/ climbing with siatica pain
Is there anyone out there with some advice. thanks lots janine lane
Hi, I have suffered with a lower back problem and referred sciatica for many years. I find that as long as I am climbing regularly the pain is manageable, it is much worse when I stop climbing and have a few weeks off. Climbing helps stretch my back and the associated muscles relieving pain. Start easy at the climbing wall and then you will be able to increase your grade when you feel more confident that you will not hurt yourself.
and also deep massaging your buttock by sitting and rolling around on a tennis ball!
I had sciatica last year and was due to go in for surgery but it "fixed itself" at the climbing wall. Something just felt funny as I went over an overhang. I lowered off feeling a bit unstable, went home, then realised that I wasn't in pain.
The physio recommended I exercised, but I needed a stick to walk, and couldn't cycle or run or lift anything. If you can manage to climb at the wall I would do so as I believe that keeping active as much as possible is key. The problem for me was the tablets that I were on made me sick, lethargic, and I lost all coordination and balance. I dropped so many cups and regularly fell over so climbing was out for a while!
It's a horrible thing to have, and I hope it gets better for you soon. I've had two injurys now, and both took a long time to fix, but they did. Exercise was key on both occassions.
I'm just getting over my last bout, and whilst my back is still a bit sore, I got some advice off here about piriformis stretches, which my wife helps me with now. Just YouTube'd it and got loads to choose from.
Dunno if it's placebo, but so far so good.
As others have said, staying active really helps. My sciatica comes creeping back if I lay off the training. I was given two exercises (one by a physio, the other by a pilates instructor) which helped.
1) Sit upright in a dining chair or similar (not a big squishy armchair) with both feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Drop your chin to your chest then raise the shin on the affected leg until it's horizontal. Point your toes towards your chin. Relax, then repeat.
2) Stand upright with your feet together. Cross the foot on the affected leg behind the other foot and bring it forward so the shin contacts the calf. Tip your chin to your chest then bend slowly and touch your toes (or as near as you can get). You can keep your hands on your legs for support on the way down. Hold for as long as you can, then stand and repeat. This is a big powerful stretch for the glute, hamstring, and calf. Worked a treat for me.
I've just recovered from my third slipped disk - the first one took about 12 months to fix, the second (more severe) 18 months, this one (most severe yet, and first time I actually had to phone an ambulance) 3 months.
The big difference this time? The physio had me performing (often painful) stretches right from the start, whereas in the past I protected the area so much that by the time the disc was back in place, the muscles were too tight causing sciatic pain that was indistinguishable from that caused by the disc.
So as others have said, get a good physio, do as many glute, hamstring and lower back stretches as you can, and stay as active as possible.
Climbing may feel like it's aggravating, but after a session, ice the lower back/buttock area heavily and see how it feels in the morning - this will give you a much better indicator of whether or not you're causing any problems than how it feels immediately afterwards.
Also, make sure you do some stretching at the end of the session, followed by a few minutes in a good rest position - for me, flat on my back with my knees raised, soles of the feet on the floor, and core engaged to tilt the pelvis back a bit, flattening the lower back to the floor a little works wonders.
Good luck with the rehab!
Hi, can I ask, does a slipped disk just eventually sort itself out by itself?
I'm currently on week of pain meds before my GP hopefully decides to refer me to somebody who knows a bit about backs...
- for me, flat on my back with my knees raised, soles of the feet on the floor, and core engaged to tilt the pelvis back a bit, flattening the lower back to the floor a little works wonders.
I know the position well whenever i get back problems and it tightens up when in a position for too long this always gets me moving again, also works pretty well with feet/lower legs resting on the seat of a chair
> Hi, can I ask, does a slipped disk just eventually sort itself out by itself?
> I'm currently on week of pain meds before my GP hopefully decides to refer me to somebody who knows a bit about backs...
I'm no doctor, but as I understand it a disk that's bulging a little may settle back into place, but if it's slipped then no, it's unlikely to just fix itself without the help of a physio at least, and the sooner you start the treatment the better.
Did your GP do the straight leg test? If they didn't then they should have - it's a simple and fairly definitive test - and if they did and it was positive they should have referred you right away in my opinion (but never do, luckily my corporate health insurance takes a different view).
That said, a week of rest won't do any harm, so long as you don't have any pain urinating or defacating, or loss of control of either function - these are all emergency conditions that require an immediate trip to A&E.
Most importantly , once your over the worst of it, listen to your body, be mindful of body positions IE lifting, bike riding , climbing, sitting- you'll soon find out whats good and whats not so good for you.. I find climbing vertical or overhanging limestone far better for My back ( i get a good stretch out) that climbing rounded grit routes ( lots of compression) , and bouldering it out of the question just incase i fall and bugger my back up - but then again we are all different.
Oh yeah- get hold of a hula hoop and use it or do the motion - they are amazing for your lower back and also great fun :O)
Good luck and hope you made a full recovery .
>...I think if you can take the pain then keep off the pills from the doctors as these only mask the pain and you can do more damage that way from my personal experience...
Pain killers, muscle relaxants and anti-inflamatories (all prescription strength, so you'll need to see your doctor) are really useful at the start of a programme of self treatment through appropriate exercises. Again, I'd really recommend reading the final chapter of Sarah Key's "Back Sufferers' Bible", which gives you a programme of what to do, even if you only skim read the other chapters.
I would recomend the book 'treat your own back' by Robert Mckenzie.
The best yoga moves for myself are the cat or the snake. i would be very alarmed if a physio recommended any foreward bending from the waist as a stretch this is just the position to force the disc to bulge even more and further compress the delicate nerves in your spine.
If you catch it early you can recover completley from a mild disc bulge they dont really slip or you can just carry on like i did and end up in hospital
> Did your GP do the straight leg test? If they didn't then they should have - it's a simple and fairly definitive test - and if they did and it was positive they should have referred you right away in my opinion (but never do, luckily my corporate health insurance takes a different view).
Not sure what the straight leg test is but don't think he did it.
He did have a look to see if my leg was still working as half my foot has gone numb.
Didn't actually examine my back now I think of it.
He did say that at least!
You clearly haven't seen me try to use one.
There's only so much exercise I can get in the 2 seconds it from when I start it to it falling to the floor, I think I have some kind of hip coordination issue!
> Good luck and hope you made a full recovery .
> Not sure what the straight leg test is but don't think he did it.
Doctors tend not to, because they don't know what they're looking for anyway. This time my GP gave me anti-inflamatories without any examination, I had to phone an ambulance the next day because I got stuck and couldn't move, and despite telling them I hadn't suffered a trauma they gave me an x-ray (can't diagnose slipped disc), didn't give me an MRI (which does), and sent me home with a bottle of morphine, telling me it was just a muscle spasm, again without any sort of physical examination.
Two days later, the physio told me she'd never seen a patient with such a severely herniated disc still walking.
It's bloody infuriating - if I hadn't known what was going on from previous experience, I'd have followed the doctors instructions and been weeks or months on opiates before I saw someone who could treat me.
I was diagnosed with scoliosis (slight kink in my upper spine)
when I was 15 years old.I didn't notice it when I climbed regularly.
It got worse when I stopped climbing!
I got some excellent support from a couple of members of the forum when I was at my worst. It really helped, I was suffering badly from depression as a result of it and the medication. Not a good place to be.
You gotta maintain as much normality as you can and as everyone else above is testifying to, keep active as much as you can. I know many folk think it's "just back pain" and don't realise how painful it is, and how it doesn't just happen when you lift something.
When you get sorted drop me an email and I'll send you some information that I've learned about movement, and resetting the nervous system. Your body will be out of balance as you will be compensating a lot by favouring one side and not using muscles on the other for example. You won't be aware of this but your body will be doing it all of the time just to maintain posture and balance whilst standing or walking. It puts alsorts of joints out of alignment, reduces flexibility one side etc. It'll take a while to rehabilitate that as well but it's worth doing (I found anyway).
All the best,
Give it a go - I'm currently fine, but in the past i've been climbing when the hardest bit is putting my shoes on and i'm then climbing at pretty much my usual limit. Taking them off again afterwards is far easier.
Well unfortunately I've got much worse since Monday.
I had to stop the ibuprofen because they were causing me to bleed and was just on paracetamol which didn't really touch the pain.
So then on Friday I went from sore to walk about and okay lying on my back to being unable to walk and in agony when lying on my back so called the doctor and they prescribed more drugs including something to relax my muscles.
A bit better now but not able to get around let alone climb!
Have a telephone appointment tomorrow so will get them to refer me to somebody who knows about backs!
Hope this helps
I have sciatica pretty much constantly but continue to climb regularly and at my limit. Doctors and physios have told me that pain will be the only limit in terms of what I can try (and I have three fully slipped discs), so if it gets painful I just take some painkillers an carry on.
I've found the pain is lessened when you stretch the back and leg regularly, which is nice :)
Good luck in climbing and managing your pain!
If you are in that much trouble your doctor should be referring you to a specialist and for an MRI. I had issues with my back and all these pains etc some years ago now.
When I eventually saw my surgeon he could not believe I was still walking let alone running climbing, but have to say prescribed heavy duty painkillers allowed me to. He told me I should have been in a wheel chair with a catheter fitted my prolapsed disc was so bad. Had an op within 7 days and it was like someone had flicked a switch. Was able to stand completely upright, look straight ahead instead of down at the floor and when I started climbing agin I could heel hook without my upper body loosing all power and ability.
Make a fuss get your self sorted.
It can feel pretty desperate, but can also be resolved surprisingly quickly with the right treatment.
I was where you are just three months ago - disk went on the sunday, painkillers from the doc on the monday, tuesday I got stuck on all fours in my bedroom for 8 hours till someone came home to phone an ambulance.
2 days later I saw the physio, was swimming within two weeks, gentle climbing in under a month, and yesterday I was projecting a 7c without any complaints from the back.
Personally, I would avoid surgery until I was sure the physio wasn't going to work - the specialist I saw the last time told me he could guarantee to cure my problem with disc surgery but even if it went well the scar tissue could interfere with my climbing. Since I'd read that the disk can fully heal itself up to the age of 60 I stuck with the physio and yoga, and it worked.
Slipped disc is a misnomer, discs don't slip, they bulge out or herniate to different degrees. It's very topical in our houshold at the moment as my missus had spinal surgery last week to relieve a badly herniated disc. To the original poster.... I'd get it carefully checked out, if it's a herniated disc then pressure from stretching could potentially make it worse.
And I meant to add that the surgery immediately relieved the pain but left some residual leg weakness which is resolving. My neurosurgeon friend who does spine ops says its important to get a good surgeon, he does many ops repairing earlier poorly done ones.
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