Pain below the knees HELP!

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

Pain below the knees HELP!

Postby MommyNeedsHelp » Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:04 pm

Hi, new person here... I'm a busy mommy with little ones... I MUST get better FAST!

Long story short, I had sciatica down my right side to the ankle. MRI and e-rays show I hurt my L4 and L5. PT helped the sciatica down the right side but pain never totally left my right side below the knee and now it is also in the left leg below the knee. Pain seems to change every day.

I can do the exercises but why do I still have pain below the knee in both legs and tingling sometimes going up AND sometimes lower back (really lower) back pain? Do I continue to exercise? Wish I could some up with a good system or routine to get rid of this!

I did land and sea at therapy. Hot and cold sure do help...

ANY ONE WITH ANY IDEAS of what can help? The tingling and pain below the knees is really bothersome. Thank heavens I can walk!
MommyNeedsHelp
 

Postby Steven » Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:16 pm

Hi MommyNeeds,

Sometimes sciatica can take a long time to resolve. My best advice would be to get Dean's book and try the RYB exercises. Reading the posts here in this forum can also be very helpful.

Steven
Steven
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 10:00 pm

sciatica

Postby Jules » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:51 am

Hi there - I found this site a few weeks ago and have had a great deal of help just by logging in and reading the notes there, and also from downloading Dean's book and doing the exercises.

I started off with lower back pain, but for the last 2 weeks have had sciatica in my right leg, below the knee, shin and top of foot. I was doing the RYB exercises but saw a Mackenzie physio 2 weeks ago who told me to stop the exercies and just continue with the cobra. However, after 2 days of this, the pain got worse so he told me to stop that and just do step 1 and 2 of the cobra.

After a week of stronger painkillers and the thought of a cortisone injection looming, I began again to read Dean's book and found the "shifted cobra" exercise, which I have been doing 2 days nows and have had some relief!!!!

So, my advice to you is, take it SLOWLY, but keep persisting with what feels good for you, and good luck.

Julie.
Jules
 

Pain below the knees. Help!

Postby Bill P » Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:36 pm

To Mommy Needs Help,

This is very common with sciatica; pain that radiates down the leg and changes locations.

Have you done the exercises in Dean's book, or are you doing the exercises the PT gave you?

Often, pain improvement does not show for some time. You may, in fact, be doing all the right exercises, but improvement does not always show up as pain reduction right away. Back pain has similarities to the residual pain felt after a burn, but takes much longer to show improvement.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind about back pain. The numbers vary, but anywhere from 85-95% of back pain patients cannot be given an exact diagnosis as to the cause of their back pain. Tests have also shown that there is seldom a direct link between physical abnormalities that show up on an MRI and pain. Some people have abnormalities with pain, while others show abnormalities and have no pain at all.

There are two (2) types of pain classifications: specific and non-specific. Specific pain has a definite cause - many medical emergencies fall into this category. However, specific pain represents only a small % of back pain. Non-specific pain has no definite cause. Always make sure that you rule out the specific pain category to eliminate any possibility of a medical emergency (i.e. cancer, fracture, infections, cauda equine syndrome, etc.)

The above paragraph is not meant so much for you, Mommy, as it is for everone just to keep in mind.

Try the exercises that I gave to Karen (go to Lower Back Pain/Sacroiliac Strain and follow the Blood pressure cuff exercise done on the floor). Try the one on page 1 first.

Let me know how you make out.

Bill P
Bill P
 

Re: Pain below the knees. Help!

Postby Jules » Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:21 pm

Hi Bill - I have a question re sciatica??

My pain was not originally in my right leg or below etc., but on the left side of my lower back. This started about 6 months ago, and has been "up and down". I started doing Dean's exercises and was progressing some, but then had a set-back with the pain switching to my right side, and SCIATICA.

I saw a "Mackenzie" Pjhysio, who I mentioned earlier had told me to just do the Cobra, and when that didn't stop the pain in my lower leg, told me to just continue with steps 1 and 2. However, I did begin the "Shifted Cobra" for the past 4 days and no progress really.

My question is, can I be doing myself any more damage by continuing with these exercises? I am taking Naproxen tablets twice daily and Panadeine Forte to sleep at night, which give me some relief, but the pain is still there, I sleep for 4 hour stretches.

I am seeing a Neuro-surgeon 1st May, but am VERY hesitant about surgery.

Incidentally, my CT scan shows a disc extrusion impinging on the dural sac and the right L5 nerve root in the lateral recess.

Hope you can give me some sort of way forward. Thanks, Julie.
Jules
 

Pain below the knees HELP!

Postby MommyNeedsHelp » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:29 am

A big thank you to all who have been kind to reply to my plea!

I am going to try Bill's advise and will let you know what happens. So far I've been doing RYB exercises but not the full cobra. It is crazy the way the pain can jump from place to place while remaining in the lower legs. Another PT suggested I try to walk back - slowly - and work up to 20 minutes a day. I started with 3 minutes and am working up to the 20... She said to stop if the pain increases but go another minute if it stays the same.

Steven, Jules and Bill - can't tell you how much I appreciated your input!

Mommy
MommyNeedsHelp
 

Postby randolph » Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:48 am

Hi Mommy

Steven is correct to gently warn you that you might not recover as quickly as you want. Some do recover quickly; I was not so lucky. But the more important truth, as Bill writes, is: you most likely will.

During the acute stages of sciatica (which in my case lasted several months), my wife and children were very accommodating to my very limited function and great disability ... much more so than I ever dreamed possible. What really turned the corner for us was my simple request for help from them. We independent sorts are loathe to ask for help; so in case you haven't ask for it, ask for the help of your family (and thank them profusely for every little and big thing they do). It's really vital to your recovery that you give your body time to heal by cutting back on your physical activity, then gradually increase the amount of your activity.

Our bodies are really quite eloquent in its messages to us on how much we can do. It's takes a while to learn to translate those messages correctly, and to learn that there's no negotiating with it to force it to heal and rebuild faster than it does.

A great first step, as the others have suggested, is to read and re-read Dean's material, and those posts that relate to your condition. Not only will this help you rest, but you will develop the confidence that "this too shall pass".

Good luck, and please bug us unmericfully with your questions and progress reports :lol:

Randolph
randolph
 
Posts: 429
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:05 pm
Location: Wilkesboro NC

Postby MommyNeedsHelp » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:37 pm

randolph wrote:Hi Mommy

Steven is correct to gently warn you that you might not recover as quickly as you want. Some do recover quickly; I was not so lucky. But the more important truth, as Bill writes, is: you most likely will.

During the acute stages of sciatica (which in my case lasted several months), my wife and children were very accommodating to my very limited function and great disability ... much more so than I ever dreamed possible. What really turned the corner for us was my simple request for help from them. We independent sorts are loathe to ask for help; so in case you haven't ask for it, ask for the help of your family (and thank them profusely for every little and big thing they do). It's really vital to your recovery that you give your body time to heal by cutting back on your physical activity, then gradually increase the amount of your activity.

Our bodies are really quite eloquent in its messages to us on how much we can do. It's takes a while to learn to translate those messages correctly, and to learn that there's no negotiating with it to force it to heal and rebuild faster than it does.

A great first step, as the others have suggested, is to read and re-read Dean's material, and those posts that relate to your condition. Not only will this help you rest, but you will develop the confidence that "this too shall pass".

Good luck, and please bug us unmericfully with your questions and progress reports :lol:

Randolph
:(

Hi Randolph - thanks so much for your excouragement... My family has helped quite a bit - even my children, however, it feels absolutely horrible I just can't be the mommy I want to be for them. Mommy has to stretch, mommy needs to lay down for a little bit, mommy can't climb in your bed to read the story - please come over here... OUCH!

Yesterday I decided to start with RYB from the beginning again and do the exercises in the first part - cobra, hip shrug etc.. then this morning I did the exercises and was doing okay during the day but now around 4:30 my legs are tingling again. I get really frustrated because to me, it doesn't seem like I over did anything. I guess I should try some of the other exercises? I have always been a flexible gal, and I'm sure I could do some of the advanced exercises but is that a good idea????

Thanks for your help!
MommyNeedsHelp
 

Jules

Postby Bill P » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:59 pm

Julie,

Forgive me as I lost or forgot about my reply to "Mommy" that I posted last week, so I did not check back for any additional questions/replies.

Before you begin your exercise or activity, rate your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10, with one being barely noticeable, to 10 being unbearable and you cannot imagine the pain ever being much worse.

Now, suppose you rank your pain level before starting your exercise as a "7". In this case, the exercise should not increase your perceived level of pain beyond a "7" during or after completion. If you do decide to give the exercise another try at a future date, and the same thing happens (i.e. your perceived level of pain goes up) then I would avoid that exercise or activity.

It's important to note the type of movement pattern that produces the increase in pain. Here's an example: For most people, doing a Prophylactic Back Extension (this is a standing back extension where I extend my back rearward so that my face is looking up, and my spine is in a reverse "c" shape) is a very good full back stretch, and is not a movement pattern which would usually cause pain. But, for someone with spondylolisthesis, this movement pattern would cause pain, because the forward subluxation of one vertebrae over the adjacent two vertebrae in their spine ("subluxation is a fancy word for "slip") would make this movement painful for them (maybe not while performing the exercise, but very soon thereafter).

Returning to my point, while the person may not know that they have spondyloisthesis, the pain this person experiences when performing movements with a rearward / backward bending motion will help him/her figure out which activities and exercises to stay away from. So to answer your question as to whether or not you should do the "Shifted Cobra", if it increases pain, then stay away from it (and any other exercises with similar movement patterns).

Also, in deciding if the Shifted Cobra is helping you, remember that immediate pain reduction is not always acheivable in the short term. You sometimes have to rely on your gut instinct or intuition in order to find activities that help your LBP (low back pain) because you may not get the immediate result that you desire or expect. Pain that radiates down the leg is especialy difficult to diminish through exercise.

Here are some activities that have helped people with LBP. Bicycling, circuit training, Pilates, swimming and walking. I also like what I have recently read in this forum about elliptical trainers by Don P. Mitchell. This can be another good tool for "rebuilding your back". Has anyone else experienced relief from using an elliptical trainer?

Having surgery in hopes of correcting Low Back pain or pain that radiates down the leg(s) should be a last resort. There are many risks. Here are a few: nerve damage, possibly leading to paralysis, muscular weakness, blood clots, infections or an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Add to these unlikely but possible problems is the fact that many people do not have their back pain conditions improved after surgery. It is hard to find any data (percentages) as to the success rate for any of the many spinal surgeries. My feeling is that they are not very favorable.

Here is one study I did find. A study done by Gillet, Philippe and published in a special on-line supplement to "Spine": 338-345 August 2003 did a follow up study on patients from 2 to 5 years after they had a lumbar spinal fusion. Within this group, 41% of the patients that had had the fusion performed within the previous 5 years developed transitional segment alterations which lead to a reoccurence of back pain and instability in the adjacent spinal segments, and 20% needed a second operation. This type of operation, "Lumbar spinal fusion" probably has a lower success rate than other spinal surgeries, but the risks are not worth the dubious outcome unless you feel you have no other option.

Julie, do you belong to a gym? If you do, please let me know in your next post, as I can give you a great exercise for your lower back. Try doing the blood pressure cuff exercise I gave to Karen under "Lower Back Pain", click onto "Karen" and look at the first BP cuff exercise I gave her. Let me know if you can do that first one on the floor.

Keep me posted and Good Luck.

Bill P
Bill P
 

Re: Jules

Postby Jules » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:06 pm

[quote="Bill P"]Julie,
Hi Bill - thanks so much for your VERY informative reply - I have taken it all on board.

The good news is that since I posted my last note, I am MUCH IMPROVED!!! I tend to listen to my body - in fact, sometimes, I become OBSESSED with listening, but decided to go back on to Dean's basic exercises, very gradually, and so far having a lot of success. I began with the Shifted Cobra after re-reading Dean's book in desperation, and then lo and behold began to feel an improvement. These back problems really turn you upside down eh??

Just before Easter, I went out on the (electric) bike and felt so good to be doing something again. Since then, I am walking, and swimming.

I do belong to a gym, but at the moment am only using it for the pool, but hoping to go to a yoga class soon, and begin slowly to get back to some sort of an exercise regime.

I have followed Karen's progress with much interest (as she is my daughter), but on the other side of the world from me!! So, we talk all the time and compare notes, and both say THANK GOD FOR THIS WEBSITE!!!

Anyhow, my leg pain for the moment is gone, and I am continuing exercising and have cancelled my neuro-surgeon appointment!!! I really do not want surgery, but outside forces sometimes influence what I think.

Thanks again Bill for your help and information. Cheers, Julie (down under)
Jules
 

Re: Pain below the knees HELP!

Postby Guest » Tue May 22, 2007 2:17 pm

MommyNeedsHelp wrote:Hi, new person here... I'm a busy mommy with little ones... I MUST get better FAST!

Long story short, I had sciatica down my right side to the ankle. MRI and e-rays show I hurt my L4 and L5. PT helped the sciatica down the right side but pain never totally left my right side below the knee and now it is also in the left leg below the knee. Pain seems to change every day.

I can do the exercises but why do I still have pain below the knee in both legs and tingling sometimes going up AND sometimes lower back (really lower) back pain? Do I continue to exercise? Wish I could some up with a good system or routine to get rid of this!

I did land and sea at therapy. Hot and cold sure do help...

ANY ONE WITH ANY IDEAS of what can help? The tingling and pain below the knees is really bothersome. Thank heavens I can walk!
Guest
 

mummie needs help

Postby eddie c » Tue May 22, 2007 2:27 pm

Had bad sciatica down left leg following back operation for nerve impairment. Was advised to do yoga excercises cobra and the salute to the sun routine, especially those involving ham string stretches with a leg extension. This helped incrediably well and if I keep doing them regularly it helped considerably.
eddie c
 


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