Sciatica is a classic condition of lopsidedness. What is the spiritual meaning of sciatica and imbalance?
Sciatica is a very common condition where the sciatic nerve, which lives in the back of the pelvis, is compressed, causing pain to radiate from the lower back down the leg and sometimes into the calf. It’s painful, it’s annoying, and it can make certain normal positions like sitting or standing impossible.
There are many treatments available, however, including hip-opening stretches (as the piriformis muscle is sometimes to blame for the nerve compression) and strengthening to rebalance the structures in the hip and pelvis. We understand all this from a physical perspective. But what about the spiritual meaning of sciatica?
Sciatica and Imbalances in the Body
Sciatica is a classic condition of lopsidedness. It rarely occurs on both sides of the body. On some level, the pelvis—which is, in many ways, the center of gravity and the center of steadiness and movement in the body—is out of balance. One side is too tight while the other side is being pulled open.
What might this imbalance be relating to in your body? Try asking yourself the following questions related to the spiritual meaning of sciatica and see what arises for you:
- What in my life feels out of balance right now?
- Am I happy with the direction I am going, or does part of me want to turn away, to move in another direction?
- Do I feel that I have freedom of movement in my life? Freedom to speak, to change my mind, to do as I wish?
The Spiritual Meaning of Right- and Left-Sided Sciatica
Whether the sciatic shows up on the right or left side of the body may mean different things. The side where there is pain is tightened, compressed, and constricted. That means the other side is being pulled open. Sometimes the energy is unbalanced on the too-open side, but in general, you’ll want to look at the side where you’re feeling the pain.
The right side of the body is the masculine half, relating to yang energy. This is the energy of taking action, getting things done, thinking rationally, and emotions like anger and frustration. There may also be a message here about a male or masculine person in our lives, such as a husband/boyfriend, father, or son. Here are some questions for contemplation around right-sided sciatica:
- What is my relationship to my anger like right now?
- Am I getting the things done or is my progress feeling frustrated?
- How do I relate to the masculine aspects of myself?
- What is happening with the close people in my life who are male or masculine?
The left half of the body represents the more feminine or yin aspect of things. This relates to our intuition, our emotional/relational selves, our bodies, and emotions like sadness and grief. Here, we may also want to check in with how we are relating to close female or feminine people in our lives, such as our mothers, girlfriends/wives, or daughters. We may ask,
- How am I relating to grief or sadness in my life right now?
- Am I feeling connected and safe in my close relationships?
- How connected do I feel to my own intuition, emotion, or spirituality?
- What am I feeling around the more feminine aspects of myself?
- What is happening in my life with the female or feminine people I am close to?
Safety, Sexuality, and Creativity
Sometimes sciatica feels like someone has wedged a knife into the back of your pelvis. The sacral area is related to the second chakra, an energy center that has to do with sensuality, sexuality, creativity, growth, and change. This area can only work optimally, however, if we feel safe.
As soon as we feel unsafe in some way, this energy center can shut down. Feeling twisted up in this place might mean that there’s something stuck in the way of our full, genuine expression of sensuality, creativity, and sexuality.
Here are some questions for reflection on this energy center:
- How connected do I feel to my sexuality? My sensuality? My creativity?
- Is there something in the way of me feeling safe? Is there someone holding me back?
- Is there an emotion in my body that is unprocessed, preventing me from moving forward?
- What holds me back from creating what I most want to create in this world?
- How do I relate to my fertility/generativity?
Sciatica, Lower Back Pain, and Pregnancy
Sciatic issues come up very often in pregnancy, especially late pregnancy. This is an obvious enough connection: the weight of the baby pulls the belly forward, causing imbalances in the pelvis. The baby is sometimes also literally sitting on the sciatic nerve, causing this pain. This will generally go away after giving birth, but there are still some important questions to consider about pregnancy and sciatica, such as:
- Do I feel fully supported in my pregnancy and motherhood journey?
- How do I feel about the spiritual weight of responsibility over the child in my belly?
- How will I maintain or create space for myself, my sensual, creative expression, while also managing the life of this child?
- How can I explore the concept of balance in my own life, especially having given birth and now with a newborn? Inevitably, things will be unbalanced for a time, so how can I work back towards that?
Sciatica is absolutely treatable, often with physical movement interventions. But it might be worth taking some time to consider the spiritual meaning of sciatica as you explore healing and balance in your body, mind, and spirit.
Feeling the pain just a little higher up? Consider the spiritual meaning of pain in the upper-middle back.