Sciatic pain sucks. I had lots of it starting with my pregnancy and it never seemed to want to go away-until after I gave birth. However, sciatic pain occurs in many people regardless of if you are pregnant or not.
This pain, called Sciatica, is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. Though it usually affects one side of your lower body, the pain can run from your lower back all the way down to your toes! YIKES!
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine and other causes such as:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
- Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
- Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A constant pain on one side of the rear
- A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Here are a 4 yoga poses to give you some relief from Sciatica:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
- Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
- Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.
- Stand in Mountain pose. Feel the strength in the legs and the stability of your body. Exhale and bend forward at the hip creases into a basic standing forward bend.
- Reach one leg back into a long lunge. Place the hands shoulder-width apart on either side of the front foot. Only the ball of the back foot is on the ground. The heel is extending back. The knee of the front leg should be in alignment with the ankle. Release the groin muscles and drop the hips evenly downwards the floor.
- Away from the extension of the back heel reach the spine forward, out of the crown of the head. Inhale and open the chest, looking forward softly.
- To come out of the pose, either jump the back foot forward to meet the front foot into standing forward bend or bring the front foot back in alignment with the back foot with the hands firmly planted. Walk the feet up to the hands into a basic forward bend. Inhale and roll the spine up into Mountain Pose. Repeat on other side.
- Begin in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), or on your hands and knees in Table Pose.
- Bring your right knee between your hands, placing your right ankle near your left wrist. Extend your left leg behind you so your kneecap and the top of your foot rest on the floor.
- Press through your fingertips as you lift your torso away from your thigh. Lengthen the front of your body. Release your tailbone back toward your heels. Work on squaring your hips and the front side of your torso to the front of your mat.
- Draw down through your front-leg shin and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Flex your front foot. Press down through the tops of all five toes of the back foot.
- Gaze downward softly.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, tuck your back toes, lift your back knee off the mat, and then press yourself back into Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat for the same amount of time on the other side.
- Sit with the left knee bent and on the floor, aligning it with the left hip.
- Cross the right foot over the right thigh, placing the sole of the foot flat on the floor.
- Now check the position of your hips. Are both sitting bones firmly in contact with the floor? If the right hip is floating off the floor, you may extend the left leg in front of you.You should now be able to get both sit bones on the floor. If you do this, be sure to keep the extended leg actively engaged.
- Pressing your right knee toward your breastbone with both your hands, take a deep inhalation and extend the spine. Grounding the sitting bones, elongate the spine through the back of your neck.
- On the exhale, revolve the torso to the right, while guiding the right knee toward your left armpit. You can place your right fingertips on the floor behind your tailbone, and pressing down, use it help support the lift of the spine.
Herbs for Sciatic Pain
For a homeopathic relief of sciatic pain, it is said that taking Turmeric with Black Pepper works wonders. Black Pepper increases the absorption of turmeric curcumin by up to 2,000%. This powerful combination can reduce pain, inflammation, and can even reduce stomach ulcers, not to mention the cancer fighting properties. Try adding these two spices, together, to a dish such as chicken! Some people will mix the two together in a concotion.