Sciatica pain relief- Is surgery the only solution to sciatica pain? No, it is not. You can manage this health condition using some medications and doing exercises.
Sciatica pain relief could be as simple a maintaining a regular practice of some yoga asanas.
But before dishing out some of the effective yoga poses for sciatica pain relief, I need to know how much you know about this health condition.
Do you know the causes and risk factors? Are you sure the symptoms you feel are for sciatica? Do you think it might take forever to heal? Keep reading for detailed information on sciatica.
Sciatica: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Sciatica is a pain that arises as a result of an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from each side of the lower spine through deep in the buttock into the back of the thigh and then down to the foot. It connects the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles.
Sciatica pain varies in individuals. While some people feel very intense pain, the pain could be for some others. Most people confuse this health condition with lower back pain, but it doesn’t only affect the lower back.
So, let’s see the symptoms you might notice if you have sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica
- A shooting pain along the sciatic nerve; from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the back of either leg
- Numbness in the leg along the nerve
- Tingling sensation (pins and needles) in the feet and toes
- Freverent pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
- Weakness or difficulty carrying the leg, foot, and toes
- Difficulty to stand on your feet due to severe pain
This pain may worsen due to prolonged sitting or standing, coughing, sneezing, twisting, lifting, or straining.
Causes of Sciatica
- The lumbar herniated disc, also known as slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, or a pinched nerve. Sciatica is mainly the common symptom of a lumbar herniated disc.
- Degenerative disc disease: This disease affects the lumbar spine too. It is usually caused by old age leading to the wear and tear of the spinal disc. Sciatica pain or a pinch in the sciatic nerve is also associated with this health condition.
- Bone spurs happen as a result of spinal degeneration. When this happens, it may put pressure on a nerve, resulting in sciatica.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis: It is the slipping of one vertebral body forward on another.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Piriformis syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The joint at the bottom of the spine, when irritated, may cause sciatica pain.
- Scar tissue. If scar tissue—also called epidural fibrosis—compresses to a lumbar nerve root, it can cause sciatica.
- Muscle strain
- Spinal tumor
- Spinal Infection
- Fracture in a lumbar vertebra
- Chronic inflammation in or around the spine
- Internal bleeding
Treatments for Sciatica
For instant sciatica pain relief, some of the recommended treatments include medications, complementary and alternative remedies, and exercises.
Medications for Sciatica Pain Relief
For treatment using drugs, make sure you get your prescription from a physician.
And you must be careful, especially when you are pregnant. Some of the commonly prescribed medicines for sciatica pain include the following:
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants to ease muscle spasms
- Antidepressants to reduce pain perception in the brain.
- Cortisone medications
- In some cases, especially a ruptured disc, an injection of steroid medication into the space around the spinal nerve may be an option.
- For chronic sciatica conditions, Transcutaneous nerve stimulators (TENS units) is also a treatment option.
Physical Therapy for Sciatica
In severe cases of sciatica, the pains may cause some difficulty in being active. So, walking, standing, and doing some other things may be difficult.
This is the reason why some people suggest bed rest as a way of causing sciatica pain relief. Bed rest is, however not a long-lasting solution to sciatica.
You could go for an option of physical therapy when the symptoms of sciatica are not severe.
A physical therapist might suggest proper exercises and conditioning that may help reduce sciatic pain and prevent the pain from coming back.
Alternative and Complementary Remedies for Sciatica Pain Relief
Biofeedback and acupuncture are some of the alternative and additional remedies commonly used for treating sciatica.
The Biofeedback is a technique that helps make it possible to control bodily processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. This technique is probably useful for stress and stress-related conditions.
To use the acupuncture technique, needles are inserted at specific locations on the skin called acupuncture point for the stimulation of the central nervous system. This may lead to the release of chemicals that can alleviate pains.
Although these therapies are in constant use, they have not been shown by scientific studies to help sciatica.
Surgery for Sciatica
Only in very few cases that people use surgical operations to treat sciatica. Surgical procedures, for example, may be used to correct the sciatica condition caused by a ruptured disc.
Having taken a quick look at sciatica in detail, let’s go back to our topic of discussion. Which yoga poses are effective to reduce the painful symptoms of sciatica.
8 Yoga Poses For Instant Sciatica Pain Relief
Also known as the staff pose, Dandasana yoga pose is a seated pose that strengthens the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and chest.
It also promotes healthy circulation of blood to affected areas and releases the pressure built up in the sciatic area.
How To Do Dandasana
- Sit upright on the floor. Make sure your back is straightened, and your legs stretched out, making them parallel to each other.
- Point your feet upwards.
- Press your buttocks on the floor
- Adjust your head to make your crown face the ceiling to straighten and lengthen your spine.
- Bend your feet and press your heels together
- Put your palms next to your hips on the floor
- Relax your legs, and press the lower half of your body firmly to the floor.
- Breathe normally, and hold the pose for about 20 to 30 second
2. Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
This is yet another effective yoga asana to give your lower back and spine a good stretch. Hen sciatica is caused by a slipped disc; this cobra pose might be the perfect exercise to stretch the pain away.
How to Do a Cobra Pose
- Lie on the yoga mat with your belly and your legs fully stretched and slightly parted and toes touching the floor.
- Place your hands on both sides with palms facing down
- Put your palms beneath the shoulders
- Inhale and slowly lift your chest and head off the floor with your gaze fixed on the ceiling (this is the cobra posture)
- press your feet, hips, and thighs close to the floor
- Maintain this posture for 15-30 seconds
- Gently bring down your body and relax
3. Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)
This is yet another soothing pose for lingering sciatica pains. The pigeon pose stretches the muscle that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve and releases the built-up tension. Note that there are different kinds of pigeon pose.
This particular one is one of the highly effective ones for sciatica pain relief.
How To Do The Rajakapotasana
- Begin on your fours, placing your knees under your hips, and your hands a little ahead of your shoulders.
- Then, gently slide your right knee forward, such that it is just behind your right wrist.
- Place the right shin under your torso and bring the right foot in front of your left knee.
- Gently, glide your left leg backward
- Straighten your knee and then drop the front of your thighs to the floor.
- Press your right buttocks on the ground and place your right heels in front of your left hip.
- Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, bend your left leg at the knees. Then, push your torso back and stretch as much as you can so that your head touches your foot.
4. Salabhasana (the Locust Pose)
The Locust Pose enhances the lower back and promotes healthy circulation in the lower hip area. This helps release the sciatic pain because when there is a lack of circulation, pressure builds up in that region.
How To Do The Salabhasana
- Lie on your abdomen on the floor and put your both hands by your side.
- And as you take a breath, lift your legs and upper torso.
- Using your inner thighs, lift your leg upwards without bending your knees. Your weight must rest on your lower ribs and abdomen.
- Stay in that position for a minute, then release.
5. Setu Bandhasana
The bridge pose is good for enhancing flexibility and initiating movement in areas rendered stiff by sciatica. For sciatica pain relief, this yoga asana can be done with the utmost care to stretch the lower back and muscles of the buttocks.
How To Do The Setu Bandhasana
- Start by lying flat on your back on the ground.
- Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor hip-width apart.
- Place your arms next to your body, with your palms facing downwards.
- Breathe in, and raise your back off the floor.
- Roll in your shoulders, making your chin touch your chest without you having to move it.
- Hold your weight with your shoulders, feet, and arms.
- Tighten your buttocks and ensure your thighs are parallel to each other and the floor.
- Intertwine your fingers and push your hands harder to the ground to lift your torso higher.
- Hold still in this position for at least a minute. Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Exhale and release the pose.
6. Supta Padangusthasana
When you feel a slight tingling in your legs and buttocks, before it gets worse, you can try this pose for a stretch. It raises and flexes the muscles of the buttocks and also works on the muscles of your legs.
This, in turn, may cause the circulation of blood in part the lower limb to reduce pain.
How To Do The Padangusthasana
- Lie down on your back
- Stretch out your legs and flex your feet
- Breathe out and pull your right knee towards your chest
- Use two fingers and wrap them around the big toe
- Now, straighten and stretch your right leg up to the ceiling
- While your right leg is up, make sure your left leg is fully stretched out and firmly pressed to the ground
- Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes, relax and repeat the same on the second side
7. Sucirandhrasana (Eye of the Needle Pose)
Lower limb muscles are the point of focus with this pose. So, any pain from your lower back, down to your buttocks and feet, this pose could help reduce the pressure on the nerve.
How to the Sucirandhrasana
- Lie on your back
- Writhe your right knee and place the sole of your right foot flat on the floor
- Then flex your left knee and cross your left ankle to rest on your right thigh
- Interlock your fingers and hold firmly under your right thigh
- Lift your right leg and pull it toward your body holding tightly to the back of your thigh
- As your right leg comes toward your body, try to relax your left knee away from you.
- Release and redo the pose on the other side.
8. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Half Spinal Twist)
This pose works well for flexing the hips and muscles of the lower back. If you feel disturbed with some uncomfortable pains around this area, this easy-to-do yoga pose could be a solution.
How To Do Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Sit upright and stretch out your legs
- Place your feet together and make your spine erect.
- Then, bend your left leg such that the heel of the left foot lies next to the right hip.
- Put your right leg next to your left knee by taking it over the knee.
- Twist your waist, neck, and shoulders towards your right. Then set your gaze over your right shoulder
- Place your right hand behind you, and the left hand on the right knee.
- Hold in this pose for a while, about 30 to 60 seconds as you breathe slowly, yet deeply.
- Breathe out, release the right hand, the waist, chest, and then the neck.
- Relax and return to your erect sitting position
- Repeat this move on the other side.
Sciatica can be managed and adequately taken care of. All you have to do is to see a physician and know whether your condition is mild or severe.
In any case, when the tingling pain lingers, you can stretch your way out of the pain with some yoga poses for instant sciatica pain relief.