Sciatica - My story and a question: How do YOU manage it?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Appkiller, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Appkiller

    Appkiller Guest

    Greetings! Long, semi-sad story is next, question at bottom.

    I had been experiencing one of my infrequent flare-ups of a mild to
    moderate sciatic condition when I took a header off my bike at
    somewhere between 25 and 30 mph. I was on a group ride coming down a
    hill. We had had a large amount of rainfall recently and there were
    occasional sand washes running out into the road. Sadly for me, a
    deep sand wash (4 - 6") became visible as we entered a shaded region
    from an area of bright sunlight at the bottom of a hill.

    Cyclists to my left, can't go that way. Deeper sand to the right, not
    a good choice either. I tried to make it through but being a roadie
    only, I wasn't aware that I should get my weight back on the bike to
    get through it. Got launched onto my left hip (the side with the
    sciatica) and hit there first, luckily in the sand rather than on the
    pavement. So the road rash was minimal, although I did slide for a
    distance on my elbow before I rolled into a nice older couple's lawn.

    Got bandaged up, straightened out my handlebars and shifters, and
    finished the ride (27 more miles). I finished fairly well, averaging
    about 17 mph. As I felt fairly sore I didn't ride until the following
    Sunday. Got out about 4 miles that day and felt terrible. My
    sciatica hadn't gotten too bad and I was SORE with a giant bruise on
    my hip but all in all, I felt as if I could ride. Not. Struggled
    back up the hill to our house but was able to walk, move and bend
    reasonably well. Monday morning (Memorial Day), however, was another
    story. Woke at 5 a.m. due to a level of pain in my left leg that had
    tears dripping from my eyes. Trip to ER, shot of dilaudid and muscle
    relaxer and script for vicodin.

    Ever since, I have been struggling with the managed care system to get
    the treatment I need and the docs all agree I need in a bad way.
    Oooops, sorry, we forgot to submit for your pre-authorization for a
    spinal cortisone shot. Ooooops, we're so sorry, we didn't read the
    insurance company's info, you need an MRI for the pre-auth submission.
    Ooops, sorry, we can't get you an MRI until the first week of July.
    Ooooops, sorry, we can't get you in for your spinal til mid July. The
    bastards are more than happy to throw opiates at me but give me actual
    treatment? They think not.

    I have received significant relief from a chiropracter but I believe
    in the spinal (my father has sciatica too and he has been pain free
    for five years after just one shot) and am hopeful that the
    chiropractic care I have received won't cause my MRI to show that the
    shot is unnecessary (in their estimation).

    On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    and keep on the bike?

    TIA

    App, who kinda likes the opiate pain relief but understands the
    inherent problems therewith.
     
    Tags:


  2. Horace

    Horace Guest

    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote

    <snip>

    >
    > On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    > and keep on the bike?
    >


    My most recent bout of sciatica was caused by riding, early in this training
    season. I stayed off the bike for 10 weeks, and am just now getting back
    into training. I tried to ride some, but found it just made things worse.

    My leg pain is usually caused by a bulging lumbar disc, but this time I
    suspect it was related to the piriformis muscle. (Unfortunately, I did not
    get a confirmatory diagnosis prior to pain cessation.)

    For weeks I was able to manage my pain with ibuprphen. Then I started taking
    synthetic morphine in addition. I finally ended up getting an epidural shot
    of corticosteriods, which took more than a week to kick in. I'm sure my pain
    doctor would credit the epidural, but for 36 hours prior to complete release
    of the sciatica, I was in great pain.

    At any rate, my treatment was based on the long-standing diagnosis of
    bulging disc. If it happens again, I'm going to ask for a new MRI and PT.

    FWIW, my advice to you is try to get a definite diagnosis! I would have felt
    better knowing whether my recent problems were due to a muscle injury or
    progressive disc degeneration. Now that I'm pain-free, the doctors don't
    seemt to care.

    Horace
     
  3. Ian S

    Ian S Guest

    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    > and keep on the bike?
    >

    After two years of steadily worsening sciatica and visits to just about
    every kind of health care practitioner that deals with such, I finally
    underwent disc surgery. That was over two decades ago and I have been fine
    ever since except when I do types of lifting that I shouldn't - then I have
    a couple of days of mild sciatica which I guess is my body's way of
    reminding me of what I should and should not do. It actually wasn't until
    after my surgery that I became more a more serious recreational rider and
    still do the occasional century. I doubt your managed care will opt for
    surgery unless you become totally incapacitated. It may be that your
    sciatica will subside to a point where you can begin a daily regimen of
    lower back and abdominal exercises to alleviate recurrences. However, it is
    also possible that your accident caused an actual disc rupture in which case
    you may eventually have to undergo the knife. If so, a word of advice: go
    with a surgeon who does nothing else but disc surgery of the lower back.
    Mine was a neurosurgeon who did nothing else. Orthopedic surgeons also do
    the surgery. BTW, the worst part of the surgery was the preliminary
    myelogram - where dye is injected into the spinal column to identify on an
    Xray precisely where the disc rupture is - done 6 weeks before the surgery.
    I suspect that less invasive diagnostics are used today. Good luck!
     
  4. Appkiller

    Appkiller Guest

    :< (snip)
    >
    > FWIW, my advice to you is try to get a definite diagnosis! I would have felt
    > better knowing whether my recent problems were due to a muscle injury or
    > progressive disc degeneration. Now that I'm pain-free, the doctors don't
    > seemt to care.
    >
    > Horace


    Horace:

    X-rays at the chiropracter (-or?) reveal a fine set of fat and happy
    discs except for one just above the first sacral vertebrae. Pinchy,
    pinchy. The crash resulted in a triumvirate of injury: the impact
    kinda displaced things and, along with the resultant swelling,
    manifested as a sciatic pain experience that exceeded anything I have
    ever experienced before, deeply painful bone and flesh bruises, and
    weird looseness and clicking of joints.

    Been on a bike only briefly since; I still putz with 'em in the hope
    of riding again this fall (a planned trip to Glacier in Montana) and
    ya gotta road test yer putzin'.

    Good luck with yours.

    App
     
  5. MJR

    MJR Guest

    I am going to resist entering into a long dissertation about what has helped
    me, only because I have become a fanatic over the relief I have obtained,
    and damn, can I rail on and on.......

    In an effort to summarize my experience, I will say that I have suffered
    from periodic sciatica for most of my 57 years. The pain lasts anywhere from
    30 days to 120 days before it subsides and I am able to get on with life
    like normal people. Yes, I have had surgery to correct a "bulging" disc, and
    it worked......for a while.

    The next, post surgical bout, afflicted me in October of 2003.

    A co-worker suggested an Inversion Machine, a device that allowed me to hang
    partially upside down and expand the spinal column.

    At that point, the pain was so bad I would have tried a bowl full of snakes
    and burning feathers to find a cure. So I purchased an inversion machine.

    Eight days later, I was pain free. Not 30 days later, not 90 days
    later.......eight.

    Rock and roll, even Viagra didn't rouse such happiness.....

    How long has it been......Oct..Nov...Dec....9 friggin' months later am I am
    pain free.

    Draw your own conclusion, SweePee.

    If you have a sciatica problem, a spinal compression problem, try two
    minutes daily on a Inversion Table set at 45 degree........two minutes a
    day.

    Feeeeeel the pull! Then, get up and continue with life.

    My back is now fine.

    Where the hell did I put that Viagra......


    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Greetings! Long, semi-sad story is next, question at bottom.
    >
    > I had been experiencing one of my infrequent flare-ups of a mild to
    > moderate sciatic condition when I took a header off my bike at
    > somewhere between 25 and 30 mph. I was on a group ride coming down a
    > hill. We had had a large amount of rainfall recently and there were
    > occasional sand washes running out into the road. Sadly for me, a
    > deep sand wash (4 - 6") became visible as we entered a shaded region
    > from an area of bright sunlight at the bottom of a hill.
    >
    > Cyclists to my left, can't go that way. Deeper sand to the right, not
    > a good choice either. I tried to make it through but being a roadie
    > only, I wasn't aware that I should get my weight back on the bike to
    > get through it. Got launched onto my left hip (the side with the
    > sciatica) and hit there first, luckily in the sand rather than on the
    > pavement. So the road rash was minimal, although I did slide for a
    > distance on my elbow before I rolled into a nice older couple's lawn.
    >
    > Got bandaged up, straightened out my handlebars and shifters, and
    > finished the ride (27 more miles). I finished fairly well, averaging
    > about 17 mph. As I felt fairly sore I didn't ride until the following
    > Sunday. Got out about 4 miles that day and felt terrible. My
    > sciatica hadn't gotten too bad and I was SORE with a giant bruise on
    > my hip but all in all, I felt as if I could ride. Not. Struggled
    > back up the hill to our house but was able to walk, move and bend
    > reasonably well. Monday morning (Memorial Day), however, was another
    > story. Woke at 5 a.m. due to a level of pain in my left leg that had
    > tears dripping from my eyes. Trip to ER, shot of dilaudid and muscle
    > relaxer and script for vicodin.
    >
    > Ever since, I have been struggling with the managed care system to get
    > the treatment I need and the docs all agree I need in a bad way.
    > Oooops, sorry, we forgot to submit for your pre-authorization for a
    > spinal cortisone shot. Ooooops, we're so sorry, we didn't read the
    > insurance company's info, you need an MRI for the pre-auth submission.
    > Ooops, sorry, we can't get you an MRI until the first week of July.
    > Ooooops, sorry, we can't get you in for your spinal til mid July. The
    > bastards are more than happy to throw opiates at me but give me actual
    > treatment? They think not.
    >
    > I have received significant relief from a chiropracter but I believe
    > in the spinal (my father has sciatica too and he has been pain free
    > for five years after just one shot) and am hopeful that the
    > chiropractic care I have received won't cause my MRI to show that the
    > shot is unnecessary (in their estimation).
    >
    > On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    > and keep on the bike?
    >
    > TIA
    >
    > App, who kinda likes the opiate pain relief but understands the
    > inherent problems therewith.
     
  6. Horace

    Horace Guest

    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > :< (snip)
    >
    > X-rays at the chiropracter (-or?) reveal a fine set of fat and happy
    > discs except for one just above the first sacral vertebrae. Pinchy,
    > pinchy. The crash resulted in a triumvirate of injury: the impact
    > kinda displaced things and, along with the resultant swelling,
    > manifested as a sciatic pain experience that exceeded anything I have
    > ever experienced before, deeply painful bone and flesh bruises, and
    > weird looseness and clicking of joints.
    >


    I feel your pain. With my worst ever episode I was laid up in bed, immobile,
    for three days. Lower back pain/spasms, plus sciatica, and what the
    neurologists call "drop foot" (where the foot of the affected leg cannot be
    raised). This recent episode only became that painful at the very end.

    > Been on a bike only briefly since; I still putz with 'em in the hope
    > of riding again this fall (a planned trip to Glacier in Montana) and
    > ya gotta road test yer putzin'.
    >


    Same with me. I can ride 45 minutes now with no trouble, but I'm still
    nervous. I want to try a metric century in early fall.

    > Good luck with yours.
    >


    And yours, too.

    Horace
     
  7. On 26 Jun 2004 05:51:18 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:

    >Greetings! Long, semi-sad story is next, question at bottom.


    <snip>

    >On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    >and keep on the bike?


    I blew a disc and I went down for about a year and a half. I couldn't
    walk for the first month. Physical Therapy helped me and made it
    possible for me to make a comeback to physical activity. I did not
    have surgery. Today, at 48 and about 10 years later, I'm still doing
    well. Perhaps the biggest benefit of PT is that you will learn the
    proper body mechanics of lifting and moving so that you never injure
    yourself again. I attended back school on a stretcher, unable to
    walk. During the entire class I kept remarking that had I known the
    information beforehand, I never would have injured myself in the first
    place. Proper exercise will restore functionality and reduce pain.

    I hope you feel better soon. I can relate....

    Michael J. Klein [email protected]
    Dasi Jen, Taoyuan Hsien, Taiwan, ROC
    Please replace mousepotato with asiancastings
    ---------------------------------------------
     
  8. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...

    ....

    > I have received significant relief from a chiropracter but I believe
    > in the spinal (my father has sciatica too and he has been pain free
    > for five years after just one shot) and am hopeful that the
    > chiropractic care I have received won't cause my MRI to show that the
    > shot is unnecessary (in their estimation).
    >
    > On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    > and keep on the bike?


    My sciatica wasn't nearly as severe as you describe yours, but I found
    that once I got moving and got the joint warmed up, the pain mostly went
    away while I was pedaling. For me, the worst things were getting up out
    of a chair, and working the clutch of my van.

    Basically I took Aleve for its anti-inflammatory properties to promote
    long-term healing (the pain relief was minimal) and put up with it for 6
    or 8 weeks until it finally went away.

    --
    Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in the
    newsgroups if possible).
     
  9. smokey

    smokey Guest

    I am living with degenerative disc disease brought on by many years of
    hard manual work and a motorcycle accident in 1996. My L3, L4, L5, and
    S1 discs are less than half their original thickness and I have daily
    pain, ranging from moderate to debilitating. I had to change careers
    and give up my job as a motorcycle service manager and technician and
    now have a home based business. After the accident, I went through
    extensive physical therapy, using weight machines. It helped for a
    while, then the pain came back and got progressively worse, due to
    arthritis. I have a hyperextension bench here at home that I use three
    times a week (when I'm able to) and it helps control the pain. The
    other thing that really helps is riding my bike. My orthopedist says
    it's due to the increased blood flow to the damaged areas. Halfway
    through each ride, I stop and do some stretches for my hamstrings,
    lower back, calves, and quadriceps. I also stretch at home and do some
    mild yoga exercises, usually in the evening while watching TV. That
    and painkillers has made my life bearable again. The other thing that
    is really important is your position on the bike. For me, having the
    bars level with the saddle works best. I have read posts in here from
    other riders who say lowering their bars was the answer, you have to
    find out what's best for you. Pushing big gears on hills is a bad idea
    because this increases stress on your lower back (and your knees). The
    main thing is to remain active, becoming a couch potato is the worst
    thing you can do. Riding your bike helps control your weight and will
    also help cheer you up on the bad days. Some of the things that did
    very little to help my pain long-term were epidural shots, cortisone,
    and an electronic procedure they use to deaden the nerves (forgot what
    they call it). Hang in there and keep a good mental outlook, that's
    another key. Hope things go well for you.
    Smokey

    [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Greetings! Long, semi-sad story is next, question at bottom.
    >
    > I had been experiencing one of my infrequent flare-ups of a mild to
    > moderate sciatic condition when I took a header off my bike at
    > somewhere between 25 and 30 mph. I was on a group ride coming down a
    > hill. We had had a large amount of rainfall recently and there were
    > occasional sand washes running out into the road. Sadly for me, a
    > deep sand wash (4 - 6") became visible as we entered a shaded region
    > from an area of bright sunlight at the bottom of a hill.
    >
    > Cyclists to my left, can't go that way. Deeper sand to the right, not
    > a good choice either. I tried to make it through but being a roadie
    > only, I wasn't aware that I should get my weight back on the bike to
    > get through it. Got launched onto my left hip (the side with the
    > sciatica) and hit there first, luckily in the sand rather than on the
    > pavement. So the road rash was minimal, although I did slide for a
    > distance on my elbow before I rolled into a nice older couple's lawn.
    >
    > Got bandaged up, straightened out my handlebars and shifters, and
    > finished the ride (27 more miles). I finished fairly well, averaging
    > about 17 mph. As I felt fairly sore I didn't ride until the following
    > Sunday. Got out about 4 miles that day and felt terrible. My
    > sciatica hadn't gotten too bad and I was SORE with a giant bruise on
    > my hip but all in all, I felt as if I could ride. Not. Struggled
    > back up the hill to our house but was able to walk, move and bend
    > reasonably well. Monday morning (Memorial Day), however, was another
    > story. Woke at 5 a.m. due to a level of pain in my left leg that had
    > tears dripping from my eyes. Trip to ER, shot of dilaudid and muscle
    > relaxer and script for vicodin.
    >
    > Ever since, I have been struggling with the managed care system to get
    > the treatment I need and the docs all agree I need in a bad way.
    > Oooops, sorry, we forgot to submit for your pre-authorization for a
    > spinal cortisone shot. Ooooops, we're so sorry, we didn't read the
    > insurance company's info, you need an MRI for the pre-auth submission.
    > Ooops, sorry, we can't get you an MRI until the first week of July.
    > Ooooops, sorry, we can't get you in for your spinal til mid July. The
    > bastards are more than happy to throw opiates at me but give me actual
    > treatment? They think not.
    >
    > I have received significant relief from a chiropracter but I believe
    > in the spinal (my father has sciatica too and he has been pain free
    > for five years after just one shot) and am hopeful that the
    > chiropractic care I have received won't cause my MRI to show that the
    > shot is unnecessary (in their estimation).
    >
    > On to my real question: what do you do to manage your chronic pain
    > and keep on the bike?
    >
    > TIA
    >
    > App, who kinda likes the opiate pain relief but understands the
    > inherent problems therewith.
     
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