Can I play pickleball with sciatica? This is a concern questioned by various participants. Do not worry! This article will help you clear up your confusion and provide the necessary information. 

However, before the question, we will first learn what sciatica is, its symptoms, and why playing pickleball can cause sciatica pain. Then, we will come back with the query and remedy it.

Without further ado, let’s start!

Playing pickleball

What Is Sciatica? 

Sciatica is a pain caused by the compressed or irritated sciatic nerve. People suffering from it can have burning pain in their lower back, hips, or legs. In serious cases, it can cause inflammation and numbness in the patient’s legs.

Many reasons can lead to sciatica. The most common ones are the herniated disc and the overgrowth of bones that put pressure on the part of the sciatic nerve, which is located in the lower back and travels separately to each leg.

Other major trauma, which has detrimental impacts on the lower back, like unexpected accidents, sudden falls, etc., can also cause pain. Poor sitting posture, a couch potato lifestyle, and obesity are also reasons.

Besides, playing intense sports like pickleball can make you contract this disease. This kind of sport requires players to move in different planes, so good lumbar spine stability is a must. Any wrong direction can lead to sciatic pain.

What Is Sciatica

Symptoms Of Sciatica 

As sciatica comes from compacted sciatic nerves, the pain can happen anywhere on the way it is located. To be specific, you can feel the soreness in the lower back, down to the buttock, thigh, and calf.

The symptoms of sciatica can be varied. They can be minor and mild at first, but after a while, they will worsen, and you will feel the burning, shooting, and sharp tenderness in your lower body.

In several records, the sufferers say they sometimes suffer from a jolt or an electric shock, especially when they cough or sit in a place for a long time. The pain frequency might happen on the pain level, which can be intermittent or continuous.

In severe cases, painful signs like tingling, numbness, or weakness of the impacted legs can occur. Hence, you may struggle to make movements like standing up or walking.

If you are experiencing one of the above symptoms, you might suffer from sciatica. See the doctor, and having your lower body checked should be best. If this is the case, follow the doctor’s advice for the best result.

Hurt in the lower back is one of  the sciatic symptoms (Source: Google)

Explanation Of How Pickleball Can Cause Sciatica Pain 

Pickleball players might have sciatica pain after the game. The main reason is that pickleball requires participants to move in multiple planes, so maintaining a stable core position is necessary. 

The paradox is not all players can do that, which makes them bear sciatica.

One thing we easily see in pickleball players is that they usually bend their back over to create a good shot count. 

However, this posture is not good as the participants will have to stand at a bending position at spine level instead of knee level, which puts more pressure on the lower back and causes impairment for sciatica nerves.

Besides, when you bend your back, most of the body weight will accumulate and compress to your legs as well as your back. Lower back pain will gradually appear, along with sudden jolt and unexpected numbness.

Furthermore, staying in a bending pose for a long time will affect the fluid movements. It will interfere with the regular operation of our body, which causes a strange shuffle and incorrect movements, putting off our core balance. 

As a result, more strain is put on the sciatic nerves, which gradually affects the strength of our lower back and legs.

Another thing that can be identified in this type of game is it includes a lot of sudden and excessive movements, which trigger off the sciatica. 

These include running, jumping, side-to-side directions, spinal rotation, quick action reflection, etc. All of them require the lower body extremity, so playing pickleball can be one of the causes of sciatic pain.

Can I Play Pickleball With Sciatica? 

Although pickleball is a popular sport that attracts many players, it risks causing lower back pain, especially sciatica, which annoys and blocks people from enjoying healthy activity.

Hence, many competitors may wonder whether they can participate in a pickleball match while having sciatica. 

The answer is Yes; you are able to play pickleball while suffering from sciatica. 

Except for unexpected accidents and illnesses that are hard to cure, like herniated discs, it is possible to enjoy this sport as long as it has not been severe yet and can be controlled by conducting essential steps.

However, saying that does not mean you can take part in the competition without caring for your lower body. 

Take a warm-up exercise and remove your poor posture while playing to ensure that you do not put any other strain on your back. As a result, you will not feel frustrated while enjoying the interesting activity to the fullest.

Can I Play Pickleball With Sciatica

How To Play Pickleball With Sciatica? 

So, how do you take part in a pickleball match with sciatic tenderness? Do we need to take a warm-up exercise, have a time limitation, or equip ourselves with tools?

It is totally correct. As the spinal soreness can be attributable to poor posture, you can try to change and improve your posture while enjoying this recreational activity. Besides, taking a break after each match will help our body relax and prepare to operate properly next time.

Below are several recommendations you can follow to participate in the sports activity while suffering from sciatica. These include:

  • Properly warm up your body, joints, and muscles before diving into the match with the suitable exercise. Hip flexor stretch, extension in lying and standing, latissimus dorsi stretch, and supine spinal twist are mobility activities that can enhance the hip and spine.
  • Please remember not to bend your back or crouch while playing since these positions can stress your back, hamstrings, and hip, which in turn puts pressure on the sciatic nerves.
  • Keeping your back in a straight position. It can bring many benefits, improving your ability when playing pickleball while still controlling the sciatica.
  • Open your arms relaxed, and keep them in front of your body. Avoid hanging them close to your body, as it will take the core’s support away, preventing the flexible rotation of the hip and shoulders. 
  • Do not bend your back to pick up the ball. It will again flock the body weight into your lower back and legs, where sciatic nerves stay. Instead, use the squat to keep the back upright and distribute the load.
  • If you have sciatica, do not spend too much time on the game. When you feel your body is not right, there is a shock or numbness in either of your legs. Take a break to reduce muscle strain and prevent further injuries.
  • Be careful and do not take on too many activities quickly. If you overwork, your muscles will easily get sore and burnt. Take it patiently, see how your body responds, and adjust until you feel the right intensity.

Enjoy your fun event and gradually remove sciatica


What Sports Should You Avoid With Sciatica? 

Several sports may affect the lower back, hip, thighs, and calves, which makes the sciatic hurt worse and must be avoided. 

They include forward bends from the waist and double leg lifts, which require the performers to lift both legs simultaneously while lying on the floor. 

The squat is another sport that needs to stay away as it compresses the burden on the lower back, buttocks, and the two legs.

Is Pickleball Hard On Lower Back?

Yes. Although it does not require immediate, fast movements like other sports, this game has its own demands to obtain. 

Our spine has to rotate and twist quickly to respond to the ball movement while remaining in an upright and stable position. However, not all players can do that, leading to an imbalance of the body, which causes lower pain.

Is Pickleball Bad For Your Back? 

Actually, there are several reports stating that pickleball helps reduce back pain if played accurately. As it is a non-contact and low-impact game, the players need not worry about being attacked at the back.

Furthermore, each set lasts 15-30 minutes, which is appropriate for the muscles to relax and avoid injury.

Take a rest regularly is a way to minimize back injury


Can I Play Pickleball With Sciatica? Thankfully, the answer is Yes; you can enjoy this activity although you have compressed sciatic nerves.  

Now you know why getting pickleball matches can have detrimental effects on your spine. Therefore, take care of your body, identify the symptoms soonest, and follow the above steps to minimize the soreness.

>>See more: Can I Play Pickleball After Shoulder Replacement