I hope I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill, but I hurt my back almost 3 weeks ago and I’m really freaked out and looking for some perspective.
A brief history: I’m 36 and female. About 4 years ago, I had a micro-D at L5/S1 because I endured 3 months of 24/7 sciatica, which was h*ll on earth. Surgery was a success…no more leg pain and a return to all the activities I loved (ice hockey, swimming, weight lifting with modified leg routine) with surgeon’s blessing (although he told me to stay away from stiff legged deadlifts!) Since the surgery, I have had one or two painful episodes of low back pain, but those always responded to conservative treatment and the sciatica never came back.
Three weeks ago, I picked up my cat and felt a pull in my lower back, right side. The entire side tightened up. The pain wasn’t bad, so I figured it was just a matter of working through it. So I did my usual weight routine and cardio and the next day, my low back was hurtin’ but good.
I have made modest progress with conservative treatment…stretching, a little swimming, ibuprofen and muscle relaxers. I can even get through a hockey game. Still, I will never forget the sciatica and every time my back acts up, I cower in terror that it will return. I can’t concentrate on anything and my anxiety goes through the roof.
So, to try to help calm myself down, I made an appointment with a spine surgeon, but he can’t see me until a month (they’re kinda busy!) and will see my regular doc in a few weeks and ask her if she can order an MRI. Meanwhile, I saw an urgent care doc just to get a referral to PT and some more muscle relaxers. Urgent care doc assures me that, if I were to have a bout of sciatica, it would have settled in by now and that the pain is muscular. But I worry. I really, really worry.
Sorry…this is long…here are my questions:
1.Is there such a thing as delayed onset sciatica? If so, how long was it between the initial pain and the sciatica?
2.My back generally feels better if I push stretching…and push through pain. I go very slowly and the urgent care doc said I was doing all the right things, but I don’t want to trigger sciatica. Is it a good idea to push stretching through pain?
3.I haven’t been able to sit the way I usually do since this back pain set in and I have been stretching the heck out of my right side (where the pain is), so maybe that explains the pain I sometimes get along the side of my leg. It’s not a burning, banjo-string-in leg, pins/needles pain…it’s kind of ache that comes and goes. It only freaks me out because sometimes it follows the sciatic nerve path (down to mid-thigh, never below the knee). Is this something I need to worry about?
I hope I'm just being a spaz and that this will respond to conservative treatment, but I did want to see if anyone had any thoughts/ideas to share to help me.