Page 1 of 1


Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:17 pm
by tomcat
Hi All

i have changed what i have been doing and have been a lot better the past couple weeks. have started doing the cobra stretch every 2 - 3 hours, and really working on the form. takes about 5 minutes to do 10 reps, and i probably average about 60-70 reps a day. the pain went away enough to quit taking NSAIDS, and the sciatica was reduced to a tingling in my calf, ankle and foot.

over the past 2 days (this sounds strange) i have been using the stairs in my office building and going up pretty fast. not a lot, maybe 10 times a day, and never more than two floors at a time. the tingling in my ankle and foot have almost disappeared. i have bad knees from old sports injuries, but have decided that knee pain is preferable to sciatica.

i haven't seen anything about going up stairs as a sciatica treatment, so after 8 months, it may just be time for me to be better.


Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:51 pm
by cygnet
Hi Tom,

That's great news! Congratulations on your improvement!

I'm curious: did you change your exercise/physical therapy routine before the improvement began, or did you start to feel better and were then able to do more exercise and physical therapy?

I ask because I am wondering if you did something different in your exercise routine that helped with healing...if so, maybe I will try it!

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:55 pm
by tomcat
Hi Cygnet

i've been at this about 8 months. started with having severe back pain and no strength and cramping type pains in my left leg. i went to a spinal specialist (MD) that did an MRI and some test where they stick needles in your leg and back to measure the nerve damage. anyhow, he recommended around 2 months of physical therapy. much of what i did in PT was the same as the RYB book. had some improvement, but was still in too much pain to function well. i heard the advertisements about IDD (disk decompression) and decided to try it. took almost three months. i really don't think it helped much.

i then started doing the RYB beginning exercises twice a day. have steadily progressed, but very slow. everytime i tried to increase the exercises, the sciatica would get worse. i can over emphasise how slow the progress was.

everything got a lot better faster when i started focusing on the cobras. my advise to anyone with sciatica would be to stick to the basic RYB stretches and do all the cobras you can. do them right, don't rush.

try going up several flights of stairs if you are able. (if this helps anyone else, please let us know)

hope this helps

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:26 pm
by cygnet
Hi Tom-

Well I live in a third floor apartment and own a dog, so I've been going up & down stairs at least 3 times a day for several weeks now (before that a friend kindly watched my dog for me due to the sciatica). I haven't noticed the stairs helping...but my sciatica doesn't include muscle weakness, just bad pain. I can see how stair climbing might help strengthen leg and hip muscles though.

I still can't even lie flat on my stomach, let alone do the cobra without causing bad pain in my leg. Maybe I just need to wait a while longer. It's only been four weeks so far with the sciatica. Only - ha ha. ONLY four weeks that I haven't been able to walk without doubling over in pain. :-)


Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:53 am
by krd
Hey Tomcat

I agree completely. The cobra is the best stretch for all sciatica sufferers. My PT had me doing them every 2 hours throughout the day. I do them 2 to 5 times a day now. Apparently, the cobra forces the herniated disk back in and away from the nerve root. We with herniated disks should not bend forward or do the knee to chest for a long time until the nerve root heals significantly.

So for all of you out there suffering with this beast, do the cobra as often as possible. Good luck.


Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:22 am
by randolph
Hey Tom

Great to hear about the breakthru!! Three cheers for the cobra!! My favorite exercise, too.

Cygnet asked an interesting question, that I'm not sure you answered directly. Did you increase your exercising/activity level in response to an improved condition .... or did you increase your activities, and then see the improved condition?

My experience, especially the last two weeks, indicates I can amp up my activities a lot more than a more timid part of me thinks my pain would allow ... and the pain seems to decrease, flexibility increases, in response to the challenge of the new activity. I'm not sure this would work for everybody, especially those with recent onset of symptoms, but it does give one cause to wonder.


Doing more...

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:04 pm
by krd
Hey Randolf

I can again speak from experience. When I went to my PT after the epidurals, he worked me hard. The first few weeks were very tough and the pain was worse when I left him than when I would come in. However, after about 3 weeks of intense PT, I noticed that the pain was less and that I could do more.

I than started doing the exercises everyday by myself and with him for the next 5 weeks. The turn around was amazing. He did have me doing nothing but the cobra for the first 3 weeks until my mobility increased. After that, I was doing rotation drills, lots of exercise ball drills, and lots of core exercises. Also, he would put me on a stationary bike that you would pedal with your hands. This helped to strengthen my upper back and was a great arm workout.

I am now fully operational, working, walking 3 miles every day, exercising constantly, and in the best shape since I was in my 30's (now 51). I am so thankful to see 2006 going. This has not been a good year. Happy New Year to all of you out there, and remember there is hope.


Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:44 pm
by randolph
So I guess, Ken, you're voting for doing more than your head tells you can do?

That must have been a tough first 3 weeks with your PT, going thru all that pain, and trusting that your PT knew his business better than your fear which was probably yelling inside to you, "this is going to KILL you!!". Did your PT ever tell you how you can tell the physical healing is complete enough and you can start challenging your limits as dramatically as you did?

I've also improved dramatically lately, in response to challenging myself to be more active. I am quite surprised, but, of course, delighted by the turn around, just as Tom is with his breakthru. If I hadn't challenged the chronic pain, and believed the fear which told me I was risking a relapse if I did too much, I'd still be waiting for improvement. I suspect I could have done this many months ago.


Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:12 pm
by tomcat
Hi All

I really didn't answer Cygnets question directly. Although it is a good question, i don't think there is one simple answer. I changed my exercise/physical therapy routine several times. I seemed to get better very slowly regardless of what i did. This was probably due to my exercises/stretching and just healing over time. The progress was a lot faster when I really started concentrating on the cobras. I wish someone had told me early on to do as many as possible and that 50 to 100 a day was a good goal. You probably can over do it, but i think you arms would give up first.

sciatic pain in left leg, groin and hip

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:23 am
by JJM
I have been doing the basic exercises for about 2 months along with some of the strethes for sciatic sufferers. I didn't realize, if your sciatic pain did not dissapear after 5 days, you should start doing the shifted cobra. I began doing the shifted cobra along with the rest of the basic exercises. My pain is getting better, but still not completely gone. The funny thing was, the first time I did the shifted cobra, my pain was completely gone for about a day and a half. So I am convinced, this program can work for me.
However, the pain is still there, and better some days than others. I have also had this pain for about 3 years now, so I don't expect it to dissapear overnight, although I was quite impressed when it dissapeared for that day and a half after doing the shifted cobra the first time.
After reading some of these posts about doing the cobra every 2 to 3 hours, I tried that, and it has helped some, but my back gets pretty tight and even experience some cramping at times. I quit doing the knee to chest exercises also. I still am doing the rest of the basic exercises twice a day also. I am not doing any other forms of exercise while Im doing the RYB program either.
My question to anyone out there is what would they recommend? Should I continue doing more cobras, and if so, should I continue to do them in the shifted position? Appreciate any advice, thanks