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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

My guess would be that you are attempting too much too soon. I have found that it takes relatively little activity to cause inflammation when you are so early in recovery. Once it starts, it can be difficult to control.

It is very easy to aggravate nerves in the lower lumbar, sacral area. The sciatic nerve runs right beneath the piriformis muscles in the buttocks. The walking and stretching may have aggravated the soft tissue, which then swells and presses on the sciatic nerve, which leads to the increase in leg pain.

I had a fusion surgery in June and am still dealing with this exact issue. I'm OK walking almost any distance, but if I do certain PT exercises, swim or do anything where my leg is in even a tiny amount of extension, it sets off a chain reaction. The piriformis tightens, which pulls on the attachment at the hip, causing some hip pain...then the piriformis swells which presses on the sciatic nerve. If I cut back on activity, it eventually goes away, but it can take a long time to resolve. I continue to be amazed at the very small amount of activity that can set off this whole process and it does get frustrating.

In your situation, with your career and your desire to get on the slopes, I imagine you are pressing yourself to recover as fast as possible. Unfortunately, there is no hurrying the process, and you can cause more problems by being too aggressive.

I urge you to follow your doctor's orders. People often do not realize the importance of giving their bodies a chance to heal completely. In the case of spine surgery, trying to rush the process often results in future problems down the road...reherniations, etc.

You may find that you will need to back off a little bit. Are you using ice? If you are inflamed, it might help to use ice around the incision site. But you should ask your surgeon if it would be appropriate. I know some surgeons do not want their patients using ice....That being said, I found after my surgery when I had horrid nerve pain on the front of my thigh, ice was the ONLY thing that helped ease the pain....pain meds didn't touch it.

If you had to miss a month of skiing in order to recover completely, would it be the end of the world? Give yourself permission to rest and heal. I wish you the best in your recovery.

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