Your two sciatic nerves are the longest and largest single nerves in the human body. They begin at the bottom of your spine, run through your pelvis (usually under your piriformis muscle) down each of your legs, and end in your toes. Because of the distance it covers, the location and severity of sciatic pain differ from person to person.
It is important to note that sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis, and addressing the underlying cause could prevent the symptom from persisting or returning. However, I have found yoga to be the biggest source of relief when it comes to my sciatica. Here is my recipe for relief:
- Pigeon pose or reclined pigeon pose for a nice hip opener.
- Legs up the wall (viparita karani) for restoration of the pelvic floor, increased circulation, and a nice hamstring stretch. I would encourage you to rest in this pose for at least five minutes.
- Marichi’s pose (marichyasana III) for a gentle spinal twist. A standing twist is a helpful variation if sitting on the ground is painful. You can do this by placing a chair against the wall, placing one leg on it, and leaning against the wall to twist. Deepen the stretch by standing on your tiptoes. Even though compression of the sciatic nerve typically happens on one side of the body, remember to do this pose for each side.
- Downward dog and child’s pose for alignment.
- Savasana (with a massage ball) for active rest. Massage balls can be great tools to self-massage, target knots, and release fascia. Simply place a massage ball (or tennis ball) underneath your buttock and relax into savasana. Do this on both sides, or if you have two balls you can do it on both sides simultaneously.
Please remember to be kind to your body by not pushing yourself into poses that are painful. Breathe deeply in each pose to feel the release of tension in the targeted areas.
Additionally, if your body allows, walking can offer pain relief. Just make sure to engage your core and take smaller steps so you don’t add to the strain. I also encourage you to alternate ice and heat on the painful area along with other other anti-inflammatory practices.
Sending wellness and healing your way!