Winter is here and that means freezing temperatures that have us hiding in our houses under multiple blankets, hot tea in one hand, and a good book in the other. As much as we relish this time to reset and relax indoors, without the hustle and bustle spring and summer bring, winter does have its downsides. Besides the cold and darkness, winter does encourage quite a bit of hibernating. While having a restful winter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, too much time spent stationary can wreak havoc on our bodies. One possibility that can arise when we don’t make time for movement is discomfort or pain in our sciatic nerve.
What is the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is a branch of nerves that run from your lower back through your hips and butt and down each leg. When we experience pain in this area, it is often referred to as sciatica. Sciatica is most often caused by compression, irritation, or injury of the nerve or surrounding vertebrae.
What Are Symptoms of Sciatica?
Sciatica entails pain radiating down and around our sciatic nerve. Though we have a sciatic nerve on each side of our hips, it usually only affects one side. A herniated disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine can compress the nerve and cause sciatic pain. Tight, overused, or injured muscles can be responsible too. In addition to pain, some people suffering from sciatica numbness experience numbness.
The most common symptom of sciatica is pain radiating from your lower spine, into your butt, and down the back of your leg. Pain can be mild or sharp, feel like a burning sensation, cooling sensation, or pain. Some even describe the feeling as an electric shock. While long bouts of sitting, like we tend to do during the winter months, cannot cause sciatica on its own, it can worsen the issue.
Mild sciatica tends to go away over time with the appropriate measures. Yoga and other self-care practices can help alleviate your symptoms and may get rid of them altogether.
How Can Yoga Help With Sciatic Nerve Pain?
It’s no secret that yoga is one of the best forms of self-care. Practicing yoga regularly isn’t just great for your physical health, but your mental health too. During these long, dark winter months, rolling out my mat is how I stay active and keep my mind and body flowing correctly. For sciatica pain, certain yoga poses can reduce chronic lower back pain, improve your mobility, and even reduce the need for pain medications. If you could use a little help mastering your movement during the winter season and tackling lower back pain simultaneously, check out these yoga poses.
Yoga Poses For the Sciatic Nerve
There are a lot of great poses for the sciatic nerve. Try my free class on YouTube here.
This pose stretches and strengthens your spine, improving flexibility and promoting circulation.
The Locust Pose strengthens the muscles in the spine, glutes, and thighs, where the sciatic nerve resides. Strengthening these muscles helps stabilize the nerve. The pose also stabilizes your core and lower back, as well as promotes flexibility and circulation in your hips.
Reclined Pigeon Pose
Reclined Pigeon Pose is fantastic for those with mild or chronic lower back pain. Pigeon pose stretches your glutes and hips, and reclines pigeon pose does that same while supporting your lower back and removing some pressure from your hips.
This pose stretches and lengthens your spine, helping to relieve pain and tension from your lower back.
Wind Relieving Pose
Also known as the knees-to-chest pose, this asana is excellent for relieving tightness in the lower back, glutes, and hips.