Sciatica can be one of the most painful forms of nerve pain to live with. Attempting to go about your day to day life can sometimes feel impossible with this health condition in tow. To exacerbate this further, not all treatments can help with the aspects of this condition and sufferers are often left debilitated.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you may wish to consider using yoga to find relief. Although this may seem counterproductive, meditation, stretching and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the effects of sciatica.
Those that suffer from sciatica and nerve pain should take the yoga process slowly. It can be easy to be overly ambitious when endeavouring on a new hobby or activity, but this can cause further pain instead of helping. Just listen to your body at each step in the process and feel free to take breaks or omit poses if you need to.
Iyengar Yoga is one form that can drastically improve back and nerve pain. There are different levels and forms of this yoga teaching, so start with the easier versions and work your way up. For variations, you can also use a chair if you find that this helps you with your stretches. It includes quite a few back stretches, which can ease off pressure within this area and provide increased mobility.
Any type of yoga will make you more aware of your body and why it may be in pain. Be mindful of the fact that some of these will advise you on diet and other aspects of your life too. Take these into account if you wish to ingratiate yourself in this way of life.
Specific poses can help to reduce the pain of sciatica; mostly these are ones that focus on stretching the back. Bharadvajasana’s Twist is a seated position that many suffering with back pain use. The idea is to sit in a kneeling position, place one foot on the opposing hip and hold this with one hand. Then, slowly rotate the back until you are facing at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Again, you can use a hard-backed chair to start with this pose and still receive the benefits of it.
There’s also a Standing Twist version of this pose which can be easier to get into. When performing twists, it’s important not to jerk the back at any point, as this can cause damage to the sciatic nerve. Instead, make slower movements and only twist for as far as feels comfortable.
For those that are willing to try something more intense to help with their pain, Dolphin Pose is another useful one. This looks almost like Downward Facing Dog, though there are some differences. Start by kneeling and then slowly stretch the arms down until you reach a lying position with your hands face down. Tent your back from this position while pushing upwards with your toes, and then flatten the feet while resting on your arms. This pose is characterised by a high back and open shoulders, maintaining it for as long as possible can then have a positive effect on many types of back pain.
Lunging poses are also pinpointed for back pain, with High Lunges being recommended by many with sciatica. It’s imperative you take your time with these poses and ensure that they are executed correctly. Plant the feet firmly on the ground while getting into them and then move into the full pose, with one leg fully extended.
Leg stretches can be effective in stretching out the nerve that is responsible for this pain. Alternate the legs too, as nerves on both sides should be used equally for the best pain relief. Using props like chairs and low tables are often used to stretch different parts of the leg and muscles therein.
Trying different poses and yoga types is ideal. Sciatica and nerve pain that is eased by one yoga type may not necessarily work for another. It’s a highly personal process, which is why traditional methods aren’t always effective, so testing out various kinds may help.
Many people find that stress or anxiety can worsen some types of pain, this is where the meditation side of yoga can provide further relief. Feeling stressed can cause knots in the back and also make the posture much worse. Meditation and sitting in a straight-backed position can cause this stress to dissipate.
Breathing and relaxing often helps to get rid of pain and there are many types of breathing exercises to experiment with. These can be useful to stave off bouts of nerve pain, as relaxation allows you to be at ease without pain. Just a few minutes of breathing consciously and relaxing can prevent days of back pain. After a long or stressful day, this can be ideal for preventing pain in the days to come.
When experiencing bad nerve pain, it can be hard to concentrate or even to sit still. The pain can make some feel nauseous or prevent sleep. Meditation helps to disassociate with the physical body and move onto a calmer state of mind, sometimes blocking out pain entirely.
Working at a desk can also be difficult for those with sciatica, though we can bring elements of yoga in here too. Good posture and breathing well during the working day can negate the effects of sitting at a desk. Make sure that there is proper support and use it correctly for fewer sciatic flare ups.
After a yoga session, a cool down is required by most. Go from stretching into a seated pose and enjoy some minutes of meditation. Those that use yoga to their advantage can reduce or banish sciatic pain altogether when using the correct poses and types. Becoming more adventurous with these poses can also prove to be part of the fun, as this can lead to the discovery of further useful poses.