Your sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It starts near your spine at your lower back through your buttocks and down each leg.
Sciatica pain occurs when this nerve is irritated the pain can be excruciating when sitting or standing.
Symptoms include weakness in your lower back and leg, a burning or tingling sensation in your legs and numbness in your thighs. People have also had situations of losing control of their bladder and bowels.
The sciatic nerve could also be affected by spinal disorders for example a ruptured disc, spondylitis, degenerative disc diseases (DDD) and spinal stenosis.
Relieving sciatica pains
There are medications that your doctor would recommend. He will also advise that you do some stretching exercises as a therapy routine.
Try Yoga exercises
It was reported in the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine journal in 2009 after extensive research into the health benefits of yoga exercises. That when people kept to a routine of either yoga exercises or only prescription medications for sciatica pains there were very significant improvements in the health of those that spent more time practising yoga as opposed to those that took only prescription medications.
However, it is important to always consult your doctor before you engage in any of the following yoga exercises.
1. The Dandasana or Staff Posture
This pose is excellent for stretching your legs, lower back and in improving blood circulation.
– Get a mat, sit on it, then stretch out your legs in front of you, put your hands to your side, let your palms be firmly on the floor.
– Try to flex your feet towards you while your legs are stretched.
– Stretch your spine by pulling your back up.
– Keep this posture for about 15-30 seconds, also breathe deeply.
– Try the posture about 5 to 10 times relaxing after each turn.
2. The Locust Posture (Shalabhasana)
Improve blood circulation to your lower hips and strengthen your back with this posture.
– On a mat try to lie facing down with your arms by your side and your palms facing outwards. Ensure that your toes point downward and touch each other and your heels should be apart.
– Let your chin be on the floor, while you push you pelvic bone down and elongate your neck.
– Raise your chest, arms and legs simultaneously as you take deep breathes. Try lifting your knees from the floor and straighten your neck as your shoulders are close together.
– As soon as you have lifted yourself, exhale and maintain the posture for about 5 to 8 seconds, then gently stretch out your back.
– You should take deep breaths in this posture by inhaling then spreading your legs apart in the process and exhaling and then bringing your legs together again.
– Do this exercise about five times.
– You can also try putting your body back to the ground gently, then you should fold your hands and place them underneath your forehead, then take a break facing down for about 60 seconds.
– Try doing this for about 5 to 10 times.
3. The Supported Bridge Posture (Setu Bandhasana)
It will help get rid of that sciatica pain and firm up your buttocks.
– With a mat, try to lie flat on your back, then bend your knees with your feet on the floor firmly planted.
– Ensure that your heels are drawn to your buttocks, then put your arms to your side with your palms facing downward.
– Put some pressure with your palms and feet on the floor and try taking deep breaths, then gently move your hips from the floor.
– Try and push your tail bone upwards towards your pelvic bone.
– Ensure that your neck, head and shoulders are on the ground.
– Make sure your knees are apart and that your lower back is stretched out.
– Keep this posture for about 10 to 15 seconds, then exhale and gently move back down.
– Try this exercise for up to 10 times.
4. The Pigeon Posture (Kapotasana)
When there is pressure and irritation to the sciatic nerve, sciatica pain can occur.
– Try to support yourself with your palms and knees.
– Then with your right leg, try moving your right knee forward to ensure that it is positioned behind your right wrist, and also make sure that your right foot is positioned in front of your left wrist.
– Ensure that your chin is at a 45-degree angle.
– Move your left leg backwards, then try to stretch your torso to the front.
– Keep this posture for about 5 seconds, then inhale and stretch your hands to your front while ensuring that your forehead touches the floor.
– Ensure you take deep breaths and keep this posture for about 15 to 30 seconds.
– Try and push your left thigh to the floor and then push in your stomach.
– Your head should be lifted up, then you should put your hands behind you while your left toes is tucked in and you pull your right leg backwards.
– Try to switch legs and repeat the exercise with your left leg.
– Do this exercise for about 5 to 10 times, changing legs as you do.
5. The Reclining Big Toe Posture (Supta Padangusthasana)
– Lie on your back, bring your right knee to your chest by bending it.
– Get an elastic strap, then try to secure the strap round the ball of your foot, then you should lift your right leg toward your ceiling.
– Keep your your foot open then with your buttocks firmly on the floor stretch out your leg.
– Take deep breaths and keep hold of this posture for about10 seconds.
– Keep your right knee to your chest by lowering it, and then put your right leg to the floor.
– Switch this exercise to your left leg and repeat the exercise about 5 to 10 times while changing legs.