Staying active when you are suffering from sciatic pain can be difficult. However, exercise is important to keep muscles moving, joints lubricated and to stay positive during a flare up.
Yoga is a great alternative to more vigorous exercise.
This ancient form of exercise is known for its gentle movements as well as its ability to strengthen and increase flexibility, so it can be really useful for treating sciatica.
Yoga can reach into the deeper layers of muscle
This low impact exercise stretches and lengthens muscles, making muscle movement easier. Certain forms of yoga hold poses for longer periods of time – up to five minutes. Holding poses, or asanas, for that length of time works deeper into the muscle. Working the deeper layers of muscle can help with pain relief, greater movement and flexibility.
Yoga and meditation release tension
It’s not just mental stress that can be eased by yoga but also physical tension, which can cause greater pain. When we are experiencing pain such as sciatica, our bodies tense up in response, sometimes referred to as muscle guarding. However, this natural reaction can cause further problems as our muscles tense up and our whole body begins to ache. Breath-focused meditation and yoga can help to release the tension in our bodies and relieve some of the pain experienced.
Staying positive and releasing tension is really useful as you recover from your sciatic a symptoms. If you are over the acute phase, when any kind of movement is painful, consider trying some gentle yoga to help with your recovery.
A great place to start with yoga is a sun salutation:
- Begin in the mountain pose, with your feet hip distance apart, your shoulders rolled back and your arms by your sides.
- Slowly fold forward, resting your hands on the mat.
- Rise up to place hands on your knees or shins and straighten your back.
- Forward fold once again.
- Plant your hands firmly on the floor and step back, one foot and then the other, into the plank pose.
- Lower to the floor so your belly is on the ground. Place your hands under your shoulders and raise your head into the cobra pose.
- Push up into the downward facing dog.
- Step your feet closer to your hands and pause in forward fold before slowly rolling up to stand.
From here you can build on your yoga practice. A great way to do this is to aim for up to ten sun salutations a day.