Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sciatica Update

I'm long overdue boring everyone with another sciatica update, so here goes.

December 2012 I completed a course of NHS physio. It took 40 minutes to walk to the polyclinic every Monday morning - no direct buses along that route - so that was a fitting warm up for an hour of exercise biking, yoga poses, squats, weights, bouncing about on giant inflatable beach ball type things and dicking around with things called 'medicine balls' (sadly not giant painkilers) on baby trampolines, called trampettes.

Actual Size

After six sessions or so, I was offered discount membership to gyms to continue the exercises, but decided I could do most of them in my room. Saving myself some cash, the embarrassment of my parts jiggling in front of other humanoids

The Floor-Twerk pose I have to do

and the further damage to my spine walking to a gym and back would cause.

Over the course of a year, I went from 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week to FORTY-FIVE MINUTES A DAY. On top of the usual hour of walking every day to get to and from work.

A couple of weeks ago everyone was announcing their resolutions to drink less, give up smoking, exercise more...I want to exercise less! It's become an obsession. I'm currently trying to do every other day instead.

Meanwhile, my doctor suggested I reduce the Gabapentin, as the physio had seemed to be beneficial for me. Um, me completing a course does not necessarily mean it's cured me! But hell, I was willing to cut down on a prescribed medication because I'm too honest for me own good at times and instead of fluttering my eyelashes and going "I'm a student I forgot my NUS card oopsie!" I cough up for my meds.

I was just told to cut down; I wasn't informed of the side effects of doing so...


Now I get by on one Gabapentin a day, and supermarket Ibuprofen. Tramadol for when I'm really done in, either from hopping about London all day because I decided it might be a nice idea to go to a gig and stand up for three hours (HAHAHA) or go dancing. Or for when I just want to forget the pain is there for a day. Also, the exercising, hot water bottles, Deep Heat.

Something snapped last month though when it got to December and I realised I'd been doing physio exercises for a year and still wasn't cured. I have no idea whether some of the moves I do as well, like the abdominal hip raises, are actually exacerbating the problem.

Instead of going to the GP - time out of work I'd have to make up, explaining the same shit all over again, MORE WALKING UGH, and being placed on a waiting list for six months - I Googled for an osteopath nearby and booked myself an appointment.

Oh, during this period I also looked on the NHS page for sciatica, wondering if any new miracle cures had been added since I last checked. And I also read the comments.

"If you have had to take time off work due to sciatica, you should aim to return to work as soon as possible. "

No shit, dawg. I don't turn up to work, I don't get paid.

Research has shown that people who train themselves to react differently to their pain, by using relaxation techniques and maintaining a positive attitude, show a decrease in the levels of pain that they experience.

I'll just leave this here...

Ayup. 'Ridiculious'.

(And yes, I did try that too).

I won't screen grab any more comments, but the general consensus seemed to be people were sick of being told "just keep taking the medication and doing the exercises" - push for a scan to see what's really going on. I'd asked if a scan would be helpful pretty early on of course, but was told it wasn't necessary.

At my first osteopath appointment, the assessor's eyes nearly popped out of his head when I told him I'd been in pain for three years, and they'd said not to bother about a scan. He recommended pressing for one. I phoned my GP and selected the button option of 'talk to a doctor'. After giving all my details to the receptionist instead of her repeating them to the GP she put me through to, I had to repeat them all to him myself. Natch. Bye bye phone credit. I explained all of the above pretty much, and he said "we usually ask patients to come in for that..."

And I'm usually a doormat in these situations, but I'd had enough.

"You see the thing is, doctor, I HAVE TROUBLE MOVING. I'm telling you now, I've done physio, I've taken the medication which you will hopefully have the details about on-screen given that I've given you my name, address, DOB, mother's maiden name and first pet's name, I'm now seeing an osteopath, and oh, it's been 3 years. What is the point of me coming in and repeating all that to you face-to-face?

They're processing it for me. I'll report back in 2016 when I finally get an MRI.

For the time being, I'm going to have further osteopathy sessions for as long as I can afford them, meaning doing more work, meaning being in more pain, hahaha. My osteopath has also ordered me a heel lift, as he measured me and I apparently have one leg shorter than the other.

"Don't most people have that though?" I asked?

"Yes but on a person of your height it's more of a issue.

I'm hoping this goes some way to explaining why I'm such a total klutz. It would've been nice to have the sexy Monroe wiggle...

but I get the stumbling over grains of sand on the pavement effect instead.


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