Does anyone have problems with sciatica? After about an hour and a half in the saddle, I get pain in my sciatic nerve that makes riding extremely uncomfortable. I wonder if there are better saddle/stirrup/posture positions that would help me increase my time in the saddle. I love long trail rides, but I’m unable to handle multiple hours in the saddle.
Position, ask someone to look at you from behind and make sure that you are sitting straight not collapsed to one side.
Maybe a better saddle
Lots of core strenghtening exercises.
a therapy laser.
I have had to do all of these at one time of another to keep riding!
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
New edition of book is out:
Horse Nutrition Handbook.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
My sciatica mostly takes the form of numbness. Which I think is quite a bit better than pain, but is not really conducive to riding. My foot will go dead, and some of my leg at times.
Mine is totally aggravated by the wrong saddle, occasionally by the wrong stirrup length. It took literally 18 months to find one saddle that I could ride in, that fit the horse as well. Wasn't so hard for ONE of us to be happy, but for both to be happy at the same time is nothing short of miraculous.
Chiropractic helps me (mine is from a crooked pelvis and pinched disks) quite a bit. Other than that... <shrugs> it's a bit hit or miss. But definitely, definitely aggravated by different saddles.
I do think that my sciatica is aggravated by one of my saddles. I can ride a bit longer on my gelding and pony, who have more narrow saddles. My mare has a broader back and requires a wider saddle. I think the "spread" is tough on me. I'm sure that I should do more warm up stretches.
Last edited by GallopHer; Apr. 13, 2009 at 02:51 PM.
While it will still bother me on occasion.....I've found that my sciatica flares up the most often (if not every single ride) when I'm out of shape. It really doesn't have to be much that I'm out of shape by even a tiny loss of fitness can make the sciatica flare up really bad. I've also found that warming up before riding can help.
I've also found that the way a saddle fits me is very important. That and CAIR panels have seemed to help me. I've also tried the Thinline saddle pads because they are supposed to be good for your back. They didn't help AT ALL.
I get my sciatica from very mild scoliosis. The scoliosis is caused by one leg being about 1/4-1/2 inch longer then the other. Since I've started riding with one stirrup longer I've found the sciatica is much much much less pronounced.
I've been wanting to try the stirrups with offset eyes, the kind that has the eye perpendicular to the rest of the stirrup. I've heard they can help too.
I want to have a chiropractic adjustment but I haven't yet.
Not sure if you are into it or not but accupuncture is another avenue. I personally find it very effective and it has helped me. They have also done some injections to the area to help with inflamation and a number of stretching excercises to loosen up the area.
it's definitely a plus if you can find a doctor who has worked with riders before. Not only that but You'd be surprised to find that some people who perform accupuncture on horses also perform it people as well.
Miss O - What type of exercises have you found that help your fitness/sciatica? Also, with one stirrup longer than the other - do you have the longer or shorter stirrup on the side with the pain?
In general I just increase my activity level. (which usually means more mucking out the barn and pasture lol). Also lots of core muscle exercises
My longer stirrup is for my longer leg. This helps keep my back in alignment when in the saddle. If I try to force my longer legs stirrups to be as short as my shorter leg's stirrups it knocks my back out of alignment and I get more back pain.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Agree on stirrup length, I learned this from Sally Swift, WAY back in the day (before her book even!) BUT... and it's a big but... the PELVIS must be even and neutral FIRST, and then, and ONLY then may you lower or raise a stirrup so they are uneven.
I rode for years with my right stirrup one hole longer. I was very even that way *in the seat.* Then I saw a chiro. My pelvis was off by a ridiculous amount like 30 degrees or some such. They adjusted, now I am fanatic about having EVEN stirrups. I have crooked days--but that's my back and my muscles... so having perfectly even biothane or non-stretch stirrups means I can judge how crooked the rest of me is now.
I had the offset eye stirrups , and they didn't do all that much, except let me turn my toes out a bit more than I normally do... Jointed stirrups helped me for a bit, then suddenly--quite suddenly--they were awful. <Shrugs> No idea why.
Wider base stirrups help me quite a bit on longer conditioning rides. Endurance type, wtih a 3 or 4" tread. The worst part is when my foot falls asleep, it also gets really cold, and sometimes frostbite--because you can't really feel the issue. The wide stirrups are a must in winter.
And - I'm 50 years old. This problem began about 3 years ago with slight pain after long rides and continues to get worse as I age... I also have pain in my knees, predominately on my right side which is the side that I have the sciatic nerve pain.
I had four epidurals for my sciatica and then finally went to the chiro. Along with regular adjustments, he has me in a sacral belt which is my new best friend The thing has been amazing in the relief it provides me..... for $40! http://www.serola.net/product_new_sac_belt.php To think I used to endure a needle in my spine to get relief.
Granted, I am under more horses than I am on top of but I am MUCH more comfortable in the saddle too
Whole Horse Hoof Care
And of course, the pain often resolves all on it's own....
That's usually how it goes for me. My sciatica pain is like the common cold. I try and treat it and the pain usually goes away in 7-14 days. I ignore it and the pain usually goes away in 7-14 days. Then it's until next time...
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
Thanks for the helpful advice. I started doing some stretches Tuesday night and I'm hopeful that if I continue them on a regular basis, I'll be less sore in the saddle. I'll also play with my stirrup lengths to see if I can find a position that is comfortable for a longer time. Since I only get sore when I ride, I feel that my leg/seat position is the root of my problem.