Sciatic pain

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
Post Reply
Maggie S.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Sciatic pain

Post by Maggie S. »

What can Yin Yoga do for sciatic pain, numbness down the leg and numbness and burning on the bottom of the R foot? 
Maggie in Las Vegas
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Sciatic Pain and Yin Yoga

Post by Bernie »

Hi Maggie

This topic is raised often in yoga classes. There was already one post about this, which you can read here: http://www.yinyoga.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=169

There are many possible causes of sciatic pain: yoga can not help them all. IF the cause is tightness in an external hip rotator muscle called the piriformis, then some poses can help to stretch out that muscle and make it "buoyant" (as Sarah Powers likes to say). Swan would be one good example of a pose that can help alleviate sciatic pain, if the cause was the piriformis.

One major caution: sciatica can be made worse by seated forward bends. Please make sure to elevate the hips before coming forward, or leave these poses out until the problem has gone away.

Cheers
Bernie
Christophe
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:54 pm
Location: FRANCE

Post by Christophe »

Hi Bernie,

You wrote : "One major caution: sciatica can be made worse by seated forward bends."
That's why, in The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga, you said that Caterpillar can aggravate sciatica.

It seems not to be the case with Dangling.

Does it mean that, in case of sciatica, only seated forward bend are contraindicated and not the standing forward bends ?

What could be the reason for this ?

Thank you.

Christophe.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Christophe

I did not mean to imply that other postures would not also make sciatica worse. Yes, Dangling could be contra-indicated for some people with sciatica. If the cause is discogenic (ie: a bulging disc) then any flexion of the spine could make the symptoms of sciatica worse, and thus should be minimized or avoided, and this includes Dangling as it is a full flexion of the lumbar spine.

In The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga, under Dangling, I don't mention sciatica specifically but I do state "If you have any lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine, then do not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can and bend the knees a lot." Discogenic sciatica is one such lower back disorder.

For other ideas on sciatica you may find this article of interest.

Cheers
Bernie
Christophe
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:54 pm
Location: FRANCE

Post by Christophe »

Thank you for your answer Bernie.

The question is then : when can the forward bend be practiced and when should it be totally avoided.

I guess that as long as the student does not feel pain when practicing, he can go on with this pose, but isn't there nevertheless any risk of aggravation afterwards and later [because of practicing the forward bend] ?

Thank you for your help.

Christophe.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Christophe

You asked "when can the forward bend be practiced and when should it be totally avoided?" I would say, if the student is flexion intolerant (which means flexing the spine creates pain), tbey should not do forward folds, unless their doctor/therapist can tell them just how much they can/can't do. People with discogenic sciatica would be in this camp and probably should avoid forward folding, but the challenge is -- what degree of forward folding must they avoid?

If the student doesn't feel any current pain, are they are risk? Yes, of course--there is always a risk, but this doesn't mean the risk is big. As in all things therapeutic, everyone is different. Each student has to work out her limits along the antifragility curve (see this article). Too much is bad, but so is too little. How much is too much? The student will have to listen to her health care team and experiment to determine the answer to that.

Sorry that I can't give a black and white answer, but people are too variable for black and white to apply.

Cheers
Bernie
Christophe
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:54 pm
Location: FRANCE

Post by Christophe »

Hi Bernie,

It's a pleasure to read you.

Things are not black or white so I understand answers can't be black or white....fortunately you know how to explain clearly...thank you for this.

Your books are also great...I have learnt much more with "The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga" and "Your Body, Your Yoga" than in my YogaWork 200 hours TTC.
Although my english level is basic (I'm french), your books are really pleasant to read (and it's a good way for me to improve my english)

Have a nice day.

Christophe.
Post Reply