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Lumbar vertebrae, ligament and sciatic nerve-ARG!!


Galen
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I injured myself on the job (carpentry) a month ago. Strained my hip,lumbar and back of leg and calf. Instead of taking a couple days off, I worked another few day, a bit hobbled. then my sciatic nerve went nuts and i was basically crippled for 4 days. Got a little better, had some chiro and light massage therapy, seemed to quite it down. Went back to work after about 3 visits to the chiro, but it became apparent I just wasn't ready. I was refereed to a great chiro who took xrays and showed how my lumbar vertebrae was way out. 3 visits latter and the thing is almost back in place, but the lumbar ligament is still a constant irritation. I"m doing my stretches and light walks, heat therapy, but I"m not seeing much improvement. Next stop is an osteopath who specializes in sport /work injuries, I see some extensive PT in my future. Anyone here have similar problems and have any advice? I'm at a total lose, and at 51, a month of little physical activity is taking it's toll. :(

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I'm not into yoga, my wife is and I suspect she'd recommend looking into it. She was turned onto it when rehabbing her broken clavicle, her PT was based mostly on yoga and she stuck with it.

I'm doing Egoscue for my hip and posture in general, which is working out really well, the trick is finding a good coach as Egoscue is a more commercial thing... they website and book only give you enough info to see it start to work. I've never been to one of their clinics, my massage therapits happens to be an Egoscue coach and the combination of massage and Egoscue has done a lot for me. The cool thing about Egoscue is that it's a "do at home" sort of thing.

This is a total shot in the dark but take a peek at SacroWedgy.com as well. Those nifty but overpriced pieces of plastic are very helpful for me, the keyboard jockey, when I've been sitting too long.

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Short term - Advil, ice and light activity and stretching. I find that laying around makes it worse. Bed rest is disproven as an effective treatment - http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/340/6/418

Long term - core strength improvement and time. Yoga helps. So does cycling (for me) which seems counter-intuitive.

I have had a number of sciatic nerve episodes and the first few times, I took the active approach - chiro and PT. Last few times, I didn't see any professionals. In three to four weeks, I was back to normal - same recovery time as with active treatment. YMMV but the key thing to keep in mind is this - it will get better.

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Sorry to hear about the struggle.

I hurt myself badly in junior high playing football. tore some muscles in my lower back to the point where the outside of my left leg went totally numb.

I had to wear a back brace for six months (at 13 ) to keep nerve damage away. The treatment of the day. Sucks and I empathize.

Cutting to the chase. Can't speak to the other treatments but yoga is the only way I have been able to keep my back in shape for hard carving. And life. Yes it still goes once in a while if I don't keep up. A week or two of regular stretching and yoga and I am back in the game.

My injury seemed to be more about torn muscles but the yoga thing really does get me back in shape. I have a selection of what I call slow, roll around on the floor yoga. Slow rotation of lower back and hips, doing long slow stretches etc.

I hope you find something that works. Good luck.

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Thanks to all for the advice! Yoga: yup, as soon as I can handle it, the whole family is going to take 2 class's a week plus home yoga.I went to work to day and am a little less depressed. Just have to stay very conscious of how I do things. One of my partners had sever lumbar vertabrea problems for several years. He finally got it straightened out, and now swears by kettle bell work outs. anyone here of those? it's main focus is to strengthen the back. This crap is all new to me. Having surfed, climbed and now boarding and cycling all my life I've never had to work out, train, etc...those things were enough to keep me in shape. the big 5-0 has hit home suddenly and I now see some life changes ahead. I"m actually pretty psyched! thanks again for the advice, and the encouragement has done wonders for my emotional state. :biggthump

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Sorry for such a long answer!

I feel your pain. I too have delt with lower back pain for years. I did everything my chiropractor suggested, but still had cronic pain. Not enough to stop me from my daily activities, but enough to remind me to be "easy" on my back. I also do martial arts and strech quite a bit. In addition, I spent a lot of time in the gym lifting weights.

Even with all of this activity, I didn't seem to be making much positive progress, I just didn't get worse. I had pretty much decided that this was just the price I paid for being active overe 40. Then last year I was in Barnes & Nobles and a new weight lifting book caught my attention. Now I have been lifting for years and I felt I was well educated in moving iron, so I don't usually bother reading any new books on lifting. But I am so glad I took the time to pick up this book. It is called "The New Rules Of Lifting", by Lou Schuler. The main idea of this book is to focus on 6 biologically natural movements: squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull, and twist.

To maka a long story short, after a few months of doing Lou's workouts, I realized that my low back pain had pretty much dissapeared. Now I believe this was the result of primarily adding deadlifts and squats back into my workouts. Prior to this I had tried to protect my back by avoiding what I thought were exercises that would be dangerous for me to do. But by avoiding these exercises, I actually allowed my back to become even weaker.

Now the reason these exercises are so important is that they help to stabalise and strengthen the posterior chain. This includes the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. So why is a strong posterior chain important? Well aside from stability, it helps correct allignment problems of the pelvis. Most people will have an anterior (towards your front) pelvic tilt. You can see this by observing how your underware fits. Look at your profile in the mirror, if your underware waistband is lower at your stomach than it is over your butt, then you likely have anterior pelvic tilt.

Since everything is connected, a misalingment of the hips can cause several problems in your body. It can limit hip mobility causing pain in the knees and low back which try to compensate by using more range of motion than they should. Think of your joints as a series of supports that alternate between stability and mobility: ankle-mobility, knee-stability, hip-mobility, lumbar (low back)-stability, thorasic (upper back)-mobility. A limit in any joint causes trouble in the adjacent joints. It causes excess tension and strech in the hamstrings, and a decrease in length of the psoas in front of your hips. This unequal tension predisposes you to knee injuries. Excessive tilt will also cause excessive lumbar loridosis (curving of low back) which makes it difficult to maintain a strong neutral allignment of the back necessary for back health.

Now I think of cycling as more of a quad dominant activity. So if this comprises the majority of your training, you would probably benefit from training the posterior chain. Deadlifts are excellent for this. Kettle bels are often used in this fashion. Picking one up off of the floor with one hand and elevating it over your head is a unilateral (one sided) deadlift. Single leg work and single arm work is good for your core as it forces you to brace diagonally across your body to support the weights. I would also bet that streches for your quads and psoas are more important than streches for your hamstrings. Also, check the credentials of your Yoga instructor. There are a lot of weekend course educated instructors who don't really understand the potentiaal danger of some of the positions. Keep in mind that stability for your low back is of paramount importance. Do not confuse lumbar hypoerextention with back health. Strech from the hips and never round your low back.

A grerat (and cheap) tool for back health is a foam roller. Lay one on the ground and slowly roll back and forth from the midback to shoulders. Do not roll over the low back. Feels wonderful. Lots of other exercises for the foam roller are good too. But I really like that first one. You can usually find foam rollers in most sport stores next to the Yoga supplies. I have seen them for from 15 to 30 dollars. Good luck, and heal well.

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Terry, thanks for the recommendation - I just ordered this book from our local library, looking forward to checking it out.

Last year was a bad year for me - after lifting heavy weights for 20 years, 6 of which were competitive bodybuilding, all my injuries came home to roost. Like you, there were a lot of exercises that I started to avoid because every time I did them, I'd just wreck myself.

After taking up Pilates in Sept 2006, I started squatting and deadlifting again in August this year. Taking it easy so far, but no injuries - which I can only attribute to the increased core strength and muscle control from the Pilates. The mechanics of the exercises feel so much better now. In addition, I had chronic tennis elbow, and that has also disappeared. (I've tried to avoid any really aggravating exercises, but elbows are like shoulders - they're involved nearly all upper body weight training, so that's kind of hard ...)

I'm starting a "boot camp" routine next week to get my cardio fitness up for snowboard season. I'm hoping the book will give me some good ideas on what to do on my lifting days.

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Allee,

I loved this book. I have recommended it to several of my friends. I even managed to hit 315 on the flat bench press a while back. That was a goal I thought unreachable for me.

The co-author of the book is Alwyn Cosgrove. He actually writes all of the workouts. They can be very difficult. The fat loss routines are brutal! They also have a great web page over at jp Fitness.

http://forums.jpfitness.com/forumdisplay.php?f=61

A lot of the exercises are chosen specifically for their benefit to the core. Let me know how you like it.

One of my favorite rules from the book is "Everything works, but nothing works forever." This is in relation to doing the same exercises and never really changing up the routine. I got into a rut and was getting bored and these routines got me motivated again.

I sympathise with your injuries. I started playing volleyball this summer and my knees started to really hurt me. It has taken me months to get almost back to normal. I had to modify my workouts dramatically to protect my knees and let them heal. I can't believe how easy it is to screw up my joints since I passed 40! Oldvolvorules (Aaron) claims that this is the price we must pay to continue to be active. I hope he is wrong.

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So, what do you do if you receive this news this morning:

"Regarding the MRI...The radiologist, Dr. B******i, says that there is considerable disc degeneration, with L4 and L5 nerve root irritation, including some impingement of the left L5 nerve root.

You need to see a neurosurgeon or an orthopaedist to discuss your SURGICAL options. Let me know if you would like our office to arrange an appointment for you.

Sincerely,

L***** B*******, MD"

Will the SacroWedgie and traction/lumbar remedies save my arse now?

I mean, this could mean the end of my snowboarding/carving career; the end of my skatepark career, and possibly my ability to make a living. Although, the idea of sitting at home drinking vodka at 5 am has its' appeal (trust me, I'm kidding, I work at a booze shop and I see the 'Vodka Anonymous' EARLY in the mornings).

I'm hoping for PT and cortisone shots for at least 6-7 months. I'm going to lose 30 lbs. to help the cause. That means, backing off on the beer and pizza/pasta for the rest of my life. Back to Bacardi and Coke, low carbs and constipation.

Will weight loss, yoga, PT, and naturals (Noni juice, et al) cure it before I need surgery?

Mark

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A friend of mine had disc surgery - he still ski races, mountain bikes, runs, etc. I'm sure there are more than a few types of surgery out there but don't lose all hope. I've heard the docs love to push the surgery, too.

Worst case scenario - they now have approved stainless steel disc replacements.

You have options

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That sucks.

There is lots of hope even if you have to go the surgical route. I have had two friends who have had back surgery and they continue to enjoy sports. One of them had the actual disk replacement surgery. He was in constant pain until the surgery. After the surgery, no pain. He was one happy man!

Keep your options open and study everything you can re back injuries. One man who seems to be the go to guy for back education is Professor Stuart M. McGill. Check his website:

http://www.backfitpro.com/index.htm

He runs the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I have not read his books, but I have read some of his published papers. He is pretty impressive.

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NEVER PUT HEAT ON YOUR SPINE

It feels great but you pay later. USE ICE 15-20 minutes at a time as often as you like but let it warm up in between.

Heat increases swellin around the nerve root which puts more pressure on the nerve making you feel more pain etc.

heat is great on muscles but keep it away from you spine during acute phase of any injury. that means if it hurts don't put heat on it.

let me know how it goes and keep up the chiro care. I see an average of 6-8 visits for pain relief and usually in the 30 - 40 visit range for long term stability at your age. IF you don't want it to come back stick with it long after it feels better. He should wean you off slowly rather than stopping cold turkey as well.

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So, what do you do if you receive this news this morning:

"

Will the SacroWedgie and traction/lumbar remedies save my arse now?

Mark

<TABLE id=list_data><TBODY><TR class=table_row_even><TD class=table_cell_select_even>Kirk Henderson</TD><TD>Gonstead Family Chiropractic</TD><TD>Salt Lake City, UT</TD><TD>801-747-0770</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

call this guy and ask him for a referral in your area:biggthump

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A few years ago I was about to give up bike racing and snowboarding because of sciatica and a compressed disc.I was deathly afraid of chiro but finally followed the advice of friends and went to a doc who adjusted me and then followed up with electro stimulus accupuncture.The two chiro visits worked well ,although I told him not to touch my neck again.The accupuncture,however, was miraculous and I had several more treatments in the following months and my back was great for two years after that period.I have maintained it by building core strength ,mellowing out on the jumps a bit and no longer doing squats or lunges with weight on my shoulders (step-ups and lunges with dumbells instead) , but will eventually need surgery as well.I will probably try accupuncture again soon.My 2 cents.

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Galen,

good luck, I went thru it myself and never thought I'd walk right again but it eventually got better.

Since, once again, the BOL braintrust has offered up great advice here...I need some.

I've had some kind of groin pull for over 2-3 months now and it's only getting marginally better.I'm pretty sure it's kitesurfing related.

I think it happened when I landed a big jump in a sideways crash and had one foot come out of the footstraps and got flung and twisted with the other foot still in the board. I say this because the pain is in the top of my femur at the hip and I swear it's clicking when I put weight on it( but it could be my knee clicking, not sure, kinda weird)

I can walk on it but the gimp comes and goes.

Could it be a strained ligament ?

for instance, getting into a car, I want to help the left leg up(esp drivers side) cuz it hurts a little. If I try to work out with leg machines, the little voice says "don't push it" so I just skip leg workouts. I can power walk on a treadmill but running seems like too much. Running off a skateboard at moderate speed is ok but a little sketchy.

I'm just wondering about throwing down for a ski pass if it's another lingering injury that'll hang on for another 6 months. Seems like the same kinda Ciatica type deal that just takes a long time to heal.

2 weeks ago, it felt good enough to kite on it. After 6 weeks off I was jonesin' sooo bad to kite. Did some back and forth , taking it easy. No pain but could feel the torque on it, powered up with the bad leg (left one) up front on the board banging through little waves.

Threw a few jumps, not a great idea. Landing soft was no prob but crashing with the board on seemed like a bad idea. Still had to ride for hours, tho.

The usual back, shoulder, arm aches that night but the leg didn't feel like I'd made it worse.

If I step off a curb the wrong way, it tweaks. Step in a big off camber crater in the sand,same deal. Ran to catch a kite.....ouch ouch ouch.

sorry to ramble on but getting tired of the gimp.

Anybody know anything about groin pull type stuff ?

Dr D ? any advice is truly appreciated.

Bring out the gimp !

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Galen,

good luck, I went thru it myself and never thought I'd walk right again but it eventually got better.

Since, once again, the BOL braintrust has offered up great advice here...I need some.

I've had some kind of groin pull for over 2-3 months now and it's only getting marginally better.I'm pretty sure it's kitesurfing related.

sorry to ramble on but getting tired of the gimp.

Anybody know anything about groin pull type stuff ?

Dr D ? any advice is truly appreciated.

Bring out the gimp !

Hey Willy

Maybe someone such as DrD can help out. Instead of seeing a regular doc who is going to tell you that you strained something ( The last two times I went to an orthopedist ) try going to a sports physical therapist. Usually much cheaper and at least in Idaho they can do diagnostic type stuff. The gal and guy that I see are incredibly knowledgable about the musculature of the body and connective tissue.

They have done things with me where they really isolate which muscle, ligament is hurt and then you get the exercises to help heal.

Hope you get it fixed.

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Galen,

sorry to ramble on but getting tired of the gimp.

Anybody know anything about groin pull type stuff ?

Dr D ? any advice is truly appreciated.

Bring out the gimp !

sorry I missed this post earlier. the injury you described could easily cause several things to happen. the hip joint, the illium or SI joint, the knee and the ankle could all subluxate or misalign enough to cause the pain you describe. It is likely that one or more did. a muscle pull, tear or strain would have healed by now so we know there is more to it than that. I would recomend a visit to a good chiropractor. the ones with the sports medicine specialty will be good with extremities. I will see if I can find someone to refer you to.:biggthump

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Well, I just had some acupuncture done (more like acci-puncture, :lol: ). needles in my head, ear, hip, feet, calf,but when she put one in my back, about 2-3" above my lumbar ligament I almost jumped on off the table! she had to remove it, it was sooo painful. It's settled down now, I think it just severely contracted the muscle, when she most likely hit some nerve. I haven't noticed much improvement, but I'm not giving up, going in again on friday. Getting frustrating, My chiro got my L5 back in place after about 3 visits, had a great couple days at work, then my L4 went out :mad:. 2 visits later, he has that mostly fixed, but I"ve hit this "manageable" plateau of dis-comfort. 6 weeks now.

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sorry I missed this post earlier. the injury you described could easily cause several things to happen. the hip joint, the illium or SI joint, the knee and the ankle could all subluxate or misalign enough to cause the pain you describe. It is likely that one or more did. a muscle pull, tear or strain would have healed by now so we know there is more to it than that. I would recomend a visit to a good chiropractor. the ones with the sports medicine specialty will be good with extremities. I will see if I can find someone to refer you to.:biggthump

thanks Doc, I'll look into that. Ironically, it's feeling much better the last week or so. You're right tho, I'm so used to gimping that I gimp subconsciously even when it's not really hurting.I decided to stay off the treadmill, no kiting, just take it easy.It's kinda like my lower back, herniated discs, it always hurts but comes and goes. I reckon when you get older you just learn to live with the minor aches and pains.Even hunching over the computer without a pillow wedged in my lower back for too long turns me into the hunchback for awhile.

Losing more weight and strengthening my stomach muscles would prob help alot, less weight bouncing on the hips.

I feel like an ex pro football player sometimes, just busted up from years of abuse.I don't think it's my SI joint tho.it's more the bottom of my Ilium. Should prob get a professional to look at it.

This image looks like Gilmour- a true testiment to being physically mangled and rehabbing back.

btw, I did some accupuncture for my ciatica and really enjoyed the smoking needles, pretty cool. not sure if it helped tho.Did they pull out any "bad" blood, ie black, non circulating blood, something like that ? weird wild stuff.

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Galen:

Do yourself a favour and Google "McKenzie Method". If you like what you read, visit a local practitioner. I saw one today and I cannot believe how much better I feel after just a day of using the McKenzie exercises. Just reading the book "Treat your Own Back" has me feeling better.

I wouldn't just go out and buy the book and do the exercises. Visit a clinic and have them do an assessment and see if the McKenzie Method is for you.

I'll post back in a week or so but I am seeing some light at the end of my tunnel. It's been a month since I has a relapse of my sciatica and for the past two weeks, I've been in severe pain. After many chiro, accupuncture and massage sessions, the McKenzie Method is the only thing working for me.

Good luck.

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Galen:

Do yourself a favour and Google "McKenzie Method". If you like what you read, visit a local practitioner. I saw one today and I cannot believe how much better I feel after just a day of using the McKenzie exercises. Just reading the book "Treat your Own Back" has me feeling better.

I wouldn't just go out and buy the book and do the exercises. Visit a clinic and have them do an assessment and see if the McKenzie Method is for you.

I'll post back in a week or so but I am seeing some light at the end of my tunnel. It's been a month since I has a relapse of my sciatica and for the past two weeks, I've been in severe pain. After many chiro, accupuncture and massage sessions, the McKenzie Method is the only thing working for me.

Good luck.

Thanks Skate! I just did a search and there's actually an institute member in Olympia, about 15 mins. from me. I'll give them a call. I've actually improved since the day after I posted. My chiro got the L4 back in place and seemed really pleased with my alignment. I haven't had the dead/throbbing leg since then. Have been doing some very light lifting, short walks, and each day feels a little better. :D good luck with your's, I'll post some more when I change(for the better i hope!)

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