SCIATIC NERVE- The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, down your buttock along the back or side of your leg down into your foot. Pain or numbness occurs when the nerve is irritated or compressed
Hip and back conditions are often interrelated, and there’s often a nasty domino effect of injuries. For example, tense lower-back muscles can contribute to piriformis syndrome which in turn can cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve. It can be a painful experience. Often, these injuries in the hip or buttock tend to cascade from lower-back strain or injury. I see this happen very often with runners, Alpha and myself being guilty of it. But there are solutions and ways around the pain without it effecting your running, as long as you can keep the pain from developing. Hopefully you can find some of my tips useful.
SOME SYMPTOMS- dull achy or tight pain in the lower back.
Sciatica – Sharp,burning sensation that starts in your back or buttocks and runs down your leg.
- flat feet and over-pronation
- irregular biomechanics or imbalance
- uneven pelvis, or one leg slightly shorter than the other (I have both these issues)
- curved spine, Scoliosis (that’s me!! I have SEVERE Scoliosis)
- tight glutes, hamstrings
- lack of core strength, weak, lack of flexibility in lower back muscles
- improper running form, improper shoes
- sitting or standing for long periods of times with no stretching
THE BEST WAY TO TREAT AND EASE THIS PAIN:
- reduce or postpone running for a few days, or weeks.
- Alternate heat and ice, use a heating pad for 20 minutes, then use an ice pack for 20 minutes.
- check running form, maybe make an appointment with a professional to check biomechanics
- FOAM ROLL!!! Rolling initiates a process for muscles to relax. By applying gentle pressure onto a muscle, the foam roll helps the tight, tense muscle fibers, into a more natural alignment thereby allowing the muscle to function properly. This also helps to improve blood flow to the muscle which not only helps to minimize pain (such as sciatica or low back pain), but it can also help to reduce one’s risk for injury and with prolonged use, can even reduce the appearance of cellulite dimples. ;) woohoo!
- STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH!!! I can’t stress it enough how much this helps with muscle pain! here are a few stretches you can do:
BUTTOCK STRETCH: The buttocks stretch targets the piriformis muscle and is a very effective way to relieve sciatic nerve pain. Start on all fours on the ground, bend the leg in which you are feeling the pain under your torso, putting your knee facing out. Extend the other leg fully behind your torso, keeping the pelvis straight. While keeping the affected leg in place, slowly move your torso down to the ground while leaning forward on your forearms. Continue until you feel a deep stretching sensation, holding the position for up to 30 seconds. Then switch legs.
PIRIFORMIS STRETCH: This stretch is a stretch done on your back. With your legs flat on the ground, slowly bend your right knee toward your chest while holding the knee with your right hand, cross your opposite leg across the one you are holding (almost like a pretzel). Gently pull your right knee inward, while giving it resistance until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and then change sides to target the other side of the body.
- PLANKS are very important, as they strengthen your core muscles (abs) and your lower back, which are two muscles that hold it together, if you have a weak core, it can cause a lot of lower back and Sciatic pain. Try holding for at least 30 seconds, then once you can try adding another 30 seconds increase and so on.
- I NEED A HUG STRETCH- Pull your left leg towards your chest, hugging your left knee to your chest. Keep your back, shoulders, neck and head relaxed on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds then switch legs.
- AB CURLS- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Your arms are crossed over your chest with your fingers touching the opposite shoulders. Your lower back is pressed into the floor. Curl up, bringing your shoulder blades off the floor, about 30 degrees and keep your chin tucked. Pause and hold. Then slowly curl back down without placing your head on the floor. Try to do 10 of these. This exercise will help build core muscles to control lower back pain.
I hope you can use these tips to help ease your pain, using a heating pad and then the foam roller is very effective and quick, since the heat relaxes your muscles, the foam roller finished the job by releasing the tension. I also find ice very useful, as it can be swelling that causes the pinched Sciatic nerve. As long as you stretch, and use the foam roller, and do these exercise you should not run into any issues!! =)