALGIA.