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Fit Guy gone down Hill due to Sciatica!

GlenkGGlenk Posts: 3
Hi all, I'm new to the forum and also fairly new to the recent problems I've been having with what I believe is my L5-S1 (according to my chiropractor). I've been reading through several posts made on the forum of which some have been helpful.
I have played tennis from the age of 5years old until 13, then took up Basketball from 13-28 (due to moving to the UK, bad weather) and then back to Tennis when I moved back to the middle east 3 years ago.
Long story short, I went in to over drive playing tennis January of this year, minimum 5 times a week, 2 hours every night even through the crazy humid nights here in Dubai.
Approx 4 months ago, I started to slowly feel a slight pain in my calf muscle in which I didn't think anything of it. Once I slept and woke up the following day it had gone. As the day progressed it got slightly worse but then once I'd start to play tennis in the evening it would wear off (I'm assuming due to my muscles being warmed up).
I used to go to the gym regularly and worked on my back a fair bit (core muscle strengthening) although I have neglected going to the gym for at least a year to 18 months now.
To carry on, the pain got much worse to the point where it was there permenantly, in my calf area espcially. I gave tennis a rest for 2 weeks when I went to the US for vacation in which the pain had completely disappeared. I came back to Dubai and unfortunately got straight back in to tennis....and really pushed myself. I feel perhaps my service especially was my poison.
I stopped playing approx 3 months ago (Mid Sept) and seeked chiro sessions (had approx 5-6) and even looked at acupuncture which didn't really do anything.
I forgot to mention that I had one chiro session before I went to the US which seemed to have helped, by the time I returned to Dubai and continued to play I feel perhaps I completely ruptured the disc as opposed to what may have only have been a buldging disc?!
Either way, I'm now on Voltaren SR 75mg tablets (approx 3 a day) to keep the pain at bay but it's the mornings I can handle and only recently (last week it has gotten worse). There are days where I feel I'm improving and then some where I feel like I've taken 3 steps back!
It's incredibly frustrating but I am being patient as I know that trying to get back on to the court is only going to cause more damage and perhaps permenant damage!
I am starting PT next week in which I hope will resolve my issue and at least put me in what I hope will be the road to recovery.
Currently I have pain shooting down my left leg from the bum cheek to the base of my foot and in some cases the upper heel section?! I also get pain at the back of my knee but not so much the calf area anymore.
I too, which I'm sure some of you may have thought like me, felt like super man at times, will heal within a week and this will fade but I'm starting to lose hope. I really don't want surgery and at 31years old, always been physically fit, never smoked, nor have I done any drugs with the occasional weekend drink I occasionally fear the worst at a fairly young age.....surgery.
I noticed that 6months seems to be the period for a healing disc, I would like to know however, can I go to the gym and perhaps try to strengthen my core muscles or is this a NO NO whilst I'm recovering?
My apologies for going on, just wanted to give you all an in depth look in to my situation as before now, I never even know about sciatica and am not a keen fan one bit. Thanks again in advance for any feedback.



  • Hi Glen, welcome to the forums. I can't answer any of your questions, however, I can sympathize with you. I've been suffering with severe sciatica for 1.5 years now.

    It starts in my left butt cheek and travels down my hamstring. It is severe and makes sitting a pure torture. I'm losing my job in the military because of it and am on tons of painkillers to control it.

    At 34, surgery scares the crap out of me too.

    Best of luck to you

  • Only a dr could tell you if you are ok to go to the gym or not, We have no way of knowing if you have compression on a nerve or not, If you are so worried you beter get a dr and see if he wants to get an mri before you go to the gym, But sounds as if he feels you can do pt then maybe gym is ok also,

    Some can work it out without surgery and posible injection to help with inflammation and pt some bounce back and no issues. Depends all on how severe it is, So without knowing how severe it is, nobody here can tell you what is ok and what is not ok for you to do,

    We all know our own body and we usualy know what feels good and what is helping and what is not, if something is helping then you just keep on doing it, If it feels good do it,

    Good luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • You may want to consider getting an MRI of the Lumbar region of your lower back. Thats a good way to see and tell if there is a problem. Spine Doctors require this before they will see you. I am a self pay patient and my MRI cost me $700. I ended up having a micro discectomy to L4. I had severe numbness in my foot. It's still there because my nerve was so inflamed from the impinging nerve. Hope to get better soon, but I'm aware healing takes time. Good luck!
  • robs you of you health .i too was fit .but that was 15 years ago .i am now a 45 year old wreck on loads of Oxycontin and facing major surgey in 2 days .so YES i know how you feel
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Thank you all for your comments. I had my first PT yesterday and I must admit, I feel crappy today but I'm sure that's due to her giving me a good twisting here n there. I'm sure that by day 3, I'm hoping I'll feel better.
    In regards to the MRI, I am due to have one back end of next week so will let you all know how it came along and will make my decision from there on. Hopefully it's not as bad as it feels and I will recover naturally. I would like to go back to the gym and strengthen my core muscle as I truly feel the weak core muscle surrounding my back was one of the main reasons for the injury occurring in the first place.
    Thanks again.
  • Hi All, just to give you a quick update that I am starting to feel like I'm on the road to recovery. Swimming never helped to be honest, only felt worse the next few days. I've since been having deep tissue massages which really help, esp day 3 afterwards. It only feels now as though it's truly healing and fingers crossed I'll be ready to start gym work and core strengthening from next month.
    Will keep you all updated. Deep tissue massage, definately worth a try imo. Glen.
  • Glenk-- Congrats.. Remember everyones story is different.. Someone who had NO PAIN their entire lives can wake up one day and NEED emergency surgery or there can be someone who has had pain for many years and NEVER NEED SURGERY.... So its a screwed up condition that EVEN NERUO DOCTORS cant be trusted 100%.. I have seen 4 NUEROS/ORTHOS-- 1 said to me 3 level fusion , another ones said 3 level MED(like a micro discectomoy), ANOTHER one said wait a while and get shots, and another wanted more test... Point i am trying to get accross I think u got it.!! Well all those appointments where 2 months ago and I FEEL GREAT not perfect but GREAT compared to how i was..

    I am a 38yo male who is 30lbs overweight.. I STOPPED WORKING OUT COLD.. No more weights, but i do CARDIO 4-5 times a week.. For a month I could not walk so I DID indoor bike for 30 mins 4 times a week, then i was able to do ELIPTICAL 4 times a week.. I am getting better.. Carriing those dam dumbell were not helping me at all..

    BTW-- My problems started Jan 2011 with moderate lumbar pain(NO LEG PAIN) for 3-4 months.. it went away and i started to work out again -- easy working out just dumbells and being carefull., then i woke up one day with BAD LEFT LEG PAIN and BUTT PAIN but no back pain.. I live with that for about 2-3 months and NOW I aguess i am semi nornal.. BUT I ONLY DO INDOOR BIKE, eliptical, and lite pull down tricepts.. sometime i will use 20lbs bicept dumbells BUT THATS IT.. I use to curl 50lbs dumbells but wont touch em anymore..

    I KNOW IT SUCKS but what can u do!!
    good luck to u myfriend!
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