Sciatica is tenderness or pain that can afflict a person anywhere along the sciatic nerve, which provides a connection to the nervous system throughout the lower half of the body. A pain that has been plaguing humans for thousands of years has remained somewhat a mystery to treat this ailment properly. Typically, this annoyance develops on one side of the body, despite there being two sciatic nerves, one for each leg.
Each nerve begins in the nerve roots that leave the spinal cord, then follows down through the sacrum and passes through layers of the muscles that reside in your buttocks. Imagine if you bend over to touch your toes, you will feel the activation of the nerve at this moment. It then continues down through the muscles of the back of the leg, all the way to your feet.
Signs You May Have Sciatica
There are a few key sensations you may feel if you suffer from sciatica; these may include the following:
- Pain along the sciatic pathway, which may include: the lower back, the back of the leg, or within the buttock
- A pinching feeling within the same regions
- A tingling sensation, (paresthesia) or even loss of feeling in your legs and/or feet
- A weakness in your legs that may cause your legs to buckle
- Minimized reflexes in your Achilles tendon and your knee
- The inability to flex your ankles or support your heels when you walk (foot drop)
If you suffer from any of the above conditions, it’s important to consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to discover the reason of this condition.
How Can Yoga Help?
If you practice yoga, then you already know that it has many benefits to one’s body. Some key poses will specifically target sciatic pain and discomfort when practiced regularly. The poses listed below will help reduce the symptoms you may suffer from.
- The Seated Twist
Begin in a seated position with both legs outstretched before you. Cross one leg over the other, twist your body away from the bent leg, placing your elbow on the outside of the bent knee. Hold this pose for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.
- Reclined Pigeon
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your heels close into your buttocks. Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. Lifting your left foot off the mat, thread your right arm between your legs and pull down on your left thigh. Hug tightly for a few breaths and breath deep into any tension. To come out of the pose, breathe out and release your leg back to the floor, proceed on the other side of the body.
- Bridge Pose
This pose may require one to use a block for some extra support, especially if you have a lot of pain. Begin by lying on your back; bend your knees, and bring your feet close to your buttocks. Pressing firmly with both feet, slowly peel up off the mat and lift your pelvis up to the ceiling. Engage your arms, legs, and buttocks in order to have your hips as high as they can comfortably go. Hold for a few counts, then breathe out to lower carefully to the floor. Repeat as necessary.
- Lizard Pose
Begin in Downward Dog. Exhale and step your left foot forward, making sure that your knee is directly above your ankle. Lower your right knee to the mat and move your left foot a few inches out to the edge of your mat. If possible, bring your elbows down to the floor and tilt your pelvis under.
Feel your hips sink into the position and make sure that the sole of your left foot remains planted firmly into the ground. Hold for a few breaths. Inhale and come back onto your hands, then exhale to return your left foot back to Downward Dog. Repeat on the other side.
Having to suffer from an ailment such as sciatica can be very discouraging as you may feel limited in what you can do. Knowing that yoga is here to help and may actually aid you in feeling better can be very comforting, physically, and mentally. If you suffer from sciatica, give these powerful poses a try today.