Recovering from Sciatica

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Bob Flanagan III
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Location: Sowf Croydon and the Sunshine Coast of Eastbourne

Recovering from Sciatica

Post by Bob Flanagan III »


In March, I suffered from a severe bout of Sciatica which resulted in not being able to work for three months (work was very tolerant).

I am now on the road to recovery though I am still walking with a limp as I have little in the way of reflexes in my right ankle.

I asked the consultant about returning to kayaking and he advised not to until at least September. Unfortunately, the other half was at the appointment so there is no way I can sneak off and say that the consultant said it was OK.

So to my questions, has anyone else suffered badly with sciatica and returned to kayaking? What exercises did you do to rehabilitate? Did you make any adjustments to your playboat and creekboat to make it more comfortable?

I only ask as I don't think work or my other half will be so understanding if I cause it to flare up again?

Cheers in advance


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Re: Recovering from Sciatica

Post by GaryM »

Hi Bob,
My commiserations, as a long term sufferer I know what you must be going through.
First thing to ask is, did they identify the cause, i.e. disc damage, or something other? My problem was damage to the Piriformis muscle through/under which the sciatic nerve passes.
Just a few thoughts from things I have found to help me are:
Don't sit on soft, low chairs for too long things often get worse afterwards.
Particularly when driving, make sure that your legs are as straight as possible, maybe seat further back that you feel initially comfortable with, this makes my back much easier for long drives.
Don't try to lift boats from floor onto roof rack, either get someone to help, or find some cheap folding steps, works wonders.
Ditto carrying boat, slung on one shoulder is a disaster waiting and will happen.
Regarding your boat, make sure the outfitting fits you perfectly, especially around the backrest and thighbraces. I recently made a mistake going sea kayaking, boat had been fitted with foam bulkhead by previous owner which when sitting in garden felt fine, but after 15 minutes on sea, was clearly a bit too far forward, and after a few hours paddling I virtually had to crawl out of boat, and couldn't paddle next day.
As for exercises, I'm sure a good physio could sort you some out (hasn't consultant got this in hand for you??), but one I find useful is to lie face forward over a Swiss exercise ball for 10 minutes (listen to some muzak), this sort of streaches things passively, and provided you don't jump around afterwards, seems to help.
Finally, I don't know if you have tried this, I was very sceptical at first, but after seeing it work for my wife's horse with a muscle problem, tried it after a consultation, and for me, it has certainly worked. This is to use a TENS unit for about 15 to 30 minutes initially, working down, now I'm on about 5 minutes every 2 or 3 days, and am virtually pain and painkiller free most days now.
Hope this is of some help.
Best wishes
Gary Mascall

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Re: Recovering from Sciatica

Post by chriscw »

I have spinal stenosis which is similar and have had no advice to stop paddling, rather the reverse since it is an activity I can do unlike walking....

I suppose we are all different and the prognosis for any medical issue we encounter are too. If you can get a second opinion, also ask why you need to not paddle for so long.
Chris Clarke-Williams
Location Basingstoke

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Touring, Coaching Beginners (I am an L2K), Surf White water trips, Weir Play (I'm not good enough to put freestyle!)

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Re: Recovering from Sciatica

Post by gp.girl »

I got the same advice as Chris so carried on with anything I could do even though I had to be hauled out of my boat after most paddles. Amazingly kayaking itself tended to be pain free unless I did sudden moves making WW a bit tricky. First bout I carried on digging my allotment although only half and hour at a time. Mine is alignment and muscular but still hurts like h**l.
I can roll :)

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