Fellow sciatica sufferers:
Before I get into my experience, a couple of obvious disclaimers…
1. I am not a medical professional. Consult with a doctor before you do anything. Before you take any medication. Before you exercise. Before you get out of bed in the morning. Before you take your next breath.If that’s not good enough for the lawyers, f*ck ‘em.
2.Sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Something is pressing on your big, ol’ sciatic nerve and it hurts. Your particular problem may not be addressed by the stuff that helped me.
But…what I did has helped me enormously. And since it’s very basic stuff, it’ll probably help at least a little. I sure hope it does. I have an idea what you’re going through and it’s rotten. I’d encourage you to find a physical therapist or trainer who is really knowledgeable. If you’re financially comfy, go for several weeks and DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If money’s an issue, go once or twice then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. EVERY DAMN DAY.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have a new hobby. It’s called “stretching.” Every day. Every spare moment. At work, at home, at the grocery store, etc. My issue was caused (partly) by the aftereffects of my hip replacements: the muscle groups from my ankles to my mid-back had shortened a LOT in a way that was tilting my pelvis forward and reducing the room for the nerves in my spinal column. I’d really aggravated it by changing my golf swing in a way that stretched stuff out WAY too quickly and aggressively. The reaction was swift and painful. I knew this, my physical therapist knew it, my current trainer knows it, but the spinal docs just said, “It’s spinal stuff, not muscular.” WRONG. I do have some disc and arthritis issues but they were only part of the story. But again, you might be different.
Part of your new hobby will be searching on line or through a therapist for the right stretches…you’ll notice some of them seem to be designed for 22 year-old yoga masters but if you keep looking or use a little creativity you can adapt them to something that works for you. If you’re super-stretchy on some of them, great. It’s the ones that you’re really bad at that will be most helpful. I’ve learned that ALL of your muscle groups are connected and work with or in balance/opposition to each other so being reasonable fit and flexible (or not) in one area affects the other areas.
I stretch the following (again you should strictly follow the instructions of your care team and BACK OFF IF IT HURTS).
-Lower back (forward, backward, twisting)
-Calfs (or is that “calves”? Why are they “calves” anyway? MOOOOO!!!)
NOTE: Sitting lets the front stuff (flexors, quads, back-bendy spine flexibility) get shorter and tighter. Try to sit less or get up and stretch more.
I’m also working on strengthening my legs, glutes, and abs…high, low, and sides…to better support my spine.
Yes, that’s a long list.It takes time and there’s no rushing it.Do what you can when you can.Listen to A&G podcasts! It took many weeks for it to truly help me but it did, finally. Discuss with your doc what OTC drugs make sense to control inflammation and pain (not going there…lawyers, ya know?)
I truly hope this helps!
Best of luck,