I’ve been suffering on and off with sciatica for several months (since September 2011). When it first hit, I didn’t know what it was. I knew that I was experiencing pain shooting down my leg and in my hip, but it wasn’t until it got to the point where the act of sitting or standing was unbearable that I realized it was sciatica.
Repeated visits to my chiropractor did very little to ease the pain. I started taking ibuprofen just to make it through the day. I went for days on end where I stood for the entire day. Sitting was just too painful.
Sciatica: Changing Things Up
I periodically chronicled my story here, here, here and here. I tried the following:
- Chiropractic care
- Vitamin C
There was no set plan, just placing band-aids on broken legs in an attempt to stop the pain and discomfort. I had finally gotten it to a manageable state and thought I was done with it. Then, a couple of weeks later it started to return.
Not wanting to repeat the months of agony, I dropped my old chiropractor (because I didn’t think he was really listening to me) and found a new one. This was the best thing I could have done.
Finally a Sciatica Treatment Plan
The new chiropractor stopped all of my physical activity. He put me on a full 10-day regimen of 1800 mg of ibuprofen. I protested a little about the ibuprofen, but he told me that this issue has been hanging around for too long and we have to take all of the clinical steps to get it gone. He also let me know that I had the option of not taking the ibuprofen, but it would prolong his treatment. So, I started taking it as directed for 10 days.
In the meanwhile, after reviewing the X-rays to rule out degenerative or slipped discs, for 3 weeks this man kicked my arse (literally)! He worked on deep tissue massage on the muscle that was causing the issue. You see, there was a set of muscles (one in particular) that were extremely tight and causing all of the problems.
To loosen the muscles he had to go deep into the buttock muscle and “strip” it. I wasn’t sure which was more painful, deeply massaging the muscle or sciatica.
Applying Heat and Electricity
After pissing off the muscle he applied heat via ultrasound. This allowed the heat to penetrate deep into the muscle. After the deep heat, he adjusted the lower back area (which initially wasn’t too receptive to adjustment) and then applied electronic muscle stimulation for about 15 or 20 minutes or so.
My homework during this time was to apply ice several times a day for 20 minutes and to perform the exercises he prescribed. This routine was repeated three days a week for the last three weeks.
I just completed my third week and am off of ibuprofen, enjoying 1-hour power walks, and the pain has diminished tremendously. I’m still performing the pelvic tilt exercises as prescribed.
Resuming Normal Activity…
We aren’t out of the woods yet, but this is the first time I feel that we can actually get this sciatica event under control. I’m anxious to get back to running, biking and working out, but he’s not given me the go-ahead as yet.
As he says, “When a professional athlete is injured, the trainers stop all activity until the athlete is ready for moderate exercise. There’s no half-stepping.” I’m not a professional athlete, but I understand his point. So, I’ve got to patiently obey his orders until he gives me the two thumbs up.
All I can say is this is the best I’ve felt since my initial sciatica flare-up back in September. He has earned my trust and respect.
8/6/2012 Update: When my sciatica started to flare up again, I tried a different route. Check out my sciatica experiment.