There is nothing more frustrating for a runner than not being able to run. No training twice a week with the club. No racing on a Sunday once perhaps twice a month. No more medals in the cabinet. Bit more weight. Bit more negativity.

One reason why this may occur is when your sciatic nerve, which runs from your back to your feet, becomes irritated or compressed.

When this happens you will feel pain, numbness and a tingling sensation that radiates from your lower back and travels down your legs to your toes.

Walking is agony let alone running. I should know I suffer from the condition.

The problem is that I am also a runner ready to compete in a half marathon in early October.

What is the answer?

Apparently the condition improves naturally after around six weeks. Mine hasn’t. What is more I don’t have six weeks of waiting around for a natural recovery.

After a little research I have come up with a solution.

Remain as physically active as possible by either walking, cycling or swimming.

Prolonged bed rest is not the answer neither is taking time off work.

Painkillers help but don’t cure. Physio helps but can be expensive.

The key exercise for me is stretching which helps mobilise the sciatic nerve and improves low back flexibility.

I started a stretching regime at the gym this morning for half an hour. I will do the same tonight and in fact every day for two half hour sessions.

Rather than describe the stretches or post pictures I will give you the names of the exercises which you can look up.

  1. Knee to chest stretch.
  2. Sciatic mobilising stretch.
  3.  Back extensions
  4. Standing hamstring stretch.

Give it a go. I am. Before you know we may be pounding those pavements again very soon.

Peter Hayward


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