Chiropractor Questions Sciatica

Is yoga recommended to treat sciatica?

I am suffering from sciatica for the last six months. I have been on medications too, but there is no major change in my condition. Do you think yoga will help my condition improve?

21 Answers

Sometimes it helps. See a chiropractor.
Not sure, it depends on the nature of the problem. You would be rolling the dice with that idea. Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga, but don’t hurt yourself.
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Yes if it relaxes the problem nerve but someimpingments yoga might increase it.
properly trained yoga instructors can help with stretches that can help reduce spasm causing sciatica as long as it is not a problematic disc causing the problem
Yoga can most definitely help with Sciatica and other spinal conditions. This along with chiropractic compliment each other to benefit the person suffering with Sciatica and other types of pain.

Dr. Mary Jean Negri
Yes, along with chiropractic adjustments.
Many Yoga stretches can provide great relief and reduction of sciatic type pain. If you have had sciatic pain for six months, you should have it looked at and determine what the cause is. Disc herniation? Degenerative changes causing nerve irritation? Just a piriformis spasm? Without the proper review of the cause, it may not respond to any conservative care until you know why? Further, in some circumstances any stretch or activity could make it worse.
I’m not sure yoga is a “treatment” recommendation, I’m sure the stretching is helpful. Medications only mask the pain and possibly decrease inflammation temporarily. I would recommend having an evaluation that includes an X-ray to determine the cause for the sciatica. A pinched nerve from vertebral misalignment or degenerative disc could respond well to Chiropractic and possibly decompression !
Yoga might help, but it could also significantly worsen your problem. You first need a primary diagnosis that explains the CAUSE of your sciatica. Rehabilitative exercises should be tailored to your specific diagnosis. Yoga instructors cannot do that but a good chiropractor or physical therapist can.
Sciatica has two main causes. Option one is that theres irritation to the lower lumbar spine effecting the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve. Option two is that the nerve is being entrapped usually at the hip however it can be entraped at other locations. As a general rule nerves do not like being stretched, that is why I would express caution with yoga. Is there a chace it could help you? Yes, but the chances of it aggravating the sciatica is greater. Once the sciatica has subsided from resolution of the cause then yoga is a great preventative measure to take to ensure it does not return. I would reccomend either a chiropractic evaluation or physical therapist evaluation to find the source of the sciatica, and treat the sciaitca first.
Yoga will help if it is simply due to muscle contracture and tension around the sciatic nerve. Some yoga instructors, especially the ones I have worked with, can usually tell if there may be another underlying problem and advise you to see a chiropractor or medical doctor before continuing so as not to exacerbate the situation..
Now, on the other hand six months is a long time go without seeing any results from medication. This suggest to me there is some underlying cause that has not been identified. Several things can cause sciatica such as piriformis syndrome, intervertebral disc involvement and structural imbalance of the lumbosacral spine and pelvis. To correctly identify the cause a complete orthopedic, neurological and range of motion examination should be performed along with weight bearing x-rays (standing) and possibly an MRI. Chiropractic has shown excellent results treating sciatica. 
My personal experience with chiropractic treatment for chronic recurrent sciatica and migraine headaches as a young adult peaked my interest and desire to join the profession.
No. If your spine is aligned properly you more than likely will will not have sciatica. Find a good chiropractor. Sciatica usually comes from the lumbar nerve roots being affected by spinal misalignment. If you stretch and do yoga, you may heal out of alignment, even though you feel better. Even in the case of the piriformis spasm causing sciatica, it is better to get your pelvis aligned properly by a chiropractor before stretching the piriformis.

Dr. Jim
I’m not a yoga instructor but I’ve seen some people improve with sciatic conditions and some people get worse with yoga and their conditions. I’d suggest to start with gentle and simple yoga positions and see how your sciatica responds after a couple of weeks of yoga and of course I would recommend chiropractic care for sure.
Sciatica is a very common problem that finds its way into chiropractic offices. There is a rare situation where is is coming from the disks in the lower back and then the bulge or other problems there would need to be dealt with. But I see this extremely rarely, like once every 4-5 years. And I see 10-20 new patients a week and a few of those every week are coming in for sciatica. The most common cause is Piriformis Syndrome second to a dysfunctional SI Joint in the pelvis. When the SI joint gets irritated the body tries to stop its function to protect the joint. The glutes get tight and the piriformis muscle spasms to help limit movement of the SI Joint. The Piriformis is a deep muscle connecting from the lower sacrum to the top of your femur. This muscle literally compresses the large sciatic nerve against the pelvis causing the symptoms you are feeling.

This is why meds, massage, exercise, injections, etc. for sciatica rarely offer any sort of lasting relief. The problem with the SI Joint, which is the root cause, never gets dealt with.

Because your problem is stemming from a functional problem. (we are assuming you do not have a disk injury or other pathology) The yoga may actually aggravate it. BUT... For my patients who come in where I am working to restore the normal function of the SI joint with adjustments in the office. I ALWAYS recommend Yoga in conjunction with the Chiropractic treatment for sciatica. The Chiropractic gets things moving properly again and fixes the problem with the SI joint. Then the Yoga works to strengthen, stretch and stabilize the area to prevent the problem from coming back.

It is hard to say if it will help without knowing your entire medical history. It could help. If you start yoga and it hurts stop.

I do think yoga will be great for your sciatica if the cause is from the muscles. Yoga gently stretches the muscles which can help release the nerves along their path, especially for the sciatic nerve. You can find basic stretches for sciatica as well online. If the sciatic nerve issue is from the spine, you may need the assistance of a chiropractor to help free up the nerve in that region. Combined with yoga stretching, you would be able to find some relief within a few short days or weeks and complete resolution shortly after. Six months of sciatica is a long time to be suffering from a nerve problem so I encourage you to seek help. Most chiropractors will do an orthopedic exam to determine cause and even order X-rays or MRI as needed. Feel free to follow up with questions if you have them.
It is possible that yoga could help. Without more information I can't give you an answer to that. Most of the time if something has been going on for longer than 2 weeks, then it would be time for professional intervention.
Without knowing the underlying cause(s) of your sciatica, it is impossible to answer whether yoga or any exercise can help. There can be several reasons for sciatica. Assuming your doctor(s) has ruled out pathology that would require surgery, etc., and if you have tried the allopathic medical route with no resolution in 6 months, you might want to look at other options, including chiropractic medicine, oriental medicine and even natural medicine ways to treat pain that won't have the potential side effects of prescription drugs and OTC medicines. Time may be of the essence since nerve damage can become permanent.

I wish you well and hope you find a successful treatment for your sciatica.

Dr. Juanee Surprise, DC. NMD, IMD, DCBCN, BCIM
Medication doesn't fix Sciatica as it is due to vertebrae in your spine that are locked into misalignment and affecting the Sciatic Nerve. Yoga is great for flexibility and if some of the postures that you get into happen to help the vertebrae shift just right back into their proper position, then Yoga would help. Instead of hoping and guessing, though, it is smartest by far to just go to see a chiropractor who will examine you properly and help to realign the vertebrae so that the nerve can function more at ease and you will be happy again.
Possibly if the cause of sciatica is from the Piriformis muscle. I recommend going to a chiropractor for an examination to identify the cause of your sciatica.
Yoga probably will not help in the long term. The abnormal biomechanics in th spine should be addressed