You might all be familiar with the saying “Sitting is the new Smoking”! Well, indeed its true, be it working from home or at office, the ongoing sedentary lifestyle with more sitting and lying down, and lesser activities have increased the risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, back pain, hip pain etc. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, back and hip pain is one of the most common health problems plaguing 1 out of 4 people nowadays, with sciatica being reported every now and then.
So, What Exactly Is Sciatica?
You might not be familiar with the medical term and most obviously have encountered the pain even before knowing what it is. Sciatica is actually the longest nerve in the body that stems out from the lower lumbar spine, runs throughout the lower back, deep into the buttock, moves down the back of each leg to the soles of your feet. When this nerve is pressed due to sitting for longer duration or having a wrong posture, the blood circulation in the area gets reduced. This exudes an intense pain known as Sciatica Pain making it extremely painful to do any work, stand or even sit. Apart from this, sciatica may also arise from spondylitis, a damaged or ruptured disc, a lower back injury, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, slipped disc, piriformis syndrome etc. and usually characterized by throbbing pain, soreness, tingling, heat, and even electric shocks.
Well, although there are different types of treatment but if you prefer a noninvasive one along with prescription medications, Yoga is your ultimate destination as it not only helps align, straighten, and strengthen the lower back but also relieve pain from the compression of the sciatica nerve. So, here are 5 restorative yoga postures that will gradually diminish sciatica pain.
5 Yoga Stretches To Provide Relief From Sciatica
Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
Lie flat on your back. Raise both your legs up, bringing your knees close to your chest. Now hold both your thumb fingers of the foot. Now, slowly stretch your legs and arms upwards. Make sure your chin is touching your chest, and you feel a stretch at the pelvic bone. Press the tailbone and the sacrum down to the floor while pressing your heels up, pulling back with your arms. Breathe normally and try holding the pose for 1 minute or as long as you can. Come back to Shavasana and repeat it 5 times.
Happy Baby Pose plays a pivotal role in stretching the entire body including the spine, hip joint, thigh muscles and lower back. It not only increases overall balance and stamina but also increases blood circulation and tones the muscles around the hip and lower back area. Practicing it regularly relieves sciatica pain in no time and is an extremely beneficial pose to calm the mind and de-stress the body.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
Sit straight with your legs stretched out and feet together. Bend your right leg and place the heel of your right foot beside your left hip. Slowly, take the left leg over the right knee. Put your right hand on your left foot and your left hand behind you. Twist the waist, shoulders, and neck to the left and look over the left side shoulder. Hold this posture and continue breathing in and out gently. Slowly return to the initial position and repeat in the same manner on the other side.
The twisting of the upper side of the body works on the whole spine and offers an excellent detox for the entire body. This asana not only flexes the spine but also stretches the shoulder, hips, and neck and energizes the entire spinal column. It is extremely beneficial for sciatica, menstrual discomfort, and backache.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)
Initially, sit about 3 inches from an empty wall. Lie onto the back and swing your legs upwards in such a way that the back of the thigh rests against the wall. Rest your entire back, i.e., the spinal column on the floor below and relax the arms on either side of the body or the tummy. Hold the position for 10 minutes or as long as you can and then slowly pull your leg back to the starting position.
This posture is one of the most relaxing ones that allow you to lie flat on the ground with your legs up without much twisting or turning. Not only does it allows lymphatic drainage, evens out blood circulation, but also releases pressure from the back and hip and relaxes tired feet and leg. Regular practice of this asana opens up the hip muscles and combats any pain and tightness in the hip area and also takes off the body weight from the knees.
Gomukhasana (Cow Pose)
Sit straight on the ground with your legs stretched out in front. Now gently bend your right leg and place it under your left buttock and fold your left leg and place it over your right thigh. Ensure that both the knees are on top of each other. Now fold your right arm and place it over your shoulder and your bend your left arm from beneath your back upwards so that both hands are stretched enough to touch each other. Keep your trunk straight and press your back on your arms. Now breathe in and out normally. Hold this for 1 minute, take 30 secs break and repeat 5 times.
The cow pose is pivotal for combatting sciatica as it helps in releasing endorphins, which induce a feeling of relaxation within your body and mind, therefore relieving the lower back and hip pain too. It is extremely beneficial for elongating the spine and correcting overall posture.
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder-Stand Pose)
Lie flat on the ground with your legs laid side-by-side and both arms resting on either side of the body. Swing your legs up in such a way so that your legs, buttocks and hip is up in the air and support your body with your elbows attached to the ground. While settling into the pose, ensure that the hold your body properly keeping your legs and spine straight. Hold the pose for 30-40 secs while breathing normally. Slowly bring down your legs back to Shavasana pose and repeat 2-3 times.
Deemed as the “Mother of all Poses”, the shoulder stand pose is pivotal to soothe the nerves and calm the mind. It even improves the blood flow in the upper part of the body and relaxes the muscles of the hip and buttock area. It is one of the quintessential yoga postures to correct sciatica pain and also provides relief from arthritis and other muscle pain.