In need of encouragement

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

In need of encouragement

Postby Gaspode » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:47 am

I need some encouragement. I have read many posts and they are all very positive and I feel a little bit of a fraud compared to some of you. I have two herniated discs and have been suffering for 12 months with little or no help from the medical profession. From the start I have had pains in my right butt leading down to my foot with pins and needles in the foot. I have had periods when I thought it was going away but suddenly its back or shifts position. I have been to chiro and all he did was hurt me more so stopped that. I have had a steroid injection in my lumbar region when again I thought I was feeling better but decided to go ahead in the traditional way “if I don’t have it and it comes back I will kick myself” because getting things done in the UK Nation Health Service is very very slow. Naturally its back, the injection was a waste of time. I found this site some 3 weeks ago and started the initial programme feeling “at last I have found people that I can identify with and there is some hope!” . I am now hurting even more, its strange but I don’t have and never have had fiery shooting pains, I feel bruised, like someone has kneed me in the butt, very stiff particularly after driving, my aches have again gone back to my hamstring, calf and now I have pins and needles in my foot again. My lower back is sore on the right hand side right at the bottom and throbs after a 20 minute walk. I hurt when I do the cobra.
Is this just teething problems should I stick it out? Any advice would be extremely welcome.

Pete
Gaspode
 
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Postby Peter B » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:15 am

Hey Pete (from another Pete),

I read your post this morning and could tell you're feeling pretty down. I wanted to tell you that things WILL get better if you give it some time. The first thing I had to do before I started recovering was make up my mind that I WOULD get better, and WOULD be able to heal myself. No questions, no doubts, just the simple undeniable truth that I was going to heal. It's amazing how powerful that belief can be in kickstarting your body off into the right direction.

When I first started the exercises, even the slightest attempt at the cobra was extremely painful. However, I persisted and within a couple weeks, I was able to rise up onto my elbows. It took another couple weeks to get up on my hands, and now I can do a full blown press up. One of the key things I found that really helped was working on my hamstring flexibility. I used a doorframe to allow me to stretch one leg while relaxing the rest of my body. It made a world of difference as I learned to relax the muscles that connected with my piriformis.

Try to keep going with the walking. I believe that has been another important element in my recovery. I started off with 3-4 walks a day, 20 minutes each time. I'm now up to 1.5-2 hours of walking a day. All of the other exercises will come in time as your back loosens up and the discs start to rehydrate. The foot tingling is a bugger to get rid of...it still comes and goes with me...but it also will improve.

Hang in there Peter. Keep believing your body can heal itself. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Pete
Peter B
 
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Thanks Peter

Postby Gaspode » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:08 am

Brilliant, thats what i needed all i ever get is negatives from the medics. I agree my state of mind needs to be better so today I am going to be positive. I will try those hamstring stretches. I have been trying the shifted cobra and with gritted teeth i can do stage 3 and feel relief when i go back to stage 2 then 1. I am eager to be better and in this game its patience that counts, I am learning this plus the need to put ME first.

Peter I really do appreciate the time you have made to pass on your thoughts there is no one around me that understands how hard it is to get up and get to work in the mornings. Anyway next update will be more positive thanks! :)

Peter B wrote:Hey Pete (from another Pete),

I read your post this morning and could tell you're feeling pretty down. I wanted to tell you that things WILL get better if you give it some time. The first thing I had to do before I started recovering was make up my mind that I WOULD get better, and WOULD be able to heal myself. No questions, no doubts, just the simple undeniable truth that I was going to heal. It's amazing how powerful that belief can be in kickstarting your body off into the right direction.

When I first started the exercises, even the slightest attempt at the cobra was extremely painful. However, I persisted and within a couple weeks, I was able to rise up onto my elbows. It took another couple weeks to get up on my hands, and now I can do a full blown press up. One of the key things I found that really helped was working on my hamstring flexibility. I used a doorframe to allow me to stretch one leg while relaxing the rest of my body. It made a world of difference as I learned to relax the muscles that connected with my piriformis.

Try to keep going with the walking. I believe that has been another important element in my recovery. I started off with 3-4 walks a day, 20 minutes each time. I'm now up to 1.5-2 hours of walking a day. All of the other exercises will come in time as your back loosens up and the discs start to rehydrate. The foot tingling is a bugger to get rid of...it still comes and goes with me...but it also will improve.

Hang in there Peter. Keep believing your body can heal itself. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Pete
Gaspode
 
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Postby Peter B » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:05 am

Hey Pete,

I'm glad my reply got through. For some reason whenever I post to the forum, and error message comes up, but the message usually appears after awhile...not sure why.

I look forward to hearing about your positive progress! There's no doubt in my mind that you'll start feeling better. Take things one step at a time, and try to remember to breathe deeply during those cobras (I found myself holding my breath anticipating the pain, which was pretty counter-productive).

I usually follow the cobras with the "cat" and "dog" mobility exercises...I also use the deep squat decompression exercise several times a day. It all helps to rejuvenate the discs.

By the way, when I was first diagnosed via CT scan, my lower back showed a "severe herniation" at the L5-S1 level that was impinging on the nerve...my family doc thought I was destined for surgery. Four weeks later, a follow up MRI showed a "slight protrusion" of the same disc, and there was no mention of nerve impingement. Not bad for four weeks, eh? That shows the power of positive thinking and hard work.

Peter
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Postby TBone » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:24 am

Hey Peter,

That is great news. I want to ask you about the hamstring stretches that you do using the door frame. I have had a tight hammy on and off for close to 5 years. As I did the advanced stretches, I had some issues with sciatica on the tight hammy side. I was hoping you could elaborate on how you perform these stretches using the door frame.

You gave Gaspode, and for that matter all of us, some great advice in your earlier post.

TIA,
TBone
TBone
 

Postby Peter B » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:01 pm

Hey Tbone,

The doorframe stretch is a great way to loosen the hamstrings. It's pretty simple. Just find a doorframe that you can lay down in front of. If you want to stretch your right leg, align your right hip with the edge of the frame, allow your left leg to pass through the frame, and bring your right foot up onto the frame itself. I like to start by having my leg bent a little, then drawn in a deep breath, and as you exhale, allow the leg to straighten. In doing so, your heel will slide up the frame. I do 4-5 of these extensions, then leave the leg fully extended and practice Dean's deep breathing exercises for 30 secs to one minute. If I'm feeling a little extra flexible, I'll slide my hip slightly past the frame, allowing for a deeper stretch. I always do both sides to try to keep balance in my body.

Hope that helps. Another option I've tried is laying underneath a table...it's basically the same idea as the frame, but you can alter the angle of the stretch a bit more. The main thing to focus on is relaxing into the stretch and letting the tension go...it's not easy at first, but it'll come. Laying on your back while stretching allows you to do the stretch without any muscular tension getting in the way.

Peter
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Postby TBone » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:22 pm

OK Peter,

I'll give that a try. Thanks.
TBone
 

Thanks Pete

Postby Gaspode » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:36 am

Yes thanks again, I must admit I was holding my breath during the cobra i shall try it tonight whilst breathing! I have added the hamstring stretch into my routine now. I am impressed with your scans, it goes to show the medics are not infallable. I feel more positive after your response and actually looked forward to my exercises this morning. I am thinking about moving on to the next level. I have tried the CAT but had to lay off as it hurt to much but I will get there! I will let you know how I get on.

Like you I have had trouble posting so i emailed Dean, he knows about it but doesnt know what to do. He did state that it usually turns up sooner or later. Cyber space, the next frontier !

Cheers

Pete
Gaspode
 
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Postby Peter B » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:57 pm

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to control your breathing during the exercises...it's so easy to fall into the trap of holding your breath, which I believe adds a lot of tension to the body. It's funny, but sometime when I do deep diaphramatic <sp> breathing during the crouching decrompression exercise, I actually get my spine to "pop", similar to when you get crunched during an adjustment. It feels good when it happens, but in the long run I hope to eliminate it as it's apparently a sign of core instability (at least that's what my PT says).
Peter B
 
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Hi Peter

Postby Gaspode » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:58 am

Just checking in. I continue to do the basic exercises and now some of the advanced plus the hamstring stretch you mentioned. Last night was a dozer, aching aching aching very little sleep. Fed up this morning so only did the cobra. I am 6 weeks into the programme now and i havent noticed any real improvement am i being to impatient? It hurts when i lay in bed on my right side now ( answer lay on left, laughing), back on the anti infamatories which helps. Got a letter from the consultant to go back and see him, thinking about making a voodoo doll of him and letting him know how it feels, may get more action then, laughing. Have you tried accupuncture? I dont like taking tablets but need some respite from the daily grind.
Pete
Gaspode
 
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Postby Peter B » Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:43 pm

During one of my physio sessions I tried acupuncture...contrary to what the PT said, it hurt like hell...especially in my right hip where the sciatic pain was most intense. I declined any further sessions.

Of course, everyone will heal at a different pace, but I think it's probably a good idea to just stick with the most basic stretches and mobility exercises until you're relatively pain free (sciatic pain that is), then move on to the more advanced exercises. Over the past week I've started working on the strengthening exercises...it's resulted in some soreness and stiffness, but not the same as the burning pain I had before. I would keep up the hamstring stretches, making sure you ease into them and use your breathing. I'd also highly recommend you get out for a 15-20 min walk at least 2-3 times a day to help keep things loose.

The hardest thing about this whole rebuilding process is staying patient and allowing your body the time to adjust to the new movements. It'll come...just don't push too hard and set yourself back.

Pete
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Cheers

Postby Gaspode » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:16 am

Yes, thats the problem lack of patience from my side. How long have you been doing these exercises? Like everyone its fitting things in. I read what Dean said about only a few minutes but I find that its taking me 40 mins to do the basics plus some of the more advanced. Time is a premium, I get up at 6:15 in order to leave the house for 7:30, I have an hours drive to work and then its mostly computer. When i am out the office its driving, yesterday i was in the car 9 hours in total, feeling it today! Any way reading the BOOK again it said 2-4 months so yes i am impatient, laughing. I cant seem to shift the sciatic pain my big toe is "burning" now but apart from that its bearable with a few tablets. I have an appointment for another epidural in mid September, I am hoping I can tell them where to stick it, Lol. I think i over did it with the hamstring stretches flaming leg was pulsing like anything afterwards so eased this off and just do a little stretch now. I am more positive and it helps talking to you so again thanks very much for your time and comments. If you need an encoraging word now and then just let me know ! All the best and have a good weekend. Pete
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Postby TBone » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:01 am

Hey Gaspode,

I remember when I relapsed in December of 2007. For a good 2-3 weeks I could barely sit or stand up straight. At around the third week, I helped a friend set up a new ping pong table. I told him that he would have to do all the heavy lifting. As we worked on it, I had to do a lot of squatting down to screw things in and such. I thought I was going to be very sore the next day. However, to my surprise, I found that I felt really good. I chalked it up to coincidence.

I found the RYB book in May of this year. One of the exercises, squatting (for decompression) is very similar to what I was constantly doing that night as we worked on the ping pong table. Now, I don't believe the relief that I felt the next day after working on the table was coincidence anymore.

I use the squatting exercise all the time. I must squat at least 10 times a day as I have to sit for 8 hours per day. I have found this to be the most useful exercise in the book.

Another funny thing...I injured my knee in May of 2007. I got an MRI which showed no tear, but I lost function in that knee. I could not fully bend it, and when I tried to, it felt like it was going to tear. Since I started doing the RYB exercises, that function has returned. Now, that could be coincidence, but I believe that a lot of lost flexibility is slowly returning due to these exercises.

Anyway, try the squat exercise and see if it works for you. You may want to grab a hold of something as you go down into the squat. I use the banister post of my stairs to hold on as I go down. I keep hold of it lightly as I squat for about 60 seconds. And, when you are done squatting, instead of trying to get back up, just go down onto the floor on all fours and rest for a couple of seconds. Once you get used to the exercise, then you can start to use your legs to push yourself up.

Take it easy,
TBone
TBone
 

Postby thealia » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:04 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am fairly new to this site just ordered the books last Thursday have not yet got the information to download.

Peter I just wanted to say your comments have been so encouraging and I think are helping all of us to keep hope alive.

It is nice to read from others who understand the pain and what we are going thru. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease with bulged disc in L-4, L-5, and Cervical areas and I have bad cocydonia pain but this has truly blessed me. I go for a steroid epidural next Thursday and hope to have the exercises so I can start right away.
I have been doing the three walks a day which at least stops the sciatic tingling and pins down leg and foot while you are walking.

Have a good evening everyone.
thealia
 
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Postby TBone » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:11 am

Thealia,

I think walking is a great idea. If I walk before doing my exercises, my flexibility is much better. In fact, yesterday, I was almost able to get my palms onto the floor on the forward bends. The best I was ever able to do was barely touch the floor.

This speaks to how important it is to warm up prior to exercising. Walking is now going to be a part of my routine.

Hang in there,
TBone
TBone
 

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