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  1. #1
    old woman melDorado's Avatar
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    Sciatica- can I ever train legs again?

    Been suffering sciatica, agony, it comes and goes... any hip hinge movement or hamstring exercise sets it off though.
    Done some basic research on what exercises I should avoid
    - basically any leg exercises and also bent Row.

    As an ex powerlifter I lived for leg day. So its pretty depressing to read that.
    Any fellow old folks got any experience with sciatica and lifting?
    retired from powerlifting, retired from the misc
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  2. #2
    Registered Stacy Silencespeaks's Avatar
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    Hiiiiii good to see you

    My sister in law does not lift but she had sciatica and was in a lot of pain but eventually it disappeared completely. I think it lasted around 6 months on and off. And then it just went away by itself and she is fine now.
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  3. #3
    old woman melDorado's Avatar
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    Hi hey you're still here
    Maybe I just rest legs a while and then try again?
    I've had really bad hip tendinitis a while back too, had scans injections and months off gym. Dreaming of a hip replacement now tbh

    Originally Posted by Silencespeaks View Post
    Hiiiiii good to see you

    My sister in law does not lift but she had sciatica and was in a lot of pain but eventually it disappeared completely. I think it lasted around 6 months on and off. And then it just went away by itself and she is fine now.
    retired from powerlifting, retired from the misc
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    Registered Stacy Silencespeaks's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by melDorado View Post
    Hi hey you're still here
    Maybe I just rest legs a while and then try again?
    I've had really bad hip tendinitis a while back too, had scans injections and months off gym. Dreaming of a hip replacement now tbh
    Yeah I believe time off is the single best thing you can do for your body. I’ve had two injuries in the past and the only thing that really helped me was rest. Imo rest is infinitely more healing than doctors, therapy, treatment, surgery etc. In my experience your body can heal itself if you just give it rest. Rest is very hard mentally but it’s worth it.
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  5. #5
    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    just no.
    No, do NOT take time off because that's what dumb pussies do.
    Be smart and lift lighter, using full ROM, ditch the ego in the gym and train everything as you used to...but much lighter.
    If you decide for more time off you're doing nothing productive and that is the beginning of the end of lifting for you.

    I have 2 dislocated discs and a pinched sciatic nerve. Its constant pain and has been for about 10 years. It will get better and you will adapt, if you don't cave in first.

    By exercising it will increase blood flow and promote healing, by continuing to lift lightly it will keep your azz in the gym, prevent atrophy, and keep the nerves firing. Post workout stretching will increase your flexibility and decrease overall pain. There are quite a few stretches for sciatica and they need to be incorporated into your routine.

    With the injuries I have already mentioned that I have I squatted 455 yesterday for 3 singles and when I was initially injured my Dr. also told me I wouldn't be squatting again. There is hope if you use your noggin and not try to beast your way through an injury.
    Ibuprofen has become a bi-daily thing for me, but I suggest not to train on it so you can feel the bad pain when it happens and back off/stop.
    You can worry about the weight later, now its time to keep yourself in the game.
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  6. #6
    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    I second on NO RESTING, sometimes a week rest is needed, but many, many folks who REST longer than that from this stuff, the injury just lingers.

    I second the "light" training, the ego may have to go for months.

    I know someone who had severe sciatica and it was so bad he had a steel rod put in his spine at age 18. He lifted weights until that surgery and he lifted weights immediately after that surgery, he shocked the docs by his recovery, he is over 50 now and squats double BW almost daily, he lifts 300+ lb rocks.

    He actually snapped that rod he has in his back from lifting.
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    I get it sometimes.

    Light two handed kettlebell swings really help. Use a kb 1/4 your bodyweight.
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  8. #8
    Registered Stacy Silencespeaks's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post
    just no.
    No, do NOT take time off because that's what dumb pussies do.
    Be smart and lift lighter, using full ROM, ditch the ego in the gym and train everything as you used to...but much lighter.
    If you decide for more time off you're doing nothing productive and that is the beginning of the end of lifting for you.

    I have 2 dislocated discs and a pinched sciatic nerve. Its constant pain and has been for about 10 years. It will get better and you will adapt, if you don't cave in first.

    By exercising it will increase blood flow and promote healing, by continuing to lift lightly it will keep your azz in the gym, prevent atrophy, and keep the nerves firing. Post workout stretching will increase your flexibility and decrease overall pain. There are quite a few stretches for sciatica and they need to be incorporated into your routine.

    With the injuries I have already mentioned that I have I squatted 455 yesterday for 3 singles and when I was initially injured my Dr. also told me I wouldn't be squatting again. There is hope if you use your noggin and not try to beast your way through an injury.
    Ibuprofen has become a bi-daily thing for me, but I suggest not to train on it so you can feel the bad pain when it happens and back off/stop.
    You can worry about the weight later, now its time to keep yourself in the game.
    So you’re in constant pain and taking pain meds daily and giving advice on how to recover from injuries.

    K m8
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  9. #9
    old woman melDorado's Avatar
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    Thing is I'm already light lifting I've been doing that since I retired from powerlifting. I'm squatting 65kg for 10 when my max was 135kg. I can't even pull 110kg for 5 without pain afterwards and I was deadlifting 4 plates two years ago. Why I lift now is mainly for mental health, fitness and to maintain muscle. Maintaining muscle is actually ridiculously easy so maybe I can go even lighter idk. I was on the rowing machine a while this week and that went well. First cardio i ever did lmao but I need to adapt I think.

    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    I second on NO RESTING, sometimes a week rest is needed, but many, many folks who REST longer than that from this stuff, the injury just lingers.

    I second the "light" training, the ego may have to go for months.

    I know someone who had severe sciatica and it was so bad he had a steel rod put in his spine at age 18. He lifted weights until that surgery and he lifted weights immediately after that surgery, he shocked the docs by his recovery, he is over 50 now and squats double BW almost daily, he lifts 300+ lb rocks.

    He actually snapped that rod he has in his back from lifting.
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  10. #10
    Registered User ElderlyAthlete's Avatar
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    How about active rest? You can workout and keep active but avoid activities/or movements that trigger high pain or radiating pain (like pain shooting down your leg). It will probably resolve itself if you avoid aggravating it/inflaming it.
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  11. #11
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    I don't have sciatica but I have L4/L5 bulging disc and it was extremely excruciating pain on my legs and I was out of the gym for a month Docs wanted to inject my spine and perform surgery, I opted out, went to a chiropractor who specializes in bulging disc and I perform these stretches (see video) every day. The pain is now gone and I continue the stretching as a preventive measure.

    I sped up the video as I hold each stretch for 7 - 10 seconds and it would be boring lol

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  12. #12
    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Silencespeaks View Post
    So you’re in constant pain and taking pain meds daily and giving advice on how to recover from injuries.

    K m8
    Sciatica is not "curable". No amount of resting will heal it. Once it is done it is a matter of pain management and chances are I've been injured longer than you've been lifting and I'm still f'ing lifting.
    You are aware the body adapts to stress, no? This is no different.

    K9
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    Registered User LittleJoe77's Avatar
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    Sciatica has flared up for me off and on.

    I've found that incorporating glute and hamstring stretches, foam rolling as well as just plain walking ease the pain when it's occurring.

    I've also found that incorporating some stretches into my daily routine has kept it from occurring for some time now. When I get lax on the stretching it does seems to pop back up.

    The below link shows some of the stretches I do. The sitting spinal stretch I HAVE to do after leg day.

    See link below for some stretches...
    sapnamed.com/blog/sciatica-prevention-recommendations-from-specialists

    Hope you can get some relief and get back to lifting!
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  14. #14
    Quarantined Finja Cass40's Avatar
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    I have had sciatica for years and it most def has affected strength gains, especially back squats and deadlifts. It's not that bad ATM. The year away from the gym really helped.

    However, lifting is not the only thing that can aggravate sciatica. It can flare up from pretty much doing anything too much. Even stretching too much will flare it up.
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    old woman melDorado's Avatar
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    Hi cass, yeh I just don't want to be suffering it because its soo damn painful,
    Also what you said about it being an overuse injury, I'm a nurse and I bend over beds allday in a position similar to a deadlift.
    I think its more work than lifting but the lifting can push it over the edge. And I gotta work end of the day. I do all I can to mind my back in work. They say bend from the hips not the back. Well that just means you fuk up your hips instead of your back I reckon

    Quite a few people have mentioned the stretches so.8 will definitely start with those, thanks guys.


    Originally Posted by Cass40 View Post
    I have had sciatica for years and it most def has affected strength gains, especially back squats and deadlifts. It's not that bad ATM. The year away from the gym really helped.

    However, lifting is not the only thing that can aggravate sciatica. It can flare up from pretty much doing anything too much. Even stretching too much will flare it up.
    retired from powerlifting, retired from the misc
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    I had sciatica on an off for a couple years, other than the first flare up (lasted a month), it usually went away on it's own after a week or less. Last year after a set of squats (1 time squatting after gyms re-opened), I got it bad, and for 2 months, the only pain free position was lying down on the floor. I had to cinch a lifting belt on under my clothes just to get through the day.

    I bought a reverse hyper, and inversion boots. The reverse hyper would relieve my pain for 30-40 min at a time, and hanging from my feet 1-2 min, would relieve the pain for an hour. After a month of using both daily, I'm mostly pain free. I touch my toes with palms on the ground for 2 min soon as I wake up, and right before I sleep everyday. I do a set on the reverse hyper before and after squats/DL now. I hang for 2 min after every workout now, and get in a set or two of hanging sit ups while I'm at it. Been pain free for 7 months now, and my squats/DL have increased in that time.
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    First -See a Doctor. Find out what is causing the issue. If the doc says "don't work out," listen! The last thing you want is to make it worse.

    If Doc says it is okay, work out, but be gentle until it feels better. Check out the McKenzie (sp?) Method for exercises for dealing with back issues.
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    Originally Posted by melDorado View Post
    Been suffering sciatica, agony, it comes and goes... any hip hinge movement or hamstring exercise sets it off though.
    Done some basic research on what exercises I should avoid
    - basically any leg exercises and also bent Row.

    As an ex powerlifter I lived for leg day. So its pretty depressing to read that.
    Any fellow old folks got any experience with sciatica and lifting?
    I suffer daily sciatica due to a back injury sustained in Law Enforcement about 16 years ago. I do body weight exercises for my legs when it's really bad. Dead lifts I do with a kettlebell since I can't tolerate too much weight.
    Never a powerlifter so I don't know if that's acceptable for you. Daily stretching helps. Depending on what caused the sciatica it may go away on it's own.
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  19. #19
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    No idea the answer and nothing to contribute except to say I hope you find how to manage/workaround, this and best wishes for your recovery
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
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