T Nation

Sciatica/Nerve problems

About 6 months ago, I herniated my L5 disc and basically did countless reps and sets of reverse hypers to rehab it. For the past 4 months or so I haven’t had any pain in my back.

However, recently, I’ve been getting this dull, aching pain in my right glute. I went to a massage therapist for myofascial release and an accupuncturist. Neither alleviated the pain. Whenever I workout the pain goes away but thats just endorphins.

Recently, I’ve been feeling the pain going down the lateral posterior portion of my right leg. It hurts the most when I’m standing and the pain can basically be described as a pulsing pain.

When I herniated my disc, the CT scans didn’t show any nerve pinching. I’m thinking the disc is getting worse (but the pain in my back hasn’t reared its head at all) and resultantly pinching the nerve. I typed in sciatica (pinching of the sciatic nerve) in google and the pages that came up described the pain pretty much exactly how I feel it.

My question is: would getting back to work on the reverse hyper help the pain at all if the problem is a pinched nerve?

No.

It is hard to say for sure if the reverse hyper would help or hurt. The decompression of your spine is good with the reverse hyper, but it also pulls you into some lumbar flexion which is not so good for bulging or herniating discs. Again, the strengthening of the muscles and the lumbar extension that occurs at end range would be good.

It is possible that your sciatic nerve may not be involved and the pain is being referred from the joints of your lower back. It is also possible that the nerve is the cause of the pain, but it is not pinched. (Unfortunately, these and the many other possibilities cannot be diagnosed over the internet.) My suggestion is to see a qualified manual physical therapist. Make sure they have knowledge of neurodynamics and joint mobilizations. I have treated many patients with similar complaints. They usually respond well to joint mobilizations combined with neurodynamics (exercises/techniques to get the nerves/nervous system moving properly). They normally need some core stabilization work as research has shown that pain and/or injury often “turn off” those muscles.

Hopefully this will help you out or at least get you started. Let me know if you have any questions or need any other help.

Try to get hold of a book called “treat your own back” by McEnzie (sp?). This book was reccomended by my physio (physical therapist). It will give you a good insight as to what is going on in your back, good idea of what causes the pain and preventative exercises to do. It also gives you examples of what not to do. I think the guy who wrote it is from NZ.
Hope you recover,
Old Dax

I sit on my butt, both in the car and at a desk, for most of the day and I have the same recurring problem; throbbing in the glute radiating down the leg. A few things helpe me:

  1. LOTS of stretching of the posterior chain. After every workout or cardio session and whenever I feel pain I stretch by standing, crossing my feet, and touching my toes. Focus on the side where the pain occurs. I also sit in a chair and “hug” my knee by crossing my legs and pulling my knee to my chest. This is a great stretch for the glutes. Those things seem to release whatever is impinging the nerve.
  2. Do lots of cardio. My sciatic pain wasn’t caused by injury, just by a sedentary job. Doing cardio after every lifting session and on off days seems to help. If possible, I also get up and walk around for about 10 minutes whenever I feel pain and try to be as active as possible.

I know that sounds simple, but it helps me manage my nerve pain, which was pretty bad for about a year.

Hope that helps…

It is quite possible for reverse hypers to exacerbate Sciatic nerve problems. This is due to the Sciatic nerve passing through the Piriformis muscle and becoming constricted as the muscle grows tighter. Try the stretch shown at this website, http://www.drbackman.com/piriformis-muscle-stretch.htm

HTH

Ray

I think I’m going to go to that manual physical therapist you recommended, climbon.

Regarding the stretching and cardio: I’m a speedskater so most of the work I do is energy system/cardio - oriented. And I’ve noticed that stretching makes the pain worse. If I stretch a lot say on Monday, when I wake up on Tuesday it hurts like a motherfucker.

Are there any over-the-counter NSAIDs that don’t have the same effects as ibuprofen? I’ve heard that people who take ibuprofen a lot tend to have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. As a result I sorta want to stay away from it as much as I can but some sites on the internet regarding nerve pain recommend some sort of NSAID.

[quote]chrismcl wrote:
I think I’m going to go to that manual physical therapist you recommended, climbon.

Regarding the stretching and cardio: I’m a speedskater so most of the work I do is energy system/cardio - oriented. And I’ve noticed that stretching makes the pain worse. If I stretch a lot say on Monday, when I wake up on Tuesday it hurts like a motherfucker.

Are there any over-the-counter NSAIDs that don’t have the same effects as ibuprofen? I’ve heard that people who take ibuprofen a lot tend to have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. As a result I sorta want to stay away from it as much as I can but some sites on the internet regarding nerve pain recommend some sort of NSAID.[/quote]

Are you in New York city? There are three clinics in and around NYC that are owned by an excellent manual physical therapist and I can guarantee they have extensive knowledge of joint mobs and neurodynamics. Let me know if you want the name of the clinics.