NO ONE TOLD ME HOW GREAT YOGA WAS FOR MANAGING SCIATICA AND BACK PAIN…
I used to dread long flights and sitting for several hours in a confined space. My hamstrings would begin to tighten from the inactivity, and I just knew a brutal sciatic flair up was about to happen. My psychic powers were always confirmed as that subtle stabbing pain set in behind my right knee. Eventually that pain would sharpen and burn while traveling up and down my right leg. Once the pain reached my lower back it would disperse into a web of pulsating fire and there was not much I could do besides breathe.
Sciatica is characterized as nerve pain that travels one side of the body which is generally caused by a herniated disc in the spine. (1) It affects men more often than women. (2) It's more common in your 40's and 50's and (3) it spontaneously resolves itself within a few days up to a few weeks. However, my sciatica is related to a back injury that I sustained in college. Therefore none of the typical parameters of sciatica applied to me. I'm biologically a woman; the pain began in my twenties, and it has also chronically occurred for the last ten years. Lucky me, am I right?!
Managing the pain.....almost...
Initially, I resolved to manage it through strength training exercises for my abs and back. I pounded through deadlifts and ab workouts then eventually my core and back were stronger than they'd ever been. However, the flair ups didn't stop. It was then I realized a stronger core and back were only ONE piece of the puzzle. Sciatica pain is notoriously triggered by muscle tightness, specifically in the hamstrings and butt. Women who strength train always battle muscle tightness so the answer was clear to me. The other piece of the puzzle I was missing was an improvement in my overall flexibility.
Managing the pain...for good...
My first couple of at-home sessions using the Yoga Studio App were HARD. I could barely get through one session. In all honesty, I felt embarrassed of my general lack of flexibility, but it was a challenge that I was up for nonetheless. Eventually, my groans of pain became moans of relief and my sciatica symptoms improved dramatically. The dramatic improvement made me a believer, and now yoga is a permanent aspect of my fitness regimen.
With each session, the deep stretches, stability poses, and strengthening poses play a pivotal role in my sciatica prevention. Therefore, naturally, I wanted to share my experience and tips with all of you.
A couple of tips....
For immediate sciatica relief, focus on stretching poses like the pigeon pose and the reclining pigeon pose. For sciatica prevention concentrate on both flexibility poses and stability/strength poses like the full camel or standard back bend. Try to dedicate a few fifteen to thirty-minute sessions each week in the beginning stages and see where the journey takes you.
Without further ado, here a some of the yoga poses to which I credit my sciatica relief and prevention.
Full Camel Pose
Standing Back bend
Standard Forward Bend
Cork Yoga Block (Set of 2)
$20 at time of publication
WWWW PIDO TPE Yoga Mat
$33 at time of publication
ATIVAFIT Sports Yoga Wheel
$29 at time of publication