Sciatic Pain for Cyclists and Runners
Many of you reading this might have experienced sciatic pain or know of someone who has dealt with it. Either way, you know that it can be painful. It can affect the way that you walk, use the stairs, dance, go to exercise classes, and even affect the way you ride a bike. I would like to talk specifically about all you bike riders out there who have experienced sciatic pain. If you don’t ride a bike, please continue to read this as you will undoubtedly benefit from this as well. I wanted to speak specifically to the bike riders out there because riding my bike is one of my passions.
Typically, when I’m working with athletes with sciatic pain, I tend to focus on a few concepts. One of the first things I look at is posture and symmetry. Essentially, I want to make sure that one side of the body moves just like the other side. I realize no one is perfectly symmetrical, but if you can at least get within 10% of the other side, then I’ll call that good enough. Once you are even, then I look at how well you move three dimensionally. What this means is that every muscle, bone, joint, etc, moves in three directions. Take your hip and legs for example: you can walk forward and backward, side to side, and turn around. That being said, how often do you (especially bike riders and runners), move/train/stretch in three dimensions? I see it far too often where bike riders and runners have issues with all at least two if their directions or dimensions because they spend most of their training in a forward direction.
A quick fix that you can try to alleviate your sciatic symptoms or prevent getting sciatic pain is to “tweak your gait.” To tweak something means that your changing the way that you do it. Gait is another word for walking (change the way you walk). This can be done throughout the day or as a warm-up. Personally, I like to do this as a series of walking lunges or giant steps. For example, take giant steps or lunge forward, then backward, sideways, then cross-over sideways, twist clockwise, then twist counter-clockwise. You can do about 10 steps in each of these directions as a warm-up to your day or as a warm up to your bike ride/run. Feel free to check out our website for a video of this warm-up. Otherwise, give us a call if you have questions. We would love to help.