Need some verification, and encouragement.

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

Need some verification, and encouragement.

Postby drummind » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:45 am


I've been diagnosed with a herniated disk in the L5 - S1 area of my back. I currently have the sciatic nerve pain in my left buttock muscle, calf, and at the top of my left foot. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now. I've seen a chiropractor, and a neurologist. Of course, the neurologist is opting for surgery after six weeks.

I wake up each morning, tilted to the right side, because tilting to the left causes excruciating pain. I take a mucle relaxer, some arthritis Tylenol, and a perscription anti-inflamatory. I then proceed to alternate sitting in a chair, and standing for the first two hours of the morning, and eventually I'm able to stand relatively straight without major pain. I figure it is better to be doing this than lying down all the time, and hoping that I'm rehydrating my disk, and allowing myself to do streching.

I downloaded the book about 2 weeks ago, and have been trying to do the 3 step Cobra. So, once I get past the first two hours of the day, I start doing the Cobra, and also try some side bends, and try leaning back with my hands on my waist (this seems to hurt the most). I also find that standing with my legs sholder length or more apart, bend forward, putting my nose to my knee, and doing hamstring stretching seems to help a lot. I'm actually amazed I can do this without to much pain.

I drink several cups of coffee, which seems to help. I see people are drinking lots of water, which I'm trying to do later in the day as well. But in the morning, coffee seems to help me get my nerve pain to a managable level so I can do stretching.

I'm eating very little, and trying to loose weight. I'm also considering taking a laxative to clear myself out, and thinking about trying to find somewhere to go to get a colonic done. I didn't know if any of this would help or not. I'm 5 feet 9 inches, and currently weigh 182-185. I'm maybe 20 pounds overweight, which is not a big deal. But, I'm wondering if loosing this excess weight will help releave some pressure on my back.

I have been working from home - standing most of the day while signed in with my laptop. Standing for long periods of time, switching different positions of standing and leaning against a bar or sofa seem to help releave pain as well. Walking long distances seems to agravate the nerve pain. So, as much as I would like to walk to rehab, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

I really want to avoid surgery, but am getting pressure to go ahead with it if I haven't improved after 6 weeks. That's seems to be the average time of rehab for most people with sciatica. From what I've read here in the forums, it sounds like people have gone for months. My main problem with that is my work - being a software developer requires you to sit in front of a computer. Luckly I have a great setup at home with a wireless laptop. But, going back to work would require me to sit the majority of the time. I would have access to a walking track, and I would be able to get up an stretch whenever I want though, which is good.

So, this is my story up till now. Just looking for some pointers of what I might be doing right, or wrong. Any feedback at this point would be great. I apologize for such a long message. Just trying to get the whole picture of what I'm dealing with, what I should continue to do, and what I should not be doing.



Been there done that

Postby krd » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:57 pm

Hey I had the same thing this spring. It hurt big time. Same pain down to my foot. Finally just shut down and totally relaxed for 10 weeks before doing any exercises. I am finally feeling fine, some times there is a little tightness in my lower back and buttocks, but I relax for a few days and all is well again. Don't start on the exercises until the pain leaves you completely. I will check on your progess. Good luck and I will be praying for you.
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Postby Bud Schrader » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:06 am

Hi drummind,

The thing about sciatica is that it is different for every person. The RYB book is meant as an overall back rebuilding program and the trick when it comes to sciatica is to pick the exercises that work for you. Once you get past the pain, then you'll do the whole program.

If an exercise causes you pain, don't do it now. Do it later after the pain is gone. For me, the cobra exercise worked wonders. But the forward bending ones caused my symptoms to worsen.

It was the exercises that relieved my pain. But I had to pick the ones that were right for me. Once I did, it only took a couple of weeks to get past the pain.

I do the whole program now and I swear by it. They wanted to perform surgery on me, too and I'm so glad I didn't listen. I haven't had one bit of pain in 3 months and I believe if you hang in there, you'll make it.

Bud Schrader
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Postby Guest » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:43 am

Hello Dave!

I'm so very glad you found this site.

Have you noticed all the success stories on this forum from folks, with symptoms like yours, who have used RYB to rebuild their backs without surgery? It really encourages me to read them again and again. Many have "been there, done that". It certainly sounds like it would be worth a try to give RYB a try first before opting for surgery.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to lose the extra weight, insuring that you still get abundant nutrients to support your body's healing efforts. Google "glyconutrients" for supernutrient-rich foods.

I'm not too crazy about all the drugs you're taking. I'm into the 10th week since injury brought on similar sciatic symptoms. Until the 6th week I had to take OTC NSAIDs/tylenol, like you, just to get some sleep, but after that, with the pain dulled out by the drugs during the day, I tended to do too much and go too far with the exercises, irritating the nerve (but not feeling it 'til the next day after the drugs wore off), which seemed to prevent healing. For the last 4 weeks I haven't used any drugs, including caffeine (I tend to feel bullet-proof on the stuff), just do what I can, slowly, gently until the nerve starts to flare, then rest an hour or two until I can do some more exercises without too much pain. The progress has been annoyingly slow, but steady. Don't notice improvement from day to day, but week to week, definitely less pain, more flexibility. Mostly, I do the beginning exercises, with a few of the advanced exercises that can be done w/o pain.

Be sure to read KRD's other posts - KRD's further along on the path to rebuilding a better back and started from a similar place. And Frank's posts, too. He struggled, successfully, with similar doubts and concerns. Very encouraging.

People who try to motivate with fear (as it seems the neurologist is doing) are a red flag to me. It's also my understanding that it's a neuroSURGEON you want to consult if you've got the $$$/insurance.

The healing/rebuilding process can be slow, to be sure. But it sounds like, with a little creativity and patience, you can work at your computer some while your back heals/rebuilds. And keep coming back here. There's a lot of learning and UNlearning we each need to do to get comfortable with the process.

Good luck, and looking forward to reading your progress reports!

Postby drummind » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:42 am

Thanks everyone for the responses thus far. I will try to lay off the exercises that still hurt, and keep you posted. I've also reduce my drug intake to the mornings, when things hurt the worst. But, maybe I'll try to cut that for a couple of days, and see how I do. The coffee/caffine might be the hardest thing to give up. I think I'm going to stick with it unless anyone has a serious case against it.

Thanks again,


Postby randolph » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:18 am

Hello again, Dave

That website with info on super-nutrient rich foods is I'm sold on the vital importance of optimizing diet/elimatiing junk food to help the body heal and maintain optimal weight. Not so sure whether supplements really work above and beyond the placebo effect, but I've really been loading up on the MSM, chondroitin, minerals, essential proteins, glyconutrients, anyway just in case they do work.

Regarding coffee: as a long-time truck driver, caffeine is a vital link to my being able to do those crazy hours. I had a lot of undesirable side-effects to drinking coffee, but found I got the same lift from drinking green tea and taking green tea supplements, without the too-loose bowels, irritability, shakes, inability to sleep, joint aches. Cheaper, too!

I'm glad to see so many folks giving you so much good advice and encouragement. Sounds like you've got a good chance to rebound from your sciatica, but as Dean says, if it's the sciatic nerve that's been injured, healing can take several months, even after the pain subsides.
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