(289): The Heartbreak of Sciatica

Dhanurasana, aka Bow Pose: one of the yoga poses that’s supposed to be good for sciatica. Image by Christos Pontikis via Flickr. Public Domain.

I’ve been waiting all summer to find out the bad news from the MRI I had back in May. My pain doctor has had to play musical offices, and as a result, the office at which I was seeing him was abandoned and my appointment was pushed back 3 months. So now I drive 30 instead of 20 miles. At least it isn’t 60-something. I’m counting my blessings here.

I learned that I have a disc bulge at L3–4, which is causing a narrowing or impingement of the sciatic nerve and thus causing the sciatic pain. Great! I know what’s causing some of my pain. So, what to do about it? He told me that it is possible to go surgically into the area and free it up, but that it is a very dangerous proposition. Oftentimes this sensitive operation can result in the nerve being nicked and thus causing a massive increase in pain and a lifetime of even greater agony than I’m already in now.

He basically advised me that the surgical solution is viable usually only when the sciatica is so bad that the leg collapses and cannot be controlled or when the pain is so bad that one cannot walk upright anymore. I know a lady who had sciatic pain that was bad enough to cause her to walk bent forward. She has since recovered from it. I’ll have to ask her how it came to be.

I’ve suffered with sciatica off and on for a few years. Sometimes it is awful, like today, and other times it is a mere annoyance that makes it difficult to stand up after a couple hours. I’ve had all sorts of shots in my leg/buttock to relieve the pain, both anesthetic and steroid varieties. Nothing really lasts more than a week.

I’m utterly terrified of surgery of any major kind. I discontinued eating gluten and lost 45 lbs. several years ago rather than undergo surgery for a hiatal hernia. I still get reflux, but it isn’t as bad as it used to be. If only there were a way to fixed sciatica by noninvasive methods, I’d be super-thankful, especially when I’m lying here feeling it flare up, an insistent, throbbing, irritating pain. It is always worse when the weather is rainy, and it has been so very, very rainy lately.

So, as I lie here in bed in my sciatic agony, I’m perusing all sorts of YouTube videos that purport to heal sciatica using various exercises. I’m also assured that doing yoga poses involving arching the back are beneficial. So if I find that I’m unable to sleep for the pain, perhaps I’ll be doing Dhanurasana (bow pose) on the kitchen floor. The way things are now, it could happen. ‘Night y’all!

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