Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ChrisH.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    34

    Sciatic Nerve pain?

    Has anyone dealt with pain in the buttock/hamstring from what I believe now to be the sciatic nerve?
    I have always had a tender lower back after injuring it 15 years ago while working as a landscaper in college.
    Last week after a tough workout on the bike (low cadence hill repeats) my back stiffened up while I was recovering. My back has since loosened up but now I am left with some pretty painful sensations in my hamstring/buttock (right leg). It can be felt in the arch of my foot at times too. I can barely handle sitting here in this chair as i type!! It feels better to stand or lay flat.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    47
    See "Piriformis Syndrome" posts in Forum...Piriform muscle is a short, thick hip stabilizing muscle, located under your glutes. When it becomes inflammed, it can make direct contact with the sciatic nerve running down your leg, causing sharp pain in unrelated areas down your leg. In my case, it affected my knee, calf, and ankle esp.
    See your physician, and describe the very specific symptoms you have, and get a referral to see a Physical Therapist.

  3. #3
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    There are two likely causes for this: one is piriformis syndrome and the other is a bulging/herniated disc. It sounds like the latter since yours (like mine) began with a back problem. It is confusing because the disc can cause the piriformis to go into spasm, which mimics piriformis syndrome.

    I am right in the middle of this.

    You should go see a sports doc or a competent PT and I would also pick up Robin McKenzie's book '7 steps to a pain free life' which describes the McKenzie exercises. I found these gave me immediate relief and after two days I was off painkillers.

    I also posted a link to a web version of the McKenzie exercises in the piriformis thread.

    Most herniated discs will heal themselves within 6-12 weeks if you treat them right, but if they don't you may require surgery.

    To help with sitting, try a lumbar roll (you can make one yourself from a rolled up beach towel). Sit really upright with the roll firmly in the small of your back.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  4. #4
    banned
    Reputation: imridingmybike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    6,156
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH.
    Has anyone dealt with pain in the buttock/hamstring from what I believe now to be the sciatic nerve?
    I have always had a tender lower back after injuring it 15 years ago while working as a landscaper in college.
    Last week after a tough workout on the bike (low cadence hill repeats) my back stiffened up while I was recovering. My back has since loosened up but now I am left with some pretty painful sensations in my hamstring/buttock (right leg). It can be felt in the arch of my foot at times too. I can barely handle sitting here in this chair as i type!! It feels better to stand or lay flat.
    Yep - I got in a car crash a few years ago that started it off - followed by wrecking on my DH bike in Whistler 2 summers ago - I have ongoing Piriformis muscle/sciatic issues.

    After the wreck in Whistler, I was in constant pain - sitting especially. II wasn't able to ride for about 3 weeks, either.

    Found immediate relief through intense chiropractic and acupuncture, combined with lots of stretching and pain relieving herbal patches.

    It's not so intense anymore - ongoing stretching is all I need to maintain.

  5. #5
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    I've gone from constant painkillers and near complete immobility 2 weeks ago to no painkillers and almost back on the bike just by doing the McKenzie exercises, and working standing up, and using a lumbar roll. I only had sciatic pain, no back pain, but it was nerve impingement from a herniated disc, I'm pretty sure.

    I still have a swollen piriformis and mild glute cramping which is keeping me off the bike but it is getting better with every day.

    McKenzie all the way!
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ChrisH.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    34
    update:
    After an MRI last night I have a "Large eccentric disc herniation to the right at L5/S1". The tech also seemed to think there is a "free mass" floating around in there.
    From the MRI image it looks to me (not a Dr.) that the McKenzie exercises will not be of any help. There is so much of the disc that is protruding that the exercises will only further sever the disc and push the herniated portion further into the nerve area.
    PT has me doing the McKenzie stuff (press-ups mainly) but I am going to show her the MRI images this afternoon to see what her advice is. To my untrained eye it looks as if surgery is on the horizon. The MRI tech said that it is probably the worst he has seen. (He is a personal friend and probably wouldn't have said such a thing otherwise).
    At any rate I am quite discouraged to have my hard earned fitness slipping away with the race season looming. It is difficult to keep up the "good fight" and remain focused on the positive at the moment. This experience has given me a new found compassion for those who suffer from chronic pain.

  7. #7
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    On the bright side there is no necessary correlation between the severity of the herniation and the pain/disability it causes... it all depends on how it presses and where... many herniations are asymptomatic.

    Do the McKenzie exercises improve/reduce/centralise the sciatic pain? If so they are probably working.

    I have spent the last three weeks lying on my front in the evenings when working on the laptop or watching TV, which seems to have made a lot of difference. I also am now sitting on a stability ball at work and religiously using a lumbar support in the car, both of which really help with posture.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ChrisH.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    34
    just got back from the Doc. Initially he was going to give me an epideral sp? but after seeing the MRI he said that surgery is really the only option. I have also begun to have difficulty with my bodily functions as well. The herniation is so large that it has basically filled the canal where the nerves are. He pointed out a second small herniation as well. Both he and the pt are amazed that i can even function at all and remarked at my tolerance for pain. So all the suffering I put myself through in training/racing has another benefit!
    I have an appointment with the neuro surgeon this afternoon and hopefully can schedule this thing quickly. The doc seems to think that the recovery will be a snap since i am in good shape.

  9. #9
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    good luck -- keep us posted!
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ChrisH.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    34
    Well the deed is done. I had a discectomy on Monday morning. The procedure went well. I am pretty sore and swollen but the nerve pain in my leg/buttock is pretty much gone. There is still a bit of numbness in my foot and the calf weakness remains but it is better. The doc says that the recovery will be quick but I dont know what his definition of quick is!
    I am trying to be patient and realistic about making a comeback yet this season. I am not very hopeful of being able to get back to training anytime soon after reading through the posts re: recovery periods for back surgery/discectomy.
    The important thing is my overall well being/health. Thats what i am telling myself anyway.

  11. #11
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    I'm glad it went well. I don't know what your recovery will be like but once my disc started to get better, the progress was pretty amazing. The progress is a bit two steps forward, one step back on a day to day basis, but week on week it is dramatic.

    My one piece of advice is to be religious about any exercises you are given

    They will probably also talk to you at length about posture (if they don't they need to!) and I would listen really carefully, as of all the things I changed this had the single biggest effect.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    18
    dude hey. i feel your pain. went through the same thing. take this for what it's worth, its my experience.

    30 yrs old, weightlifter, mountain bike, boxer, yaddah yaddah, very active.
    2 yrs ago doing deadlifts in gym my L5S1 nerve root finally started hurting after me abusing my body for years. Went to chiro, ...useless. Went to physio...useless. Got an MRI, yup, L5S1 disk protrusion (not full on herniation yet). Called a number advertised in calgary newspaper for this 'machine', drx9000 decompression machine. I did some research on the science (BSc Geology....science background so im a facts-based decision maker!) and signed up for 20 'decompression' treatments. This was one full year after I blew it out. That year was hell, as most of us all experience.

    I was 8/10 in pain for a full year. 4 treatments on this machine and I was 5/10, ....then 4...then 3. then dropped instantly to zero around 17th session. Stayed on for the full 20. was told to sit tight and see what happens. This whole time I was trying to keep my glutes, erector spina muscles, hamstrings, quads (albeit it was REALLY hard to stretch anything out until i started dropping to the 4 or 3 of 10 range in pain). I 'sat' on a lacrosse ball to get my glutes and IT band to loosen up. That hurt like hell, but felt amazaing after being tight (not having bent past 8 degrees forward in a year).

    So, I ended up going for another 5 sessions on this machine, then let it sit for a month.

    I felt zero out ten of pain ( i was biking back in the 3-4 /10 range...even went to Moab!) consistently. So, I went back to the gym. BAD BAD BAD BAD idea. Although i didn't do any squats or dead lifts, I think just the grunting from lifting weights just caused things to 'flair' up again and before I knew it i was laying on the hard floor unable to move again.

    I couldn't have gone to the drx machine if I wanted too....I was totally unable to move without yelping. a week later the pain subsided down to 4/10, I went back to the DRX, told the doctor what I had done, he politely called me a dork, and i went back on the machine. Instant releif, and I did go back for a second one. total treatments now at 27, and a year has passed from teh first DRX treatment I had. Right after recovering from this flair up, I was shown how to stretch the "piroformis" (no idea if it's the right spelling and i did see it mentioned in this thread) in my a$$. THIS WAS AMAZING. Where I used to feel no pain, but did feel "stiffness" even after the DRX, after doing these stretches (not reefing the stretch, easing into it) all the "stiffness" dissapeared from my lower back and i was feeling totally normal, and could even do revearse arches with my back.


    so....3 weeks ago I was playing in a squash tournament (been months since that last flair up and I figured i was completely healed never to have pain again) and I was really having to pour on the gas to beat my opponent. I rammed the glass a few times with my body, and during a major extension backhand followed by a quick torque-twist to get back to the T, i felt tissue tear in my lower back. The way it felt in my lower back made me think it was the scar tissue that had formed over the herniation ripping apart as it poked it's way back out again.

    hahahaha. I was so demoralized and deflated. I had just seen the movie 300, and that movie made me want to continue working at getting back in great shape like I was before blowing out the back (i put on a good 35 lbs over the year of not being able to move and am now sitting about 25lbs overweight at 235, incedently, this front end baggage definately adds to the lower back stress I've had) and MAN this was a tough pill to swallow after having gone so long with zero back pain and being on the roll to full recovery without looking back.

    I spent a week face down on my floor playing pokerstars.net with ice and heat alternating on my back, (a man really begins to understand the loyalty and compassion of his wife in a time like this...) then when the pain was down to 4/10 again...I went back for another DRX session.

    I didnt' get the "dork" response from the doctor...but I had to admit to him that I was not holding anything back even working out. he actually was pretty amazed at how much activity i had been doing. a lot of your recovery i beleive is augmented by your brain and your mind and your attitude. If your a mtb racer, or (like me) was in the past, that attitude comment will make sense to you.

    so, I did one more session (a week ago) on the DRX (total treatment now at 28 sessions over 1.5 years and and Im sitting here now with really good 'S" shape posture feeling zero back pain again.

    No surgury, no injections, I did spend lots of money, but hey we only live once, and we only get one body. My attitude towards injections and surgery is sorta like how I don't let some financial planner who is still paying off student loans handle my investments and finance...i dont' let somebody who has never, or has not yet fix their own back, operate on mine. Especially after the research I did showing how many people cut themselves open, inject themselves, and then are right back to the drawing board months to a year later. I truly value YOUR experiences out there more than anything that comes out of a doctors mouth.

    next step for me to enroll in pilates, and eaaaaaaase into yoga.

    Anyway, I've been on a warpath lately to share this story with as many people like me who want to fix themselves on their own terms, naturally, giving their body a chance to heal itself.

    take it for what its worth. my email is ryanmitton@gmail.com live in calgary, canada.
    cheerio. Ryan.
    (snow has switched to rain (slush??!) and biking in the warm sunny weather soon to come...!)

  13. #13
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    I had traction (pretty mild) with McKenzie exercises which did amazing things for me -- to the extent that I almost reinjured myself because I was so pain-free. Similar to the DRX.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  14. #14
    Ologist
    Reputation: Valhalla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    952

    Good luck and be patient!!!!

    Chris I had the exact same thing. Lay way low for 4 weeks and let it all heal before doing even most of the day to day. I was on workers comp. If you really want to ensure a complete recovery don't plan on riding until August if then. It may be conservative, but I am glad I waited and did exactly as the Doc ordered. I was terrified that I would never be able to climb, bike, etc. Started mellow PT 3 months out. It is difficult (my surgery was in the summer) but IMO, take the time for a proper recovery now and you will have the rest of you life to keep on keeping on.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...43541#poststop

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    18

    Anybody here tried Glucosamine or MSM supplements for their back?

    Hey all. Anybody here tried Glucosamine or MSM suppliements for their back? Im about to start up my own little 6 month long "experiment" on myself, and see what happens.

    You have have any thoughts?

    PS, Valhalla, r u norse?

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanmitton
    Hey all. Anybody here tried Glucosamine or MSM suppliements for their back? Im about to start up my own little 6 month long "experiment" on myself, and see what happens.

    You have have any thoughts?

    PS, Valhalla, r u norse?
    The only study that I've seen properly designed and of a descent time frame was a Belgian one quite a few years back. It showed positive results but not specifically to back problems. Glucosamine is a building block of hyaline cartilage (surface cartilage) but it might help disc material who knows. Since this is not a drug that can be controled and fill some drug manufacturer's pockets nobody is interested to look further into it. The ideal dosage is 1500 mg per day so it could be quite expensive. I can't say for how long you should take it. One thing is for sure: it's not a painkiller nor an anti-inflam. If we think logically, since it helps build cartilage and nobody can tell us what the thickness of the our cartilage is then, we should take it for life.

  17. #17
    Ologist
    Reputation: Valhalla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    952
    I asked a bunch of docs and my PT about Gloucosamine/Chondroitin after surgery and they said they wasn't a relationship to a quicker recovery, however, it supports joint and ligament health so if you can afford it I would imagine it would be an asset. It is a maintainence thing as Pagasos pointed out and it requires continual daily dosage over long periods of time. I think it would be hard to notice a direct effect.

    And I am not Norse, I am Italian. I just live in and love the mountains.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •