“Ah! My sciatica!” I’ve been hearing that from my grandmother since I was a child. She’s seventy-six now, so that’s about a quarter of a century that she’s been saying that. Probably longer because my brother remembers her talking about it too.
So what is sciatica? They’re the longest nerve in the human body. They start at the spine base and run right down through your thigh and calf muscles to your foot. You also have two of them.
The average person has about a 40% chance of experiencing some sciatica pain throughout their lives. It might not be chronic pain, but you could have trouble with it. That’s kind of a startling statistic until you learn that not all sciatica trouble causes pain. Sometimes it’s as simple as tingling in your legs or weakness in your knees.
Symptoms Of Sciatica Trouble
-Pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve in the lower back, buttock, back of the thigh, and/or calf.
-Fatigue, numbness, or loss of feeling in your legs and/or feet.
-An electric, tingling, burning, pinching, or a pins-and-needles feeling
-Weakness that can cause your knees to buckle when you stand up from sitting.
-Foot drop: a condition in which you are not able to flex your ankles enough to walk on your heels.
-Reduced reflexes in your Achilles tendon and knee.
What Causes Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica pain can be caused by herniation in your lumbar spine – this is the part of your spine that curves inward, near you lower-middle back. This is serious and you should consult a doctor about this immediately. But nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by piriformis. This muscle is one of a few small deep hip rotators that you use to turn your thigh out.
Reducing pain in your sciatica
In order to reduce pain in your sciatica, particularly if your pain is caused by the piriformis, there are a few back stretches you can perform that originate in yoga to help with stretch your lower back to help prevent or stop sciatica pain.
1.The Standing Back Twist
This is a great pose for people who aren’t bendy enough to start with some of these other poses. Put your foot up on a chair, and place the outside of your opposite hand on your raised knee (left hand to right knee or right hand to left knee) Place your other hand on your hip. Turning your upper body while keeping your hips facing forward hold the position for thirty seconds, then switch. Don’t push past where you’re comfortable.
2.The Knee Raise
Lying on your back draw one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Push down with your knee and pull up with your hands. Keep your shoulders on the floor.