By request! Pain in general can wear you down; sciatica can feel agonizing and intractable. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in your body, and while sciatica can have many causes, we usually think of it as low back pain that radiates down one leg that might also cause muscle weakness, or pins and needles in the leg, foot or toes.
Two key principles when working with sciatica (or any low back pain for that matter):
(1) you need to tone at minimum the muscles below the pain OR the entire pelvis since these support the spine and will allow the body to let go of the area surrounding the pain, and
(2) always stabilize and strengthen before stretching.
These 5 exercises, along with self massage with a ball, can be done individually or altogether. The exercises include:
- Hamstring leg lifts (from locust or tabletop or supported down dog). Don’t forget to coordinate your breath here: inhale to raise the leg and exhale to lower.
- Slow hip circles from tabletop or standing
- Standing hip strengtheners (optional: use a resistance band around your ankles). Remember to breathe!
- Sciatic stretch, crossing one foot in front of the other, taking a bow and exploring where you feel the most sensation.
- Pigeon, either seated or standing with support under the shin
- Bonus!!! Ball work — loosening around the sides of your hip, and then coming to the fleshiest part of your bottom and exploring “tender but not traumatic” points around there.