T Nation

Sciatica

Ok, so after ignoring it for a week, I finally went to a Promptcare center last night only to be diagnosed with Sciatica, for those who don’t know it is an injury to the lower back usually onset by disc problems. In rare instances, such as mine, it is brought about by severe strain and movement, etc… I am currently on muscle relaxents and pain killers. Basically, Sciatica causes your back muscles to spasm so severely that the shape of your spine straightens out in the lumbar region, causing a considerable amount of pain. (atleast that’s how i understood it, again i was under the influence of Loritab at the time)

Anyone else here have to deal Sciatica at one point? Anyone receive physical therapy? What kind of therapy did you use? I plan on doing my own therapy using cyrotherapy and hydrotherapy, and im hopeing to be cured in 2 weeks.

Thanks in advance

My heart goes out to you man. I have had that and it’s not at all fun!

I did mine while performing heavy squats with poor technique many years ago. I would say it ranks up there in the top three injuries, in terms of pain that I have ever had. The only thing that helped was lying flat. I had pain when I sat or walked. I toughed it out without the drugs (probably stupid), but don’t blame you at all for trying to ease the pain.

I went to a Chiropractor who helped a great deal. Along with adjustments he recommended ice and rest. I was back training in two weeks.

Here is a trusted site, WebMD, where you can read several different articles on Sciatica.

Good Luck,

Zeb

hoosierdaddy, I have sciatica too. Back in the spring I herniated my L4/L5 disc. I did reverse hypers til I was blue in the face and that got rid of that. But if your discs start to affect your sciatic nerve then reverse hypers don’t help.

Just recently (past 2 months or so) I’ve noticed sciatica-like symptoms. I’ve never technically been diagnosed with sciatica (I have been diagnosed for the herniation though) I do display pretty much all the symptoms and causes so I sorta just guessed.

Heres what I’ve been doing: 400 I.U. of vitamin E per day. I know it sounds crazy. Something as complicated as sciatica solved simply by taking vitamin E? My mother told me about taking that for sciatica so I tried it. It takes a few days to a week for the pain to go away after you start taking it but it does work. About 2 weeks ago I ran out of vitamin E and haven’t purchased more…until yesterday, when I was in extreme pain and I had to get some. The pain still isn’t gone but its getting there.

When I do have pain (i.e. when I’m not taking the E religiously or at all) it usually hurts like a motherfucker when I stand, hurts a little bit when I sit and when I lay in bed I’ll have an annoying pulsating pain radiating down my leg.

Try it, you’ll be surprised.

Hoosier,
Hopefully, all you have is a bulge, not a herniation. The real key is not compressing it further. Monthly adjustments can help prevent that, along with any sort of traction that you have access to. Remember Michael Keaton hanging upsidedown in Batman? That is a common inversion table you can get about anywhere, sporting goods stores, ebay, etc. If you have good health insurance like Blue Shield, see if there is a Vax-D clinic in your area.

Sorry to hear about your pain.

I tore two discs in my lower lumbar about ten years ago. I really think I injured them first (I could walk fine), and the chiropractor did the final damage of actually tearing them, because I could hardly walk after the chiropractor did his damage. So I’ve had sciatica ever since, mostly affecting my right side from the glutes down to my foot.

Then I went to a doctor who wanted to do surgery immediately (based on a CAT scan), or my leg would shrivel up to nothing.

I said ya, right, and went to another back specialist who ordered an MRI, said there really wasn’t anything modern surgery could do. By then I was walking pretty normal, but with some pain.

So I have had no surgery, only massage therapy and accupuncture. I am perfectly mobile, do deadlifts and squats and all kinds of crazy things. Usually I am pain free, and just have a little bit of irritation.

The secret is to set your back before you do anything, otherwise you can tweek your back.

Good luck.

Sorry, I forgot to mention the hot tub. It really helps. I relax in it for ten minutes, then do full body stretches, including my legs. Stretching your glutes may really help.

Also stretch the piriformis (sp?). That muscle can impinge the sciatic nerve in the gluteal area.

[quote]squattin600 wrote:
Also stretch the piriformis (sp?). That muscle can impinge the sciatic nerve in the gluteal area. [/quote]

This doesn’t work for everybody. When it first happened to me, I did every stretch known to man that even had something remotely to do with the glutes (including the piriformis). Nothing helped, in fact, when it was really bad, I would do stretches before I go to bed and it would be worse in the morning.

Wow, thanks for the care and concern guys. I guess I didn’t explain myself well above. I’m one of the few cases where the discs are actually perfectly healthy, it was just brought about strenuous movement. I was told to walk as much as I can, but to hold of on real tough activity for a while. Also to ice.

Again, thank all of you guys for your concern, in some wierd odd way, it means alot.

bump… sorry Im just still looking for specific physical therapy techniques

hoosierdaddy, drop sagomed a PM if he doesn’t stop by. He had sciatica and managed to get it fixed. He’s got expertise in a type of body work called Bowen Therapy. He found it so helpful in correcting his problems that I think he ended up getting certified in it.

I’d also look at chiro, ART and accupuncture and possibly physical therapy. You may have to try different modalities, until you find something that works for you. Any of the modalities I mentioned are likely to provide you with relief and/or correct the underlying problems. But it’s going to boil down to the talent and skill of the practitioner.

If you haven’t read my thread on ART, check it out. More than what I have to say about ART, make note of my views on finding a truly talented practitioner.

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=427807

hoosierdaddy, I also forgot to mention that I had massage therapy and accupuncture done. Neither helped.

If you’re looking for specific exercises/stretches to do, just type into google “sciatica stretches.” Theres 2 or 3 sites on the first page of results that will come up that have some good stretches to do.

Like I said before though, check out vitamin E. At $4 - 5 a bottle it can’t hurt.

Hoosierdaddy,

Sorry to hear about the problem. Sciatica as a diagnosis is often applied too broadly and as such really gives little information as to what is wrong and how to fix it.

So, in order to help you out, I would need to know some more about what you are experiencing.

What kind of symptoms do you have?
How/when did you hurt yourself?
What makes the pain worse?
What makes the pain better?
What type of pain?(sharp, dull, stab…)
Where is it located?
If it goes into the lower leg, what part?
If it goes into the foot, what part?
Is it better/worse in morning/evening?

How do you know the discs are healthy, did you have an MRI?

If you can provide some more info, I would be glad to suggest a few stretches/ exercises ,etc.

Ryan

[quote]Dr. Ryan wrote:
Hoosierdaddy,

Sorry to hear about the problem. Sciatica as a diagnosis is often applied too broadly and as such really gives little information as to what is wrong and how to fix it.

So, in order to help you out, I would need to know some more about what you are experiencing.

What kind of symptoms do you have?
How/when did you hurt yourself?
What makes the pain worse?
What makes the pain better?
What type of pain?(sharp, dull, stab…)
Where is it located?
If it goes into the lower leg, what part?
If it goes into the foot, what part?
Is it better/worse in morning/evening?

How do you know the discs are healthy, did you have an MRI?

If you can provide some more info, I would be glad to suggest a few stretches/ exercises ,etc.

Ryan[/quote]

I swear Tampa Terry when you post its like the angels descend from the heavens. Im going to take a look at your ART article in a bit. I can’t say thank you enough or give you the kind words you deserve.

chrismcl, i’ve started taking the vitamin E, and i’m getting some time in the whirlpool, again this is in combination to physical therapy and stretching, so i’ll never know if it was just the Vit E, but hey better to be cured quickly and not know which one it is right? again thank you

Dr. Ryan,
My sympotoms includ pain in my lower back (haha). More specifically, in my lower left part of my back near my tailbone. It hurts when i sit for extended periods, when i tried squatting (that was a terrible idea), i can feel it especially when I sit and then look straight down, I feel a sharp pain in my lower back, otherwise its a dull pain most of the time. I also have pain the the upper right side of my lumbar, but im thinking that that is more muscular then it is a problem with my sciatic nerve (again im no doctor). It doesn’t hurt during activites, just immediately after Im done and the next morning. Having sex was fine, until the next morning I could hardly move (that sound you here is xen and wideguy laughing their ass off). No pain down the legs, no numbness, no loss of strength… again it also hurts when i bend over, its been continuing for two weeks. Part of my problem is that im very unflexible, esp in my hamstring and hip flexors. Ive started to stretch them. I am also on both Skelaxin 800 mg and naproxen 500mg. What do you think doc?

ok, bumping this hopeing that Tampa Terry or Dr. Ryan will respond sometime, again, sorry to keep bringing this to the top of the forum guys, please forgive me

I had a recurring back problem for years. I would be in bed for a week at a time, even with muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory. It would hurt to even sit upright. It came to the point of the doctors wanting to fuse my spine … of course I declined.

A therapist recommended, “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin A. McKenzie (ISBN: 0959774661) and I’ve had found it very helpful. I slowly started strengthening my back reintroducing squats and ab work. Dumped the stiff-leg deadlifts (do glut-hams instead), and progressed to regular deadlifts after my back got strong enough from the squats.

The good news is, the longer the time from your last attack, the better your disks heal. But you need to always be conscious about your back (bending with a twist is what would put my back at risk). The moment you feel a twinge, start doing those McKenzie stretches (and always do them before, during, and after back work!). I’ve been pain free for almost two years since my last attack. Good luck.

Man, I feel for you, this is probably the worst pain I have ever had in my life. I herniated the L4/L5 disc in Feb. of 2004, tried all sorts of stuff to fix it (physical therapy, accupuncture, massage, stretches, etc…) The pain just got worse over time, until finally I was referred to a neurosurgeon who suggested I have a surgical operation to fix the damage that was already done. I’m only 19, crazy shit huh? Anyways, I was very hesitant to go through with it, but I thought it would be the best way out so I could eventually compete in football and track again. Now almost a year later (4/1/04 surgery date), I a red-shirted this season on the football team (did not suit up in full pads, no contact til next season) at my JC and am competing as a 200/400 sprinter.

I found that it took time for me to regain strength, but now I am up to my old strength again, and my speed is just as good as it was before. I notice the occasional lower back irritation here and there usually from sleeping weird or something…

Just thought I’d share my story with ya, and hopefully you get that shit fixed, cuz I know from first hand, it is a bitch! It got to a point where I couldnt even stand up without being in agonizing pain. Man… it was a rough time in my life, but hopefully I dont have any more problems and it wont set me back. Good luck to you, I know where you’re comin from.

[quote]WRCortese5 wrote:
Man, I feel for you, this is probably the worst pain I have ever had in my life. I herniated the L4/L5 disc in Feb. of 2004, tried all sorts of stuff to fix it (physical therapy, accupuncture, massage, stretches, etc…) The pain just got worse over time, until finally I was referred to a neurosurgeon who suggested I have a surgical operation to fix the damage that was already done. I’m only 19, crazy shit huh? Anyways, I was very hesitant to go through with it, but I thought it would be the best way out so I could eventually compete in football and track again. Now almost a year later (4/1/04 surgery date), I a red-shirted this season on the football team (did not suit up in full pads, no contact til next season) at my JC and am competing as a 200/400 sprinter.

I found that it took time for me to regain strength, but now I am up to my old strength again, and my speed is just as good as it was before. I notice the occasional lower back irritation here and there usually from sleeping weird or something…

Just thought I’d share my story with ya, and hopefully you get that shit fixed, cuz I know from first hand, it is a bitch! It got to a point where I couldnt even stand up without being in agonizing pain. Man… it was a rough time in my life, but hopefully I dont have any more problems and it wont set me back. Good luck to you, I know where you’re comin from.[/quote]

seeing the stories about people who’ve ruptured, or herniated, or have bulging discs almost makes me feel like a pussy, cuz supposedly my discs are healthy according to my doctor, but i want to be fixed as soon as possible for football this year, new coach, I have to prove myself all over again.

Hey man,

I have been struggling with back pain for almost a year now. Last March I injured it doing a crazy session of deadlifts/good mornings. I don’t blame the injury on those exercises alone, there was a whole host of factors that contributed to my demise. Man, I could talk to you all day about back injuries, sciatica, nerves, prevention, rehab, etc. I have researched the hell out of it, been in and out of therapy, worked through it…it is finally healed up and I am slowly building my leg strength up again. This is definitely something you don’t want to fuck around with or try to “push” through, it only makes things worse with this type of injury. Read up on all of Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson’s stuff on this site, check out your imbalances in your body and correct them (you probably have tight hips as most hardcore weightlifters do), drop me a PM and I’ll be happy to give you more insider info, coming from someone who has conquered this fucking injury!

-Chris

Hoosierdaddy,

If you don’t have leg pain, then you don’t have sciatica.

Sciatica refers to pain running down the back of the leg and into the lower leg and foot.

How did you hurt yourself?
Does the pain increase if you cough or sneeze?
Try bending forward 5-10 times, does the pain stay the same, get worse/better or change location?

Bend backwards 5-10 times and answer the same questions.

Lay down on your stomach and do 5-10 press-ups (the cobra postion) and monitor what happens to your symptoms.

How did they rule out a disc problem?

For the time being, click on the Cool Tips archive and go to the Get on a Roll post and follow the directions. That should help with sitting to some degree.

I can give you more info once I know how you respond to the above movements.

Take care,

Ryan