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Effective Yoga Stretches For Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

Effective Yoga Stretches For Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

Sciatic nerve pain comes from a tenderness of pain along the sciatic nerve. It will usually show up on one side of the body, although there are sciatic nerves running down each each leg. They are connected at their core to several nerve roots that come from the spinal cord. The sciatic nerve runs between layers of your glutes and the deep muscles of the back of the thigh, down the outside edge of your leg and down to your feet.

What Is The Sciatic Nerve?

As the largest nerve in the body, when it becomes agitated, you’ll experience the symptoms in many ways. Nerve pain, weakness, and tingling can be felt in the buttocks, back of the thigh, and into the toes. In over 70% of the cases of sciatic nerve pain, it’s the tightness of muscles that causes pain, also known as the piriformis.

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Yoga is an ancient practice combining poses and movements which nurture the body. Some of these poses offer sciatic nerve pain relief. Yoga also has the ability to help you manage the pain through various poses that invoke positive energy.

Why Yoga Helps Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain

If your sciatic nerve pain is due to piriformis, there are gentle yoga poses that offer sciatic nerve pain relief. They can align, lengthen, and strengthen the back. Yoga is capable of managing and reducing problems that are caused by herniation, often reducing it. Gentle poses that include basic asanas include the half spinal twist and downward-facing dog. These poses align your spine as well as lengthen and strengthen the back. Be gentle with these poses, working on them progressively for a few minutes every day.

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Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)

This yoga pose will give the piriformis a mild stretch, encouraging the muscles to lengthen.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat in front of you.
  2. Take your right foot, put it under your left knee and around to your outer left hip. The right knee should be pointing forward.
  3. If your left sit bone is lighter on the floor than your right, lean into the left sit bone. This will be the stretch you’re looking for.
  4. Hold your left knee with both hands. Hold the pose and breathe in deeply while lengthening your spine. Breathe out and relax the spine.
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other side. Try doing this three times daily on each side, holding the pose for 20 seconds at a time.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

This pose does many things for the body and the mind, including a deep stretch for the hamstrings and lower back. Any pose that incorporates a good hip stretch is going to help with sciatic nerve pain relief. Tight hamstrings are connected with a tight piriformis, which further constricts the sciatic nerve.

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  1. Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Put your knees below your hips with your hands a little bit forward of your shoulders.
  3. Spread your palms with index fingers turned out a little and turn your toes under.
  4. As you exhale, lift your knees from the floor. Keep them slightly bent with heels lifted off the floor.
  5. Focus on moving your tailbone away from your pelvis, pressing it lightly toward the pubis.
  6. Lift your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  7. When you exhale, push the top of your thighs back, stretching your heels down on to the floor. Make sure not to lock your knees.
  8. Press the base of your index fingers into the floor. Feel yourself lifting along the inner arms to the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades and widen them. Make sure not to let your head hang, instead keep it between your upper arms.

Raja kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Sciatic nerve pain can be reduced with yoga poses that “passively” stretch your hips. You want to use poses that create an external rotation of the thigh. The King Pigeon Pose is known as the king of hip openers and is the strongest of all the piriformis stretches. As it’s a deep stretch, when you try it for the first time, stay on the edge of the stretch and breathe. This is going to allow the piriformis to release.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, bring your right knee forward and out to the right.
  2. Bring your right foot forward also until the heel is aligned with your left hip. Your shin should be at a 45-degree angle. In order to protect your knee, keep your foot flexed.
  3. In order to stretch the right piriformis, lean your upper body forward, tuck the toes under and walk the left leg until it’s straight back. This will allow your right thigh to rotate out passively. The hip will naturally descend to the floor.
  4. Make sure your hips are level to the floor and square to your mat. If your hip doesn’t reach the floor, use a blanket.
  5. Do this pose on the other side. Hold the poses for a few minutes, using your breath to go deeper into the pose.

Featured photo credit: Earl McGehee/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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