When you get your sciatica under control, and are no longer in the acute pain phase, it is VERY important to keep your body strong and open in all the right places so that you don't have a recurrence. Strengthening and opening have been my personal saving graces when it comes to keeping sciatic pain OUT of my life. My hope in creating these CrossFlowRx Sciatica flows is that some of what worked for me might work for you. However, as I say on the regular: I am NOT a doctor! So, when approaching conditions that yoga is extremely useful for, but also require medical advisement, I consult the doctors who treat that specific condition, and often those who have helped me on my own healing journey. Of course, you should always consult your personal physician, and get their permission, before attempting any movement when dealing with an injury or medical condition.
When creating a second CrossFlowRx video on sciatica, I had the honor and privilege of sitting down with Dr. Matthew Kohler, co-founder of Ospina Medical in Manhattan, NY. More important to me (!!!): Dr. Kohler was the first of DOZENS of doctors, PTs, spinal surgeons, etc to get my nerve pain under control. I owe him my LIFE. Sound dramatic? It's not. Chronic pain is debilitating: it not only crushes your body, but it crushes your SOUL. All that inflammation only leads to negative effects physically, and the depression (stemming from the hopelessness that things will ever get better) that extreme pain can cause is REAL. Before I worked with Dr. Kohler, the pain got so bad that there were days I couldn't have a CONVERSATION because the pain was SO intense, and SO loud, that I couldn't focus on anything except... the pain.
Dr. Kohler and I spent months thinking through the moves in this flow. We decided to build on what Dr. Ravitz and I put together, and create a flow for more of a chronic intermittent sciatica or mild acute sciatica versus a more severe acute disc injury-induced sciatica. As mentioned above, this is not for the acute pain phase of sciatica (although, my deepest condolences for you if that is where you are, and I hope you have a wonderful doctor who will help you through that very painful phase and come back to these flows when you are ready. All love and healing your way).
The asanas you will find in our CrossFlowRx: Sciatica Strengthening (and opening) Flow each serves a very distinct purpose when it comes to sciatica. Some are for opening and relieving pain, while others strengthen, stretch, and/or correct imbalances. Many of these poses are variations of asana that make them safer and more accessible to those aiming to prevent a recurrence of Sciatica.
**NB: It is best to avoid deep twists and deep forward folds as they can cause further strain in the pelvis and lower back.
From Dr. Kohler:
85% of sciatica stems from intervertebral disc problems.
Research suggests that yoga is a safe, effective, non-pharmacological, non-invasive, and low-cost method of relieving back pain, and pain in general.
There are some yoga poses you should avoid when you have sciatica since they can make the symptoms worse. Listen to your body and honor what you’re feeling without trying to push yourself into any uncomfortable poses.
Experiment to see what works best for you on any given day.
Avoid any pose that causes any type of pain.
Since sciatica usually affects only one leg, you may find that you’re able to do certain poses on only one side of your body. This is fine. Feel free to bend your knees in any pose. Place cushions under your knees in any seated pose that causes discomfort.
If you have sciatica during pregnancy, follow all prenatal yoga guidelines.
Strengthening your back muscles may help prevent or slow age-related disc degeneration, which puts you at further risk of sciatica symptoms.
Be cautious of anything that increases numbness.
IF SCIATICA IS DUE TO TIGHT PIRIFORMIS: consider modified versions of the pigeon pose, as seen in CrossFlowRx: Chair Yoga for Sciatica with Dr. Risa Ravitz.
IF Diagnosed with SPINAL STENOSIS: be cautious with spinal extension (backbending).
IF Diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis: be cautious of spinal extension and spinal rotation: avoid deep twisting, moderate or deep backbends, and jumping into poses.
NB: This is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a physician for specific health questions and for AN INDIVIDUALIZED diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment plan.
For more information on Dr. Kohler, head over to www.ospinamedical.com .
For the full blog post, please go to http://heidiyoga.com/videos/yoga-strengthening-for-sciatica-with-dr-matthew-kohler .