Physical Therapy for what was diagnosed as Piriformis syndrome ended Friday. I still am having bouts of sciatic pain after a long day sitting but it’s much less severe and frequent than when I started therapy.
My therapist can’t change my primary care provider’s diagnosis but it appears that the real injury was strained muscles on the right side of L5. This is right where the sciatic nerve starts and the muscle inflammation got the nerve riled up.
So for six weeks sessions were designed to stretch the muscles, strengthen my abdominal muscles and reduce inflammation. At first it seemed fruitless but the last two weeks I’ve seen a lot of improvement.
Continuing Self- Therapy
Therapy was only twice a week so I have been doing the stretches and exercises at home already. I’ll continue these and you would recognize many as classic yoga poses (child’s pose and cobra are two I do).
Another change I made was to install a program called “The Big Stretch” on my office and home computers to remind me to physically get up and move around every 30 minutes. I also learned to engage my abdominal muscles when standing or walking. It takes the pressure and work off the back. I also work on this when sitting.
Ready to Ease into Exercise
My doctor did prescribe yoga and/or pilates to strengthen my core muscles. I went to a exercise class this weekend that combines yoga, pilates and ballet movements together. It was incredibly hard and my muscles are very sore. There was one exercise that caused sciatica pain and I dropped that movement.
I think the class would get boring once you mastered the movements and at the monthly price of $115 for unlimited classes I’m not leaning this way. I bought a Groupon recently for 30 exercise classes at various sites and I’ll start scheduling those.
The lesson from all this is that if you don’t use it you lose it. I lost abdominal strength because I sit all do and didn’t make up for this activity with exercise. It’s also important to stretch muscles that are constricted by the sitting position.
I hope it is enough to keep me healthy for a long time. Have you learned any lessons from an injury?