Sciatic Nerve

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by chatt_town, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    After looking more closely, I'm 99 percent sure this is a sciatic nerve issue as opposed to a hip issue now. My hips feel fine now. I think they along with my lower back were sore after a playing a very physical match last Friday after not having played for 3 weeks. I've had this before but it didn't last long and kind of just went away on it's on. As Tennis people, have you ever had this and what did you do to help recover faster? I've read some stuff online, but I want Tennis player's opinion on this.
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Do you have an excessively painful sensation running down either leg, along the hamstrings? If so, then you probably do have sciatica.

    The pain I'm describing is bone-deep and needle-like, it should run down your either hamstrings. It's most painful when you try to stand up from a sitting position, or sit down from a standing position. Basically, anything that involves a chair, it's going to hurt.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Did you just turn close to 40?
    Mine was so bad I couldn't downhaul a sail, or carry the rig down to the water, much less pretend to try to play tennis.
    Walking was hard, swimming better, surfing almost OK.
    Most people get it, and it mysteriously disappears after a few months.
     
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  4. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I suffered with lower back and hip problem for a few years. I thought it was sciatica. It turned out that my hip kept slightly dislocating, which then caused lower back problem. In hindsight, it might have been caused by IBS syndrome which kept pulling down the hip joint.

    For me, core and hip exercises were the most beneficial. And, stretching as well. I think core and hip strengthening exercises are often overlooked, but this is very beneficial for your movement and ground strokes.
     
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  5. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Although most sciatica is from compression of the sciatic nerve at the spinal column, tennis players are also susceptible to the "piriformis syndrome".

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    [​IMG]


    The following exercises can help prevent a recurrence:

    [​IMG]



    Suzanna McGee, who often posts here as sxftlion, also recommends doing self myofscial release to relieve the pain:
    Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome Treatment with Myofascial Release http://www.tennisfitnesslove.com/20...s-syndrome-treatment-with-myofascial-release/

    "Sciatica pain can be close to paralyzing—a numb, tingling or burning sensation going down in the back of your leg, calf and sole of your foot. The pain comes and goes unpredictably and playing tennis becomes impossible. However, you actually could have a tight and overused piriformis muscle, which is very common among tennis players. Luckily, it is also easy to correct.

    Piriformis is the largest of the six muscles in the hip that are responsible for external rotation of the leg. If you have your leg planted, the piriformis turns the body in the opposite direction, a movement that tennis players do repeatedly thousands of times. An overused and tight piriformis muscle causes a lot of misery and pain in your sacrum, glutes and hips. It will twist your sacrum a little bit, causing a short-leg syndrome that adds to the problem. It can also compress the sciatic nerve and as a result, you feel the “sciatica” pain.

    Quick directional changes in tennis impose a high risk on your piriformis’ well-being, especially if you are not well conditioned. Therefore, it is important to work on strengthening your glutes and hips, accompanied by regular stretching. Prolonged inactivity or sitting puts the piriformis muscles in trouble. If you sit at work or school most of your day and then start sprinting around the tennis courts, you may be creating future problems. An overused, shortened and sometimes even inflamed piriformis muscle contains painful trigger points. To remain pain-free, you need to stretch the piriformis to its original length and eliminate the trigger points with myofascial release.

    Sit down on the floor, bend your legs and place your left foot on the top of your right knee. Place a foam ball under your left glute and tilt a little bit to the left, toward the outside. Roll around slowly until you find a surprisingly tender trigger point. Stay on it and wiggle around a little bit while breathing deeply, until the pain goes away. Keep rolling the entire area to find and eliminate all the trigger points. A regular myofascial re-lease will be less painful over time and your “sciatica” problems will be gone almost immediately. For more intense sensation or to reach the deepest, stubborn trigger points, use a tennis or lacrosse ball."
     
    #5
  6. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    I would get sciatic pain down my right leg after serving.


    bump this thread up, i have changed my motion on the serve and that made all the difference.
    It took about 6 months to get used to new rhythm and stance.
    i have changed from a extreme pinpoint to platform stance.
    my feet are not extreme wide like some tennis players but far enough so i feel like im have better freedom to turn and not tighten up my back.
    though i still like the pinpoint, i have to make changes for my tennis career as i can serve longer, and recovery much faster when my feet are more platform like.
    also lost of power is made up of better accuracy.
     
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  7. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Last time I checked the sciatic nerve was located in the "hip" region. So it's still a "hip" issue.

    From personal/professional experience, there's always a hip flexor soft tissue component that tends to be ignored.

    Many people can relieve themselves from piriformis syndrome from just stretching/decompressing the symptomatic areas, but for the reoccurring or chronic issues, the whole pelvic region needs to be looked at for imbalances.

    Nasty case of sciatica back in 2003, felt like my whole right hamstring leg was on fire constantly and complete numbness of my leg below my knee. Sitting was the worse, driving was a nightmare, could barely bear weight on the leg sometimes. The worst was when random movements would trigger this electric shock into my lower back that was so paralyzing....oy vey. Took me 3 months to resolve things, and for even years later I'd have these "ghost" sensations down the leg sometimes. Nasty, nasty stuff.
     
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  8. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    I was having the same problem about a year ago. I went to a chiropractor who tried stretching, electrical stimulation, accupuncture, you name it. After a couple of months, he gave up and referred me to a sports physician. They were talking about botox, or surgery to relieve the muscle spasms.

    Then I read about the piriformis syndrome here in the forums. I figured what the heck? It's worth a try before I do anything drastic. I started doing a lot of the stretches recommended here and found on youtube and my problem went away. It reappears a little every now and then, but a little rest and stretches work wonders.
     
    #8
  9. superdave3

    superdave3 Rookie

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    A lot of folks think they have sciatica when it is something else, but if your leg goes numb when you drive awhile like you indicated, that indeed is probably sciatica, also the pain radiating down the leg. It affected me most when sitting, and got to the point where I could not even sit more than 10 minutes watching TV, without having to get up and walk on it. I resolved mine through therapy (focusing on core exercises), and one back epidural. After years of suffering, I am pain free, but still do the therapy 2x week.
     
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  10. crosscourt

    crosscourt Professional

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    So is a very sore hamstring a symptom of sciatica? I have numbness in my leg and foot, and had thought it came from lower back problems. My hamstrings are very sore -- squatting is unpleasant -- but hadn't connected a hamstring problem to sciatic nerve problems.
     
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  11. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You've got some nerve OP........
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    poster #2 nailed down exactly what having a sciatic nerve problem feel like....
     
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  13. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Interesting. I had serious sciatica about three years ago. Pain shooting from my hip all the way down my leg. It lasted 3-4 weeks, where it took me literally 60 seconds to get out of a chair. My shin went numb, and at night it felt as if I had shin splits.

    It hasn't returned in full since, but I have noticed that I cannot sit for more than 30-40 minutes. Driving a car long distances, or watching movies at the theater have become pretty much impossible. I had no idea why this started happening, but if what you say is true, then my sciatica is recurring and I din't even know it.

    Crap. I guess I'll start doing some of those stretches...
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sticks with you for maybe 3 years, then mysteriously goes away.
     
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  15. superdave3

    superdave3 Rookie

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    My physical therapist had me do core exercises such as the plank, side planks, and a few others, which I am sure are on the internet. The core exercises stabilized the area, which has kept the sciatica at bay. Good luck!
     
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  16. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    If the muscle (hamstrings) is sore, then it'll feel sore, just like any muscle related stress.

    The sciatica pain may be localized to the hamstring region and makes it extremely painful to sit up/sit down. But the sensation is different. It's not sore, it feels like someone just stabbed you with a needle, all the way down to the bone.
     
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  17. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Soreness in of itself in your hamstring doesn't always equate to sciatica, but coupled with your numbness in your leg and foot, you def have some nerve involvement!

    Sciatica has many different clinical presentations, it doesn't always have to present as pain in the hamstring region, FYI.

    And the time for things to resolve for someone can vary as well.
     
    #17
  18. crosscourt

    crosscourt Professional

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    Thank you. What is the best way to rid myself of it? Does stretching work best or should I be getting a massage?
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nerve impingments, light stretching and activity until it goes away.
    Heavy activity can cause more impingement, taking you longer to heal.
     
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  20. crosscourt

    crosscourt Professional

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    Thank you. By light activity do you mean running and playing tennis - perhaps limiting the time spent - rather than lifting weights?
     
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  21. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Can you stand up straight or are you crooked?
     
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  22. tennispodpro

    tennispodpro New User

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    Same thing was happening to me last year. Fixed it with the help of this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRmFiQ6lBn4

    Also, Please, Please read this article:
    http://www.menshealth.com/celebrity-...enter-of-power
     
    #22
  23. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That, I remember when I had my episode, getting up from a chair was a 2-step process.

    1) Get off the chair, but don't straighten out the back yet. Haha, let things settle from the hips down first.
    2) Then slowly straighten out my back.

    To this day, I still rank sciatica/lower back spasms as the most debilitating injury ever, and I've made it back from 2 shoulder surgeries.

    With other injuries, if you do your rehab and rest, things will improve as time goes on.

    But with lower back spasms/sciatica, you can do everything right and nothing will happen. Then one morning, you're suddenly cured without doing anything. Then ONE wrong step, and you're back to bed rest...
     
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  24. magnut

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    You should google "pelvic tilt" or "pelvic shift". I thought I was having some major health issues and it turned out to be more of a muscle imbalance. Tennis players and golfers commonly suffer from this (Jim Courier went through this). I pysio told me it can take 10 years for it to develop. Then its a constant issue.

    Its not hard to fix though...some simple exercises and your pretty much good to go. NO SURGERY! The hardest part is finding the cause of the issue. Most doctors dont know what they are talking about and want to do surgery. I had one who wanted to fuse my spine. I got up, said no thanks, and walked out.

    It is miserable when you have issues like this. I once could not get out of bed for 5 days after an intense practice session. A week later I was running sprints. It really throws you for a loop.
     
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  25. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    I usually like stretching, self-myofascial release, trigger point releases. If you can feel and know if your pelvis is "off", correcting any pelvic imbalances will also be key for a speedier recovery.

    I know those are very general items, but obviously since I can't see you, I can only give you general advice.

    Good luck.
     
    #25
  26. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    There are several different sites that the sciatic nerve can be compressed at.

    By far the most common is in the back.

    But in post #5 above, I pointed out that the piriformis syndrome is fairly common in tennis players.


    So you might get relief doing the exercises illustrated above and the self myofascial release techniques from Suzanna McGee's web site.


    But why fool around with something as serious as sciatica?
    Why not get a medical evaluation to find out exactly what is going on in you so you can get better?
     
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  27. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'll add to this, and it's really the sad reality of sciatica/piriformis syndrome.

    - You can do EVERYTHING right during your rehab and it won't go away.
    - You can wake up one morning and it's like nothing's ever happened.
    - You can take a wrong step while walking and you're right back where you started.

    It sucks, but with sciatica/piriformis syndrome, s*** happens.

    And I'll tell you the best thing I did. When I had my episode, I was in a lot of pain and agony. Knowing that I can't further damage anything (maybe that's false to someone with more knowledge), but I told myself to get off my bed and walk up the hill by my house. Even if I have to take a zillion little steps to get there. I'm not going to lay there and let things stiffen up even more.

    I'm young, and after going through two shoulder surgeries and subsequent rehabs, I've developed a high pain tolerance. So maybe that had something to do with my determination.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
    #27
  28. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Good thread, bumping to read through tonight, as I found out I have an 'inflamed sciatic nerve'... is that the same as sciatica, or perhaps just the first stage before this gets worse? Doctor prescribed some anti-inflammatories, which have helped me walk normally again.

    I was in so much pain, that shooting pain from hip into knee and hip/groin into my back. I could barely walk for two days before finally seeing my doc, the pain was excruciating especially when getting out of the car, out of bed, out of my chair at work.

    Hope the stretches /exercises in this thread will help recovery.

    How do those who have had this been able to play tennis again? Sounds like something that will almost linger around forever? I'm in my mid-30s, this really sucks. Doc said rest for 4 weeks, do the stretches, get a massage, and hopefully back to normal after that.
     
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  29. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Also, are their certain exercises one should avoid when working to rehabilitate and strengthen the surrounding muscles?

    I see that I need to work on core strength, as well as glutes, hips, and back.

    However, I don't want to do anything that's going to irritate the sciatic nerve, because that pain can be quite crippling.
     
    #29
  30. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    i would go four days without being able to walk. One time i passed out because i had to go to the bathroom #2 and said screw it...i am just going to get up and walk to the toilet. #1 was no big deal as i could just pee in a jug.

    anyways as i was walking i had a sharp pain so strong i passed out. Four hours later my wife came home and i rolled onto a blanket and she dragged me to the bedroom.

    This type of stuff went on for ten years or so. It would hit me....cripple me.....a week later I was back on court playing 5-6 hours with no pain. Then maybe a few months later BAM....crippled again for a few days......a week later back on court.

    I have the pelvic tilt stuff going on. It took a long time to figure it out.

    One exercise......Back extensions. I have not had back problems for over two years now and i play a lot. I do back extensions 4-5 days a week. I do zero abs. for me it was a muscle imbalance.

    The trick is figuring it out. I went to doctors, physios, chiropractors etc. Nothing really worked. doctors wanted to operate and fuse my spine but i have known too many people with botched back surgeries to let them mess with my spinal cord. My wife father was crippled from a bad epidural and lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

    I recommend everybody tennis and non to do lots of back extensions to strengthen the back and also cobra stretches to keep the abs loose. it wont hurt you. You can buy a roman chair for $80 and do them at home. Its very convenient. i do 3-4 quick sets before i go on court and 3-4 when i get back. You can watch tv and do the cobra stretch. You can also sleep on your stomach and it will stretch your abs out through the night.
     
    #30
  31. gut wax

    gut wax Semi-Pro

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    Crunches

    Ariat brand boots. Great for Plantar Fasciitis, as well.
     
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  32. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    also....I agree. its the worst of the worst. You cant walk. You cant sit in a chair. You cant even lay down comfortable and sleeping is not comfortable either.

    i think one thing to do is get it out of your head that its an injury. Its more of a condition and its chronic. I have not had it debilitate me in a few years but once in a while on cold and wet days the pressure drops and i feel it getting stiff. i immediately start doing back extensions and it all goes away.

    This whole pelvic tilt/shift thing is very common among golfers and tennis players. it comes from hard rotational movements of the core and kick serves. It takes many years to develop and the more it happens....the more it happens. I was to the point it was happening four times a year before i figured it out.

    I can only think of one thing worse....Vertigo. i was playing the harmonica at my sons birthday party one year and dislodged a crystal in my inner ear. i was like being completely hammered for two weeks. the rooms was always spinning and i was heavily nauseated to the point i couldnt eat and was throwing up all the time. i would try and walk down the hall and slam myself into a wall. You cant just lay down and watch tv because the screen swirls and shakes. If you close your eyes you feel like your being tumbled in a washing machine. driving a car is life or death...you cant stay in your lane. aweful stuff. On top of that i was taking care of a two year old and a sixth month old.

    other than these two i have had interesting adventures with.....

    ringworm...caught it digging a trench. Tough to get rid of.

    anxiety attack....comes from subconscious stress. Out of nowhere you cant breath. We were expecting our first child. I thought I was having a heart attack. i am not someone who gets stressed out either.

    Norovirus.....it doesnt last long but its ruthless. You cant really kill it and everyone in the house ends up getting it. It can kill infants. I had my boys drinking pedialite non stop.
     
    #32
  33. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    This forum is full of useful information, yet you want a professional who can directly observe you. I would highly suggest to find a physiotherapist who can monitor your progress and recovery. S/he can also prescribe exercises and stretches that are appropriate for your condition.
     
    #33
  34. Bionic slice

    Bionic slice Semi-Pro

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    I had back surgery on L4-L5 due to a herniated disc that had fragmented and large fragment was on my sciatic nerve causing me 24-7 pain. I went from being very fit to not being able to walk, move, live without constant pain. My doc tried to tell me it was degenerative discs but his original diagnosis was wrong, i did his recommended PT but i knew he was not going to help, got my MRI and had surgery the next day as he didnt realize how severe the injury was. Great new was once i woke up...that nerve pain was gone....I was on the shelf for a year and didnt want to rush coming back as i knew this was major surgery and i have 2 procedures done on my lower back.

    You might get it checked out to rule out an certain injury. Your lower back can also tighten up if you legs(tight hams or quads) can cause your pelvis to get out of alignment causing pain as well.
     
    #34
  35. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    I had this 10 years back from yard work and golf. Was not playing tennis at that time. Severe pain through the butt, hamstring, and calf. Also under the foot tingling/burning upto the toes in the shower.

    MRI showed a huge (10 mm) extrusion. Doctor recommended surgery for immediate relief, or bear the pain for a month till the extrusion flattens. I did the latter :) . The worst pain in my life for about 3 weeks.

    I had the calf pain for 3-4 years after that. Stopped golf and took up tennis. Afraid to take a golf swing again. :) . It still flares up if I hit too many kick serves even with a straight back and knees bent.
     
    #35
  36. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    I had it once per year in the last for years from january for 3/4 months. every year it starts hurting in january.....is it not crazy!
    First the right leg then left then left and now right. I did physical therapy and of all the exercises the one I believe helped me the most i think they were those for straightening. Now It came back again and I have to start all over again......so sick and tired of it and the pirifornis mascle which is the cause!:twisted::twisted::twisted::twisted::
     
    #36
  37. Will Wilson

    Will Wilson Rookie

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    I had a bout of sciatica last year bad enough that parts of my foot went numb. I actually think I had Piriformus Syndrome when I look back on it.

    A massage therapist tennis playing friend of mine said "sure, here's why. How do you hit an open stance forehand (turn the right foot to the outside), now feel your piriformus muscle (completely engaged). That's how it happens"

    Here is what else I learned:
    I went to a chiropractor for a month with little results - he didn't even check for piriformus syndrome. Pretty much a waste of time and money. I should have went to a doctor right away. A friend of mine got it, went to the doctor who gave him muscle relaxants and he was pain free in 3 days.
    Massage therapy helped a bunch, as did gentle walking and other loosening movements.
    What cured me was doing stretches for piriformus syndrome that I found on youtube. Starting very slowly and easily and soon it was gone. I think it is really important to stretch all the muscles in the pelvic region and they are not easy to stretch and seem to be left out of the typical stretching routines found in books, etc.
     
    #37
  38. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    for me it happened while I was hitting a 2back hand on a open stance on the stretch....actually like last time.
    I'm already doing tons of stretching hopefully it will last just a few weeks
     
    #38

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