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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Sciatic pain for 1 year


 dancealot - Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:58 pm

I've had sciatic pain for more than 1 year now after explosively lifting 150 pounds from shoulder level to overhead. Originally, it was on my left side and radiated from my lower back to my left knee. It slowly improved by perhaps half a percent per day until I resumed physical activity. Then it switched to my right side. Sitting is usually not bearable for more than a minute. Standing is a little better, 5-10 minutes can be tolerated. Laying down alleviates the pain, but it returns immediately after standing.

My primary care physician said my back was spastic because I was unable to touch my toes and she prescribed various exercises. I've followed these fairly diligently, but with marginal improvement after several months. I had experienced an absense of pain after 6 weeks of treatment from an accupucturist; however, after squatting around 200 pounds several times, I felt a sudden movement in my back and the return of pain, which has not abated.

Several muscles are tight: the ITB and hamstrings especially, quads, and periformis. I'd describe the pain as feeling like tight rubber bands around my right knee, about 3/10 in severity, but continuously aching. Sometimes sharp pain emmenates from the middle of the calf. Only occassionally do I feel pain directly from the lower back. My health is otherwise excellent in all respects.

My question is why is this taking so long to resolve itself (six weeks recovery seems typical) and what, if anything, may I do to accelerate recovery?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:50 pm

User avatar Hello,
First, I would do some type of imaging of the lumbar spine either x-ray or MRI to evaluate the spine's structural integrity.
If the spine is structurally sounds, then employ physical therapy for 4-6 weeks of specific rehab. This should include lower extremity stretching and core strengthening.
Afterwards, gradually return to regular exercise program. Weight lifting may need to wait awhile depending on your rehab.
May look into a walking or swimming program for good spine health.
Take care.

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