Things That Helped My Sciatica

To make a long story short, I rode BMX bicycle heavily until I got my license and spent all my time sitting in the seat of a car. When I was 20, I thought I had pulled my hamstring while trying to "body board".

Having no medical insurance, I tried to rest it out, thinking it was a muscle/tendon thing. I spent several years on and off of a couch, gaining a bit of weight. After several years, there would be a few months where it would be okay and then it would act up again.

Eventually, I got into a car accident and used it as an excuse to get x-rays and what not. All my discs were super healthy except one. Looking back, certain things made a lot more sense.

The pain was the worst when I first woke up, especially if I slept a long time. Throughout the day it would get better if I moved around.  Most of the time it felt like someone had stabbed a knife in every inch of my hamstring.

One of the things that I believed helped me the most is hanging in a swimming pool. At the time, I hadn't put 2 and 2 together, but after hanging on the edge of the pool  for not even a long time, the next day I awoke with no pain.

Another time, I had been floating in a pool, hanging onto a floaty and stayed up all night talking to a girl. I had no pain that day.

I also walked around on crutches for a couple months with a TENS device on my back, as I was working. The TENS device definitely made the pain bearable, as it was hard for me to sit in a chair properly or drive a manual transmission. But I think taking the weight off my back with crutches and my left leg helped, as one day I woke up and felt I didn't need them.

Sleeping on a couch instead of a bed seems to be better, especially a soft bed. Not for sure about that, but it seems that way. Definitely worth trying.  It's possible that the support is better.

I used to be fine with sleeping on the floor, as there were times when that's all I could do is lay on the floor. I try not to sleep with pillows under my head and lay flat on my back when I sleep. If I do sleep on my stomach, my leg will be out to the side and my knee will be raised, while the other leg is straight out.  Sometimes, I elevate my upper torso and head.

Now that I know what the problem is, there's several basic things that I do:

I try to avoid lifting anything over 50 lbs (also doctor advised), but I have been able to move furniture and other heavy things several times in the last couple years now.

I try to stay hydrated and drink less soda. I used to drink my guts out to make the pain go away, but the next day would be murder. Going to bed dehydrated seemed to be a bad idea.

Now, I drink a large mug of decaf green tea before I go to bed and sometimes during the day. I seem to have more energy now, which when my pain was higher, I had no energy to do anything.

I take every opportunity to jump into a spa or jacuzzi. Whether it's at a friends house or an apartment complex. I also take long hot showers to relax.

I avoid staying in one position for more than an hour or two. Getting out and stretching is essential.

Sitting on a toilet was unbearable, until I started using one of those wood TV trays to lean on. That was probably one the best pain relieving things I found.

I hope that maybe some of this will help someone.  Had the internet been more prevalent at the time, I probably could have avoided a lot of pain.

- John




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