First Sciatica Experience

Hello all, My name is Sam and I live in Sydney Australia. I am 28. I am a very active individual, having done years of martial arts, parkour and breakdancing.

From about the age of 18 onwards, I have had lower back pain during training, especially pulling muscles sometimes. My pain was mainly in the lumbar region and during my early mid 20's, I took up Thai massages and whatnot.

Earlier this year, in about February 2009, I bought myself a low seat sports car. For many months, I felt terrible stiffness in my back, contributing it to my training in my mind. I got to a point where I couldn't align my back straight easily and had terrible pulled muscle sensations in my lower back. Once again, I related this to my training wrong or something.

One particular day, I decided to do some windmills and then what followed the following day was a terrible shooting pain down my left leg. It was horrible. I went to the doctors, but could still rise up on toes.

Days passed and I couldn't sleep. Pain killers didn't work. Then tingling started with the shooting pain, all the way down to my toes. Then numbness, then weakness. I couldn't walk.  I could not rise onto the toes on my left leg.

I spent so much money on physiotherapy that did nothing.  One day, I stumbled into the physio and said "I am finished" and collapsed on the chair, as I could not take the pain anymore. The physio threw me a back brace to get me out. I wore it and a miracle happened.

I still don't know why.  I'm still waiting for my mri results. I had x-rays and a cat scan done, but after about an hour, the pain stopped. I slept for the first time. I woke up, took the brace off, then shooting pain re-commenced. I placed the brace back on and after an hour of pain the pain went again. I never took it off for the next 4 days.

I went to chiropractor. Told him of my condition and that only the brace seems to have been working and stop the pain. He gave me some tests and because I could raise my leg and twist and turn, he said I did not have nerve root compression and that my cat scan did not show evidence of that. He said I did not have sciatica.

I told him, "Look, I'm telling you I have sciatica, but this brace is somehow helping it get better".

He did not believe me, as he did not see how I was before it. He told me to take it off. I was scared because, I did not want pain to come back, but i took it off and luckily it did not return.  All that was there was numbness and weakness.

After a grueling six months, here is my recovery to date. Shooting pain has not returned. Numbness has lessened, but I still have numbness in my left butt, back of left thigh and the left side of my left foot, especially the pinky toe. As for weakness, thankfully some strength has returned.  I can raise on my toes again, but I know it is not 100 percent strength, because if I bounce up and down on my toes, my left foot sometimes gives way and I collapse a bit. I had an MRI done and am awaiting results.

For the most part I am back to normal and am flipping and being active again, taking constant care of my lumbar spine by stretching.

Now the funny part and most shocking:  The car i bought? I sold it. I have reason to believe, even though no doctor thinks this is true, that my new car helped cause this six months of crap. It was a shockingly low car and the seat position has my knees higher than my butt, placing extreme pressure on my lumbar spine.

All the months I was driving it and had constant back pain problems that I was attributing to training never left at any point, meaning the seat was damaging this part of my spine and training would aggravate it. Ever since I sold my car and have returned to normal, I have no symptoms at all.

So this is a warning to all you sufferers out there. Do not buy low seat sports cars, as they are terrible for your back.

By the way, I have very deep knots in the right side of my lower spine. I get Thai massages and found a particular elbow position that hits it just right and crushes it out. I have had this knot for many years I look forward to my MRI to see exactly what has happened. Thank you.

- Sam

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