Sciatica From Working Out: There are benefits from strenuous exercise and a level of acceptance of the discomfort that goes with exertion. While this is true to a certain degree, when individuals feel the pump and are in the workout zone, it can be very easy to take off and overdo it. This is when the body and the back become susceptible to injuries. Sciatica from working out occurs when added pressure on the sciatic nerve results in a compressed/pinched nerve. Left untreated can lead to further back problems and other health issues. The Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Team can relieve the compression, release the nerve, relax the muscles, and restore function.
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Sciatica From Working Out
Building muscle and increasing strength require a certain amount of physical damage to the muscles for successful progress. Intense and heavy exercise tear the muscle tissues causing microtrauma that triggers a healing response that creates muscle mass. These micro-injuries can cause the back muscles to tighten up, shifting the spine out of alignment, causing the discs to slip and compress nerves, or by tight leg muscles like the piriformis swelling and squeezing the sciatic nerve.
Rest and Recovery
- It’s important to understand that proper recovery is essential to an exercise program.
- It can take up to 72 hours to recover from the microtears.
- Individuals that go right back for a similar workout can aggravate existing micro tears while creating more, resulting in a downward cycle of symptoms that can lead to other problems or become a chronic condition.
- Rotating to exercises that go easy on the back and leg muscles assists in the normal healing and development of muscle tissue.
Not Warming up Before Workout
- Not warming up before exercising can cause injuries.
- When muscles are cold and not warmed up properly, they can become stiff and inflexible, causing them to strain and tear when exposed to sudden, intense exertion.
- Before performing any exercise, always start with a low-impact, gentle warm-up.
Not Stretching Properly or at All
- Full-body stretching is necessary as the torn, tight muscles need to be relaxed and kept loose.
- Make sure to stretch the hamstrings and hips thoroughly.
- After each workout, take 10 minutes and stretch.
Not Stretching After
- Always do some stretching after a workout.
- Stretching after can help prevent muscle fatigue and soreness from a lactic acid buildup.
Starting With Heavy Weights
- Many injuries happen because individuals start too heavy.
- Challenging the body’s performance is part of the process but should be done in small steps.
- Start with lighter weights and add more gradually.
Improper Posture and Form
- A leading cause of back problems is poor posture and form.
- Curving the back while lifting weights is the most error.
- Overarching can also cause injury.
- When performing push-ups or planks, avoid sinking the hips.
- For runners, hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt force the body and back to absorb most of the impact.
- This compresses the vertebrae, which can irritate the sciatic nerve.
- Rotate by using running trails or a treadmill.
- Work on running with a shorter stride to reduce bounce and impact.
- Incorporate cross-training.
- Rotate upper body strength training to give the legs, gluteals, and back muscles a rest.
Chiropractic care, massage, and decompression therapy can relieve sciatica pain. Using spinal manipulation techniques and other therapies, chiropractors can alleviate the pressure on the nerve. Treatment involves:
- X-rays are taken so that the chiropractor can understand the cause.
- Massaging the muscles to relax and release them and increase circulation.
- Stretching and applying controlled pressure to the joints.
- Specific exercises and stretches will be recommended to do at home.
- Health coaching and nutrition and wellness recommendations.
Personalized Sciatica Treatment
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Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, et al. Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: a systematic review and network meta-analyses. (PDF). Spine J. 2015;15(6):1461-77. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049
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