The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, beginning near the spine, in the lower back, and stretching out through the buttocks, to the back of the leg.
The pain in this nerve is extremely severe and leads to difficulties to stand straight and sit down.
The symptoms associated with sciatica pain most commonly occur on one side of the leg, the buttocks, or even the legs. In some cases, a person even experiences a burning or tingling sensation in the leg or numbness in the thigh and buttocks, as well as issues with the function of the bowels and bladder.
Some health issues contribute to the state of this nerve and cause pain, like lower back trauma, spinal stenosis, spinal disorders such as spondylitis, disc diseases, and cracked or damaged discs.
If not treated on time, this condition only worsens and the pain can seriously damage the everyday life and activities.
The pain in general starts slowly, usually when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or while sleeping, and gradually increases. The pain occurs while standing, sitting, or walking for a longer time.
In most cases, sciatica pain is treated with various pharmaceutical medications and conventional therapies, but experts suggest their patients do some physical exercise as well, like stretching, as in that way, the condition is significantly improved.
The Alternative Therapies in Health and medicine published a study 7 years ago, which included individuals experiencing moderate to intense back pain. They started practicing yoga and conventional therapies (using medications), and they experienced major relief after the exercises, and the intensity and frequency of their pain were drastically reduced.
These are some extremely beneficial yoga exercises that will help you alleviate and treat sciatica pain:
Staff Pose or Dandasana
This is a basic yoga stretch that will beneficially affect the sciatic nerve, stimulate the blood flow in the affected area, relax the legs and activate the lower back.
You should start in a sitting position, with the legs stretched in front of you, and the hands at the sides of the body. Press the hands on the floor. Next, flex the feet forward and the legs simultaneously. You should try and stretch the spine by bringing the back upward. Hold for 30 seconds, and breathe deeply. Then, relax for several seconds and repeat ten times.
Supported Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana
This exercise is especially useful for the buttocks, and effectively reduces the pain.
Start in a lying position. Bend the knees and keep the feet on the ground. You should place the heels towards the buttocks, and the arms and palms should be positioned parallel to the body.
Press the ground with the palms and feet in order to support the body, inhale deeply and elevate the hips off the floor. At the same time, push the tailbone up towards the pubic bone, while the head, neck, and shoulders remain on the floor.
Keep the knees placed apart and the lower back elongated. Hold for 15 seconds, exhale, and relax the body. Repeat this stretch 10 times.
Locust Pose or Shalabhasana
This exercise will stimulate the blood flow to the hips and support the lower back. Sciatica pain can sometimes be caused by irregular blood flow, as various body parts may be affected by pressure. Therefore, if you succeed to improve the blood flow, you will experience relief and healing. It supports the regular locust pose and has been confirmed to alleviate sciatica pain.
In a lying position, keep the face turned downwards to the floor, the arms on the sides and the palms turned outwards.
Place the toes touched and positioned downwards as well, touch the floor with the chin, while the neck is fully elongated, and the pubic bone pressed down. The neck should be straight, the shoulders close to each other, and the knees off the ground.
You should exhale as soon as you feel that you have reached the highest position. Hold for 8 seconds, and stretch the back. Then, breathe in again and spread the legs away from one another. Breathe out and bring them together again. Then, bring the body to the initial position, and rest for a minute, with the hand under the forehead. Repeat 5-10 times.
Spinal Twisting Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana
This stretch will release the tension in the back, reduce pain, and stimulate the circulation of blood.
While sitting on the mat, with the arms by the sides, stretch the legs. Bend the left knee, place the left foot outside the thigh of the right leg and grab the left toe with the right hand.
Place the left hand behind your back, and the upper body should be positioned to the left. Breathe in deeply. Hold for 60 seconds, return the legs to the starting position, and repeat the entire stretch once again.
Lie Back Big Toe Pose or Supta Padangusthasana
This is an incredibly helpful exercise, which supports the blood flow in the entire body.
While on the ground, with the back flat and the left knee bent, pull it toward the chest. Wrap it with an elastic strap around the ball of the foot and elevate the leg up. The feet should be opened and flexed, and the buttocks pressed against the ground.
Deeply breathe in and hold for 10 seconds. Lower the left knee back slowly towards the chest, and then return the leg to the floor. Repeat the stretch with the right leg as well.
Perform the exercise 10 times with both legs.
Pigeon Pose or Kapotasana
Sciatica pain may sometimes be caused by an irritation or a pressure on the sciatic nerve, which push it against the tendons beneath it.
You should rise up, and stand while relying on the palms and knees. Push the left knee forward, to place it behind the left wrist, and the foot of the left leg should be right in front of the right wrist. The chin should be at a 45-degree angle. Slide the right leg backward and push the body forward.
Hold for 5 seconds, inhale, and stretch the hand in front of the torso, so that the forehead is placed on the ground in a sleeping position. Remain thus for 30 seconds, and push the right thigh towards the floor, and the stomach in, to maintain the balance.
Elevate the head, pull the hands back. Next, tuck the toes of the right leg, while the left leg is pulled backward.
Repeat the stretch 10 times, and make sure you switch the legs after every repetition.
These yoga stretches are incredibly beneficial in the case of sciatica pain, as they will surely alleviate pain and provide relief, at least for a certain period of time.