If you are experiencing lower back pain or sciatica, you may benefit from certain yoga poses. Yoga is a type of mind-body therapy that can relieve physical pain as well as accompanying stress. Particular yoga poses for sciatic pain may strengthen and relax your body.
Yoga stretches for sciatica provide relief as they stretch the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve. They also help strengthen the glutes and lower spine, which also lengthens the lower portion of the spine. Some yoga positions for sciatica work by stretching and strengthening the hips and lower back. Yoga stretches for sciatica may also help you manage and reduce the symptoms caused by a herniated disc.
According to estimates, a slipped (herniated) disc causes about 90 percent of the cases of sciatica. A slipped disc occurs when the disc between two vertebrae shifts out of place and puts pressure on your sciatic nerve. Some other conditions that can cause sciatica are:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis — In this condition, the lumbar spinal canal in the lower part of the back becomes narrow.
- Spondylolisthesis — In this condition, one vertebra slips forward over another vertebra.
- Muscle spasm in the butt or back — The piriformis muscle in your butt can tighten up or become inflamed, pinching the sciatic nerve.
- Degenerative disc disease — In this condition, there is wear and tear of the discs between two vertebrae, which act as cushions.
- Spinal injury
Other factors that may worsen your sciatica pain include not being physically active, being overweight, sleeping on a soft (or hard) mattress, and wearing high heels.
Yes, yoga stretches for sciatica are helpful in relieving pain. According to research, when patients with sciatica used yoga postures for sciatica nerve pain along with pain relievers, there was a drastic improvement in the frequency and intensity of the problem. If the cause of your sciatica is a tight or inflamed piriformis muscle, then yoga is an excellent remedy.
There are many yoga poses for sciatic pain caused by herniated discs. If your pain gets better by doing certain sciatica yoga poses, make sure to do them routinely to prevent recurring symptoms. You can also do these yoga poses during your period.
These are five of the best yoga poses for sciatica pain relief:
- Bend your knees while lying on the back and place your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right leg up to a right angle and then turn your hip out so your knee points to the right.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee. Hold your hands behind your left thigh and lock your fingers.
- Stay in this pose for about 10 to 15 seconds. This sciatica yoga pose helps stretch the piriformis muscle that may become inflamed and press on the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
- Change the legs and repeat the pose. Perform three repetitions of this sciatica yoga pose on each side.
- Sit up straight in a chair.
- Your feet should be placed shoulder-width apart.
- Bring your left ankle up and place it on your right knee.
- Inhale deeply and push your left knee down with your left hand. Lift your left foot up slightly with your right hand.
- Stay in the pose for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Change the legs and repeat the pose. Perform three repetitions of this yoga pose for sciatica on each side.
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- Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop posture. Bring your legs together, straightening your toes back behind you.
- Lower your hips to your heels and extend your hands in front of you. Try to have your chest resting on your thighs. Your forehead should rest on the floor if it’s possible.
- Once your forehead touches the floor, bring your arms to the side of your legs so that they reach towards your feet. Turn your palms upwards.
- Remain in this yoga pose for sciatica for about 10 to 15 seconds. Perform three repetitions.
- Extend your legs in front of you while sitting on the floor.
- Cross your right leg over your left and place your right foot outside your left thigh.
- Tuck your left foot in by your right glute.
- Now place your right hand behind you, near your lower back. Keep your right arm strong and straight.
- Reach your left arm up. Now bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
- Remain in this pose for four to five breaths.
- Repeat this pose on the other side. Perform three repetitions of this yoga pose for sciatica on each side.
- Lie down on your belly.
- Bent your elbows straight back while your palms are on the ground under your shoulders.
- Anchor your pelvis to the ground.
- While pushing into your palms, lift your chest off the ground as much as feels good.
- Stay in the pose for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Perform three repetitions.
Make sure to drink plenty of water to maintain adequate hydration after doing yoga stretches for sciatica pain relief.
If you have sciatica, then yoga poses for sciatica may offer you great benefits. Quite often the main cause for sciatica is herniated or slipped disc, though some may be caused by a tight or inflamed piriformis muscle. Five of the best yoga poses for sciatica pain relief are the eye of the needle pose, pigeon in a chair, child’s pose, a simple seated twist, and cobra pose.
Though yoga may provide relief from sciatica pain, it may not be a suitable therapy for everyone. Remember to talk to your physician before proceeding with yoga exercises for sciatica.