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  1. #1
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    Sciatica is a Cruel Mistress. Does it ever go away??

    Hi Everyone,

    Sciatica is a cruel, hard, mistress. Its been 4.5 months since it set in, and although its getting better overall, Iím still having problems.

    Can I ask those of you that have gone through it to share what it felt like as things were healing?

    Over a period of weeks or months, it seems to be constantly changing. In the beginning it was all numbness and tingling, and horrid shock-like pain after sitting and then standing. Then these symptoms settled and it changed to pain when I sit down, and lower back pain that moves all over the place.

    The last 6-8 weeks, its been a couple good weeks with only a little light lower back pain, then it will get bad again for a few days or a couple weeks, and then the cycle continues.

    Now its burning and aches in my calf, and the usual ďfragileĒ feeling in the back.

    It constantly changes! Iíve been off the bike for all serious riding for 4 months and I am going mental. Walking is my exercise and it helps. Doctors and PT all conclude ďunlikely to be a herniationĒ.

    What was it like FOR YOU as you recovered? I guess Iím looking for some shared experiences to benchmark myself with. Without ever having a problem before, and perhaps expecting too rapid a recovery, Iím finding this quite frustrating.

    Thanks,

    CK

  2. #2
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    Have you had an MRI done on your lower back? If not, how could a doctor or a PT make the assessment that it's not a herniation or bulging of a disc? Something has to be pressing on the sciatic nerve in order to cause the problems. Can you go back 4.5 months and clearly indicate if there was an A-HA moment that caused the onset of the symptoms?
    It sounds to me as though either the sciatic nerve was damaged by some event. Nerves do take a while to heal, how long I'm not 100% sure. My experience has been with a ruptured disc that originally caused massive lower back pain and some sciatic issues. The first surgery to the disc alleviated all problems until it ruptured again. This time, my right leg went completely numb and I started getting "drop foot" issues. After the second surgery, I haven't had any more issues with sciatic problems. However, this was due to a traumatic injury.
    I'm not an MD, but my recommendation would be to get an MRI, if you haven't done so already, and then consult with a neurosurgeon or someone of the like that can interpret why the nerve is having issues.

  3. #3
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    FWIW, walking is not the normal course of action for rehabbing Sciatica . I agree that a Neuro Surgeon or Neuro Therapist is probably a good next step .

  4. #4
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    Well, walking helps! I do a fair bit of stretching as well.

    I'm well past the acute stage. I had a back injury that bothered me for a week or two in Feb. The sciatica started at the beginning of March. I was shovellign snow, then flew to the West coast, and the next day, had the sore back. It wasn't bad enough to keep me from work though.

    MRI's were deemed not necessary since my symptoms have been "mild". I have full range of motion, just a variety of aches and pains that come and go.

    So what does a herniated disc feel like a few months out?

  5. #5
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    I have had sciatica twice the first time about 12 years ago when it looked like i had worms under my skin with the nerves working away on there own,doctor presribed complete rest where i spent 4 weeks laid flat on my back,i cannot remember the healing process.
    The second time was 6 months ago,bent over to talk to my friend in his car and back went again,went to doctors and nowadays they prescribe rest for the first 48 hours and then you have to get yourself mobile,i found i was most comfortable on my bike so just did some gentle riding and within a month it had cured itself.
    I only had trouble with my leg and didnt really suffer with my back but the healing process was quite quick and the the pain just slowly resided until i was left with just a weak ankle which i dragged around or so it seemed for a week or two after the pain had gone.
    Im by no means a Doctor but i was led to understand that sciatica only affected the back of the legs although i could be quite wrong on this.
    Try and keep yourself mobile as much as possible and i wish you the best of luck in a speedy recovery

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nth_dimension
    Well, walking helps! I do a fair bit of stretching as well.

    I'm well past the acute stage. I had a back injury that bothered me for a week or two in Feb. The sciatica started at the beginning of March. I was shovellign snow, then flew to the West coast, and the next day, had the sore back. It wasn't bad enough to keep me from work though.

    MRI's were deemed not necessary since my symptoms have been "mild". I have full range of motion, just a variety of aches and pains that come and go.

    So what does a herniated disc feel like a few months out?
    In my case, my disc was just bulging at first. It felt like something was not right, just a slight bit of pain, but nothing too serious. Of all things, I was bending over to pick up an RC car and POW! it popped and I thought that I was going to throw up. I had to ride in an ambulance to the ER and get some good drugs. It was a long process that I still deal with today...
    You'd know if it was ruptured. However, everyone is built differently, so even a slightly bulging disc can put pressure on the sciatic nerve if the pocket between the nerve and the bone is not very large. A disc doesn't have to fully rupture to put pressure on the nerves.

    Personally, to me, if the problem is still ongoing, and the treatments that your doctors have not worked, then I'd request that a doctor prescribe an MRI to get a better look at what's happening inside. If your doctor is not willing to prescribe one, then find another doctor. If you're having that many problems with it, obviously that tells me there's something wrong that needs to be fixed. Sometimes rest can't fix everything. Take charge of your health and demand that something be done. Ultimately it's your body and if you're okay with being uncomfortable(which you wouldn't have posted up on here if you were), then by all means just keep doing the same old same old. However, if it was me and I was not comfortable, and what you've been doing hasn't worked, then do something different. The old adage is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and always expecting an alternative outcome.

    However, just my $.02. I've been dealing with lower back problems for the last seven years.

  7. #7
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    Not I .... unless that is specifically what ails me.

  8. #8
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    Your meatball doctor acts like he's flipping the bill for the MRI.

    Find a new doctor, there's enough of them out there.

    Hell, a good PT can look at your MRI and tell you what's going on. Just remember, if you can get one done, be sure to keep the films, they are yours.

    Hope you feel better soon

    Mojo

  9. #9
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    those symptoms hardly seem mild.

    I did have severe pain for a few days and only very little scatia, and my MRI showed that I had 1 herniated disc, 1 torn disc, both of which are ruptured. For you not to get an MRI is silly, they are fast and easy.
    The mountains are calling and I must go

  10. #10
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    Cruel, yeah. But there is hope.

    I watched a taped microdiscectomy for sciatica on closed circuit tv in the hospital about 10 years ago.

    Through a one-inch incision, you could see the sciatic nerve (the thing's huge) begin pulsing with blood as soon as the offending disc material was snipped away.

    Under local anaesthetic; the patient walked away that day--immediate relief.

    If that could work for me (my problems are complex), I'd go for it in a heartbeat.

    You'd need the MRI to know. Best wishes.

    Doesn't sound like piriformis stretching would do it for you. It's unusual for it to work.

  11. #11
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    There is hope.......I Had some bad sciatic about 10 months ago at one point I could not walk more then 100 feet without scorching pain in my buttocks and lower back. Sleeping at night was awful.
    Eventually it went away after 6-8 weeks of complete rest.

    It's not pleasant.Something was pinching a nerve in my lower back.

    MRI showed four bulging discs but total rest allowed me to heal. The activity that helped the most was immersion in a pool. After the 8 weeks I started to strengthen my core and do pilates 2x a week. Now I do 20-50 cobra stretches every day and have not looked back or had any real pain to speak of.

    My advice.....Get a MRI then hook up with a good Physical Therapist that can do traction and start a strenghening and stretching regiman.

  12. #12
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    I feel your pain.
    I had sciatica for about two weeks. I was crippled. Could not lay down, stand up or do anything to relieve the pain. Felt like I was being stabbed in the back with a hot knife, pain shooting down my leg. Probably the worst pain I ever felt. I've had back spasms, I thought those were bad, but nothing compared to sciatica.
    Pretty sure the whole ordeal was caused by a couple weeks of sitting on my butt in airplanes and vehicles. Move it or lose it.
    I hope you get better. See a doctor and have an MRI if you can afford it. The human body is a wonderful thing, usually it just takes time to heal. With sciatica, every day seems like forever.

  13. #13
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    Did you read the book I recommended in your other thread?

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    adoble - yes, I read Sarno's book. I agree that the mind has a role to play, but I am not yet sold on the idea of TMS.

    All - I have not gotten an MRI, simply because based on clinical signs and my history, 2 doctors and 3 PT's do not think I popped a disc. I have full range of motion and all that jazz. I never missed so much as an hour of work.

    I think its healing (whatever it was). Its just in the long recovery phase where stuff still hurts to a degree here and there.

    Anyway, I'm mostly curious about how people, in particular serious cyclists, recovered, and what the recovery was like in terms of symptoms, etc. I have non-athletic friends who say that after a disc injury, it was 1-2 months of major pain, followed by 5-7 months of intermittent stuff. That's all fine, but thet never had the need to get back on a mountain bike!

    Thanks again for sharing.

  15. #15
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    I had sciatica once after crashing sideways onto concrete (new to clipless) I had increasingly bad pain. Eventually it was a chiro who fixed me permanently after 2 visits - jammed pelvis.
    I realise this is very simplistic post compared to the others above, maybe shovelling snow had a similar effect.
    Cheers
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  16. #16
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    I had sciatica really bad. I have a herniated disc between S1-L1. The thing that got me back on my feet was Lodine (an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen) and exercise.

    I had a bad case, sitting for more than 20 minutes was excruciating and my 50 minute drive into work was pure torture. At work when I got up from my desk I would have a bad limp until things loosened up. The doctor insisted on surgery but let me give physical therapy a try first. Physical therapy wasn't that effective until I started adding core strengthening exercises like leg raises and sit-ups. I also started doing a lot of biking. Thatís when things really started improving. On the biking end I did lots of steep hill climbs and a good bit of that was mountain biking. Cycling I've heard is one of the best things for your back.

    You need to use it to get better. Inactivity will only make things worse.

    A consistent dose of anti-inflammatory is very important. Don't just take them when it hurts you have to take them every day like you would vitamins. I would take them twice a day. Immediately when I woke up in the morning and an hour before my drive home from work. A regular does is really important to get the inflammation pain cycle under control.

    When you have an injury like a herniated disc your body naturally moves away from the pain and you no longer sit/stand properly. This causes misalignment and this in turn puts more pressure on other parts of your body. This starts a vicious downward cycle of misalignment and pain and everything begins to get all out of wack. Your spine, hips, knees all kinds of problems. Thatís why the anti-inflamatories are really important. Everything needs to calm down and get back in place.

    One other note. I was told by an orthopedic specialist that the cause of the pain is a build up of fluid that causes nerve impingement. He said eventually the body will absorb that fluid and the pain will subside. He said very few discectomy surgeries were truly needed. Take that for what it's worth. In my case I suffered for nearly a year.


    All that said if I had it to over again I would have opted for the surgery. I don't stay up on my core exercises so the pain returns now and then (mild) and seem to be developing arthritis in that leg. Get pain in my knee and foot. I also avoid one my favorite things, skiing moguls, quite frankly because it hurts.

  17. #17
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    10 years ago I had a ruptured - fractured disk with a few floating pieces in L5 / S1...used heavy doses of Motrin, ice, heat, decompression therapy, stretching. Next step was laminectomay and doc was talking about fusion....nope I took the conservative approach.

    Read Sarno...self talk (yeah it sounds wacky and mumbo jumbo) drank lots of water, LOTS of fish oil...light exercises. Took about 6 months but was back up and active. If you were to live in Europe a doc would first recommend what I went through as about 90% of all disc problems will take care of themselves in about 6 months.

    If you are pooping our peeing yourself demand a MRI and sometimes a disc repair is necessary....by all means try and avoid fusion, as I have yet to talk with someone who has remained pain free after having one.

    So ten years after foot drop and pain so bad I was in bed for over a week I have the occasional numbness, and slight pain but at 47 feel great 95% of the time.

    If you have true peraformais syndrome I would think that a high anti-inflammatory diet may help. Try lots of fish oil (1 tablespoon a day for at least a month, I take Carlsons), ginger...as much as you can tolerate, curry ( I add it to everything) and water, water, water.

    Good Luck...you will feel better soon!!!

  18. #18
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    Thanks so much for the comments. Other people's experiences are so helpful in this mess.

    4-5 months ago I had nasty pain when getting up after sitting. I would be a like a tazer shot into my thigh or something like that. Only walking a little could loosen it up. My foot was numb (the outside edge mainly) and tingled all the time as well. Pins and needles. I'd get a periodic blast of pain and numbness in the calf area as well.

    Now, after a few months, the only real symptoms are some calf aches that come and go, with the odd sensation in the foot. I still have a loose feeling in my back as well. Its hard to describe, but it just feels fragile. Flexibility is back to 99%. (ie I go to my PT and when he does the leg raise test, both legs go to 90 degress)

    I guess that's progress!

    The hardest part of an injury like this, other than the fact that your normal routine (for me 4-6 days of hard cycling) is upset, is the fear of making things worse. I have seen people knocked out for weeks with a disc. Its tpugh finding the balance between doing enough to recover, and not doing too much to cause further damage.

  19. #19
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    I second the book by Sarno, believe it or not (still find it hard to believe myself)) I stopped lifting weights 2 surguries and 15 years ago because of shoulder pain from lifting weights, even moderately. Guess what, I've been lifting everyother day for about 6 weeks now w/o any pain. The only thing I did was read "the book".

    Similar with lower back pain, chronic since 3 years ago. After MRI's, x rays, stretching, inversion, herbs, antiflamitory's, acupunture, P.T., chiropractic, core training the pain never really went away, just got worse it seemed. This year I serriously thought about quitting mtn biking (a great passion of mine) and all physical activity.

    Guess what, after reading "the book" my pain reduced better than 80-90%

    I still stretch and w/o my core regulary and take a natual anti inflamitiry suppliment called BCQ (do a google on it). But I don't think about my back anymore. After all your back is actually a very strong structure and it can really take a beating, so why all of the pain? The book helped me understand this.

    Anyway, it's working for me (knock on wood) so far, and I hope it continues.

    Good luck again,

    David

  20. #20
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    Yep What everyone else said PT is the key. Ice helps too when you get sore.

    If your symptons are not constant and don't involve any weakness, then surgery is not necessary. Surgery can fail during the procedure or after and then you are in far worse condition than before, its a risk.

    Try different PTs if you can, because in my expierience all their programs are different and that is one of the keys to strengthening muscles and limbering joints -- VARIETY of excercises.

  21. #21
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    It took me over 1 year to start to do normal stuff with little pain.
    And over 2 years to have no pain. Sciatica is really really painful. Hope u get better
    i choose mountain bikeing because i cant aford an engine

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes
    Homer8: I have true piriformis syndrome. I'm on the anti-inflammatory diclofenac sodium, just started it tonight. PT starts tomorrow.

    Been icing, stretching, doing as much PT as I can, and it's still excruitating to get on the bike, much less sit in the car.

    I'll definitely work on an anti-inflammatory diet too, and see if that helps. ANy other suggesitons or how long this misery will last will be a big help.

    I have a kneeling chair, which is great for home and work, but it doesn't help for riding in the car or on the bike.

    I also found lots of recommendations to lay on hard surfaces (than a soft bed or sofa) and lay on a tennis ball in the inflamed area (on the back pocket so to speak) when sore.

    My friend also sent me this, which helped initially, but I'm back to pain again today
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFtUgS69rPk

    Everyone else: What's the Samo book? Looking up Samo in Amazon.com doesn't really help.
    http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Back-P.../dp/0446392308

    All 400 plus reviews can't be wrong

    Mojo

  23. #23
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    Stripes,

    Glad to hear that you have a few more answers.

    1st - Don't take anything I say as gospel, it just worked for me.

    2nd - Read, SARNO....check him out in Amazon. Many would say it is hocus pocus but I believe it helped with me.

    3rd - Decompression therapy.....just Google.

    4th - Anti -Inflammatory diet, Ginger, 1 Tablespoon a day -FISH OIL, Liquid Glucosamine and Chondroitin, more than 8 glasses of water a day....again Google.

    5th - Core Strengthening

    6th - Be prepared to live with the twinges, small relapses, twitches, occasional pain, it is ok and to a certain extent normal. That being said I have never ever been nearly as bad as I was 10 years ago. I spent over 6 months in horrible pain and most of the time on the floor or in bed, but have never revisited that place again......work through this and educate yourself, it will get better.

    7th - I truly believe that you should wait for any surgery for 6 months unless you are incontinent or you have a 2nd opinion that says you need it NOW.

    8th - Fusion should be your last option.

    Again - good luck and be your own best advocate.

    Paul

  24. #24
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    sounds like a plan

    I think you got a lot of good advice.

    Dont want to bum you out but you may want to do 7-8 off the bike instead of 4-6. Rest and relaxation will help the discs heal. will depend how the back feels.

    I think if you go through intense PT they will give you traction which is the same as decompression but $4K cheaper. After the PT you may want to look into an inversion table/chair - works for some. I have one and use it but probably not as much as I should.

    Interesting point about the no twisting. I have had one minor episode with recurring back pain after my sciatica episode from about a year ago. It occured right after I did some rotating twists with a 3lb pt ball (did about 150 of them). Can't say for sure it was the twisting exercises that caused it but i isolated it as the only excercise I did out of my normal routine right before the recurring back pain issue.

    Also, you can't do enough cobra stretches and the dart streches once you are all better.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nth_dimension
    Thanks so much for the comments. Other people's experiences are so helpful in this mess.

    4-5 months ago I had nasty pain when getting up after sitting. I would be a like a tazer shot into my thigh or something like that. Only walking a little could loosen it up. My foot was numb (the outside edge mainly) and tingled all the time as well. Pins and needles. I'd get a periodic blast of pain and numbness in the calf area as well.

    Now, after a few months, the only real symptoms are some calf aches that come and go, with the odd sensation in the foot. I still have a loose feeling in my back as well. Its hard to describe, but it just feels fragile. Flexibility is back to 99%. (ie I go to my PT and when he does the leg raise test, both legs go to 90 degress)

    I guess that's progress!

    The hardest part of an injury like this, other than the fact that your normal routine (for me 4-6 days of hard cycling) is upset, is the fear of making things worse. I have seen people knocked out for weeks with a disc. Its tpugh finding the balance between doing enough to recover, and not doing too much to cause further damage.
    What else do you do besides PT? The first thing I would do is see my chiropractor. Stretching at home helps me with my occasional back pain and tightness (Cobra extension stretches keep me going, would have to get treatment a LOT more if I didn't do those). Sciatica is typically caused be inflammation, bulging, or a rupture in the disc. It can also be cause by tight muscles around the sciatic nerve as well as misalignments in the pelvis and lumbar spine. Hope you get better soon, I would look into chiropractic care and massage if your PT isn't dong any tissue work.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes
    Another question for you guys. The worst pain I have feels more muscular, but I don't know if it's referrer pain. It's in the illiopsoas on the opposite side of where the nerve is getting pressed against.

    Oh, here's the MRI diagnosis:
    The MRI itself was torture. There's no needles, but anyone who's been in the Torture Tube knows about the noise, the claustropedia, and staying still for 20 minutes. Now that I now there's an option other than the Torture Tube, I'm going to do that.

    I saw the MRI, and the doctor explained it to me. It looks better than
    he expected, but there is damage to other discs.

    S1-L5 is not great, and it's the worst of the discs. Thinning and some bulging.
    L5 and L4 has some bulging, but not as bad as S1-L5.
    L4 and L3 shows some initial signs of problems.

    Limitations:
    No biking for the next 4-6 weeks
    No twisting
    No high impact cardio

    Cleared:
    Swimming (no flip turns, which I suck at anyway)
    Low impact cardio (except cycling)
    Intensive PT

    Have to keep taking the Aleve (2 pills, twice a day for a week) then as needed until the next appointment (one month). While I'm going to miss MBO (I'm ok with that), I've got some questions.

    He told me I make him happy because I listen to him (the restrictions above) and don't plan on pushing my luck. He also mentioned that it doesn't really matter if I'm upright or if I'm leaning, both will put pressure on those disks and it's important that I stay off the bike for now. He did tell me that PT and core strengthening are crucial here (not surprising).

    He said he doesn't need another MRI, but he's going to manage my care
    "clinically." How does that work, I assume how I'm feeling and testing
    the nerve and make sure there's no damage, or just kinda go by gut
    instinct?

    While I'm not looking to adjust my saddle for reach (yes, I know that's a bad idea and I'm putting on a handlebar with more raise for that), I'm wondering if maybe my back is rounding because the nose is too high? Could that be a problem? I have my old hydropack back, so I'm hoping that will alleviate some of the problems, but I'm hoping that when I get back on initially I'll have someone who doesn't mind being a mule for water for me.

    Also, I can't find much on decompression theory, except for scuba diving.

    Most of my pain has been in my front left hip (illiopsoas, but can't tell if it's referral pain) and all the nerve problems are on the right. Any ideas? My PT is helping me stretch it, but I'm not sure what else it could be.
    All the thinning and bulging you have in the mid to lower lumbar spine can be causing significant problems. If you had a bad experience with your chiropractor, find a better one, I don't know what I would do without mine. I would also get an inversion table and SET IT UP PROPERLY, then do it every day for a few minutes. Twisting is bad, but even worse BENDING and twisting should be avoided at all costs. It is possible that the illiopsoas pain is cause by pelvic or lumbar misalignment, or you may just need some deep tissue work (getting the psoas worked on, when you need it, HURTS). Hope you get better soon!

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    Some interesting comments here!

    Oddly enough, after 2 weeks off work on vacation in Nova Scotia, my symptoms have radically reduced. I spent a good amount of time building a tree-house and a deck, and somehow, I am experiencing the best period yet since this all started.

    And I am not doing *any* PT or stretching. I wonder if all the walking I was doing was aggravating things.

    I may just take August off totally. No biking, long walking, PT, or stretching. And then I'll see what happens. Before next season, I'll work up gradually again with a good general fitness and core program.

    Who knows? Sciatica may be a cruel mistress, but she is also mysterious.

  28. #28
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    i have a herniated disc which caused sciatic pain in my left leg. pain was so bad i spent 3 months basically laying down on my couch because i couldnt do anything else. i got 2 shots in my back about a year and a half ago and its been good since. i still feel the pain very lightly if i move a certain way but i can live with it

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by nth_dimension
    Some interesting comments here!

    Oddly enough, after 2 weeks off work on vacation in Nova Scotia, my symptoms have radically reduced. I spent a good amount of time building a tree-house and a deck, and somehow, I am experiencing the best period yet since this all started.

    And I am not doing *any* PT or stretching. I wonder if all the walking I was doing was aggravating things.

    I may just take August off totally. No biking, long walking, PT, or stretching. And then I'll see what happens. Before next season, I'll work up gradually again with a good general fitness and core program.

    Who knows? Sciatica may be a cruel mistress, but she is also mysterious.
    Sounds like TMS to me, No?

    Mojo

  30. #30
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    Mojo - I was thinking the same thing, TMS. This voodoo that Sarno talks about....that's why I tell folks to just read the book and see what happens.

  31. #31
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    I second the TMS diagnosis, Sarno is really onto something

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    I second the TMS diagnosis, Sarno is really onto something
    Yes, and so are we.

    Mojo

  33. #33
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    I second the TMS diagnosis, Sarno is really onto something
    Perhaps. Maybe its just the fact that when things are out of mind, they just don't bug you as much.

    I build a shed footing over the weekend. Still feel pretty good. Some symps in the usual calf and foot area, but not bad. I still haven't done any PT of walking.

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    I also had a ruptured disc, and after surgery, I have found that bike riding has helped me more than anything else. The slight bend at the waist and using the legs seems to strengthen the lower back without causing discomfort.

    Being a concrete worker for years created the issue, but about 5 years of Chiropractors seemed to weaken the area. After surgery they told me to work on the abs to keep the back strong....

  35. #35
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    from what i understand PT doesnt really do much except help strengthen muscles. no amount of PT is going to make a herniated disc go away. it may certainly help allieviate pain though, which may be enough


    in my case the MRI clearly showed a huge buldge pressing on the sciatic nerve. my options were try the shots or get surgery, i electred to try the shots and so far they have worked. i suspect some day the pain will return though

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrivas11
    I also had a ruptured disc, and after surgery, I have found that bike riding has helped me more than anything else. The slight bend at the waist and using the legs seems to strengthen the lower back without causing discomfort.

    Being a concrete worker for years created the issue, but about 5 years of Chiropractors seemed to weaken the area. After surgery they told me to work on the abs to keep the back strong....
    How did the chiropractic care weaken the area? The only thing I can think of that might be bad is if you got adjusted many times a week, every week, and the doctor just twisted and popped things vs. many of the other treatment options available. I don't know what I would do without chiropractic care and strengthening / stretching at home. Have had some very severe episodes of pain where I could barely walk, but each time the chiropractic care and home care (cobra extension stretches as well as other stretches for the glutes and hamstrings) along with massage work has gotten me back to 100% again.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nth_dimension
    Sciatica is a cruel, hard, mistress. Its been 4.5 months since it set in, and although its getting better overall, Iím still having problems.
    I know how you feel, I've been battling a nasty back problem since this March. I blew out three discs, and have been plagued with nerve issues in my legs. I have been able to ride off and on (road only for now) . More off then on lately though . I have been seeing two doctors. One an ortho and the other a chiroprator. I've had three cortisone shots so far. Finished up PT and goto the chiro now for Sport Therapy. PT and exercise works and the discs do heal but takes a long, long, long time. Also, I have read Dr.Sarno's book did'nt really do it for me. But I would check it out anyway. Drink lots of water like others have said. Also, as crappy as this sounds, stay away from your bike. I got back on after cortisone shots and set my self back because I messed up a disc again. I'm hoping to get back on in Jan.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes
    Healing vibes. Hang in there.

    > Thanks. I am getting better...I think. Its just taking forever.

    How did you mess up a disc again?

    > The final disc blow out was in March while at a MTB race. The weird thing was I did not have any problems until the next morning.


    Everything you said, plus massage helps. I know it sounds crazy, but the massage helps the tight muscles that are torqued around from the pain so you can recover. At least this is my case YMMV.

    I'm doing much better, but I don't think I'll ever be back to where I was. I can't sit for a long period (1 hour max) on an uncomfortable chair in a restaurant, but I've been able to move around a lot better and I'm starting to get my flexibility back, which is HUGE.

    >I know what you mean. I can drive for awhile without problems and can sit for about an hour too. It still can be uncomfortable at times.


    Recently, I was refitted on my bike by someone who deals with people with back issues, and this looked like a serious contributor (in addition to sitting for many hours a day at a desk):
    - Saddle was too far back on the rails, causing my hips to hyperextend
    - Stem was too short, causing me to arch my back and create tension
    - Stem was too low, putting too much pressure on my low back
    - Softer spring in the fork. Too much jarring with not enough sag.

    Once I get cleared, I'll let everyone know if that helps. Once you can ride again, don't rule out a new fit.

    If you can, see if you can get some decompression on your back. There are various ways to do this (inversion table, hanging by your arms and letting your feet dangle, PT can give you traction), and that is huge. Since my PT is done with that, I'm doing it on my own by hanging from a squat rack. We really don't have room for an inversion table, and they're expensive. There's also been reported problems with blood pressure and inversion tables, so I'm not sure how much I trust them yet.


    > I've done traction and spinal decompression. I am not really convinced that these methods work for me be I am doing them because at this point I'm giving anything a try.

    Just have to watch my shoulders when hanging from the rack to not injure myself.

    The biggest thing that's helped me with PT is finding the weaknesses are working on them. Hopefully this list will help you when doing PT:

    Inflexibility
    - Hamstrings
    - Hip flexors (psoas, TFL/IT band)
    - Adductor (inside leg muscles)

    Weaknesses:
    - Hamstrings (offsets the back pain)
    - Glutes (opposes hip flexors)
    - Adductor (opposes the abductor, outside leg muscles)
    - Abdonimals (usually the traverse abdominus, which act like a "belt" to support your lower ab area)

    > Yep. I have been working on all of the above. The exercises have been key for me. I have been able to get around pretty easily now. Its pretty weird having to go through PT and all of these exercises when I had always though I was in great shape. Eat right, exercise everyday, ride MTBs like a maniac. I'd even stretch before a ride. Oh well, Live and learn I guess.



    My TFL, particularly on the left has been the worst, which has some adhesions in it. This is what was compensating for the pain in the right side.

    I'm thinking of getting one of those "toilet bowl" type seats to sit on for flying, movies, etc. I'm also looking at getting some lumbar support for my car. Any suggestions on either of these?

    Yep. I already had a fit done on my road bike. I have not touched my MTB since March. Once I feel confident I can get back to MTB stuff I'll get a fit done on that bike. I've been doing lots of core muscle exercises and they do make a huge difference. As for a seat I don't have to many suggestions. I sometimes just put a pillow on my truck seat and that seems to work.

  39. #39
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    A little update from me as the original poster.

    It seems that I must have been doing too much PT, stretching and/or walking. I'm on the 3rd or 4th week of basically doing nothing for my sciatica issue, other than practise good back health and avoid aggrivating things like bending and twisting. Since March, these 3 weeks have been by far the best yet. I wonder if its just time that has finally helped with healing, or whether I was just pushing things too far?

    I still managed to build a shed footing, tree-house, and rearranged the basement. Maybe too much walking? Gah, who knows?? All I do know is that 95% of the day to day pain and sicomfort is now gone. I feel out of shape and the back still feels "loose", but I mostly do not have pain.

    I'm going to give it another month before getting back into the PT, and then back on the bike in October with some time in the gym.

  40. #40
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    ill give ya my 2 cents worth ....
    moved to durango colorado in 88 for 12th grade, finished high school then moved to phoenix for trade school. worked for city of glendale for 6months.. was stupid moving boxes and hurt my back. didnt even know i did cause my body adjusted itself so i wasnt in pain. ended up back in rainsylvania w/ my dad. my mom ask me one day why i was walking like i was 100yrs old, all stooped over. i didnt think/know i was till i walked past a store front and seen it myself. anyways went to the chiro for 3yrs and it helped a little but all i did was pay for his house,boat, cars etc.
    now in that 3yrs time i was very ATTENTIVE TO WALK UPRIGHT, SIT UPRIGHT, and be very careful abouthow i lifted etc.. slept on the floor for 5yrs but it never got 100% better.
    anyways my brother started going to a different chiro that was cheaper/closer to home. her name was faith. seen her once a week for a year. it never really got better with her either UNTIL one day she tried something new with me... she put my butt about 2ft above my head and POPPED my hips downward.... now mind you i always had to hold onto the table as she put me back on my feet cause it still hurt ...... she put the table up and soon as i had my weight on my feet i knew i was fixed.
    in my case my hips had rotated and thats what caused my SCIATICA. 8yrs of pain was gone in one move/pop of the table.
    ive been good to go for 8yrs + now but still have some lower back pain in the morning till i get moveing. im still very midfull of how i lift/walk/stand. funny thing was i felt the best after riding my YZ465 dirtbike for the day. im guessing cause i was working all my body and loosinging things up.
    loosing weight/getting the stomach muscles built up helps.
    good luck and i wish ya the best. it sucks and i dont ever want it back....

  41. #41
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    Update. Still doing good by doing nothing. Some days I have the odd twinge here and there, or a little bit of calf or back soreness but as each week passes, it seems like the twinges and soreness get less and less. My bad days are now much better than my best days from 3-4 months ago. The good days are basically "normal".

    I think that for the first few months of this, I was simply going overboard on stretching and walking, and not allowing the nerve to simply heal.

    Here's to hoping for more of the same.

  42. #42
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    Hey Stripes. No, I never did get an MRI. Everyone I talked to was convinced it was unwarranted, and that I didn't blow a disc. The conclusion is that there is just some irritation of the nerve some how. Rest up, and let the body heal.

    If it gets bad again, I will definitely push for more investigation.

  43. #43
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    Every MRI looks the same for most people of a similar age group. We all have at least one bulging disc and 3 anular tears on any given day, however the real question is why do they become symptomatic? Research is now showing that the inflammation resulting from disc damage is an auto-immune disorder. Simply put, the nucleus pushes through the anular rings at weak points and or tears. With grade IV and V tears, the nucleus pushes into the spinal canal and presses against the nerves. This has been known and well documented since the beginning, but this jelly material from the disc is treated as a foreign invader by the immune system which triggers more swelling and more pressure on the nerve roots. It is a very vicious cycle that will take at least 18 months of recovery. Hang in there, because most people do recover. Personally, I would not stop riding, working out, going to the gym, and doing the activities I enjoy, because being bummed only adds a whole psychological element to the problem. Be prudent of course and lay off the squats and skip the jumps. I push through back problems with the help of lidoderm patches. They are really amazing as long as you don't over use them. Don't over think the MRI, Discography, or diagnosis. We are all aging and have some degree of DDD. Think more along the lines of allergy and autoimmune problem that will in time rectify itself.
    " the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." C&H

  44. #44
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    i use had sciatica a lot. lower back. i know what you mean and how painful and debilitating it is. went to a few orthopedic surgeons and one that specialized in sports injuries. all of them said to stretch and do certain exercises. i figured out i got my sciatica from sitting for long periods, long hikes, and carrying a golf bag. i still do those things but there is a few things I do now that completely helped my sciatica. i rarely get any sciatica pain anymore.

    here is what i did:

    1. stretch the hamstrings as much as you can. hamstrings are connected to lower back and if they are tight and inflexible, your lower back takes more strain.

    2. more cardio like running and riding. however, the key was to do faster cardio and really focus on relaxing the muscles when doing the cardio. relaxing the whole body for that matter. slowing the mind and maintaining flexibility when exercising. cardio puts your muscles in a better relaxed state for a long time after exercising than weight lifting, in my opinion.

    3. quit lifting heavy weights. pushed more reps at lower weights.

    4. pull-up bar or gravity inversion table. (i have both) both help in stretching. i only use the inversion table when i really hurt. works great to stretch the body for alignment but can put stress on joints especially knees.

    i know i sound like an infomercial but it really has helped me.

  45. #45
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    Have any of yall ever been to a doc who uses the "Dr. Robin McKenzie Method".

    If so have you felt (like me) strangely perplexed by the single-focus, linear type conversation that goes on during an office visit??

    Doc and PT's seem uninterested in anything outside of the boxes. They then prescribe extremely simplistic exercise. 2 stretches, 100+ times per day. Nothing about warming up, relaxing muscles, swimming, heat/cold, etc. etc. etc. Just 2 stretches, 100+ times per day.

    Then you feel guilty when you don't have time to take 8 breaks during the work day to do all the stretches. !!!!!

    http://www.mckenziemdt.org/approach.cfm?section=int

    "Assessment. Unique to the McKenzie Method is a well-defined algorithm that leads to the simple classification of spinal-related disorders. It is based on a consistent "cause and effect" relationship between historical pain behavior as well as the pain response to repeated test movements, positions and activities during the assessment process.
    A systematic progression of applied mechanical forces (the cause) utilizes pain response (the effect) to monitor changes in motion/function. The underlying disorder can then be quickly identified through objective findings for each individual patient. The McKenzie classification of spinal pain provides reproducible means of separating patients with apparently similar presentations into definable sub-groups (syndromes) to determine appropriate treatment. "




  46. #46
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    None of the people I saw reccomended the whole method. They all pulled bits and peices from various scoold of thought. I found that each PT had a different set of treatments, and the 2 doctors I saw both primarily jsut suggested "I wait and see".

    Funny thing is they were right. After 7-8 the problem is basically gone without doing much of anything for the last few months.

  47. #47
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    I got a script for PT and the therapist said he contributed to the book Treat (or heal) your own back by McKenzie.

    A lot of the focus was on three stretches: The Cobra, The Standing Back Bend and what I call The Dart (lay on stomach and arch your head and ankles).

    They also strongly recommend things like lumbar support pads during flights and long drives. I got a combination of all of the above plus some traction and my back has felt really good for a while. I try to do 25 Cobra's a day - that exercise seems like it works best for me. I also go to Pilates 2x per week.

    Ride Strong...

  48. #48
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    I have not been to a practitioner who uses solely this method, but I have done some of the stretches and can say that the first picture showing what looks like a Cobra stretch, is easily the BEST stretch I have done for my lower back.. Basically relaxing the back and doing a "push up Cobra stretch" (repetitions, not just holding the pose), has helped my lower back more than any other back exercise / stretch. That stretch along with chiropractic care and massage has helped me get through some very painful episodes.

  49. #49
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    Build Your Core!!!

    I was first diagnosed with sciatica when I was in the Navy. At the time I was very active- running a 5k 3-4 times a week and calisthenics every day. I just woke up with the pain one day. I went to the docs on the base and was given 800mg Ibuprofen and sent out the door. Six months and who knows how many pills later I was still in pain- couldn't sit, stand or lie down without that dull, throbbing ever-present ache. Through it all I kept commuting by bike to work because it was really the only time my leg didn't hurt. Weird, right? I went to the base docs again and had an xray done but it was inconclusive. I was told at that time that I might need back surgery and would probably have the pain for the rest of my life. I was freaking 26! How could I have back pain for life with having never injured my back? AND- no way was I letting the Navy operate on my back! Too many horror stories about the naval hospital... My mother-in-law offered me some foul smelling Mexican ointment one weekend saying to rub this on and it will go away. I resisted thinking I'm not putting some nasty witch-doctory stuff on but a few days later the pain was really getting to me and I broke down and slathered on the smelly stuff. I WOKE UP THE NEXT DAY WITH ALMOST NO PAIN! Holy Crap! I kept putting the stuff on and my sciatica was gone in a few days! OMG! What was that awesome sweet-smelling nectar (now...)? I still don't know what it was called. My wife says it's probably some "unguento" picked up years ago in Mexico. All I know was that it helped!

    Fast forward about 10 years and I tweaked my back bending over one morning- had to crawl back to bed. I went to a chiropractor for help but it just kept getting worse and developed into the old familiar deep, sciatica ache. I could not find the nasty stuff this time and my MIL had passed by then. I went to the chiro for a while but finally got discouraged when there was no improvement. After some thinking I realized that it seemed my back would be more prone to twinging whenever I felt I had gained some weight. I immediately started eating a little less and doing some core strengthening exercises. Within a week I was feeling so much better!

    I now believe a huge key to keeping your back healthy is to keep your core in shape. I read a book at the time that really drove this home- the "Men's Health Covermodel Workout." The author used to grace the magazine cover all the time and had suffered back pain for most of his life. He found after many years that his vertebrae were cracked and his doctors believed the only reason he was still upright was because he had an incredibly fit set of abs- essentially his muscles were performing the job his spine could not do.

  50. #50
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    sciatica

    I have dealt with this issue for over 30 yrs. Comes and goes, as some of you have lived through. Those that have been to the chiro. have sometimes been hooked to a Tens machine. The electrical stimulation machine. You can buy a home version on Amazon for 30.00. Tens 3000. When you need it most for pain it will make the pain dissapear for as long as you have the time set. It really does give relief for an amazingly cheap price. Another can't do without device is a foam roller to roll out the knotts in the muscle, that agrivates the sciatica. You can buy them from Dick"s. 3 ft x 6 in. hard roller to crush the muscle knotts. It hurts so good. These 2 devices will really help any who suffer.

  51. #51
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    If you feel pain, get it checked out. in the last year i have had my lower back problems. still get but have decompression stretches for that and two weeks ago discovered a fracture that i had managed to get without being treated. probably as a kid as i suspect i know when it was. nope no doctors visit.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes

    I'm riding again, but I had to change my bike fit SIGNIFICANTLY in order to get back on. It turns out that my fit may have been a big part of the problem, as well as a hydropack that pressed funny against my back--while in a bad position.

    My injury is not your injury, but it's worth checking out.

    Stripes - can you describe what you changed with your bike fit? I am pretty sure my bike fit is part of my problem - I just don't know if I should get a professional bike fit or tweak it myself.

    Thanks!

  53. #53
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    I am currently dealing with sciatica. I am pretty sure mine is due to my desk job and driving and the never ending routine of it all. Haven't been riding in months. Currently on NSAIDS and doing PT...
    This thread has given me lots of ideas and things to try. Seems to be a common problem with mountain bikers.

    I know for a fact that I have weak and inflexible hamstrings and over developed quads. I wonder if there is any way to avoid this as a cyclist and if any fit changes would put the hams to a bigger part of the work?

  54. #54
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    I tried the cobra stretch out, and felt great.. for a couple of days. I've been doing it everyday but the pain is back to as bad as it was if not worse. I youtubed a couple of videos for stretches and I'm feeling some relief now. Painkillers don't really do anything for me, so that is basically out of the window. So I just keep doing stretches to try and help the pain. This thread has given me quite a few ideas as to what to try if the pain continues.
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  55. #55
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    Everyone's pain is different, it took me 2 years to get to like 90% recovery after pain that apparently was caused by a 10mm protrusion at L5-S1. I constantly have to remember not to do any stupid moves because I get an immediate reminder in the lower back that the problem is still there. Sciatica is mostly gone (knocking on wood). Strengthening and stabilizing the core is what helped me. I get occasional flare ups but it is nothing compared to what I've been through. As for exercises, I followed (still do religiously) recommendations from the book "Low Back Disorders" by S. McGill, they seem to work very well for me. Also I'd recommend to stop NSAIDs if at all possible, they make you feel better but may actually make things worse as they suppress the feedback your body tries to give you about what you shouldn't do.

  56. #56
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    I suffer from this too. Stretching, foam rolling, release with a small ball and sitting right helps a lot. I run more than ride these days and find it better for the issue to be honest. Massage aggrivates it, and anti flam tablets actually make it worse!

    As fit mcenzie approach . Got the book, got the lumber support and did stretches. For me it made it worse.

    If it does not improve this year it's time for an MRI. Saying that it's not stopping ne from sport, but requires a lot of work to manage!

  57. #57
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    First things first. Go see a massage therapist that knows what they are doing.

    You ride a bike. That takes properly functioning muscles. It works more quads than hamstrings and move your legs in repetitive linear motion. Therefore, your muscles can become imbalanced. I mean that a set of muscles can get stronger, while the antagonist muscle group gets weaker. This is a problem with most cyclists. Strong quads, weak hams. Strong soleus, weak anterior tibialis. Strong back, weak abs...etc.

    I've had patients come in and give me all sorts of stories about pain and how the doctor said that there's a pinched nerve, herniated disc, etc. causing pain and numbness. A couple good, focused, orthopedic massages and the pain is surprisingly gone.

    I'm not saying that there isn't anything else that could be wrong with you. But, you should always look at your muscular structure first. It's cheaper than MRI, CT, X-ray for one. And it's less invasive, doesn't require medication or surgery.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdylan
    First things first. Go see a massage therapist that knows what they are doing.

    You ride a bike. That takes properly functioning muscles. It works more quads than hamstrings and move your legs in repetitive linear motion. Therefore, your muscles can become imbalanced. I mean that a set of muscles can get stronger, while the antagonist muscle group gets weaker. This is a problem with most cyclists. Strong quads, weak hams. Strong soleus, weak anterior tibialis. Strong back, weak abs...etc.

    I've had patients come in and give me all sorts of stories about pain and how the doctor said that there's a pinched nerve, herniated disc, etc. causing pain and numbness. A couple good, focused, orthopedic massages and the pain is surprisingly gone.

    I'm not saying that there isn't anything else that could be wrong with you. But, you should always look at your muscular structure first. It's cheaper than MRI, CT, X-ray for one. And it's less invasive, doesn't require medication or surgery.

    Just saying what aggravates mine. I'm not a cyclist as such anymore anyhow- more of a long distance runner. I'm aware of muscle imbalances and also management of this issue which by all accounts is now very minor due to some common sense and knowing what pees it off.

    I also understand about massage. I've had lots of it form experienced practitioners over the years and it's great. But for ME it kind of aggravates my glutes and hips etc. I prefer to self release with a small ball, foam roll and work on running technique posture. I suppose i prefer to manage daily vs a weekly or monthly massage. It's FREE too I still get a massage but it's often for flushing and working on my calves!

    I suppose this is the point of my post. "Experts" often don't listen or have "ideas" that can actually make it worse I'm lucky that i worked out a management plan and an idea of what works and does not. It took a few years of being pushed form one "expert" to another and lots of cash to actually come full circle and realise that "self management" and awareness is the best FOR ME.

    Thanks for the advice though. it makes complete sense.

  59. #59
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    Cycling and running are both very similar activities and lead to many of the same problems.
    The fact that massage aggravates your glutes and hips point to a problem there. The other posts about you getting rest and it feeling better is another sign of muscular problem and not structural problem. Sometimes walking helps too. Of course it will. Muscular tightness that loosens itself with increased blood flow and heat is another muscular sign. I'm not an expert, nor do I know everything there is to know. But if you really want to understand the body from a technical point of view instead of just guessing, hopefully all of the posts here will give you what you are looking for. It's sad that at this point, you've heard all the BS from everyone that's got an opinion. From the sound of your posts, you're still not sure whether its a herniated disc or sciatica. But I'd put my money where my mouth is and you can come see me for free and I'll treat you and get you on a program to be in less pain that you're in right now. (Of course, barring any structural problem requiring surgery...I don't do that!)

    Self management and awareness should be everyone's goal for health. If you don't take control of your own health, who will?

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdylan
    Cycling and running are both very similar activities and lead to many of the same problems.
    The fact that massage aggravates your glutes and hips point to a problem there. The other posts about you getting rest and it feeling better is another sign of muscular problem and not structural problem. Sometimes walking helps too. Of course it will. Muscular tightness that loosens itself with increased blood flow and heat is another muscular sign. I'm not an expert, nor do I know everything there is to know. But if you really want to understand the body from a technical point of view instead of just guessing, hopefully all of the posts here will give you what you are looking for. It's sad that at this point, you've heard all the BS from everyone that's got an opinion. From the sound of your posts, you're still not sure whether its a herniated disc or sciatica. But I'd put my money where my mouth is and you can come see me for free and I'll treat you and get you on a program to be in less pain that you're in right now. (Of course, barring any structural problem requiring surgery...I don't do that!)

    Self management and awareness should be everyone's goal for health. If you don't take control of your own health, who will?
    Thanks for the offer for the consult- but thankfully i've got a good physio these days if i need to see some help. I'm not posting for advice from folk in a forum either- just my experiences to help others. I'm pretty much pain free these days so i'm doing something right!

    Thanks again for the offer!

    Chur

    Edited.....!
    Last edited by ilostmypassword; 01-18-2011 at 01:41 PM.

  61. #61
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    I now believe a huge key to keeping your back healthy is to keep your core in shape
    I agree. I've done this off an on for almost a year, and when I am diligent, it helps. I've made a promise to myself - I'm going on a business trip to New Orleans next week. I don't want to do anything to get my back acting up before hand, but afterwards, with a free and clear calendar stretching for 6 months (just work and family), I am going to start exercising like mad. A full year out, I must be healed by now and all this is still just in my head.

  62. #62
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    Does anyone else think it is odd that chiropractors are (apparently?) not trained to read MRI's of the back?

    I have copies of my MRI, but my chiropractor said she just reads the report and doesn't look at the films. Actually the physical therapists said the same thing.

    Just seems like a person would want to "see" exactly what they were fixing. ??

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiropractic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_medicine

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_therapy

  63. #63
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    Yeah, there's a lot of what we call 'turf wars' that happen in medicine. Every physician has a scope of practice that is defined to the 't'. Stepping outside of those boundaries can lead to America's favorite pasttime, lawsuits & litigation. That's also why a lot of schools won't even teach things that are outside of the scope of practice for these medical sciences...
    Therefore, the laws and various medical associations limit us. But, of course on the plus side, you're getting only qualified persons to give you their opinions, and not some yahoo that stayed in a Holiday Inn Express!

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130
    Does anyone else think it is odd that chiropractors are (apparently?) not trained to read MRI's of the back?

    I have copies of my MRI, but my chiropractor said she just reads the report and doesn't look at the films. Actually the physical therapists said the same thing.

    Just seems like a person would want to "see" exactly what they were fixing. ??

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiropractic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_medicine

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_therapy
    I am in Physical Therapy school right now and can attest to the fact that we DO in fact learn how to read an MRI. A retarded monkey could look at an MRI and see what is "happening." A good clinician does not pigeon hole their skills into simply looking at a film and saying "Yep, that says you have back pain. That'll be $100.00." They read the report and listen to the history of the patient and assess the situation to give their best diagnosis. What is the best way to see what is happening in the body? Autopsy. Many people have "bulging" of their discs that never cause symptoms, and many people have symptoms that never show up on an MRI. And WTF is the point of linking Wikipedia? It actually disproves your point.

  65. #65
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    Check out a chiropractic radiologist if you want to see a chiro with a stronger MRI reading background. It may make a difference if you are trying to stay within your insurance network.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwrtrainer
    I am in Physical Therapy school right now and can attest to the fact that we DO in fact learn how to read an MRI. A retarded monkey could look at an MRI and see what is "happening." A good clinician does not pigeon hole their skills into simply looking at a film and saying "Yep, that says you have back pain. That'll be $100.00." They read the report and listen to the history of the patient and assess the situation to give their best diagnosis. What is the best way to see what is happening in the body? Autopsy. Many people have "bulging" of their discs that never cause symptoms, and many people have symptoms that never show up on an MRI. And WTF is the point of linking Wikipedia? It actually disproves your point.
    hey, i am truly not trying to be a jerk. just kinda perplexed and dismayed 9 months into this injury....
    Last edited by cmc4130; 01-28-2011 at 07:38 AM.

  67. #67
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    I'm a concrete guy, and always prided myself on being in great shape. I began working out in the service & have continued after I left. I've been in construction since the late 90's & have survived for over 11 years without a injury.

    Last year I was hurt on the job, resulting in tearing my mcl/quadricep muscle & rupturing two discs. I had the back x-rayed first, then a emg & finally a mri. The mri showed two large herniations L4/l5 & L5/S1. I went through pt for both the knee & back, which didn't do squat. I actually think it made me worse. I had 4 nerve blocks on my back, which also didn't help much. I also see a chiropractor weekly and have a massage done once a week. The dr. I was seeing recommended a fusion or a discectomy, which I wasn't happy about. I got a second opinion & found a very good neuro, who has me on a program focused on stretching/strengthening my core & losing weight, and overall good health. I've been back on my bike again lightly also under his guidance, and this program has been the #1 thing to help me recover. My sciatica was bad going all the way to my foot. I recently had a second mri, and my disc are now small herniations(after 10 months), but will never fully heal, but I'd rather live with that pain than be cut.

    The only changes I made to my riding was switching to platforms. IMO getting in shape is the best thing to combat sciatica. It has helped me more than drugs, injections, stim, etc...
    Fortune favors the bold-Alexander the great

  68. #68
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    Hey all, just a short update.

    I have not had a big flare-up in about 9 months. Sciatica shows up a day or two every month, but its minor. I still get some hard to pin down aches and pains in the lower back, but they seem to be milder and last for shorter periods. They seem to bug me the most, because I always think "uh oh, its starting again".

    But it never really does.

    The really good news is I've been riding since April. Shorter rides, less than 1 hour, but ful on trail riding nonetheless.

    I'm looking forward to continual improvement.

    Take care all!

  69. #69
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    1 yr and 8 months into it,,,, saga continues...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    The trials probably also works the hips too. My sciatica pain is related to pirformis syndrome (whee).

    Having a desk job, the biggest problem for me is sitting and sitting some more. Then mountain biking only aggravated it.

    Now my desk is a standing desk, so I spend more time standing during the day rather than sitting the entire time. My low back pain is now 95% gone, and my sciatica is completely gone.

    However, if I sit for long periods again, especially slouching, it comes back. The good news is there is a relatively easy fix is not to sit so much
    Same here, I have to take a walk every 1.5 hr or so to relieve lower back tension at work. The good news is that I'm 85% back to normal after 2yr recovery process. Lots of core exercises, posture adjustments and such. Been on some 50 mile road rides lately, so far so good, I remain cautiously optimistic.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    The trials probably also works the hips too. My sciatica pain is related to pirformis syndrome (whee).

    Having a desk job, the biggest problem for me is sitting and sitting some more. Then mountain biking only aggravated it.

    Now my desk is a standing desk, so I spend more time standing during the day rather than sitting the entire time. My low back pain is now 95% gone, and my sciatica is completely gone.

    However, if I sit for long periods again, especially slouching, it comes back. The good news is there is a relatively easy fix is not to sit so much
    I have the same problem Stripes. I have been sitting a desk for the past 20 years and it has finally caught up with me. In addition to mountain biking, I lift weights, hike and remain active in my off hours. I have had sciatica problems for the past 10 years or so but have always been able to get rid of it with a few visits to the chiropractor. Unfortunately, I am not able to get rid of it that easily as of today.

    I have finally found a chiropractor who actually gives me information and not just a good cracking. Based on xrays, he told me that my pelvis has tilted from sitting all day and that I have bad posture which is all contributing to my sciatica problems. He also recommends standing and sitting on a ball at work as well as stretching exercises.

    Stripes, there are quite a few different designs of standing desks out there, are there any particular features or designs that you would recommend? I am in accounting so I am always shuffling papers so I realize adequate work space is important but what else?Thanks

  73. #73
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    I'll be straight with you, sitting on the ball or a kneeling chair didn't do a thing to improve mine. Tried those, neither helped at all. The ball made it worse.
    I think these ideas help in that they vary your position. What gets me into trouble, is sitting the SAME way in the SAME spot every day. I try to use a different chair, get up and stand, and move as much as possible during the day.

    I've been doing pretty good with my sciatica and back issues. I had a period of about 10 weeks with no symptoms at all this fall, and generally outside of that, anything I've had has been minor.

    New years resolution is to take it one more level and really try to attack muscle imbalances in my body, and work on the mental aspect. Combined, I firmly feel that these two items are the primary problems for me.

  74. #74
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    This might sound ridiculous, but has anyone noticed a flare up coinciding with seasonal allergies--in my case cedar bloom causes swelling in my sinuses and honestly it just occurred to me today that also when the stabbing/aching/throbbing in my glute and leg got way worse last week....Lately I can't find any body position to make it stop, whereas before there were only certain triggers...

  75. #75
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    My orthopedist also told me that being overweight, esp. if you put it on around the belly, bends your spine in a way that causes the lumbar disc bulge, and that losing weight helps a large number of people, and I talked to a friend who told me he himself had experienced this - he had gotten up to the high 200s and when he lost 40 or 50 lbs, his apparent sciatica just went away.

  76. #76
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    Sciatica survivor from 8 years ago. Have permanent nerve damage in left foot (at toes) and get mild flare ups a couple times a year. I will get a major lockup once or twice a year that requires bed rest for a day or two (it used to be monthly). I went thru P.T. and discussed fusion with my doctor as well. Because I was only 30 and in good shape, doctor said do therapy and build up back muscles more. I am a weight lifter, so I was surprised when he said to get my back even stronger!! Well, after the first year in the gym concentrating on back exercises, my back felt much better. I don't get sciatica flare ups, but still get bulging disks and nerve pain in my toes that only lasts a day or so, but is a far cry from the first year after the injury. I do a lot of exercises on the large inflatable balls, do squats, dead lifts, back extensions, crunches, etc. with moderate weight to heavy. The exercising 3 to 4 days a week has saved my back. So, yes, you can eventually get relief, but it requires a LOT of exercise. And, doing the right exercises along with lots of stretching every day. When I went to see Helga the terrible for my physical therapy, I asked why she was trying to break my dam ankle!? She said the sciatic nerve runs the length of your leg and you have to stretch it out over time to reduce the pain from bulging disks. Now every night at the gym, I go thru very elaborate stretching exercises where I practically pull my feet behind my head!! Okay, not that bad, but the point is to start stretching and continue as often as possible. (For a daily stretch while standing, pull your foot behind your back as high up as you can and hold for 20 seconds, repeat 4 to 5 times. Works great.) Whenever I feel a back ache coming on, I hit the floor and start my leg and back stretches right away! They say this type of therapy is the most effective as compared to fusion or a life time of pill popping. It worked for me. Unfortunately, the docs say I can't stop lifting, otherwise my back will get weaker and due to the degenerated disks, my back will be worse than before. GOODIE! Just what we wanted to look forward to when we get old! Well, I'm still waiting for science to give me a new titanium spine! Good luck. It isn't fun, but you can get.. say 95% better! Oh, and riding my bikes doesn't affect my back. In fact, the doctors recommend it to me!!!

  77. #77
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    I have an good remedy for Sciatica: Yoga. My wife is a yoga instructor, everytime I or someone in the family has sciatica pain she puts us in some strange positions (I cant remember the name but will ask her) and the pain goes away almost instantly. I'll post the name of the postures and maybe a video if I can find it in youtube.

  78. #78
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    I can truly epathise with all of you suffering acute sciatic pain. Ruptured a disc in my lower back playing rugby about 12 years ago and had a discectomy (disc removal procedure as opposed to laminectomy where a small piece of bone is removed to alleviate pressure). Actually took up the mountainbiking to fill the gap as I no longer felt it prudent to play contact sports and my weight had ballooned out of control. The pain was unbearable in seated positions, like somone was holding a blowtorch to my hamstring and calf area along with loss of all strength. Fortunately, I now have very little trouble. I have to say I am careful about what I do now but I work out, mountainbike, surf, and keep up with my kids whose ages range from 10 - 15 so there is hope for you guys as I'm sure there has probably been further advancement in this field since then.

  79. #79
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    I've had issues on and off for 10 years though much less often now that stay more active including 3+ MTB rides per week. Note: everyone has different situations so this may not work for you...

    I typically get pain in lower back more on L side but when it was bad, R thigh had horrible charley horse and even worse, back of R calf on occasion too. Typically I would feel lower back pain and after a few days of that, I'd get a slipping sensation in my lower back that would damn near cause me to fall on the floor it hurt so bad. For a good 2-3 days after that, I'd be walking ~ 10 degrees off center leaning to the right and walking like an old man.

    Best thing for me has been:

    Stretch hamstrings and quads at least 3x each week (plus before and after MTB rides). I typically put my leg up on a table or something higher while standing to stretch the hams. If your back is not able to tolerate that, lie on the floor, slide your foot toward your rear (raising your knee). Place a belt, towel or rubber cord under your foot, grab both ends with your hands and fully extend your leg out and lift as high as you can comfortably hold it for 30 seconds.

    Ball exercises - sit on exercise ball of proper height (femurs parallel to the ground), roll down the ball along your spine using your legs to balance until the ball rests behind your neck, keeping upper body steady with abs tight until your back is parallel to the ground; then roll back up to a sitting position. Do 2-3 sets of ~5 until you get used to balancing that way, then do 3 sets of 10 a couple times each week. This is significantly better for your back than situps!

    Be mindful of good posture when riding and sitting in a chair.

    Do not twist when lifting anything or bend over forward excessively to pick things like LUGGAGE up. Made the mistake of getting bags out of a car trunk a few times.

    Tread lightly until it heals and then keep telling yourself DON'T DO IT STUPID

    Be patient, I still get sore and a feeling like my back will flare up in a big way but if I remain patient and continue the same activities without twisting or picking up objects over 30 lbs. it eventually chills out over a couple days.

    Best of luck.

  80. #80
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    Hi. I read your post about 'the mistress that just wont go away' and i found it rather humorous because i know what you were going thru..I have been dealing with your exact symptoms. It has been almost 4 months and i no longer feel the shooting pain down my leg when i stand which is great news. I do however feel the burning sensation below the right butt cheek and occasionally thru the calf as well. Without medication i am able to walk around the house for 15 min before the nerve becomes irritated and the pain is unbearable...... then back to bed until the nerve settles down again. My question for you is...... at what point did you start to really feel enough relief that you were able to rejoin the human race again? (Medication free)

  81. #81
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    josh241

    I have had on and off problems with sciatica and lower back pain over the past 10 years or so. In the past, I was able to go to a chiropractor and get a generic adjustment and that was all that I needed. However, the flare up that I had this past October was the worst ever. I was out riding when all of a sudden both feet went numb. My lower back and butt cheek were on fire and I was in a lot of pain. I thought I had blown out a disc.

    The only way I was able to get rid of my problem was to find a knowledgeable chiropractor and schedule a session with a personal trainer. I found a chiropractor who specializes in rehabiliation through adjustment, electrical stimulation, and stretching exercises. Through xrays, he was able to determine that my pelvis had tilted so it was hitting the nerve. He also told me that my posture was bad from sitting at a desk all day and that this was also contributing to my lower back pain.

    Besides the chiropractor, I had a session with a personal trainer who has a masters degree in anatomy & physiology. I am very active and have been consistently weight training for a long time but have never focused on stretching. He gave me stretches for my back as well as some advice on weight training. I have completely changed the way I work out. No more heavy weights and more emphasis on core training. The stretching exercises that I do focus on exagerrating the arch in my back, ie the McKenzie Press.

    After only 4 months, my back has not felt this good in years. I do not know your situation and I am not suggesting that what I did is going to help you. What I am saying is that I missed the extended fall biking season because of my back and I was completely miserable. However, during the past month, I have been able to take a couple of 3 day weekends and mountain bike. My lower back gets a little stiff after 3 days but no sciatica whatsoever. My advice to you is to try everything you can to improve your situation and find what works best for you.

    Good luck.

  82. #82
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    what is you opinion on purchasing the 8 min a day sciatic cure e-book?? is it a scam?

  83. #83
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    Hi Jack. Wat about the 8 min Sciatica pain cure? is this a scam? I purchased this e-book yesterday . did I get scammed?

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    Hi and thankyou for your quick reply. Just wanted your opinion on the 8 minute sciatica cure e-book which costs 40.00 .....scam?? i just purchased this e-book yesterday. In it, they swear by ancient chinese medical balance theory that states that massaging a pressure point under the shoulder opposite if the pained leg will cure the pain in 7 days..

  85. #85
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    Hi. I read your post about 'the mistress that just wont go away' and i found it rather humorous because i know what you were going thru..I have been dealing with your exact symptoms. It has been almost 4 months and i no longer feel the shooting pain down my leg when i stand which is great news. I do however feel the burning sensation below the right butt cheek and occasionally thru the calf as well. Without medication i am able to walk around the house for 15 min before the nerve becomes irritated and the pain is unbearable...... then back to bed until the nerve settles down again. My question for you is...... at what point did you start to really feel enough relief that you were able to rejoin the human race again? (Medication free)
    I never really stopped my regular activities, like work and family commitments. The only thing that I shut down was the heavy cycling and snowboarding.

    Its been a little over 2 years, and things are vastly better, but now and then, I still get a shot of sciatic pain that lasts from a day to a week or so. The last time was last fall. I'm back to riding now, not quite as heavy as before, but the nerve isn't holding me back as much.

    The main thing - don't let it get to you. Sciatica is so common its just a fact of life. Do what you have to do to get rid of it, think positive, and get on with life.

  86. #86
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    If you're still interested in working on it here's a couple of ideas.

    1) Standing desk. I have one from geekdesk.com. Standing while working helps a lot. Also like you posted previously about switching positions, you'd find the desk helps a lot. Stand for a hour, sit for 20 minutes, stand some more, etc. Also, many people are putting a treadmill under a desk like this and walking through their day. I've got my eye out for a cheep treadmill.

    2) Hot Yoga. I crushed 4 disks in an industrial accident. Plenty of sciatica and nerve damage. In a 110 degree room with the supervision of a good instructor, you can develop the flexibility that will help you unload your pinched nerves without further aggravating the condition. That kind of heat is a game changer in terms of developing length without creating more damage. If it weren't for the yoga I would not be riding, working, traveling, or a whole bunch of other things.

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    Well, interestingly, I finally got an MRI done, after experiencing some symptoms again after picking up the mileage.

    NO HERNIATION! That is opposite to everything I had suspected.

    The actual report summary is "mild degenerative changes in lower lumbar spine with mild to moderate central spinal stenosis at L4L5. No protrusion. Annular tear at L5 S1.

    My doc told me that there was nothing on the report to be particularly concerned about, and to give Osteo and Chiro a try.

    The saga continues!


  88. #88
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    Stripes the u-tube stretch video is awesome! Imeadiate relief. If there is no back pain does that mean sciatica can be caused by something other than a bulged disc?
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    Ex mogul skier here. Back is unbelievably tight, and abs are not on par. My level of flexibility is inversely proportional to the frequency in which I feel sciatic nerve pinch pains. But my flairs are minor in comparison to some/most of you guys.
    I'm on a foam roller every day now, as well as stretching. I also bought a Theracane to do deep tissue massages on myself. Aductors (sp?) and Soas (sp?) deep massages are HUGE for me!
    When it does flair, the chiro and massage therapist seems to be able to "reassemble" me the quickest, along w/ a healthy (prescription) does of vitamin "I". Mine is pretty isolated to my left side... Found it from the chiro that its for compensating for my strong side...which is actually the weaker side when he did the neuro-muscular dealio (cranked my head to the left to test my right leg, and vise versa).
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    Quote Originally Posted by nth_dimension View Post
    Well, interestingly, I finally got an MRI done, after experiencing some symptoms again after picking up the mileage.

    NO HERNIATION! That is opposite to everything I had suspected.

    The actual report summary is "mild degenerative changes in lower lumbar spine with mild to moderate central spinal stenosis at L4L5. No protrusion. Annular tear at L5 S1.

    My doc told me that there was nothing on the report to be particularly concerned about, and to give Osteo and Chiro a try.

    The saga continues!

    How is your flexibility when it comes to your hamstrings? Poor hip mobility along with tight hamstrings will cause over compensation of your lower back. This will become prevalent when stress and strain is applied.

    I have been lucky enough to where the pain stopped at the back of my knee, but this does not mean all is good. I injured myself dead lifting with poor hamstring mobility and relying on my lower back to take the brunt. For me, the major pain went away after about 5 weeks, but from time to time I am reminded of how bad it can been when lifting incorrectly. I suggest taking time off any activities until the pain dies down. From there I would work on strictly mobility, do not go over board. Baby steps are the way to go.

    I might have some educational videos or articles around if you are interested.

    Best of luck.

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