Best Yoga Sciatica Exercises and Sciatica Yoga Poses

Sciatica nerve is the longest nerve in the human body almost equal to 2 cm. This nerve is responsible to help us feel and control our legs. It extends from the base of the spine till our foot and runs through the thighs and calf muscles. 

When one develops Sciatica pain, it affects the back, hip, and lower part of the leg. It is a very common pain experienced by 4 in every 10 people. The imaging tests like X-ray and MRI are done to identify the cause of compression of the sciatica nerve.

Causes of Sciatica

The most common reason that causes Sciatica is slipped (herniated) disk. In most of the cases, it is caused by sitting for long hours or lifting heavyweights. This condition is more likely to occur with obesity and old age. People suffering from diabetes are more likely to suffer from Sciatica. In some cases, it can be caused by injury as well.

Herniated disk

The spinal bones also known as vertebrae are separated from each other by cartilages. When the cartilage is ripped and is exposed the condition is called a slipped disk or herniated disk. As a result, one experiences pain in the lower back.

Spondylitis

Spondylitis is a medical condition which is caused due to inflammation of the spine. The inflammation is caused due to injury, infection or old age. It is one of the causes of Sciatica. 

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis muscle connects the lower portion of your spine to thigh bones. This is a syndrome which causes rare neuromuscular disorder in which the muscle contracts or tightens involuntarily. The syndrome worsens when you sit for long hours.

Additionally, there are other conditions which may trigger the cause of Sciatica:

  • People suffering from diabetes are more vulnerable to Sciatica.
  • Old age increases one’s risk to Sciatica.
  • People having desk jobs are at high risk as they sit for long hours.
  • Smokers are prone to develop Sciatica conditions.

Symptoms of Sciatica

  • Sciatica causes pain and tingling sensation in feet and toes like the sensation of pin and needle. 
  • It causes numbness or weakness in the leg anywhere along the nerve i.e. lower back, buttocks and legs. 
  • The pain experienced in the lower back, hips or legs worsens with movement.
  • When you are unable to flex your ankles sufficiently while walking, it is also commonly referred to as foot drop.
  • You face a reduced number of reflexes in Achilles tendon and knee.
  • You may experience the inability to control your bladder or bowel movements.
  • Weakness experienced in your knees when you try to stand up from sitting.

Treatment for Sciatica

Sciatica can be treated by physical therapy, massage and by application of heat and ice packs. One can take medication such as painkillers for the treatment of sciatica. Surgery is also an option for the treatment of sciatica. 

  • Lumbar laminectomy is a kind of surgery in which we widen the spinal cord in the lower back to reduce pressure on the nerves. 
  • Discectomy is another type of surgery in which the herniated disk is partially or completely removed.

Lifestyle changes for Sciatica

There are some effective methods which help maintain your back in good condition in day to day life. 

  • The core muscles play an important part in keeping your back in good shape i.e. abdomen and lower back. You must exercise your back muscles regularly.
  • People often resort to slouching when sitting for long hours. This can be quite harmful in the long run. You should always maintain the correct posture whenever you sit.
  • You should be careful when lifting heavyweights. The heavyweights can cause damage to your back if lifted in a wrong manner.

Yoga for Sciatica

Apart from these changes that you must adapt in life, you should also practise yoga Sciatica exercises. Yoga exercises for sciatica have innumerable benefits when practised regularly. 

Practising Sciatica yoga poses is the most effective treatment for this medical condition. There are several Sciatica exercises and Sciatica Yoga poses which can relieve the pain. The exercises and yoga poses are also beneficial in the long run not only for treatment but also for prevention.

Yoga poses for Sciatica

Yoga is undoubtedly an easy and effective method to workout. Yoga is beneficial in relieving all kinds of pain. It is helpful in the treatment of chronic pain as well as the prevention of the same. Yoga exercises for Sciatica can be very useful for people suffering from this condition. 

Here is a collection of Yoga exercises for Sciatica:

Embryo’s Pose

We tend to sit for long hours during work. This causes pain in our lower back. Lower back pain could result in straining of Sciatica nerve. The Embryo’s pose helps you relax your back muscles. This yoga exercise for sciatica is considered a very effective method to loosen the tightness in the lower back. 

Embryo’s Pose
  • The first step is to stand on your hands and knees as a tabletop. 
  • Untuck your toes and bring your legs together.
  • Try to sit with heels on your hips.
  • Move forward with the help of your hands, so that your chest rests on your thighs and your forehead to the ground.
  • When your forehead is on the ground, put your hands down along the legs, so that the hands reach your feet.
  • Your palms should be facing up.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica position for 10 breaths.

Bridge Pose

The bridge pose helps stretch the tight hip flexors. It helps to strengthen the core. It is known to be a good Yoga Sciatica exercise to prevent sciatica injury. The bridge pose is also one of the best yoga poses to lose weight.

Bridge Pose
  • The first step is to lie on your back with feet on the ground and knees bent.
  • Put your arms beside your body with your palm facing down.
  • Your feet should be apart from each other almost equal to the hips length.
  • Try to bring your feet close to the body like you are walking backwards.
  • While exhaling, press your palm to the ground.
  • When you inhale, lift your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 8 slow breaths.
  • At last, lie on your back coming down one vertebra at a time.

Pigeon Pose

The pigeon pose is a yoga exercise for sciatica which is helpful to alleviate the tightening and pinching of Sciatic nerve by releasing the back, glutes and hips.

Pigeon Pose
  • The first step is to stand on your hands and knees, also called the tabletop position.
  • Place your right leg on the mat such that the upper thighs and shin face the mat.
  • Place your left leg straightened behind you while untucking the toes.
  • The left leg should be in line with the left hip.
  • Then, you would feel a stretch through your right outer hip and lower back.
  • Place your chest lifted and inhale deeply.
  • Walk with your hands forward to the top of the mat with your palms facing the mat, exhaling while doing so.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 slow breaths.
  • If you find difficulty, you can lower your forearms to the mat for comfort.

Supine Figure No 4 Pose

The Supine Figure no 4 stretch is a yoga exercise for sciatica which helps in relieving the compression of the Sciatic nerve. It enables the stretching of glutes, piriformis and lower back.

yoga exercises for sciatica
  • The first step is to lie down on your back.
  • Bend your knees, place your feet on the mat.
  • Place your feet apart from each other almost equal to the length of your hips.
  • Then, bend your left knee, place your left ankle on the right knee on the thigh.
  • Put your left ankle above the right knee on the thigh, bend your right knee.
  • Pick up your right leg, hold it with your hands.
  • Maintain your head and shoulders on the mat.
  • Pull your right thigh towards you.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 breaths.
  • Repeat the same for the other leg.

Baddha Konasana

This yoga exercise for sciatica is for relieving compression of lower back and hips.

yoga exercises for sciatica
  • The first step is to sit on the mat.
  • Achieve a butterfly position by bending the knees and joining the feet together.
  • Stretch your spine by sitting tall and inhale while doing so.
  • Move forward with your hands while exhaling.
  • Fold your hands over your thighs.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 breaths.
  • Inhale and sit back to your starting position.

Janu Sirsasana

This is the best yoga exercise for sciatica if our concern is about opening up the hamstrings. This yoga pose for sciatica relieves the tightness in hips and glutes. This pose helps a person in the ability to forward bend and improves the overall range of motion. This Janu Sirasana is one of the best stretching yoga poses that helps improve flexibility of body when performed regularly.

Janu Sirsasana
  • The first step is to sit on the mat.
  • Stretch the right leg forward.
  • Bend your left knee to touch the left feet on your right inner thighs.
  • Stretch your spine by sitting tall and inhale while doing so.
  • Extend your hands above your head.
  • Tug your navel inside to engage your core.
  • Lengthen your arms and chest forward to hold the bottom of your right feet while exhaling.
  • Try to bend and touch your chest on your leg or as down as possible.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 breaths.
  • Repeat the same on the other side.

Crossed Ankle Forward Fold

This yoga exercise for sciatica is really helpful for relieving tension in the lower back, hamstrings, tensor fascia latae and gluteus medius. It is beneficial in preventing or reducing compression on the Sciatica nerve.

Crossed Ankle Forward Fold
  • The first step is to stand up on the mat.
  • Then you have to cross the right ankle ahead of the left leg and position both feet on the ground.
  • Keep your back straight and fold forward with the thighs.
  • Bend the knees as much as required.
  • Put your hands on the mat.
  • Move right with your hands, on doing so you would feel your hip and hamstrings stretching.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 breaths.
  • At last, move your hands to the centre and slowly stand up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Knee Raise

This is a very simple and effective yoga exercise for sciatica. It can also be done as a part of stretching in all kinds of workout. 

yoga exercises for sciatica
  • The first step is to lie on your back.
  • Pull your right knee to the chest, keeping your left leg straight.
  • Make a downwards push motion from your knee
  • Make a pull-up motion from your hands.
  • Ensure that your shoulders are on the floor during the entire workout.
  • Hold the yoga pose for sciatica for 8 slow breaths.
  • Repeat the same exercise for the other leg.

Single Knee Twist

This is one the best yoga exercises for sciatica and is effective in relaxing tension in the lower back and hips.

Single Knee Twist
  • The first step is to lie down on your back.
  • Keep the left leg straight.
  • Bend your right knee to 90 degrees.
  • Place your left hand on the right knee.
  • Move your right knee to your left, beyond your left leg, try to touch the floor.
  • Place your left hand on the floor in line with your shoulders.
  • Turn your head towards your right to the maximum.
  • Ensure that your shoulders do not leave the ground.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 8 breaths.
  • Repeat the same exercise for the other leg.

The Cat poses

This is one of the easiest yoga exercises for sciatica. Thus, it can be performed by anyone.

yoga exercises for sciatica
  • The first step is to get on your hands and knees.
  • Bend your back, lift your chest and arch your shoulders back.
  • Hold this yoga pose for sciatica for 4 breaths.
  • Return to normal position.
  • By tucking your chin in your chest, raise your back.
  • Hold this pose for 4 breaths.
  • Return to normal position.
  • Repeat it 6 times.

Sciatica advice and care

  • You must never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, as it can prove harmful to your body.
  • You must stop the yoga exercises for sciatica if you experience pain. 
  • Since Sciatica causes pain on one side of the body you will be able to perform yoga poses for sciatica better on one side of the body compared to the other and this is completely normal.
  • You must refer to a doctor or a physical therapist if your pain lasts for more than a month or it gets severe.
  • If you experience Sciatica pain during pregnancy, avoid doing yoga exercises for sciatica that put pressure on your stomach.

These yoga exercises for Sciatica are easy and effective. The exercises can be done from the comfort of your home. Initially, the yoga poses for Sciatica might seem difficult but you would get comfortable by practice. So, do not hesitate if you have never done yoga. You can start with just one or two Sciatica yoga poses and later practise the other ones after you gain confidence.

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