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How Yoga Alleviates the Pain of Sciatica
Most adults will experience some form of sciatica at some point in their lives. For some it will be a brief occurrence never repeated again. For others it will be a persistent, painful reminder of the frailty of the human body. In all cases, stretches for sciatica based on yoga can provide both timely and long term relief.
What is Sciatica?
The symptoms for sciatica range from relatively mild to downright excruciating. The may consist of a burning sensation in your leg. Or a sharp pain in your lower spine. Or even a stabbing pain in your butt. All these and more symptoms can occur in anyone, but most often in people with lower back issues, the overweight and pregnant women. They become more prevalent as we age.
The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back, along the back of your leg and on down to your foot. (And, if you didn’t guess, yes there are two of them – one for each leg.) When something happens at any point along this nerve, you are said to be suffering from sciatica. That’s when stretches for sciatica can help.
Common causes of sciatic pain include herniated (slipped) discs, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) and something called Piriformis Syndrome (a neuromuscular disorder). It is important to understand why you have the pain before you try to alleviate it. Talk to your doctor about the source of the pain, then to your yoga instructor to design a program to help relieve it.
Which Asanas for Which Pain?
Depending on the type of sciatica you have, stretches for sciatica in the form of different yoga poses (asanas) may help.
- If your pain is caused by lumbar spine disorder, you can try lengthening and straightening the spine. Asanas good for this include Puppy Dog, Mountain and Bound Angle poses. More advanced spine strengthening poses include Camel, Bridge and Fish. If these are beyond your abilities, ask your yoga instructor to show you how to modify them.
- Your core abdominal muscles are important for supporting your spine. Stretches for sciatica include alignment poses such as Boat, Half Boat and Twists to help your abs and improve your posture. Men in particular should note that these exercises are not meant to develop “six pack” abs. They are meant to strengthen your abdominal muscles and keep them in proper alignment.
- If your situation arises from the Piriformis muscle pressing on your sciatic nerve, you need to stretch that muscle. Try the poses already mentioned to help align the spine. You can also add Knee Down Twist, Prayer Twist and Pigeon.
Sciatic pain is no fun. Even in its least difficult form, it can incapacitate you for minutes or hours. In its more drastic form, it can cripple you completely. Using yoga asanas and meditation can help tremendously. To get started, try using simple deep breathing exercises. They will help your muscles relax so you can try the stretches for sciatica yoga poses for even more relief. You can check out the best yoga video for sciatica above.
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