The sciatic nerve is the longest one in the body and it begins at the base of the spine and goes down through the muscles of the thigh and calf to the foot.
Every single person has around a 40% chance of suffering sciatica pain during his lifetime, and even though the pain may not be chronic, it is often intense and incredibly unpleasant. Yet, not all sciatica issues lead to pain, as at times, they may only lead to weakness in the knees and a tingling sensation in the legs.
These are the most common symptoms of sciatica issues:
- along the sciatic nerve, felt in the lower back, buttock, back side of the thigh or calf.
- A tingling, electric, pinching, burning, or pins-and-needles sensation
- Weakness that leads to buckling of the knees as soon as you stand up from a sitting position.
- Reduced reflexes in the knee and Achilles tendon.
- Foot drop: the condition when you cannot flex the ankles enough in order to walk on the heels.
- Numbness, fatigue, as well as a loss of feeling in the feet and/or legs.
Causes of sciatica pain
This pain may be a result of a herniation in the lumbar spine. It is the spine part which curves inward, close to the lower-middle back. If you experience this pain, you should immediately consult your doctor in order to treat it properly.
However, around 70% of all sciatica cases occur as a result of the piriformis, which belongs to the rare small muscles that rotate the hip and help you turn the thigh out.
Alleviating sciatica pain
There are several back stretches that can help you alleviate sciatica pain, especially if it is a result of the piriformis. these stretches are actually yoga poses that successfully stretch the lower back and thus prevent or reduce sciatica pain.
Here is how to perform them:
This one is the easiest one and you should just get down on the hands and knees, rock the seat back onto the heels, and keep the hands in front of you, on the floor. Remain in this pose as long as you can.
The Seated Twist
In a sitting position, keep the legs straight in front of you and bend one leg at the knee. Place it on the outside of the knee of the other leg. You can choose whether to keep the leg straight of curl it up.
Next, place a hand flat behind you, on the ground, and the opposite elbow should be kept on the outside of the bent knee. Your legs should point forward while the face is turned behind you.
The Twisted Lunge
Bend one leg at the knee and step forward. The other leg should remain behind. Keep the feet apart, and turn the back while placing the opposite elbow on the outside of the bent knee. Your palms should be kept together, and you should remain in this position for half a minute.
The Cat Pose
Your body should rest on the knees and hands. Bend the back down and raise the chest as your shoulders are pulled back. You should breathe deeply and remain thus for 10 seconds. Next, return the back to a flat position, tuck the chin into the chest and lift the back. Remain thus for 10 more seconds, and release. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
The Single Knee Twist
While lying on the back, with one leg straight, bend a knee to a 90° angle, and put the opposite hand on it. The arm should remain still on the ground, and the shoulders should remain on the floor.
The Two Knee Twist
Lying on the back, splay the arms in order to create a capital “T”. The shoulders should remain on the floor, and the knees should be turned outwards to one side. Remain in this position for 1 minute, and then repeat on the opposite side.
The Standing Back Twist
This yoga pose is suitable for beginners, or as a starting point of the exercising session. Place the foot up on a chair, and put the outside of the opposite hand on the raised knee.
Then, put the opposite hand on the hip, and start turning the body as your hips are faced forward. Hold for half a minute, and then alternate sides. Push just as long as you feel comfortable.