Are you coping with the pain and anguish arising out of injuries to the sciatic nerve? Is the pain (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest) reached its peak?
It is not uncommon for someone suffering from sciatica to look for non-medicinal home remedies to relieve their pain. The prescription drugs do provide interim relief, but who wants to bear the risk of “addiction to pain medication”. I remember someone suffering from sciatica pain describing it as throbbing and gut-wrenching.
Usually, the pain begins from the patient’s lower back or thigh and runs through the leg, settling at the toe. Consequently, the patient is almost afraid to indulge in any physical exercise that their physiotherapist would prescribe. The pain comes and goes–in episodes–but there is no way to predict when it will arrive.
Hence, yoga is the only suitable non-medical treatment option for sciatica relief. Unlike other popular exercise routines; yoga is safe, subtle, easy-to-learn and–most importantly–provides instant relief from the debilitating sciatica pain. In the further sections, I have mentioned the symptoms of this condition and subsequently, have revealed some easy-to-do yoga poses.
How Do I Know If I Have Sciatica?
Before we move to the self-diagnosis of sciatica, it is important to know that sciatica, in itself is not a disease. It is a result of pressure, injury or irritation subjected to the sciatic nerve.
You will also be glad to know that this nerve originates from the base of the spine and bifurcates into two sub-nerves–running through each leg. For self-diagnosis, it’s always good to know a bit about the suspected condition.
The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of sciatica nerve damage. Even if you are already quite sure, it would not hurt to double-check if the symptoms you are exerting lead to sciatica or not.
1) Sharp pain in the rear leg that gets worse on sitting on a chair for longer durations.
2) Throbbing sensation in the entire length of the affected leg. The sensation of this kind of pain is similar to that or a heated needle inserted and pulled out repeatedly from your leg.
3) Constant pain in the buttocks region. Notably, after sitting for a long time.
4) A constant dull pain at one side of the body. This symptom is one of the most irritating as the pain instead of arriving in episodes, persists forever–though the intensity is mild.
The Best Yoga Poses for Sciatica Relief
1) Cobra Pose
Cobra pose or also known as the upward facing dog is a reclining back-bending asana in hatha yoga. It is known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit. This posture is to be performed from a seated position.
Here are the steps involved in cobra pose:
Step 1: Transitioning from a downward-facing dog or beginning from a seated position, lay down on your belly with hands beside your chest (similar to a push-up position).
Step 2: Next, press your arms against the floor and lift your upper body up. The position should appear like a cobra with its hood raised. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Do not forget to breathe.
Step 3: Lower your chest down and get back to the default position. There are only two steps in cobra pose.
Step 4: Repeat the above two steps 10-15 times with 5 seconds break in-between reps.
2) Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-facing dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana is a follow-up exercise to the previously discussed upward-facing dog. You can begin with your workout session with a downward-facing dog pose but it is advised to do it in conjunction with an upwards-facing dog pose.
Here are the steps involved in cobra pose:
Step 1: As you lay on your belly, plant your feet and hands firmly on the surface of the mat.
Step 2: Next, lift the midsection of your body up as if someone is pulling you with your tail. Keeping the hands and feet firmly planted to the ground, stretch the entire body by pushing it upwards.
Step 3: With your body in a downwards-facing dog pose, begin peddling your feet gently. You do not have to bring your knees close to your chest.
Peddling will loosen the muscles in your legs, back and arms. Do it for a minute and then get back to lying on your body or child’s pose (discussed next).
Step 4: Repeat the above steps 10-15 times with 5 seconds break in-between reps.
3) Child’s Pose
Child’s pose, also known as balasana, is another hatha yoga posture that can help alleviate sciatic pain. This one of those postures that require you to put minimal effort into it. Plus, there is no risk of irritating or aggravating the sciatic nerve even further, as the steps involved are straightforward and uncomplicated.
Here are the steps involved in child’s pose or child’s resting pose:
Step 1: Begin by sitting on your heels, hands on your lap and eyes pointed forward. Keep your spine erect.
Step 2: Next, slowly move forward to a table pose. Take a couple of seconds here to stabilize your core.
Step 3: Further, exhale and get back to the seated position except for this time keep your hands folded behind your buttocks and your forehead in contact with the floor.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and continue to breathe deeply throughout while feeling the stretch in your shoulders, hips, chest, abdomen, and legs.
Step 4: Finally, keep in mind that this pose is meant to relax and rejuvenate the muscles in your body. So, do not stick to a particular pose. Feel free to make modifications in this particular pose.
4) Pigeon Pose
There are many variations of the pigeon pose, also known as Kapotasana in Sanskrit. The one I am about to share is the most basic version and also it is easy to perform. Pigeon pose opens your hips and provides relief from sciatic help pain by increasing the circulation of blood in that region.
1) Begin from a tabletop position. Make sure your core is stable and firm.
2) Next, bring your left leg forward and turn it sideways. Make sure your left knee is in alignment with your left ankle. Also, let your right leg rest backward. At this point do not worry about stretching it further.
3) Further, keep your hands forwards. The left leg should be supported by your right hand.
4) Slide your right leg even further and feel a stretch in your right hamstring, left thigh, and hips. Lift your head as if it is being pulled by a string attached to the top of your head. Hold the pose for about 10 seconds.
5) Repeat the same process with your right leg forward this time. 8-10 sets of this exercise performed every day should be enough to relieve the sciatic hip pain.
The symptoms of sciatica are more likely to appear when an individual has either stopped working out for some reason or is living a sedentary lifestyle.
After weeks of performing the above-mentioned yoga stretches, you will notice that the day you do not work out, you will have a slight irritation in your nerves; the feeling will grow as long as you do not stretch your body.
Hence, to stay healthy and pain-free, a person with sciatica needs to perform the above-mentioned yoga postures every day & do Yoga for Sciatica everyday.
Also Read- What is Buti Yoga & What to Expect from It