The term ‘sciatica’ refers to pain which radiates along the length of the sciatic nerve. (This nerve the branches off from your lower back and goes through your hips as well as buttocks. It then goes down each of your legs.) Usually, sciatica affects just one side of your body.
Sciatica most regularly occurs if a herniated disc, bone spur on your spine or reduction of the spine (spinal stenosis) squeezes part of the nerve. This results in inflammation, pain as well as often some numbness in the leg which is affected.
Sciatica has a long (as well as painful!) history. Back in the 5th century BCE, doctors, as well as sciatica sufferers alike, have attempted a host of inventive remedies, from leeches in addition to hot coals in Roman times to the 20th-century use of creams in addition to injections.
The principal causes of sciatic pain are less mysterious than its heritage suggests, as we’ve talked about in the opening paragraph, yet there are still millions who suffer from this debilitating condition. In 2005, the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine make the statement that over a lifetime, an individual has a 40% chance of experiencing sciatica. But the good news is that in many cases, a mindful, targeted yoga practise can help you overcome the pain.
Yoga to the rescue!
If the cause of your sciatica is a herniated or, alternatively, a bulging disc, a yoga practice which goes from gentle poses to basic foundational asanas such as standing poses, as well as downward-facing dog, will result in the alignment, lengthening, and strengthening your lower back.
A herniated disk does not always necessitate surgery and, luckily, yoga can assist you with managing and reducing the problems caused by the herniation. Sometimes, well-thought-out Yoga poses can sometimes even reduce the herniation itself. This being said, it’s important to check in with your doctor regarding the severity of the herniation because in some cases surgery may be needed.
If the origin of your sciatica is pressure on the nerve owing to a short, tight piriformis, concentrate on stretching this muscle. Your approach should be gentle as well as progressive because overworking the piriformis may lead to spasms in addition to deep buttock pain, which may or may not be accompanied by sciatic pain.
Here is a simple Yoga asana which will help to relieve sciatica pain.
Simple Seated Twist
In the full version of the simple seated twist, your upper body will be turning toward your upright knee. In order to assist your upper body to turn fully, put your left hand on the mat behind you. Continue holding your left knee using your right hand.
Keep your heart up straight and maintain the natural inward curve of your lower back. Make use of your inhalation in order to lift, lengthen as well as expand. Utilise your exhalation in order to twist with no rounding of your back.
Now it is possible to deepen the action on the piriformis through boosting the resisted abduction of the thigh while releasing any tightness you may be experiencing in the groin. As you perform the twist, make use of your hand on your left knee in order to gently draw or hug that knee towards your chest.
Let your inner thigh or groin relax and allow it to soften and melt downward towards your sit bone. As you draw the knee in towards your chest with resistance, your thigh bone releases laterally out at the hip and presses against the piriformis so encouraging it to release.
The twist deepens as you take your knee into your elbow or, alternatively, draw your upper arm to the outer aspect of your knee. At this point, while you press your knee against your arm in order to get a deeper twist, the pose becomes more active in the hip in addition to less effective as a piriformis release. If you’re a sufferer of piriformis syndrome, you definitely don’t want to further tighten this muscle thus it’s best not to attempt to go so deeply into the twist.
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