During his last year with the Lakers (2018-19), Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash was harassed by fans for posting a picture of himself swinging a golf club. They thought, if you can do that, what's your excuse for missing more than 100 games because of serious back woes (bulging, torn discs, etc.) since becoming a Laker in 2012. His response: "I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can't sit in the car on the drive home," and, "There is an incredible difference between this game [basketball] and swinging a golf club."
Sciatica affects around 40% of adults at some point. Often, it's caused by a herniated disc in the lower back that's compressing a nerve root, but it can also be caused by spinal stenosis or a spasm of the piriformis or another muscle deep in the buttocks. Whatever the cause, it triggers often-excruciating pain down the back of the leg, tingling, weakness or numbness.
Fortunately, most folks recover in three to 12 months with physical therapy, but it's important to take these steps to help speed recovery.
- First, get your prescription for physical therapy and combine flexibility training with aerobics and strength training. Aim for improved core strength and better posture to support your spine.
- Ask your doc about taking an anti-inflammatory to ease discomfort so you can exercise.
- Manage your weight so you don't put extra strain on back and leg muscles.
- Don't sit too much. Stand to work, and play as much as possible.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.