Exercises painful

by Judith
(Cornwall)

Hi Sarah, I'm Judith, from Cornwall in the UK. I've had a bad back on and off over the years and am currently suffering horribly from what I think is sciatica, for the first time. The current episode started in early December, my back started seizing up when I had been sitting for any length of time, even getting out of my car after my 20 minute commute to work was agony, especially on my left side.. However, by the end of the day I felt much easier.. I had to take care to avoid wide strides which caused shooting pains up my back, but felt looser overall. However, because the morning difficulties were not abating I decided to see a local NHS physiotherapist in February.. He stretched and tugged, and put me on a traction machine to try and release the blockage. Although I walked out of those sessions feeling lighter, within a couple of days the pain returned. At some point I noticed what I thought was a feeling of over stretched muscle in my left buttock, going down my leg. This has progressed to severe pain all the way down my leg, and numbness across the top of the foot. It's excruciating at night. So....I've been trying out your rocking the knees exercise, but can't face the next one, I can.t position myself with hands behind my thighs and my back curved up. At what point should I be able to make this progress? I still have no diagnosis so am wary of doing something which could cause more harm.
Thanks for your time, Judith. By the way, my local doctor recommended your book, which in turn is how I found you online.

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May 01, 2013
exercises painful
by: Sarah says:

Dear Judith
It sounds as if your back is in the state of high alarm, so don't be too pushed about hurrying things along.
From what you say it isn't possible to diagnose what's wrong. But to stop you steadily getting worse, we absolutely must do something to relax the muscle spasm (this is obviously the picture here). I wil refine what you have been doing in a physical sense, but you probably need some help pharmacologically too, with medication.
To deal with things conclusively, I suspect you need a muscle relaxant, some form of NSAIDS and pain-controllers.
You would have to speak to your general practitioner to prescribe a muscle relaxant. Although Valium has a very bad name, it is the most effective - though beware! - highly addictive and makes you feel vague and dopey. To cope with the inflammation at source you can use Aspirin which is a highly effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Nurofen is just as good and it too can be bought over the counter. Both must be taken in accordance with the pharmacist's instructions. In terms of pain relief, you cannot do better than Panadol ( most under-rated drug) and initially for the first couple of days, this should be taken even when you are not in pain, every four hours. Again, your pharmacist will tell you the most satisfactory dose and you should follow through on seeking this help.
In terms of what you can do physically, further to what you have been doing, I would like you to continue with the 'knees rocking'. It may be worthwhile you downloading the online video 'APPEASING YOUR SPINE' so that you can get very accurately just exactly how to do this, with me demonstrating. [You will see that you can buy this for less than the price of a cup of coffee and it is your for keeps]. It is most important that you try and do these every two hours in the evening to calm your back down, because it is obvious from what you are saying that the muscles are clenching brutishly, like a dog with its jaws around a bone, and whatever is wrong [disc or facet joint] that is causing the irritation of the nerve and giving you sciatica, this is made worse by the muscles behaving with such autonomy, in the way they obviously are.
And finally, rather than trying to do the 'spinal rolling', I would prefer you go straight from rocking your knees to doing the 'reverse curl-ups'. Yes, it is highly likely that these will be painful too in the first few repetitions, but you should not give up. Bringing your knees towards your chin will almost certainly give the muscles in the lower back quite a tug, but this will gradually abate and fade away as you continue. Dont give up; you are on the right track!
Let me know how it goes.
Sarah

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