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Moving Pain: What is good?

I have had two months of sciatic nerve pain, which the doctor says is from a bulging disc. It seems to be very slowly improving. Slightly. The pain moves around. Usually it is in the low back and left hip. Sometimes it can be a little funny tingling in the bottom of my foot or by my ankle. I do the McKenzie stretches and the pain sometimes moves to my low back and into my pelvic floor.

I also have a side lean, which goes away for parts of the day only to return at night before bed.

The physiotherapist I am seeing has given me some stretches for my core and got me trying to use an exercise ball, but I am finding this a little too painful still.

I wondered how other people are doing with pain moving around? Is it a good sign? How much exercise is too much? How likely is it that this disc will reabsorb? Any idea how long it could take? I know there are many many people out there with far worse problems than me. I also know that I could easily get worse if I am not careful. I am a farmer and this lifestyle lends itself to back problems.
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Comments

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 701
    Does your pain go back and forth between "pain and numbness" or  "pain and no pain"? At least with Pain/No Pain you know what your status is.....Numbness is the opposite. Hopefully that gives you some positive outlooks about Pain:) 

    It seems as though there a few different "McKenzie" stretch routines being pushed so I'd be careful which one(s) you use. My PT gave me the Prone/Sphinx pose series (McKenzie Extensions) and they exacerbated my condition. And from what I have read into, the Side Glide only promotes unilateral work (working only one side of the body). 

    While you do want to aim to localize the pain first, I think anything that affects your pelvic floor is dangerous and offsetting to what you're trying to accomplish. As a general rule, and I'm sure your PT told you, any exercise that hurts stop doing for now and come back to it later. The trick is to find a routine that gives you no pain, and allows your body to get back into left and right balance.

    I view discs healing themselves (I think that's what you meant by "reabsorb") much the same as a skin abrasion, deep cut, broken bone, etc. All of those can heal with proper treatment, so why shouldn't your disc be able to. The caveat is that you'd first have to fix why your disc is bulging in the first place. Just because a part of a disc is removed and relieves the pain, does not mean the reason it was bulging in the first place has been fixed. 

    Keep searching. You will find the right answers for you.


  • BirdmamaBBirdmama British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    Thanks for your comments, MarWin. I was doing better for a while and pledged to stop using this blog to research my problem. Now I am totally laid up with a relapse after going back to working as a market gardener. Unfortunately I am finding my numbness to be worse. I have opted for a few days of bed rest this time to see if things calm down.
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  • BirdmamaBBirdmama British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    Thanks for your comments, MarWin. I was doing better for a while and pledged to stop using this blog to research my problem. Now I am totally laid up with a relapse after going back to working as a market gardener. Unfortunately I am finding my numbness to be worse. I have opted for a few days of bed rest this time to see if things calm down.
  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 701
    No problem. Glad to see you back. Don't go beyond a few days of bed rest though. That could have severe adverse affects on your health. Just wondering what you were doing and what your activity level was prior to returning to work? 
  • BirdmamaBBirdmama British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    I have a super active lifestyle in some ways. We live off-grid and use wood for cooking and heating. I use heavy pots and carry water (not any more obviously). But the gardening involves a lot of bending and quite a bit of pulling, pushing and lifting. Even though I have stopped working, my lifestyle is more demanding than the average just for daily activities.

    After two sleepless nights I took Tylenol 3 and started on Celebrex and acupuncture this week (two treatments). Now I have less pain but am very weak and numb in my ankle and calf. I am trying to rest, walk, and do some very moderate housework and chores.
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  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    Do you have access to a pool for exercise?  It is good for moderate exercise without bearing weight or causing tortion on bad discs.  I started it to relieve the muscle spasms that accompanied my severe nerve pain.  Gardening is so very unkind to a bad back.  It is one of my hobbies, yet since I've re-herniated it is one of the things that I can't do for long before I'm really paying for it. I hope you find some relief & healing soon!

  • BirdmamaBBirdmama British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    Thank you SMartens. I will see if I can use a pool once a week when I go to town. That is a good idea. As for the gardens I am sorry to hear that you can't do it any more. I am so disappointed that it will be a limiting factor ...how long was it before you re-injured yourself?
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    I re-herniated just shy of a year after my discectomy surgery.  Scar tissue was a contributing factor.  But I maintain the pool has been a real benefit to me, both before surgery, as part of my recovery, and now as I deal with this re-herniation.  My doctor, physiotherapist and surgeon all agreed it was very good for me at every stage of the game.  If you must garden, just be smart about it.  Use ergonomic tools, limit working in a bent over or squatting position.  I have a kneeling pad that flips over into a low seat that I use alot.  I've been know to recline on my side to do weeding.  And take lots of breaks.  I find a good solid walk in between here and there works wonders.  It definitely makes the chores drag out a little longer, but it's worth it to be able to do something in the dirt :)  I hope you're doing better @Birdmama !
  • BirdmamaBBirdmama British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    Thanks for your tips. I just got the results from my CT scan and they are somewhat worse than I had hoped; so I am happy that I had the scan done. It will be a very clear reminder that I will need to be careful from here on in.

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