/ sciatica

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RockAngel on 08 Feb 2013
Ive just had a night spent in A & E with a leg that was excruciating agony and having to use gas and air, kindly supplied by the wonderful paramedics just get down the stairs at home. The hospital gave me some strong painkillers that didnt really get rid of the pain, just made me stoned so I didnt care if I was still in pain or not. (I swapped them for ibuprofen and paracetomol as soon as I could because that wasnt pleasant).
I'm back on my feet and walking again but still having twinges in my back and legs. Has anyone got any exercises I can try to ease this and improve my chances of not being crippled any time soon. (I've not done any exercise this week apart from walking and it's driving me crazy.)
Darren Jackson - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

Ouch!... Been there. Had that. I feel for you.

It depends on what the root cause of your sciatica is, of course, but I found that piriformis stretching exercises really helped:

http://www.spinal-health-care.com/tips-a-advice/piriformis-stretch-2/
Tony Simpson - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: it all depends on how your disc is damaged and where the internal parts are protruding and touching the nerves.

Has there been a critical moment that you can put your finger on when the pain started or has it just crept up on you.

I did mine in 2005 and had loads of physio etc and ended up in hospital under the knife due to the severity of the damage to the disc and the way in which the inside had protruded.

The only real way to know what to do for the best is by having an MRI scan, but this will not happen for a number of years on the NHS until they have explored all other avenues, which like me could make it worse.

If you can afford private treatment go get an MRI and a specialist that knows what they are doing.

I'm fine know after my op and prob one o he lucky ones.

Hope it works out
Ciro - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

See a physio before you do *any* exercise other than walking around to try to keep the area mobilised. You need to know what you're dealing with before you try to resolve it, and if it's a herniated disc, stretching the wrong way could put you back in hospital needing emergency surgery.


RockAngel on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson: its sort of crept up on me. Ive been to the physio linked with the dr about 4 times over the past 2 years complaining of back ache
fernie - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: i had regular physio, stretched my back every week on "the rack" felt great straight away each week. you need to keep as active as possible, works it out..
airbournegrapefruit on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: I had very similar at the start of last year. It took a couple of months to get an MRI, got the results a couple of weeks after that saying I had a large L5/S1 prolapse. Spent ages having physio until it got to the point where I could hardly walk. The muscle spasms in the lower back were by far the worst pain, made the sciatic pain feel like a mild headache. After a couple of weeks on my room floor getting looked after by my partner I finally gave into my partner calling the gp out to the house after I'd clawed my way back to my room from the bathroom. I was admitted onto a ward that night and was then give pain relief for the next two weeks before I was finally transferred to Morriston hospital where my consultant said that if the disc had prolapsed another millimetre or two I'd more than likely be semi-paralysed, I was in surgery the following morning. A few hours after the decompressive surgery I was up and walking. Just didn't really do a great deal for a few months.

I had another MRI not long ago after which they told me I have another bulge that will need sorting at some point but I should carry on doing things as normal until that time comes. So I'm back doing relatively simple caving trips and extremely easy climbing, basically stuff I don't plan on falling off or generally shocking my spine.

So the purpose of that was basically to say chin-up, things eventually get better and if they don't straight away keep looking forward, It's hardly the end of the world.
MeMeMe - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

I really sympathise, I've just been through something similar myself.

I'd like to reiterate the advice of other, don't start stretching exercises before you get a diagnosis of what the problem is as you may be making things worse. I did!

The doctor and NHS physio were useless neither could give me a diagnosis nor a prognosis, I've ended up going to a private osteopath who diagnosed the likely cause due to one of my leg reflexes not working any more (some of my foot is numb too).

His advice was that these kind of injuries take 12 weeks to get better and in the initial stages you should keep mobile but you shouldn't be doing stretches. I'm 5 weeks in and he's just given me some kind of really slow pelvic thrust exercise that I should start doing but that's it.

Obviously I am still climbing but he said that should be fine if I take it easy!

Baron Weasel - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: I had it pretty bad about 4 years ago and spent 3 weeks unable to sit down. I had ONE session with someone who practiced the Bowen Technique and it was clear 2 days later.

Having suggested an alternative therapy will work I will now sit back with my popcorn as flames engulf the bonfire of opinions...

BW
Baron Weasel - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Baron Weasel: Incidentally, if you want to travel to see the magician I saw - his name is Allan Brindley (an old climbing partner of Brian Hall) - although I think he'd suggest seeing someone closer to home!

http://www.bowen-technique.co.uk/therapist.php?tid=4
JH74 - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Baron Weasel:
>
> Having suggested an alternative therapy will work I will now sit back with my popcorn as flames engulf the bonfire of opinions...
>
> BW

I heard good things about the Bowen technique actually! How about some Feldenkrais for good old self help too? Really helped me.

Unlike random stretches and exercises, which I agree are best avoided at this stage for sure, you could see a Feldenkrais practioner straight away - as you could with a Bowen technique person - all very 'safe'

If I'm honest though when I first discovered back problems I wanted cold hard exercises and results and action! - not some airy fairy 'be aware of how you move' nonsense. Turns out it's not so simple and the airy fairy's helped me more than any amount of physio/pilates/yoga over the years. But I don't think I would have listened initially - I needed to have that journey maybe.

To the OP - providing it does settle down there are many ways to treat yourself - you need to just go with what works for you and what you can believe in. In the meantime just take it very easy and keep moving. Slowly. Good luck.
nniff - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

Find a good osteopath. They've always put me right over the years, although the last one wasn't tough enough on me. That culminated in a loud 'clunk' from my lower back when I stood hard on the pedals on my bike. I thought 'Help - this is either very good or very bad'. Turned out it was very good.
Tony Simpson - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
Ok if it crept up on you it will usually be a std ( I know there is not really a std but you know what I mean) type of problem. Find a private physio that knows about sciatica problems and go see them. They will still probably say you should get an MRI done.

I went to a gen physio and although they elevated the pain at the time it always returned and got worse. I also went to a NHS physio and the same happened. The excersises they gave me made my problem worse according to specialist. Although I don't know how it could make my problem worse with the way I ruptured my disc in the manner I did. I fell flat on back on bedrock from about 12 feet up. Over the heads of my spotters and missing the carpet of pads as well, totally freak.
redsonja - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: are they sure its not a DVT (deep vein thrombosis)? sciatica can sometimes be the first sign of one. it was for me
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

The process is:-

Go see your physio.
They give you exercises.
If nothing changes, they send you for an MRI.
Then they tell you what's really wrong.

To me, if you can't single it out to a specific trauma, it may be a muscle imbalance and posture problem that may be corrected. Keep the walking up for now as inactivity will just cause all kinds of problems.
RockAngel on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy: I walk a friends dog for an hour every day round the park only im getting itchy feet again and want to go up to the scene of the crime again, Kinder Scout
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

I can't see a problem with hill walking but i wouldn't go alone or carry a backpack. I find i'm ok with walking/scrambling uphill, it's just descending that i have problems. What happened on Kinder?
colina - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: try this ''lye outstretched flat on your stomach on the floor.push up using your elbows and lower arms bend from the waist ..think of a snake rising up in front of you ready too attack.hyhper extending your vertebrae .....don't overdo it .the object is to stretch up backwards till you can do like a push up but leaving your pelvis and legs flat on the floor..easy does it!

airbournegrapefruit on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to colina: Yeah don't do that. If it is a prolapse that is coming outward from your spine you could potential do some real damage.
the sheep - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
Having had it before the cure for me was a decent physio. Luckily for me my doc sent me to a very good one so a prolonged treatment of massage, ultrasound and exercises to do at home worked a treat. Assessed every couple of weeks at first until an exercise regime was sorted that worked then the gaps between visits gradually increased until now i no longer need to go.
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medomjones - on 12 Feb 2013
best exercise is to lye on your back pull one knee up to your chest and rotate across your body, stretches the lower back, use on both legs,

sciatica is horrible, people say its just a bad back but..... the people in the Know.... know what it is all about - pain....

stretching worked for me after 3 months of diasipan and dihydracodine (junkie) IT is totally manageable, you have my sympathy

(anyone have a trapped ulnar nerve??)
Nick Saunders on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:

Good advice - if it is a large prolapse it can fill the spinal canal and put pressue on the spinal cord (stenosis, I believe is the technical term). Backwards flexion in that situation is definately not a good thing as it narrows the spinal canal even further and puts more pressure on the spinal cord.

Without an MRI, any specific or aggresive stretching is just guesswork and exposing yourself to risk.

Any loss of sensation 'between the legs' or control of bladder function, go straight to A&E (doubtless you have already been told this).

Keeping your core strong and mobile is really important though - I did lots of road biking (initially just short, really gentle sessions on the turbo - its hard to overstate the psychological benefit of just doing something initially), followed a proper fingerboard routine (strength based - day on, two days rest, really strict about intensity and quality), and amazingly, could kayak even when I could hardly walk (although the consultant did explain that if I were to come out of the boat and get bashed into any rocks it might not be a good thing - he was generally supportive though, and I decided the benefits outweighed the risk). I should add though that I had supportive friends who would carry my boat around for me so i didn't ever have to pick this up - that would definately not have been good news for the back.

Basically, as soon as you can, try to keep as active as possible and do things that don't stress your back too much or hurt.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.



G1000 - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
Like others have said it depends if it's a disc issue, a piriformis condition or anything else. I've had the piriformis problems and regular exercise, good stretching and some endurance strength work on it works well. I went from being in agony walking around in a supermarket to hiking 20 miles in the mountains with guidance from a good physio. It took a couple of physios to get to the good one tho! I had a scan to determine the disc situation tho. I'd not do anything without medical advice and really try and push for a scan.
colina - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:
> (In reply to colina) Yeah don't do that. If it is a prolapse that is coming outward from your spine you could potential do some real damage.

we don't know exactly wot it is ,however when I get sciatica it works for me,obviously if it makes it worse then bin the idea and try something else
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:
> (In reply to colina) Yeah don't do that. If it is a prolapse that is coming outward from your spine you could potential do some real damage.


Yep i agree, the Mckenzie stretch should be done under advice from her physio. You could be aggravating things. Hang-fire with stretches till you see a physio.
RockAngel on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Nick Saunders: got to wait a week for the earliest appointment with the sports doctor at the surgery. :-(
Mark Morris - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: keeping an eye on this thread, herniated disk L5/S1. Some very expensive private consultations, an mri and epidural injection later and I'm still waiting for NHS to kick in!

Nearly 4 months in, and still in no fit state to exercise or even stretch. My bike looks lonely and climbing partner is also suffering!

Search on here shows that drugs only hide pain and cause other problems.

Please get me fit enough to to climb and ride again, I was getting back to similar levels of fitness of myself 25 years ago!
airbournegrapefruit on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Mark Morris: The NHS didn't really do anything for me when I had the same problem as you until I got admitted to hospital for pain management while they waited for a slot to put me in for surgery.
RockAngel on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Nick Saunders: I'm keeping active, it's just not enough for me. a trip around the park for an hour every day with the dog is not exactly challenging my mind enough, as well as keeping me exercising. I need something away from the park before I go stir crazy!
(warning, moan ahead) I was just starting to get back on the hills, more strenuous hills and now I can't. Im getting cabin fever. Does anyone want to go for a walk with me and carry my pack too? Please?
Jim C - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
I have on off neck pains that respond to nothing, however, I did once have a sciatica type pain that came only when I drove, and what fixed it was acupuncture( although I was sceptical, and to some extent still am, about alternative therapies, ) I was however, desperate and was willing to try anything.

Worth a go, if you are the end of your tether.
RockAngel on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Jim C: Ive also got something going on with my neck between c3 and c4. It was causing nerve pains down the tops of my arms and hands. I went to physio and he told me it was the curbital nerve that was inflamed, irritated. (Carpal tunnel is on the inside of the wrist), but try making the doctor see the difference between the two. Had an MRI a while ago for that and nothing came up on it, although I have to be quite careful with it. No sudden or quick turns of my head.
Baron Weasel - on 17 Feb 2013
In reply to Jim C: I have a masters degree in back pain - give the Bowen technique a try... In a nutshell it can be thought of as a muscle reset and it is very powerful. I broke T11 nearly 12 years ago and suffer now from time to time, but less and less as I learn to understand the causes and address them. BW
Tradlad - on 17 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: Bloody back pains and Sciatica, I know that feeling well. Hope you recover very soon.. However .. Keep insisting with the Doctors/hospital that you want a MRI or go private... I had a L4/L5 disc problems and was offered The Injection or the Knife, I took the injection which was very painful( i screamed like a baby) - it did help a lot but i do still have the odd problem but mainly in the winter if i dont keep active .. Find a Good Physiotherapist , someone mentioned Bowen Technique , i second that because it works! look it up, If you cant find anyone drop me a line and i will recommend you a Bowen Physio in the Peak district who is both very professional and reasonable too. ... Find a Good Yoga teacher , yoga helps a lot! also use a hoola hoop or make the same circular motions with your pelvis- its great for lower back problems , it keeps you spine supple but I'd wait until you are kind of recovered before doing that exercise

Anyway- good luck with yourback pains and sciatica, i really feel for you as i know what its like.
RockAngel on 17 Feb 2013
In reply to Tradlad: Ive been doing yoga for a while. It has helped with the mid back aching but the lower back pain is a whole new thing. Hopefully, the fact that the a&e dr will have written to the gp will help carry some weight and make them hurry up another mri. Thatll be fun, getting all my metalwork put back in my ears again.
Tradlad - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: i wouldn't wait around for Hope that A&E & your Dr get it all together in a timely fashion . From my experience being Pro active and insisting on an MRI is a good path of action. My Dr wasn't very good - all he wanted to do was give me Pills and send me away .That wasn't expectable to me so i kept making appointments and luckily after four/five weeks i think he had enough of me and i was seen by a visiting Doctor from Europe who recognised and acknowledged that i did have a serious problem. He got me onto the Spinal Consultant waiting list, a few weeks later im having a rave with the MRI and 3weeks later- needle in my back .

So i reakon its in your best interests to be pushy with it because your quality of life is obviously suffering and you have only got one of them lives . I think lower back trouble can and Is Life changing. Good luck with your metalwork :O)
RockAngel on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Tradlad: saw the doc today. I have no sciatica pain but have some lower back pain although not all the time. (Surprisingly been quite pain free since sunday morning). He says I can get back out there, although to still take it easy, and I'm still not allowed to pick up anything heavier than a piece of paper but I can have a lightweight backpack. I hope the weather holds so i can get back up to Kinder Scout really soon :-)
RockAngel on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: thought it had settled down but its back with a vengence today. Have noticed over the last few days that every time i stood up or started walking a sensation like hot water pouring down the back of my left leg would happen (no i havent wet myself!). Can barely walk & stand again :-(
Cornelius Kite - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: Sympathies. My wife has severe sciatica and can barely walk at times, and then she gets weird bouts of numbness. Lying sown sometimes provides relief. The NHS don't seem to have a clue what to do about it.
JohnnyW - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:

Haven't read the whole thread, but I had a couple of bouts last year for the first time in my life, and I sympathise. I had good advice off here to consider piriformitis, and got some stretches off the 'net. My wife helped me, and within days, it was all but gone.
Now, if I feel it coming back on, I just stretch hard, (usually on walk-ins with big packs), and hey presto.
Stretching (sensibly) is a good idea anyway, so give it a go.....
Mark Kemball - on 25 Feb 2013
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bigsloper - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel: I fell off a boulder problem which aggravated an existing lower back problem into quite painful sciatica. When recovering from both of these traumas I found 2 exercises especially helpful: standing with feet shoulder distance apart and rotating my hips, and on hands and knees rotating my hips (as if my belly button was making a cirlce perpendicular to the ground).

I've done a lot of Yoga in the last 5 years or so, but I found that to be mostly too much stress on the back, especially thre backwards bends. But by doing those exercises and keeping my lower back mobile, I was able to recover enough to do my normal Yoga routine regularly.

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