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Foot pain and sciatica

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:48 pm
by ricecracker
Hello, I posted in the introduction and I have additional concerns about my foot. Although my back bothers me intermittently (it hasn't really bothered me today), when I try to walk around, my left foot hurts, right where the arch is and above where there's that little ball. Is this typical? It is really bothering me because I feel fit to walk, but after a few minutes, it hurts. This has been happening for the last few days now ( with the exception of the sharp pain on the right side yesterday).

Do I ice it, and then heat it?

It's so mystifying and frustrating as I could not find a section in the book about the foot, or perhaps you can direct me where to go should I might have missed it. thanks

Needless to say, in spite of my relative computer ignorance, I have managed to DL the book--I have done the first exercises (rebuilding your back phase)--up tp the full cobra. My arms are rather a bit sore, I hope this is par for the course.

Anyway, thanks again for any input from any of you.

I wish you well.

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:18 pm
by randolph
Hey ricecracker

Just heard a great NPR program on our country's changing medical system (maybe you saw the video on PBS?). Some practical advice to medical consumers seemed really appropriate, for you, and a reminder to some of us (?): we have every right to be persistent (but nice) pains in the ass to our medical care providers. In fact the program advised that it was the most effective way to get the best care. I think it's related to the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" thing.

At any rate ... back to your immediate concerns. I'm also addressing your concerns on your other post on tlc's thread.

Ibuprofen (or other OTC NSAIDs like naproxen/aleve) are great for pain relief. That's all they do (they don't cause healing) ... but they're great for getting sleep if your pain is keeping you up. The danger is relying on them during the day so you continue doing your normal activities, which can further injure the nerve, but you won't feel the pain. There's a famous baseball pitcher in sporting news these days, Randy Johnson, of the New York Yankees, who recently found out he's got a herniated, lower disc. He received a couple epidurals to mask the pain so he could pitch. If I was being paid a million $$ a month like he is, I guess I'd do it too ... but the problem is, after the World Series, his back is going to be MUCH worse than if he'd rested and minimized activity till he could pitch without pain or drugs. That's just me; I hope others will chime in on what drugs they've used for pain relief, and how they've used them. I limited their use to just helping me get to sleep at night.

I found great pain relief, alternating ice and heat on my lower back, as Dean recommends in his books, during the day for pain relief during my first 6 weeks of sciatica, whenever I had to lie down because doing ANYTHING vertical hurt..

Your pain symptoms sound familiar to me. Try googling up a picture of the sciatic nerve. Over the last year, I've had pain along every place in my leg and hip and foot that it runs thru ... thankfully, not all at the same time! It's called referred pain. The cause of the pain is unnatural stimulation of the sciatic nerve by the bulging or herniated disc irritating it. But we don't feel the pain at the irritation; for some reason we feel the pain anywhere down the length of the nerve (that's why ice/heat on the lower back helps all the way down to your toes ... at least it did me). Oddly, it seems most sciatic pain sufferers don't usually have back pain at the point of irritation (thank God for small favors).

I'd really like to encourage you to jump right in and experiment with Dean's exercises and stretches. No one knows your body better than you. Just do what you can, until it begins to hurt, then back off. That goes for walking too. When it starts to hurt your foot while walking ... it's time to get horizontal. (Time to read and play board games with your daughter!) At first it seems like all you get to do is lie down, but you'll gradually build up your endurance so you can do more. If you can afford it, getting the advise of a PT would probably be helpful (Jeannette is pleased with the one she visits); but most of us seem to be doing fine with the exercises without the supervision of a PT.

I don't know where your GP got the "4 weeks to recovery" time line. Maybe she knows something. I'd ask her how she knows. Recovery times seems to vary widely from one person to the next. But I would think that the younger you are, the faster you'll heal.

Good luck with the program!


Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:58 pm
by ricecracker
Many thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions, Randolph--you're awesome.

I think that I will go back to my doctor for further questions and examination. You see, I have the nagging suspicion (hopefully that is all it turns out to be) that I may have injured my foot separately (plantar fasciitis?), and that it might be an injury resulting from all the jumping and impact from my workouts. I worked out everyday pretty intensely to battle the urge to smoke. Yes, to top it all off, I just ceased smoking also 11 weeks ago.

At any rate, I was googling like mad on foot pain as it relates to sciatica. It occured to me to just look for foot pain as a separate issue. Maybe I am just being paranoid or overly thinking this, since this is all I do these days, think, worry, cry, think, worry, cry...well, you get the picture. I am still kind of in denial--I liken it to the 5 stages of dying (so melodramatic, I know). In any case, if it is an athletic injury, I read that to lay off that foot for 6-8 weeks!--that walking on it can really make it worse, which makes the recommendations for sciatica relief damaging? Am I making sense? I am even thinking about using crutches; would this cause further injury to sciatica, or would it even matter? Thanks again for any anwer.

You are so right, we have every right to be persistent--I have to learn to be for me. In the past, I have been really passive about my health, cavalier even.

Anyway, I have been doing the stretches--sort of blindly doing them, hoping for the best, doing my best to follow instructions. I find that Dean's approach makes a lot of sense.

I will make another appt tomorrow with my doctor. I Hope you can see this post before my visit--I would like your input as to any further questions I should ask her. It is rather reassuring, however, at this point, that others share similar symptoms--eases the paranoia at this point about this foot business as a separate issue. This site and particularly you, Randoph, has been my entire support and lifeline.

Thank you so much again--BTW, my daughter has been so lovely, helpful, understanding, about this entire thing--I am blessed to have her.

Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:57 am
by ricecracker
I'd really like to encourage you to jump right in and experiment with Dean's exercises and stretches. No one knows your body better than you. Just do what you can, until it begins to hurt, then back off. That goes for walking too. When it starts to hurt your foot while walking ... it's time to get horizontal.
See, this is where I am confused. I am in 2nd week since diagnosis. Should I be doing the stretches even when I am not in pain and when pain starts, stop? I did the stretches up to the side bends yesterday morning, first chance I could. By the end of the day, I was making dinner and my back hurt a lot more than it ever had since I've been injured. WHat was that all about?

I had to ice/heat it. I then took painkiller at bedtime so that I can sleep. Speaking of shich Up until last night, I have had about 2 hours of sleep in 72 hours. I was thinking, this cannot be good for healing.

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:54 am
by SeafordMdf
I hope others will chime in on what drugs they've used for pain relief, and how they've used them. Randolph
Hi Folks ,

I've only tried Ibuprofen , Asprin & Paracetamol .

Ibuprofen & Asprin both worked well for the first box of 24 Tablets and then seemed much less effective :?:

Paracetamol is consistantly reliable , So that is what I use most of the time .

I've not tried any stronger medications ( And I don't really want to go down the Strong Stuff path either ) :shock:

I'm fortunate to need to only take tablets during the awake hours as I'm 99% pain free whilst in bed .

Also I'm lucky to have a high pain threshold , so I don't take many tablets , On a BAD week maybe 12 Total for the whole week , On a good week only maybe 2 or 4 Tablets total .

But Medication affects us all differently , So what is good for me , may not be good for someone else !

Try all the standard OTC soft painkillers and see what works best for you .

If you can avoid the really strong ones , That's the path I would advise .
I did the stretches up to the side bends yesterday morning, first chance I could
Ricecracker It's probably not a good idea to launch into exercises the very first thing in the morning after getting out of bed .

Let your body bear some weight on the spine and normalise itself before you hop in the exercise routines ( 1 Hour or so into the day )

Later All ,


Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:32 am
by randolph
You are SOOOOO right, Mark: not a good thing to jump out of bed and first thing start exercising vigorously. May be the "macho" thing to do ... but not very back friendly. I've tried both ways ... and now wait to stretch and sweat till late morning or early afternoon. And thanks for your interesting comments on how you use pain medications.

By now, Ricecracker, I guess you've seen your doctor. Learn anything interesting? Did she throw any light on the possibility that you're "merely" dealing with a relatively, easy healing exercise injury ... or does sciatica due to disc damage seem more likely???

I think it takes all of us a LOOOOOONG time to get thru the denial stage of this change to our previously, generally good health. I was also pretty cavalier about my health, too .... never really believed I was going to get health problems like all those "old fogies" out there who weren't "keeping care of themselves like I was!!" I still have night-dreams of running for hours like I used to before sciatica moved in, so waking up is still a bit of a shock sometimes!!

As to that aching back after you recently made dinner at the end of your day ... I suspect that was your signal that you'd been too active. Maybe ... pace yourself a bit slower? Spend more time horizontal?? In the beginning of my sciatica, my limits on daily activities were extremely severe - no walking, could only crawl to the bathroom and back to bed. Everything I did, was done on the floor, including helping with kitchen food prep by creatively figuring out how to use the juicer, blender, chopping board, etc., on the floor. It's just really vital in the beginning to figure out how to minimize any activity, like walking, so you can heal enough to walk without pain. In my case, it was two months before I could stand for more than a few seconds without pain ... and then gradually extended the time I could stand ... then walk.

I'm REALLY glad to here about the wonderful support you are receiving from BTW. :D And REALLY REALLY glad you've stopped smoking. Did that too, 30 years ago (the smoke still smells good to me ... but have managed to not light up again since then :D )