Optimizing every workout is always a primary goal for most of us athletes that enter the gym on a daily occurrence. Only problem sometimes is the occasional injury that may hinder or place a halt on our overall training programs. One of the more serious and also frequent injuries are in the area of the lower back. Many of the injuries that occur in this region can be contributed by either misplaced form in biomechanics with such exercises such as: squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, and anything that places heavy compressive load on the lower lumbar spine. Most of these injuries will lead to also something we refer to as sciatica.
Sciatica: Sciatica is pain originating in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the back of your legs. Symptoms of sciatcia include burning in the leg, pain in the back of the leg when sitting, leg weakness, shooting pain, and more.
Causes: Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Additional common causes of sciatica include:
• Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
• Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
• Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
• Piriformis Contracture (Pirformis Sydrome-most common in sports related sciatica injuries)
Other instances that may make your back pain worse include being overweight, not exercising regularly, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.
Piriformis Stretches: Cross leg over and make a 90 degree angle. Approximate towards abdoomen while keeping your lower back straight. This will stretch your hip extensor muscle which is the piriformis muscle. This is a great stretch for anyone to perform daily. Most people are in jobs that require them to sit in fixed positions in extended amounts of time, so this would be an added benefit in our daily routine!!!
3 WAYS YOU CAN STRETCH THE PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE:
1) PASSIVE STRETCH (NOT ENGAGING..CAN HAVE SOMEONE PUSH YOUR INVOLVED LEG TOWARDS YOUR CHEST)
2) ACTIVE SEATED STRETCH (APPROXIMATE ABDOMEN TO EFFECTED LEG)
3) ACTIVE STRETCH AGAINST A STATIONARY PLATFORM (USE A MASSAGE TABLE OR EVEN A FIRM SOFA/BED)
ALSO CAN APPLY DEEP PRESSURE WITH FOAM ROLLER IN A RELAXED POSITION WITH EMPHASIS ON THE HIP/GLUTE REGION OR CAN ALSO APPLY WHEN INVOLVED IN THE STRETCH YOU CAN ALSO USE THE FOAM ROLLWER IN THE HIP/GLUTE REGION.