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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-01-07, 10:46 PM   #1
solveg
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Back Frozen!

OK, so I got a slight case of Sciatica about a month ago in my back from riding a bike that didn't fit and had too high gears. I didn't ride it very long, but I got a twinge from it. I took it easy for a couple weeks, but it never hurt when I was on a bike. But it never really went away, either.

All of a sudden today, I was finishing up 7 days of long computer hours and my neck started to twitch. My sciatica flared up the night before. So I took a warm bath, some Ibuprofen, and then lay on a massaging heat pad for 15 minutes. When I got up, my back was frozen solid!

I waited an hour and had a glass of wine, and my back unfroze nicely. 2 hours later it started to freeze again.

I suspect I will be be able to ride... it feels good to bend forward, arch my back and put my hands on my knees. Should I ride or should I go cold turkey and stay off? If I take a break, should I wait for complete recovery or should I just wait until it's moving again?

Don't even bother with mentioning doctors or chiropractors... I don't go unless I have to.
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Old 10-01-07, 11:48 PM   #2
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I am the same way about doctors and hate taking pills even more, and sounds like we have the same job. I did bite the bullet though and went to the chiro, and here is what he told me. We spoke about me being a bit heavy and having a sedate job, and i told him that I felt pretty good on the bike also, only problem was when i got off and sit/stand/bend. He said if it doesn't hurt, then the increased circulation will actually help, so long as you're not pushing it. He also recommended some yoga type stretching. Look up yoga postures and "the pigeon"... hurts so good(just try it). Here is why I think you should go to the chiro. They will make sure that you don't have serious damage(we may have different issues). I'm sure they will nag you about going regularly and having maintenance visits, but I just told them up front that my schedule will not allow frequent visits, or make up whatever you want. Anyway, the other reason I would go is because they put me on these awesome electrode muscle stimulators that were the best lower back massage i've ever had. I am convinced that the electrode/yoga/riding combo(not the adjustments...whatever) are what helped the recovery, which was still a few months. You might find a physical therapist that has the same stuff. Good luck and don't try to be a hero on this one(what's the point if you can't get back on the bike again)
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Old 10-02-07, 12:45 AM   #3
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Not sure what sciatica is but Ibuprofen is good for swelling in the joints. Heat is not. If your pain is caused by swelling, use ibuprofen and ice packs.
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Old 10-02-07, 05:33 AM   #4
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Sciatica is inflammation of the Sciatic Nerve. It starts in around the SI joint of the spine (juncture of the spine and pelvis) and runs pain down the right leg and can sympathetically lock up the back muscles as well with muscle spasms. Feel better soon, solveg!
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Old 10-02-07, 06:30 AM   #5
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Ouch.. sorry to hear that, solveg! I had some pain in that area a few years ago, and I found that walking and yoga helped. Are you still able to walk your pups?
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Old 10-02-07, 06:35 AM   #6
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Not sure what sciatica is but Ibuprofen is good for swelling in the joints. Heat is not. If your pain is caused by swelling, use ibuprofen and ice packs.
Exactly. I had the same problem a few years back. Ice is the best thing for it. No heat!
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Old 10-02-07, 06:43 AM   #7
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I have severe sciatica nerve damage, along with 2 spinal surgical operations at L4-5. I ride almost everyday and the pain is unbearable at times. The hunged over postion of a rode bike helps eliviate the pressure on my spine. It really hurts when I'm done my ride of 18-20 miles max. I take oxycontin a few times a day and it works wonders.
I was also one who never saw a Dr. unless near death.
Moral of Story: You may need a somewhat non-evasive procedure to eliminate the pressure on the nerve.
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Old 10-02-07, 06:45 AM   #8
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Don't even bother with mentioning doctors or chiropractors... I don't go unless I have to.
I go because I want to. I used to live by that theory and was constantly miserable for many year. Now I regulary visit my chiropractor and I have to say it has truely given me an entirely new lease on life.
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Old 10-02-07, 07:16 AM   #9
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Mr. East Hill used to have nightmare back problems, and stubbornly resisted going to the chiropractor. He finally caved in. He is now free of back problems, and does not gulp down two-three aspirin every day.

Doesn't work for everyone, but if your insurance covers it, it's worth a try.

Hope you feel better!

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Old 10-02-07, 07:20 AM   #10
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OK, so we must be talking muscle spasms here...is it heat or cold for those?

The sciatica is very* slight. I had it once before in my 20's much much worse.... so I'm not worried about it right now. Believe me, if it gets too bad I'll go somewhere.

Becky: No, I can't walk the dogs! I can't really walk! My back is...just...frozen!
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Old 10-02-07, 07:45 AM   #11
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OK, so we must be talking muscle spasms here...is it heat or cold for those?

The sciatica is very* slight. I had it once before in my 20's much much worse.... so I'm not worried about it right now. Believe me, if it gets too bad I'll go somewhere.

Becky: No, I can't walk the dogs! I can't really walk! My back is...just...frozen!
owwwww sorry
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Old 10-02-07, 08:38 AM   #12
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Like Thinline, I had my back cut into twice at the same place. It worked miracles, but I never intend to have surgery again. The only way to do that is to make sure all my mechanics in my back are good, and that my abs are strong. My abs are the weakest part of my body. Cycling does nothing for abs, by the way.

But to get unfrozen some gentle floor work would help. The pigeon pose is a good one, but it's kind of aggressive for the condition you are in.

A simple way to help your back get flexible is this. I do this whenever I am having low back pain. Lie on the floor on your back. This may be painful at first, but do it whatever way causes you the least pain. Now draw your knees up towards your chest and hug them. Adjust your knees higher or lower depending on your tolerance, but keeping them as close as possible to your chest is best. While keeping your shoulders and upper back stationary, rock your hips gently and slowly back and forth. Don't go too far at first. Just rock back and forth like you're rocking a baby to sleep, and do it for a long time, maybe 30 or 40 repetitions. Breath in a relaxed way and try to push your breath down into the painful parts of your body, relaxing muscles as it goes.

After you do that, you can put your legs down and cross one knee over the other one, while twisting your hips that direction. Slowly and gently, just get in a position you can tolerate and stay there for a little while. The higher you raise your knee towards your chest, and the closer you get it to the opposite floor, the better.

You can pull one knee straight up towards your chest while lying flat, too.

One of my physical therapists described the sciatic nerve like this. It's a pipe that carries information, but it's also like a brake cable, in that needs to move along its length. So stretching it out like I described will help take the pressure off.

Certainly sitting in front of the computer for 7 hours is the culprit here. You need to stand up and move around every hour or so.

I feel your pain, and your aversion to doctors. I hope this helps.
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Old 10-02-07, 09:04 AM   #13
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I am no medial expert, but I once managed to get some horrible back pain after playing with my then 3 year old daughter. I still don't know what I did that was so bad as I have never before had back problems. I called the local massage school (NY Institute of Massage) and got in that morning. They are realy cheap ($30 for a full hour) because it is the student clinic, they are good and keep close tabs on the students. They always ask if you have any problems, and then they do to work. They did an amazing job. The next day there were no more problems. Chiropracters scare me a little (probably unreasonable), but the whole "cracking the spine" bit is just off putting. Some of my friends swear by their chiropracter. A good deep tissue massage can do wonders for when you've pulled something a little wrong.

Consider adding some Pitates or Yoga to your excersize routine if you have back problems. It is amazing how intensive the workout can be and all you do it more your arms and legs "a little." I haven't been going to the club as I now ride my bike 5 days a week to work. I realy need to add some Pilates back into my workout because it is an amazing core streaching and trengthening workout. I work on my family's cars frequently as I will do just about all the mainetenance and in the past I would get a neck ache from replacing an exhaust system or some other task that has you under the car for an extended period of time. Once I started the workouts my neck, back, and abs became so much stronger that I no longer had body aches after the car work.

Good luck and heal soon,
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Old 10-02-07, 10:20 AM   #14
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Don't even bother with mentioning doctors or chiropractors... I don't go unless I have to.
Having went through two back surgeries due to herniated disks and severe sciatica I can tell you this: you may not want to go to the doctor, but if you are to the point where you can not walk… I think you should go to a doctor. You can do permanent damage to your nerves if you just try to ignore it too long.

The best way to treat the pain I ever found was Ibuprofen during the day… Take a good hot shower, or bath; then lay on an ice pack, on your lower back, and try to relax all your muscles to the point of drifting off to sleep. Then an hour before bedtime take a Lortab, or something similar to help you get a good deep nights sleep.

As you get to feeling better light exorcise, mixed with bed rest when the pain gets bad is the only thing I have ever found to accelerate recovery time.

Hope this helps some, but the most important thing I could tell you is go see a doctor. Sorry, but sometimes we have to...
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Old 10-02-07, 10:55 AM   #15
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Not a medical anything...ok patient and do see a doc.

That said, there are things that the doctors don't understand or know but will diagnose it anyway. Frozen shoulder aka shoulder capsulitus is one such ailment. MD's readily acknowledge that they don't know what it is or what causes it, but they know the symptoms. The docs know that it occurs more in women than men, more in people over 40 than under, more in the dominant arm than non-dominant arm, much more in the diabetic than the non-diabetic. Even with this lack of knowledge the doctors have no problems prescribing physical therapy, cortisone shots into the shoulder joint area, or even a surgical procedure called 'manipulation' Manipulation is cool. They put you under general anesthesia and wrench your arm around.

I provide that long winded wind up to explain my own situation. Both of my shoulders have suffered the frozen shoulder. My right arm was first and I went the doctor route. As PT was not providing any help the doctor wanted to do the manipulation. I can't tell you how painful the arm was. After about 1.5 years the arm stopped being painful and I regained about 90 percent of motion. Then my left arm went bad.... :ack Then I found this book Trust me, I searched everywhere and this book was far from the first attempt at self-treatment.

You guessed it. It worked. Not fast, not a miracle, but within 2 weeks I regained 80% of my motion and the pain was gone. I am a firm believer in the concepts presented.
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Old 10-02-07, 11:38 AM   #16
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I'm sure Tom is right about it being some kind of sympathy spasm.... like I said, after a glass of wine and some Ibuprofen, it was almost fine. So I'm sure it's nothing skeletal. The sciatica*, maybe, but that's not even to the "painful" level, just the "what's that twangy hurt occasionally" level.


There's no point in seeing a doctor for muscles...they'll only give you a muscle relaxer, and the wine works just fine! No point in seeing a chiro, because it isn't bones.

Think I'll stay off a bike for a while and try the yoga stuff, though.
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Old 10-02-07, 04:58 PM   #17
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OK, so I got a slight case of Sciatica about a month ago in my back from riding a bike that didn't fit and had too high gears. I didn't ride it very long, but I got a twinge from it. I took it easy for a couple weeks, but it never hurt when I was on a bike. But it never really went away, either.

All of a sudden today, I was finishing up 7 days of long computer hours and my neck started to twitch. My sciatica flared up the night before. So I took a warm bath, some Ibuprofen, and then lay on a massaging heat pad for 15 minutes. When I got up, my back was frozen solid!

I waited an hour and had a glass of wine, and my back unfroze nicely. 2 hours later it started to freeze again.

I suspect I will be be able to ride... it feels good to bend forward, arch my back and put my hands on my knees. Should I ride or should I go cold turkey and stay off? If I take a break, should I wait for complete recovery or should I just wait until it's moving again?

Don't even bother with mentioning doctors or chiropractors... I don't go unless I have to.
Okay, as someone who spent 20 years in front of a computer, I'll give you some preventative measures, so that it doesn't happen again in the future. Every 20-30 minutes, get up, walk around, look out a window at something far away, make sure you move EVERY joint, at least once. Then you can return to work, takes about 2 minutes. There are programs available that will let you set a timer to remind you, although a $3 digital kitchen timer works just as well, to take a break. Even with breaks, never work more then 4 hours continuously without a 1 hour stop, this allows your brain to "spin down", use the time to have something to eat, go ride 5 miles, go for a walk, anything to get away from what you are doing, and preferably get some "fresh" air.

What happens is that muscles that stay in one position for an extended period, like when your sitting in front of a computer all day without breaks, will start to cramp, and go into spasm. Your back is telling you too much computer time, not enough bike time.

I know you don't want to hear about doctors, but any time that something changes over a short period of time, you should get it checked out. Although many people think that Chiropractors only deal with bones, they don't, chiropractors don't work with bones, they work with the joints between the bones, and know as much if not more then an MD about body mechanics.

As for the bike, go for a short ride, if it makes it worse, then take a few days off, if it makes it feel better, do more, if no difference, then do however much you want.
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Old 10-02-07, 05:13 PM   #18
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I have a chronic back issue (spinal stenosis L4 - S1) which I am treating with a ortho surgeon at this time. His recommendation - ride a bike! Bending over and stretching out is good for the back. Just remember to stretch after your ride as well. The doctor also recommends taking 2 Aleve and 2 Tylenol with breakfast and dinner until pain goes away (usually 2 - 3 days for me). I live in constant chronic pain. The only time I have relief is while riding. Go figure.
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Old 10-02-07, 08:49 PM   #19
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The first thing they make you do for your back at physical therapy is hop on the exercise bike! Riding is how I de-stiffen my back whenever I've been still too long.

I'm glad your back is loosened up, but you know it will come back if you don't get some flexibility and strength in those abs!

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Old 10-03-07, 03:02 AM   #20
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The back thing confuses me, I must say....

Here I am, up early again for a long day of computer work. I understand I need to be better about getting up and stretching.

But all this other stuff about chiropractors and ab muscles.... can't you just have have a bad muscle spasm that makes things swollen? Isn't that a pretty normal thing for a body, kind of like waking up with a stiff neck?

I mean, sure, it's a little shocking to get your whole back froze, but one time I dislocated my jaw as a result from sleeping on a water bed! Apparently, I slept on my shoulder all night, and my neck was frozen in the morning. It spasmed every once in a while, once strong enough to dislocate my jaw, if I'm remembering the whole situation right (it was 20 years ago or so!). Maybe it didn't dislocate it, but it did something to it that was so bad I had to go to the doctor and it took weeks to get better. I just don't remember.

I know people have chronic problems, but it seems to me that unless you hurt yourself while doing* something, it's a pretty good bet it's like a stiff neck.

Hopefully, this job will be done in 7 hours, and I'll grab a bike.
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Old 10-03-07, 05:28 AM   #21
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A few years ago I slipped on some ice while wearing my carpentry bags. Both feet flew up in the air and I came down hard, landing with my full body weight on a chalk reel in a pouch mounted right at the small of my back. I nearly blacked out from the pain, but being a guy, "sucked it up and walked it off".

It wasn't til weeks later, after the initial injury had all but healed, I started having sciatica. I hadn't ever been to a chiro before either, calling them "quackopracters", but the pain and numbness was just too much, so I went to one that a trusted friend recommended. Yeah, the adjustments freaked me out, but what ended up making the most difference and allowed me to not have to go back since was her explaining that without working on the muscles that support the back, any adjustment won't last and will go back into misalignment.

She recommended doing crunches to allow my abs to bear more of the load, giving relief to my back muscles. The type she showed me is where you hook your feet under a couch, clasp your hands behind your head and alternately touch your elbows to your knees, right elbow to left knee, etc. It hurt a bit at first, but got easier quickly to where I could do 100 at a time. I only had to do them for a few weeks, and once the sciatica went away, haven't done them since.

This was an injury-related scenario and may be totally different than yours, but I don't see what harm it could do.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:21 AM   #22
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I have a chronic back issue (spinal stenosis L4 - S1) which I am treating with a ortho surgeon at this time. His recommendation - ride a bike! Bending over and stretching out is good for the back. Just remember to stretch after your ride as well. The doctor also recommends taking 2 Aleve and 2 Tylenol with breakfast and dinner until pain goes away (usually 2 - 3 days for me). I live in constant chronic pain. The only time I have relief is while riding. Go figure.
+1. Except I take oxycontin. At first I thought it was a dirty deadly drug until my neurosugeon told me that society gave it that name due to abuse and careless use to get high like heroin. It really works and I do not really get high due to what it does to help pain. Hell, he has scoulded me for not taking enough of it...figure that one out.

Don't complain...people do not care.
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Old 10-03-07, 07:24 AM   #23
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Okay seen as how we are sharing stories. I fought going to the chiropractor for many year. I've suffered my entire life with crippling migraines(ie: laying on the bathroom floor all day). I truly thought it was my fate. I'd had every medical test know to man to find out the problem. After years of nagging by my wife I finally gave in and went to the chiropractor.

Can you say, gone in 60 seconds. It was ridiculous how my life could change in less than minute. I've been migraine free for over 6 years since I've been going to the chiropractor. You see it's much more than just bones. Your skeletal system connects all your muscles, ligament, tendons, etc which all contain nerves and are also routed next to nerves. So a vertebrae is out of alignment which also puts the connective tissue out of alignment. The connective tissue that is now being pulled or pushed can put pressure on a nerve that is just passing by, but is now being affected. So just because the pain doesn't feel like it's in the bones, doesn't mean it's not caused by them. Once the bones is re-aligned, the connective tissue is allowed to go back to it's natural position and releases the pressure on the nerve.

Now there are muscle injuries that are truly muscle or connective tissue injuries, that an chiropractor can't remedy per-say. But keeping the skeletal system in alignment will help the muscle heal to their proper place. The longer the skeletal system is out of the alignment the more the muscle adapt to the location. Therefore rebuilding and strengthening core muscle once the skeletal system has been aligned will help keep it aligned thus preventing future or chronic problems.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:54 AM   #24
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OK, so I got a slight case of Sciatica about a month ago in my back from riding a bike that didn't fit and had too high gears. I didn't ride it very long, but I got a twinge from it. I took it easy for a couple weeks, but it never hurt when I was on a bike. But it never really went away, either.

All of a sudden today, I was finishing up 7 days of long computer hours and my neck started to twitch. My sciatica flared up the night before. So I took a warm bath, some Ibuprofen, and then lay on a massaging heat pad for 15 minutes. When I got up, my back was frozen solid!

I waited an hour and had a glass of wine, and my back unfroze nicely. 2 hours later it started to freeze again.

I suspect I will be be able to ride... it feels good to bend forward, arch my back and put my hands on my knees. Should I ride or should I go cold turkey and stay off? If I take a break, should I wait for complete recovery or should I just wait until it's moving again?

Don't even bother with mentioning doctors or chiropractors... I don't go unless I have to.
My vote (from somebody who is off the bike right now for similar reason) is to just try it out on something small if you think you can. I took my bike up to park about 3 weeks ago to "try a small ride" and realized I couldn't make it 1/2 mile. But that way at least you are close to vehicle (or house) and can walk back if necessary or its just a short ride.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:25 AM   #25
Tom Stormcrowe
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WB, sounds like you went to a real Osteopath and not a "Quacko-practer" A true Osteopath follows a real medical discipline that works along the lines of PT.
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Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
A few years ago I slipped on some ice while wearing my carpentry bags. Both feet flew up in the air and I came down hard, landing with my full body weight on a chalk reel in a pouch mounted right at the small of my back. I nearly blacked out from the pain, but being a guy, "sucked it up and walked it off".

It wasn't til weeks later, after the initial injury had all but healed, I started having sciatica. I hadn't ever been to a chiro before either, calling them "quackopracters", but the pain and numbness was just too much, so I went to one that a trusted friend recommended. Yeah, the adjustments freaked me out, but what ended up making the most difference and allowed me to not have to go back since was her explaining that without working on the muscles that support the back, any adjustment won't last and will go back into misalignment.

She recommended doing crunches to allow my abs to bear more of the load, giving relief to my back muscles. The type she showed me is where you hook your feet under a couch, clasp your hands behind your head and alternately touch your elbows to your knees, right elbow to left knee, etc. It hurt a bit at first, but got easier quickly to where I could do 100 at a time. I only had to do them for a few weeks, and once the sciatica went away, haven't done them since.

This was an injury-related scenario and may be totally different than yours, but I don't see what harm it could do.
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