confused, need advise

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

confused, need advise

Postby conchita » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:55 pm

Hi everyone, I also have a large herniated disc on my L5 S1 that is affecting my sciatica nerve. This is my second flare up, and I have been pretty much bedridden since Jan 1st. ( great way to start the new year...)I am going on 5 weeks... After consulting two orthopedic surgeons, they both recommended a discketomy, they claim is no big deal, however I am not thrilled with the idea, I never had surgery before. I would rather try all other conservative methods first, that would e my very last option. I had a spinal injection last week and has not helped too much, I can now maybe stand for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes at a time. I still cannot sit on a chair. In bed is where I am most comfortable.
My confusion comes on what to do next, some people tell me acupuncture, others physical therapy(the doctors said NO), others said try a chiropractor, everyone seems to give me a different sugestion and I am so confused! I downloded the book this weekend and it makes a lot of sense. However some of the exercises require that you lay down on the floor and that is something that I cannot do. Could I do those same exercises in bed? Any advise to help me improve will be greatly appreciated. I am 42 pretty active up until now... thank you
conchita
 

Re: confused, need advise

Postby Jeanette » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:11 pm

conchita wrote:Hi everyone, I also have a large herniated disc on my L5 S1 that is affecting my sciatica nerve. This is my second flare up, and I have been pretty much bedridden since Jan 1st. ( great way to start the new year...)

I am so confused! I downloded the book this weekend and it makes a lot of sense. However some of the exercises require that you lay down on the floor and that is something that I cannot do. Could I do those same exercises in bed? Any advise to help me improve will be greatly appreciated. I am 42 pretty active up until now... thank you


Conchita -- Ow! Five weeks in bed with pain is NOT good. :( I've been working through my first bout with sciatica -- though not the first with back problems -- and, believe me, you have my sympathy. NOT moving around, however, is not good for your back and other joints. The muscle structure that supports your back and keeps the vertebrae aligned gets weak with too little use which doesn't help the problem.

Which book did you download? At this point, The Pain Relief Manual would probably be the most useful for you as it provides help for acute pain. You may be able to do some of the exercises on your bed IF you have a firm mattress. Maybe someone else has a better idea?

You say you've seen two orthopedic surgeons. The key word there is "surgeons". Surgery's what they do. I suggest you look for a physiatrist or sports medicine physician for another opinion -- preferably not someone in the same practice as the orthopedic surgeons you consulted earlier. There are times when surgery may be necessary, but those times are not as frequent as some physicians would have you think. I think you're wise to see surgery as a last resort.

You might also want to look at Dean's articles on herniated disks. His source materials are something you might want to follow up on, too, if you need more information. And if you explore this site a bit, you'll find a number of people with herniated disks who are rebuilding their backs.

The process can be slow, painful and frustrating, but making a plan and taking action is empowering even as you grit your teeth through another sleepless night.

Good luck.
Jeanette
 
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Than you Jeanette

Postby conchi » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:13 am

Jeanette,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my message.
I understand so well what you mean when you say that being bedridden for this long is not good. Unfortunately I don't have too many options at this point and that worries me a lot. Luckily I can get up to shower and can last about 10 minutes or so... I try to get up every hour and walk around for another 5 to 10 minutes, however long I can last. Sitting is still not possible, I can stand it for no more than 3 minutes or so.

The book I downloaded was Rebuild Your Back. I will look into dowloading the one you mentioned.

As far as the doctor's... I agree with you, they are surgeons so they suggest surgery right away. I don't like judging anyone, but I think they see that I am a young active and athletic woman and they think that with the discketomy, it would be my fastest form of relief, short term. I just don't feel comfortable about the long term effects of this type of surgery.

I feel terrible not being able to go to work, I am a Spanish teacher and I feel that my students need me ( they can' find anyone to replace me in the school...) luckily I don't need the income, but I feel responsible and so frustrated. Not to mention having my loved ones do everything for me. They have been so wonderful, but it's hard depending on them for everything.

I will never take anything as simple as walking or sitting, bending, etc for granted. I can't wait to get back my life.

Thank you so much for your time!

Conchita
conchi
 
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Postby Trina » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:05 am

Hi Conchita,

Definately put off the surgery as long as you can. It sounds like you're on the right track. I agree with Jeanette, the Pain Relief Manual might also be helpful if you're having trouble doing the back rebuilding exercises. I use exercises from both in my daily routine especially the ones for sore knees.

Keep us posted on your progress,
Trina
Trina
 
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Postby conchi » Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:02 pm

Trina,

Thank you for your message. This week I see some improvement, I am able to stand for 20 minutes at a time, so much better than 5 - 10 minutes a few days ago.

I will keep you posted.
thank you for caring,

Conchita

Trina wrote:Hi Conchita,

Definately put off the surgery as long as you can. It sounds like you're on the right track. I agree with Jeanette, the Pain Relief Manual might also be helpful if you're having trouble doing the back rebuilding exercises. I use exercises from both in my daily routine especially the ones for sore knees.

Keep us posted on your progress,
Trina
conchi
 
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Postby Jeanette » Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:04 pm

conchi wrote:
Trina,

Thank you for your message. This week I see some improvement, I am able to stand for 20 minutes at a time, so much better than 5 - 10 minutes a few days ago.

I will keep you posted.
thank you for caring,

Conchita



Conchita -- So glad to hear that you're up for longer periods of time. Even if it seems like a baby step, it's really a BIG one! Twenty minutes several times a day or every hour or so if you can is quite an increase. Atta girl

I know you'd asked about exercises you might do in bed. Are you able to get down to the floor yet? Usually, it's not the getting down -- it's the getting up. You might be able to help yourself by keeping a short stool (like a kitchen stepstool) or a chair handy to help you rise. If you still can't get down to the floor or if you don't have a satisfactory surface to work on, you can do some of the exercises on a firm mattress, especially the "back pain relief positions starting on p 118 of The Pain Relief Manual.

Once you're able to start doing some of the basic exercises (pp 40 ff) in Rebuild Your Back, you may find some exercises more user-friendly on the floor or a firm mattress -- at least at first.

The idea until you can start rebuilding in earnest is to get yourself moving. And if something hurts, DON'T DO IT. I'm sure you know what pain is , but you might want to look at Dean's discussion of "Soreness vs. Pain (RYB, pp 54-55) 'cause after being in bed so long, it's likely you may have twinges and soreness here or there as you start adding more movement to your day.

Again, so glad to hear you're making progress. Keep it up!
Jeanette
 
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Postby conchi » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:13 pm

Jeanette,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I have made some good progress over the weekend. As I had mentioned, I went from being able to walk for 5-10 minutes, to 20 minutes... now I am able to walk for 30-35 minutes and can sit for short periods of time, something I could not do before. I can't say this improvement is from the exercises in the book, since I have not had a chance to download the Pain relief manuel yet. I downloaded the Rebuild your back and if I understand it correctly the exercises listed there are to be done after you are healed. Am I correct on that?
The one new thing I have done was acupuncture, I heard great things about it and thought it would not hurt to try it, since there is no manipulation involved or anything risky. I had one treatment Friday and one today. Now I don't know if it is just coincidence that I am making more progress since then or what. Or could it be my body doing its own healing after 5 weeks of recovery... I wonder.

Thank you again, it's great to hear feedback.
Conchita
conchi
 
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Postby Jeanette » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:04 pm

Hi again, Conchita -- I'm delighted to hear that you're able to stand up and walk around more -- even sit. Great! :D

Although bedrest is sometimes necessary, under most circumstances the shorter you can make that part of the healing the better. As you point out, acupuncture -- unlike drugs and manipulation -- has few side effects at this stage. After all, if you can't move because you're in pain -- that's counter-productive. And if part of your pain is induced by muscles tense with pain, you're trapped in an endless loop. Interrupting that pain/ tension cycle may have positive effects. 8)

Actually, there are some exercises in RYB that you can start on once your pain is mostly gone. Depending on the origin and location of the pain, they may actually help relieve it. As I think I mentioned earlier, "lying on your stomach" (p 41, RYB) helped me. (I still do that before and during most of my exercise sessions.) But early on I had to do what Dean calls "Leg Elevation" (p 122, TPRM) first in order to be able to lie on my stomach at all. The "Elbow Raise" was good for me, too, but I still can't do the "Full Cobra" -- straight or modified. You might also try "Knee Ups" (RYB, p 51). In the early stages -- and when your back is tired -- those feel pretty good.

Two caveats:

1. If it hurts, back off. There are no prizes for working "through" pain. Up to, maybe, but not through. There's always tomorrow.

2. Whatever you do, once the pain is gone, don't forget that your work has just started.

Keep it up.
Jeanette
 
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Postby conchi » Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:56 pm

Than you Jeanette, you are wonderful!

Noow I am able walk around for and hour at least once a day and the rest of the times I get up, for about 30 minutes or so. I went to the orthopedic doctor for a follow up appoinment and was able to sit in the car, while talking to the doctor and on the way back home, that was over one hour in total. By the time I got home I had to lay down, but that was some progress... By the way the doctor was happy to see the improvement and quickly reminded me that if I start getting worse again or just can't wait any longer, that the discketomy would quickly take care of it. He wants to see me again in 3 weeks.

I am anxious to start trying some of the basic exercises and see what happens. I will keep you posted.

Thank you!
Conchita
conchi
 
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Keep on hanging in there...

Postby krd » Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:39 am

conchita

I have been reading your posts. I too had suffered my first bout of sciatica this past April. I couldn't do anything for approximately 6 weeks. Then I started walking even if the pain was there. It took me 3 months util I was pain free enough to try the stretching exercises. I also bought an inversion table. I think that it helped me, but I know that the exercises are definitely helping. I try to do them at least once a day, but life gets too busy sometimes. Anyhow, I am now pain free, still some tightness somedays. I am able to do everything that I used to do, so I will continue with the exercises in Dean's book and the inversion table. Remember to ice you back alot during the pain and even after the exercises. Good luck.

KRD
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Re: Keep on hanging in there...

Postby conchi » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:27 pm

Krd,

Thank you so much for your message. It gives me great hope to know you are doing so well after such a difficult recovery. I am making great progress since the last week ( this is my 6th week since my excrutiationg flare up) but I still have to lay down after walking around for an hour or sitting, and I still take celebrex and hydrocodone two times a day... Where you taking pain medication for a while?

Thank you so much for your time.
Conchita
conchi
 
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Pain Relief

Postby krd » Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:44 am

conchi

The only pain medications I would take were Advil. It didn't give me much relief, but any port in a storm so to speak. I have a very high pain tolerance, and that helped. However; I have never had pain as bad as that sciatica attack. I try hard to maintain the stretching exercises, and sometimes, my back is "tight", but the sciatic pain has not returned since last July. I try to remain active, walking, golf, and that seems to help. If the tightness returns, I lay low for a few weeks and then I get back to the standard activities. Just hang in there and if the pain is too great, just shut down... walking was all that I would do. Remember - "this too shall pass". I will be checking in on your progress.

KRD
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