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-   -   Swimming is aggravating my sciatica (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7081)

freddastare 03-01-2014 12:01 AM

Swimming is aggravating my sciatica
 
I hope someone can help me out. I've been doing TI for about 20 years and swimming is absolutely esssential to my well-being. I developed sciatica a few years ago and lately it's really been acting up. Swimming--especially the crawl and backstroke--causes shooting pain. The biggest problem seems to be rotation. If I don't rotate, I can control the pain to a certain extent. But that certainly cramps my well-learned style.

The pain goes away after I stretch and I'm almost tempted to just swim with the pain--that's how much swimming means to me. I'd rather be in pain than stop swimming.

Has Anyone else ever had or heard of this problem?

I'd greatly appreciate any help.

bx 03-01-2014 06:22 PM

Wow, you must have been there at the start of TI! Do you swim the "old" TI stroke with quite a lot of body roll, or have you modified it to swim with 30 - 45 degs of roll?

Maybe your hips and shoulders aren't rotating together. If you're putting a twist in your spine and you have a degenerating disc, this could cause sciatica?

Better see a doctor though to find the cause... good luck.

craigcurtin 03-02-2014 12:12 AM

Hmm, Sounds like a core strength issue
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by freddastare (Post 45473)
I hope someone can help me out. I've been doing TI for about 20 years and swimming is absolutely esssential to my well-being. I developed sciatica a few years ago and lately it's really been acting up. Swimming--especially the crawl and backstroke--causes shooting pain. The biggest problem seems to be rotation. If I don't rotate, I can control the pain to a certain extent. But that certainly cramps my well-learned style.

The pain goes away after I stretch and I'm almost tempted to just swim with the pain--that's how much swimming means to me. I'd rather be in pain than stop swimming.

Has Anyone else ever had or heard of this problem?

I'd greatly appreciate any help.

If the problem goes away after you swim and then do a good stretch i would guess that you are not getting enough core support. Is there a specific stretch that you can isolate that immediately reduces the pain ? If so i would be tempted to go to a Yoga or Pilates instructor, explain the issue and see if there are specific exercises you can do for that muscle group.

Obviously once you can identify the muscle group involved post back here as it may trigger one of the gurus to immediately point out a weakness in your technique that can also be addressed.

I am guessing one of the gurus would ask for some video also at some point so this might be a good thing to get also

Craig

freddastare 03-19-2014 07:17 PM

Good responses
 
Both of these responses make a lot of sense. I did start off with the full rotation, and have only recently begun making modifications. I had a private session with Terry last year (but was concerned with shoulder problems, not my back) and he showed me the way he now works with arms. That's been fantastic for my stroke and my shoulder.

My video also showed that I was really over-rotating to my right. So I think you're both right--less rotation and building up of core strength. I have done Pilates, yoga, etc., etc., over the years and have seen doctors for my back as well as other joints. But that doesn't mean that I stick with the core strengthening regimen.

I've also started to work more with the side stroke, which actually seems to relieve the pain. My preference would be to work harder on the crawl and get fast, but for now, alternating strokes works best.

Thanks for your help!

rapido 07-27-2014 07:57 PM

I do running and swimming and found that running caused sciatic pain. I think there are two causes of sciatic pain, the less serious of those is to do with tight muscles and specific stretch exercises bring immediate and sustained relief for me. there are you tube videos showing these stretches. here is one...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLdUHiJhvGM

POLIDORI 08-01-2014 09:28 AM

I had sciatica problems for the last few years. While everybody told me swimming is good for your back, I experienced otherwise.

Especially with backstroke, which is what everybody recommends for back problems.

Breakstroke, which was the one style that I was forbidden, was the best for me... ???

Then a little longer than a year ago I had a lumbar operation. Since then everything seems to go back to normal. Swimming is a sport, a funny time and a therapy for me (both mental and physical).
Stretching my back muscles is necessary and I floow TI style 100% (or so I believe).

Focus on stretching your arms, dorsal muscles, rotate a little bit just to use your side muscles when pulling back and try to lelax your back, supporting no weight at all.

Also I strech my back and legs before entering the water (well, I do that exercise quite a few times during the day).
I place my arms above my head. All along to the roof (or sky).
I relax my lumbar area.
After a while, when I am relaxed and feel my breathing with my belly, I take a bow and try to touch my feet with my hands. Usually, especially in the morning, it is difficult. So I just move my hands up and down my legs, very carefully, touching ankles and feet.

The point is to relax your muscles and fascia, especially. Once you feel relaxed, you need to compensate your legs. Front and back muscles should maintain the same amount of weight.
Once I have done this, it is the time to go up. Your butt should be way behind your feet/ankles and i go up slowly.

Once you are standing up, it is time to repeat all the process. The second time, when down, use that time to breath using your belly. Deeply. That will stretch your psoas muscles without doing dangerous exercises. At least five times you should inhale and exhale, relaxed.

Then go up again and feel purpously how well you are feeling and, if you are there for a swim, feel how well you are going to swim, how effortless you are going to do it.

If I have time enough, or feel like it, I do a third repetition, then using my arms when I am down, placing them over my shoulders and neck, stretching my high-back muscles.

angelinamike 01-07-2015 11:21 PM

Obviously once you can identify the muscle group involved post back here as it may trigger one of the gurus to immediately point out a weakness in your technique that can also be addressed.

CoachDavidShen 01-09-2015 07:49 PM

freddastare,

sorry to hear you're having sciatica pain. likely this is the result of improper stabilization of the back, and particularly of the lumbar spine. without stabilization particularly there, you will continue to twist that area, causing disc issues which result in sciatica pain.

i would go for a posture first solution. if you can find a good posture expert in your area, i would work with them to get your posture correct. good resources are Gokhale Method http://www.gokhalemethod.com or Foundation Training http://www.foundationtraining.com.

then you will need to learn how to stabilize the lumbar area. while some will do that with tightening up the torso, the preferred method is via generating intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). if you are wondering how to do that, i put up a series of videos on first correcting your breathing to abdominal breathing, and then how to use abdominal breathing to generate IAP.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...5yPw9L7ci8X38o

note that you can abdominal breathe without generating much IAP, so once you get the first 3 drills mastered, i would move quickly to the 4th which is a basic IAP exercise.

then once you do that, i would recommend training how to hold IAP while swimming. the easiest way to do that is using SG and Skate. hopefully you know how to do those.

basically, before you launch off into SG, take an inbreath and generate IAP. hold it, and launch into SG. were you able to hold the IAP or did you lose it? most likely you lost it. keep trying until you figure out how to hold IAP while performing a movement, in this case SG.

once you can do that with SG, then move to SG->Skate. could you hold IAP now in a rotational situation? repeat until done.

then try doing it via swimming.

good luck!

sojomojo 09-05-2017 01:31 AM

I’m reviving an old thread because I’ve been suffering from a bad case of Piriformis syndrome (sciatica pain) for the past 8 weeks. I was doing a high volume of high intensity interval running and I didn’t listen to my body when the butt pain first developed so I kept running. Bad mistake!

At its onset, the Piriformis syndrome pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t sleep, sit down or walk. After a couple of miserable weeks, the butt pain subsided but the sciatic pain persisted. I could NOT do any cardio workout except for swimming. Swimming was the only thing that allowed me to stay physically active (and sane) over the past 8 weeks.

The sciatica pain is in my right leg / foot so I can’t kick off the side of the pool or stand in the water using that leg.

I would never wish Piriformis syndrome or sciatica pain on anyone, but there was one side benefit. Since swimming was the only cardio exercise that didn’t aggravate my sciatica, I ended up swimming freestyle / front crawl almost everyday for at least 30 minutes. I worked on my swimming drills and skills and pushed past my limits in distance. I was pleasantly surprised that my swim endurance is now the best its ever been. I found myself able to swim a mile or more without getting totally gassed.

I guess my experience is different than the original OP in that swimming was my saving grace when it came to dealing with sciatica pain.

bx 09-07-2017 11:03 PM

Have you tried trigger point work on the side of your butt to release chronically tight muscles (glute med?) I have a lacrosse ball for this purpose. As usual, see YouTube for how that works...

sojomojo 09-08-2017 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bx (Post 63506)
Have you tried trigger point work on the side of your butt to release chronically tight muscles (glute med?) I have a lacrosse ball for this purpose. As usual, see YouTube for how that works...

At the acute stage, the glutes were so tight and painful that nothing helped except ice bags. Im surprised that I didnt get frostbite on my butt from the continuous application of ice. During the first few days, I did try a lacrosse ball and a tennis ball, but they weren't helpful and seemed to aggravate the sciatic nerve. After two weeks, the pain subsided to the point that I have been able to use a foam roller. Certain stretching exercises helped.

Right now, the sciatica pain is now isolated in my right foot - it tingles (pins and needles) and it burns as if I have heat balm lotion applied to it.

With regards to swimming without sciatic pain, I forgot to mention that I could only swim with a 2 beat kick.


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