Managing Sciatica Pain

>>  Friday, February 24, 2012

I've been suffering with sciatica since August.  It has gone from a general feeling of toothache in my right leg, through aches like muscle aches in side lower leg, my thigh and deep seated in my bottom, to calf pain like the most excruciating cramp I had ever had that goes on for hours with no relief.  Pain like that has left me tired and sobbing.

I have had to modify my life to ensure it doesn't get to the cramping stage.  This has meant in stages giving up circuit training, stopping running, stopping sitting on the sofa, stopping driving, stopping sitting on chairs.  This finally led to surgery which is where I am hoping my journey may end but we will see.

In the meantime I wanted to share the things that have made a difference at home to make my life easier.

I like to spend time in the kitchen, daughter and I eat breakfast together there. Changing my breakfast bar stools from standard wooden Ikea ones to fully height adjustable with better back support made a big difference.  Just lowering myself a little so there is no hunch aided my back and the foot rest means subtle leg position changes buy me a little extra time in the seat.

Being  unable to sit on a sofa or normal chair for any length of time made watching TV hard.  I started to sit on an exercise ball instead and this allowed me to sit for much longer periods, perhaps 30 minutes rather than 10.  Again I think it's to do with easy subtle shifts in position that buy extra time.

This kneeing chairallowed me to continue to work from home and really made life much easier.  I spend many hours at the computer and this allows me to move my leg into different positions so I can extend my working time.  It also stops me slumping over my desk which I am quite bad for in a normal office chair.  Find a chair that works for you, this one changed the quality of my life. massively.

Ice, my saving grace.  It works so well at hitting the pain.  The reusable ice pack is great I just take it out of the freezer, wrap it in a piece of cotton cloth and tuck it into my trouser waist band for 20 mins.  Bliss!  These gel packs are flexible and are easy to just leave in place (tucked in my pants!!).  The travel ice packs aren't reusable but are fantastic for when I know I need an ice-pack away from home.

The best thing  have found to hold the ice packs in place is this Stowaway Visor Transporter. The long thin ice packs slide into it and it clicks around my waist.  It's perfect for keeping them in place.

I bought a pair of Trail Runners when I thought my herniation was healing (before sciatica struck) and I also thought I would never get to use them but these have been brilliant walking shoes this winter. The fantastic soles mean I don't slip around, they have great support and take me miles.  These also have pull lacing (quick lace) which means I could slip them on and off.  Shoes and socks are almost impossible to do with severe sciatica.   Walking in these has been the best tonic for my pain.  I can literally walk the pain away.  Get good shoes - it makes a huge difference.

Since my microdiscectomy I've found walking with poles a lot easier, they keep me upright and my arms are taking a lot of the load.  Great for stopping me slipping at all too.  I have such fear of slipping and making my pain worse.  These GirlguidingUK ones (sold in singles but I do use two) are fantastic.
Post microdisectomy operation,  I found reaching up to high cupboards for anything impossible, even light weight things seem hard coming from high up and the stretching is not good.  I keep a set of these behind the door in the kitchen and they are so useful.

 It's no fun when you can't get pants over your feet and pull them up. These Pop and Go pants do up at the side.  There are different styles and I've tried 2 types.

I  tried to work my way though this without a mountain of drugs.  I already take nortriptyline for neuralgia and all NSAIDS seem to react badly with it and make me feel like I'm living in a goldfish bowl, a strange empty feeling of looking at a world happening around me, a feeling like an intense hangover and so so tired.  Codeine does the same, so beyond ordinary paracetamol there is nothing left.  Paracetamol doesn't even begin to touch sciatica so I was stuck with zombie or pain.  I have had to find ways to control the pain by modifying my life.  These few things have made a big difference to me.

I have created a page of links for my Microdiscectomy posts and other links I have found helpful. You can find it here.



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