One of the most common pain sites for my massage client’s is certainly that associated with Sciatica. Sciatica is a symptom of compression around the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain that stems from the lower back or hip then shooting into the outer side of the leg. There are various causes of this pain: herniated vertebral disks, tightness in the muscles surrounding the nerve, spinal stenosis, degenerative disks, and so on. While massage is extremely beneficial, and recommended for treating your Sciatica, following up with home care is important to speed up your healing process, and manage pain.
The goal is the create space around the sciatic nerve, and to strengthen the core muscles so that once the nerve as been released from it’s compression, the core muscles will stabilize the vertebrae enough to keep your body from reverting back into dysfunction. Yoga can provide you with a safe, at home physical therapy route to recovery so let’s move along into a routine of poses you can do for about 30 minutes a day that will guide your body back into balance.
Strengthen and Align
Locust Pose (Salambhasana in Sanskrit):
Using the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, and lower core muscles pull the legs upward, and squeeze the glutes simultaneously. This will tone the slow twitch fiber (postural) muscles in order to hold the body in alignment for long periods of time. Hold for 30 seconds, then release for 15 seconds doing 3 sets of 5 reps.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana in Sanskrit):
Pull your bum up off the ground and raise your hips as high as you can, while pulling your chest and rib cage toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds then release for 15 seconds, then continue on doing the rest of the 3 sets of 5 reps.
High Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana in Sanskrit):
Lengthen from the crown of the head, to the heels of the feet and keep the back perfectly straight as you pull your bellybutton into your spine with your abdominal muscles. This will strengthen the vital core muscles that hold your body erect throughout the day, preventing your vertebrae from crunching down on the sciatic nerve. Hold for 30 seconds, and release for 15. Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
Lengthening and Creating Space
Half Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana in Sankrit):
Perfect for lengthening the Gluteal muscles, switch off on each leg in order to reap the benefits of this asana. Bend your body forward to the floor while keeping the front leg perpendicular to the back leg to create even more of a stretch.
Plow Pose (Halasana in Sanskrit):
Gradually work your way from a lying positions into plow pose using your adominals to pull your legs up and over your head. Make sure to keep your head positioned forward and to not turn your head to the side in order to avoid putting unnesacary stress on the fragile cervical vertebrae. Hold the pose for several minutes and allow your attention to fall on the lengthening of the hamstrings, and the Quadratus Lumbordum muscles. With every exhale allow yourself to fall deeper into this pose creating a deeper expansion in those muscles.
Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit):
Feet positioned hip width apart, and hands shoulder width apart, pull your tail bone high into the air and your chest into your thighs feeling a pull from your hamstrings. Tons of lower back dysfunction begins in the hamstrings as the body is holistically intertwined. Breath here for several minutes and pedal your heels towards the ground to open up the back of the legs.
Hop your feet to your hands, and stand all the way up pulling your hands to the sky on an inhale. Exhale your hands down into prayer position, and bow your head saying “Namaste.”
Repeat this routine everyday for a month, then make it apart of your week by doing at least 2 or 3 days of practice to maintain your results.
Wishing you wellness,
Mindy Sheppard L.M.T.