Yoga for Trapped Nerve In Back: Relief through Exercises

What Is Trapped Nerve?

Another name for it is pinched nerve. It is associated with the pain known as sciatica, and this pain occurs when the nerve (the sciatic nerve) gets inflated, pinched or trapped. Nerves are responsible for sending signals all over our body, so they are in charge of our limb and extremities control, as well as for the providing ‘feedback’ in a form of tactile information and pain. When a nerve gets trapped or pinched, which meant is ‘stuck’ under pressure, it cannot fulfill its regular functions, gets inflated and causes pain. This condition may also lead to ‘tingling’, lack of movement and sensation.

This type of problem affects around 40% of people, and the most common version of it is sciatica, when the sciatic nerve is trapped in the spine, or pinched by a slipped disk. This affects the lower body part including lower back, buttocks, legs and feet, leading to the lack of movement, unpleasant tingling sensation and pain. If not addressed properly, it may result in undesired complications in a form of worsening the above mentioned conditions; the reduced range of motions and some loss of sensation in some parts of the body is definitely not welcomed, so if you happen to face sciatica or the pinched nerve, see a doctor and receive an appropriate treatment.

Is There A Good Yoga Exercise For Trapped Nerve?

Yes, there are yoga poses that can help to manage the problem. We are going to mention some most effective ones below, separating them according to the particular area where the nerve got pinched. But before we do so, let’s check the worst yoga postures for sciatica.

Bad Yoga Poses for Sciatica or Pinched Nerve

Usually it is forward bend poses including seated and standing ones. If you are not very flexible in your hamstrings, your lower back may experience a lot of strain during bending, which can make the condition worse. It doesn’t mean that forward bends are totally bad; just keep in mind that you need to bend your body at the hips without making your lower back round. In forward bends your tail bone should not be drawn done, but released, and the sit bones should be widened. So the basic idea is either to avoid any forward bending poses if you experience sciatic pain, or to do the bending partially; you can also modify poses in a way to keep the spine straight, putting the emphasis on tilting the pelvis. If we talk about the seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), then you shouldn’t try reaching your toes – you can return to this form of asana slowly once the pain is gone or the condition is healed.

To make your hamstrings more flexible you can do Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose) using a yoga strap to aid you.

Yoga for Trapped Nerve in Neck and Shoulder

Neck is the most vulnerable part of the spine, so the practice of yoga should be gentle and slow. There is a yoga pose called Trikonasana or the Triangle pose, which is recommended yoga exercise for trapped nerve.

yoga for trapped nerve in back
Trikonasana (The Triangle pose)

The Triangle pose comes in two types: direct and crossed triangle.

1. The Direct Triangle or Utthita Trikonasana

Starting position: Stand with your feet at the shoulder width apart or more (up to 90 cm), lift the arms to the sides at shoulder level, palms down, fingers together. Look straight ahead.

The Technique. Make a slow inhale through the nose, the exhale the same way and along with exhaling slowly bend to the left (keep your knees straight!), holding your arms stretched to the sides. Try to touch the yoga mat next to the left little toe. Your right arm points to the ceiling and you complete your exhale at this point. Make a pause after breathing out, and turn your head to the right and up and look at your right hand. Remain in this position until you can hold the pause after exhaling, relaxing your whole body. Place your attention on the lumbar spine.

After that inhale slowly and peacefully though your nose (but not deeply), and gradually return to the starting position.

Repeat the same to the right side, touching the yoga mat next to the right little toe.

2. The Crossed Triangle or Parivritta Trikonasana

The starting position is the same as in the previous one.

The Technique. Inhale slowly through the nose, and on slow exhale, without bending your knees; bend the torso forward and to the left, trying to reach the mat with the right fingers at the outer side of the left little toe. At this point you complete your exhale and your left arm points towards the ceiling.

During the pause after exhaling, turn your head to the left and look up at the left palm. Stay in this posture, relaxing your body, until you feel the need to inhale. Focus on the lower back (the lumbar spine).

To complete the pose, inhale slowly but not deeply and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise to the other side, touching the mat at the outer side of your right foot with your left hand.

The Benefits of Yoga for Trapped Nerve In Back

The triangle pose in this two options, can help tone the nerves of the spine and the abdominal organs, strengthens the side and back muscles of the body, eliminates the accumulation of salts in the spine, cures thoracic radiculitis and sciatica, improves peristalsis, as well as the functioning of lungs, kidneys, spleen; helps get rid of acne and boils, improves the overall flexibility of the body, gives the sense of ease; promotes growth in kids under 18. The triangle pose is also beneficial for constipation, poor appetite, and helps with the shortening the legs after fractures.

Note: If bending to a side causes pain, refrain from doing the pose to that side until the painful sensation disappears.

There are more poses you can do to relieve the trapped nerve:

Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge Pose)

Bhujanghasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Bharadvajasana I (Bharadvaja’s Twist, Torso Twist)

Marichyasana III (Sage Pose)

Pasasana (Noose Pose)

Parivritta Utkatasana (Standing Chair Twist)

Supta Padangusthasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)

Setubandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Adhomukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Stretch)

Be careful with Sarvangasana though – it’s better to do it under the proper guidance in this case.

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