The term ‘Sciatica’ is no more an alien term for the general populace. We use this term so matter of fact today, as if, talking about our daily chores. Such a notorious ‘omnipresence’ of Sciatica, in our day to day living, can be attributed solely to our environmental surroundings and lifestyle mismanagement. The ingrained plushy comfort has limited our movement to just the ‘flexing of our thumb.’
Sciatica refers to a condition wherein pain affects the back, hip and the outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back. One of the main culprits leading to this is definitely “Wrong Habitual Pattern” developed over a period of time– again a lifestyle induced gift.
Approaching SCIATICA in TWO steps:
Step-1: to tackle the issue in its chronic state to restore your body to normalcy
Step-2: to work on strengthening the back as well as the core, as both are intricately and proportionally related. This will help you get rid of the problem on a long-term basis
Postural Alignment to be compulsorily ingrained in Lifestyle Management
The following 5 postures can help ease out the chronic condition:
Matsya Kridasana (Flapping Fish Pose)
Even though a very simple posture, performing this comfortably for a few minutes can be a great treat to your sciatic nerve, as this relaxes the lower back and helps relieve sciatic pain.
Marjarasana makes up an important aspect of even a physiotherapist’s list for backpain. Performing a few rounds of this cat and cow / cat and camel posture, in combination with each other, can release stiffness from the lower back and lubricate the whole spine by giving it a vertical, forward and backward stretch.
Vyagrasana (Tiger Pose)
Along with strengthening the neck and the arms, this posture provides a combined extension and contraction to the anterior as well as the posterior part of the spine, thereby, rejuvenating the spine with oxygenated blood flow. The leg movement in the posture, too, works on extension and contraction, thereby, giving a good massage to your sciatic nerve to help ease / release the pain.
Pawanmuktasana (Wind Release Pose)
As the name, Pawanmuktasana, suggests, this posture is very effective in releasing Pawan / Wind. In other terms, this helps release gas and is recommended for indigestion, acidity and back pain. The bending of the knee gives a lengthening effect to the whole of the sciatic nerve, thereby, easing the pain from that area.
You can choose to bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor in case of discomfort at the lower back.
Supta Padanghusthasana (Variation)
This variation of Supta Padanghusthasan specifically works on the sciatic nerve by stretching it from the root. In case, you are not able to hold your toes, you can use a strap or a belt to pull it up towards your head with exhalation.
Slowly keep flexing your toes in and stretching your heel out to optimize the stretch at the back of the leg.
It is important to assess the severity of the problem medically first. If permissible, perform 3-5 rounds of these sets, 2-3 times a day, for a period of 15 days. This should help settle the pain. The provided link will take you to the detailed description, as well as the video, of the asanas.
Once you are able to administer control at the chronic level of the problem, it is advisable to work on the foundation so that the problem can be annihilated and eliminated from its genesis. Asanas like Ardha Shalbhasana, Bhujangasana, Ushtrasana, Dhanurasana etc. should help in this directional process. Check the complete list of back strengthening asanas on my website.
Do not underestimate the efficacy of habitual pattern especially postural alignment in day to day activity. All your practice will go in vain and fail to yield fruitful results if you do not work on perfecting your postural alignment, on a continuous basis, which is the structural pillar for maintaining neutral position of the body.
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.