BPS #047: How Long Does It Take For Sciatic Nerve To Heal?

Today we are going to talk about how long does it take for a sciatica nerve to heal?

It’s been a while since I did the podcast, like two or three weeks, and I’m sorry about that. It’s just because I’ve been really, really busy.

I’m on a mission as you guys know. I’m trying to help 1 million back pain sufferers to reduce or heal their back pain and doing this, the first thing was that I wrote this book, Back Pain Secrets.

I got the website up and I started to sell a few copies, but the thing also was that I was getting requests all around the world from people wanting my advice on their back.

The thing with me, I’ve been in business for quite a while now, many, many years. In the beginning, when I started to do the business, I wanted everything to be perfect. You know, everything needed to be picture-perfect before I launched anything.

Now, I’ve been around for a while. So first things, I just launched stuff. I get stuff up and then I see the reaction and then I make corrections to do that. So with this project, I didn’t really have any systems in order, okay? So I was just flooded. It was just too much requests that were coming in, orders were coming in, people were Skyping me. It was just too much.

So I shut everything down for two weeks, and then I put the systems in order. So I started everything up here now again, and hopefully, things are going to run a bit smoother.

As you can see here, I’m not at home in the office. I’m actually up in the countryside, visiting my mom. My beautiful wife, Linda and the two kids, Kelly and James are going to come here in a few days, two or three days.

They always give me like two or three days to calm down and get my sh**t in order before we start a vacation. That way, I’m much calmer during vacation.

So anyway, today guys, to give you a bit of a backstory, we’re going to talk about Susan. Susan is a 35-year-old woman with two kids and about 10 years back, Susan injured her back. She was in the gym and she’d been — actually got a personal trainer and she’d been on this routine with the personal trainer for a few weeks, and she did some exercise in the gym.

I think it was a deadlift. I’m not 100% sure, okay? Anyway, the trainer wasn’t too concerned about her form when she was doing this exercise, and something popped really bad in her back. So the pop in her back, she felt something was wrong straightaway.

She had excruciating pain down her left leg, in her buttocks, in her thighs, in her calf, and in her foot. So she stopped training and she went home. She was trying to relax and just make sure to heal, okay, but it didn’t go away. It actually got worse. She was in bed for a few days. She tried to walk around but it was quite bad.

Eventually, though, she had an MRI a few weeks later, and the MRI showed that she had a herniated disc on level L4-L5. That’s a very common place to have a herniated disc, and she didn’t really have the time for an operation or she basically just toughened it out, okay?

She also continued to go to the gym and work out quite hard, which isn’t really a good idea but she did that anyway. So that continued for like a year and a half, two years. So she was working out four or five times a week, and when she had too much pain, she just didn’t go to the gym. That was her strategy.

But she was constantly living with pain, constantly causing this sciatica pain, okay, and the question she always had in her head was, how long does it take for this sciatica nerve to heal. But she’s doing this.

So internally, she was freaking out inside. She was feeling stressed and she felt stressed because Susan was an action-taking woman. Usually, when something happened to her, she just made a plan and she got over.

So the plan was that she was going to work through this. She was hitting the gym four or five times a week, but every time she did, afterwards and most times during, the pain increased. It was really, really hard for her.

She also had this really stressful feeling inside because she was married but her husband Tim, wasn’t working regularly, so the income that she was making was more or less providing for the family. She knew she had to work to provide for the entire family.

Externally, if you look at what she was going through, she was this way when I met her, as well. She was all put together, you know. She was trying to act all cool.

Whenever you asked her something, she said “No sweat. I’ll take care of that.” She was working hard. She was putting like 12-15 hours a day, trying to be a supermom for two kids, trying to like over-deliver at work so she could keep that income and also trying to keep the relationship going with her husband.

All the time, she was in constant pain. Just imagine that. You know, she had this radiating pain down left leg and buttocks. It was just horrible.

This is like a year back. She hit a wall. Something really bad happened to her. She was putting in all this time at the gym and they did some changes at work and the kids’ routines changed a bit. She couldn’t go to the gym as much. She had time to go to the gym twice a week so she said she decided to start running, okay, twice a week running like two or three kilometers and then also going to the gym.

About a month into this routine, she was running up a hill and the back just popped. She actually fell down because of lack of stability and strength. Her left leg just gave way.

The radiation increased quite a bit and it was just a pulsating pain in her whole left leg. She actually called her husband and the husband came in the car and got her. She needed to like lay down on the backseat. He took her home and she went to the hospital to visit the doctor.

The doctor gave her a few painkillers, quite strong painkillers. She was on these for like two or three weeks, but they really irritated her stomach, big-time. Also, what she found even more irritating was this waiting.

First off, she took the pill and then she needed to wait for an hour for it to kick in. And then the pain reduced for two or three hours and then she needed to wait an hour to get another pill in there.

That really irritated her but the big thing was that it irritated her stomach. The stomach got all upset. She had acid. She had a burning sensation in her stomach. So she needed to cut that out.

She actually had another MRI and this MRI showed that the herniated disc had actually compressed the nerve root even more, and the orthopedic surgeon told her that he could do an operation on her back and reduce the pressure. He told her that doing this, that would mean that she couldn’t do as much exercise and she needed to like not be as active as she was doing at this time.

That really scared her, you know. Also, the operation, she knew there was a lot of risks doing operations. So she didn’t really want to do that. So Susan had a friend, Karen and Karen actually, a year back, bought my book. She read this book and Karen had a similar thing with her disc.

She read the book and it helped her some. It didn’t take away all her pain, but it gave her some ideas what to do. So Karen sent Susan the book. Susan read the book but she needed like more specific — she wanted to meet me and I’m located in Sweden and she was located in the States.

So she actually got on a Skype call with me, okay, 40 minutes skype call and we went through what she was doing. She was just telling me all of the stuff that that she was doing, working out like four or five times a week, trying to be a supermom, over-delivering at work, and all of this.

So we sat down. We sat down and we had this Skype call and we basically eliminated 80% of all the stuff Susan was doing at the moment. She was doing way too much stuff according to me, anyway, you know.

So we went through this plan and she was constantly me how long it would take for this freaking sciatica nerve to heal. I told her that there’s no like start and end date with this. A lot of what you do, it’s how you live your life on a daily basis and stuff that you’re doing and you feel less sad.

That you should keep on doing that and do less the stuff that’s irritating you, and a lot of stuff also is that you need to calm down a bit. You can’t do as much stuff as you’ve been doing right now.

You need to try another approach for this. So she got this but she found it very, very irritating that almost like she was lazy not doing enough, okay? I told her that’s part of the treatment, Susan. You need to relax and just let this have its course.

So anyway, after like two or three months, we had another Skype call and she’s told me you know, “Hey, Robin. It feels better. It’s like 60-70% better. I can sleep now. I’m not taking any medication. I’m working. I’m standing up most at the standing desk, as you told me to do. Not all the time. The kids are better. I’m in a better mood, you know, but I still have this very, very irritating feeling that I’m not doing enough. I want to do more to heal my back pain.”

So I told her, “Susan, you know, this was the problem you had from the beginning. So you need to chill out. Just follow the process. This stuff is working, okay, but if you don’t believe me and if you feel this, try going back and doing more stuff and give me a call. I think the pain is going to increase, but if you need to go through that just to prove that point, then you have to do it.”

So she actually did that. She started to exercise even more than I told her to do and the pain increased quite a bit.

So she emailed me and said “Yeah, you were right. I’m going to go back to the old routine.” So she did that and this was like I think a month back. She contacted me again and she told me like 80% is gone. “It’s phenomenal you know. I just can feel a bit of tingling sensation once in a while, but I can do most things that I want to do. I still don’t do heavy stuff in the gym. I don’t do any squats, no deadlifts, and I tried to avoid any exercises that I do too much twisting.”

I said “That’s great, Susan. Just keep on doing that.” She was really, really thankful and she said “You know, the big thing for me was that I don’t feel angry now. I don’t feel as stressed when I hang out with my family you know. Dealing with my kids before, it can be — I love my kids, but with work and all of this stuff and with the pain, I was constantly angry. I was constantly irritated, and now I have more time with them. I’m more relaxed. My family life is better.”

And she also told me that you know it was the first time in like five-six years that she was able to be intimate with her husband, okay, with actually feeling enjoyment and not pain. So that was a big thing also.

Very, very grateful. So will Susan’s pain go over all together? Will her sciatica pain go away forever? I don’t know guys. The only thing that I know is that she’s on the right path. That’s something that you guys need to think about.

There’s no like start and end date. You need to start off slow and do stuff that you feel better off and less of the stuff that irritates the back, okay? That’s the best advice I can give you.

I think I’m going to end this now. I think I’m going to go out for a swim and relax a bit. And guys, remember, you’re just one step away from healing your back pain. Bye-bye.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.