To make a long story short, the answer is yes, one common cause of sciatica is a sports injury. Hold on for a moment before you grab your pitchforks and torches, though. Not all sports are dangerous. In fact, it’s not really about the sport as much as it is about the way you practice that particular sport. There are specific things that people often do; these are what promote sports injuries, and in turn, sciatica. To help out, we took the liberty of doing some research.
Throughout this article, you’ll find out more about what sciatica is, how exactly can sports injuries affect the nerve bundle and what can you do to avoid injuries.
Skipping Stretching and Warm Ups
We all know that stretches and warm-up exercises are an important part of any good pre, as well as, post-workout routine. Yet, with this information in mind, sometimes we choose to actively ignore it and just get down to business. This could lead to the hyper-stretching of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve fiber in the body. After all, it is a nerve that must be conditioned and coaxed into performing high-intensity exercise. According to a research published in the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine journal, a trained dancer managed to injure her sciatic nerve right after stretching. That’s why it is always preferable to combine a sufficient amount of stretching and warm-up exercises, graduating in intensity until you’re ready to perform your regular workouts.
Carrying Heavy Weights
Injuries resulting from sports; such as weight lifting, are called repetitive stress injuries. It’s when a certain exercise puts intense strain on a specific part of your body. With weightlifting, one of the at-risk areas is the lower-back, and according to Dean’s Sports Therapy, it is one of the main causes of sciatica. Any lumbar disc-related injury actually can result in the pinching of the nerve fiber, which causes a loss of feeling in the entire leg. Of course, weightlifting injuries depend on your form while lifting the weight; wrong form is nothing but a highway to permanent nerve damage. So, just don’t put yourself in that position. Remember that there’s always a way to enjoy doing what you love without putting your health on the line.
Sports that Demand Twisting Motions
Think about what we’ve said in the previous paragraph. It seems like any strain on the spine tends to have an impact on the sciatic nerve, right? Well, that explains why sports that consist of a lot of back-twisting are a cause of sciatica. More specifically, demanding sports like gymnastics and parkour, where it’s easy to make a wrong move or land in improper form. Sudden spinal movements can cause a disc to slip and compress your nerves. Not to mention, bad form while landing could injure a small buttock muscle called the piriformis. When that little thing gets inflamed, the first thing it does is irritating the nerve. Needless to say, skipping a leg day doesn’t help at all.
So, to sum up, not all sports injuries can result in sciatica. The most dangerous injuries are those related to the spinal cord and the lower back area, the ones related to the leg muscles, and also those resulting from the lack of a proper pre-workout routine. In other words, anywhere that’s close to the nerve where it is at risk of being pinched. To avoid putting yourself in harm’s way, it is advisable that you work on strengthening your core and leg muscles, as well as, keep an eye out for any symptoms of sciatica. With that being said, train safe!