Is your sciatica causing you to miss your tee time?

Natalie golf swingIf you’re an avid golfer, you’ve probably felt the twinge of sciatic pain travel down your legs a time or two. You know all too well that the twisting and turning required in golfing tends to irritate inflamed nerves, sending shooting pain radiating through your lower body.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is impinged. The sciatic nerve is the longest in your body, starting at the base of your spine and running down your legs. When pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve, a pulse of pain travels down your legs. Sciatica may be a symptom of other conditions, including:

  • Bulging/herniated disc
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis

It seems you’re faced with two options: give up the game you love or deal with the pain while golfing. There has to be a happy medium, right? Here are some tips to get you back on the green sans the pain:

Stretch it out. The key to keeping your sciatica at bay is stretching. Always stretch before you partake in any activity, especially if you’re golfing. Make sure you properly stretch your hamstrings and your lower back. You should consult with a physical therapist to ensure that you are performing your stretches correctly.

Low-impact exercises. You can also help relieve sciatic pain through low-impact exercises such as walking, biking or swimming. Instead of riding in the golf cart, consider walking the distance. The movement will help you stay limber and avoid pain.

Take some medicine. If you know you’re going to be golfing, consider taking an over-the-counter medication to help limit inflammation. This will help prevent pain before it starts. Be mindful, though, that taking medications will keep the inflammation down, so you may not know immediately if you’re taxing your body too much.

Use heat or ice. If you find that you’re in pain during or after golfing, consider using heat or ice to help relieve inflammation. You can alternate using heat or ice to have the greatest affect.

Sciatica doesn’t have to keep you away from the game of golf. If you’ve been struggling with chronic back pain, consider making an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will help you develop a treatment plan.

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