If you suffer from sciatica pain, you know it's not only painful, but annoying too. Sometimes I have been afraid to even work out on some days after a bad flare-up, because I didn't want to trigger another one. The sciatic nerves, which are located at the base of the spine and travel down the backs of your legs, can be triggered into a sudden shooting pain, or in an ongoing pins and needles sensation that becomes rather painful during certain movements. These are the longest nerves in your body, so often it's hard to identify the source of the pain and in turn, treat it.
But as I began to get more and more into yoga, I found that there were certain poses that helped relieve the surrounding sacroiliac joint and muscles of the lower back, and helped ease the pain of sciatica. By opening the joint, stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles, it takes stress off the nerves and gives you a way to not only find out what particular movements are triggering the flares, but also a way to relieve some of the pain if you're in the middle of a flare-up. Hyperlinks are provided to help guide you.
I found this pose, probably one of the easiest in yoga, to be the most difficult for me. Just trying to lay flat on the floor was incredibly painful. I then realized that I might be aggravating my condition with poor posture, and not using my core muscles enough. By focusing on my breath and using my breath to work through the uncomfortable feeling of this pose, I was able to eventually relieve the pain by aligning myself in this pose to take pressure off the nerves.
Don't be intimidated by this pose. It looks harder than it is. Not everyone is flexible, so using a yoga strap or even a bathrobe tie can help you along in this pose. A lot of times, having tight hamstrings puts unnecessary stress on our lower back, and can aggravate the sciatic nerves. Doing this pose releases and lengthens the hamstrings as well as realigns the pelvis and sacroiliac joints to take the stress off of them.
This pose I love because it's like an instant back massage, and great for when you are in the throes of an attack. Pulling the knees up to the chest helps stretch and relieve all of the tension in the lower back. Then the gentle rocking helps to release those muscles, relax them, and take pressure off the nerves. Remember to breathe and push the pain away with every exhale.
Of course, if your pain is not easily relieved or your activities are becoming more and more limited, it's best to check in with your health care provider to rule out a more serious issue. But for your everyday sciatica problems, these three poses are a great way to work through the condition and prevent how much it limits you. Yoga is a great way to become more in tune with your body and help heal yourself from within. Namaste!
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