Stretches for Sciatica problem

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Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby J-C90 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:13 am

The last couple of weeks I have been getting dull pain in my lower back at the top of my left buttock which radiates down my left leg to my heal. From what I can tell from self diagnosis on the internet this looks to be Sciatica pain.

I pretty much know what the cause is, I work in IT and spend most of the day sitting hunched in front of a PC. This combined with the fact that I have started cycling a lot more over the last couple of months(from not much before to 150-200km a week). I think these combined effects have triggered it.

I am taking some action now to improve my posture at work. Last night I also tried the "Tennis Ball" treatment on the area which appeared to do some good in the short term - although I am feeling it again today. I'm hoping extended treatment with this helps.

I also want to try some stretches so was wondering if anybody else has had this problem associated with cycling and what stretches they did that helped resolve it?

I will probably go and see an osteo soon if it doesn't improve quickly to make sure I get on top of it early.
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by BNA » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:35 pm

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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby cavebear2 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:35 pm

Try the standing psoas stretch that Toolong put up in the 'Nuts' thread.
You could also try the hip flexor stretch lunge & lying

Also try the 'cobra' stretch which is a yoga stretch that is basically a pushup but only from the waist:
- Lie flat on the ground face down with legs together pointing toes out.
- Position hands at side of head with palms face down and finger tips approx level to chin.
- Push up with arms keeping waist on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds at the top of the push up.

You should be able to gradually reach full extension with the arms (arms straight at the top of push up) by repetition of this exercise.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby ireland57 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:03 pm

Some serious core strengthening work will help you sit up straight. I think I've always had poor seated posture but it's getting better/easier by the week.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby nutsack » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:22 pm

Rather than see an osteo why not do the evidence based treatment of physio to teach you the stretches and exercises to treat the condition and pilates for core strengthening to prevent recurrence???
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby scotto » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:47 pm

cavebear2 wrote:Also try the 'cobra' stretch which is a yoga stretch that is basically a pushup but only from the waist:
- Lie flat on the ground face down with legs together pointing toes out.
- Position hands at side of head with palms face down and finger tips approx level to chin.
- Push up with arms keeping waist on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds at the top of the push up.

You should be able to gradually reach full extension with the arms (arms straight at the top of push up) by repetition of this exercise.



do this, do it more. maybe 200 /day, but push as high as you can without increasing pain, then straight down. dont hold it.
avoid lounge chairs
enjoy no more sciatica
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby scotto » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:48 pm

nutsack wrote:Rather than see an osteo why not do the evidence based treatment of physio to teach you the stretches and exercises to treat the condition and pilates for core strengthening to prevent recurrence???


be careful bandying around the evidenced based flag - it may come back to haunt you... regardless of your field.

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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby J-C90 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:53 pm

I did a few months of yoga a couple of years ago, I've been thinking of getting back into it. I think this is sign that I need to!

I think my core is relatively weak after years of sitting for 8 hrs a day. So that probably is the key. I do some regular weight training, but have laid off the squats since I've started cycling more as I find my legs too fatigued to do both! So core strengthening has probably been lacking.

I'll try the stretches cavebear2 and scotto mentioned, continue with the tennis ball treatment and look at signing up for yoga again.

I've been paying for private health insurance for years and never claimed anything so I may as well take advantage of it, I'll see a physio/osteo if it continues just to make sure I'm on the right track with my self diagnosis and doing everything right to get rid of it asap.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby cavebear2 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:10 pm

scotto wrote:
cavebear2 wrote:Also try the 'cobra' stretch which is a yoga stretch that is basically a pushup but only from the waist:
- Lie flat on the ground face down with legs together pointing toes out.
- Position hands at side of head with palms face down and finger tips approx level to chin.
- Push up with arms keeping waist on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds at the top of the push up.

You should be able to gradually reach full extension with the arms (arms straight at the top of push up) by repetition of this exercise.



do this, do it more. maybe 200 /day, but push as high as you can without increasing pain, then straight down. dont hold it.
avoid lounge chairs
enjoy no more sciatica

Interested to hear this Scotto,

I've had some varying opinions from different physios regarding whether to hold the Cobra stretch or not. I now mix it up but have done this multiple times a day pretty much every day for the last 26 years. I'm finding though that core strengthening/stretching exercises are having a more beneficial effect when it comes to performance on the bike. eg. hip flexor lunge, psoas standing stretch, bridging exercise on back.

I should emphasise that all of these were prescribed by a physiotherapist except the standing psoas which Toolong suggested. The forums can certainly be useful but I'm loath to try some things without professional advice. eg. it has been suggested to me that when starting strengthening exercises such as bridging from a low core strength start point, these should be done only every 2nd day to begin with. ie. be patient to avoid RSI injuries etc. while you slowly build your core strength. Likewise core strengthening using weights is perhaps a few months down the track on my schedule. It all depends on you individual strenghths/weaknesses as to how your schedule should be programmed.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby scotto » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:26 pm

cavebear2 wrote:
scotto wrote:
cavebear2 wrote:Also try the 'cobra' stretch which is a yoga stretch that is basically a pushup but only from the waist:
- Lie flat on the ground face down with legs together pointing toes out.
- Position hands at side of head with palms face down and finger tips approx level to chin.
- Push up with arms keeping waist on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds at the top of the push up.

You should be able to gradually reach full extension with the arms (arms straight at the top of push up) by repetition of this exercise.



do this, do it more. maybe 200 /day, but push as high as you can without increasing pain, then straight down. dont hold it.
avoid lounge chairs
enjoy no more sciatica

Interested to hear this Scotto,

I've had some varying opinions from different physios regarding whether to hold the Cobra stretch or not. I now mix it up but have done this multiple times a day pretty much every day for the last 26 years. I'm finding though that core strengthening/stretching exercises are having a more beneficial effect when it comes to performance on the bike. eg. hip flexor lunge, psoas standing stretch, bridging exercise on back.

I should emphasise that all of these were prescribed by a physiotherapist except the standing psoas which Toolong suggested. The forums can certainly be useful but I'm loath to try some things without professional advice. eg. it has been suggested to me that when starting strengthening exercises such as bridging from a low core strength start point, these should be done only every 2nd day to begin with. ie. be patient to avoid RSI injuries etc. while you slowly build your core strength. Likewise core strengthening using weights is perhaps a few months down the track on my schedule. It all depends on you individual strenghths/weaknesses as to how your schedule should be programmed.

best to follow the instructions of whomever is looking after you. theres no rhyme or reason as to why we do a lot of things. ive never gotten a patient to sustain an extension stretch (cobra - god i hate using yoga or pilates type animal names) at end of range, but will often twell them to just do it by resting on the elbows and - say - watch some tv.
low load, long duration or high load, no(or short) duration.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby james99 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:16 pm

as per the advice, i would see a physio or an allied health professional to help you,
i would also think about some massage
re the tennis ball.... i have used a cricket ball to good effect...

i would hope that an allied health professional would get you squatting again (maybe body weight, single leg stuff).
As general advice, stretch your hips and then stretch them some more
also look for "gluteal activation" exercises
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby J-C90 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:44 pm

Well I have seen some improvement the last couple of days after daily tennis ball treatment and cobra stretches. I took your advice scotto and have been resting on my elbows in the 'cobra' pose when ever I can whilst watching TV etc. Clocked up 100km on the bike today and aren't feeling too bad in the lower back at the moment. We'll see how I pull up for work tomorrow.
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Re: Stretches for Sciatica problem

Postby Marty Moose » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:49 pm

I find this a great and easy hip flexor stretch viewtopic.php?f=49&t=29608
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