Posts Tagged ‘back pain’

Hope Beyond Sciatica

“I hate to tell you this, but I will have to take a week off.” With my cell phone to my ear, I waited nervously for my boss’ reaction.

“A whole week?” he said, surprised.

After a short discussion, my employer digested the news and we hung up.

Amid my health slowly declining – not being able to sit or stand for any certain amount of time, I found myself reduced to lying in bed. I was diagnosed with a pinched sciatic nerve – commonly known as Sciatica.

Replica of my scan.

Consulting my chiropractor, he performed a medical exam. The red and yellow markings on the screen showed obvious pressure on my lower lumbar, as well as my shoulders. My right hip was pinching the nerve, causing me to suffer pain in my back. We immediately started on a regimen of three adjustments per week (rather than my normal routine of twice per month), plus massage therapy two times a week. The pain, at first, was unbearable; the 10 ibuprofen gel caps I was swallowing throughout the day didn’t even touch the hurt.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that travels the sciatic nerve and its extensions – from the back down to the buttock and leg. Starting at the spinal cord, it runs the length of the hip and buttock area down the backside of each leg. It is important to note that, “Sciatica is a symptom, not a disorder.” [1] (The Mayo Clinic’s explanation of Sciatica, is defined on their web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sciatica/DS00516).

Riding a roller coaster of unwanted warning signs lead me track by track to painful places I didn’t want to go. I had to focus on one day at a time, keeping my emotions in check. One thing I did recognize well about this symptomatic distress – it was by no means predictable. I didn’t know from hour to hour how my quality of life would be affected. Would I be able to sit all day at work or go walking? Would I be capable of writing as long as I like or prepare a meal? Even though I felt good from time to time, I wasn’t completely healed, so I guarded myself against a false sense of security.

Chiropractic adjustments aided to relieve the nerve from tension on my hip and continued to slowly release me to a stable condition. Massage therapy helped alleviate muscle stress that built up in-between adjustments. Through pressure point assistance (not trigger point) and lightly stretching the muscles, I received great relief.

(I did not get an MRI to see if I truly had a disc problem, which is the number one reason for Sciatica, because I was not going to consider surgery. It would have cost me too much money out of pocket to have the imaging just to see if I had a disc problem. I already knew I did.)

Self Care

Self care can help ease Sciatica, which you can discuss with your doctor. In my case, I am not completely out of the woods yet. I am doing a lot better since I went to physical therapy (after two months with Sciatica) and received instructions for stretching my spine, as well as sitting with a lower lumbar roll and walking every day. Because everyone’s body is different as to how it reacts, each person should consult a doctor or chiropractor before seeing a massage or physical therapist for Sciatica.

With these tools I have been able to keep the symptoms at bay. My disc in my back still hurts from time to time, but that is normal for the healing process. When nerves flare up, that’s when I know I need correction and take appropriate action to adjust the cause (usually chiropractic adjustment).

Prayer

I know that ultimately I would not be where I am today without the support of praying friends. God ultimately is my healer, and although He uses humans to help with the process, He will always get the glory for making me well. “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Peter 5:10).”

I am confident that with endurance, guidance, and prayer, there is hope to live a normal, active life, beyond Sciatica.

*UPDATE: Since I started writing this blog, I have been virtually pain free for over a month! I have been walking up to 3 miles per day, able to work all day and sleep better! Praise God for His healing!

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