Bicycling sciatica can affect regular bike riders, motorcyclists and professional cycling athletes. Sciatica which affects cyclists can be rooted in physical causes or emotional sources, and often may incorporate both aspects for a truly baffling symptomatic profile.
This discussion will focus on why sciatica is such a widespread problem among cyclists. We will explore why sciatica occurs in relation to cycling and provide some guidance on finding relief.
Cycling entails extended periods of sitting and seated sciatica is one of the main symptomatic expressions for many affected patients. Sitting on a hard bicycle seat can place pressure on the buttocks, coccyx and sciatic nerve, especially in patients with an unusual positioning of the nerve inside the piriformis muscle, rather than beneath it. Sitting for extended periods of time can make anyone sore and stiff, but combined with active use of the legs and the specific torso positioning of cycling, the pain can become quite severe.
Alternately, the emotional sources of sciatica often come to the forefront of the mind when riding. Being on a bike for a long time gives one time to think. This can bring about a defensive response to sensitive or repressed psychoemotional concerns which threaten to break into consciousness.
Additionally, serious cyclists are imposing great pressures on themselves to perform and these perfectionist traits are known causes and contributors to mindbody back pain of all varieties.
Stopping any beloved activity is never a good long-term solution, so activity avoidance should not be considered, except in the short-term. It is better to work on achieving an accurate diagnostic conclusion, so that the patient can be clear as to what is causing their pain, and therefore, how to rectify it.
Assumption of a structural source is commonplace and standard practice in medical science, even though the statistics clearly show that most unresponsive chronic sciatica has a very good chance of being misdiagnosed. My advice is to take an active role in your care and research all potential treatments thoroughly. Simply placing all your trust in a single doctor or chiropractor is akin to being a lamb to the slaughter.
Do not forget that the very reason that sciatica has such a fearsome reputation is not because they are impossible to cure. No. Instead, the underlying issue comes down to poor diagnostic practices which lead to inappropriate and useless therapy agendas. Keep all this in mind if your care provider comes up with some lame excuse to explain your cycling sciatica which makes no sense at all. Be sure to consider all possibilities, mental and physical, and demand that any structural issues be evaluated, so that you can determine if they are truly being exacerbated by your cycling or not.
Sometimes the cure for cycling sciatica can be very easy. It may be as simple as some emotional work and journaling. It may mean changing your bike seat. It might entail altering the technique you use to ride. However, be careful if you are advised to enter into some drastic ongoing or surgical therapy option. Conservative care practices generally yield disappointing results for sciatica sufferers, while failed sciatica surgery is an absolute epidemic which makes the problem far worse and permanent. Do not rush into anything.
Make sure the information provided to you is accurate and logical. If something does not make sense, ask for a clarification and if the issue cannot be explained to you, then seek help elsewhere. This will save you from repeating the mistakes of the legions of sufferers before you.
In summary, I highly recommend seeking multiple diagnostic opinions and treatment recommendations from a diversity of different types of caregivers before doing anything to actually treat the symptoms.