newbee sciatica suffer seeking some advice on my progress

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

newbee sciatica suffer seeking some advice on my progress

Postby JG Newport, Wales » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:05 am

hello ,
I would just like to say what an excellent site this is how lucky I have been to find it.

To cut a long story short, I have been suffering with sciatica for the last six months which is probably a reminent of a lower disc problem I had ten years ago.

I think I may caused the recent flare up while moving a large ladder six months ago.
Anyhows, I was referred for several months to a physio by the doctor at christmas. The physio showed me several stretches that seemed to allow greater mobility of my right leg now. The symptoms were a tightness and pulling of my leg down to my two outside toes. Also, I was unable to move my right foot from side to side very much.
However, after four months of stretching exercises, I have regained much of the flexibility back into my right leg and walking improved a bit.

However, I still found my legs very heavy while walking and my other left foot seemed to drag a little. Also, my balance was not very good and I could only walk slowly for 25 minutes maximum .Though there has been a big improvement over all since xmas and over the last week while doing your RYB exercises

( Sorry to make this so long but am trying to give as much background as possible and overall this seems to be a success story.. :D )

So, a few months ago I downloaded your RYB book and found it very helpful. I have been doing the basic exercise for a few months and recently started building up the numbers of the other exercises gradually.
I am doing nearly all of the recommended number of exercises and its doing a lot of good. After a week I can walk straighter without wobbling and a bit longer timewise. Most importantly, I am getting much more confident as well.

What I would like to know (I knew I would make my point eventually :lol: ) is, is it a good idea to stop the RYB exercises for several days if I feel really tight in the back of the legs and stiff? Or is it advisable to do the exercise every other day as suggested in the book regardless of how tight I get in the back of the legs?
Bearing in mind I have been stretching ham strings and things that have not seen exercise for years... :(
Do you think I am over reacting or being cautious is a good thing here?

Oww, well anyways, well done on your site and book..I think its fab and has made me realise that there are many other people with back problems and theres light at the end of the tunnel for us.
I can't rave about your site and book enough.. :lol:



JG
JG Newport, Wales
 

Postby Ron » Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:19 pm

Hi JG,

I'm just finishing up a lunch break so I'll make this quick.

I'm no expert, but I think it would be OK to take a day or two off and then start back in. I can't see that it would hurt your progress in any way.

However, having said that, I've found for me that the exercises usually help me limber up when I start feeling tight. So I would experiment and just see what happens.

Let us know what you find out.

Ron
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Postby randolph » Sat Jun 30, 2007 6:57 am

Hi JG

Dean answers your question in RYB on your muscle stiffness/pain. Sorry, don't remember where in the book ... but his main point regarding muscle soreness was that there are basically two types. You have to figure out which one applies to you.

You mentioned that you haven't been doing much leg exercising lately, so perhaps your muscle stiffness is the natural soreness that comes when we exercise muscles after a long period of inactivity. In that case, stopping doing the exercises a few days will be very helpful, and after that rest, you should be able to resume exercising with much less pain/stiffness. It doesn't hurt to try a rep or two of an exercise during that rest period just to see how your muscles feel, and if they still aren't right, give them more rest.

But there's also the stiffness that comes from pushing as far as your level of physical conditioning allows you. In that case, do what you can, but not too much. Healing is promoted by pushing yourself a bit ... but re-injury is promoted if you push yourself too much.

You get to recognizing the difference in the two kinds of pain quite easily after a while .... but by all means, read what Dean says about this in RYB.

Glad to read of your success with RYB!

Randolph
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Re: newbee sciatica suffer seeking some advice on my progres

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:40 pm

JG Newport, Wales wrote:hello ,
I would just like to say what an excellent site this is how lucky I have been to find it.

To cut a long story short, I have been suffering with sciatica for the last six months which is probably a reminent of a lower disc problem I had ten years ago.

I think I may caused the recent flare up while moving a large ladder six months ago.
Anyhows, I was referred for several months to a physio by the doctor at christmas. The physio showed me several stretches that seemed to allow greater mobility of my right leg now. The symptoms were a tightness and pulling of my leg down to my two outside toes. Also, I was unable to move my right foot from side to side very much.
However, after four months of stretching exercises, I have regained much of the flexibility back into my right leg and walking improved a bit.

However, I still found my legs very heavy while walking and my other left foot seemed to drag a little. Also, my balance was not very good and I could only walk slowly for 25 minutes maximum .Though there has been a big improvement over all since xmas and over the last week while doing your RYB exercises

( Sorry to make this so long but am trying to give as much background as possible and overall this seems to be a success story.. :D )

So, a few months ago I downloaded your RYB book and found it very helpful. I have been doing the basic exercise for a few months and recently started building up the numbers of the other exercises gradually.
I am doing nearly all of the recommended number of exercises and its doing a lot of good. After a week I can walk straighter without wobbling and a bit longer timewise. Most importantly, I am getting much more confident as well.

What I would like to know (I knew I would make my point eventually :lol: ) is, is it a good idea to stop the RYB exercises for several days if I feel really tight in the back of the legs and stiff? Or is it advisable to do the exercise every other day as suggested in the book regardless of how tight I get in the back of the legs?
Bearing in mind I have been stretching ham strings and things that have not seen exercise for years... :(
Do you think I am over reacting or being cautious is a good thing here?

Oww, well anyways, well done on your site and book..I think its fab and has made me realise that there are many other people with back problems and theres light at the end of the tunnel for us.
I can't rave about your site and book enough.. :lol:



JG
Guest
 

sciatica strain eases thankfully..

Postby JG » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:17 pm

Hi all,

Thanks to Ron and Randolf for your replies,

I think the stiffness I suffered after doing the full RYB exercises was due to pushing myself a little to much to soon into the full programme of exercises.

When just starting the exercises, I think its hard to find that medium of doing the exercise enough to get some benefit but not too much and maybe straining yourself.

After three days of feeling really stuiff in the back of the legs, I decided to do half the recommended number of exercises and not to go to the previous level of strain. This seemed to do the trick as the next day I did not have half the amount of strain on the back of my legs as I have had for the previous three days. The strain in the legs seems to have eased off now so it may have been a case of pushing myself a bit hard and not being used to stretching the legs also.

Anyhows, I am continuing with the exercises every other day and I am hoping make a good recovery. Does anyone know how long it takes the average person to get back to normalish when using the full RYB exercise routine? I guess it varies from person to person..

Even though the diagrams and the excercise instructions are excellent in the RYB book, I also wonder if some sort of video download on doing the exercises might be helpful..just a thought... :)

Thanks again for all your help folks and this RYB is the business..


JG
JG
 
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Postby randolph » Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:26 pm

Hi JG

Impossible to say how long till you're "normalish" again (though there might be some docs/PTs who work with sciatica all the time who might be able to give you some ballpark estimates). I wanted to know, too .... and if somebody had told me it would take me more than a year to get back to normal after my sciatica first came .... I'm not so sure the information would have been very helpful or encouraging.

Probably best to focus on doing all you can (one day at a time) to make slow, steady progress. Sounds like you're doing the right kind of experimenting with the exercises so you can do all you can ... but not too much. No doubt, an exercise video would be superior to written instruction .... but Dean's instructions seem to be sufficient if you re-read them occassionally. You'll see where you can improve your form.

I've been doing the exercises for almost two years now, with steady improvement in strength and flexibility from week to week ... so I just keep doing them daily.

Randolph
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Postby JG » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:30 am

Hi all,

A belated thanks for the reply Randolf, very helpful.
I must try to check this site more often and its so easy to think sometimes you are on your own with this sort of sciatica condition.

Well, I am improving slowly with my progress. I find improvements in walking and flexibility are a bit sporadic. Its a bit like two steps forward and one step back sometimes. I find this hard to guage how I am doing sometimes. The good news is that its generally in the right direction.

I think Randolfs comment on the timescale of getting back to normalish is sound. Its probably better not to know incase it takes a year or more to really improve.

I am sure i am doing much better now as I strengthen and stretch. I have found that by doing all of the prescribed exercises in one day, I feel too stiff the next. So, I have broken them up into mainly stretching one day and strengthening the next. This way I feel that if i am overdoing one of the exercises, it is easier to pinpont which one I am over doing and ease back on it as i think I have a tendency to push myself to the limit.

Anyhows, progress is good and it feels like someone is slowly giving me back muscles in the backs of my legs..he he :lol: As I seem to be able to climb the stairs a bit faster as time progresses.

I was wondering if anyone had felt sometimes like someone has wrapped a tight string across the back of their calf muscles ? Its not painfull. I guess its due to the pressure shifting/easing off my sciatic nerve. The tingling in the legs is much less now (especially the toes)
and shifts around which I gather from reading other discussions on here is a very good sign of recovery. Also, my balance is much better now.

Well, thanks again for this site and I just can't describe how helpful this site has been. Its excellent. Good luck to all fellow back sufferers.

JG
JG
 
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:11 am

Postby randolph » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:00 am

Hi JG

Yes, feel free to check in as often as you can ... no one seems to be taking attendance and saying you can't come in to play, if your name becomes recognizable. I'd even say it was positively therapeutic for me to have this place to come to, and encourage others going thru the same sciatica journey I was stumbling thru.

You're right: it's two steps forward, one step back ... but as long as week-to-week you can look back on progress ... you are headed in the right direction. It is a potentially long process to recover "normal" again ... so if you've got the time and resources, research indicates that after 2 and 4 years, you'll have equally recovered, with PT, compared to the folks who opted (for whatever reasons ... some good) for surgical interventions.

It's a very good thing to "push the envelope" a bit on your physical limits ... and sometimes that means inadvertently doing a bit too much and being more sore the next day than is comfortable ... but that's how we heal and grow - in response to moderate stress. Just remember Dean's latest warning about not going overboard on your "partially filled flat tire".

I also alternate my exercises, one day concentrating on stretches, the next day on strengthening exercises. Provides some variety, too.

Great to read that your legs are getting stronger. That's a very good sign, and wonderful motivation to continue, I'm sure.

Tight muscles, like the calf muscle that is persistently(?) frequently tight might be one of those sciatica symptoms that is the last to go for you ... but it might also be a symptom of decreased circulation of your venous blood vessels due to less muscle activity than "normal". Apparently, muscles' activity "fuels" the circulation of the blood back to the heart, so with your temporarily reduced level of activity, you may be getting some cramping from that ... maybe some edema in your feet, too. But these should go as you are able to do more.

Keep up the good work! Randolph
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Postby astro » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:43 am

Hi to everyone...
just thought I'd pipe in with my bit. Funnily enough I also attribute my sciatica to lifting ladders and also have the tightness across the back of my now shrunken calf muscle.

What I do is when laying in bed at night is stretch the calf by flexing my foot back and forth. Try making your big toe touch your kneecap is the mental picture I use. I push (pull) hard and hold...worst thing that's happened is you can feel a cramp coming on, but then push (pull) the other way until the cramping goes.

This works for me, as I am improving.

You really do have to 'push the envelope' as Randolph puts it. (and thank you Randolph for being my greatest inspiration!) I've been taking long walks, really pushing myself. First time nearly killed me, I was walking back home with my hands on my knees and had to be helped by a passer-bye! But after a couple of days now I can really notice the improvements I've made.

All this comes with confidence though, theres no way I could of even attempted it a few weeks back, mentally or physically.

Just remember you're not alone, there's always someone around here to answer a question or two, share their experience or offer advice.

Take care
Greg
astro
 

Postby randolph » Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:29 am

Greg's calf stretch works for me, too :D Thanks, Greg

Another good calf stretch is the classic runner's calf stretch, in RYB ppg 81-2, described in his discussion on the psoas stretch

It appears part of the rebuilding challenge is strengthening muscles, and increasing their flexibility, so they are strong and supple enough to carry the burdens of life (like ladders) as intended, and the job doesn't fall onto the joints and, thus, cause injury. While we don't necessarily need to train as much as professional and aspiring athletes, we can certainly learn from what's worked for them. It's helpful to wander thru exercise books intended for various sports' athletes, and see what exercises/stretches they use to maximize muscle performance.

I also suffered from atrophy of my calf muscles (resulting from lack of activity during the acute stage of my sciatica). Single leg calf raises have been a helpful, muscle rebuilding exercise for me. It's an exercise I can do at home or on the road, without free weights or gym machines.

Randolph
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