Got pain? Don’t just sit on it–do something!

Trying to stay good-natured is a challenge while you hurt!

Pain erodes your attitude; it’s difficult to ignore driving and nagging pain.

I too have some issues, so I’m sharing some of my personal strategies for dealing and alleviating the issue of sitting too long.

Sitting creates compression—namely on a nerve–usually the sciatic nerve which weaves in between muscles that you sit on.  The nerve is excited which means that it tells the muscle that it innervates to contract.  What that means is— the longer I sit, the more uncomfortable I get.  Planes and long road trips can become more than I can take—so I get out my tools and see what works.

Use the right tool—and you may have to try many things to find out what works for you. I urge you to move around–squirm until you find more comfort–take a walk–find a place to extend your legs and stretch–ANYTHING but putting up with pain and position that is exacerbating it.

  1. Tennis ball:  Sit on it  Finding the knot in your gluteus maximus and applying pressure can be very pain-relieving.
  2. Talk to your muscles—by thinking about what you want to achieve.  ie.  If you need a muscle to quit hurting, think about something soft and pliable, applying the feeling to your tight muscle.  You can influence the tension by imagining its release.
  3. Hand ball: These are harder than tennis balls and fit into smaller areas–handy!
  4. Plastic water bottle—my personal favorite.  You can freeze your water bottle and use it as ice massage, to reduce inflammation and to relieve pain.
  5. Massage ball from the internet (4”) and cut it in half.  Use this to sit on—in the middle of the seat–which helps your posture so that you are not over-compressing one side or the other.

Stretch til it feels good!

You’ve heard over and over–no pain, no gain, although that often seems counter-intuitive.  Here’s how that applies to proper stretching:

Many people, including trainers and physicians blithely tell you to stretch.  What they don’t tell you is how to stretch.  Gratefully Yoga practice, massage school and the research that I’ve done clued me in.

Most people regard a stretch as the action of extending a limb as far as it seems to be able to go.  actually describes and extension, meaning extend your body-part (usually a limb) as far as you can.  I call that an extension–not a stretch.

Proper stretches  

  1. Hold your extensions 90 seconds to train your brain — then you can go even further, really creating a stretch–elongating fibers to extend even further.
  2. The nerves are the communication pathways that tell your muscles what to do.  Once you’ve created a neuronal pathway (a groove), your behavior feels more natural and you are more likely to– not only repeat it more easily–but to shorten the time required to hold.  In time, you train your brain and it will understand the command to “release” faster so you don’t have to hold it so long.

What stretches for Sciatic Pain ?

  1. Stretch legs forward:  find a place to put your legs on a bench or a step and bend towards them, one-at-a-time.
  2. Walk backwards to release the pattern of contraction
  3. Stretch legs back, by standing and bending your knee while grabbing your ankle.  Stand up straight and pull your knees towards each other.  exhale and release the pain by telling your muscles to stop resisting the stretch.
  4. (more info)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *