HealthFitnessYoga For Sciatica - 8 Simple Asanas For Instant Pain Relief

Yoga For Sciatica – 8 Simple Asanas For Instant Pain Relief

Lower back and leg pain has somehow become synonymous with women of a certain age. Chachi and bua clutching their lower backs as they struggle to move, sit or stand is not just old age. It can be a sign of a much bigger underlying problem – sciatica. But it’s not just restricted to old age and can happen during pregnancy as well. Here is a guide on better understanding this painful condition, the signs and symptoms to look out for and some tips and techniques to manage the pain.

The Aches And Pains Of Sciatica

Sciatica is quite a discomforting condition causing sharp pain of varying intensity to radiate from hip to foot of the same side. Patients of sciatica will swear by the fact that the pain cannot be described in words. The term ‘sciatica’ originates from the word ‘sciatic’ which is the name of the nerve that gets compressed and causes symptoms of discomfort.

Medicinal treatment and physiotherapy are the most effective treatment options for sciatica. Besides these, patients also find relief by performing yoga for sciatica. While it does not replace mainstream treatment options, the efficacy of yoga poses for sciatica is unparalleled.

How Does Sciatica Develop?

A flare-up of sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is subjected to abnormal pressure between the bones of the spine. This can be caused due to repetitive forward bending, overuse of back muscles, erroneous posture putting a strain on the hips and lower back, direct trauma to the spine causing the sciatic nerve to be compressed etc.

8 Yoga Poses For Sciatica That Truly Work

Probably the world’s ancient most form of exercise, Yoga is a holistic way to reduce weight, remain fit and enhance your physical strength as well. The contribution of yoga for sciatica treatment is immense. While Yoga cannot replace mainstream medical treatment for sciatica, there are several yoga asanas for sciatica which can be easily practised even at home. Here are some of the asanas that will help to obtain relief from sciatica pain.

1. Adho Mukha Svanasana

The downward dog pose has gained fame as one of the most popular yoga asanas and rightly so. It is relatively easy to perform, provides a good whole body stretch and has a beneficial effect on almost every muscle of the body.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Begin by getting into a cat-like position on all your fours. Balance the body weight on the flat of both palms, both the knees and toes.
  2. Inhale deeply and while exhaling, elevate the hips and knees till the hips are stretched toward the ceiling.
  3. The feet must remain touching the floor without bending the knees.
  4. The palms remain touching the floor. The palms and shoulders and hips and feet respectively should be in a straight line.
  5. Look towards your toes and remain in this position for up to 5 breaths, before resuming normal posture.

This asana helps the stretching of hip and back muscles, thereby releasing the nerve compression. It is one of the best poses in yoga for sciatica pain.

2. Balasana

The child pose is rightfully known so due to its resemblance with that of a baby who is resting or sleeping. 

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Kneel down and rest your buttocks on your heels. Keep the knees spread one foot apart while keeping the feet touching each other.
  2. While exhaling, bend forward till your forehead touches the ground.
  3. Spread your arms straight ahead and touch the palms to the ground as well.
  4. Allow the back, shoulders and hips to relax so that you feel a good stretch all over the backside of your body.
  5. Remember to continue regular breathing while performing Balasana.

Balasana is a resting pose which helps in relaxation of all the muscles of shoulders, back and hips. It helps to reduce sciatica pain.

3. Bhujangasana

The Cobra pose helps to increase the flexibility of back muscles by causing them to stretch appropriately.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Begin Bhujangasana by lying on the ground over your belly.
  2. Keep your arms at the side and the legs straight, close to each other.
  3. Bend your elbows to keep your palms flat on the ground on either side of the chest.
  4. Take a deep breath and while exhaling, elevate your torso while keeping the pelvis and both legs touched to the ground.
  5. The elbows should not be bent and the palms and shoulders should be in a straight line.
  6. Look straight ahead without putting any strain on the neck.

Bhujangasana strengthens the back and hip muscles and helps to relieve the sciatica pain.

4. Shalabhasana

Shalabhasana or the locust pose is rightfully named so as this pose resembles the shape of a grasshopper or locust.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Lie down on your belly with the arms and legs kept straight and close to the body.
  2. Anchor your pelvis to the ground and elevate the neck, shoulders, chest and legs.
  3. The arms can be outstretched in the front with the fingers pointing forward.
  4. A variant of Shalabhasana involves stretching the arms backwards with the fingers pointing towards the feet.
  5. Remember to breathe continuously while performing this pose.

The locust pose helps to strengthen the hip muscles and release the compression over the sciatic nerve.

5. Trikonasana

Trikonasana has gotten its name bcoz the body assumes the shape of a triangle while performing the asana.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Stand with your back erect and legs spread apart to a distance of about 3 feet.
  2. Raise your arms to the side till the shoulder level so that they are parallel to the ground.
  3. Tilt the right foot outward so that it is exactly parallel to the extended right arm
  4. Rotate the left foot slightly inward.
  5. Now bend sideward till your right hand touches the right ankle. You can take support by holding your right ankle.
  6. Stretch your left arm upward as if pointing toward the ceiling and look up.
  7. Remain in this pose for a count of 5 breaths before switching sides.

Trikonasana helps to open and stretch the muscles of the hip and spine. If you are looking to take the help of yoga for sciatica, Trikonasana is highly recommended.

6. Anjaneyasana

The low lunge pose or Anjaneyasana is one of those asanas which provide full-body exercise. 

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Get into the pose of Adho Mukha Svanasana.
  2. While exhaling, bring your right foot forward by bending the knee. Place the right foot touching the ground and close to the right palm. The right knee and ankle should be in a straight line.
  3. Lower your hips till the left leg is stretched back and left knee touches the floor.
  4. Gradually shift the body weight to the legs and elevate both arms in the air till they are raised straight with all fingers pointing upward.
  5. Both arms should be parallel with both palms facing one another but not touching each other.
  6. Repeat the pose by taking the left foot forward and right leg backwards.

Anjaneyasana causes the back muscles to stretch and it also improves the weight-bearing capacity of hip muscles. 

7. Tadasana

The pose assumed while performing Tadasana helps to stretch each and every muscle in the body. This pose is often the first step of performing several other asanas.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Stand on an even flooring with both the feet placed firmly on the ground.
  2. Keep the feet at any distance from each other but avoid a wide posture.
  3. Make every muscle in the body taut without making your body rigid.
  4. Make your thigh muscles firm and squeeze your knees a little.
  5. Push your chest slightly forward while keeping the back erect. Pull your navel inward but do not make your abdominal muscles very tight.
  6. Raise both the arms sideways, interlock the fingers and stretch your arms upward by lifting the shoulders as much as possible.
  7. Continue breathing normally throughout.

Tadasana will cause the spinal muscles and vertebral bones to stretch thereby easing the compression over the sciatic nerve.

8. Vajrasana

Vajrasana is one of those asanas which can be performed immediately after a meal. There are a few restrictions to be followed while performing Vajrasana.

How To Perform The Asana?

  1. Stand on the floor with the back erect, knees unbent and arms placed at the side of the body.
  2. Gradually lower your buttocks and sit on your heels.
  3. The upper portion of your feet must be touching the ground with the feet pointing outwards.
  4. The calves of both legs are lightly pressed due to the weight of the thighs.
  5. Keep your back erect throughout and place each hand on the corresponding knee or rest them on the thighs.
  6. You can sit in this position for as long as possible. Patients with knee pain should not perform Vajrasana.

Vajrasana improves blood flow to the hip muscles and enhances their strength. This enables to reduce the sciatica pain.

These asanas are very helpful along with other yoga stretches for sciatica treatment. In order to master the techniques of these asanas and to prevent injury while performing them, it is always helpful to consult with a certified yoga trainer beforehand. Unless your doctor has strictly advised against it, there is no harm in performing yoga exercises for sciatica leg pain.

Health Hacks To Tackle Sciatica Pain

Medical or alternative therapies are no magic. They take some time before they can show any effect on the symptoms of sciatica. However, when there is a flare-up of sciatica pain nothing matters more than getting instant relief from the discomfort.

Given below are some useful ideas to obtain relief from and to keep sciatic pain at bay, without visiting a doctor.

  • Alternating between cold and hot fomentation to the lower back is likely to reduce sciatica pain. Ice packs and hot water bags may be used for the same respectively
  • Sitting or standing for a long time are likely to aggravate sciatica pain. It is best to avoid being in the same position for long
  • Performing simple stretching exercises while in office or doing home chores is an easy way to keep sciatica pain from aggravating
  • Comfortable footwear is the key to avoiding heel pain which is a common symptom of sciatica. Using shoes with soft padding is often helpful
  • Recovery from sciatica is relatively speedy if activities that put pressure on the heel, lower back, hips are avoided

The beauty of these easy tips is that they can be followed anytime, anywhere without much restrictions. Following a balanced lifestyle and avoiding needless stress are the best ways to keep any health disorder at bay. Being cautious about one’s health and reporting pain of sciatica to a doctor immediately will help early diagnosis of the underlying condition. Pain relief medicines and physiotherapy form an indispensable part of sciatica treatment in most cases.

Additionally, there are several yoga poses for sciatica which will help to obtain relief from the condition. The utility of yoga for sciatica pain is often underestimated. But yoga is often advised by doctors themselves as a complementary mode for mainstream treatment of sciatica. Yoga can be performed safely without any health hazards to get rid of sciatica pain. Enjoy a healthy way of living by adapting yoga!

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