BPS #053 Does Sciatica Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Today, we’re going to talk about does sciatica get worse before it gets better? Before this, I have to tell you a bit of a story here about my technical skills, okay, that are just awful.

As you could see, I’m dragging my feet today. I’ve slept in a bit. I’ve been up all night, trying to figure some technical stuff out, and I was wondering if you also are a technical idiot like I am.

Like you guys know, I’m on a mission to help one million back pain sufferers to reduce or heal their back pain. In order for me to do that, I need to get my message out. So I wrote this book. I have some online courses on back pain and it’s all online, right?

So I needed to hire some tech nerds, and they’re always laughing at me, because I had such stupid questions. At least that’s what they’re telling me. So the big joke in the company right now is, let’s build it in a way that Robin can actually use it. If Robin can use it anyone can use it. So I love my tech nerds you know. They keep this going.

I got the back-pain knowledge but I wouldn’t be able to get them out. So guys out there, wherever you are in the different countries you’re working at, I love you and keep up the good work.

Anyway, back to today’s story. We’re going to talk about Manuela. Manuela is a 30-year-old female. She has had sciatica for like four or five months now. Her big exercises that she likes to do is she loves yoga, and she also likes going biking. That’s the stuff that she’s into.

A few months back, something happened when she was doing the yoga class. She had this exercise. I don’t know the term for it, but it’s when you’re standing up and you’re bending all the way back, okay?

Something popped in her back and since that day, she has had radiation down her right leg all the way down to the foot. So internally, when she came to me, she told me that she felt like sciatica was her cruel mistress.

She had this question. Will it ever go away? And most important, she also had the question internally. Will it become worse before it becomes better? So she was struggling with this.

So when she couldn’t do the yoga, she started to bike instead. She thought that might be better. In the beginning, it felt better you know. She was doing the biking and she was just going like five, six kilometers, and she had this big — the bike more like a — not a race bike. The bike had a nice cushioning seat on it. She’s just out just for pleasure.

As she did that a few times, she wants to do more. She wants to get more intense and actually get a workout. So she had one of these sports bikes. She borrowed one. Those sports bikes have these small saddles on them, and they’re quite hard and rough. You always need to like bend over to be on the steering wheel there, right?

So she did that like you she went for like, I think six or seven kilometers, and then it just popped even more in the back. She actually had to stop the riding, the bike riding.

Someone had to come and get her, but the pain was just horrible now. She couldn’t walk. She could walk but short distances. She could barely sit. Nighttime was awful. She was up during the night pacing back and forth. She was taking all kinds of different pain relievers. All the stuff she took was over-the-counter stuff, no prescription stuff, but she was in a lot of pain.

So by then, it’s been like two or three weeks and her sister came up, that lived in another city, came up to help her out with the household stuff and just to give her some love.

During this visit, she didn’t do any training. She was just walking. She was standing and the sister was helping her with like going shopping and stuff and Manuela started to feel like the back felt better.

She understood that not doing too much twisting and turning, not bending over too much, and just relaxing a bit more actually made the back better. So she had kind of an epiphany there that she needed to change her ways.

Her sister had been a patient of mine before. So Manuela got on a Skype call with me and we had a chat about her situation. Like I said to all my patients, you know, you need to do more of the stuff that is working, that is moving you in the right direction, that is reducing your pain and making you feel better and less of the stuff that’s not making you better.

So we made a kind of a plan for her and first off, I told her, Manuela, I’m not telling you to give up anything in your life. I can just give you recommendations. I’m your coach. I’m not going to like dictate what you need to do, but it sounds to me like it might be a smart idea to do less of the yoga stuff at the moment and the biking and more walking and more standing up.

So she understood that. So she started to do these morning walks, lunch walks, and afternoon walks. We also recommended her to get like a standing desk and she did that. So she’s standing now about two hours a day. She’s going to increase that to three hours, but she had problems sitting because before she was sitting on one of these round balls, you know, at work to try to increase her posture. But right now, that was just killing her back.

So I told her to go online. Look at something called an ergo sitter chair. It’s an office chair and the thing that differs this chair from other chairs is that you can actually tilt the back piece of it when you’re sitting down. So we’re actually getting traction. You’re actually getting traction while you’re sitting in the chair.

So she’s alternating through this standing desk two, three hours and she’s sitting off and on, on this ergo sitter chair. She’s doing the walking and not doing yoga or biking. Mostly walking.

Stuff is happening. Best of all, she understood that when you have sciatica, it often gets worse first, but then it gets gradually better. It’s also like that when you’re starting to do the exercise when you have sciatica that when you have sciatica and you’re starting to do exercise, in the beginning, you might feel a bit more pain from the exercises.

That’s okay. You just need to keep it on a level that it doesn’t shoot off too much, okay, but gradually it will become better. Most times, I mean, you don’t need surgery and it just clears up, but if you’ve had it more than three to six months, you should definitely get it checked out with an MRI, orthopedic surgeon, a physio or some other healthcare professional.

So right now guys, that transition Manuela has done in the past four or five months is, she has reduced her pain with about 50%, her lower back pain, and also the radiation of her leg, with about 50%.

So she’s quite content with that and she’s motivated now and she understands that there is a chance that she’s going to beat this. She’s made this decision internally that I’m going to beat this sciatica. I know what it is now. I know what I need to do, and I’m going to just keep to the plan.

I’m sure that in about six months, maybe six to eight months, Manuela’s sciatica pain, lower back pain is going to be reduced even more.

Okay, guys. That’s all what I have for you today. Take care. I love you. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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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.