Help for sciatica

Many people come to me with sciatica. One of the causes of sciatica is the lack of movement in the hip joint and an excess of compression in the lumbar spine, which sends the lovely shooting pain down the leg.

If your hip joint is not in your self-image, trust me, your sciatica will be exacerbated. In other words, if you bend more in the spine and less in the hip, you're compressing the spine more than necessary. When you bend from the hip joint, it relieves the compression.

Try this:
1. In sitting on the edge of a flat chair, put your hands on either side of one knee. Slide them down toward the foot, stopping if you have any strain, pain, or twinge. Notice how far you go.

2. Place the flat edge of the outside hand in the crease of your trousers. Really push the edge of the hand into the fold where the leg meets the torso. This is where your hip joint is. It's not on the outside edge of the leg. It's in the middle of the leg, where the bone meets the pelvis, and deep inside. As you press the edge of the outside hand in that fold, slide the other hand down the inside edge of the leg toward the foot. Slowly. As you do this, think of your belly squashing the hand in the fold of the hip. Really press it onto the hand. Notice if you went further with no pain.

3. Put both hands on the sides, or wings, of the pelvis. This is the "top" of the pelvis, with the sit bones being the bottom. A number of times make a small movement of tilting the top of the pelvis forward. Notice that the fold in the hip increases as you do it. Can you feel that the bottom of the pelvis, the sit bones, tilt backwards?

4. Replace your hands on either side of the same knee. Slide them down as you bring your awareness to the top of the pelvis, the bony shelf. Bring it forward as the sit-bone end goes backward. Do not round the back. Instead, increase the fold in the hip joint. Notice: if the hip joint stops folding, stop moving your hands! If you keep going, you're trying to get movement from the spine instead of from the hip. Go slow. Make sure you're doing what you think you're doing instead of the habit of rounding the back.

You can always raise your foot on some books to make it easier. Only do what's easy and do not strain. Think of the spine as tilting in the hip joint. Try the other leg as well.