No More Sciatica

Let's Get Rid of Sciatia Pain

Your Complete List of Resources

If you want to get my complete regimen Click Here and it will take you to the bottom of the page for the specific details. Otherwise, the first part of this page covers a complete list of resources I used to kill the pain - something no doctor or therapist told me.

For a complete video guide on sciatica, start with the whole Scatica Series on Youtube with Bob & Brad. Sometimes they can be a little corny, but the information is solid. There's lots of it, but scroll through and select what interests you. This is just an introductory video.

There is a lot of information here that doctors and therapists don't tell you. Orthopedic doctors talk about medication and recommend you to therapy. The therapists run you through a "canned" therapy routine, which I saw repeated with numerous other patients. The whole focus seemed to be on getting one back to minimal capability. i.e. being able to get about with little pain, though not completely. I was more interested in getting back to "normal" - life before sciatica.

For their whole Youtube channel go HERE.

For their whole list of sciatia videos, 40 total, go HERE.

The Gear

A TENS unit is an absolute must in the recovery process. This is what I use.

iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief & Arthritis & Muscle Strength

We had a an older, cheaper TENS and this one was much, much better. Good instructions on pad placement. Recommended by Bob & Brad, too!

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The iRelieve TENS + EMS units comes with some small and large pads, I recommend the large pads for use on the lower back. Consider ordering an extra package of both. While a pad can be worn numerous times, spares come in handy.

You might want to try out the unit before ordering extra pads. I ended getting an extra supply of each.

ActiveWrap Hot & Cold Ice Packs

Cold therapy is critical. It's the first step in the recovery process I describe below. You can buy a complete wrap with Heat/Cold inserts as a package. However I suggest just getting the Heat and Cold inserts shown here without the wrap.  Instead, I recommend using a back brace in place of the wrap. It provides good support and the back brace is used separately as you'll see in the recovery process below.

 

 

Back Brace by Sparthos - Immediate Relief for Back Pain, Herniated Disc, Sciatica, and Scoliosis

This is the back brace I used. You can find others on Amazon, but this one did the trick for me. Works great for lying down or sitting upright in a chair.

 

The McKenzie Method - Treat Your Own Back

The McKenzie Method is the bible of back recovery. It's recommended by Bob and Brad for sciatica recovery and helps you understand what is going on and what needs to be done. It's very short, to the point and worth the read.

It's not absolutely necessary, but I found it very helpful. Great guide for exercises.

The Process (or How I Got Rid of the Pain)

Finally, this is the exact routine I used to get rid of the pain within just a few days. I put this together by studying the videos on the Bob and Brad Youtube channel and reading the McKenzine Method book.

Note 1: While you can get rid of the pain within just a few days, The Process requires discipline. There are no shortcuts. Muscle relaxants helped at night . . . therapy helps . . . but they won't get rid of the pain. They only help you cope with the problem – they won't cure it.

Note 2: Once the pain is gone. That only the beginning. Therapy helps some. You might be able to walk, but not for very long or very far. You need gym time. Without that, getting back to normal will be hard.

Note 3: Dedicated gym time after the pain is gone is an absolute must. My orthopedic said it takes a good two months of regular gym time to recover completely.

The Routine:

  • Place on ice pack on the back just below the waistline (30 minutes)
    Place on the side of the sciatica - either left or right. I used the back brace to hold the pack in place.
  • Remove the ice pack and use just the back brace. (30 minutes) - This allows the back to rewarm naturally.
  • Use the brace brace with the TENS unit. (30 minutes)  Place the TENS pad just above the area of pain and put the back brace back on.
  • Remove the TENS unit and wrap a heating pad just below the waistline - use the back brace to hold it in place. (45 minutes). Warning: Put the heating pad on its lowest setting.
  • Remove the heating pad and wear only the back brace. (30 minutes)
  • Repeat Step 3 again. (30 minutes)
  • Remove TENS unit and wear only the back brace. (60 minutes)

That makes a 4 hour cycle. After that, start it all over again! 😫🤬

Do it at least 2 times a day, even if you don't get through a complete cycle.

It's not convenient and you may have to do this for 3 or 4 days, but it will get rid of the pain and get you off the painkillers, which I found did little.

I still took a muscle relaxer at night to prevent muscle cramps, but only needed them for a couple more days.

An FYI - The Symptoms I Experienced Before Starting the Process

The following were my symptoms and experience before starting the process. This is just to provide some context to compare with your situation. The routine I used worked for me. It got rid of the pain and helped me get back into the gym to get my basic strength back. When I finally got back to the gym I found that I would only use about 20 to 30% of the weight in my leg exercises pre-sciatica. It only took 5 to 6 weeks for that to happen. Walking was difficult as result and was compounded by the fact that the loss of strength meant other muscles had to take up the slack. I literally walked like something out of a zombie movie.

The strength in my legs is now about 90% back, but endurance for a long walk is still a challenge. It'll be back.

Details:

  • Doctors and therapists gave no recommendations for self-help. I had to find the resources and develop the routine on my own.  The Bob and Brad Youtube videos were great, along with the gear I used.
  • Shots given at the emergency room and the orthopedic's office were temporary lasting only 2 to 3 days. I received a total of 4 shots, 2 of which were steroids.
  • I was pretty much bed-ridden for about 5 days in the beginning. Walking was difficult and nearly impossible for the first hour of the morning. The spine decompresses over night and when you get up in the morning it begins to compress again as you stand up. That is the source of the worst pain.
  • X-rays showed I have a degenerative disc and an old compression fracture of the lower spine - that was 40 years ago and I was able to play golf for all of the years since, but time caught up.
  • I was on hydrocodone for two weeks and a strong muscle relaxer. The hydrocodone helped relieve some of the pain, but not all of it. I used the muscle relaxer at night to help ease leg cramps, though early on legs cramps would wake me at night.
  • Pain ran completely down my leg from my middle back to my ankle. The lower leg and ankle were often the worst.
  • Early on the pain was on my right side for about a week, then switched to my left side almost over night. Pain in the right leg ended on its own after the switch. The left leg lasted the longest.
  • Ice was the BIGGEST source of pain relief – better than any of the drugs. In combination with the heat, TENS and back brace it was like a magic cure.
  • Often in the morning, following an aggressive day at the gym with leg exercises, I'll get a slight pain in my lower hip where the sciatic nerve runs through the hip to the leg. For that I'll sit on an ice pack for 20 minutes or so when I drink coffee and the pain goes away.
  • I do daily stretches and exercises at home plus go to the gym 3 to 4 days a week. The stretches improve flexibilty. The gym improves the strength.
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