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Question
Posted by: Gina | 2010/09/14

Sciatic nerve

Hi there, I sometimes get my sciatic nerve ''pinching'' after I have done exercise, I jog 3 times per week. Lately it has been quite sore, niggling pain but it is not too intense that I cannot run. I have tried stretching and trying to loosen up the glute muscles, but it doesn''t seem to work. I have a desk job and have to sit all day, I don''t think that is helping.
Could you perhaps recommend a stretch that will target it that I can do regularly? I can run with it but I find when I run I get a kind of ''pleasant'' stretching pain in the sciatic when I am running? Surely this cannot be good to just leave it and run on it anyway. Please help!
Thanks- Gina

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Gina

Are you 100% sure it's the sciatic nerve, or is there a chance it is something else? If you're happy with the diagnosis, then you can obviously treat it.

So the pinching could be caused by any number of things - a herniated disc, for example. And this is not really going to respond all that well to stretching. At least, stretching can help with the symptoms, but if there is an underlying cause like disc damage, then you may need further treatment, otherwise it will only get worse (or best case scenario, stay the same).

Another common causes is something called piriformis syndrome, where a muscle that is used to extend at the hip presses on the nerve. This can be caused by sitting for too long on a hard surface, which is why you might try change your chair at your desk for a pezzi ball (one of those large inflatable gym balls), if possible.

In terms of a stretch, here's one:
Lie flat on your back on the floor, arms at your sides. To stretch your right side, bend your right knee to waist level and put your right foot on the floor outside of your left knee. Place your left hand on the outside of right knee to hold leg in place, then gently pull right knee over your left leg toward the floor, keeping shoulders flat and abdominals contracted.

Hold the stretch for at least 10 to 15 seconds without bouncing. Do 15 repetitions on each side twice a day. (If it's too hard to keep your foot on the floor -because your muscles are too tight - gently pull knee over as far as possible without placing foot on floor.)

Also stretch the hamstrings and that piriformis muscle if you can. And finally, pilates is helpful because it develops strength in that core area.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/09/20

Hi Gina

Are you 100% sure it's the sciatic nerve, or is there a chance it is something else? If you're happy with the diagnosis, then you can obviously treat it.

So the pinching could be caused by any number of things - a herniated disc, for example. And this is not really going to respond all that well to stretching. At least, stretching can help with the symptoms, but if there is an underlying cause like disc damage, then you may need further treatment, otherwise it will only get worse (or best case scenario, stay the same).

Another common causes is something called piriformis syndrome, where a muscle that is used to extend at the hip presses on the nerve. This can be caused by sitting for too long on a hard surface, which is why you might try change your chair at your desk for a pezzi ball (one of those large inflatable gym balls), if possible.

In terms of a stretch, here's one:
Lie flat on your back on the floor, arms at your sides. To stretch your right side, bend your right knee to waist level and put your right foot on the floor outside of your left knee. Place your left hand on the outside of right knee to hold leg in place, then gently pull right knee over your left leg toward the floor, keeping shoulders flat and abdominals contracted.

Hold the stretch for at least 10 to 15 seconds without bouncing. Do 15 repetitions on each side twice a day. (If it's too hard to keep your foot on the floor -because your muscles are too tight - gently pull knee over as far as possible without placing foot on floor.)

Also stretch the hamstrings and that piriformis muscle if you can. And finally, pilates is helpful because it develops strength in that core area.

Good luck

Reply to fitnessdoc
Posted by: Anon | 2010/09/15

Hi,
I pulled my periformis muscle and had the same kinda pain and my physio recommended this stretch. Sit in a chair cross your right leg over your left one and lean forward until you feel the muscle stretch, do not over stretch it just untill you feel a nice gentle pull.
hope it helps

Reply to Anon

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