Sciatica can cause unbearable pain that can make it difficult to move and do basic things. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can treat it without needing to take medications or opt for surgery. One of these options is yoga. Below you’ll discover why yoga is so helpful and some of the best advanced yoga poses to use if you’re suffering from sciatica pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a form of pain that usually develops due to a herniated disc. When this disc slides, it will press on the nerves surrounding your spine, including the sciatic nerve. This pressure can irritate nerves resulting in severe pain.
Because so many nerves are connected around your spine, the pressure can send pain almost anywhere in your body. Most of the time sciatica will shoot throbbing sensations down your legs and around your lower back.
Symptoms of Sciatica
This condition comes with quite a few unpleasant symptoms. Some of these include:
- Pain throughout your back
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle stiffness
- Pins and needles
- Burning sensations
- Foot numbness
Does Yoga Help Sciatica Pain? Is it Safe?
Yoga has been shown to release tension near your sciatic nerve. By doing certain stretches, it can reduce pressure on the nerve and increase oxygen in the muscles around it. This can help to not only relieve sciatica pain, but increase your range of motion.
Some might still be a little skeptical to try it as it might seem like these movements would worsen the pain. The good news is yoga is completely safe to use if you have sciatica. This is because it releases tension near your nerves that might be affected by it. Keep in mind though that you might feel a little strain at first. This is somewhat normal because you’re loosening the tight muscles.
If you’re still concerned about using yoga poses for sciatica, you might try using chiropractic care first. How chiropractic care helps sciatica will vary depending on the chiropractor, but most will do special manipulations to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.
5 Advanced Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Sciatica Pain
If you’re interested in attempting yoga for sciatica pain, you can try these five poses.
This pose stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles. It’s somewhat easy and gentle on your body, but can still remove tension.
To do this stretch you want to first kneel on the floor. Make sure your feet are touching each other but widen your legs so that they match up with your hips.
After doing this, take a deep breath and then move your torso toward your thighs. Stretch your hands on the side of your torso with your palms facing up. You should start to feel a slight pull in your shoulders.
Keep this position for about 30 seconds. While doing it, make sure to slowly inhale and exhale. Once this time is up, slowly lift your body up.
The cobra pose is designed to strengthen your spine. It can relieve lower back pain caused by sciatica because it loosens up tight muscles.
To begin the cobra pose, lie on the floor face down. Stretch your legs out and make sure the bottom of your feet are facing upward. Slowly lift your body up with the palms of your hands while keeping your elbows flat against the side of your chest.
As you start to lift your upper body, take a deep breath. You’ll want to keep lifting your chest as high as it can go. Try to keep your shoulder blades even during this movement.
Hold the cobra pose for about 15 seconds and then slowly move your chest back toward the ground.
The wind-relieving pose is considered to be one of the easiest yoga poses making it perfect for beginners. It not only works to tone your core muscles, but release tension caused by sciatica pain.
You can start the wind-relieving pose by lying with your back on your floor. After doing so, gently lift both your knees up at a 90-degree angle and bring them toward your chest. As you do so, grasp onto them with your hands and pull your chest up toward them. Try to get as close as you can to your knees with your chin and then return to the original position. This pose can be done continuously or by holding the pose for a few seconds.
If you’re just starting out, hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Over time, you’ll be able to hold it longer.
The seated twist is another easy yoga pose to try.
To begin, sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Place your hands on your thighs.
Bend your right knee and then take your right leg and cross it over your left leg. Once your right leg is over your left leg, slightly bend your left leg.
After doing this, put your right arm on the floor and twist your body to the right. As you do so, lift your left hand straight into the air. Slowly bring your left hand down and press its elbow
against your twisted right leg. Hold this position for a few seconds while doing deep breathing. When you’re done, release yourself from this pose and repeat the steps with your other leg.
Reclined Pigeon Pose
The reclined pigeon pose builds up numerous muscles in your chest, shoulders, back, and neck. It also stretches out the piriformis muscle which is often affected by sciatica.
To do this pose, lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees and then lift your right foot off of the ground. Put your right ankle over your left thigh. Keep this position for a few seconds and then repeat with your left foot.
If you’re on the search for a natural way to help heal sciatica pain, yoga might be good to try. By doing these stretches, you’ll find that your pain will substantially diminish. You might even discover that they help you to be more flexible and energetic.
These advanced yoga poses will help ease any pain from your body. These advanced yoga poses are helpful if you are suffering from sciatica pain. Get to learn these advanced yoga poses and keep your body fit. You can easily do these advanced yoga poses at home. Find the time and do these advanced yoga poses every day.
Original article by Dr. Brent Wells. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries.
He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care and massage therapy, and physical therapy in Anchorage and Juneau.
Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.
Additional readings here:
Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core
Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice