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Sciatica Exercises Alleviate Discomfort For Golfers
If you are fortunate enough to have never experienced sciatica, you may be wondering what it is. The sciatic nerves run from your lower back down each of your legs. They are the largest nerves in the body, growing to more than a half inch in diameter. Irritation or compression of these nerves, which can range from a mild tingly pain to excruciating pain that is debilitating, is referred to as sciatica. Many golfers experience lower back problems, and often this is due to sciatica.
If you experience sciatica, a few days of bed rest or lying on the couch is not the answer. Inactivity actually aggravates the problem. Weak or inflexible muscles can cause or intensify sciatica, so it is important to keep your back and abdominal muscles in good shape. While you don't need to spend hours at the gym, some strengthening and stretching of these muscles can provide a lot of good and get you back out on the golf course.
Before you begin an exercise program to treat sciatic pain, it is important to understand what is causing the pain. Usually this will need to be diagnosed by a medical professional. For example, if you have a herniated disc your pain is being caused by disc material bulging out and applying pressure on your nerve, which in turn irritates or compresses your sciatic nerve(s). If this is the problem in your case, stretching your back can be helpful. You can do this while lying on the floor on your stomach and raising your torso up off the floor.
If, however, your sciatic is caused by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the nerve's passageway, then different exercises will be more useful in alleviating your pain. These include stretching your back by kneeling and bending your head toward the floor with your arms stretched in front of you. Also try lying on your back and gently pulling your knees to your chest for relief of your pain. The right exercises can alleviate your discomfort and help you better enjoy your golf game.
As with many lower back problems, a good preventative measure is to maintain good posture, stay within a healthy weight range, and exercise regularly. An appropriate fitness routine can help keep you pain-free while playing golf. The sciatic nerves are especially prone to flare up when you have weak muscles, poor posture or are overweight. Keeping your back in good shape before you have problems goes a long way in reducing your likelihood of future back pain. Whenever you experience pain or discomfort, you should always seek out the diagnosis of a physician so appropriate precautions and a diagnosis can be made for corrective strategies.
Susan Hill is a nationally recognized fitness trainer, CHEK golf biomechanic and sports nutrition specialist. For more information on golf specific nutrition, exercises or stretches, visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com
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