What Might Help: Sciatica & Piriformis Syndrome
- Stretch piriformis progressively, avoiding aggressive stretching that provokes pain.
- Stretch and strengthen inner and outer thighs.
- Strengthen muscles and bring circulation to area around sciatic nerves.
- Relieve tightness of groin which is directly opposite sciatic nerve.
- Stretch quads and hip flexors.
- Stretch hamstrings.
- Strengthen hamstrings. (Structural Yoga Therapy p 294)
- Avoid sitting back on buttocks. (Sarah Powers notes that when sitting, if weight is back on buttocks, the sciatic notch can be pressed, potentially causing or aggravating sciatica.)
- Sarah Powers recommends continuing with recommended poses “long after symptoms have disappeared, while still avoiding seated forward bends because re-injury is very common the first few months after sciatica has healed.”
Two General Approaches Based on Cause
If the source of your sciatica is a herniated or bulging disc, a yoga practice that progresses from gentle poses to basic foundational asanas like standing poses and downward-facing dog will align, lengthen, and strengthen your lower back… If the source of your sciatica is pressure on the nerve due to a short, tight piriformis, focus on stretching this muscle. Your approach should be gentle and progressive, since overworking the piriformis may lead to spasms and deep buttock pain, which may or may not be accompanied by sciatic pain. – Doug Keller
Because in some people, piriformis syndrome results in a decrease in the range of motion in the hip joint, a yoga practice that includes exploring the range of motion of the hip in all directions can also be helpful during and after recovery. – Baxter Bell