Experiencing acute or chronic back pain is not unusual for athletes. While many back injuries result from muscle strain due to rigorous training, some athletes can suffer from sciatica, a condition marked by the inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the thickest and longest nerve in the body, extending all the way from the lower back, through the hip and down to the back of the thigh and the sole of the foot.
Sciatica is usually associated with tingling and numbness along the path of the nerve. The pain can be mild or severe. It may increase with coughing, straining, sneezing, sitting, or leaning forward. The athlete experiences muscle weakness, and usually walks with a limp. For any sportsman or athlete, sciatica compromises athletic performance.
Disc injury and sciatica
A physiotherapist from your local pain relief office in Paramus, NJ, or elsewhere, will tell you that a herniated disc is one of the most common causes of sciatica among athletes. A herniated disc in the lower spine compresses the sciatic nerve root causing the pain. Most sporting activities trigger this common mechanism of twisting and forward bending, applying significant pressure on the disc, and increasing the risk of injury. Basketball athletes are very prone to this because their movements usually involve twisting of the trunk.
Piriformis syndrome and sciatica
The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks and runs to the top of the thigh. Its main function is to support hip rotation and leg movement, and normally runs diagonally above or beneath the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or inflamed, it can pinch the sciatic nerve, a condition called Piriformis Syndrome. Runners are among those who are likely to experience Piriformis Syndrome. The muscle contracts to help a runner move forward; prolonged walking or running eventually cause the muscle to tighten.
Most cases of sciatica erupt spontaneously on their own. For athletes, however, seeking treatment as soon as possible is essential to prevent the condition from aggravating, and thus affecting their performance. Fortunately, sciatica relief is possible through conservative, non-surgical methods, such as physiotherapy and chiropractic care. These usually involve spine alignment—in cases that involve disc problems—as well as specialized forms of massage to promote blood circulation to the tightened muscle and induce relaxation. Athletes are encouraged to visit their local pain relief centers in Paramus, NJ, such as MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center, without delay.
Source: Who is at Risk for Sciatica? About.com
Source: How To Treat And Beat Sciatica, Competitor.com