Posted on Jan 27, 2021 fitness
If you're experiencing low back or leg pain, it could be sciatica. Fortunately, yoga can bring you some welcome relief. In this article, we'll share 7 yoga poses for sciatica. But what is sciatica, what does it feel like, and what yoga poses can help ease your pain? Keep reading for answers to all those questions and more.
Of course, you can always jump right in with myYogaTeacher's Yoga for Back Pain program. Sign up for a two-week free trial of the program and you'll get three free one-on-one sessions with our expert yoga instructors as well as group classes focusing on yoga for back pain and core strengthening. Plus, you'll have access to 30+ other daily yoga classes!
The sciatic nerves are the longest nerves in the body and are as thick as your pinky. They start in your lower lumbar spine and extend down the length of your legs to the soles of your feet. The pain from sciatica can start anywhere along this path. Most people who suffer from sciatica describe it as a tingling, burning, or searing pain or even numbness that starts in the lower back and shoots down the back of one leg.
Sciatica itself is the word used to describe the tenderness or compression of the sciatic nerve. It can be present with other back or muscle injuries or could be triggered by things as simple as sitting, walking, or just standing weird. Sciatica is typically unilateral meaning that people usually get it just on one side of the body at a time.
Basically, sciatica isn't a good time. But there are ways to ease the pain. According to a report by Harvard Medical School, practicing yoga is a non-invasive way to prevent sciatica.
To cure sciatica with yoga, it's important to find the right yoga poses that are going to make things better, not worse. Be sure to listen to your body; if anything you're doing causes you more pain or discomfort, stop doing it. We find it's also helpful to have a trusted yoga teacher who can show you the proper way to do yoga poses and who can provide modifications if needed.
Yoga can help align and strengthen the lower back, relieving pain caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. And, since we sit so much throughout the day, our hips tend to be tight, which also increases pressure on the sciatic nerves. Adding yoga asanas can help loosen tight areas and ease pain along the entire sciatic nerve.
So, without further ado, here are 7 yoga poses to improve and prevent sciatica you can add to your day. To get even more benefit, sign up for a two-week free trial of our Yoga for Back Pain program!
Bridge pose opens and stretches your hip flexors, relieves lower back pain, and strengthens core and back muscles. You can support your lower back with your hands, a block, or a bolster.
Legs Up the Wall pose is helpful for relaxing the hips and back, reducing knee and ankle pain, and relieving tired feet and legs. You can do it actually up against a wall or not. Place a bolster under your hips for more support if that feels better for you.
Pigeon pose not only promotes good posture but stretches the lower part of your body, making the hip area more flexible and relieving muscle aches. It's important to perform this pose on both sides even if you only have pain on one side.
Downward-facing dog is an important yoga pose that helps lengthen the spine, stretch the back muscles, and strengthen the feet and legs. As you work your way into the pose, try to shift your weight back onto your heels (and off of your back). It's fine if you can't rest your heels on the floor.
Wind-relieving pose loosens the lower back and helps flex your back and hip muscles. You may also find that this pose relieves knee pain. Stay in the pose for as long as is comfortable.
Twists can feel amazing on your back but be sure to only twist as much as is comfortable for you, sitting on a cushion to lift your lower back as you twist, if needed. Half Lord of the Fishes helps to stretch your back muscles, release stiffness from hips, and flex the spine. Be sure to repeat the twist on both sides.
Cow face pose is a beautiful pose that can help elongate the spine and correct posture. It also strengthens the back and hip muscles. Many people struggle with this pose because they're not able to meet their hands at the back. That's okay. Your flexibility will improve over time.
If you have a few minutes left after completing these poses, take those minutes in savasana by lying on your back with your feet flat on the mat. Focus on how your body feels. If you notice areas of tension, breathe into those areas for a few minutes.
If you're actively experiencing sciatica, your best bet is curling up with heating pads or ice packs until the pain is gone. In addition, there are some yoga poses that should be avoided as they can further aggravate already unhappy sciatic nerves. Generally, poses that involve forward bends or put pressure on the lower back should be avoided.
If you're taking any type of sedative medication or are hypermobile, it's important to listen to a physical therapist or qualified yoga teacher before proceeding with yoga practice.
No matter whether your sciatic nerves get mad at you for sleeping wrong or you've just been sitting for too many hours out of the day, these yoga poses for sciatica are a great way to ease pain and prevent it from happening in the future. We recommend signing up for a free 2-week trial of our Yoga for Back Pain program. You'll not only get access to our full schedule of yoga classes, but you'll receive three free one-on-one sessions with our expert yoga teachers who will address your questions and concerns and get you started on a path towards better back health (the one-on-one sessions are kind of like working with a physical therapist, but specifically for yoga).
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