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Sciatica!

Old 02-10-19, 06:34 PM
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Sciatica!

I have a long history with sciatic nerve pain that usually shows up after shoveling snow. Two weeks ago I threw out my back shoveling snow. Typically I am able to heat the lower back, stretch the glutes and do some simple floor exercise and it goes away over a two week period. This time around it is not going away. The only relief I get is when I walk. After the first half mile the pain disappears and things go back to normal.
Not sure what I did to the lower back this time, but something is different as the pain is not responding to the standard measures taken in the past. Set to visit the doc next week, however I pretty much know what will be said. Any help you folks can offer I will take a look at.
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Old 02-10-19, 07:32 PM
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First these stretches: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post15372967
Then do this: Low back pain: From crippled to 100% in 10 days ? Steven Low

Made an amazing difference to my long-term lower back pain.
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Old 02-10-19, 10:06 PM
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My mom had an operation for sciatica and got instant relief. Out patient small incision fairly quick recovery. The surgeon said its like a roto rooter plumbing procedure. Anyway it helped her a lot.
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Old 02-11-19, 01:53 PM
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Have been doing the McKenzie exercises as that has always worked. Mornings are an absolute bear to deal with, but eventually it loosens up. Takes a few hours of stretching, exercises and walking. When I was twenty seven recovery was so much faster! Within a week things were significantly better. Not so 30+ years later. Sigh. Aging is not easy.
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Old 02-11-19, 05:44 PM
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Stenosis

If you have spinal stenosis stretching is not going to help. It is the narrowing of the nerve canal causing pinched nerve/s. Hence, the analogy of Roto Rooter. Basically the boring out of the canal, giving the nerve/s room. Hopefully, resulting in relief from the pain.
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Old 02-11-19, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Have been doing the McKenzie exercises as that has always worked. Mornings are an absolute bear to deal with, but eventually it loosens up. Takes a few hours of stretching, exercises and walking. When I was twenty seven recovery was so much faster! Within a week things were significantly better. Not so 30+ years later. Sigh. Aging is not easy.
Yep, that's what one does. Not for sissies, they say. Keep at it. The alternative is worse.
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Old 02-11-19, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
If you have spinal stenosis stretching is not going to help. It is the narrowing of the nerve canal causing pinched nerve/s. Hence, the analogy of Roto Rooter. Basically the boring out of the canal, giving the nerve/s room. Hopefully, resulting in relief from the pain.
MRI confirmed severe lumbar stenosis about 10 years ago. But it does help. Not just stretching, but many different activities including heavy weight lifting. Went Alpine skiing today, snowshoeing yesterday, back was OK, everything else got really tired today. Spinning and strength work at the gym tomorrow due to snowpocalypse. Just hope I have the strength and energy, but farting it off, as we used to say in the Army, is no longer an option. Maybe someday that won't work anymore and I'll have to have back surgery, but that certainly isn't my first option. I don't know what's involved in presenting so that one can get insurance to pay for a laminectormy. I suspect it's something like not being able to walk anymore.
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Old 02-11-19, 07:51 PM
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This morning there was a break through. Couldn't walk but half a mile. Too much pain to handle. Got home and put heat on it, then did a full routine of stretch and exercises (McKenzie) and started feeling better. Sitting in the office chair I have heat applied to the glutes and it seems to be working. Not so tight right now, but I really do fear the morning. Going to be stiff as a board I am sure. Slowly, but surely I will get it done!
MRI years ago showed no narrowing of the passage. Not sure if it has narrowed over time, but I think it would have shown up this summer while riding and shoveling dirt. It is this dang snow that does it almost every time!
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Old 02-11-19, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
MRI confirmed severe lumbar stenosis about 10 years ago. But it does help. Not just stretching, but many different activities including heavy weight lifting. Went Alpine skiing today, snowshoeing yesterday, back was OK, everything else got really tired today. Spinning and strength work at the gym tomorrow due to snowpocalypse. Just hope I have the strength and energy, but farting it off, as we used to say in the Army, is no longer an option. Maybe someday that won't work anymore and I'll have to have back surgery, but that certainly isn't my first option. I don't know what's involved in presenting so that one can get insurance to pay for a laminectormy. I suspect it's something like not being able to walk anymore.
Thanks for the reply. I have a long history of spinal issues also. I have had 4 surgeries: 2 partial discectomies, disc replacement at L5-S1, and fusion at C5-C6. I was in PT, exercising, stretching, ice and heat, for quite awhile before the first 2 and did get to the point of being almost bed ridden before the surgeries were done. Chronic, agonizing, horrific pain that I hope to never have to experience again. The replacement at L5-S1 was still considered experimental when I had it done, surprisingly my insurance did cover it. A lot of documentation of the injury and of the prognosis of other options, and the cost of those other options. I hope your regimen keeps working for you. I was out of options if I wanted to get back to a more normal life. Living in constant debilitating pain is no way to live. Fortunately I have done well post op with all of them. Not true for too many others. I wish you the best and keep doing what you like to do.
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Old 02-11-19, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Thanks for the reply. I have a long history of spinal issues also. I have had 4 surgeries: 2 partial discectomies, disc replacement at L5-S1, and fusion at C5-C6. I was in PT, exercising, stretching, ice and heat, for quite awhile before the first 2 and did get to the point of being almost bed ridden before the surgeries were done. Chronic, agonizing, horrific pain that I hope to never have to experience again. The replacement at L5-S1 was still considered experimental when I had it done, surprisingly my insurance did cover it. A lot of documentation of the injury and of the prognosis of other options, and the cost of those other options. I hope your regimen keeps working for you. I was out of options if I wanted to get back to a more normal life. Living in constant debilitating pain is no way to live. Fortunately I have done well post op with all of them. Not true for too many others. I wish you the best and keep doing what you like to do.
And thanks back at you. That gives me some idea of the experiences which would lead to back surgery. Got it. Definitely working out tomorrow, hoping that keeping my back strong and in column will continue to delay disaster.
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Old 02-12-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
MRI confirmed severe lumbar stenosis about 10 years ago. But it does help. Not just stretching, but many different activities including heavy weight lifting. Went Alpine skiing today, snowshoeing yesterday, back was OK, everything else got really tired today. Spinning and strength work at the gym tomorrow due to snowpocalypse. Just hope I have the strength and energy, but farting it off, as we used to say in the Army, is no longer an option. Maybe someday that won't work anymore and I'll have to have back surgery, but that certainly isn't my first option. I don't know what's involved in presenting so that one can get insurance to pay for a laminectormy. I suspect it's something like not being able to walk anymore.
Same here but the heavy weightlifting is over for me. Most of the exercises I have to do now are seated because of the pain from standing. I suspect a combination of a genetically narrow spinal canal and years of heavy leg presses (600+) pounds just put too much stress on my lumbar - L4-S1. The neurologist in 2017 told me that my lower back was in the condition he normally sees for people in their 70's. I was 51 at the time.

So, I've made adjustments. Lots of stretching, cycling opens the spaces up. I was having a lot of severe leg pain in the left leg (down to my calf) right before my recent C5/C6 fusion. I don't want to get my hopes up but that hasn't returned so I'm hoping the spinal cord impingement in my neck was increasing the leg symptoms.
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Old 02-12-19, 12:31 PM
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If there's just one thing I could say to those with back pain, it's this: ride your bike, a lot. After I injured my back skiing after years of not working my back, cycling was what made the pain go away. That's when I took up randonneuring for a few years.

Of course I also worked my back, hard, stretched and etc.

If one is just starting out to rehab a bad back, Core Advantage with Tom Danielson is a good start. After my ski injury, I spent a year slowly progressing through the exercises in that book. Took ~20 minutes every morning. And ride your bike. I've always used a full-on road position, bars as low as my frame allows and with a good long reach.
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Old 02-13-19, 10:59 AM
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Update: Back muscles are fine, no soreness or aches, only a little tight on the left side when getting dressed. There is serious sciatic nerve pain that will not go away. Waiting for the doc to call back. The confusing thing is that sitting in a certain position with a hot heat pad brings relief. In the past any sitting was avoided! Something is different this time around.
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Old 02-13-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Update: Back muscles are fine, no soreness or aches, only a little tight on the left side when getting dressed. There is serious sciatic nerve pain that will not go away. Waiting for the doc to call back. The confusing thing is that sitting in a certain position with a hot heat pad brings relief. In the past any sitting was avoided! Something is different this time around.
Good to hear the muscles are good. I use a heating pad almost every day (and heated seats in the vehicle) because it helps relax the muscles. I find that muscle spasms in my low back will flare things up a lot worse.
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Old 02-13-19, 07:29 PM
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Another update today. When I picked myself up from the office chair to get some lunch there was little to now nerve pain. I spent lunch hour doing floor exercises and only stretched once. It is feeling surprisingly good right now, but again, I fear the morning.

It is amazing how heat really does keep things loose. I always put ice on a pulled and inflamed muscle, but heat seems to be the thing here.
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Old 02-15-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Another update today. When I picked myself up from the office chair to get some lunch there was little to now nerve pain. I spent lunch hour doing floor exercises and only stretched once. It is feeling surprisingly good right now, but again, I fear the morning.

It is amazing how heat really does keep things loose. I always put ice on a pulled and inflamed muscle, but heat seems to be the thing here.
I get sciatica of and on all the time. The more you mover it around and stretch it the better it gets. Within reason the old way of letting your back heal by not doing anything is not correct. Get it moving and circulate the blood get the waste products and healing moving. It was almost 6 years ago I was having pain running the would go down my leg and sitting was the worst. I finally had an MRI of lower lumbar and it showed foraminal stenosis, which is different than spinal stenosis but it can cause problems. Well 6 years later I am still running and while I go slow I do not have any pain. Riding the bike is fine too. I am going to be 58 in summer and just keep working the back. The key is to strengthen the muscles so that the joints do not have work as hard. Slow and steady with the race. The bike does not cause pounding issue so I bet you are going to be fine.
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Old 02-15-19, 07:01 PM
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I really don't understand the severe pain in the morning. While sleeping I assume the body is relaxed. Am I mistaken? Last night 3am woke up with severe pain. Took two hours to work it out. Went back to sleep at 5am and woke up at 6am with severe pain. Took another 3 hours to work it out. For the rest of the day I have stretched 3 times and floor exercises 3 times, plus sitting with a heating pad set to high all day while I work. It feels fairly normal right now. Come morning it will be awful again. I sleep with the heating pad as well. Makes no sense.
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Old 02-15-19, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
It is amazing how heat really does keep things loose. I always put ice on a pulled and inflamed muscle, but heat seems to be the thing here.
I've had a long term relationship with lower back pain. Stretching and cycling are both helpful, although the latter without the former is asking for trouble.

But as to heat, we purchased a hot tub 14 years ago, and for a while I was using it 2 and 3 times a day. Simply wonderful. And then there's my friend the ice pack. They've both become like a part of the family, I'd really miss having to live without them.
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Old 02-16-19, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I really don't understand the severe pain in the morning. While sleeping I assume the body is relaxed. Am I mistaken? Last night 3am woke up with severe pain. Took two hours to work it out. Went back to sleep at 5am and woke up at 6am with severe pain. Took another 3 hours to work it out. For the rest of the day I have stretched 3 times and floor exercises 3 times, plus sitting with a heating pad set to high all day while I work. It feels fairly normal right now. Come morning it will be awful again. I sleep with the heating pad as well. Makes no sense.
Pain only in the lower back? Shoulders?
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Old 02-18-19, 04:39 PM
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Sciatic nerve pain in the left glute and leg down to the ankle. only. No back pain at all. In the past the lower back muscles were inflamed, but not this time. Just weird. Will give it another month. If not healed by then, off to the doc I go.
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Old 02-19-19, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Sciatic nerve pain in the left glute and leg down to the ankle. only. No back pain at all. In the past the lower back muscles were inflamed, but not this time. Just weird. Will give it another month. If not healed by then, off to the doc I go.
Are you riding most days?
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Old 02-19-19, 08:59 PM
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had to stop putting my wallet in the back pocket because of sciatica
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Old 02-20-19, 05:43 PM
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During the season I ride every day. In winter I hike 3 miles or less as it is tough on the knees in the cold. This happened when shoveling the driveway.

Slept last night for 7 hours! Put two very large pillows between the legs and found a position laying on my right side that worked. Very painful to try and walk in the morning, however I stretched and it was easier. After a mile of walking it was feeling much better. Drove the truck with manual tranny to the store and it was feeling pretty good. So good that I jumped on the cruiser to put around the neighborhood since the streets were clear of snow. This is when I realized the origin of the problem.

Mounting and dismounting the bike is what I believe has caused the issue in the first place. When I swung the right leg over the bike it really affected the sciatic nerve. While riding there was pain in the groin just a little bit. Got to thinking and realized that while riding the cruiser this summer on longer rides (20 miles) I was feeling this same pain, just not as intense. The road bike I did not feel the pain.

So far this has been an interesting journey with much more discovery to come.
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Old 02-20-19, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
During the season I ride every day. In winter I hike 3 miles or less as it is tough on the knees in the cold. This happened when shoveling the driveway.

Slept last night for 7 hours! Put two very large pillows between the legs and found a position laying on my right side that worked. Very painful to try and walk in the morning, however I stretched and it was easier. After a mile of walking it was feeling much better. Drove the truck with manual tranny to the store and it was feeling pretty good. So good that I jumped on the cruiser to put around the neighborhood since the streets were clear of snow. This is when I realized the origin of the problem.

Mounting and dismounting the bike is what I believe has caused the issue in the first place. When I swung the right leg over the bike it really affected the sciatic nerve. While riding there was pain in the groin just a little bit. Got to thinking and realized that while riding the cruiser this summer on longer rides (20 miles) I was feeling this same pain, just not as intense. The road bike I did not feel the pain.

So far this has been an interesting journey with much more discovery to come.
I know snowshoeing aggravates my back, cycling makes it better. Ride rollers or trainer instead of hiking?

When mounting, try moving your crotch forward and leaning down over the bars as you swing it. Or mount while dabbing. With your foot on the pedal, the saddle's a lot lower. Change saddle or fit on the cruiser or just don't ride it. Groin pain is not acceptable, period.
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Old 02-20-19, 07:25 PM
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Years ago when racing I burned out on indoor riding. I have rollers and they at least provide something for me to do while spinning. Also have a resistance trainer that I used today after the cruiser ride. Lasted 9 minutes and called it good enough. Will break out the rollers this weekend and see what happens. Music will need to be excessively loud and from the 70's-80's.Tiime to fire up the Klipsch.
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