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JL
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2006
2628 posts

What lifts can I do with Sciatica
I was doing legs over the weekend and pretty sure I did something that is causing me to have symptoms matching sciatica. I'm going to avoid legs, bent over rows, etc. Just curious if anyone is familiar with this and can tell me if it's ok to do chest, shoulders, back, and arms or if I should avoid any other lifts.


DeafJam73
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
17062 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
I’m assuming you’re experiencing sciatica pain because you did something to your lower back. Don’t do anything that loads the spine. Back squat, deadlift, standing over head press, etc. You can train your legs with things like curls, extensions and presses, but you should stay away from things that load the spine and cause spinal flexion. You should also find a physical therapist who has worked with athletes and also lifts weights themselves. He or she will be able to tell you how you got hurt and help you get out of pain and help you heal the injury. After you’re better you can start working on building core stability or address mobility issues to help keep you safer. But first thing’s first: stop loading the spine and get help to get out of pain.
This post was edited on 9/15 at 1:12 pm


BengalBen
LSU Fan
Member since May 2008
1869 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
I’ve been managing back issues and sciatica for 30 yrs. I think DeafJam is spot on. Avoid loads on your back. Instead of overhead shoulder presses, maybe you can do front shoulder raise that isn’t directly overhead and compressing your back. Bench press, inclined press never bothered me.

Everyone’s back issue is unique, so it’s really trial and error. But if your sciatica is down your leg, it’s due to a compression in your lower back, so leg curls, leg extensions probably won’t bother you.

The best exercise for sciatica down the legs is to stretch your hamstrings, I would focus on that more than anything.


Jon A thon
Member since May 2019
495 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
I'm dealing with this now. I've gotten very different opinions. First was steroids and anti inflamatories with 6 weeks off from working out. After 6 weeks, I felt no different. Went to a Physical Therapist recommended by my crossfit gym. He wasn't concerned with pure spinal compression...more theb improper spinal flexion with compression. He worked on hip flexor mobility and stuff. I'd feel a lot better after those sessions. He told me as long as the exercises weren't hurting me, it shouldn't be a problem. I had to quit crossfit. I found it way too easy to have bad form doing a metcon where I had to do reps of something like a clean while tired.

For the last 3 weeks, I've just been doing stronglifts 5x5 and although it's not 100% better, it's definitely not any worse than the significant time I took off doing nothing. It's still early in that program, so the weight isn't huge, but I really think the focus on better form really doesn't have me worried about doing more damage.


DeafJam73
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
17062 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
My low back issues stem from a mobility limitation in my hips. The back compensates when I can’t get into a good hip hinge. If I stay on top of it, it doesn’t give me issues outside of general soreness. I do isometric exercises to help build core stability and do unilateral exercises to help isolate and strengthen weaknesses in my hips.


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lsu777
LSU Fan
westlake
Member since Jan 2004
19117 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
what Deaf said is spot on, i would throw in this

try reverse hypers, for many people they help, some it hurts. Try them and see how you feel.

try belt squats. tends to help a lot of people.


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Buckeye06
Ohio State Fan
Member since Dec 2007
20874 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
quote:

He or she will be able to tell you how you got hurt and help you get out of pain and help you heal the injury. After you’re better you can start working on building core stability or address mobility issues to help keep you safer. But first thing’s first: stop loading the spine and get help to get out of pain.


This is always to me the most important thing. A lot of people just want to put a band-aid on and not fix problems. If you see someone who can help you fix the problem, you can get stronger in the end


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Yeti_Chaser
Member since Nov 2017
2668 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
I found that even leg extensions and curls hurt when I had sciatic issues. I just did everything single leg so I could use less weight and still do good movements. Single leg squats holding dumbbells, same with deadlifts, lunges, etc


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20
bayouvette
LSU Fan
Raceland
Member since Oct 2005
2992 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
quote:

Everyone’s back issue is unique


Can't stress this enough.

Id take a break for 2 weeks from the gym. Go get an mri and then visit a chiro you trust. Learn what your exact issue is before trying to treat it.


Jon A thon
Member since May 2019
495 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
Only updating because I'm kind of seeing changes real time. Even since posting less than a week ago.

My pain initially was bad enough that it was uncomfortable to sit at my desk. I'd have to find the right position of my back and left leg just to tolerate sitting down. Steroid pack and anti inflammatory helped a little for the week I took them, but when the prescription was up, it came right back. After six weeks pain was basically the same.

I went to a place in Houston called Airrosti (if available to you in your area, I highly recommend). It was like hybrid chiro/physical therapy. One guy would manually work my range of motion, the other would set me up with workouts. Some days I'd have 0 pain after their sessions. The lead guy did crossfit and suggested I get back to it as long as it didn't hurt. 75% of the time, I could do the workout and have not issues. Often feeling better after moving around. But 25% of the time, I'd tweak something. Just too tiring to have good form with those lifts.

About 3 weeks ago I decided to focus on getting stronger with good form. Figured I'd try 5x5 stronglifts as I mentioned earlier. I'm not doing crazy weight or anything, but I can squat 200 lbs 25 times and feel just fine after. I'm sitting at my desk realizing that I'm perfectly comfortable and barely notice any pain. I'm sure when I start to hit the plateau in this program, I'll have to be more careful than typical to not push the limit on weight unless I'm absolutely sure I can have good form. But I can still workout and that's the most important thing right now.


bayouvette
LSU Fan
Raceland
Member since Oct 2005
2992 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
Good news. For me after I got healed from my initial injury the best I ever felt was when I was back doing heavy squats and deads. Once I would stop doing that I would notice I would feel it more.


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NOFOX
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
New Orleans
Member since Jan 2014
9373 posts

re: What lifts can I do with Sciatica
quote:


try reverse hypers, for many people they help, some it hurts. Try them and see how you feel.

try belt squats. tends to help a lot of people.




Yep. L5-S1 issues here. Reverse hypers inflame my back, but belt squat has helped. I’ve found the biggest irritant for me is any kind of weighted trunk rotation.

Hip mobility and core stabilization exercises help a good bit, but difficult to stay on routine for me when I’m feeling good.


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