Dealing with sciatica

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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by macgyver » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:18 am

These stories have absolutely pointed me in the direction of seeking a medical professional (again - the first time was 2 days after it began and they gave me anti inflammatories and had me stretch for 2 weeks). I'm headed in on Thursday to give them the lowdown on what I've done to help, what is working, what is not, etc.
I agree, sitting is the worst thing for me, personally as well. A standing mat and desk have been working wonders. Even hiking up Mt Morrison this weekend wasn't bad once everything had been in motion (a slow hobble) for about 15-20 minutes.
Pilgrim - I, too, to that same stretch throughout the day. Great photo!
Please keep the stories coming - seeing how not one thing is the answer, I'll be referencing these replies for a while. Thanks everyone!
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by billycox » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:56 am

Check out iliopsoas stretches. I've had what I thought was sciatic nerve pain before and it turned out to be that muscle group. I feel it from my back, glute, inner thigh, and outer down the iliotibial band, sometimes even in my abdomen. The iliopsoas group is pretty much inaccessible to massage, but you can definitely stretch it. That's what works for me and I have no pain. And then I forget about it and ignore it and resume the bad habits at which time it shows up again. Mine has gotten bad enough to make my knee pop when I walk, and stretching totally corrects it.
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by SkaredShtles » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:03 am

Don't be afraid of surgery, if it is indicated.

I had a herniated disc for which surgery was a life-saver, activity-wise. It was night and day, immediately upon awaking from the surgery.
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by ORION » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:53 am

Although I've periodically had significant lower back pain, I've only had one sciatic nerve problem. It was several years ago, and it's (thankfully) never returned. So for macgyver and others who are experiencing this for the first time, the good news is it's not necessarily a chronic problem.

Macgyver, it sounds like you're following the advice that I was given...a lot of stretching, and stay as active as possible. It worked for me, the severe pain (right glute, right upper leg, right foot) lasted about a month, but subsided without surgery, and the problem hasn't recurred.

The best advice I've heard over the years for almost any back, neck, or joint issue is to use surgery as a last resort. Give your body a chance to heal on it's own, even if it takes a long time. Good luck!
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by Fishdude » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:38 pm

highpilgrim wrote:We certainly had fun with it on several trips. Obviously, seen below, some people are better at this exercise than others. :mrgreen:
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by highpilgrim » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:02 pm

Fishdude wrote:
highpilgrim wrote:We certainly had fun with it on several trips. Obviously, seen below, some people are better at this exercise than others. :mrgreen:
The one caveat I'll offer about deuceing in the high alpine environment: If you do that in an electrical storm, you might get 50,000 volts, RIGHT UP THE ASS.

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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by Hungry Jack » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:23 pm

I’m dealing with it now. It started as hip pain and gluteal cramping, which made me think I had torn the labrum, and then my foot started tingling. It was painful and miserable for a month until I saw an orthopedist, who diagnosed stenosis and arthritic changes via x-ray.

PT has made it tolerable. I did about 6 weeks, learned what to do, and now maintain it myself. I still have some nerve indications, so I will get the MRI and probably get a shot.

The point is:
1 see a specialist and get an X-ray
2. Make a dedicated attempt at PT and master the techniques for stretching the hamstrings and glutes, strengthening the hip stabilizers and core, and increasing mobility.
3. Be patient. Keep at the PT.
4. Surgery is a last resort. Explore all non surgical,options.

I gave up some of the heavier stuff I was doing to train, mainly ballistic movements like flipping truck tires and tossing a 100 lb slam ball. Those days are over. But I just cycled 65 miles with 6,000 ft of climbing and fared well. This puts a lot of strain on the hammies. So there is life after back injuries.

Edit: I also use a heating pad twice a day and an inversion table, especially after a workout.
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by painless4u2 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:43 pm

I'm resurrecting this thread to post an update some might feel useful. Previously, I had spinal stenosis L4-5 resulting in fusion. That went OK for a while then started having a recurrence of pain and numbness. Simply walking a short distance required doing pilgrim's squat repeatedly. But it got worse. This time, it was L3-4 stenosis with a possible impingement of a screw into my canal space from the previous fusion. Yuk. So, more surgery to open things up and remove hardware. At 64 years of age, recovery was a bit more prolonged and difficult. That was Valentine's Day of this year.
Then my friend Cody (whom I've shared many summits) said he only had 2 more of the 58 to go and wanted to know if I was interested. Of course I was! But I had to really amp things up. Then, 3 days from my 65th birthday and 3 spine surgeries under my belt, I did what I thought I'd never do: hiked up Como Lake Road from 8800' with a full backpack and summited Blanca Peak the following day! I skipped Cody's 58th summit (Little Bear) because...I didn't really want to do that one again.
So, congratulations to Cody Clanton on gaining all 58 summits. And for all those fearful of spine surgery: it isn't easy, but it's certainly possible to keep on keepin' on. Even at a lofty age!
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by USAKeller » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:58 am

It's absolutely worth checking out Summit Medical Care in Broomfield. My dad has dealt with sciatica and a laminectomy for nearly a decade and discovered this place a year - they have been such a blessing to him and have "fixed" his back problems. They focus on doing everything to avoid surgery and each treatment plan is [obviously] customized to every case. I've never seen my dad happier!
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by nyker » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:04 pm

Macgyver. Sorry you're having this issue. I feel your pain. As others mention first off seems like you've done it already, but vet all your medical professionals first...

This was a common problem for a lot of folks in my dojo and in short I'll tell you how I helped relieve the symptoms I had, which reflects several years of trial and error, wrong directions and experience. PT could be a very good option here.

My chiropractor was probably the best all-in option for me. The trick is to find a good one. I've also been to some chiropractors that are pretty useless. In addition to the normal sacral adjustments there's a special table that some have which moves the back end of your body up and down in for and side to side which is really helpful for loosening the lumbar area up. Ask any chiropractors if they have such a table.

Learn to manually adjust yourself too by leaning on your side and adjusting your sacral area slowly with a slow stretch.This is invaluable during the day and especially when you're driving where you can do it just in your seat.

I would do a lot of myofascial release work with a hard metal scraping tool around the area.The process of doing this was painful but it was effective in the long run. I would also make sure my IT bands, hamstrings and quads were properly strengthened and stretched and massaged and I'd use a foam roller quite a bit. When you have an injury like that often look above and below the injury for the answer. Sometimes it is the actual problem area but often it's one of the muscles or connective tissues before or after that needs to be addressed.

Sometimes driving long distances would bother me and I would not be able to walk properly after I drove over an hour or more, so I would wedge a yoga block outside my left leg against the door that would prevent excessive external rotation which tended to irritate the area. This is a big help on long drives.

Lastly I tried some acupuncture and cupping with mixed results.

My lower back is still tight every once in awhile and limits my flexibility touching toes /floor and so forth but the shooting pains down the legs have been minimized.

Good luck
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by CaptCO » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:07 pm

I hope your pain gets better soon.. I have family members who are permanently handicapped and it’s very serious. Have you ever considered THC/CBD?
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Re: Dealing with sciatica

Post by ncxhjhgvbi » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:35 pm

painless4u2 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:43 pm
So, congratulations to Cody Clanton on gaining all 58 summits. And for all those fearful of spine surgery: it isn't easy, but it's certainly possible to keep on keepin' on. Even at a lofty age!
Painless - thank you for the update, it certainly is useful and inspiring. I’m only 29 but have been suffering on and off for many years and both my dad and brother have had spine surgeries as well so it runs in the family. It recently got bad enough that I had to do something about it, and I’m really glad I finally sought help. I had my MRI yesterday and insurance approved it without prior PT and based only on my doctor’s recommendation, if that says anything about the severity of symptoms. The hardest part has been psychological, and your story gives me hope that I can continue to climb for many more years. I really appreciate your post!
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