According to studies, the sciatic nerves are the longest and widest nerve in the body. It started from the lumbar spine run through the buttocks down to the legs. And because this nerve is so long, patients who are experiencing sciatica can feel the pain and symptoms around half the body where the nerves set in.
Sciatica is not a condition or an illness. It is a collection of symptoms that arise from the pressure of the sciatic nerves. Some of the symptoms of sciatica are the pain from the lower back down to the hips, buttocks and both legs; numbness or the loss of sensation in any of the lower back part of the body; tingling like pins and needles that may range from mild to hostile; and weakness in the affected leg or foot. There are cases where a patient feels pain in one leg and numbness to the other. The pain varies from mild to unpleasant sensation and sometimes felt like an electric shock running through the mentioned parts that is usually worse by sneezing or coughing.
Sciatica occurs when a condition causes compression of the sciatic nerve. Usually, age (age-related spine changes), obesity, diabetes, and occupation that requires long sitting or constant twisting are the risk factor of sciatica. However, injury and tumor are also some of the causes of sciatic pain.
Sciatic stretches can be very helpful to ease the pain of sciatica. Nevertheless, doctors remind patients to be extra careful in doing exercises. The stretches you watched on YouTube is done by professionals who are flexible enough. They suggest that when mimicking a specific exercise, try to adjust the position slightly, and if you feel better, that is the treatment that you want to pursue.
1. Worship Pose Stretches
Child’s pose is the easiest and gentlest stretch to ease the pain of sciatica. Start on all fours as you bring your toes to touch. Open your knees as you sit your hips on your heels and rest your head in front of you. You may use a block if your forehead doesn’t touch the ground.
Do a cat/cow exercise by coming to all fours—hands, and arms directly below your shoulders and knees directly below hips. Inhale as you lift your head (your tailbone will follow) and your belly releases to the floor. Exhale as you tuck your chin to your chest, pushing the ground away to round the back and the tailbone curls down. Repeat this five times following your breath.
2. Pigeon Stretches
According to an article, pigeon pose is a common yoga pose and it works to open the hips. Below are the multiple versions of it.
Reclining pigeon pose: While on your back, bring your right leg to your right angle clasping both hands behind your knees. Lift your leg and place your ankle on top of your left knee. Hold this position for a beat. When you release, repeat the process to your left leg.
Sitting pigeon pose: Sit on the floor with both legs lying straight in front of you. Lift your right leg and place your ankle on top of your left knee. Bend forward and reach for your left foot. Do the same process to your other leg.
Forward pigeon pose: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Place your right leg in front of your body as you stretch down and your head reaches the ground. Your right foot should be in front of the left knee while your right knee stays on the right. Do the same on the left leg.
3. Standing Twist
This exercise requires a chair for a partner.
Stand in front of the chair. Pick up your right foot and place it on the seat. Lengthen your tailbone down to the floor and your crown up to the sky. Twist gently to your right as you inhale, placing your left hand to your right thigh and your right hand to your hip. Exhale here five times and think about lengthening your spine. Repeat with the other leg.
4. Knee-Related Stretches
Knee hugs: Lie on your back, whole body stretches out. Inhale and use the strength of your core (not your lower back) to bring your right knees to your chest. Hug it for five breaths then release on an exhale. Repeat this method to your left leg.
Knee opposite to shoulder: Lie on your back. Bring your right knees up to your body clasping it with both hands then gently bring it to your left shoulder. Remember to bring it as far as it is comfortable. You should feel a relieving stretch in your muscle and not pain. Hold it there for 30 seconds then gently push it back on the floor. Repeat the process on your right leg 3 times then do it on the left leg after.
5. Sitting Stretches
Sitting spinal stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs stretches out and feet flexed upward. Bend your right knee and place your foot on the floor outside your left knee. Place your left elbow outside of your right knee to help you bend your body toward the right. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat thrice before doing to the other leg. Sciatica pain will be ease as the stretch create space in the spine to relieve pressure.
Seated Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs cross. Gently twist your body to the left placing your right hand to your thigh and your left behind you. Also, do to your right angle.
Lunging twist: Begin with a standing position. Take a big step forward with your right foot, bending the knee. Your left knee should be stretched out and touch the floor. Clasp your hand in a praying position in front of you then gently twist to your right. Hold for five breaths. Inhale before you do the same to your left foot.
Cobbler’s pose: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and soles touching. Slowly inhale and exhale before bending forward as if your heart is reaching for your toes. Breathe for five to ten breaths.
6. Supine Twist
Lie on your back with your arms stretches in a T shape. Pick your knees up to your hips. Inhale here. As you exhale release both legs to your right and stay it there for five breaths. Inhale again as you pick your knees back to your hips, and exhale as you release it this time on your left.
7. Thread the Needle
Lie on your back with your knees bend and your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right foot up to your left thigh resembling the shape of a number 4. Gently bring the shape to your chest clasping your hands behind your thighs. Breathe for five to ten breaths before releasing and repeating the method on the other foot.