Sciatica appears as pain or tenderness along the sciatic nerve, usually affecting just one side of the body. Running from the base of the spinal cord all the way down through your legs to the outside of each foot, the sciatic nerve is the longest in your body. When it becomes irritated, anything from mild tingling to severe pain can result.
Given that up to 40% of adults are likely to experience pain from sciatica at least once in their lives, it is crucial to be aware of the most effective forms of chiropractic care for sciatica. Your chiropractor may suggest the following yoga poses to help relieve discomfort.
1. Half Spinal Twist
The half spinal twist, or Ardha matsyendrasana, is a mild stretch for the small piriformis muscle. Simple stretches like this are important in treating sciatica pain.
- Sit down, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor in front of you.
- Slide your right foot underneath your left knee until your right leg is flat on the ground and your right knee is pointing straight forward.
- Put your left foot flat on the floor on the inside of your right knee (for a mild stretch) or the outside of your right knee (for a stronger stretch).
- Lean slightly to the left to begin stretching your left hip. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.
2. Simple Seated Twist
This pose results in deeper stretching of the hips and piriformis muscle.
- Begin in the proper position for the half spinal twist.
- After leaning slightly to the left, put your left hand on the floor behind you, hold your left knee with your right hand and twist your body toward your right knee.
- As the stretch deepens, use your left hand to pull your knee into your chest. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times before alternating sides.
3. Standing Twist
The standing twist also stretches the piriformis muscle.
- Begin with a chair placed firmly against the wall.
- To stretch your right hip, stand with your right shoulder against the wall and put your right foot on the chair until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.
- With your left leg straight, bring your left heel off the ground until you’re standing on tiptoes and turn your body until you are facing the wall.
- Using the wall for balance, lower your left foot until it is flat on the floor again. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat for the other side.
4. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Along with the piriformis muscle, tight hamstrings are another major cause for sciatica pain. Despite being one of the simplest poses, a good hamstring stretch performed before any mild to strenuous activity can go a long way toward avoiding pain in the first place.
- Extend your left leg straight forward and put your left foot on something for support (table, chair, railing, etc.) and keep your toes pointing upward.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.
- If a deeper stretch is required, lean forward over your outstretched leg and reach for your upturned foot while ensuring your spine and both legs remain straight.
If you’re still not sure which poses are best for you, a representative at Michigan Chiropractic Specialists can provide more information regarding chiropractic care for sciatica in West Bloomfield, MI.