Couch to 5K

Sciatic symptoms after completing week 4

Hi all. I was dubious about taking up running at all, knowing that I have a degenerate disc in my back and having had a prolapsed disc removed in the 1990s, but decided to give it a go and am very glad I did. All has been going really well and I completed week 4 on Thursday but have been suffering from sciatic symptoms on my bad side ever since (mostly numbness and pins and needles rather than pain). I'm wondering whether the symptoms are due to tight ITB muscles rather than the pre-existing disc problem but am wondering whether I should start week 5. I have been fast walking on my rest days and started using a foam roller yesterday. Any thoughts?

4 Replies

I suffer from sciatica and mine is very painful but like many injuries they can present themselves in different ways to different people. My thoughts would be to visit a Sports Physio and get it checked out before continuing, it could well be that you just need to give your hip a rest but if there is something more serious you could end up making it much worse and in loads of pain. I use a foam roller for all my muscles especially hip and back but I have been to a gym class and shown how to use it, hopefully I do it properly most of the time. If you have a gym close by, check and see if they do a Stretch Workshop with foam roller as part of the class, that may also help. Good luck, hope it settles down soon for you.


Thanks. Just back from a 45 minute walk and have done some stretching and used the foam roller on the sore ITB muscles - so far so good. As you know, the problem with sciatica is that it's worst when sitting around, rather than moving about.


One of the reasons I started C25K was because brisk walking wasn't agreeing with me - I am much looser when I run and get fewer problems afterwards. So maybe it is the brisk walking and not the running? I don't run on roads in an effort to protect my joints (inc old crunched vertebra).

Given that you have a known old injury it might be worth getting expert advice - although there are always those who take the easy way out and say "Don't run" (or whatever) as an excuse not to treat the problem. I've been doing restorative yoga which I find helpful.


I think you may be right about the walking. I ran yesterday without any problems. I'm actually following a very slightly different programme to the C25K but it's quite similar and I managed 5, 6 and 5 minute runs yesterday and felt great afterwards. I do run on roads though.


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