It’s going on three weeks now, and while I’m MUCH better, I still have lingering pain, numbness and weakness in my right leg and foot, and still walk “crooked”, and can only walk for short periods at the time. I’ve lost about ten pounds due to a loss of appetite from the constant nauseating pain, and have only ventured out of my home with my husband on two occasions. I sleep with a pillow between my legs at night, and alternate between cold packs and a heating pad to temporarily relieve the pain. Up until a couple of days ago, I had to give up doing any kind of housework or sitting at a computer for long periods of time. And I am STILL not able to drive due to the partial numbness in my right foot. According to the information I’ve researched about sciatica, my situation is somewhat “normal”. In fact, most articles indicated recovery time on average is between 4-8 weeks, unless it gets worse which indicates another underlying problem that could require more aggressive treatment. Sometimes even surgery. I can only hope and pray I’m one of the “average” statistics.
Besides the overwhelming pain that comes with sciatica, I feel like I’ve been robbed of a life that was active, happy and full. I can no longer talk my dog on long walks around our farm, or even for a short jaunt to the mailbox down the path. I’ve fallen woefully behind in my housework and laundry duties, not to mention just being able to do “general cleaning” on an as-needed basis. And without getting too “personal”, let’s just say that my husband is a VERY patient man! ;) Thank God I married a man who is not only a wonderful and loving husband, but who can cook and clean just as well! In fact, he has been a Godsend these past few weeks, and I don’t know where I would have been if he hadn’t been here to take care of me! This is definitely ONE health issue you can’t bear all by yourself, and if you do, you’re a better woman than me!
It’s nearing almost four weeks now and I’m starting to see a tiny glimmer of light shining at the end of that long, dark wall of misery I’ve been painfully traveling through. I finally got out and drove for the first time, and while it wasn’t painful at the time, I paid for it dearly later that evening when the pain in my leg flared up like fireworks on New Years Eve! Fortunately, before I returned home, I managed to drag myself to a local drugstore to pick up a few items for my “sciatica self-help arsenal” that I had been reading about on the internet. Those items included valerian root, alpha lipoic acid (ALA), a TENS unit, (TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation),and a large bag of epsom salt. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the valerian root helped to quell the rebellious nerves in my leg and helped give me a restful night’s sleep, but I was unable to find any real satisfaction or pain relied with the TENS unit. In fact, it was more a nuisance than help, and the constant “pulsing” of the electrodes was MORE irritating than the pain itself! Even after trying the unit on different areas of my body, and different pulse patterns, I quickly tired of this intrusive treatment, and finally just gave up on it altogether.
This morning, I added some ALA to my yogurt, and will continue taking this supplement three times a day to see if it gives any added relief. There have been numerous studies done about the positive efficacy of ALA to treat sciatic nerve pain,so I am very anxious to see if it gives me the same results. I also take the following supplements on a daily basis: multi-vitamin especially for women over 50, MSM, magnesium, ginger, Triple Flex (a glucosomine chondroitin MSM supplement), Aleve gel caps, and enteric coated aspirin. I also take a warm epsom salt bath either nightly or every other night to soothe and ease the nerve pain before bedtime. I try to eat yogurt 3-4 times a week and drink lots of bottled water throughout the day. My goal is to slowly but surely transition from taking ANY kind of RX/OTC pain medication to taking nothing but all natural supplements to ease and control my sciatica condition, AND help prevent future occurrences of this intrusive monster! In fact, I read an interesting article that said when taken, certain opiod pain meds (i.e., oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc.) actually stimulated pain cells in the spinal column and created MORE pain, creating the need for MORE pain medication! This vicious cycle explains why so many people find themselves addicted to these type pain relievers. Even I was finding myself in this same vicious cycle after taking oxycodone for only two weeks, and knew I had to find an alternative method of pain relief.
"A Twinge Turned Terror" - Part 4 Coming Next!