Strike a pose: How yoga can help relieve sciatica pain

If you are living with pain from sciatica, the thought of exercising — or moving much at all — is not very appealing. Sciatica and many other spine conditions can render simple actions like running or even sitting a painful experience. But, did you know that participating in yoga may actually help relieve your symptoms?

What is sciatica?

First, let’s review what causes sciatica. This condition isn’t actually a disease or an injury. Rather, it is a distinct group of symptoms that can occur when the body’s sciatic nerve — the longest and largest nerve in the body — becomes compressed or irritated, most often from a degenerative condition such as a herniated disc or bone spur. Sciatic nerve compression is usually characterized by shooting pain, tingling sensations, numbness and muscle weakness in the lower body, often in one leg.

How can yoga help?

In short, yoga may help relieve the symptoms of sciatica by stretching, strengthening and aligning the muscles that support the spine. It may be tempting to lay on the couch for hours at a time while dealing with sciatic nerve pain, but this approach may actually weaken the spine and make your symptoms worse.

When engaging in yoga for back pain relief, take things slowly and gently. Consider performing poses and moves that focus on stretching back, hip and hamstring muscles, including:

  • A simple seated twist
  • A standing twist
  • A standing hamstring stretch
  • Cow’s face pose
  • King pigeon hip stretch
  • Downward dog pose

Before rolling out your yoga mat, though, be sure to consult with your physician. He or she may be able to suggest stretches and exercises that are appropriate for your specific sciatica symptoms.

Laser Spine Institute offers the latest advances in minimally invasive outpatient spine procedures to patients with severe sciatica that does not respond to conservative treatments. Contact us if you cannot find adequate relief from your sciatic nerve compression. One of our team members can assist you in determining if you are a candidate for treatment.

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