Sciatica is a pain in the butt! Anyone who has ever experienced it will tell you first hand it can be debilitating. For the last several years I have struggled on and off with sciatica. My hip, low back and leg have all felt the effects. Yoga has helped me manage the flare ups but I wanted to do more than manage I wanted to prevent it from occurring. To do that, I needed to dig deeper and find the root cause of my pain. Which led me to visit a local chiropractor and I’ll be honest, I’m still a little nervous about the popping and cracking. He was able to pinpoint my issue with an x-ray. We found out that my spine is curved and my muscles have been compensating for the imbalance which has more than likely led to my back pain and sciatica.
Our bodies are unique based upon our unique lifestyles and experiences. We must first accept our bodies as they are and work with what we have in order to optimize our health and wellbeing. While I realize I will not be able to completely cure my curved spine, I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. The more you know about your body the more you can help it to function at its highest level. So I wanted to share a little bit about my journey and offer you some tips that have worked for me.
1) Pillow. Since I’m a side sleeper, sleeping with a pillow between my knees helps to keep my hips and spine aligned and prevents soreness and stiffness the next morning.
2) Ice. Ice helps to reduces inflammation of the sciatic nerve which helps relieve the pain.
3) Tennis balls. Place two tennis balls in a sock and use them to roll up and down your spine, butt and hips. As for long term care and prevention, a roller is probably a better option when you are not experiencing pain but I often find my roller hurts too much when I’m in already in pain so I tend to reach for the tennis balls to break up some of the tightness and tension in my muscles.
4) Heating pad. Ice of course is better for inflammation. Personally I like to use heat to loosen up my muscles before rolling or stretching.
5) Yoga. Check out my Yoga for Low Back video from the link on the top of this post.
There is no magic cure for sciatica and back pain but with a combination of self-care techniques, therapy and exercises you’re on your way to a healthier pain free you. It’s best to work with your health care professionals and learn the best plan of care for your individual needs and concerns. If you have tips that have worked for you, please share and comment. Thanks!
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(Disclaimer: I am a yoga teacher. I am not a doctor, therapist or chiropractor. So I urge you if you are experiencing pain or health concerns, please see a professional to find out the best plan of care for you.)