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Diary of a Sciatica Sufferer

Updated on November 6, 2014

How I'm Getting Relief from the Pain of Sciatica

Sciatica can be a pain in the backside! Literally! I first suffered from Sciatica in October 2011, and for just over 6 months, I was in a lot of pain. I had my good days and my bad days. Luckily, more good. Back then, I could hardly stand or sit down without severe sharp pains running down my legs, radiating from my right hip and piriformis muscle.

My Sciatica has virtually cleared up today (although I still get the odd niggle now and then, it's manageable, so no need for the violins), so thought I would document how I got on, in the hope that I might be able to help someone who might be suffering the same as me. On this page, you will find some tips that I hope should help and hopefully get you back on your feet again.

I've been updating this page with my progress, month by month, like a diary, to show my progress (or not). I'm hoping to share how I get pain relief from Sciatica and back pain. Including exercise tips and how to the best muscle stretching to help Sciatica. So, here's my story.

Image source: The Therapy Portal.com

Back Pain is Tough!

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How I got over the pain of Sciatica
How I got over the pain of Sciatica

Introduction to my Diary of having Sciatica

Welcome to my page about how I became PAIN-FREE!

It's November 2014, and wanted to add an update, but also formally introduce my Sciatica Diary to you.

It's strange looking back at the entries, that started way back in 2011. It seems like a world away. I'm still Sciatica free - and I hope some of the tips and ideas below on this page, will help you on your road to recovery too.

In this diary, I talk a lot about running. I ran for two reasons, the first to get some exercise and be healthy, but secondly and most importantly to lose some weight. Now, the biggest difference in my life, is that I've stopped running and since May 2013, I've lost 3 stone (42 lbs). This weight loss, and probably a huge factor in my Sciatica not returning, is all thanks to Weight Watchers. After seeing a hideous photo of myself last year, I signed up to the program online, and attended the first meeting I could - and I haven't looked back. I do a lot of walking, which helps my back and core muscles, but now, the running is virtually non existent. I still do the odd Body Attack class now and then, but I don't do ANY of the kicking parts of the routine, at all...it's not worth the risk! (...more on that later)

I'm finally leading a truly healthy (well, healthier) life and thankfully, sciatica-free life too. Of course, as with all people who like writing, I've made a webpage about my weight loss too - if you want to check it out visit my Weight Watchers Diary here.

I get the odd twinge now and then, that lasts for a few days, but nothing debilitating to the extent it was a few years back. I have to say though, the Stability Disc that I bought from Amazon.com (link for UK amazon here) has been a god send. If I get a twinge, I just sit on it when working at my desk, and it eases the pain considerably.

So, on with the Sciatica Sufferer's Diary - although, I should really refer to as the EX-Sciatica Sufferer's Diary! I've set the page out to start at the beginning, if you think it would be better to have my most recent posts at the top, please leave me a note at the bottom and I can move things around.

Please bookmark this page also, and keep checking back for more updates, as I post them. Thanks for stopping by - and here's to a Sciatica and Pain free life for you :)


The Beginning: September 2011

Body Attack, literally...Sciatica starts

I had always heard that high impact exercise wasn't good for your bones or joints. Jumping, Running, Hopping - anything that that meant your feet would hit the ground with a degree of force, I knew isn't really a good idea. I thought I was indestructible though! My Sciatica started when I aggravated my sciatic nerve, from too much high impact exercise, that caused stress on the nerve. I used to do lots of high impact aerobic classes, called "Body Attack", so my muscles and body was strong. Then I took a break from exercise...and the fool that I am, went straight back to the class, working at the same rate I was when I went regularly - big mistake.

When the muscle around your abdomen and legs get weak, the higher the chances of causing too much tension on ligaments, and flaring up any nerves that are not used to the impact of exercises that you may do. I thought I would be able to get back into the classes, at the same rate I was working before, after taking a break from them. Sciatica loomed!

If you answered yes in the poll above, what type of back pain have you had?

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October 2011
October 2011

October 2011

So much for a Parisian City Break!

I had a city break planned, in Paris. I couldn't wait! I love Paris, and love every moment that I can spend there. I had noticed a pain in my hip area, but not really thought much of it. I was about to go and tour the Champs Elysses, only I couldn't walk. I could only move my right leg about 10 degrees in front of my left before a shooting and searing hot pain shot through my lower back and down my right leg...that would be the sciatic nerve growling at me! It was excruciating.

As soon as I got home, I booked an appointment at the doctors. I couldn't get comfortable to sit, or stand, or sleep. When I was moving, it wasn't so bad, as the muscles in my leg were being worked, but when they were kept still they just kept seizing up - it was horrendous.

The doctors diagnosed me with Sciatica, but weren't too keen on referring me to any specialists. A lot of people suggest that if you have sciatica, you should not see a chiropractor. They did the various tests, such as checking my reflexes, checking my sense of touch, and how high I could lift my right leg. I didn't have any tingling, or pins or needles to be concerned with - so they saw no huge risk (If you get pins and needles or numbness, anywhere in your legs...and guys, especially around your genitals, you must tell a GP). They gave my some pain killers and told me to get on.

November 2011
November 2011

November 2011

Physio, help me!

Still in pain, I went back for more testing. I started to develop a pins and needles sensation in my feet - knowing that was one of the symptoms they discussed with me, I wanted to get it checked out. I got stronger pain killers and finally a referral to physio.

I was confused that I wasn't offered physio first time round. I guess pester-power was in my favour!




December 2011
December 2011

December 2011

It took a long time to get through the paperwork and on the waiting list for physio.

Finally, I saw a really great physio (free, on the NHS) who was able to get some very good advice and exercises to work on.

From the way I was moving, they came to the conclusion that my sciatic nerves runs through my piriformis muscle, as opposed to running under it. This means that when my muscle gets tense, stressed, aggravated or exercised without proper stretching and warm up - it causes pain, resulting for me, in Sciatica.

Of course, the only way I could get this 100% confirmed, would be through an MRI scan, so not wanting to pay for something that wouldn't make a huge difference to my treatment, I took their word for it.

My Sciatica physio also recommended that I get a stability disc to sit on, at work (my job is spent mostly sat at a desk). These are like a flat ball, that alleviates pressure on the nerve when sitting down. It also activates your stomach and leg muscles when sitting, as your core muscles are working to keep yourself stable and upright.

It was a god send! It really helped. When I sat without it, the muscles in my hip area, would seize up and get very stiff and painful to move. However, the disc kept me moving very slightly, which kept my muscles working very slowly. So glad I got one!

See a range of Stability Discs from Amazon.com, here now!

To see the range of Stability Discs on Amazon.co.uk, visit here now!

Image source: CT Spine Disc



Try Using a Stability Disc

These are very similar to my Stability Disc. Some people refer to them as Balance Discs. They are very easy to sit on. Like doing your exercises, whilst sitting down. A straight forward and simple solution. You should sit on them for only a couple of hours at a time, they work your upper leg muscles and lower abdominal muscles nicely, without breaking a sweat.

January 2012
January 2012

January 2012

Still in Pain

My biggest pain was caused trying to put my socks on, and tying my shoe laces. I also had trouble lifting my foot onto the opposite knee. The classic symptoms of an aggravated Piriformis muscle. The way I was able to combat this was lots of stretches, once I was warmed up. When I was walking slowly and carefully, I was fine. It was sitting still, or standing still that caused the pain (the physio said this was the build up of toxins around the nerve, trying to help the tissues). So when I finished a walk, I would lay on the floor (or sit, if unable to lay down) and gentle take my foot to the opposite knee until I felt a gentle stretch, then let it stay for a few seconds. After, I had to gently sway the leg out in the opposite direction to relieve pressure on the nerve - and repeat. It was advised never to stretch if it caused pain, nor to stretch into pain - the theory of going through a pain barrier wouldn't work here!

Sometimes, I found it hard to find the motivation to go for a walk (as it was the winter months), so it was advised that I could do these stretches after a hot bath, as my muscles would be warm enough to stretch. Stretching on cold muscles could cause more trouble.

Image source: Sports Medicine

Never stretch a cold muscle

February 2012
February 2012

February 2012

Running Gives Me a Set Back :(

I'm still going to physio and my sciatic nerve seems to have calmed down considerably. I've learnt that it's not common for the sciatic nerve to go through your piriformis muscle, but when it does, you need to keep it happy and not irritated! Feeling much better after keeping up with the stretches.

I thought I was getting back on the road to recovery. I've been feeling sluggish and unfit, so I ventured out for a run. Uh oh! Big mistake! The muscle and nerve flared up again. It felt like I was back to square one. I'm still doing my stretches, and light walking, I've also started going to Body Balance classes, which are a bit like a cross between Yoga and Pilates. I'm also still using my stability disc regularly. In terms of pain, I'm taking paracetamol and Diclofenac Potassium to help with the pain and inflammation, they're not great - but the pain is managable.

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March 2012
March 2012

March 2012

Even Walking Sets Me Back...

Still doing light exercises with Body Balance, which has helped by stretching and working my muscles, without any intensive impact on the nerve itself. I just need to keep taking the low impact options. I've started to take stronger Ibuprofen tablets, to help with the inflammation - again they weren't great, but I could deal with the pain (which turned into a dull ache, rather than a sharp searing pain).

I made the same mistake again! I thought I was getting better, but instead of running, I went for a long walk. Next day, lots of pain and difficulty moving, especially getting out of bed! I walked on concrete, at quite a pace. The impact has flared up my muscle. I need to take it all much slower. Next time I feel I'm getting better - I'm going to wait another 3 - 4 weeks before going for any impact exercise, and then, make sure the ground is soft that I'm walking on!

From talking to a pharmacist, I managed to find even stronger Ibuprofen which had a sustained release, so only 2 tablets lasted 12 hours - these changed everything. Now, I'm in virtually no pain at all - I still get twinges, which tell me I'm not 100% yet, but I feel close to it.


April 2012
April 2012

April 2012

To the Gym

I've started going to the gym and only using the bikes (10 minutes) and cross trainers (15 minutes) - as well as some floor stretches. I'm hoping to go out for some low impact walking, on soft ground too, to help build up my muscles and hopefully start taking light jogs. It's hard resisting the urge to go for a run, because I know I'll do damage to my muscles...positive thinking, positive thinking :)

*News Flash* (mid April) Last night, I had to do some running (much to my frustration), raining hard, no umbrella, late for the theatre...no option. I ran on firm ground, but tried to put most impact on my good leg. Really wasn't looking forward to waking up in agony again...and this morning...no pain. The low impact gym routine, followed by Piriformis stretches must be working. I've also halved my pain relief medication, so things are looking up. Hoping that I can come off them completely, but have to admit that I'm a bit scared of doing so.


May 2012
May 2012

May 2012

No more painkillers!

The end of April and start of May have been fair. Some great news is, I've stopped taking my pain killers - I'm drug free! I'm still getting twinges and acute pains, but it is very minimal compared to what it was. I'm finding I need to use my stability disc less too.

The gym is paying off the most! I've been going every other day - taking it slow, but most importantly making sure I do my stretches. I feel so much better for being able to work out again, but also it's helping my mobility. Motivation to get the gym can be tough, especially if the weather is miserable and it's easier to curl up on the sofa - so I've been listening to audio books. I'm currently listening my way through The Hunger Games, the lady reading it is terrible, but the story is pretty good - so instead of needing to go to the gym, I've turned it into "I want to know what happens next in the book, so I'm going to the gym".

Hopefully the rest of May is good to me

My Gym Routine...

BIKE: 10 minute warm up

CROSS TRAINER: 15 minutes

FLOOR STRETCHES: 5 minutes

SIT UPS: 5 minutes

BIKE: 5 minute cool down

Total time: 40 minutes

Update: 19th May 2012

I've been to the gym 15 times over the past 5 weeks (not bad going), following my routine (as above). I'm feeling great, and the pain in my backside and hip area is virtually gone. I decided to try to take my routine up a notch. I'm at the stage where I can exercise (at last), so now I want to start toning up again, and getting back to the body I used to have. I made a few changes to my routine: I added in 5 minutes on the treadmill! I was actually a bit scared about it. What if I had another set back, and aggravate my sciatic nerve to the point where I can't walk without extreme again?

So, I wanted to walk, but in a way that was slightly more strenuous than regular walking (which I don't have a problem with anymore). On the treadmill, I added an incline of 7.5% and a speed of 6km/hour. It was OK, but the next day, I had a really bad ache at the top of my right leg. It was a different pain though - it felt more muscular than sciatic.

Towards the end of last summer, before my Sciatica really hit me, I experienced similar pains in my leg. Which to me, felt like the start of my piriformis muscle struggling, beginning to cause problems around my sciatic nerve. I don't want to start off the Sciatica again!

I kept going to the gym, and took the treadmill out for a 2 further sessions. Today, I added the Treadmill back in again, but wanted to ease off, and go a little easier than the last time. So I went with an incline of 4% and a speed of 5.5km/hr (less than before). To help the weight loss along a bit, I also increased my time on the cross trainer by another 5 minutes...so far...so good! Let's hope I can add the treadmill into all my sessions down the gym from now on.

My Updated Gym Routine...

BIKE: 10 minute warm up

CROSS TRAINER: 20 minutes

TREADMILL: 5 minutes (incl 4%, 5.5km/hr)

FLOOR STRETCHES: 5 minutes

SIT UPS & BACK RAISES: 5 minutes

BIKE: 5 minute cool down

Total time: 50 minutes

June 2012
June 2012

June 2012

Feeling Ready to Run Again...

I'm feeling better than ever. I used to notice that I had to stretch my piriformis muscle at least every other day, before it starts to seize up. Now, I'm not even noticing, and don't need to stretch it for at least a week at a time. I'm trying to keep on top of it though, and not get complacent or relax and think "hooray, I'm cured" - when I could to some harm and end up back at square one. I'm feeling so proud of myself, that I haven't let Sciatica get the better of me.

My gym routine is getting a bit boring however, so feeling like I want to step it up. Watch this space!


July 2012
July 2012

July 2012

So far, so good...

My Sciatica seems to be behaving itself. I get the odd twinge here and there, and if I do, I just straight down the gym for more stretches!

I've done quite a bit of walking, and very minimal running - when I say running, I'm really talking about short spurts to catch the bus, or because I feel like it...but I haven't ventured out "for a run" yet.

Generally speaking, it feels like my Piriformis Muscle is calm again. I don't know what I did to aggravate it so, but even now, when it feels a bit tight, I can gentle stretch my leg and it feels better.


August 2012
August 2012

August 2012

I can run again!

I'm absolutely delighted to report that I can run again - pain free! Sciatica be gone! It's such a wonderful feeling. I used to love running, and pain stopping me from doing doing something I loved was a horrible feeling. Thank goodness my physio and gym work was able to come good for me!

I always stretch before I run, and sometimes do some mild stretching halfway through. I haven't run very far, but I've started none-the-less. I know it's going to take some time to get back to the level of fitness I had before the pain of Sciatica started to take over my life, but I'm determined.

I just need to remember to keep up my Piriformis stretches, so my sciatic nerve and piriformis is kept happy - pretty sure the only way to do it, is keep the stretches going! I've started running to my gym, doing my stretch routine, then running back again. Of course, I could do my stretches at home, but there's something about doing part of the workout at the gym that keeps me feeling athletic! :)


September 2012
September 2012

September 2012

Training for a 5km run!

Well, it's been quite a journey for me. I can finally run at last! My fitness is terrible though. I've been using an app on my iPhone to help build up my stamina. It's really cool, I just put my head phones in, and it tells me when you run and when to walk, then gradually over time, it makes me run a little bit further. Currently, my total running time is 15minutes, with breaks.

I figured, there was no point just running for the sake of running...so I decided to train for a 5km run. I was so fed up and depressed about not doing a 10km last year, that I was determined to get back in the running habit this year. I have to be careful though, and I make sure that I stretch before every run, and stretch after every run too. I do specific piriformis stretches (as highlighted in the videos above), and make sure I do some sit ups to help strengthen my stomach and abdominal muscles too - to give me a strong core again.

I've found my legs and ankles have been taking a battering though. Of course, I've put on weight, not being able to exercise properly, because of my sciatica...so my body is carrying more weight when running - because when I ran previously, I wasn't this heavy. Remarkably though, the thing that has helped me, has been crocs! Yes, crocs! The fashion-faux-pas plasticy shoe sandals. They're so soft and bouncy to walk in, they really help my leg muscles and joints when I walk around the house, lessening the impact on my joints. Never thought I would say this, but I LOVE MY CROCS! Haha! I totally recommend them if you're training for a run after you've been resting from an injury.

I feel so much better about myself, just knowing that I'm getting exercise! And training for a 5km, gives me a great goal to aim for. I'm going to run with a local group called ParkRun. They run every week all across the UK, and I just join them by signing up on the website, then you meet them for your run...and the best part...it's totally free! So, my goal is to be able to to join for their 5km towards the end of October. Fingers crossed for me!


Some Useful Links for Sciatica Sufferers

Hopefully some of these links will help you find some sort of solution for you. Information and images I've used in this lens can also be found in these links.

October 2012

It's been a year since I got Sciatica!

This time last year I was in agony. This time last year, I got Sciatica for the first time in my life. The past year has been extraordinary. When I think back to that awful weekend in Paris (that should have been one of the best holidays of the year), I'm so thankful that I've been able to relieve the debiltating pain of Sciatica. Thank goodness for physiotherapists is all I can say!

I can't believe how much my health has improved since last month too. A couple of months ago, I could hardly run for a minute without gasping for breath. Now, from training, I can run for 22 minutes without stopping! I feel so good. I'm not quite ready for a 5km run yet, but I will be in no time!


Coping with Sciatica
Coping with Sciatica

The following 6 months of living with Sciatica...

Now 18 months have passed since I first got Sciatica!

Since November 2012 to April 2013...Wow, in 18 months my quality of life has changed so much. Long gone are the days of constant pain in my right hip area, and now things are so much better.

Since my last entry, a lot has happened: Christmas, New Year, Easter, a European holiday...My birthday. I firmly believe the thing that has kept me mobile and pain free is exercise. I'm still running, but haven't quite got to the stage of doing a Park Run yet - but that doesn't mean I haven't forgotten about it being a goal of mine (I've been getting stick from a friend about this...Billy, I will get there!) My exercise routine consists of a 5km run, with a stretch of walking in the middle.

I try to do this 2 or 3 times a week, but recently it's slipped due to a stupid stomach bug (non-related to Sciatica). As soon as I got sick, and realised I couldn't run, I began to panic that my exercise would stop, thus weakening the muscles in my leg, and potentially trigger another bout of the dreaded sciatica. However, so far, so good...I should be ready to try a run again in a couple of days.

I've also started two blogs, since my last post. One blog which is a diary of my training in Animation and another which is my Sketch blog, so please stop by and check them out.

I've been getting an overwhelming amount of messages about my experience of Sciatica, asking for questions, advice, tips and lovely sentiments. So thank you, and keep them coming! It's such a fantastic feeling knowing that I can offer an insight into what happened to me, and then help someone else. A couple of people have asked me for medical advice, which is a bit scary - I am not a doctor!! But of course, anything I can do to help, I'd love to. So, until next time...keep mobile and pain free x

I would love to hear your stories and comments, especially if you have any other ideas that could help Sciatica sufferers. I would like to think that some of my experience can help another sufferer. There is no cure. We can only work to get comfortable. Sciatica is not fun, but it can be managed.

Do you have any Sciatica stories to share? Over to you...

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Sue-DN: very good advise for me,ive just started with chronic sciatica,would very light exercise help me.im 48 carrying to much weight and changed my bed that's when it went mad.ive got a cross trainer for very light work out to stretch my leg

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Bartukas: Thanks very much, Bartukas. It's useful to share ideas and ways to help with Sciatica :)

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      very useful lens

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Sue-DN: Hi Sue, thanks for getting in touch.

      Sorry to hear about your back. Yes, please do come back and let us know how you get on with changes in your diet. I'd love to know if there is a link with foods to help ease the pain of Sciatica. Really interesting, never really thought of it. Sometimes, going to the loo can really hurt with sciatica, so maintaining a healthy diet would help in that respect - looking after the cultures in your stomach, drinking plenty of water etc, etc.

      Look forward to hearing from you again, and thanks for stopping by :)

    • profile image

      Sue-DN 4 years ago

      Thanks for these very good tips...and if any one young happens to read this - don't take chances with your back! I slipped a disc when I was 19 (pulling a trunk full of books upstairs) and have had problems all my life. Then 3 years ago I had a really bad episode with my sciatic nerve - severe back and leg pain, took hours just to get upstairs and into bed - so now it's sort of on-going in various degrees. I'm about to try and see if diet makes any difference. Apparently sugar and fats are really bad, so it's going to be fruit, veg, oily fish, lots of water etc. Vitamins B, C & D are also supposed to help. I'll come back in a few months and let you know - that's if I manage to stay off the doughnuts!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Monika Weise: Hi Monika, is it Sciatica? Poor thing. If so, have you tried standing on one of those balance discs, if you have to stand for a long time? Sounds pretty bonkers, but with them allowing the core muscles and leg muscles to keep small movements going throughout the body, I found they help me from seizing up with pain. Do you have soft shoes, like crocs? Might be worth trying?? Really feel for you. Thanks for visiting my page.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 4 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      I find it hard to stand at the kitchen sink for more than five minutes when doing dishes. I manage, but I miss the days when I had no issues with my back.

    • Baddew Fibes profile image

      Baddew Fibes 4 years ago

      I came out of a nightclub back in 1995 and thought it'd be a good idea (I'd had a few drinks!) to lift my mate up onto my shoulders. The problem is that he was 6 foot 5 and 14 stone. I struggled a lot, but somehow managed to get him on my shoulders.

      I woke up the next morning unable to move and in agony. Took me most of the morning to get out of bed. When I finally got myself to the doctor, he gave me pain killers and told me to ice my back. I spent the next 3 years visiting physios, who put me in traction, massaged me, pulled me around, clicked bones back into place, gave me floor exercises....but I still couldn't sit it a chair for longer than a couple of minutes without the agony kicking in.

      Then, after I lost all hope of getting back to a pain-free life, I visited a new physio who said 'we'll have that sorted in 6 sessions'. I didn't believe him, but he stayed true to his word and got it sorted. I couldn't believe it! Now I only suffer occasionally, and that's either when I've lifted something heavy or, rather oddly, stayed in bed for longer than usual (10 hours or more means I wake up with a really stiff back for some reason).

      I wish all sciatica sufferers out there well. And thanks for the great lens!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @nifwlseirff: Hi there,

      It's funny you mentioned stress being a trigger, I was thinking the same thing recently. I found stress and tension were contributing factors to making my muscles seize up, and thus cause really bad pain around the affected piriformis muscle - really sore.

      I think the key is, keep limber, gently moving, gently stretching and warm...and relaxed!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, really appreciate it.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      I've had sciatica off and on for the past 22 years or so. In the early days, I was still at school, and carrying heavy school bags and doing the compulsory PE was hellish. So was sitting for a long time! Lots of pain meds to reduce inflammation and get through each day.

      Later, the doctors found out I shouldn't have NSAIDs (at risk of instantaneous kidney failure), so I had to experiment with other methods.

      Heat packs, stretching (McKenzies exercises, piriformis stretches, cat-cow stretches), light exercising (walking, or even better - walking in a heated swimming pool), and changing my position regularly, no sitting/standing for a long time, has all but stopped the flares. In times of stress, when I don't do the stretches, it does reappear though.

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @MartiLawrence: Thanks Marti :)

    • MartiLawrence profile image

      Marti Lawrence 4 years ago from Grain Valley, Missouri

      Lots of good information on here!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @anonymous: Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your message. I'm afraid I don't know much about herniated discs, but it sounds very painful! My sciatica was caused by too much tension on my piriformis muscle, which aggravated my sciatic nerve. So, for me, I needed to strengthen my core muscles to support all the muscles in the lower area, and sit ups were part of that.

      The thing I do know, is that a lot of my friends who saw a chiropractor for their sciatica ended up with more problems, as the back was fine, so it was physio on their upper leg muscles, and hip rotations that they needed help with. So, the work done to the back created more problems than needed.

      The only thing I would suggest, is do some gentle stretches, as per the video clips, but only if you have exercised or had a warm bath - don't stretch a cold muscle! Maybe go to the gym and do some very mild exercises on the cross trainer, just to get moving without causing high impact? However, I'm by no means a doctor, so you should check all this out with your GP before you do anything.

      Rest assured though, it can and it will get better. There is a light at the end of the painful Sciatica tunnel.

      Let me know how you get on :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Does it matter what is causing your pain (herniated disc vs periformis) as to what are the best stretches or types of exercise to do? You mention doing sit ups, but wouldn't that be bad if you have a herniated disc? I am just starting out on this "journey" and have had one PT appointment. I don't know what the exact cause of my sciatica is. Xray just showed mild arthritis in my lower back, but the doctor didn't think it was the cause of the sciatica pain. Thanks for all the great info here. At least it makes me hopeful that improvement is possible!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Linda BookLady: Thanks Linda. Might be worth getting your leg checked out all the same :)

    • LaurenIM profile image

      LaurenIM 4 years ago

      Very helpful lens. I had Sciatica and it was so painful, it made me cry. I don't cry that easily when it comes to physical pain but that was excruciating!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @LaurenIM: Thanks Lauren. Sorry to hear you've been getting so much pain with Sciatica, I know how it feels and how awful it is. Hope you're getting on the road to recovery x

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'm so glad you're doing so much better now. I have pain in one leg when I hike too much, but I don't think it is sciatica... now that I know what it is.

    • MarcoG profile image
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      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Richard-H: Thanks Rich. Yes, mine is heaps better thanks. Twinges now and then, but nothing I can't cope with. It's strange to think that 11 months ago, I couldn't even put on my socks without experiencing excruciating pain! Booo!

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      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @CreativeGal: Thanks very much indeed, that's very good news to hear! Sciatic pain is just awful, so any relief I can give to anyone suffering from sciatica too, is given gladly :)

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      Richard 4 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I have suffered with back pain of varying degrees for several years and also suffered with Sciatica too. Really is debilitating. Less severe now and good to hear yours is improving!

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      CreativeGal 4 years ago

      I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist and feel you've done a great joy sharing information here.

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      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @torrebob: You're absolutely right. My physio told that staying still (sitting or standing) is bad because the toxins build up around the Sciatic nerve, whereas if you move around, the toxins spread round, so the pain is more dispersed.

      And yes, if you can't get in a comfortable position, driving can be very painful. Luckily, my sciatica was in my right leg, so my left leg wasn't constantly going down on the clutch...made it a little bit easier, I guess.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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      torrebob 4 years ago

      Sitting and standing for long periods is not a good idea for a sufferer. Driving can be a nightmare.

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      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Virginia Allain: Oh you're brave seeing a chiropractor, I heard they cause more problems for Sciatica. Poor you needing steroids though. Sciatica is so awful, I'm glad you managed to find what worked for you.

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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      You've done an excellent job tracking your sciatica and what brings relief.

      I used to control mine with some stretching, a visit to the chiropractor and some ibuprofen.

      Last year it got too bad for those and I had took a week of steroids and a round of muscle relaxants. That did the trick, but I'm on the alert to not let it get so bad again. I made a lens about what worked for me.

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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @BarbaraCasey: The right stretches are definitely the way forward to help Sciatice rehabilitation. Glad you're getting relief with your cranio-sacral massages :)

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      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      I've had sciatica where my left leg just kept wanting to buckle. The only thing I've found that helps is cranio-sacral massage therapy, which involves a lot of stretching. A couple of sessions, and I'm good as new.

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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @hartworks lm: That's very good to hear! Sciatica is simply awful, but it seems that it can be so easily avoided, as long as care is taken...and the stretches are so important! Thanks for stopping by.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      My husband had some months of sciatica about 15 years ago. Now he faithfully does a variety of stretching exercises, plus he is a very active guy with a construction project usually going around our place. No more sciatica for him.

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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @LisaDH: Thanks Lisa :)

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      My partner has sciatica problems, and it can be really debilitating. Glad to hear yours is getting better!

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      dream1983 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! Great job

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      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I appreciated the information in your lens and fortunately don't suffer as you and many of your other readers do. Things can always change though. Blessings.

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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @aesta1: Thanks Aesta1. The stability disc really changed the way I sat on a chair, and it made me feel less achy every time I went to stand - probably the tiny movements you have to do (to keep yourself balanced), which I meant I didn't seize up as much. I still use it now, but only to help my posture, because most of my pain had gone now...so far!

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      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is really very useful. I like to look at that stability disc.

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      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Sciatica really can be a big pain in the bum! Pain is certainly not fun but I am glad to hear that you are dealing well with yours.

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      antoniow 5 years ago

      Great lens, nice topic! Well done!

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      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Well done for not letting it beat you!!

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Oh my, but Sciatica can really sideline an active person! I suffered with terrible back pain until I underwent a percutaneous discectomy several years ago. Knock wood, I've been relatively pain free in the back department since. Normally, just a couple of aspirin if I have an ache, and its gone. Exercise and keeping active, good shoes, nutrition ... they all help!

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      RaintreeAnnie 5 years ago from UK

      I am glad to hear you are not on painkillers anymore that is a big step forward. Take your exercise slow and steady. For me in terms of therapies a combination of specific targeted stretches, water therapy and massage therapy helped. Good to hear of your progress. Also thank you so much for your visit to my flying with sciatica page and including it here. I am glad you found it useful.

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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @OrganicMom247: This is great advice. My physio told me that if you have damage to muscle tissue, which is aggravating the nerve, keeping still allows toxins to build up and surround the area (the toxins are an output of the damage, or in other words, your body trying to fix itself) and cause more pain. So, if you move around, your body distributes the toxins around your body, so they don't just stay around the affected area.

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      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      Don't sit or stand for too long.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have only suffered a couple of times with sciatica and both times have been mild bouts. I usually just rest as much as I can in a lying position and try not to sit on my butt too much as this is where the pain usually kills. Some fascinating points here and very interesting to read. The stretches to me sound like an excellent idea to help relive pain. I wouldn't like to put up with this level of pain every day.

    • MarcoG profile image
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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @anonymous: Hi Lyn, thanks for your comments. If you haven't already, I would definitely recommend to see a physiotherapist, who will be able to identify the best course of treatment for you. If yours is like mine, you need light exercise that doesn't impact the foot to ground (i.e. long walking or running), and do the stretches above in the picture (from my January 2012 entry). I had so much difficulty putting my shoes and socks on and now it is much easier. Keep me updated with how your getting on. I'll be adding in some updates soon.

      Thanks, Marc x

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      omg .. reading this was so freaky .. you're living my life! i woke on November 1st, 2011 and couldn't walk .. it's now April 2012 and i can walk but not without pain. sitting is the worst. i plan on re-reading your blog slowly this time and hoping to find some answers thru your experiences. thank you for posting this!! i am so frustrated right now but knowing that someone else is going through the same thing helps. lyn~

    • MarcoG profile image
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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @bigjoe2121: Wow - thanks for the tip Lisa, will have a look for the book (might also add it to the lens). Knotted tissues sounds painful!

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      bigjoe2121 5 years ago

      I used to have sciatica when I was in the Army. Years later I found a huge mass of knotted up connective tissue both in my groin and in my calf. They felt like fire when I pressed on them. Eventually, I was able to massage these out with self trigger point massage. I never have issues anymore (15 years later and I seriously never have problems). There is a book at amazon that teaches you self trigger point massage by Clair Davies.

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      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I pulled a muscle in my back when I was teaching aerobics and kept on going until the class was over. By the next day my right leg wouldn't support me. I ended up on crutches for a week and it was several more weeks before things were back to normal. I can't imagine going through that pain and frustration on a daily basis. Thanks for an informative lens.

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      fastbackpainrel 5 years ago

      I suffered similar to you, but it sounds like mine wasn't as bad before I decided to something about it. I was also previously very fit, and overdoing training for a run caused my first bout of sciatica pain.

      I found quite quickly that it was my muscles in the back that were out of sorts, along with my back needing to be reset to the neutral position, and the muscles were causing me to lift incorrectly, and were weak so got fatigued easily.

      I have since been improving my fitness, and have a very strong back now, although I still get sciatica symptoms, the piriformis stretch works wonders to get rid of it. That seems to happen when I have been building muscle in my legs or butt.

      Keep up the great work, and hope to see you you all at my lens sometime...

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Sciatica is an awful, awful thing to deal with - I usually fix it with massage, but then again, I'm a massage therapist. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • MarcoG profile image
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      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @ngio64: Blimey! I was reading your Kidney Stone lens yesterday, looks worse than my Sciatica! Thanks for stopping by, and for the well wishes x

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 5 years ago

      I was told I pulled my PSOAS muscle once, Turned out it was a kidney stone. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      "Squid Angel blessed."

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      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Sciatica stretches work well. I found the same stretch shown in one of your photos above on my own. It helps tremendously.