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  • Has PT fixed your sciatica?

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    Old 04-18-2016, 09:35 AM   #1
    Laketime
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    Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Thank you in advance for any help you may give or light you may shed. This is a first post.

    I've had great success with PT for various muscle groups on the past. But sciatica is neurological. Can PT fix my nerves? Or will it alter where the nerves "run" by shifting muscle strength?

    Just hard for me to believe PT can address tingly pain (which I have in right buttocsk and down leg).

    Does MRI (which I've had plus x-rays) indicate if PT is a viable option vs. shots or....?

    Should 5 PT sessions be enough to tell if PT will do the trick or not?

    I know none of you are my doctor or my PT therapist and my butt pain is not your butt pain, but any insight is appreciated. When I know more, I'll do the same and share what I've learned.

    Merci.

     
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    Old 04-18-2016, 03:45 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Welcome to the board. The answer to your question really depends on what is causing sciatica or sciatic-type pain. If there is central canal stenosis that is quite severe, PT has little to no effect. If a bulging disc is impinging on a spinal nerve, it may have a positive effect, helping the disc to heal and thus, move off the nerve. There are other situations that cause sciatic pain, but you get the idea....

    The MRI "should" be able to see what's causing the sciatic pain. On occasion it isn't obvious and further testing is needed.

     
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    Old 04-18-2016, 06:00 PM   #3
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Thank you for your reply. Now if I can get someone to get back to me about MRI...

    Calls are in. Hopefully eventually they will be returned.

     
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    Old 04-18-2016, 07:26 PM   #4
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Ask for a copy of your MRI report for your personal files. I also always get a copy of the MRI too as it is easier to get it at the time of service rather than later when you need it! You never know when you might want to see a different specialist.

     
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    Old 04-23-2016, 08:39 PM   #5
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Thank you teteri66, I will ask for a copy of the MRI at my next doc appt.

    L5 and S1 level disc protrusion, bulging and moderate encroachment in area where nerves go through to the the legs. Spine itself is fine and so are other areas/levels.

    Does the above look like PT can help? Or might something else help?

    Thank you for your opinions and experiences.

     
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    Old 04-24-2016, 08:58 AM   #6
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    If you do not have a spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 then PT may help. This is where one vertebra slips over the top of the adjacent vertebra. The slippage can be stable or unstable, where it is still slipping.

    The protruding disc matter is pushing into the foraminal openings, where the nerves exit the spine and go out to the body. This narrows the opening, and puts pressure on the nerves which results in the radiating pain you identify as sciatic pain.

    This is often treated with a course of physical therapy and a series of epidural steroid injections which helps with pain and inflammation.

    If the above conservative treatment has no effect on the nerve compression, then a surgical procedure to trim the disc may be necessary.

     
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    Old 04-26-2016, 06:19 AM   #7
    Johann734
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    [QUOTE=Laketime;5413878]Thank you in advance for any help you may give or light you may shed. This is a first post.

    I've had great success with PT for various muscle groups on the past. But sciatica is neurological. Can PT fix my nerves? Or will it alter where the nerves "run" by shifting muscle strength?

    Just hard for me to believe PT can address tingly pain (which I have in right buttocsk and down leg).

    Does MRI (which I've had plus x-rays) indicate if PT is a viable option vs. shots or....?

    Should 5 PT sessions be enough to tell if PT will do the trick or not?

    I know none of you are my doctor or my PT therapist and my butt pain is not your butt pain, but any insight is appreciated. When I know more, I'll do the same and share what I've learned.

    Merci.[/QUOTE]

    It largely depends on what the cause is. You're sort of correct to be skeptical of PT improving what sounds like neuropathic pain, but sciatica is often times as structural as it is neurologic. It can also be muscular, which is what my GP believed was the cause of mine when she referred me to PT. She believed that once I strengthened my muscle tone it would go away. Well, I was in PT for 6 months and while I had short term improvements, I'm still here in pain and with sciatica. Square one really. This makes me suspect it's not muscular, but then again, I have a problem maintaining muscle tone. I'm just in general, weak. =/

    MRI to see if PT is an option? HA! I'd be happy for you if that's the way things go. I've been dealing with chronic pain day in and day out for nearly 3 years and no MRI. Part of it, I'm sure was because I was uninsured, but now that I have good insurance, it does confound me that my doc hasn't referred me one yet.

    I don't know how they do things in your state, but in mine, you don't get an MRI unless you really push for one.

    I hope things work out for you, I'm sorry if I wasn't more useful.

     
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    Old 04-26-2016, 05:33 PM   #8
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Your experience has been very helpful, Johann734. I hope you find relief. Acupuncture is on my list if PT and injections don't work. Plus chiropractic, which has been part of my back maintenance all along. Perhaps you could look into those as well. Maybe you have.

    Can you ask about an MRI again? Maybe "fall apart" in your doc's office due to pain and resulting despair and depression and insist on finding out the source of your pain, suggesting MRI.

    Best wishes to you. Hope you find some comfort at last.

    No spondylolisthesis, Teteri66. Thank you for your insights.

    Three PT sessions have helped with the numbness, tingling starting in the right groin and spreading down to the feet, reducing that problem by 75%. And we discovered I have muscle tightness, and of course pain, in my right butt cheek. Muscle problems are music to my ears. Muscles can be fixed with exercises usually.

    I'll update this because my symptoms and problems could be those of others.

    Thank you for the replies to my questions.

    Additional comments, insights, testimonials are very welcome.

    Last edited by Laketime; 04-26-2016 at 05:33 PM. Reason: wrong #

     
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    Old 05-02-2016, 07:37 AM   #9
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Half way through PT and 50% improved. Mornings are still the worst. My concern is the last 50%.

    Here are the PT exercises I have done. This might be helpful for others not able to get to PT. Of course my situation is not necessarily your situation. All "poses" are held for 30 seconds at least.

    1. Lie on back and raise knee of affected side to chest and pull it into chest or as far as it will go without pain.

    2. Make a 4 with knee of affected side, which is my right side. Lie on back. Raise left knee, left foot in floor. Put ankle of right leg on left knee so that right knee points right. This looks like the # 4. This can also be done sitting so that you cross your right leg over your left in a very "manly" way, again right ankle to left knee.

    3. Sit on edge of chair. Extend right leg (right side is affected). Keep leg straight. Heel on ground. Flex to point toes toward you. If you can, repeat while leaning forward with straight back. Keep hips forward, don't turn hips.

    Then this was added to 1, 2, 3 a week later.

    4. Lie on back. Rest back of calves on couch or therapy ball. Heels are not touching the couch or ball. Keep legs straight. Flex toes forward and back slowly.

    5. Because I had tightness, tingling, pain in my right groin, this was added. Stand straight. Legs 2 feet apart, toes pointing straight. Lean to the left, stretching the right groin (affected side). So left leg is bent and right is straight. Back is straight.


    Then this was added and subtracted after the next session. The purpose is to focus on helping the bulging/herniated disc.

    1, 2 were halted. I am going to see if they can be put back in because they feel good and are stretches I have done in the past routinely.

    6. Lie on back. Bend both knees, feet on floor. Do slight pelvic tilts. Hold, back down. Like wimpy situps. Not full situps. Upper body stays flat on floor.

    7. Lie on stomach and put pillow under chest for 10-15 minutes. You can read, watch TV. Recommended as first position in going to sleep.

    8. Lie on stomach. Raise chest off ground slightly, pushing with forearms that are flat on floor, then raise to cobra position, pushing with forearms that remain flat on floor.

    9. Lie on stomach. Right arm raised at 45 degree angle (maybe less) in front of head, straight. Then left arm. Both sides. Result: you are one long line from either left or right raised hand and arm tip to toes, which are flat on the floor.

    It was suggested I sleep on my stomach if I can. Next best is on back with pillow under back of knees.

     
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    Old 05-02-2016, 08:30 AM   #10
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    I was with you till you got to the suggestion to sleep on your stomach. Regardless of what is causing issues, I have never heard or read anything saying anything but do not sleep on your stomach! If someone had a spondylolisthesis and was not aware of it, sleeping on the stomach could make the slippage worse. Most spine specialists recommend sleeping on the side with appropriate small pillows supporting the natural curves of the spine as the best position for sleep.

    Sleeping on the stomach, puts the neck into hyper flexion, and the lumbar curve too. It puts more pressure on the nerves along the underside of the arms. Lungs are compressed due to the weight of the body pressing in on them, making it difficult to take a deep breath. And, if one is a woman, it puts pressure on the breasts.

    So, I am curious why you have been told to sleep on your stomach. What is causing your sciatic pain?

     
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    Old 05-02-2016, 05:10 PM   #11
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Thanks for offering your input and question, teteri66. Fortunately I don't have spondylolisthesis - but somebody reading this might!

    I cannot sleep on my stomach so that suggestion has not been heeded. The reason was to help reform (my word) the natural curve of my lower spine to take pressure off the herniated disk. The other suggested sleep position is on my back with a pillow under the back of my knees. That I can do. I was told to do that for SI problems in the past too. I was cautioned not to sleep curled up in a ball (fetal position). That's my preference, but I am happy to forego it to help my sciatica pain.

    I have been given the ok to do the "cross your legs in a manly way" with my right ankle on my left knee. (Sciatica is on right side.) But there is still a ban on the "4" shape of laying on my back and doing this same thing, described in previous post as "Make a 4 with knee of affected side, which is my right side. Lie on back. Raise left knee, left foot in floor. Put ankle of right leg on left knee so that right knee points right. This looks like the # 4." The reason is that can (my words) counteract the natural curve we are trying to return to my lower back.

    PT Exercises:

    For the cobra position, I am now straightening my arms for increased arching.

    The plank has been added: Lie on stomach. Forearms on floor. Toes (bent) on floor. Rest of the body off the floor. Hold for 20 seconds, 3 sets. Focus on stabilizing the core. This is challenging for me.

    Thanks again for your comments, teteri66.

     
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    Old 05-02-2016, 05:12 PM   #12
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Question: What is causing your sciatic pain?

    Answer: Herniated disk L5-S1.

     
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    Old 05-02-2016, 07:47 PM   #13
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Do you have scoliosis? What else have they done to treat the bulging disc? Have you had epidural steroid injections?

     
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    Old 05-04-2016, 09:05 PM   #14
    Laketime
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    I do have slight scoliosis. Have had it all my life. I tilt/lean to the right. Right shoulder is lower than left. Sciatica problem is on right side.

    No injections.

    Bulging disc sciatica symptoms occurred suddenly and without warning in the middle of the night and awoke me on March 15.

    Two weeks later on April 1 I went to my doctor and began steroids that helped a really quickly lot but I did not like the mental/emotional side effects. 40 mg for 4 days, 30 mg for 4, days 20 mg for 3 days, 10 mg for 3 days. Glad that's done.

    Next approach is PT, which I began on April 12.

    About April 20 I started 75 mg 2x day DICLOFENAC. No side effects. That helps too. Hope to eventually stop that, though.

    I have had 5 PT sessions and am 60% better. I am improving, but slowly. I will do about 3 more PT sessions, then I am gone for 2 weeks but will continue my PT exercises, then I have a followup with my doctor. Then we'll see.

    Thanks for inquiring on the conditions and treatments for this sciatica problem, teteri66.

     
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    Old 05-05-2016, 05:54 AM   #15
    teteri66
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    Re: Has PT fixed your sciatica?

    Keep on doing the exercises you have learned at PT. Do everything you can to maintain good posture and structural alignment. Avoid lifting anything heavier than ten or fifteen pounds. Drink lots of fluids. Don't sit for longer than about 20-30 minutes at a time, then get up and walk for a couple minutes. You have a good chance of getting the disc to reabsorb and move off the nerve.

     
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