According to some statistics, the average person has 40% chance of experiencing sciatica pain through his/hers life. In an era where most of us work in an office, with long seating hours, sciatica pain is the latest condition that we have to be careful of. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. This nerve starts at the spine and runs all the way down through the thigh and calf muscles to the foot. Any damage to the sciatic nerve manifests as sciatica pain. You might feel pain in your thigh, or in your lumbar section. Here are the symptoms you should be careful:
– Pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve. This includes the lower back, the back of the thigh, the buttock, and the calf
– Tingling, burning, and pinching feeling along the sciatic nerve
– Numbness or loss of feeling in your legs/feet
– Foot drop, a term used to describe condition in which you are not able to flex your ankles
– Reduced reflexes in your Achilles tendon
Causes of sciatica pain
The most common cause for sciatica pain is herniation in the lumbar spine. That is the part of the spine that curves inward near your lower-middle back. You should consult a doctor. Nearly 70% of sciatica pain is caused by piriformis, a muscle that is one of the small hip rotators. You use these rotators to turn your thigh out.
Yoga poses for sciatica
Yoga is one of the best activities for relieving sciatica pain. Yoga helps you strengthen the muscles that hold your spine, but also stretch those muscles. Most of the poses include back stretches that target your lower back and prevent sciatica pain. Before trying these poses, we recommend you consult with a doctor.
Standing back twist
This pose is designed for beginners that are not elastic and bendy enough. Simply put your foot up on a chair. If you put your left foot on the chair, place your right hand on your raise knee. Always work with opposites. Place the left hand on your hip. Turn your upper body while you keep your hips facing forward. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other hand/foot. Push as much as you are comfortable with.
Another pose designed for beginners. Start by lying on your back. Draw one knee to your chest, all while keeping your other leg straight. Push down with the knee, and pull up with your hands. During the entire pose, your shoulders are on the floor.
Two knee twist
Start by lying on your back. With your hands, form a capital “T”. Keep your shoulders on the floor, and turn your knees to one side. With your shoulders on the floor, stay in this position for one minute, and then alternate sides.
Single knee twist
You can perform a knee twist with one or two legs. Start in the same position as the previous pose. Keep one leg straight, and then bend the other knee to a 90-degree angle. Place the opposite hand on that knee (left knee – right hand). Turn to the side of the arm on the floor. Keep both shoulders on the floor and face the arm on the floor for 30 seconds.
Once you become more elastic, you can perform more complex exercises. For the twisted lunge, you start in classic lunge position: one leg forward and bend at the knee. Keep your other leg behind you. You need to keep feet at one leg’s length apart. Turn your back, and place your opposite elbow on the bent knee (right elbow – left knee). Bring your palms together and hold the position for 30 seconds. Switch sides.
Very easy pose, all you have to do is get on your hands and knees. Bend your back down, and then lift your chest while pulling your shoulders back. Breathe, hold for 10 seconds, and then return to a flat back. As you return, tuck your chin into your chest, and raise your back. Hold 10 seconds, and then release. Repeat for two minutes. This is one of the best exercises to arch your back.
Arguably the easiest yoga pose is also one of the best and most beneficial. You are stretching almost your entire upper body. Get down on hands and knees. Now, rock your seat back onto your heels. Leave your hands on the floor and in front of you. Hold as long as you like. Just try not to fall asleep in this position.
For more information, feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900
By: Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T
El Paso Spinal Trauma Specialist