Sitting is an important part of gaming. If you’re a professional video game player or just a simple hobbyist, you are most likely to spend a lot of time sitting. Although this may be good in terms of preparation and refining your attack tactics, one thing that may concern you is having back pain with sciatica.
Sciatica is a condition in which a person experiences pain that radiates down the buttocks and the back of the leg with numbness or tingling that extends down the foot. It is caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve or one of its roots or branches. Any condition that irritates or compresses the sciatic nerve may cause sciatica, such as sitting on a hard surface for long periods. The most common cause is a herniated or bulging disc.
The Piriformis Syndrome
Related to sciatica pain is piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle lies under the gluteal muscles in the buttocks and functions to extend the hip and rotate it outward. The sciatic nerve runs close to the piriformis muscle, and any injury to the piriformis or when it’s inflamed may cause sciatic nerve pain in the leg. The piriformis syndrome is described as the compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. Although other nerves, such as the superior gluteal nerve, can also be entrapped by this muscle and is termed as piriformis syndrome as well.
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome are listed as follows:
Symptoms of piriformis syndrome are aggravated from sitting for long periods, as this places compression on the nerve and causes local tissue ischemia as well. Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket is another common aggravator of nerve compression.
Treatments for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
STRETCHING OFF THE SCIATIC PAIN
Some gentle stretching exercises, known as nerve flossing, nerve gliding, or neural gliding, stretch the irritated nerves and help ease your pain from sciatica and also improve your flexibility.
ALTERNATING KNEE-TO-CHEST STRETCH: Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Grasp one knee with both hands and gently pull it up towards your chest and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Return to starting position and do the same with the other leg. Repeat 3 times, alternating between the left and right legs.
STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCH: While standing, raise one leg onto a step with leg straight and toes pointing up. Lean forward until feeling a stretch in the lower back and hamstrings. Keep your back straight. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds then return to the starting position. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat three times, alternating between your legs.
SCIATIC MOBILIZING STRETCH: Lie on your back and bend your knees with both feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. With both hands, grasp and bend one knee toward the chest. While holding the back of your thigh, slowly straighten your knee. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Return to starting position and do the same with the other leg. Repeat three times, alternating between both legs.
BACK EXTENSION (PRONE ON ELBOWS): Lie on your stomach with elbows bent and palms flat on the floor. Straighten your elbows to press your upper trunk up until you feel a stretch on your abdominal muscles. Hold for 10 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
GLUTEAL STRETCH: Lie on your back with bent knees. Cross one leg you want to stretch over the other leg. With both hands, grasp the thigh of the bent leg and pull it up towards you until feeling a stretch in your right buttock. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the right leg. Do it three times, alternating both legs.
Managing Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome with Recovapro
Massage and vibration therapy can relax the piriformis muscle and reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
PRECAUTION: Apply just enough pressure not to cause any symptoms of sciatica. If the patient complains of discomfort, stop, and ask a doctor’s advice.