Sciatic nerve is the widest and longest nerve in our bodies which starts from the spine in the lower back, goes through the buttocks, ending in the back of each leg. This nerve can sometimes cause uncomfortable pain which can be tough, making standing and even sitting down an agonizing experience. The lower back, the rear of the legs, and the feet can hurt. The aching leg may often feel cold and weak. Other symptoms are: weakness in the lower back or leg, tingling or burning sensation in the legs, rear, and feet, and losing control of bladder and bowel. The pain can be caused by spinal disorder (spondylitis), spinal stenosis degenerative disc disease, damaged or ruptured disc, and other injuries in the lower back. The pain can differ, but if you leave it untreated it may get worse by the time.
How does the pain start?
The pain starts slowly, but at nights it may worsen as well as while laughing, sneezing, or coughing, bending, walking and sitting for a longer period of time. Medications can help, but even doctors recommend doing some exercises and stretching.
The greatest thing for sciatica pain is yoga
There was a study published in 2009 by the Alternative Therapies in Health Medicine where people with moderate to serious back pain alternated between yoga sessions and regular care that included pain-alleviating medications. It turned out that there was a significant reduction in the intensity and frequency of pain after yoga than the regular care with medications.
NOTE: consult your doctor before doing exercises.
Yoga stretches for relieving sciatica pain
- Dandasana (Staff pose) – you need to take your mat and sit with your legs stretch in front, put your hands at your sides while the palms touch the floor; flex the feet forward, pull your back up, and start stretching your spine (lengthen it – to promote blood circulation in painful areas); stay in that position for 15-30 seconds and take deep breaths and making a room for breathing; relax and repeat the same position 5-10 times.
- Shalabhasana (Locust pose) – you will be able to strengthen your lower back and improve the blood circulation in the lower hips. Poor circulation contributes to sciatica pain and if you improve it you will aid in healing and relieving the pain. Lie with your face down and put your arms at the sides (palms outwards) with the toes pointing downward, touching each other and the heels apart; touch the ground with your chin (your pubic area is pushed down and your neck elongated); take a deep breath and at the same time raise your chest, arms and legs, lift the knees off the ground, put the shoulders close and straight up your neck; while in this position exhale and stay like that for 5-8 seconds; stretch your back gently; exhale and inhale, spread your legs apart, exhale and bring them back in while in this position; repeat the exercise 5 times. Bring your body gently to the floor, fold your hands under the forehead and rest with your face down for 1 minute.
- Setu Bandhasana (Supported bridge pose) – lie down on your back, bend your knees, planting your feet on the ground firmly; draw your heels close to the buttocks and place your arms with the palms downward at your sides; exert slight pressure on the floor with your feet and palms for support, inhale deeply and lift your hips off the ground; push your tailbone toward your pubic bone while your neck, shoulders and head staying on the floor and your back elongated with the knees away from each other; stay in this position for 10-15 seconds, exhale and come back down; repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
- Kapotasana (Pigeon pose) – irritation and pressure can cause sciatic pain pushing against the tendons that are located beneath it. Get into a position where you will stand on your palms and knees; bring your right knee forward and place it beneath your wrist where your right foot is in front of your left wrist; place your chin at 45 degree angle; then slide your left leg back, stretching the torso forward; stay like that for 5 seconds, take a deep breath, and stretch your hands in front of you; bring your forehead to the ground in a sleeping position; start taking deep breaths for 15-30 seconds remaining in this position and consciously push your left thigh towards the ground as well as your stomach slightly in for maintaining balance; repeat the same steps with the other leg; the exercise should be repeated 5-10 times, switching the legs.
- Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining big toe pose) – with this area the blood circulation below your torso will be improved. Lie on your back and bend your knees bringing them towards your chest; take an elastic strap, secure it on your foot and start lifting your right leg towards the ceiling; keep your foot open and flexed and start stretching your leg with the buttocks pressing the ground; breathe deeply and sit like that for 10 seconds; lower your right knee towards your chest and place your right one on the ground and now repeat the same procedure with it; alternate between the legs between 5-10 times.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal twisting pose) – the tension and back pain will be relieved with this pose as well as circulation will be promoted. Sit on the mat with your legs stretched and your arms by your sides; bend the right knee with the right foot positioned on the outside of the left thigh, holding the right toe with your left arm; place your right hand behind the back and put the upper body part to the right, taking deep breaths; stay like that for 30-60 seconds and reverse the legs, repeating the exercise.