T Nation

Deadlift and Sciatic

I’m posting in this forum because this is a question for my father, who is fifty. He injured his sciatic about a year and a half ago, and it still gives him trouble sometimes. I’m trying to get him to start a lifting program and, I was wondering if it’s a good idea to have him do squats or deadlifts.

That’s a tough call to make. I would start by asking his doctor. Is he a neurologist? I guess it would depend on the severity and type of injury. Most doctors will tell you to never do squats and deadlifts but that doesn’t mean they are always right.

I’ve had problems with my Siatic on and off for about 20 years (years of carrying around heavy drums).

I just started training seriously (again) about a year ago. I thought deads would cripple me but they provide too much bang for the buck to ignore.

There are alot of variations that could be used. The key is to start slow and pay close attention to form. I started with only 50lbs. on the bar and gradually moved up to a PR of 290.

I found that the stretch actually helped with the Sciatic and it bothers me less frequently.

I would put him on the Neanderthal No More program by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson prior to doing anything else. It is geared towards correcting postural deficiencies, some of which are likely responsible for your father’s problems.

You said he injured his sciatica. What exactly does that mean? Did he do damage to the nerve or is it an impingement? If the latter, the NNM program should help considerably.

DB

[quote]BigBench@16 wrote:
I’m posting in this forum because this is a question for my father, who is fifty. He injured his sciatic about a year and a half ago, and it still gives him trouble sometimes. I’m trying to get him to start a lifting program and, I was wondering if it’s a good idea to have him do squats or deadlifts.[/quote]

He injured his back, not his sciatic nerve. Injured backs and lumbars create sciatic pain.

Yeah, it’s an impingemint. He did it spotting me on a max bench. At the time he didn’t know how to spot (my fault) and basically tried to snatch it up off of me.

I have two torn discs that cause sciatica on my whole right leg. I deadlift and squat. I don’t go real heavy, but I still do them. My back doctor won’t even consider surgery. Considering that I can walk, and lift, and everything. I just keep limber (by stretching regularly) and ignore the small amount of irritation it causes. I’d talk to a specialist.

[quote]BigBench@16 wrote:
Yeah, it’s an impingemint. He did it spotting me on a max bench. At the time he didn’t know how to spot (my fault) and basically tried to snatch it up off of me.[/quote]

Sounds like a DieselWeasel max bench;)jk. He should probably see a specialist in sports medicine as opposed to a GP or Ortho. Most docs don’t like deadlifts because they don’t know anything about them. But a sports doc should be able to help out.

DB

He needs to build up the lower back, glutes and abs, then sciatica will come into play less.

[quote]bikemike wrote:
I have two torn discs that cause sciatica on my whole right leg. I deadlift and squat. I don’t go real heavy, but I still do them. My back doctor won’t even consider surgery. Considering that I can walk, and lift, and everything. I just keep limber (by stretching regularly) and ignore the small amount of irritation it causes. I’d talk to a specialist.[/quote]

Sciatica sucks, and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Surgery was the best thing for me and it eliminated chrinic sciatia. I get acute sciatica now and then but never more than just a tingle…no real pain.

A good friend and lifter I know has it. He took a month off then began taking Yucca and deadlifting every other week. Pulls over 500 at age, well just say he is a few yrs older than me and I am double nickels.

I am 63 with four blown discs. L-3, L-4, L-5 and S-1. I had surgery on L-4&L-5. I can say that starting slow and watching form worked for me. For years I was sure that I could not do Dead Lifts or Squats and at one time reinjured my back trying. About 3 months ago I decided to try again (very slow this time). So far my back feels better than it has for over 25 years. I stress again slow & light with good form. It will help.

Prolapsed L5 S1 is why I won’t DL or SQ. but I do use the 45degree “hyperextension” bench for back raises, using 30kg for 3sets of 12
Based on experience I would make sure he has good hamstring & hip flexibility BEFORE starting with DL and or SQ. This will help him keep his low back tight and arched while lifting.

Dax

ive had sciatic pain for the last year and a half. in my case deadlifting has proven theraputic. as long as im deadlifting pain is minimal, i think thats due to the stretch.
good luck.

Went through a similiar problem a while back.

I think both squats and deadlifts are therapeutic.

First get him checked out by the doc that its okay to train.

Second, I found that doing reverse hypers between sets and static stretching aimed at the glutes really helped to alleviate any tightness and soreness and aided in recovery time.

Third, a good massage once a week or every other week working on the problem area also helped.

It can be overcome. It just will take a little time and patience.

Good Luck

Tell your Dad to seek out a weight training physciatrist. After the inflamation of his sciatica settles down.The doctor will probably subscribe light rack dead lifts from the 1st or second pin with the bar ONLY using 15- 20 reps.Then as time moves on and his form becomes close to PERFECT will he begin to add resistance perhaps 20lbs per week.Until he reaches his 5 rep max.

This is the formula that I subscribe to when I slipped 3 discs 5 years ago.

Today I’m rack deadlifting 315lbs for 5 reps and still growing. Incidently, I’ll be 60 years old this November. potential.

I had part of L5-6 removed about 10 years ago after suffering severe pain, numbness and weakness in my right leg. I still deadlift (and stiff-legged deadlift), though not as heavy as I might like.

I wanted to recommend the book “Healing Back Pain” by Dr. Sarno to all of you. It has challenged my whole conception of back problems…and it’s truly a great read! It’s also been endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weil who, even though he hates high-protien diets, is one of the nation’s leading physicians.

Just my two cents…

Massive

Thanks for all the great advice.