The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve, the largest single nerve in the body, runs from the lower back, down the back of each leg and is composed of individual nerve roots that start by branching out from the spine in the lower back and combine to form the sciatic nerve. Among various sciatica pain relief measures, yoga is considered to be the most effective way of handling sciatica pain.
Sciatica Is Not A Disease
Sciatica (sigh-at-ih-kah) in itself is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying medical condition and is referred as one or more of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in the lower back….one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- Difficulty in standing up or walking.
[Read: Yoga Practices during Pregnancy]
Most Common Causes Of Sciatica
- Lumbar herniated disc: Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, or a pinched nerve.
- Degenerative disc disease: Diagnosed when a weakened disc results in excessive micro-motion at that spinal level, and inflammatory proteins from inside the disc become exposed and irritate the area.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Small stress fracture results in a vertebral body to slip forward on another.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: Characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Piriformis syndrome: Caused by the piriformis muscle pinches a nerve root of the sciatic nerve.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: Caused by irritation of the sacroiliac joint.
- Pregnancy:Weight gain, a shift on one’s center of gravity, and hormonal changes, can cause sciatica during pregnancy.
- Scar tissue: Occurs when a scar tissue compresses the nerve root.
- Muscle strain: Inflammation from a muscle strain can put pressure on a nerve root.
- Spinal tumor: Tumors in the lower back can pinch nerve root.
[Read: Herbal Treatments for Sciatica]
Possible Treatment Options
Most doctors recommend bed rest. Other treatment options for sciatica include medications to relieve pain and inflammation (including oral and injectable cortisone) and relax muscles, massage and physical therapy. Lower back conditioning and sciatica stretches help alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. Surgical procedures can sometimes be required for persisting sciatica that is caused by nerve compression at the lower spine.
How To Relieve Sciatica Pain By Yoga Poses?
This instructional video below provides simple Yoga stretches for sciatica pain relief