I’ve blogged about my bout with sciatica. It was an extremely unpleasant and painful time in my life. The pain and discomfort lasted for about a month to a month and a half.
When I look back over my bout with sciatica I come to a rather startling conclusion. I think it was caused by a combination of a healing body and human error. Here’s what I mean.
About 3 months ago I started doing a lot of research on orthomolecular medicine. It’s the science of treating health on a cellular level. If the body’s cells are healthy, the body gets healthy. It makes sense.
During my research, I discovered and read the book Vitamin C: The Real Story by Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. Since reading the book I’ve significantly increased my vitamin C intake. My recent posts share some of my vitamin C experience.
Just How Much Vitamin C
My vitamin C intake hovers around 8 to 10 grams a day, every day. Sometimes I’d put a ½ teaspoon vitamin C crystals in my cup of tea and other times, I pop a 1,000 mg vitamin C tablet or two. Bottom line I take 8 to 10 grams a day (I took twice that amount during my bout with sciatica)
About a month and a half into my new vitamin C regimen I started experiencing left hip discomfort. I explained the pain to my chiropractor and he adjusted me. Within a day or so, the pain would reappear. I’d go back for another adjustment and the pain would come back. On and on this merry-go-round I stayed.
During one painful visit, I sat and explained my pain and what I had been doing during the day that might be causing the pain. The crucial statement he made (which in hindsight was key on so many levels) was, “Your left leg is shorter than your right which is totally opposite to how I always adjust you. I’ve been adjusting you right leg shorter.” Actually, I’m not sure which leg was shorter, but he had been so accustomed to adjusting me one way, he just continued on, not realizing things had changed.
In the meanwhile I was in excruciating pain. As documented before, I took even larger doses of vitamin C to deal with the nerve/muscle inflammation and went to the acupuncturist to reduce the pain (which helped).
Starting to C the Light
I eventually reduced the number of chiropractic visits from several times a week to once a week. Things started to get better. In a week or two I was pretty much pain free and then I noticed it started to flare up again. Oh no! Not again!
This time around I took a different tactic. I went to the acupuncturist to relieve the pain, took vitamin C and skipped the chiropractic adjustments. It’s been 4 weeks without an adjustment and not only is my sciatic pain gone (I think I’m going to stop the acupuncturist too), but I notice the tightness in my lower back is gone. I’m a bit more flexible now than I was a few short months ago.
You see, for the past year or so I’ve had an ever increasing tightening of my lower back. I thought it was a result of my days rowing or even spending too much time in the hover position in my spinning classes. Whatever the reason, my lower back seemed to get tighter by the day, no matter how I attempted to stretch it. Zumba classes helped a bit, but didn’t resolve the problem.
This is totally unscientific, but it is my belief that taking vitamin C helped my body to create healthy collagen. Collagen is the substance that sits between spinal discs and vitamin C is essential in making it. Without an adequate supply of vitamin C, the body is unable to create healthy collagen, which often leads to back problems such as herniated discs and joint stiffness (my chiropractor often referred to my lower back as cement).
I’m not exactly sure how long it takes for the body to produce collagen. It’s my guess that it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to notice a difference, because that’s about how long it took before my body changed enough to require a different chiropractic treatment regimen. It was probably about the same time when my back stiffness subsided, but I was in too much sciatic pain to notice. It wasn’t until the sciatic pain subsided that I realized my lower back was no longer stiff.
It is my belief that healthy collagen released my back from cementing into an uncomfortable position that only constant chiropractic adjustments could rectify. I still believe in using a chiropractor to keep my body properly aligned, but the need to reset my lower back has diminished significantly. It has been about a month since my last adjustment and I don’t have the pain or numbing sensation down my leg which usually indicated my lower back was improperly aligned. (See my update which totally disproved my theory)
I think it’s time for me to look around for another chiropractor. I have the greatest respect for my current chiropractor, but I believe it is time for a change. Sometimes when you’ve been with someone for so long, they fall into a routine that’s hard to get out of.Disclaimer: I am my own experiment. What works for me may not work for you. Please read this as anecdotal and not as medical advice.
UPDATE: I’ve later come to find out that my theory was all wrong. See how my sciatica has improved and what I’ve done to improve it.