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Have you ever wondered where the phrase ‘pain in the rear’ came from? Have you ever suspected it be actual pain in the rear? That might sound like it makes too much sense, but is sure to supply some with truth in their words. The human rear contains three muscles of the same name: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus and another muscle infamous for being a troublemaker, the piriformis. At times, these muscles can compress a nerve called the sciatic nerve that runs from the low back, through the buttocks down to the legs.
This can lead to a burning, shooting or radiating pain in the rear that can be a, you guessed it, a real pain in the rear! This pain can seem like an undefeatable obstacle but rest assured as the pain came, it can go away as well. Imagine this pain comes around the time you aim to begin weightlifting or training for an upcoming event, such as a marathon or obstacle course. You may be looking for an effective way to deal with the pain without spending too much time focusing on it and neglecting your other goals. How do we deal with this pain all the while taking steps forward? Don’t fret we’re just getting warmed up.
Warming the body up prior to vigorous exercise is not just a recommendation it is a requirement. Without a proper warm-up one is susceptible to sprains and strains that can be bothersome, painful and make your course toward your goals seem less attainable. If you have heightened pain due to sciatica, it is not recommended to participate in any heavy lifting exercises such as squat, cleans or other lifts that put you in vulnerable situations holding heavy weight. Instead, begin your workout routine by hitting upper body to give your lower body more time to rest, if your exercise prescription calls for breakups between upper and lower body. Nevertheless, lets outline a warm-up to help combat sciatica.
First, in the gym or at home, find a flat surface to lie on (floor, yoga mat, etc.) facing the ceiling. Take your affected leg (side involving pain) and pull it up to your chest, bending at the knee. With both hands, pull your leg tight to your chest until you feel a stretching sensation in your buttocks. If the pain is too unbearable, ease up and gently work into a more complete stretch. It is okay to hold this stretch for fifteen seconds and release, and repeat two or three times.
Next you will bring the leg up in the same position, and with the opposite arm push it across your body and attempt to make contact with the surface of the ground without raising your shoulders from the surface. This stretch should produce a very “strong” stretch and could perhaps provide some immediate relief as well. Like with the initial stretch, hold this pose for fifteen seconds, give or take, two to three times. Important to remember with these stretches is to complete each stretch bilaterally, meaning to both sides. If one gluteus muscle is susceptible to leading to sciatica the opposite surely is, as well and keeping bilateral structures on the same agenda can help prevent strains going forward.