Sciatica is a symptom, not a condition. So what is sciatica and what are the common conditions that cause these symptoms? How can we as fitness professionals help to reduce symptoms and aid recovery back to normal exercise?

We are not health professionals (unless, of course, you are). We do not diagnose any condition, nor do we work with clients in an acute phase or while their symptoms are increasing. Instead, we are the go-to people when the client has been diagnosed by a medical professional and is on their way to recovery.

There is so much more to the whole process of recovery after having symptoms of sciatica: posture; muscle balance; fascia; the list can go on. We as fitness professionals will be looking at general exercise prescription for certain conditions that may cause sciatica – getting people moving and functional again, and hopefully reducing the risk of recurrence.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the term non-specific low back pain, acute and chronic terminology, and time frames
  • Understand the term sciatica
  • Understand anatomy of the sciatic nerve
  • Identify red and yellow flags
  • Understand the terminology of common conditions that may cause sciatica
  • Be able to give basic exercise prescription for the aforementioned conditions
  • Analyse effective spinal extension
  • Identify importance of further training in the field of exercise therapy
  • Develop links with healthcare professionals to be the go-to fitness professional for clients with mild symptoms of sciatica or a history of sciatica

Aims

  • What is sciatica?
  • The anatomy of the sciatic nerve
  • Red flags, contraindications and precautions
  • What are the causes of sciatica?
  • Understand the term and exercise recommendations for the following:
    • Disc prolapse
    • Cauda equina
    • Facet joint dysfunction
    • Degenerative disc disease – spondylosis – osteoarthritis
    • Piriformis syndrome
    • Spinal stenosis
    • Spondylolysis – spondylolithesis
  • What can we do about it?

About Cherry

Cherry Baker has been working in the field of fitness for more than 37 years. For the past 20 of these years she has worked in rehabilitation, getting clients moving again after episodes of low back pain, and specifically working with clients who have or have had sciatica. Cherry hopes to share her experiences from a fitness professional's point of view. Many clients can't afford one to one or to continue with physiotherapy once they start to recover, so this workshop will be useful, not only for one-to-one clients, but in class situations when you can adapt or modify moves to suit a client's recovery.

Cherry says: “I work in a spine care Pilates setting and I find clients often benefit from the social side and from seeing others with similar conditions. It may just be me, but I have often seen clients recover better in a class situation than one to one. I guess there is some science behind this theory, but that’s another story.”