Sidelined by Sciatica

Well, the worst has happened, folks: I can't even walk. This girl, who (wrongly, I know) considers walking to be ineffective exercise, cannot even walk a mile. It started when I was pregnant with my first child. I'd take a few steps and then BAM! My hip/butt/back (HBB) would seize up like a guitar string snapping. It got to the point where I couldn't get out of bed and walk to the bathroom without having to hold onto furniture. At its worst, I dreaded the simple act of coughing, which would bring on an HBB episode that made me grit my teeth. I learned to bend my legs and twist my body in a way that would dampen the shooting pain. It was no way to live, but ah, it was just temporary, right? Giving birth would end the pain (yes, that is how painful my sciatica was).

It did go away for a blissful 10 month. Then came pregnancy No. 2. As my baby bump grew, so did the pain. I'd go days without sciatic episodes, and then mysteriously be wracked with pain every time I stood up for a week. Then it would disappear again. This time, the pain didn't go away after childbirth.

I've been searching for a cause and cure for my sciatica for years now, and no measures I take seem to end it for good. Targeted massage gives me that "hurts so good" feeling, but the pain soon returns. The chiropractor did little to end my misery, though he did show me how incredibly bad my posture is (yep, Dad, you were right).

Mostly I have just managed to deal with it. I brace myself before I get out of bed, and stop exercising for a few days when it gets really bad. But that is no way to live. I want to get back on my bike, on my feet, and in the pool. I just set goals to do some more triathlons, and I put some bike commuting gear on my Christmas wish list. I want to start putting myself first again, which is really hard when I can barely get off the couch.

My sciatica is starting to take its mental toll, too. To be sidelined by an injury that appears to have no cause just as I am trying to shift the balance toward better physical health is incredibly demoralizing.

I am planning to run a Thanksgiving Day 5k in Bend with my extended family, and I am not sure that will happen, but I am trying to keep a positive attitude about it. I scheduled an "emergency" appointment tomorrow with a physical therapist. I'm hoping she can give me some tools to implement over the long weekend that will help me get back on my feet.