Sciatica : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Into my 6th week of this bullshit. Hard to believe that something as simple a little digging for mid Feb planting could set off this nightmare. OK sitting or lying but can't stand standing.

Asking for advice. Doing the simple stuff but bat sleeping is out. MRI results due Wednesday. Respond only if you have personally benefited from your advice. Ideas abound. I've read most of them and it can get pretty wierd. Thanx

-- Carlos (, March 30, 2002


If you were digging you may have twisted your SI joint out of alignment. Try the stretches from here:

-- Been (There@Done.That), March 30, 2002.

Getting younger might help..;^)

-- Send (mo@money.please), March 30, 2002.

Getting into a swimming pool with a life jacket on helped me. That way I didn't have to move to stay afloat. Also I can't swim, but that's not the point. With total support in the water, I was able to relax and then start stretching slowly. If something hurt, I quit and tried something else after relaxing again. It didn't "cure" it, but it helped relieve the pain at the time. When I got out, the pain wasn't quite as bad for a few hours. Sometimes part of the pain comes from muscles that are restricted from movement, and getting them relaxed and stretched will at least help that much.

-- helen (got@my.floatie.thing), March 30, 2002.

Carlos, I feel for you, man. 25 years ago, I fell with the roof of a burning building and ruptured the disc at L7. Spent six months streching and getting chiropractic treatments. Finally got the thing surgically removed, and eventually recovered 90%. I understand nowadays, they have better techniques.

Sciatica, I believe, can be caused by a ruptured intervertible disc (as I had), or by the muscles along the lower spine pressing upon the nerves as they exit the spinal column. If it's the muscles, the pain they cause results in spasms and more pain, etc. A good massage can certainly help, as does MOIST heat. I would put a wet towel over a heating pad and lay on it for hours. Lay flat on a firm surface, with your knees up to relieve the pressure in the lower back.

Also, I found that double doses of Aspirin helped more than the muscle relaxers/pain killers that were prescribed, and which made me crazy anyhow.

But whatever happens, it'll probably get better, and you'll just have to learn to watch your limitations. I was 27 at the time I messed up my back, and I've mostly been able to do anything, so long as I am carefull. My back still 'goes out" on me about once a year, and lasts 3-4 days. It's a good excuse not to hang sheetrock. :-)

-- Lon Frank (, March 30, 2002.

For me and two herniated discs, what helped was surgery. Hopefully your damage is not so severe. The MRI will tell.

For flare-ups, try alternating hot and cold packs, stretches while on your back (bring one knee up and then the other and then both GENTLY), and kava kava which is a natural mild muscle relaxer. And drink LOTS of water.

When you start to feel better, you should keep stretched and do some back-strengthening exercise - swimming, walking. There are also some standing exercises to strengthen the back but BE CAREFUL. Strengthening the abdominals is crucial as well. And above all, you're not an ant, so don't try to carry 10 times your weight, and always always lift with your legs. Next time you are out in the garden, bring a step stool to sit on so you don't have to bend and stoop.

Hope you're feeling better soon Carlos.

-- (cin@cin.cin), March 30, 2002.

It's been MANY years since I had this, Carlos, so bear with my memory. MY cure was to get rid of the source: I got divorced. Beyond that was to wear VERY tight slacks [supporting the lower back]. If your slacks can't move, you can't either. Heat is good, as is water. I would have someone drive me over to my mom's assisted living facility at the time, where they had an indoor heated pool. I would hang on to the side of the pool, facing TOWARDS the pool, and do leg lifts. They're much easier IN the water than they are OUTSIDE the water, and both stretch your lower back AND strengthen the abdominals. In addition, I would do "cats". You kneel down on the floor [on all fours like a cat] and raise your back as high as you can without allowing your hands or knees to rise. Then, you LOWER your back as low as you can. Repeat.

It's not so hard to believe that a little Spring planting did this. I have a friend who said, "I dared to reach into my bureau drawer for a pair of socks." That's living on the edge, dontcha think?

Anyway, eliminate sources of stress, think tight wrappings or clothing around the effected area, and go with heat and stretching exercises. Um...take off the tight wrappings during the heat and stretching.

-- Anita (, March 30, 2002.

You're going to have to fix my back now Anita. I threw it out when I fell out of the chair laughing at your cure.

Just when MY back was getting better too.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, March 30, 2002.

Thanks all.

Looks like my sedentary lifestyle combined with beer & bacon training has caught up. This though is enough to make a fella change. Standing IS the pharm biz.

Agree Lon. 2 weeks of prednisone & flexeril did little but leave a lousy taste and a coupla extra pounds. Aspirin is king.

Solved problem one 11 years ago Anita. Working on the rest.

Again, thanks to all.

-- Carlos (, March 30, 2002.

The human back is not well-designed. Boy do I know what I'm talking about.

-- Peter Errington (, March 30, 2002.

Carlos, you've probbably alteady thought of this, but, if you stand all day, get good shoes, mats, innersoles and anything else that works. And one of those wide girdle-type belts to support the lower back could work as well, although it did nothing for me.

I simply cannot stand and bend slightly at the waist. I had to give up working on my own vehicles long ago - checking the oil even is hazardous. You'll learn what you can't do, and then it won't affect you very much; you just change behaviors. Whenever I feel like weeding the garden, I just substitute an afternoon of sitting on the dock with the fishing dog and a large bloody mary.

-- Lon Frank (, March 30, 2002.

Extra spicy bloody mary and fishing pole coming up for Carlos! Hope it helps ya friend!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 30, 2002.


I've never had sciatica (never even knew how to spell it) but I have had a nerve pain (three times) called Trigeminal Neuralgia. If you are experiencing anything like TN, you have my total sympathy. Twice it spontaneously remitted, once I had surgery. The standard initial procedure for TN is a medication Tegretol. It reduced the pain but did not eliminate it. Tegretol has bad sides as you know.

Chiropracters often claim to treat sciatica.

-- (, March 30, 2002.

Recommend the inversion table, or gravity boots...

I have an inversion table and I use it theraputically on the average of 2 or 3 times a week... It works wonders for my sciatic condition (splattered the disc between L4 and L5 in 2000), by stretching the spine in that location...

Plus it feels pretty damn good as well..


Watchin' the human hang upside down like a bat...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, April 01, 2002.


Life is filled with coincidences. Sandy started complaining of pain in her leg on Thursday; it got worse over the weekend. We went to the doctor today and he diagnosed it as sciatica. She's on muscle relaxers and pain medication, with strict orders to take it easy.

She can't take anti-inflammatory drugs because they affect her vision.

-- Stephen (, April 01, 2002.

I got a bad case of sciatica from this wild sexual position. Boy am I sore. EVERYWHERE ;-)

-- (, April 01, 2002.

Suzy, I'm guessin' you been outta practice! Perhaps time for a new handle?

-- Aunt Bee (, April 01, 2002.

My dear Aunt Bee, this was something wild that no one has ever tried before. But I will be practicing all the time now, every chance I get.

-- Nympho at Large (, April 02, 2002.

My minister got sciatica while waiting for me to walk down the aisle. It lasted all through my subsequent efforts to get pregnant, give birth and get divorced.

I now issue disclaimers with all wedding invitations.

-- Oxy (, April 02, 2002.

MRI came back a 4-5mm disc bulge. Good and bad. At least I have an excuse for being a jerk the last month or so but then there might be a knife coming.

Again, thanks to all.

-- Carlos (, April 04, 2002.

Carlos, there is an article in the current New Yorker (April 8 issue) on back surgery, entitled "A Knife in the Back." I haven't had time to read it, but it looks like hot stuff for someone contemplating back surgery.

-- Peter Errington (, April 04, 2002.

Carlos, on Discovery last night I watched doctors put some metal and plastic into a guy's back to replace a bad disk. The medical advances are amazing. Good luck with your recovery.

-- Maria (, April 04, 2002.

Overall recovery rate from back surgery, based on my search: 65%

Decided to not have back surgery... not doing too bad.

Still hurts pretty bad from time to time though...

Scratchin' an itch...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, April 04, 2002.

Hey Carlos! Just fyi, I had a coworker have back sugery at C7 I think it was, at the age of 68. She never had another problem! Fingers crossed for ya hon! Hugs too!

-- Aunt Bee (, April 05, 2002.

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