Please help! Sciatica / SI joint problems

by Lynsey
(Scotland)

Hi Sarah,
I came across your wonderful website only recently, having suffered with back problems over half my life.
I was attacked by a group of girls when I was 14 and punched and kicked to the ground severely.
I am 31 now and back pain has been with me ever since.
I suffered with sciatica over the years but it always came and went.
I've been to several osteopaths too over the years.
The best I think my back was between ages 26-28 when I was engaged to be married and I lost a bit of weight (always been a healthy weight for my height however and still am) and went to the gym frequently. I was doing a lot of quite heavy weight lifting too and my back felt the best it ever was over these years.
Since moving back to Scotland from England 3 years ago my exercise routine was sporadic.
In June this year I moved house.
On Friday 21st of June I tried lifting a large heavy box out of the boot of my ford KA and immediately felt the pull in my lower back. (I think I twisted whilst lifting also- plus the box was so large and I was lifting from standing, leaning position).
I laid it on the car bonnet until my dad came to rescue me.
That evening the pain had spread down from the lower right of my back, down my right leg and into my right foot.
The pain by night time was agony - it felt like daggers piercing through the sole of my foot and I could not put any weight on it.
I went to bed with heat packs on my foot.
The next morning it was still sore to walk on it but by the evening it had worn off and felt pretty much recovered.
The following Wednesday 26th June was my birthday and my husband treated me to a spa day. It included a 20min massage where I had to lie on my front. I asked her to do it gently but I didn't tell her I had back problems.
Only a few hours later my back was a tingly uncomfortable sore again.
The next day after a long day at work then being on my feet all evening, my sciatica and foot pain in right leg/foot had returned.
And it remained constantly until I went to a new osteopath in Edinburgh on Saturday 6th July.
The osteopath 'clicked' my spine in several places and the following few days the pain increased until gradually it started to ease off and the following Saturday the 13th July (exactly 1 week later) the pain & sciatica had completely gone.
I felt amazed and ecstatic.
Then I did the most regrettable thing - I went to my mothers osteopath in Dundee (because she had made me an appointment and I didn't like to cancel it).
He told me one leg was longer than the other and with me lying down, he proceeded to pull it forcefully - without warning or consultation.
It was agony. I was shocked. He was a stern foreign man, trained in London he said, and I found him to be quite intimidating.
The next day the pain had returned.
Since Sunday 14th July 2013 I have now had the tingly, sometimes numb feeling leg and pain in my right foot.
I went back to the osteopath centre in Edinburgh but have since been seen by 2 different osteos.
My 2nd osteo recommended Pilates which I went for two 1:1 sessions before my holiday on 16th September.
I was away for 2 weeks and the issues remained the same - worse sometimes after sitting on hard wooden seats.
Since returning from holiday, I went for 1 osteopath appointment on Friday 4th October and have not been since as it costs me a fortune (was going once a week up until my holiday) and I don't feel anything is helping.
My doctor has been most unhelpful also. She said there is a free physio drop in, but I had already told her I was referred to physiotherapy at the hospital when I was 18, and after my 3rd appointment I was left bed ridden for a week, paralysed. So I have not been over enthusiastic about any form of physio since that trauma.
Since finding your website I immediately bought 2 of your books, and they have shed more light on my issues than any osteos, physios or doctors have been able to.
The last 2 osteos said it is the SI joint that is where my problems are coming from but this is as much as I know.
I just don't know where to turn or what to do.
Any insight, help or advice you can offer is very greatly appreciated.
Warm regards,
Lynsey

Comments for Please help! Sciatica / SI joint problems

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Dec 05, 2013
more questions answered
by: Sarah

Sarah, thank you for your reply, I really appreciate you taking the time to write back.
My most recent osteopath recommended I start with Pilates - do you see any benefit to starting with one over the other?
Answer: Pretty well all of us need a strong abdominal wall. pilates is good at getting abdominal strength back, although the better classes accentuate all three layers, not just the deep layer (transversus abdominis). You might like to read this page on the best abdominals exercise
He also came to the conclusion that spinal manipulation should be avoided in my treatment in the near future. I haven't been back yet but I plan to do so this week as it has got increasingly worse of late - would you agree with this avoidance of manipulation?
Answer: Yes, over-manipulation can lead to segmental instability
I have been standing a lot with work recently and the tingly numbness from leg into foot now turns into quite a hot burning sensation also, is there anything that may be drawn from that? I've also been experiencing a tingly/nerve feeling near my right shoulder blade, near the spine and a lot more numbness/tingly sensation down my right arm so I don't know whether this may indicate anything.
Answer: This indicates you are tense and the whole spine is being locked rigid by a mixture of what is going on at the lower end AND your worrying about it.
One last question - I've always used ice packs for pain - recently I'd been advised to use heat or to even alternate... any guidance on this would be really gratefully received, thanks so much x
Answer: I have never been a fan of ice. It is so uncomfortable! You want comfort! Heat is nicer.

Nov 25, 2013
Thanks Sarah
by: Lynsey

Sarah, thank you for your reply, I really appreciate you taking the time to write back.
My most recent osteopath recommended I start with Pilates - do you see any benefit to starting with one over the other?
He also came to the conclusion that spinal manipulation should be avoided in my treatment in the near future. I haven't been back yet but I plan to do so this week as it has got increasingly worse of late - would you agree with this avoidance of manipulation?
I have been standing a lot with work recently and the tingly numbness from leg into foot now turns into quite a hot burning sensation also, is there anything that may be drawn from that? I've also been experiencing a tingly/nerve feeling near my right shoulder blade, near the spine and a lot more numbness/tingly sensation down my right arm so I don't know whether this may indicate anything.
One last question - I've always used ice packs for pain - recently I'd been advised to use heat or to even alternate... any guidance on this would be really gratefully received, thanks so much x


Nov 20, 2013
What is going on
by: Sarah

Hello Lynsey,
There does seem to certainly be a lot going on here.
In your rather lengthy story it doesn't seem as if you have had any MRIs taken. Although I'm not usually one to suggest this willy-nilly (I think they are often inappropriately ordered) I do think we have to have a better picture of what is going on inside your back. It sounds to me as if you had, acute tearing of adhesions in a case of 'facet joint arthropathy' with the incident of lifting the box out of the car. I say this because the pain came on suddenly to the foot then within a few days it was okay again. Certainly the nerve was annoyed but if it were the disc, as in 'acute disc prolapse' (unlikely), it would not dream of settling down again so quickly. Also the fact that you were so easily stirred up by the inappropriate osteopath who gave you the un-called for manipulation in Dundee indicates this. I do think you should have some MRIs and a proper consultation to see what's going on. There is a very good physio in Scotland who has done my Masterclasses called Sue Cunningham and her email is sue@fitlikephysio.co.uk.
See how you go.
Meanwhile you should have a good look at my new page that went up yesterday about Yoga for Back Pain.
This may help in the meantime.
Sarah

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