5 Effective Yoga Poses To Relieve Sciatica Pain
Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for various aspects of health, but many people are often unsure of where to start. While beginner yoga is good for anyone, people with chronic health conditions may need to take a different approach, because there are some poses that can make their health conditions worse. It’s worth noting that prior to beginning any new exercise regimen, you should always speak to your doctor to make sure you’re cleared to do certain poses.
That being said, one such chronic pain condition that can benefit greatly from certain yoga poses is sciatica. But what is sciatica? And what yoga poses are good for sciatica pain relief?
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition caused by compression, irritation, or injury to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down through the buttocks and thighs, continuing down along the sides of the legs. In some cases, sciatica can also be brought on by injured, tight, or overworked muscles.
Sciatica pain is typically throbbing pain, but can also be sharp or burning. It radiates down from the lower back to the legs, often only on one side of the body. Sometimes, sciatic pain can even lead to inflammation in the body, as well as numbness or tingling. For some, sciatic pain is mild and only causes a little bit of discomfort, but for others it can be excruciating. Research has shown that yoga, when done correctly, can greatly help sciatic pain.
Can sciatica be cured by yoga?
Close to 95% of all people with sciatic can be effectively “cured” or treated if they approach treatment properly. Although yoga is a helpful tool on the journey to relieving their sciatic pain, however, it’s unlikely that yoga alone will cure the condition. People with sciatica will also have to undergo physical therapy, which is the first line of treatment. Other types of treatments include medications, chiropractic and massage treatments, and the use of hot-cold therapy.
What yoga poses are good for sciatica?
Plenty of yoga poses can help alleviate the pain associated with sciatica, especially if you practice regularly and are undergoing your doctor’s treatment recommendations at the same time. The following five poses are particularly great for helping to relieve sciatic pain.
1. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a simple and helpful yoga pose for sciatic pain relief. It’s typically helpful for tuning into your body and relaxing. The pose is designed to stretch and lengthen the spine, which helps to open the hips, thighs, and lower back. To get into child’s pose, start on your hands and knees before sinking your hips back on your heels. Then, widen your knees a ittle further than hip width apart, extend your arms in front of your body, and lower yourself onto your thighs while you relax your torso. While you deepen your breath in this post, tight areas will begin to relax.
2. Downward-Facing Dog
Down-facing dog is a forward bend-type pose that helps to align your entire body, which can relieve tightness and pain. By promoting strength and correcting imbalances, this pose can help to relieve sciatic pain. To get into this pose, start on your hands and knees. As you press your hands into the mat, lift your hips towards the ceiling and push your heels towards the earth. Once in position, drop your head and chest through your arms. You can bend your knees to help push your pelvis forward. Stay in a variation that feels comfortable for up to a minute for relief.
3. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is great for strengthening and stretching your spine to help improve flexibility as well as blood circulation. This position begins with you lying on your stomach. With your hands under your shoulders and your elbows pulled in close to your body, push up, lifting your head, shoulders, and chest off the mat with your arms. Keeping your arms slightly bent and chest open, and try to engage your lower back, ab muscles, and thighs. Stay in this pose for up to 30 seconds.
4. Locust Pose
Locust pose is a highly strengthening pose that works your spine, glutes, and thighs while stabilizing your core and lower back. It can also improve flexibility in the hips, which can help with sciatic pain. To get in this position, begin by lying on your stomach. Interlace your fingers at the base of your spine, and while doing so, lift your chest, head, and arms up as high as you can. If interlacing your fingers is too difficult, you can also begin with your hands resting on your sides. As you raise up, practice taking a deep breath while you engage your glutes, lower back, and ab muscles. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds, and repeat the movement a couple of times.
5. Knees-to-Chest Pose
Knees-to-chest pose is excellent for reducing tightness in the lower back as well as in your glutes and hips. To get into this pose, start by lying on your back. Once there, draw both knees into your chest while keeping your ankles and knees together as best you can. Once your knees are up to your chest, reach your arms around the backs of either the thighs or shins and interlace your fingers if you can. If you can’t, hold your elbows as if you were crossing your arms. To get a deeper stretch, lift your head while tucking your chin into your chest. A more intense version of this stretch is doing one leg at a time. You can hold the pose for up to a minute for relief.
Doing yoga poses for sciatica is a great way to relieve pain and encourage faster recovery. While you may want to start off slow, especially if your pain is severe, the five poses mentioned above are great jumping-off points if you want to try yoga as a way to relieve your sciatic pain.