Playing Golf When Dealing With Sciatica Pain
Sciatica pain, nerve pain that radiates down from the lower back and through the leg, can make physical activity difficult, including playing golf. Even so, medical experts usually say that the best treatment for most sciatica often is to remain physically active; and the walking involved in playing a game of golf is one of the most beneficial exercises. Keep your same strokes, but to decrease the pain while you're golfing, make a series of stretches a part of your daily routine. If you are regularly stretching and walking and still experience debilitating sciatica pain while golfing, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
Stretching the hamstring muscles along the back of the thigh helps alleviate sciatica pain by decreasing the amount of stress tight muscles put on the lower back. The stretches can be done lying flat on the floor or while sitting in a chair. They can be performed twice daily to get the most benefit, even if you're not golfing that day. To stretch your hamstring while on the floor, lift one leg up into the air and straighten it slowly, until the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling. Support your leg with your hands clasped behind your thigh and hold the stretch for between 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. To perform the stretch in a chair, sit down and put your leg out in front of you with your foot flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and lean forward.
Pirformis stretches target the pirformis muscle which is located in the buttocks. Physical therapist Ron Miller says that keeping the pirifomis muscle stretched helps ease sciatica by loosening tightness in your pelvis. To perform a basic pirformis stretch, Miller recommends that you lie on the floor, then draw one knee up and grasp the ankle with the opposite hand. Pull gently but avoid putting too much strain on your knee. Repeat the same stretch with the other leg. For the maximum amount of benefit, hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat between five to 10 times per leg.
Lower Back Stretches
There are two ways to perform lower back stretches to help deal with sciatica pain. For the first, lie flat on your stomach and use your hands to gently lift your chest and upper body up off the floor. Tilt your head back so that you are looking up at the ceiling and hold the stretch for about 15 seconds. To perform the second stretch, get on your hands and knees and try to lift your back in a bow shape away from the ground. Each time you do the stretch, keep your back in the bowed position for 15 seconds.
Low-impact Aerobic Exercise
According to Dr. Stephen H. Hochschuler and the United Kingdom's National Health Service, low-impact aerobic exercise decreases sciatica symptoms because it promotes the release of the endorphin hormones that are responsible for making your body less sensitive to pain. Golfing regularly may help because of the large amount of walking involved, but you can boost the benefit you derive from aerobic exercise by incorporating other forms of low-impact exercise into your lifestyle. Swimming and aerobics performed in the water are good choices.
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.