One of the most difficult things to deal with in sports is that unexpected injury that can set training back several days, weeks or even months.
The variety of injuries that athletes endure may be from motion control issues and the results are disappointment and frustration.
A pain in the butt injury for me and a number of other running friends has been an off and on battle with the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is not exclusively reserved to the muscle in the buttocks and can also stem from areas in the hip or spine.
For Hilo’s Dee Torres her sciatic discomfort comes from her pelvic area.
“About six months ago I developed sciatica in my left hip,” Torres said.
Torres, an avid canoe paddler, believes that her injury may be a result of sitting in a one man canoe for too long.
“I believe my injury comes from the improper rigging on my one-man canoe for too long,” she said. “Hence, I’ve corrected the rigging and my condition is improving.”
Like most athletes Torres went through a variety of possible remedies before discovering what worked for her.
“I’ve tried Chiropractic care, physical therapy, and deep tissue massages, but nothing seemed to work,” Torres said.
Torres then went to see an acupuncturist and was pleased with the results.
“The best results came after I had several acupuncture treatments,” she said. “I’m not really sure as it might have been a combination of things, but I seemed to have started to get better after those treatments.”
Torres, who grew up on Oahu, was active in a variety of sports from an early age.
“In grade school I played softball, basketball and ran track,” she said. “At McKinley High School and Pacific Preparatory I played on the basketball, volleyball and track & field teams.”
Today, at age 53, Torres works for the County of Hawaii as a Council Services Assistant.
“My job can be stressful at times,” Torres said. “When current legislation is approved by the Council it becomes time sensitive and needs to be processed and published according to set deadlines in accordance with State and County laws.”
Often times sciatica can flare up with the tightness of muscles when athletes are under pressure and fail to take adequate time to relax and stretch those areas of the body that are under stress.
Torres had been a regular at the Honolulu Marathon and the Big Island International Half Marathon races, but her injury had set her back from doing those long, strenuous workouts in preparation for the challenging running events.
“I also like the shorter runs and have always tried to make the EMS 5K,” she said. “I truly miss doing the Volcano Wilderness 10-mile runs (which were cancelled by the National Park two years ago).”
“I plan on training for the 2012 Hilo Half Marathon,” Torres said. “My injury should be completely healed by then and I’ll be ready to take on that challenge.”
Despite her current injury Torres still manages to do each of the following activities twice per week: run, paddle with her six woman crew, paddle her one-person canoe, and do Zumba.
“I wish I was more of a morning person, as most runners train in the morning,” she said. “I usually run in the early evening hours, so my training is too short sometimes when it gets dark too early.”
Torres also stays in great shape by taking care of her nutritional needs.
“I drink lots of water and will follow my daily regimen of vitamins and nutritional supplements,” she said.
She will also consume lots of green leafy vegetables and will have a fresh salad for dinner on regular bases.
“I believe in the old adage that an apple a day……” she said. “Protein is also a must after a workout as I keep red meat and fried foods to a minimum.”
Despite Torres injury setbacks the healthy and fit woman hopes to one day be on center stage leading a Zumba class.
“I am a certified Zumba instructor and I love that form of exercise activity,” she said. “I am currently doing Zumba and as my condition improves I hope to return to my preferred intensity level and eventually teach classes.”
So take the lead from Dee Torres and don’t let a nagging injury discourage you from reaching your fitness goals.
Seek proper treatment and look for alternate ways to stay in shape as not to aggravate your current condition.
Sciatica can be a pain in the butt and with proper treatment you can be on the road to recovery. Or better still, reduce stress and stretch those areas properly. I have been sciatic pain free for almost a year since following a regimen to stretch that area before going out for my daily morning run.
And someday should you happen to see an injury free jogger come passing through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”