Yoga for sciatica is often a reasonable plan, and when you know what is causing your sciatica, the plan can be made better. When performing yoga exercises, a calm and relaxing atmosphere, also contributes to easing the pain.
The pain of sciatica can originate in different areas of the body, and effective treatment must focus on the cause of the pain, which is not always where the pain is felt.
"your doctor can help you decide"
Before beginning any treatment program you should be seen by your doctor, he can help you determine exactly what is causing your symptoms.
After seeing you, your doctor can help you decide which types of yoga for sciatica are likely to be the most effective in relieving your symptoms, and which poses may make your symptoms worse.
"determine what is causing the irritation"
Sciatica can be defined as pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. If we want to relieve the pain, we must determine what is causing the irritation of the nerve, and where the irritation is occurring.
This irritation may be caused by a variety of factors. Inflammation in or around the nerve, and direct pressure on the nerve are two of the most common causes.
"may or may not be where the pain is being felt"
Where the nerve is being irritated is often difficult to know, because this may or may not be where the pain is being felt. The problem may be occurring anywhere along the course of the sciatic nerve, through the buttock and thigh.
Sciatic pain may also be caused at the lumbar spine, by irritation of any of the nerve roots that join together to form the sciatic nerve.
"practiced for centuries"
Yoga has been practiced for centuries, with the earliest written record dating back over 2,000 years. Beginning in India, it is a system of physical and mental exercises, which has since spread throughout the world.
Over time several different disciplines and philosophies have evolved, all with the same goal, a unification of the body, mind, and spirit.
"postures, breathing techniques, and meditation"
Yoga works with a combination of physical positioning or postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or focused concentration on certain body parts, to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.
Though large scale double blind studies are lacking, small studies with limited numbers of people have shown improvements in strength, balance, and flexibility. Other studies have shown improvements in blood pressure, cognition, and quality of life.
"the evidence appears anecdotal"
Proponents of yoga for pain control and/or pain management claim great benefits. But, the evidence appears anecdotal, and even small studies are unavailable.
Regardless of the studies and what they may or may not show or prove, a few facts are obvious. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is practiced today by thousands and probably hundreds of thousands of people. This kind of popularity would lead you to conclude that there must be some benefits.
"yoga for "your" sciatica"
Among these benefits you can probably include pain relief. Most likely working through a combination of mind control and physical manipulation of the body part that is causing the pain, yoga is used to manage many different types of pain.
If yoga is to relieve your pain, it must relieve whatever is causing the irritation of the nerve. The effectiveness of yoga for "your" sciatica will depend on which postures or exercises are employed and the particulars of your exact condition.
"pain relief is pain relief!"
If you have piriformis syndrome, you may benefit from a piriformis stretch pose such as the pigeon pose, or other position that will affect the piriformis muscle. A locust pose may help to reduce a herniated disc.
When you are pregnant, pregnancy may cause sciatica, which can be relieved by prenatal poses that are different from the positions for piriformis syndrome or a herniated disc.
So the exact positions that will relieve your pain depend on the exact cause of your pain. Even though, yoga for sciatica may not cure what is causing your pain, pain relief is pain relief! As long as pain is relieved and malignant or progressive diseases are not being ignored, whatever techniques provide that relief should be applauded.
"Should you begin practicing yoga..."
Now we come to the big question. Should you begin practicing yoga for sciatica?
Yoga for sciatica has never been scientifically shown to be of any benefit, or at least I was unable to find any reported studies. But that does not mean that you would not feel better if you began practicing yoga.
"calm an anxious spirit"
Combining the practice of a few gentle postures, with aromatherapy and pleasant music, in a soft and soothing atmosphere can be very relaxing. Spending quiet time in such a way can calm an anxious spirit, release tension, and relieve pain.
Yoga for sciatica may not be a cure, and it will probably help only as long as you continue to practice the exercises. If it helps you to increase your activity, and be more comfortable doing the things that you want to do. There seems to be very little reason to oppose it.
"yoga may be a good choice"
In conclusion, if you have been seen and evaluated by your doctor to rule out any serious or malignant conditions, and if your doctor thinks you are healthy enough to participate in these exercises, then yoga may be a good choice to help manage your sciatic pain.