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  • Has PT fixed your sciatica?

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    Old 05-05-2016, 07:00 PM   #16
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    That is encouraging teteri66. Thank you.

    One more PT has been added:

    Hold a medicine ball of about 5 lbs. I have access to one but I think a bag of potatoes or similar could be used.

    Lift left leg slowly up, engaging core stomach muscles. Lower left leg slowly, engaging core stomach muscles. Then repeat with right leg. Same on both sides even though right side is the problem. I like this one.

    My plank PT has been modified to the position of girls. pushups with knees on the ground. Lift and hold. Not up and down like pushups. It was too had for me to have only arms and toes contact the ground. Maybe that will be an eventual position.

    I'll add changes in PT as they occur for anyone else looking for info.

     
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    Old 05-24-2016, 07:59 PM   #17
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    How deceiving it can seem when doing PT exercises and going through the day in a very controlled environment that includes very little driving, fortunately. Working from home most of the time means no commute and the ability to stand/sit at will.

    Just completed a 10-day driving vacation that opened my eyes to how little I have progressed, or so it seems. For parts of the trip I was writhing and yelling in pain, even when stretched across the back seat. Ten minutes after the torture ended, I was fine and walking around. We made frequent stops. Doing the PT exercises at the rest areas did help.

    My God, how will I handle 10-12 hour plane rides that are coming up soon? Can't count on being able to get up every hour or so if the seat belt light is on. I am going to beg for powerful pain pills from my doctor for the flight and for long ground transportation routes that I also expect.

    I was really hoping PT would do the trick. Maybe it takes more than 8 sessions. Maybe one of those shots would help too.

    Any suggestions are most welcome.

     
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    Old 05-24-2016, 08:25 PM   #18
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    If the only issue is the protruding disc, you might want to try th epidural steroid injections. They are often given in a series of three, but if there is little response to the first two, they won't bother doing a third. There is a limit as to how many are safe to have over a given time period...like 3 per year.

    I would suggest you get a copy of "Treat your own Back" by Robin McKenzie. It is in its 9th printing and is the method many, many PTs are taught...people who follow the directions faithfully have had good results.

    The idea is the exercises will gradually push the pain out of the leg and back into the lower spine where it is more manageable and the disc will eventually reabsorb.

     
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    Old 05-25-2016, 05:55 AM   #19
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Thanks for the book recommendation!

    Can PT exercises take months to bring relief and push the pain out of the leg to the lower spine where it is more manageable?

    Last edited by Laketime; 05-25-2016 at 06:23 AM. Reason: wanted to add more

     
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    Old 05-25-2016, 08:16 AM   #20
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    I think if it is intensive, maybe six weeks-ish....my sciatic pain was caused by spondylolisthesis so I never tried the exercises due to instability...but others swear by it. Since you are desperate to get better before your plane trips, it is worth a try!

     
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    Old 05-27-2016, 07:50 PM   #21
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    To answer the question I posed:

    From Apr 12-May 27 I have improved 85% - 90% from 9 PT sessions, but I also have been taking 75 mg 2x per day of Diclofenic. On other health sites I have read how people consider this to be a miracle drug. I'm not sure it has done that much for me, but I'll continue to take it for the 90 days prescribed. (60 pills @ 2/day and 2 refills) It is for anti-inflam and some pain reduction.

    Those dates are just about the 6 weeks to recovery mentioned by teteri66. That time frame even includes about 10 days of severe setback while on a driving trip. Must mention that what helped the most during the driving torture was doing the PT exercises at rest areas.

    The condition began on March 15 and between March 15 and April 12 there was little or no improvement. Not sure it would have gotten better on its own in 6 weeks wo/PT intervention.

    Additional PT exercises that have been added, that I stated I would include:

    Lay on back. 2 feet out straight. Tilt pelvis slightly (I bend knees a little to enable tilt). With both legs out straight on floor, lift one leg up a few inches, keeping core tight. March it by bending knee just a little toward chest. Keep core activated. Leg back out straight again. Lower to flow. Repeat with other leg. 10 times each side. 2 sets.

    Stand. One leg up, like a marching step. Both arms move at chest height to the side of lifted leg. Do this slowly so core remains engaged. Lower leg and drop arms slowly. Repeat on other side. 10 times each side. 2 sets.


    On all 4s, like a table. Knees are bent, along the ground. (Not downward dog with straight legs).
    First: extend one arm out straight in front of you, core engaged. Now 3 legs of the table are on the ground. Arm back in, resuming position of 4th table leg. Repeat with other arm. Go slow to maintain tight core throughout.

    Second: extend one leg out straight behind you. Now 3 legs of the table are on the ground. Leg back down, resuming position of 4th table leg. Repeat with other leg. Go slow to maintain tight core throughout.


    When these table exercises become easy, then join them. Extend the right arm and left leg together, leaving 2 legs of the table on the ground. Replace the right arm and left leg. Then exchange to extend left arm and right leg. Harder to balance so core does more work.


    Of course, what has been prescribed for my sciatica problem may not be best for yours.

     
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    Old 05-27-2016, 08:10 PM   #22
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    For the 10-11 hour plane trips coming up in a couple of weeks, I got some Hydrocone. Also Gabapentin that I'll test out in advance. My doc also said I could re-start the (very effective) Prednisone steroids if I am too miserable. While those steroids were effective for the pain, they played havoc with my very being, which I guess is typical.

    I don't think you can count on being OK in confined conditions (Plane, train, car) if you are prone to sciatica problems, even if your daily routines are fine. I learned the hard way to be prepared with the drugs, which I am thankful I can get.

    Hoping to do a thread on long plane trips and sciatica when I get back. Hoping the outcome is better than the car trip.

    Best of luck to any of you suffering from sciatica problems at home and/or on the road.

     
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    Old 05-27-2016, 09:43 PM   #23
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    I remember when my daughter graduated from college in 2007 my spine doctor put me on a Medrol pack, which is basically prednisone, so that I could travel and make it through the festivities. You might want to get a back brace to wear to provide a bit of support.

     
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    Old 06-07-2016, 11:44 AM   #24
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    11 sessions with continued exercises on my own did improve me 85%-88% over 2 months with one drastic setback of a 10-day car trip.

    Now, with the encouragement of both doctor and PT, I will turn to my Chiropractic, who I've seen for 20 years for various back issues, but mostly maintenance.

    I had been discouraged that other people on this board, the Mayo Clinic site, lots of other sites indicate that sciatica problems often are cleared up (sometimes even on their own) in 6-8 weeks. Today the PT told me that other factors such as scoliosis and SI joint problems--both of which I have--can prolong the healing process. Full recovery can take even 6-8 months. That's ok as long as full recover does occur.

     
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    Old 06-29-2016, 11:39 AM   #25
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    After 11 PT sessions and 2 months of exercises, I have to respond to the question: "Has PT fixed your sciatica?" with

    "No, it did not so that I might return to the full scope of my normal activities."

    I had been hopeful with the progress I was making and it did get me to 85% of routine activities at home, where I had a lot of control and rarely sat down. But a recent overseas flight, which is something I do several times a year, was very difficult despite drugs and aisle seats. Long drives, which I also do several times a year, are very painful and it is not always possible to stop every hour.

    Even exercises, yoga and tai chi that I do regularly are curtailed. I can't do what I did before the RIGHT SIDE sciatica problem.

    My chiropractic of 20+ years is doing some treatments for piriformis (overly tight butt muscle) on the right side with positive results, but IMO that is not the answer to all this pain and structural impairment. The cramped piriformis may contribute to some of the pain, though. Worth pursuing for a while, along with adjustments to the spine.

    Next step is injections. The results of those will appear in a later post.

    Again, so that you can compare your problems/issues with mine and with the treatments I've tried, here is my diagnosis:

    right posterior lateral 3 to 4 mm disc osteophyte
    protuberance at the L5-S1 level and some generalized disc bulging or
    spurring of 2 mm and mild to moderate bilateral facet hypertrophy. moderate right lateral recess and foraminal encroachment and moderate left foraminal encroachment.

    I still do the PT exercises. After all, I paid a lot for them, even with insurance, for which I am truly grateful.

    Good luck to those of you struggling with similar issues who are seeking treatment and relief.

     
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    Old 07-01-2016, 09:15 AM   #26
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    You didn't mention the disc osteophytes before. This is an indication of a process that can be referred to as general disc degeneration...the stenosis in the foramen, bone spurs along the disc space area, etc. in my experience no amount of exercise, PT, etc. is going to cause this situation to get a lot better. Also the pain generator may be coming from the SI joints rather than disc issues at L5-S1.

    People who recover from sciatic pain and have all of it go away are usually dealing with pain that stems from muscular and soft tissue issues rather than degenerative issues and stenosis.

    Have you tried the following "exercise" that I suggest quite often?

    Lie on a hard surface on your back with knees bent, feet flat on floor shoulder-width apart. Do a pelvic tilt to get pelvis into a neutral position. Place arms by the side with palms facing up toward ceiling. Now that you are in the proper position, relax and breathe slowly and deeply from the belly for 2 to 5 minutes.

    This position allows the discs to unload, allows any muscles that are "guarding" the sore area to leg go and relax and allows the parasympathetic system to reset.

    Do this morning and night, and any time you do something that you know brings on sciatic pain or when you feel it starting up.

    Before I had my surgery I have been known to find a quiet corner in an airport where I would lie on the floor and do this until time for my flight or connection. I always travel in pants so I didn't have to worry about exposing myself!

    Another thing that would most likely help is a product called "back joy" which is a molded seat that cups the buttocks in a manner that aligns the spine properly. It is easily portable for airplanes, restaurants, theatre, etc. I keep one in my car and carry it along if I ride with someone else.

    Also, you could try is to find some practioner who does ART...active release technique -- - a type of therapy that focuses on soft tissue. There is a website with a list of ART providers all over the world.

     
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    Old 07-05-2016, 06:57 PM   #27
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Those are all good suggestions for me and for others. Thanks Terteri66! I'll do the pelvic tilt on the floor in a few minutes.

    And I always travel in trousers!

    Last edited by Laketime; 07-05-2016 at 06:58 PM. Reason: want to add more

     
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