Yesterday as I was sitting in my chair, I noticed that not only was my foot asleep but the back of my left thigh and also my left calf were intermittently falling asleep. My lower back was a little tender too, and after sitting through a few meetings where I simply could NOT find a comfortable position, I decided to get an appointment with my chiropractor. A little more research on the Interwebs made me suspect that I had done something to my sciatic nerve. EEEEK!
My chiro, who works on lots of people who ride, informed me that my lower back was extremely compressed. Oddly, my back didn't hurt, but holy cow when he adjusted me I sure felt it! I am pretty sure that every single vertebrae from my last rib to my tailbone moved. And then he did my hips... yeeeks! It was one of those adjustments where you can't breathe for a second or two afterwards. I was also told to consume more Vitamin C (need to get some OJ, even though it's not the season for oranges around here). Oh, and to go home, take some ibuprofen, and lay on my back for the rest of the day.
Back at home, I spent even MORE time on the Interwebs doing research. Wikipedia, while not the end-all source of info, had a nice overview of what might be going on in my spine. Since my foot tingled more when I bent over, chances are the nerve is being squashed in the L5. As I was reading, the info about the Piriformis muscle caught my eye, mostly because my leg and foot didn't really hurt as much as they were tingling strangely, as was my hip. The sciatic nerve runs either right through or right next to these muscles, and the muscle can put pressure on the nerve. If you read through all the medical-ese, it sounds like some of the positions you put your leg in for riding might cause the piriformis muscle to complain. Since I've got a new saddle and since I'm trying to ride a horse with a REALLY BIG trot (compared to what I'm used to riding), this makes sense.
Anyway, I found a few stretches (and here are a few more) to do for the piriformis muscle. I tried them, and OW! Whether or not that muscle is what's causing the sciatic pain, I don't know, but it needs to be stretched. Come to think of it, my entire lower back and thighs are pretty tight, and only strong in the way they need to be strong for riding. My husband has similar issues, in that he's very strong from his martial arts, but he's not very flexible and it gets in the way of his riding. We discussed the possibility of trying some yoga to see if that helped us at all, since we'd both like to be more flexible and stronger. I think we may get a video and see if we can do it at home before we go sign up for classes somewhere.
In the meantime, this weekend Ziggy's dad is coming to ride Saga on Saturday since I'm out of town, and Fuzzypony has promised to do her fabulous spa treatment on Saga's mane and tail. I'm so lucky to have such fabulous friends!
5 days ago