The sciatic nerve is the longest and the widest one in the human body. It stretches from the spine in the lower back, through the buttock, and finishes down in the back side of the leg. Sciatica pain is one of the worst one can experience, as it is imply unbearable and agonizing. Namely, you cannot sit down, and you cannot stand as well.
The most common symptoms of sciatic pain include pain on a side of the lower back, which stretches to the leg, and at times, even to the feet.
At times the pain may be felt in a single leg area, while the other body parts remain numb. Sometimes, the affected leg may be felt weak and cold.
Therefore, sciatica pain may also be manifested by symptoms such as numb thighs, weakness in the lower back or leg, tingling or burning sensation in the feet, legs, or rear, as well as loss of control of bowel and bladder or bowel.
However, the sciatic nerve may be irritated by other conditions, including some type of back injury, damaged or ruptured disc, spinal disorder like spondylitis, or spinal stenosis degenerative disc diseases.
Yet, one thing is for sure, you should not ignore these symptoms, as if left untreated, the situation will just get worse.
Often, the pain occurs slowly, but can be worsen during the night, or while walking or standing loner, while bending forward or backward, while sitting, coughing, sneezing or laughing.
Even though the common conventional therapies include special medications, almost all experts advise regular exercising, as well as stretching, as a way to relieve the symptoms.
Hence, yoga is the perfect discipline for this king of issues. A study published in 2009 by The Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine compared two groups of participants.
Researchers found that patients with moderate to serious back pain who alternated between regular care ( pain-soothing medications) and yoga sessions, reduced the frequency and intensity of pain significantly more that patients who relied on regular care only. However, note that you should always consult your doctor before you start practicing yoga to address this issue.
The following yoga exercises are the most efficient in reducing sciatic pain:
Dandasana – Staff Pose
This is the basic exercise, which should be done at the start. Sciatica pain may often result from poor blood circulation, as the pressure accumulates. Therefore, if you succeed to improve the blood circulation, you will effectively soothe sciatic pain.
This exercise will stimulate blood circulation in the affected areas, release the sciatic nerve, flex your lower back, and stretch your legs.
- Sit on the mat, outstretch your legs in front of you, and touch the floor with the palms on both sides.
- While stretching it, flex the feet forward.
- Pull the back up, and lengthen, stretch your spine.
- Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds while breathing deeply.
- In the end, relax. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
This exercise is remarkable in the case of sciatic pain, and it will also target the major buttock.
- While lying down, bent the knees and hold the feet on the ground.
- While keeping the arms at the sides, with the palms downwards, draw in the heels close to the buttocks.
- Apply pressure on the ground with the feet. Use the palms to support your body, deeply inhale and raise the hips off the ground. Push the tailbone up toward the pubic bone. Keep the knees away from each other, stretch the lower back, and keep the head, neck and shoulders on the ground.
- Hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds, breathe out and come back down.
- This exercise should be done 5 to 10 times.
Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
The Locust pose will stimulate the circulation of blood to the lower hips, and will strengthen the lower back.
- Lie on the mat with the face down, put the arms behind your body and hold the palms outwards. Hold the toes touching each other, pointing downward, but the heels should remain be apart.
- Touch the ground with the chin, lengthen the neck and push down the pubic bone.
- Deeply inhale and raise the chest, arms and legs. Keep the neck straight, put your shoulders close together and raise the knees off the ground. Now, breathe out and hold thus for 5 to 8 seconds. The back should be gently stretched.
- Now, again breathe in and spread the legs apart. Breathe out and bring the legs in again. Repeat this exercise five times.
- If you want to modify the traditional Locust pose in order to obtain better results, you should bring the body back down to the floor, keep the hands folded under the forehead and with the face down, rest for about a minute. Repeat this 5- 10 times.
Spinal Twisting Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This pose also improves the circulation and reduces the tension and pain in the back.
- While sitting on the mat, place both hands by the sides, and stretch your legs.
- Now bend the knee of the right leg, place it outside of the left thigh and keep the right toe with the left hand.
- With the right hand behind the back, push the upper body toward right, while deeply inhaling.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
Often, something may pressure or irritate the sciatic nerve, or push it against the tendons beneath it, and it may cause sciatic pain.
- Raise your body in order to support on the knees and palms.
- Push the right knee forward so it is placed behind the right wrist, and the right foot should be in front of the left wrist. Keep the chin at a 45-degree angle at this point.
- Stretch the body forward while sliding the left leg backwards.
- Stand thus for 5 seconds, breathe in, and stretch the hands forward, in order to bring the forehead to the ground in a position for sleeping.
- Deeply inhale and hold in this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Push the left thigh toward the floor and push the belly slightly in order to maintain balance.
- Raise the head up, pull the hands back, tuck the left toes in and pull the right leg back.
- Repeat the same with the left leg.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times, with both legs.