If you’ve ever had numbness, pain and weakness starting in your lower back and traveling down the sciatic nerve in your leg, you have probably experienced sciatica – pain usually caused by a compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Common causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal column – spinal disc herniation, and degenerative disc disease, but it can also be caused by nerve entrapment, which happens when a muscle in your buttocks presses against the sciatic nerve(1).
Approximately 5% of the adult population of the United States suffers from sciatica(2). Fortunately for these individuals, there are targeted yoga exercises designed to reduce sciatic pain and provide sciatic nerve pain relief.
Do You Have Sciatica?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing sciatica:
- Pain or discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, calf, or back of the thigh – this is the sciatic nerve pathway.
- Numbness or loss of feeling in one leg.
- Tingling or “pins and needles” sensations in your legs.
- Weakness in your knees, making it difficult to rise from a sitting position.
- Impaired reflexes in your knee and Achilles tendon.
- Inability to fully flex your ankles.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, talk to a doctor about possible treatments for sciatica.
See also: sciatica stretches
Yoga For Sciatica
Before you start practicing yoga for sciatica, consult with your doctor – especially if you are experiencing severe symptoms. While these exercises are designed to help ease sciatic pain, there are cases of individuals with sciatica going into yoga practices unprepared and making their pain worse(3).
Always warm up before going into particularly challenging stretches, and don’t push yourself past what your body can handle.
If your doctor determines that muscle spasms or tightness is the source of your sciatic pain, then these stretches may bring significant relief by helping to relax and loosen up the muscles.
Of course, the best thing about yoga is that it’s free, and relatively easy to perform in the comfort of your own home.
There’s no shortage of instructional videos to help guide you through simple yoga stretches for sciatic pain relief. In one, yoga instructor Jen Hilman walks viewers through a 14 minute yoga session – just enough time to do a few easy beginners poses(4).
According to Yoga International,
“A simple half spinal twist… gives the piriformis a mild stretch that encourages it to release and lengthen, and the intensity can be progressively increased as you approach the full pose.” They recommend caution, however: “Stretching the muscle too aggressively can provoke sciatic pain, so it’s important to proceed carefully, using the following variations and adjusting the pose so that you feel minimal discomfort”(5).
From there, they recommend a number of seated and standing poses with the ultimate goal of gently stretching your hips and leg muscles.
Another resource, the Yoga Journal, has a whole list of poses grouped by their usefulness in treating sciatic pain(6).
Finally, there’s this list of poses from CNN, which include the pigeon pushup – piriformis-stretching pose for the front leg – and the modified pyramid stretch – a combination of hamstring stretching and pelvis resetting(7).
Whichever technique you choose, it’s important to build up your resistance slowly as you develop flexibility and muscles in your hips and legs. But with regular practice, these yoga techniques may just help relieve some of that pesky sciatic pain.
- 650 Patients Struggling to Manage IBS Were Given Peppermint Oil…The Results? Amazing!
Did you know that IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder in the entire world? It’s estimated that between …
- Some Cancers Heavily Dependent on Sugar to Grow, Study Finds
While studying the metabolisms of different types of cancer, researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas discovered that certain …
- Is Your Computer Screen Damaging Your Eyes?
In today’s world many of us spend 10-12 hours of our day in front of glowing computer screens. Computers are …
- Walking 3 Times a Week For 1 Hour Improves Brain Activity and Cognitive Thinking In Dementia Patients
Regular diet and exercise are encouraged for anyone, no matter their age or health. But a recent study found that …
- Thyroid Cancer Screening Unnecessary; Risks Outweigh Benefits
Recent radio ads featuring Rod Stewart are encouraging everyone to get screened for thyroid cancer. However, unless you already have …
- 7 Lifestyle Tips and Tricks for Memory Improvement
Whether or not we want to admit it, our modern lifestyles can actually contribute to cognitive decline more than age. …
- 5 Crucial Activities Your Brain Does While You Sleep
Gone are the days when we thought that our brains go to sleep with our bodies at night. We now …
- Can this Little Green Plant Really Shrink Prostate Tumors by 70%?
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. …
- 5 Health Problems That Cause Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep problem that negatively affects your ability to either fall or stay asleep. It can be …
- 3 Surprising Ways Green Tea Can Help Treat Acne
Green tea has been proven highly beneficial in the treatment of acne, comparable to a 4% benzoyl peroxide treatment without …
- 4 Brain Nutrients Found Only in Meat, Fish and Eggs (NOT Plants)
There’s a lot of talk out there about how going meatless can be healthy. But before you chuck your chuck …
- You Can Grow New Brain Cells, Regardless of Age. Here’s How!
We all know that children’s brains grow and expand as they learn and age. Adults, on the other hand, slowly …
- The Smell of Sleep: How to Use Aromatherapy At Bedtime
Although the idea of using aromatherapy might seem a little off base, research has started to support the concept in …
- This Turmeric Lemonade Is Better At Treating Depression Than Prozac
Turmeric is one of the most potent natural cure-all. Turmeric lemonade will give you a good daily dose of turmeric. …
- 5 Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone
As we’ve discussed before, testosterone is a big-deal hormone for men looking to increase their muscle mass, maintain high levels …