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Old 06-21-04, 05:04 AM   #1
horatio 
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Saddle height vs. sciatica/piriformis

Does anyone know of a connection between low saddle height and piriformis
syndrome (sciatica from irritated/injured piriformis muscle deep in the
buttock) ? I believe I may have triggered such a problem this year.

I've just gotten over a 10+ week bout of sciatica. Normally I attribute my
attacks to a bulging lumbar disc, but this most recent episode began
differently. Prior to onset of the leg/back pain, I noticed a pain in the
left buttock. This began following a relatively short bike ride with
moderate hills, after I had lowered my saddle height for better power (i.e.
higher cadences) on the hills.

I stayed off the bike afterwards, but the pain only increased. Eventually it
became sciatica in the left leg. I am pain free now, and just beginning my
training riding for the year.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem related to changes in saddle
height? Any suggestions as to how to avoid this? Should I raise my saddle to
the old setting? I'm leaving it as is right now.

FWIW, I posted this question on rec.bicycles.misc and so far have received no answer.

Thanks for any info.

Horatio
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Old 06-22-04, 06:21 AM   #2
Jawbone
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I haven't found a connection between saddle height and the piriformis going into spasm, but it sounds like the bike riding has aggravated it a bit. I had the piriformis go into spasm when I (duh) tried to pick up my son's clothing with my foot. It went berserk, spasmed out, I lost all feeling down the back of my right leg and, 4 years later, still have numbness. It kept me off the bike for several months. But I found bike riding has actually helped, and I've ridden with various saddle heights (on different bikes) and that doesn't seem to hurt it.
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Old 07-24-04, 07:32 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=horatio]Does anyone know of a connection between low saddle height and piriformis
syndrome (sciatica from irritated/injured piriformis muscle deep in the
buttock) ? I believe I may have triggered such a problem this year.

....I had back surgery about 6 years ago--the removal of a disc. Prior to that I was still cycling. On that bicycle I had a fairly narrow seat. Riding then, seemed to help control my persistent leg pain. After the surgery though, I was not allowed to ride for well on 12 weeks. The surgeon was not concerned with my far forward lean and pointed out that in the immediate post-op stage, I should not 'see-saw' at the hips. I was naturally pretty deconditioned by the time I did get back on the bike and switched to an upright bicycle. It took several trials to get the new bike seat right where it needed to be-to avoid setting off the burn in the sciatic nerve. I moved on from that retro bike to my present Norco. The seat on this is okay-not bothering my leg-but could go a long way to being comfortable for the sit bones! None the less, my impression is that any 'see-saw' movement if the seat is just not at the right level, will start the beginnings of sciatica. I would suggest raising or lowering the seat in short increments--test drive--see how it goes. Maybe as well, you need to alter that forward lean a bit too?
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