On 16th of May 2015 I have began to experience severe pain in my left leg.
It was a day of FAB awards ceremony, where I got to meet amazing amount of talents and female entrepreneurs from all across the south-east of Ireland. Just before lunch time, I began to notice hot flashes running down my entire left leg, from the lower buttock, through the hamstrings, all the way down into the foot. These feelings of hotness were accompanied with involuntary muscular shaking, and finally when I got home later on in the afternoon, I began to feel lot of pain. After seeing my scheduled client, me and my husband naturally ran into emergency room, and after throughout assessment doctor has diagnosed me with acute sciatic pain.
I have been prescribed anti-inflammatories (thank Goodness for them), but outside of the prescription doctor was unable to tell me how to deal with pain, eradicate muscle cramps, and maintain my good movement patterns (& mental sanity!) I knew right away, that this is where my own self-care practice, curiosity, willingness to learn and detailed movement therapy had to come in place. For next few days, I was in lot of pain. After teaching mobility workshop on Saturday afternoon, and doing small grocery shopping, my whole left leg seized up, and I started to walk with limp. Most of my students & clients wished me well, and I have got incredible support from my online Facebook community. Messages, thoughts and idea were pouring in, and most of them got implemented right away. Some people got shocked however, and couple not comprehend how I, as someone who teaches yoga therapy, and helps people get out of pain, can be under spells of her own body’s issues. I am a strong believer that movement professionals, and body therapists, are under same circumstances of getting into pain as anyone else. We are all under spell of gravity, and daily movement patterns & practices effect us all same.
MY OWN SCIATIC PROTOCOL:
1.TAKE CARE OF THE PIRIFORMIS– tension in the piriformis muscle can very likely increase irritation in the surrounding tissues. The piriformis is the ONLY muscle that overlies the sciatic nerve, and when it gets tight and stringy, it is going to create compression into the sciatic nerve. Stretching and releasing the piriformis is super-helpful for restoring suppleness in the tissue, and decreasing the friction into the sciatic nerve.
1.a) Massage The Piriformis Attachment
Based on the suggestion of my super-smart Yoga Tune Up® colleague Stephanie Fish, I needed to massage piriformis’s attachment (at the knob of a greater trochanter). Also, I needed to do in position where I don’t irritate the sciatic nerve. So instead of lying on my back and rolling the whole of the buttocks, I organized myself against the wall and placed Alpha ball on the greater trochanter. This way, the sciatic nerve has some room to ‘’hide’’ and you are not teasing the already irritated tissue. In this position, you lean comfortable amount of weight, so the ball can start to create enough stretch into the tissue. Take 4 deep focused breaths, after which begin to perimeter the junction by rolling the leg forward/ backward. Stay for 2 minutes.
If you want to learn more powerful strategies for both relieving and preventing pain, you’ll love our 6 WEEKS YOGA TUNE UP PROGRAMME.
1.b) Figure 4 Stretch
This is a super-helpful piriformis stretch. It can be done in sitting, standing or lying down. I love the lying set-up, since you are working with support of the gravity, which will result in better position, and maximum range of motion. What you want to pay attention to, is maintaining neutral pelvis and not allowing the whole spine to go into global flexion. That will increase the pull on the leg and possibly aggravate the irritation on your sciatic nerve.
FIRST: Start by organizing yourself against the wall, with your left leg outstretched.
SECOND: Increase the stretch by drawing the shin lower, aiming it to be parallel to the floor (figure out the right angle of your extended leg based on the stretch and the amount of sciatic irritation you feel. The more vertical your left knee will be to your left ankle, the more stretch will result in the right piriformis).
THIRD: You can further increase the stretch by moving the right ankle closer towards your left upper thigh. (be super-cautious. This is not for everyone.)
2. SOOTHE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
The sciatic pain is a nerve pain. Nerves are of course part of the super-well functioning nervous system. The acute pain throws your whole system out of poise, and triggers the sympathetic nervous system reaction. This is a part of your nervous system that is directly responsible for fight, flight or freeze reaction in the body. In another words, you won’t rest well, you will feel anxious and have hard time digesting and doing inner repair work.
Huge part of my recovery was investing deep relaxation practices into my everyday life. I love Yoga Nidra (yogic form of sleep), and variety of breathing practices that are all designed to soothe my nervous system and restore emotional balance. After each meditation session, the sciatic pain has always significantly subsided, and I felt calmer, restored and renewed. Check out the CHANGE YOUR STRESS IN 3 MINUTES to find out how to restore your nervous system.
3. INVITE YOUR MIND TO COOPERATE
For many years, I love and adore the work of Louise l.Hay. Her approach to healing, and looking at how our thoughts effect the health of our tissues is one of the most fascinating approaches I have ever come across. In her book, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE (if you don’t have it , you need to get it. I can not recommend this book highly enough), she lists the possible mental cause for vast variety of dis-eases and how we can use our minds, and belief systems to get to the root cause of issue. When I searched for the cues under sciatica, it hit the nail right away for me. I could recognize the mental attitudes in myself, and Louise’s accommodating affirmation works as my mental compass to help me recognize the best self that I can possible be- and propel my mind on route to healing!
And that is exactly the path I have embraced. For last week since my injury, I have been focusing on restoring movement, rebalancing my nervous system, taking massive amounts of rest, and feeding my mind with healing thoughts. Within short space of 9 days, I felt so much better, and even though I was still recovering, week and half later I was able to take on 5 miles walk in the beautiful MOUNT CONGEREVE gardens.
(Here is a picture of me in full healthy full squat during my walk:)
Want to learn more practices that are deeply rooted in SELF-CARE HEALTHCARE, and give you the know-how and strategies for living better in your own body?
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POWER PELVIS: is specialized workshop that is designed to help you create lasting health and integrity in your pelvis. You will learn my famous ”3 MUST’S FOR LEAKY BLADDER”, ways to self-soothe areas of pelvic tension and chronic tightness and connect to deeper layers of pleasure and fulfillment in your own body.
6 WEEKS YOGA TUNE UP PROGRAMME: is self-care education programmes utilizing the best principles from the world of yoga, restorative exercise, lessons in self-massage (with Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls) and deep relaxation strategies to help you identify & release your unique patterns of accumulated stress and muscle imbalances. This unique program is focused on keeping you strong, healthy and active.
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