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Managing Sciatica With Yoga

7 July 2013

It is common knowledge that yoga is now a well established (and complementary) approach to managing a wide range of neurological and orthopedic afflictions. And the effectiveness of yoga applies even to the easing of sciatic nerve pain.

Along with being an excellent solution to alleviate pain and improve range of motion, regular yoga practice also works well to relieve the torment for those who suffer from sciatica, a pain (often intense) in the lower back running all the way down the leg. Yoga asanas (poses) that focus on the twisting and bending of the spine combined with stretching and strengthening of the muscles greatly helps to improve both spinal alignment and overall flexibility, this generally results in the reduction of the pressure on the sciatic nerve itself. These benefits are amplified when yoga practice is complemented by medical therapy.

What actually is Sciatica?

Sciatica is generally symptomatic of orthopedic/neurological conditions such as a herniated disk, lumber spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, actual sciatic nerve injury and/or piriformis syndrome. Sciatic nerve compression results and that cause inflammation accompanied by pain and limited of movement. The Sciatic nerve is the largest and longest single nerve in the human body, originating in the lower spine and extending all the way down the back of the leg to the toes. Sciatic nerve pain is typically felt in the lower back, subsequently radiating into the buttock and down the back of the leg.

Yoga benefits for Sciatica relief…

Sciatic pain often hampers daily activities and may even become debilitating to the point of leading to a sedentary life for those that suffer the condition. The more movement is restricted by the pain, the worse the muscles stiffen and that further complicates the problems. Alternatively, gentle yoga asanas stretch and relax the affected muscles, promoting greater flexibility and improving the body range of movement.

Regular yoga practice will help achieve:

Improved spinal stability, alignment and posture.

The release of undue nerve compression and inflammation.

Strengthening of the muscles of the spine, hips, groin and inner thighs.

Increases sense of body balance.

Stimulation of the nervous system to function optimally.

Improved blood circulation to the back, hips and legs providing sufficient nutrients and oxygen to muscles.

Recommended yoga poses for relieving the pain of sciatica:

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Strengthens the lower back and hips. The stretching of the muscles from this area releases the tension and improves muscle functioning and imparts improved range of motion.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana): This asana has a therapeutic application, soothing the sciatic nerve pain. This back bending posture stretches the muscles of the spine and buttocks, releasing tension and increasing the blood supply to hip area.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Strengthens the spine and firming the buttocks providing com

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