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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Re: Sciatica
May 6, 2003
Hi railinas and welcome :wave:

You are at a point right, in choosing the path you will be travelling until the next change occurs (usually around 7 years). I hope you read this very, very carefully....because what you decide to do out of choice, and what you decide to do out of necessity are completely up to you.

You CAN beat this. I can sense your strength of both mind and body, and a seeking spirit that can bring you what you desire. That is the key -- you must heal the mind, body and spirit in order to truly be well. I too, was a horsewoman. I showed in Western, taught kids how to ride and trained horses. They were my life. Yes...I see you noticed my use of the past tense. It was because I chose the "unpreferred" path, thinking it was the preferred path. Which was to (da da da da) be cured one morning and go out, get up on a horse and go running in the fields, bareback and in shorts and bare feet. The wind streaming through my hair, the ground still moist from the morning dew. The air is crisp and the birds abound, singing their beautiful songs. Wow....I still remember those days vividly. :)

I am telling you this because what I am going to say will be rather disturbing, something you really do NOT want to hear. But I feel like you must hear it... and then make YOUR choice(s). You have a lot of knowledge at your disposal on this board, I sincerely hope you utilize it. we go. Your description of pain was identical to mine, especially the part about your bum and the sharp (agonizing, burning, feels like a hot knife is being twisted in there) pain eminating within the right cheek, go to dead-center of right cheek then off towards the right a thumb-width, now go inside the body half way to the front of your body (it's DEEP inside). And BINGO! I close? :D

You've got classic symptoms of a herniated disk at L4/L5 or L5/S1. The pain that shoots down to your feet, does it go to the top of your foot to toe(s)? Or to the side of your right foot--and inside or outside. Be conscious of your body and start writing down exactly WHAT you are feeling, when, where and what you did (or didn't do) to feel that way. Keep this journal easily accessible and write in it whenever you think of it (so don't stop if you didn't write for a day). This is your A#1 defense in getting well -- trust me on this one. Otherwise you are going to get those "typical" diagnoses. Keeping control of your body and it's symptoms, there are so many things going on in there. Too much to keep track of, really. Which is why you need to keep the journal. You will also begin to see patterns..... which will enable you to function longer because you work WITH your patterns and not stubbornly against them (like you always used to do before you were hurt).

The first 2 things I would do (which I didn't do years ago because I didn't know any better) are: #1 STOP RIDING for one month. Go and be with your horse every day (or whatever your normal routine is)...spring is here so you can walk to a place where tasty grass is and just enjoy being there while horsey enjoys the tasty morsels. But I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT RIDE FOR ONE MONTH or at least until your doctor gives you the OK. I wish I had known and did that, I might be able to ride today if I had taken care of my back. My injury had nothing to do with horses or riding... but my surgery did, as well as my decision to be there for my children (then 2 & 4).

Your back is an extremely slow healer. There is no blood supply getting to your disk -- and blood carries the healing agents to injured or sick body parts. So the only thing that is going to heal your back is time. Lots and lots of it. But you's not THAT bad if you know what is ahead of you, you can deal with it then -- right?

I suspect you have a tear and/or a herniated disk at the 2 disks I mentioned above. There are non-invasive surgeries available -- leaving NO scars whatsoever. You are young and will have NO problem recuperating and getting back to your old self. But honey....your old self is broken! You need to go to a back specialist and get an MRI done. If "all it shows" is a mild bulge at L5/S1, you most likely have a hernia. But the MRI will not show tears. Only a discogram will show that, and they aren't fun. But you do what you gotta do to get well.

The next time you get a prescription for PT...ask for water therapy. It IS THE BEST for sciatica ... for ALL back problems for that matter. The weightlessness gives relief and allows for a more fluid movement of lower body parts.

Upper body strengthening is important as well as posture, getting in and out of cars, up stairs (dollars to donuts you don't walk up stairs correctly). Nobody does. As my therapist would say... "you Americans have the worst body mechanics I have ever seen (she is Swedish)--you can't walk right, sit or even get out of a bed the right way!"

Whatever workouts you do should be done with a professional nearby or with you. You really shouldn't try "your own regimen", because you only "know" what you have done in the past (the exercises, etc.). But your body is not the same right now, you need different exercises to strengthen not just your back -- but I would suspect you need to strengthen your hamstrings too. If walking upstairs causes a lot of pain, then your hammer (that's what I call the hamstring) needs to be worked on.

I guess that's enough for bum is getting sore ;) But if you have know where we are. :D Good luck to you.

Oct 2000: Repetitive Stress Injury-Inverted Hernia
Feb 2001: MRI. Shows only slight bulge at L4-L5
Dec 2001: Discogram/CT scan shows Inverted Hernia at L5-S1. L4-L5 & L5-S1 ruptured in all 4 quadrants. Unable to walk.
Feb 2002: IDET, Nucleoplasty, Intra-Discal Injections
Sept 2002: Rated in the top 10% for successful patients. Retraining for new career.

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