It’s now going into my 5th week of dealing with this “mystery pain”. I call it that because I still have not seen a doctor to properly diagnose my condition. Not because I didn’t WANT to, but with NO medical insurance or extra money set aside, I know I would not be able to get the expensive MRI, which is the ONLY proven method to correctly diagnose a true spinal issue that could be causing my pain. If I would have had good insurance, I would have not hesitated to see a doctor, if only to get an accurate diagnosis, although I may not have chosen to rely on strong drugs or surgery as treatment options. However, due to my diligent research, I am 90% confident that I have assessed and diagnosed my condition to my best satisfaction, and the little improvements I see week by week confirm that self-diagnosis. As long as I don’t get WORSE, I feel like I can monitor AND treat my condition with the methods I am currently using.
Among my NEWEST (and most helpful) holistic treatments are the addition of mega-doses of Vitamin C. I read about its powerful ability to successfully treat acute sciatic conditions during one of my website researches, and was so impressed with one woman’s testimony, (read her story here), that I drove myself to the local dollar store about two miles down the road and picked up a big bottle of it. Over the next few days, I took 8000-10,000 gms of Vitamin C a day. By the third day, I could tell a BIG difference in not only my pain level, but my overall mental and physical state. Everyone knows how Vitamin C can knock out a cold, but not many know what a potent inflammation fighter it is when it comes to sciatica! Well,it made ME a believer, and I am still mega-dosing going on almost a week now. Even though I’m still not pain-free, I can attest to the remarkable difference just adding this Vitamin C protocol to my treatment regimen has made to my healing and recovery process. One word of caution if you try this: although it is non-toxic, high doses of Vitamin C can cause bowel issues, so make sure you don’t exceed YOUR bowel tolerance levels! You’ll know when you do, in which case you just need to back off to a lower intake.
Another helpful treatment I’ve recently added is specific stretches to treat the muscle spams, tightness and pain in my leg that comes from the sciatic nerve inflammation. I learned that some of the stretching I was doing earlier (like most hamstring stretches) were actually making my condition WORSE, and counterproductive to my healing. Instead, I started doing some light yoga stretching, piraformis stretches and neural flossing. You can research these yourself and find the ones that you like the best. They are really helpful in keeping your muscles and joints limber, and help decrease the pain, even if its only temporary. However, the long-term benefits are eventual LESS pain and a less likelihood of having another sciatic attack! I make sure to do these 3 or 4 times a day, as well as try to incorporate short walks into my day, whether I’m at home or away. Yes, its painful to walk around in the grocery store or go shopping, but I’ve found if I lean on a cart, it makes the trip much easier to bear. My goal is to eventually be able to walk pain-free, but in the meantime, most all the information about this condition I’ve read suggests to stay active as much as possible. That’s pretty hard to do when you’re hurting, but “no pain, no gain”, right? I just try to balance it out and not overdo it, and make sure if I do, to use ice/heat to help relieve some of the added inflammation.
Finally, at this stage of my treatment, I’ve decided to STOP taking Aleve, an OTC pain med, that I’ve been using for the past five weeks to deal with the pain, and rely solely on the all- natural and holistic treatments I’m currently doing. Besides the irritating gastric side effects, I realize the long term damage of taking NSAIDS on a daily basis is not WORTH the minimal pain relief it gives, and may in fact be HINDERING my recovery. Again, in my own research, I have found more than one study suggesting the long-term use of many OTC pain meds can actually cause tissue damage and impede your body’s ability to heal inflammation on its own. That just reinforces my determination I to deal with this condition as holistically as possible, and weaning my body off ANY kind of unnatural or man-made pain meds. Instead, I will rely on the Vitamin C, magnesium and other natural supplements that are proven to be effective pain relief options. As with the decision to stop taking the opoids I was consuming earlier, I fully expect a positive outcome from dropping the Aleve from my treatment plan.
UPDATE: “Never say never.” Something happened a couple of days ago that not only sent up a red flag, but sent me to the nearest walk-in emergency clinic! I was on the floor doing my usual stretches lying on my stomach, face down. This one particular stretch I was doing was a torso press up. Basically, you just lie on your stomach, prop your upper body on your elbows and try to lift up and back as far as you can. I’d done this stretch several times before and could finally get to the place where it didn’t hurt as much. However, this particular morning as I lifted up and back, I felt a strange sensation quickly travel from my spine to my head, causing extreme dizziness. I quickly jumped up (probably not the smartest thing to do) and felt like I was going to pass out. My hands got sweaty and my pulse jumped sky high. I was SURE I was having a heart attack, stroke or a blood clot had burst. Panicking, I called my husband at work and told him what had happened. He was out of town working and couldn’t get home fast, so he called his mother who lives nearby, to come get me and take me to the walk-in emergency clinic. I paced nervously until she arrived, praying to God to let me make it to the clinic “in time”.
"A Twinge Turned Terror" - Part 5 Coming Soon....