Sean McCawley, Fit for Life: Exercises to avoid sciatica - Napa Valley Register

Last week, we shed light upon a few noteworthy structures surrounding the sciatic nerve in the body. This region of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves is referred to as the lumbopelvic hip complex, or LPHC.

The combination of connective tissue present in the LPHC is significant for the integrity of the lumbar spine and hip region. Appreciating the area’s intricacies can empower us to decrease debilitating symptoms of lower back pain, hip tightness and, one of the most popular culprits in the LPHC community, sciatica.

Described as sharp, searing or annoying pain originating from the center of the buttocks, sciatica is a condition that sends nerve pain down the back of the leg to the heel. Discomfort is an understatement for severe cases of sciatica.

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Symptoms of sciatica can originate from many root causes. Compressed or shifted vertebrae, bulging discs knocked out of alignment, or deconditioned muscles surrounding the hip region all contribute to sciatica causing this “pain in the butt” condition.

Sean McCawley mug

Sean McCawley

Before visiting a doctor’s office to explore X-rays, MRI images and how surgical intervention can remedy extreme sciatica, perhaps looking at some low-hanging-fruit solutions can be helpful.

This simple yet effective tactic can be achieved by educating ourselves about exercises to strengthen the LPHC. If we reinforce the system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the LPHC, we will likely have less collapse of weak muscles and bones that push down on the sciatic nerve.

Underneath the gluteal muscles resides the piriformis muscle.

Physical therapists and fitness professionals consider sciatica a common culprit in people’s lives. A prevalent cause of sciatica is the compression of the piriformis muscles pushing down the sciatic nerve. This deep gluteal muscle traces directly over the sciatic nerve path as the nerve travels inferiorly down the back of the leg. The primary function of the piriformis is to lift the leg up and away from the body’s midline. This action is known as hip abduction.

Sean McCawley, Fit for Life: Sciatica: a real pain in the derrière

Fitness expert Sean McCawley introduces the lumbopelvic hip complex and explains why we might want to learn what exactly it is.