Sciatica – “Old People Issue”

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Only old people get sciatica. Then, one day a few years ago, I got this shooting pain that started at my rear end and ran down my thigh. By the time it had gotten unbearable, I looked to Google. When I discovered what it was, I told my mom and she giggled, “You are getting old”. Well, I fought back. I found some stretches on my own that, a few weeks into them, relieved the pain. After about 6 weeks, the pain was gone completely and I never had an issue with it again. That is, until two weeks ago.

Just after I started exercising again, I noticed that if I sat too long, my lower legs would almost fall asleep (I didn’t realize that’s what it was … I was just not able to fully walk properly. Then, I felt my calf, and it was numb). I thought, maybe it’s just lack of circulation, so I started rotating my ankles, getting up more often, bouncing my legs up and down like I was nervous, hoping that keeping the blood flowing would rid me of this annoyance. Well, yesterday was a banner day. Instead of numbness, both legs were tingling, like they had been asleep but were waking back up. So, back to Google.

It turns out THIS is sciatica, too! I had thought sciatica was just the pain but no. There’s a muscle in your rear end called a piriformis (to read more about this check out this article: http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretches-and-exercise-sciatic-pain-piriformis-syndrome). It runs from your tailbone across to your hip and if it gets tight, it can pinch the sciatic nerve and cause numbness. What the heck? So, I get to add another set of stretches to my ever-growing arsenal of stretches.

One that I used to do before … I don’t know if I came up with it on my own or saw it somewhere but I stand in front of a wall. I keep one leg straight, lift the other foot off the ground, then, using the wall, I turn my body, stretching my straight leg at the hip. Then I repeat for the other side.

The other one was standing with both feet on the ground, legs straight, then slowly push my hip out to the side just to the point where I feel tightness up the side of my hip, hold, then repeat on the other side.

All these stretches must be very gentle and you must ease yourself into them. So, my conclusion from all of this? I’m either really working my glutes deeply or I’m not positioning my feet correctly when performing my cable exercises. Either way, if I ever want to be able to sit for longer than 5 minutes stretches of time, I will be stretching every day. I need to finish reading the book, ”
Becoming A Supple Leopard“. My brain is so disjointed it’s like I don’t have enough time in the day for everything.

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