Can Yoga help mysterious pains and aches? Do you have tingling sensation or a shooting pain that goes from the buttocks down the leg and worsens when you stand up or try to walk? That’s sciatica, right? Chances are your discomfort involves the sciatic nerve, but the pain may actually result from a condition called piriformis syndrome, not a damaged nerve.
What is the sciatic nerve?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It originates in the lower back and goes through the buttocks and down each leg, all the way to the toes. An irritated sciatic nerve can cause pain anywhere in the lower extremities and sometimes affects the bladder.
What is piriformis syndrome?
The piriformis muscle runs from the sacrum to the outer hip and crosses over the sciatic nerve. When the muscle spasms or constricts, it squeezes the sciatic nerve and creates many of the same symptoms as sciatica.
Some sources say the syndrome is rare, but it may also be under-diagnosed. As a result, treatment often targets the nerve rather than the surrounding muscles. Because piriformis syndrome occurs in people with healthy backs as well as those with disk problems, knowing the root cause helps to eliminate unnecessary invasive procedures.
How does Yoga help?
When one muscle is tight, it sets a pattern for the entire body. Targeting a single muscle system reinforces the problem and often leads to injuries. Restorative Yoga aligns the spine and strengthens the body’s core, addressing the root cause of the imbalance.
Yoga Poses for Piriformis Syndrome
• Seated Spinal Twist
• Reclining Twist with Raised Knee
• Pigeon Pose
• Standing Forward Bend
• Tree Pose
• Mountain Pose
Yoga asanas restore flexibility to the hip flexors and strengthen the piriformis muscle, but that’s not all. When included in a comprehensive Yoga training routine, they improve posture, flexibility, and overall health.
It is important that each of us understands the exact sources of pain within the body. Without knowing what is causing a problem some forms of treatment, surgery, and prescriptions for pain killers, only relieve the symptoms, which leaves some of us in a state of chronic pain.
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