Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Aching Back (ish area)

About a week ago, I started to feel my sciatic nerve. By feel I mean that I became acutely aware of the pain it was sending into my right buttock. I slept with the heating pad. I attempted different stances when I lifted the baby or held The Rock Star up while he used the potty. I continued swimming thinking I'd eventually work it out. By yesterday it was barely hurting at all. I knew I was on the mend.

Then I woke up this morning. Something happened. Something bad. Something that makes me feel like I'm 82 years old. I don't know what I did to reaggravate it but I know that I could barely sit down in church today. It hurts to lift my youngest child. Picking up the eldest is out of the question. So I was just searching the Internet for any helpful information I might find on "How to Speedily Heal an Aching Sciatic Nerve."

Here's what I found:

Step 1
Visit your family doctor or orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon? It seems a little premature for that. As for my doctor, well, I'm not entirely sure what he'd do about it. It's a stinking nerve, right? I assume he'd probably prescribe a lot of the following:

Step 2
Take aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve discomfort. Taking two aspirin every day, even when you aren't suffering with sciatic pain, can help prevent pain from recurring. Okay, so first of all, duh. But second of all, I don't know that I've ever taken aspirin. Seriously. I couldn't take it as a kid, obviously, and when I was old enough to actually consume aspirin I was so afraid of why I wasn't allowed to take it as a kid that I just never did. Really. And I'm 27 now and I can't think of a time that I took aspirin. This is a tangent. Forgive me. As for ibuprofen, I took some this morning, in church, while someone else was holding my baby because I was starting to slowly die of butt pain. But if you know me at all you know that I shy away from personally using pain killers because I'm afraid I'll get immune to them. No worries, I'll use them on my kids in an instant if they show signs of discomfort but myself--I'm just paranoid of developing Advil immunity.

Step 3
Place at least one pillow under your knees when you lie down. This helps relieve pressure that the disk is putting on your sciatic nerve. This seems like helpful information. I'll be trying this tonight.

Step 4
Rest on a firm mattress or on the floor when sciatic pain is severe. Stay in bed, getting up only when absolutely necessary, for 3 days. Can you hear me laughing hysterically? Nevermind the fact that I have a son who is nearing three and comes up with the most wild ideas not limited to filling his penguin backpack with soap and water so that he could make a portable bathtub. Nevermind that he did that in the amount of time it took me to pull some weeds in the garden. What about the almost three month old? What should I do with him while I'm lying in bed for three days? He's fat enough, should I let him live off of his leg roll reserves? Sure, my house will be a war zone and my second born will be malnourished, but my tooshie won't hurt anymore.

Step 5
Ask for help to get out of bed or into the bath or shower so you don't strain your back while getting up and down. "Come here, Garrett." Yes, mommy? "I'm going to need you to pick me up. That's right. Just, um, just, well. Let's see. What do you mean you're too little? You're my best option, kid. Daddy's at work and Mommy has to go potty."

Step 6
Apply hot or cold packs to your back and upper legs. Sometimes ice will work better than heat; at other times, a heating pad will do a better job of relieving pain. Try both to see which one is more effective for you. I'll try the ice. I haven't tried that yet. But seriously, is this all you've got? I need a quicker fix.

Step 7
Don't lift anything. Hilarious. Matthew, I am so sorry. I know you're crying. I know you've been lying in the same spot since last night but the silly website told me, specifically, not to lift you.

Step 8
Don't bend or sit in soft chairs. Don't bend. What?

Step 9
Ask your doctor for prescription pain relievers if severe sciatic pain continues. I don't want a pain reliever, I want it fixed. A pain reliever is the reason I have a bum shoulder that still hurts when I swim despite the fact that I injured it like a billion years ago. I want something that will heal my back/butt not just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Step 10
Eat a diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation. Straining to defecate irritates the sciatic nerve. Um, good to know. Thanks. Thanks for that interesting tidbit of information. Also, it should be pointed out that there are some things I think I might have been able to figure out for myself. This is probably one of them.

So, in conclusion, this site was not helpful at all. I mean, maybe if I was a housewife who had a butler and a maid and no children but given my current state in life, laying in bed for three days while not lifting anything, popping pills and eating a diet rich in fiber (which, incidentally, might make it difficult to stay permanently in bed) it's darn near impossible. I think I'm going back to the Internet to look for something a little more useful.


  1. I'm so sorry you're in so much pain! But I did laugh hysterically at many of the pieces of advice the internet gave you (and your responses to them). The one about you just staying in bed was my favorite... what a gem! Anyway, I hope you find some answers and that the pain goes away soon!

  2. I highly recommend a chiropractor! I have dealt with this issue several times and have always gotten relief...massage therapy works wonders too! I am one that shys away from drugs as much as possible and the thoughts of being basically immobile for days is laughable! Have someone near you recommend a good chiropractor or when looking for one in the yellow pages -I recommend one that graduated from the Palmer school (they always place this in their ads. They are hands on and very effective. In the meantime -I am praying for you!

  3. Lori, my sciatica began in my 5th month of pregnancy with Zoe, and has never completely ceased. It lies awaiting the opportune time to strike - and that is usually out of the blue. The weather plays a part, compressing everything. If I lie flat on the floor I am doomed. There are good stretched you can do to prevent/alieviate the pain, but it is a pinched nerve, so only so much can be done.

    Mine occured when my hips and such shifted as my belly grew and my posture was changing. I had it on both sides, and it would freeze me up so much that passerbys would think I was going into labor from my involuntary cries of pain.

    I have seen Dr. Kyle Matsumura at the Utah Pain Specialists clinic for my neck issues, and he also deals with sciatica work.

    I am sorry you are going through it and I TOTALLY understand how you feel. Nobody can understand until it occurs to them that it feels like an ice pick jabbed into your bum cheek with a little string of fire shooting down your leg. I don't wish it on anyone, and I feel for you, girl!

  4. my chiropractor changed my life. more specifically, he has relieved my sciatic pain.

    yoga and massage also helps. I don't know how to explain it over the internets but there are some specific stretches (pigeon, if you want to look one up) that relieve/prevent sciatic pain for me.

    of course I've heard that doing these stretches could make the pain WORSE so... I don't know.

    sorry friend! hope you feel better soon.

  5. My chiropracter is what helps mine and ice and yoga oh and massages...all of those are heaven when your nerve flares up...childs pose in yoga really relives it...good luck don't think it's something you can fix but there are ways to help.

  6. A chiropractor was the only one who was able to help me end my sciatic pain and the treatments were covered by insurance. Like Anonymous, I also found massages to help alot. There are a couple of massage schools in the Salt Lake City area (UCMT for instance) have massage clinics on weekends that are really inexpensive, with some weekends at "two for one" price of $25 for a whole hour, that's only $12.50 per hour for each person! Tell the student you are have sciatic pain, they will know exactly what you need to feel better.

    Yoga: Yes!

    Oddly, sciatica flares when a person is under stress. And of course you've been SO stress free lately, right?

  7. I also agree with everyone on the Chiropractic front...It really works. I worked for a Chiro for a few years when I first moved to UT, I have refered many people you know who like him a lot. I can give you his number if you like. If that is not an option right now, then I can show you some streches. And definitally use ICE. You want to apply it to your lower back...the pain is caused by a nerve coming from your lumbar regions. A low back massage wouldn't hurt either...doesn't have to be fancy. I bet Christy could show Troy some good moves :)

  8. i feel for ya. both pregnancies now, i've dealt with it off and on. there is a really good stretch that has helped that i can no longer do due to having a broken leg (sciatica on the same side as the break) but i agree to look up some stretches and try those.

  9. So randomly found your page through a comment that Joelle left......I see you are having sciatic problems......I am graduating from Physical therapy school in 3 weeks.....The pain you describe might also be your SI Joint, since one of the common referral areas of pain is your buttocks.....You can try this to see if you can fix it.......Look in a mirror with your fingers at the bottom of the bones that stick out in the front (hip bones as most people call them)....see if one is lower than the other.....If so, then take a broom stick and lay on your back with your knees the broom stick on top of the thigh that has the bone that is higher, and below the thigh that has the bone that is lower......almost like you are weaving the broom stick through your legs. Then simultaneously push both legs into the broom stick......pushing on leg down into it and one leg up into it.....hold for 5 seconds and let go.....try it 3 times and see what happens........this should align your pelvis back in place. Hopefully this helps, and if you need a better explanation, I can try again.