Probably since my early twenties, I have been gradually weakening my lower back. I won’t get into details; let’s just say that in school I was never taught the importance of keeping my core strong, and was stubborn about trying to lift and move things that were too heavy for me to lift and move.
Fast forward to age thirty-five, when a bone-manipulating chiropractor got the great idea of “adjusting” my lower back in order to get rid of the severe menstrual cramps I was having that day. The cramps subsided, all right, but my lower back has never been the same since.
Then I carried B in a sling until he was nine months old. Continued trying to lift and move things that were too heavy – even though I had a husband to help me by then. Started a garden, and bent and twisted my back around to pull out stubborn weeds.
Yes, I did nothing to help whatever damage “Dr. Sam” in the Lakewood area of Dallas did to me. (Uh, yeah, I am calling him out on purpose.)
Several years ago, I finally began doing exercises to strengthen my core. But after we moved here, and I had even more hard work to do, I couldn’t see that the exercises were helping my back any.
An excellent diet doesn’t help with everything
Long story short, for the past six months I’ve had chronic pain in my lower back. It just doesn’t go away. But, I have projects that need to get done. I need to pull weeds. Et cetera. I can’t let my back stop me from doing what I need to do.
The past few days, the pain seems to have gotten worse. And then, it happened. The other day, I was sitting down when my left thigh began to ache. Getting up and walking around relieved it. But when I would try to sit down again, the ache would return – along with more discomfort in my lower back than usual.
Okay, not being able to sit down is not a good thing. I went online to see what I could find.
The Internet can be helpful, BUT…
Pinched nerve. That nerve being the sciatica, the biggest nerve in the body which runs down the entire length of the leg, from hip to ankle.
What causes a pinched sciatica? A herniated disc, of course!
The bad news is, this sounds serious. The good news is, most people recover just by taking it easy, not sitting down very much, and doing special exercises to relieve the pressure from the sciatica. (J was relieved when I told him this.)
So I went to YouTube and found some exercises for people with herniated discs. The second video I watched was created by a couple of physical therapists, Bob and Brad. Now, these guys have a TON of videos up, and after I had watched a couple of them one of their videos that YouTube recommended was about the three tests you can do to determine whether or not you truly have a herniated disc.
And so, the plot thickened
You mean, I might not have a herniated disc?! Nope. Turns out, while there aren’t many causes of an irritated sciatica, a herniated disc is not the only one.
So I watched that video and did the three tests. I failed all three.
In other words, my problems was not a herniated disc, hallelujah! Well then, what was?
I saw another of Bob and Brad’s videos on the side of the YouTube page. Here it is:
If you’re too busy to watch the video, the jist of it is that if you pull the piriformis muscle, that which connects the tailbone to the lower hip, that usually also irritates the sciatica nerve because the sciatica is right behind it (or sometimes actually goes through the muscle).
I did the tests for determining whether I had pulled the piriformis.
Yep. Passed all three of them.
Now, I still have to take it easy for a while. Which I hate doing. BUT…I don’t have a herniated disc, and I don’t have to worry about making it worse. Or seeing a doctor about it.
However, I may eventually break down and see a physical therapist about the chronic lower back pain. “Break down”, because as far as I know the nearest physical therapists around here are an hour away. There MAY be a practice thirty minutes away, but still, that’s an hour long trip.
I’m going to use essential oils and do the exercises that Bob and Brad recommend in another video. If I still have chronic lower back pain in a few months, I will probably bite the bullet and see somebody.
But at least it won’t be for a herniated disc.