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Herniated Discs, Sciatica Pain, Piriformis Syndrome, etc.

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Hey Guys, very long time since visiting here on CJM...some of you may remember me though ;-)

I've had a rough time the last few years with sciatic/back pain and hoping someone here might have some advice.

I have two bulging discs (L4-L5 & L5-S1) that have bugged me on and off for a few years. It was asymptomatic from 2015-2017. About 8 months ago, after a soccer tumble, the sciatica started acting up again (6/10 daily pain score). Then about 2 months ago, a small tennis maneuver practically paralyzed me (10/10 pain score every day/night). It was so bad that I took two trips to the ER within a 12 hour period. All they could do is run some tests and give me IV morphine/hydromorphone.

I researched a ton and tried every prescription possible with no success – all varieties of NSAID’s, Muscle Relaxants, Morphine, Hydromorphone, Tramadol, Percocets, Tapentadol, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, etc., etc. Nothing helped the pain and those opioids messed with my head.

About 6 weeks ago, after calling around everywhere, I finally got a caudal epidural shot at a pain clinic, which helped the paralyzing back pain (back down to a 6/10 pain of sciatica). I found another pain clinic (apparently the best one in the GTA) who has administered 4 transforaminal epidural shots over the last 2 weeks, but the sciatica just won’t go away. The shots seem to help for about 24 hours and then the pain slowly creeps back in again until I am sleeping 2 hrs per night (like last night) – the shots are supposed to work for months.

My GP is pretty useless as she only prescribes what I ask for or sends me to specialists that I request – I have to do all the research.

I don’t know where to turn and this is killing me – both physically and mentally. On my short list are visiting a neurosurgeon, osteopath or neurologist – but I’m not sure the right specialist to see for this? Also, I’ve heard about a 1-year wait time to see a neurosurgeon and I’ll definitely off myself before then if this keeps up. What I really need most is a proper diagnosis - even though my recent MRI (3 months ago) shows discs pressing on L5 nerve root, it could also be something like piriformis syndrome causing the pain instead.

Any advice or similar experiences is much appreciated!
 
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I had sciatica before my chiro got me on a stretch table couple visits I was good to go!! you ever try a inversion board??? lock in your feet n get turned upside down???? n just hang upside down!
 
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I had two bulged discs and a reverse hook nerve impingement for almost 3 years and almost quit lifting altogether because of the stabbing back pain.
I am 100% fixed. I went to see Dr Stu McGill who was the head of research for Spine Biomechanics at Waterloo University. He has worked with top athletes all over the world and is #1 with fixing back issues.
I would go to his website: www.backfitpro.com and order two books; "The Back Mechanic" and "Ultimate Back Fitness".

I stopped lifting for 8 weeks, and did his protocol to restore strength in the torso to support the spine and I am 100% fixed. Zero back pain.
The protocol was simple: Asymetrical kettlebell suitcase carries, bird dogs, side planks and nerve flossing. You have to commit to doing this everyday. It seems simple, but trust me: It works!!
 
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I had sciatica before my chiro got me on a stretch table couple visits I was good to go!! you ever try a inversion board??? lock in your feet n get turned upside down???? n just hang upside down!
Thanks man! Yeah, inversion and back stretch bench fixed it the first time 4 years ago. This time I took the same route, and the last decompression/inversion is what sent me to the ER. I've read that traction is at best temporary relief, but no long term benefit :(
 
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I had two bulged discs and a reverse hook nerve impingement for almost 3 years and almost quit lifting altogether because of the stabbing back pain.
I am 100% fixed. I went to see Dr Stu McGill who was the head of research for Spine Biomechanics at Waterloo University. He has worked with top athletes all over the world and is #1 with fixing back issues.
I would go to his website: www.backfitpro.com and order two books; "The Back Mechanic" and "Ultimate Back Fitness".

I stopped lifting for 8 weeks, and did his protocol to restore strength in the torso to support the spine and I am 100% fixed. Zero back pain.
The protocol was simple: Asymetrical kettlebell suitcase carries, bird dogs, side planks and nerve flossing. You have to commit to doing this everyday. It seems simple, but trust me: It works!!
Thanks Anvil! good stuff there! I will definitely try it.

It's what I'm looking for - some weight-bearing exercises to fix it. Everything else I came across was designed for out-of-shape seniors and involves stretches, etc. - seemed so B.S. when I was doing them for a few weeks, and no benefit to speak of. I'm optimistic about this!
 
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Thanks Anvil! good stuff there! I will definitely try it.

It's what I'm looking for - some weight-bearing exercises to fix it. Everything else I came across was designed for out-of-shape seniors and involves stretches, etc. - seemed so B.S. when I was doing them for a few weeks, and no benefit to speak of. I'm optimistic about this!
If you're diligent in doing the exercises daily, and lay off the weights for 8 weeks: you won't believe the difference. Stu said most people aren't committed enough to follow through with the rehab protocol. A little patience and some diligence and you'll beat this! It was a miracle for me!
 

Grimlid

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I had sciatica before my chiro got me on a stretch table couple visits I was good to go!! you ever try a inversion board??? lock in your feet n get turned upside down???? n just hang upside down!
I second this advice BUT ONLY after seeing a Chiropractor.
THE FOLLOWING IS ONLY MY EXPERIENCE AND MY OPINION (of course)
I was mostly crippled for the better part of a year with the same injury. I laid around for months gobbling Ibuprofin and laying on giant ice packs until I got frost bite (no shit) in my lower back. I didnt want to see a Chiropractor as someone said they are addictive. I finally threw in the towel after a few months and went to physio, who recommended Chiro along with physio......
I had 95% recovery with the help of a great Chiropractor, Good Massage Therapist , good physiotherapist, and decent acupuncturist. I added traction and inversion but only for a few minutes at a time to start as this can damage weakened areas if used more than a few minutes in the beginning.
That out of shape seniors stuff I had to do also (this after being able to squat high 200's and deadlift low 400's a mere 2 years previous haha)
It was not cheap I may add especially since I was unable to work as my job is pretty physical (pipefitter). It took some time to pay off the lines of credit I racked up as medical EI paid only about 1/3 of my expenses, I have a wife 2 kids and Vancouver area mortgage.
After 4 months or so of the treatments I was able to return to the gym for light workouts and was down to a 3/10 pain most days.
All this was caused primarily by allowing my core to get weak. If I go more than a few days without working my core the pain comes back quick (I usually just do planks daily while at work in semi private areas to save gym time for other areas). All the usual core strengthening got me where I am now but only after extended treatment by professionals. In truth Muay Thai training really jacked my core in a hurry,but that was years after the initial treatment.
I still visit my chiropractor and massage therapist regular but mostly its just added maintenance and I have developed relationships over the years. I am benching low 200 squatting high 100s and deadlifting just 200 finally (with a belt lol)....Just started my first Test Cycle also.
Stay diligent and open minded and YOU WILL RECOVER. I used to say that to myself constantly "I will recover!".
 
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Chillin

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Great stuff in here guys as I too suffer from sciatica and a bulging disc in my lower back. Thanks a lot for the info
 
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