The sciatic nerve is the largest and the widest nerve in the body, ranging from the spine in the lower back to both buttocks and ending down to the back of each leg. If the nerve is somehow affected, you will experience strong pain which will make it hard for you to stand or sit down.
People have reported intense pain in one leg while feeling numbness in other areas. Weakness in the lower back of a leg, numb thighs and burning or tingling sensation in the legs, rear and feet are the common symptoms of sciatic pain.
Besides injuries, conditions such as spinal disorders, damaged or ruptured disk, spinal stenosis and lower back problems can all be the cause of sciatica pain. If left untreated, the symptoms can get worse over time.
How does the pain start?
Sciatic pain gradually increases and reaches its peak overnight. Sneezing, coughing or laughing as well as walking or standing for a longer period can increase the intensity of pain. There are a lot of medications which can relieve it, but doctors recommend the following exercises as the best course of treatment.
The Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a study in 2009 which suggested that people experiencing back pain who practiced yoga along conventional drug treatments significantly reduced the pain. Here are a couple of yoga stretches that should help you:
This common toga position will stretch your legs, flex your lower back and improve the blood flow to certain areas, which should allow the nerve to breathe.
Sit on your mat with your legs in front of you, and rest your hands to both sides of the floor. Flex your feet forward, then pull your back up, stretching your spine. Stay in this position for 15-30 seconds while breathing deep, then relax and repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
The locust pose will strengthen your lower back while improving the blood circulation to the hips.
Lie face down and put your hands on the sides with your palms outwards. Keep your toes pointed downwards and make sure they’re touching each other with the heels being apart. Keep your chin and your pubic bone on the ground. Take a deep breath and raise your legs, arms and chest at the same time, then lift your knees off the ground and put your shoulders back together while straightening your neck. Exhale and stay in this position for 5-8 seconds. Now, inhale and spread your legs apart, then exhale and bring them back in, repeating this addition to the locust pose 5 times.
In the end, bring your body back to the floor slowly and rest face down for a minute. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
Supported bridge pose
This exercise can strengthen your buttocks and relieve sciatic pain.
Lie on your back with bend knees and feet firmly on the ground, then draw your heels in to your buttocks while placing your hands at both sides. While putting pressure down on the floor, take a deep breath and try lifting yourself slowly off the ground with your tailbone up towards your pubic bone. Keep your shoulders, neck and head on the floor, while your lower back is elongated. Keep the position for 10-15 seconds, then repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
Sciatic pain can be caused by irritation and pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can be relieved by the pigeon pose.
Lift your body on your palms and knees, then bring your right knee forwards so it gets behind your right wrist and your right foot in front of your left wrist. Now, slide your left leg back, while stretching your torso forward. Stay in this position for 5 seconds, inhale and stretch your hands in front of you, bringing your forehead to the ground. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for 15-30 seconds, pushing your left thigh toward the ground and your stomach for balance. Now, lift your head up, pull the hands back, tuck your left toes and pull your right leg back. Repeat the process with the left leg, and repeat the whole exercise for 5-10 times.
Reclining big toe pose
Lie on your back bend your right knee and bring it to your chest, then secure an elastic wrap around the ball of your foot and lift your right leg towards the ceiling. Keep your foot open and your leg stretched with your buttocks firmly on the ground. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for 10 seconds. Now, lower your right knee slowly before putting the right leg on the ground. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
Spinal twisting pose
Sit on your mat with your legs in front and your hands to the sides. Bend your right knee while keeping the right foot outside of your left thigh and holding your right toe with your hand. Put your right hand behind your back and put the upper body to the right while breathing deep. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.