Sciatica and post-ride stretches..

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I think I've suffered from Sciatica in my left leg on and off for years, but it's got pretty bad recently - evidently as a result of all the riding I've been doing.

I've been trying the stretches recommended here; and thinking that I should really be doing these regularly while the symptoms persist and otherwise after every ride (once I feel capable of getting out on the bike as it's pretty crappy currently).

I'd be most grateful for any other tips members might have for getting rid of this bloody condition; and while we're at it would anyone like to share their post-ride stretching regimes? I'm notoriously slack at this (at best the quads and hamstrings get a half-arsed tug) but especially in light of increased time on the bike can see the negative effects this is having on me (can't get within 20cm of touching my toes, for example).

Ta :smile:
 

vickster

Legendary Member
@mudsticks might have some ideas with her yoga teacher hat on

I do these when my back is stiff. (Other than number 1 due to knee issues)
https://assets.bupa.co.uk/~/media/images/healthmanagement/pdfs/exercise_lowback_final.pdf

Add in calf, piriformis and hip flexor stretches. If you cant get close to your toes, work those hamstrings 👍

Have you seen a specialist for examination and scans to confirm the cause of the sciatica?
 

Venod

Eh up
Location
Yorkshire
I had a bad case of Sciatica last year which resulted in a month off the bike, I don't want the pain again, so am now doing daily stretches on a morning, I have noticed that pre stretching regime I was starting to have trouble straightening up correctly on dismounting after a long ride, this now seems to have disappeared.

I do stretches similar to these, I don't do post ride stretching.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercises-for-sciatica/

I do some of those posted by @vickster above also,
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Thanks guys - I'll give those a go :smile:

@vickster - I've got no professional diagnosis but it ticks all the boxes for symptoms / causal factors and I'm not in a hurry to bother the doctor given the current situation (both for their sake and mine).

My GF loves yoga and in principal I like the idea, but just can't quite be arsed. Maybe this is the push I need :smile:
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
@mudsticks might have some ideas with her yoga teacher hat on

I do these when my back is stiff. (Other than number 1 due to knee issues)
https://assets.bupa.co.uk/~/media/images/healthmanagement/pdfs/exercise_lowback_final.pdf

Add in calf, piriformis and hip flexor stretches. If you cant get close to your toes, work those hamstrings 👍

Have you seen a specialist for examination and scans to confirm the cause of the sciatica?
Hamstrings ( tight ones) seem to be a major contributor to sciatic problems.

As does compression of the lumbar / sacrum area caused by too much sitting - including driving - and i guess cycling too - especially as the leg is working but never quite fully stretched.
I had a bad case of Sciatica last year which resulted in a month off the bike, I don't want the pain again, so am now doing daily stretches on a morning, I have noticed that pre stretching regime I was starting to have trouble straightening up correctly on dismounting after a long ride, this now seems to have disappeared.

I do stretches similar to these, I don't do post ride stretching.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercises-for-sciatica/

I do some of those posted by @vickster above also,
Pre and Post ride stretching is going to be more effective in persuading the muscles to do their repairing in a lengthened form.
Which is what you want to do if you're going to lengthen your hamstrings.

The legs working in a not quite straightened state - as in cycling - is what often causes short hamstrings - and bad knees - in the first place - sometimes combined with inflexible hips - which then places a twisting action on the poor old knee - which was only ever supposed to be a hinge - not to have a rotational action - that's why they often get damaged in skiing, and football etc.

The lying on the floor action with the leg lifted is ok - but it will be far more effective if you use a belt / or strap around the lifted foot near the heel and straighten the leg completely - elbows down by your sides - even if the leg doesn't come anywhere near vertical - many of my students have to have the leg at about 45 degree angle to the floor and then work gradually and carefully from there - over the months - activating all the front leg muscles in a pushing towards the bone action - to protect the muscles on the back of the leg - its all about balanced work on all sides of the leg, to get equal strength and flexibility - long strong muscles are much less injurous to the joints than short bulky ones .


A lot of my students come to me with 'bad' knees, and 'bad' backs - but once they've learned to straighten the knee effectively, and work the legs well then many of these problems go away.

It is really better to get a well trained teacher to show you this stuff, but obviously thats tricky right now.

I'll post some pictures when i have a mo' but I've currently got my farmer hat on right now.

Thanks guys - I'll give those a go :smile:

@vickster - I've got no professional diagnosis but it ticks all the boxes for symptoms / causal factors and I'm not in a hurry to bother the doctor given the current situation (both for their sake and mine).

My GF loves yoga and in principal I like the idea, but just can't quite be arsed. Maybe this is the push I need :smile:
Considered and intelligent effort in one end - good results out the other - its a very boring truth ... :okay:
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Hamstrings ( tight ones) seem to be a major contributor to sciatic problems.

As does compression of the lumbar / sacrum area caused by too much sitting - including driving - and i guess cycling too - especially as the leg is working but never quite fully stretched.


Pre and Post ride stretching is going to be more effective in persuading the muscles to do their repairing in a lengthened form.
Which is what you want to do if you're going to lengthen your hamstrings.

The legs working in a not quite straightened state - as in cycling - is what often causes short hamstrings - and bad knees - in the first place - sometimes combined with inflexible hips - which then places a twisting action on the poor old knee - which was only ever supposed to be a hinge - not to have a rotational action - that's why they often get damaged in skiing, and football etc.

The lying on the floor action with the leg lifted is ok - but it will be far more effective if you use a belt / or strap around the lifted foot near the heel and straighten the leg completely - elbows down by your sides - even if the leg doesn't come anywhere near vertical - many of my students have to have the leg at about 45 degree angle to the floor and then work gradually and carefully from there - over the months - activating all the front leg muscles in a pushing towards the bone action - to protect the muscles on the back of the leg - its all about balanced work on all sides of the leg, to get equal strength and flexibility - long strong muscles are much less injurous to the joints than short bulky ones .


A lot of my students come to me with 'bad' knees, and 'bad' backs - but once they've learned to straighten the knee effectively, and work the legs well then many of these problems go away.

It is really better to get a well trained teacher to show you this stuff, but obviously thats tricky right now.

I'll post some pictures when i have a mo' but I've currently got my farmer hat on right now.



Considered and intelligent effort in one end - good results out the other - its a very boring truth ... :okay:
Thanks - really appreciate you going through all that :smile:
 

Venod

Eh up
Location
Yorkshire
As does compression of the lumbar / sacrum area caused by too much sitting - including driving - and i guess cycling too
I think this was a big contribution towards my sciatica, I had been on a particularly bumpy ride on a rigid MTB the day before I pulled my back bending over to my sock on.

I did go to a chiropractor who did some manipulation and confirmed that it was a disc problem impacting on a nerve.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Thanks - really appreciate you going through all that :smile:
No problem, I had some deliveries to do this afternoon, (sadly by car) and I was following a cyclist for some time in the lanes (I think he was a little surprised at how unbothered about passing him I was)

But I was looking at his bod :rolleyes:

From his musculature it was obvious that he was a fairly keen cyclists, and it really made me consider how tightened up everything could become, if that was your main or only form of exercise.

If youre clipped in you're ankles barely make as sharp as a 90' bend let alone anything more closed so making for short bulky calves (and vulnerable achillies)

And I don't reckon his legs were straightening even as much as 160 at the knee, so short hamstrings, again.

Add into that the front groins working under load, semi, or fully closed, and a rounded dorsal spine it's a wonder that any pro cyclists can walk upright at all. :eek:

But then, I guess they have physios to straighten them out.

Anyhow it got me thinking about a shortish but precise and effective programme, of stretching, that would be doable by cyclists, without technical knowledge would be useful.

Anything longer than five mins and I know it just won't happen.

But it does need to be done (imo) or things are going to get tight, vulnerable and hurty, for a lot of people ..

Maybe there's one out there already idk?
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
No problem, I had some deliveries to do this afternoon, (sadly by car) and I was following a cyclist for some time in the lanes (I think he was a little surprised at how unbothered about passing him I was)

But I was looking at his bod :rolleyes:

From his musculature it was obvious that he was a fairly keen cyclists, and it really made me consider how tightened up everything could become, if that was your main or only form of exercise.

If youre clipped in you're ankles barely make as sharp as a 90' bend let alone anything more closed so making for short bulky calves (and vulnerable achillies)

And I don't reckon his legs were straightening even as much as 160 at the knee, so short hamstrings, again.

Add into that the front groins working under load, semi, or fully closed, and a rounded dorsal spine it's a wonder that any pro cyclists can walk upright at all. :eek:

But then, I guess they have physios to straighten them out.

Anyhow it got me thinking about a shortish but precise and effective programme, of stretching, that would be doable by cyclists, without technical knowledge would be useful.

Anything longer than five mins and I know it just won't happen.

But it does need to be done (imo) or things are going to get tight, vulnerable and hurty, for a lot of people ..

Maybe there's one out there already idk?
Indeed - not that I have any real understanding or knowledge of the physiological issues involved, but I've been getting increasingly concerned by the potential fallout of large amounts of one specific type of exercise with the bits involved all pretty rigidly constrained. I was swimming a while ago which I hope helped, but obviously for the moment that's off the menu.

GCN did a video years ago on "Yoga for cyclists" and I imagine using that as a search term on youtube will bring up a lot. Sadly however I'm not educated enough to to assess how helpful these are likely to be.

I agree about the five-minute limit; even with fairly consistent discomfort it's still a struggle to bother doing any stretches, as I sit here miserable at the prospect of not being able to get out on the bike.

I'm sure the good people of CC would appreciate a few quick stretches to ward off the maladies - I certainly would if you can find the time / will :smile:
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Indeed - not that I have any real understanding or knowledge of the physiological issues involved, but I've been getting increasingly concerned by the potential fallout of large amounts of one specific type of exercise with the bits involved all pretty rigidly constrained. I was swimming a while ago which I hope helped, but obviously for the moment that's off the menu.

GCN did a video years ago on "Yoga for cyclists" and I imagine using that as a search term on youtube will bring up a lot. Sadly however I'm not educated enough to to assess how helpful these are likely to be.

I agree about the five-minute limit; even with fairly consistent discomfort it's still a struggle to bother doing any stretches, as I sit here miserable at the prospect of not being able to get out on the bike.

I'm sure the good people of CC would appreciate a few quick stretches to ward off the maladies - I certainly would if you can find the time / will :smile:
Well a lot of it can be addressed with some fairly basic biomechanics..
At least in cycling there's not so much outward rotating actions to complicate things.

I have a suitably stiff male student, who has been up for photo modelling before for other programmes.

He loves having his photo take for some reason.. :eek:

So I might Co opt him.

There's no point it being bendy old me, whose been at it for decades.

A lot of what does for cyclists, is also useful for other sporting activities..

And farmers too, I did some online sessions for a bunch of them a couple of weeks back.

There's a lot of folk bent into queer shapes by their occupations, or pasttimes..

And then there's the desk jockeys.. They've got another set of issues again

I'll see what I can do.

Brevity, but effectiveness, and precision, being key.

Means im not likely to be out of a job any time soon..
 

kingrollo

Veteran
Thanks guys - I'll give those a go :smile:

@vickster - I've got no professional diagnosis but it ticks all the boxes for symptoms / causal factors and I'm not in a hurry to bother the doctor given the current situation (both for their sake and mine).

My GF loves yoga and in principal I like the idea, but just can't quite be arsed. Maybe this is the push I need :smile:
I loathe yoga it's the most boring hour of my week.........but it works.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Tried a few - probably because my regular is right after work....I just want to get home for tea !!!
Have a small snack - fruit and or nuts is best so it doesn't interfere with your digestion - half an hour before class so you're not so distracted by hungry tummy :rolleyes:
 
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