As we age we’re inevitably plagued by back pain, but what makes sciatic pain different from other types of back pain?
Sciatica is that low back pain that radiates down into the left or right buttock, then sometimes on into the leg. If you recently suffered an accident or injury and you’re noticing this kind of pain, first call the national accident helpline, then speak to your doctor. If there’s a chance that you have a ruptured disk or any kind of injury, then get yourself to the doctor, and we wouldn’t recommend any of the following exercises until you know for sure that there isn’t any serious damage.
However, if like me you’ve started getting sciatic pain simply from sitting at a weird angle, then there are a few things you can do that can help alleviate that pain a little and prevent it from getting worse.
If you don’t have the resources to get someone to massage your butt on a daily basis, then the next best thing is to get yourself a massage ball or tennis ball. In fact, these are usually better than getting someone else to do it for you as you’re able to tell where the pain is most acutely felt.
How to properly massage your butt with a tennis ball
1. Lie down on the massage ball or tennis ball, making sure you’re able to comfortably move around.
2. Move the ball around until you find the painful spot in the glutes (you’ll know when you find it, trust me)
3. Relax or roll up and down your body in small movements so that the ball massages the painful spot.
4. Remember to breathe as it can be really painful, but painful in a good way.
5. Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds before moving on to the next painful spot. Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes in total, otherwise you’re likely to start crying.
Prevention is the best cure
It’s much easier to prevent back pain than it is to treat it, so here are a few things that could help prevent the build-up of tension that will eventually cause pain.
1. Work to improve posture, core strength, balance and flexibility by adding a yoga class into your weekly workouts.
2. Be conscious of your posture. Take regular breaks from your desk to stand, walk around, and stretch. When standing for a long time spread the weight between both legs evenly.
3. Pay attention to your sleeping position and which ones cause you the most discomfort. Sleeping on your side will give your back the most support, especially with a pillow or blanket tucked between your legs to level your hips out.
4. Stretch before going to bed and as soon as you get up.
5. Have a consultation with a gay personal trainer so they can demonstrate some specific exercises. (You could speak to a straight PT too of course, but where’s the fun in that?)
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