Sciatica

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by BREEZY, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. BREEZY

    BREEZY Tracker

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    Raking leaves this wekend and seems that I pulled a muscle in my back. Woke up to pain from my hip to my knee. Ice and heat has cured it, along with rest. Easy being at home, what happens in the bush. Medical supplies that you take with you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
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  2. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I woke up from a group outing with my lower back through my right knee in agony. Ended up seeing a chiropractor for a month or so and it helped a ton.
     
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  3. yourboringfriend

    yourboringfriend Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's amazing, who would have ever thought! :) glad you're feeling better
     
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  4. BREEZY

    BREEZY Tracker

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    Thought I was ready for anything............maybe not.
     
  5. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    If you want to go OTC: Naproxen is good for sciatica.

    For a more natural route: Turmeric and Ginger are my choices.

    I know you mentioned things to do in the bush but prevention is always a good thing. I inherited my back issues from my Dads side. Since you hurt it, it will come back unfortunately. A couple things I do that have helped tons are keeping my wallet in my front pocket, sitting with your wallet in your back pocket puts pressure right on your sciatic nerve. When I sleep on my side I either keep a pillow between my knees or keep my legs apart. I take ginger and turmeric capsules daily, great for inflammation and they have a ton of other benefits. I've also started taking a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil a day and all my joints have been feeling better, so I would guess that its helping my back as well.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Guide Bushclass I

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    if its winter, go sit in the river for a few minutes. that should do for your ice pack. :3:
     
  7. beachbunny

    beachbunny Scout

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    so far just aleeve
     
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  8. Angus McGunnigl

    Angus McGunnigl Guide

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    Ibuprofen and Tylenol. As far as sciatica pain.............Preventative maintenance exercises and stretches.
     
  9. NattyBo

    NattyBo Supporter Supporter

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    All great advice, the only things I could add from a lot of experience with this and multiple back surgeries is:
    -Stretch
    -I don't wear a belt to keep my pants up only suspenders. Any butt pack, gear belt has to have shoulder straps for me.
     
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  10. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    This.

    I would pay attention to nutrition and prevention (including stretching both before and after exertion). I would also be taking Vitamin B-Complex (important), Vitamin D-3, Vitamin K-2, Turmeric and an herbal calcium supplement.

    In response to the question of the OP, if I was in the field, I would use the stuff in my spice kit--which is also my med kit.

    I would take Turmeric, which I include in that kit specifically for its anti-inflammatory properties. I just started a series of posts on that.

    I would then apply cayenne pepper over the area. Either mixed with olive oil (if I had it) as a liniment or covered with honey (which I carry) to keep it in place. Cayenne is effective in relieving nerve pain. It will also bring blood to the area covered by it. That blood will bring warmth and nutrition with it. Obviously, this is makeshift, but it would likely provide relief. There is also a synergistic effect when Turmeric is used with Cayenne.

    At home, cold pressed organic Hemp Seed Oil (legal, from a different plant) is another good oil to use for this purpose.
    http://www.amazon.com/Nutiva-Organic-Hemp-24-Ounce-Bottle/dp/B000GAO91K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453781298&sr=8-1&keywords=organic+hemp+seed+oil

    There is also Cayenne Pepper Oil which can be purchased.
    http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy_neuralgia.php

    I've seen fast relief with this: [URL="http://www.amazon.com/Christophers-Formula-Complete-Tissue-Ointment/dp/B000FVDY2A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453779964&sr=8-1&keywords=tissue+and+bone+ointment"[/URL] A relative of mine was so impressed by it that he called shortly after applying the ointment and said that his sciatica pain was gone in about a minute. This was kind of funny since he only tried it when the pain got really bad. He initially discounted the ointment because it was just 'herbs" and didn't think it would work.

    Devils Claw is another excellent herb for sciatica. But its not something that most people would have on hand.


     
  11. Mazer

    Mazer Scout

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    Sorry you messed up your back - I have a messed up back and bad knees. If my back goes out I take an aspirin and lay down for a bit. Then I stretch and hope I can make it back to the car. Best way to avoid this in the future, tighten your abdominals, and go get some good stretching exercises. I also carry KT Tape with me...
     
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  12. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've got one of those messed up backs and there are two things that seem to really help me. Walking a lot and sleeping in a hammock, not on the ground. I've got prescriptions for Naproxen 800 mg, Methocarbamol 750 mg and Tramadol 50 mg that I take to the woods with me but I haven't needed them yet. Walking helps to strengthen the back muscles and the muscles help hold the back in place. As always, check with your Doctor to find out the best things to do for your particular case.
     
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  13. mab0852

    mab0852 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Oh boy do I relate, I raked leaves this weekend too. I also have horrible knees to boot. First, I learned long ago to take Naproxen preventatively. If I'm doing something I may regret later, I go ahead and get the Naproxen in my system so the inflammation never starts or is greatly reduced. Second, rest and stretch proactively. Take short breaks and stretch your lower back. This one I got from snowboarding. A couple years ago, I threw out my back on an unexpected bump, didn't fall, but barely made it off the mountain from the pain. Anyway, they swear by Tiger Balm or Traumeel on the mountain. Both work equally well and I now keep one or the other in my FAK just for the occasional field oops. If you do hurt your lower back in the field, I find it really helpful to lay flat on my back with my legs up in the air and my feet together against a tree (just shy of a complete L) until the muscles relax. You can increase the pull/stretch by pushing your heels into the tree and slightly elevating your butt with your abs. It puts mild traction on your SI joints, which is generally the root cause of sciatic pain. Hammocks also help a lot as does a few trips to the chiropractor when you get home.
     
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  14. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    I've been bedridden with sciatica a couple of times. In both cases I was mostly disabled for about a week. Very, very miserable! Both attacks were brought on by too much time spent sitting on my butt and not enough walking and other exercise. In both cases I had been traveling a lot (car and airplane) and I think my lower back became weak and delicate. Then I did some small thing (bending over to pick something up) and ZAP!!! I'm on the ground in agony. Ibuprofen helped to reduce pain and inflammation. But what really helped was learning a couple of yoga exercises and doing them several times a day. One is called "cat and dog" (google it). The other I don't know the name of but it involves laying flat on my back on a rug, bending my knees about halfway up, and then crossing one leg over the other, then stretching from side to side slowly. Then switching legs and stretching again. I'm all healed now, and have been for about a year. For me the key to preventing sciatica is to get off my butt and onto my feet, walking and hiking regularly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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  15. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

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    I have a long standing love/hate relationship with my back.
    We have come to an agreement though. I just keep walking and never sit down and my back has agree to be reasonable, unless it decides not to be.

    I carry Vicodin, Tramadol, muscle relaxers, and naproxin with me, always, everywhere. Oh, and that damn emergency response beacon thing my wife insisted on. I'm coming out of the swamps, one way or another, even if it's not under my own power, I guess.
     
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  16. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    Amen to walking (hiking) and hammocks. I sleep in a hammock every night now for about the last five years. I've had 4 back surgeries. I ride my bike 14 miles 3 times a week, and hike at least once a week. What makes my back feel the best is swimming though I usually free-dive with a spear for fish, can't just swim and pass up a good fish harvesting opportunity. Currently taking Meloxicam, Gabapentin, Acetaminophen and Tixanidine for pain management. Tramadol was BAD news for me with daily withdrawal effects effecting my mood and thinking if daily doses not taken regularly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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  17. BREEZY

    BREEZY Tracker

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    Thanks for the replies, common idea is being active, walking and stretching seem to prevail. I walk "weather permitting" around 2 miles a day, I'll have to fess up that I don't strech that often, so I will be adding this to my regiment. I think the most important thing you can do is strenghten your core, to me that is what I need to do. Let me know what you think, diet and weight loss can't hurt as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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  18. The Bruce

    The Bruce Scout

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    I'm not a risk taker, or a doctor but I have always been something of a clutz. I have found that my doctors have been right when they have told me to take a maximum of 800mg Ibuprofen no more than 3 times a day. If that won't help, that legal prescription for Hydrocodone often does.
     
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  19. Eric Kol

    Eric Kol Tracker

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    I have had problems over the years with a bulging disk. I have nearly ruptured the sucker. The muscle spasms when that thing is pinched are breath takingly awful. I addressed some core weakness and hip imbalances and it has been great the past few years. every once in a while, usually from sleeping on soft couch or matress, I get my sciatic pinched and wake up with my toes on fire! I always take ibuprophen and muscle relaxers.
     
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  20. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    My bush medicine for when I'm camping a way from home is to first pop a max dose of anti-inflammatory. For my weight, this is 4 ibuprofen. I eat a small meal with this as It can be hard on the stomach. I then set up my hammock and spend as long as possible in it. This keeps my back supported and keeps me in a straight position for a very long time. I have been known to simply enjoying the gentle swaying from the breeze through the trees and then find myself waking up 12 hours later by my bladder and taking a sheer act of will to get out of the hammock without popping the seal.

    Sleep is always the best medicine for my back pain but most importantly, in a position that is right with the right support and I cannot go back to the ground anymore. No camping above tree line for me.
     
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  21. grendal

    grendal Scout

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    Ibuprofen is my bush medicine cure. Plus I have all sorts of goodies in my vehicle FAK, if I am close enough. Ben Gay is good, Icy hot is a good one too, just clean you hands before you do anything else!
     
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  22. dingas

    dingas Scout

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    My sciatica is caused by arthritis in my lower spine. Spent 3 1/2 weeks flat on my back at the ripe old age of 30. Gotta agree with everything said so far. Hammocks make things much easier in the woods for sure. Tylenol arthritis, advil arthritis, aleve.... Gonna have to try naproxin, and those natural remedies listed earlier too!
     
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  23. runswithscissors

    runswithscissors Scout

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    +1 to all of the advice given already except the herbal stuff, I haven't used any of that as I'm allergic to ginger. I also take some store-brand Excedrin Migraine (it's basically aspirin, tylenol and caffeine) with me. It works pretty well for me.

    The best thing for me though is preventing the problem from occurring if at all possible. I'm looking into a hand-or-bicycle cart to haul my things for overnights, and limit myself to the Frost River High Falls Short Day pack otherwise with nothing on my belt but a firearm, a belt knife, and a pouch the size of a large wallet. This is usually everything I'd consider needing in a day (including emergency shelter/water disinfection), and doesn't weigh enough to put a hurt on me regardless of how far I ramble.
     
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  24. FL-MUD

    FL-MUD Scout

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    I have not tried the hammock but after I herniated my L4/L5 with a tear, I slept on my big Agnes inflatable for a couple weeks on the living room floor. I couldn't sleep in the bed or on the couch and that was the only way to get comfortable enough to sleep. I don't take any of the prescription medications anymore but I do take ibuprofen or naproxen if it flares up. Standing a lot with bad shoes can really do a number and send that pain right down to the knee so make sure to always wear good shoes with a lot of support and I recommend aftermarket insoles because the OE insoles break down very fast and can be really comfortable but not offer much support. As stated before, walking helps and thinking before you move and using proper mechanics is key. I do 95% of what I did before but smarter. Can't avoid all the pain but it's a lot better now.
     
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  25. Canajun

    Canajun Guide Bushclass I

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    Especially as guys get older (and potentially more sedentary) back problems become a more likely issue. Tight hamstrings especially can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can too much sitting (which people do a LOT these days in work in the car, at home, etc.) Our lower back curvature gets out of whack. Then when we stand, it gets sore or we can end u doing something that stresses the muscles around the site t the point of strain. I managed to strain my back two weeks ago while doing a ruck march. Turned out my hams were also quite tight. The cobra pose from yoga works like a charm to take the pressure off. That and stretching the hams (on my back, NOT by standing and trying to touch my toes, etc.) worked wonders.

    For the cobra, lie face down and position the hands as if you're about to perform a push-up. Push up slowly with the hands but keep the hips low (the "cadence" from the prone position to the upper position should be about two seconds). Once at the upper extreme of the motion of the arms (elbows locked out), breathe out deeply and let the hips sag. Hold for a couple of seconds and gently lower the body to the starting position. Repeat ten times. You'll likely feel tight on the first couple of reps, but after that it will become easier. Do this three times a day (morning, noon, and night) for best effect. It works for a strained lower back. A version of the cobra can also be done in the standing position: Place the feet shoulders' width apart, put the hands on the hips with the palms down and the thumbs in the small of the back and lean back unt you're looking at the ceiling. A handy way to ease the back if it's hurting while you're standing in line, or grocery shopping, etc., or are just not in a place where the prone cobra would be acceptable.

    [​IMG]

    I also found that Voltaren Emulgel worked quite well for localized pain. I'm not a big pill popper if I don't have to be, so prefer the topical applications.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
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  26. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    What this guy says. I like to take icy hot, not sure if it really does anything... But it feels like, it does.
     
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  27. Canajun

    Canajun Guide Bushclass I

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    Alternate heat and ide is the way to go IMO. The cold sends stale blood away and heat brings fresh blood back (with all of the nutrients). This worked very well on a torn Achilles tendon for me.
     
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  28. bgf

    bgf Scout

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    Doans pills (magnesium salycilate?) are sometimes the only thing that works for back pain, no idea why, but I keep them around for bad backaches. I get little or no relief from Tylenol, but it works on muscle aches. Alleve (naproxen sodium) and advil (ibuprofen) are my standard rotation to keep arthritis pain down. I try to keep to a minimum dosage and often take a break from them entirely for as long as I can stand it, but if I go too many days if takes longer to get things back to tolerable. Try to get the pain tolerable then phase in activity as much as possible without straining. Light to Moderate exercise every day seems to be the key to minimizing problems of all types. No exercise and/or going all out both are recipes for disaster!
     
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  29. Convex

    Convex Tracker

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    Guys, gals, if you have not or do not do it, yoga. YOu have to strengthen your back and core. It also helps to strengthen the body. You can watch videos on youtube or maybe your local cable or sat tv provider may have something. I screwed up my back and it took damn near a year to get it almost back to 90%. Started doing yoga, what a help.

    Try beginners yoga. Walmart has videos, as does Amazon. On youtube you can mix it up after a few months.

    If you have not tried it, do not laugh. My buddy laughed his ass off at me for doing sissy yoga. Hurt his back. Now he does yoga two or more times a day. He is a plumber and has to lift his machines and carry them onto roofs. I tell him, as we age doing what we did 25 years ago ain`t so simple anymore. He does not laugh at yoga now.
     
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  30. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    I've had sciatic pain on my left side since my back injury in May of last year. THis past week I was shoveling snow and really did a number on my back. I'm now feeling sciatic pain in my right hip and thigh. I moved my wallet to a front pocket and it helped some. I'm going to try yoga this evening. Rest and naproxen just doesn't cut it for me.
     
  31. Waynemanning84

    Waynemanning84 Tracker

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    Inversion table. Had it so bad I couldn't put socks on. Tried several chiropractors nothing worked. Bought an inversion table on Amazon.. I'm fixed... Seriously it worked that well..
     
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  32. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    If you have real back problems, don't wait too long to get help. I did... I didn't have insurance and couldn't afford the treatment. I finally got medicare after I retired and got the surgery done. Fixed it. But, I had waited 5 years too long. I never recovered the strength and control in the right leg. Don't wait if you do need repairs done.
     
  33. nomad orphan

    nomad orphan Tracker

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    Back issues are scary business.
    When not moving I go numb in my legs.

    Backs are strong and overused.
    Stretching them helps.
    I stand straight legged and cross my feet.
    Bend over and grab grass.
    Or
    Bend like an "A" also straight legged.
    Force your heels down.

    Working out the front can help the resting pullback from the back/butt muscles.
    Hip flexers and abducter lifts seem to help the most.

    It was big lifts that did me.
    Or slipping with a small one.
     
  34. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    @nomad orphan , if your legs go numb when standing still, please get an MRI and doctor's opinion on what is going wrong. I did and found out that I would have been paralyzed if I had waited much longer. My spinal cord was almost pinched off. Seriously, I know that surgery is scary and expensive, but please at least get it looked at by a GOOD doctor.
    I was lucky and found one of the best back doctors in the country, near enough for me to go to. He fixed me. Now I am the bionic man! :9:
     
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  35. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Now you have to get yourself a Bionic Woman!
     
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  36. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Got one! Bio-something anyway! :p
     
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  37. saxonaxe

    saxonaxe Scout

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    I'm happy to support Canajun and Convex in their positive comments about Yoga, just simple, basic Yoga, nothing painful...:D
    30 odd years ago, one pitch black night in torrential rain while involved in a work related training exercise, this idiot jumped to the ground when he thought he was about 6 feet up....I wasn't, it was 19 almost 20 feet!! I was loaded with kit, weapon and ammo and had it not been for the fact that the heavy rain soaked ground softened my landing, I would have been in serious trouble.

    Man down. No feeling in my legs and casevac to hospital. Prolapsed disc and busted teeth...( H&K G3 bounced up and smacked me in the mouth when I landed and fell over backwards..) :4: :17:

    Sent off to Physiotherapy later and it was then that I found out that 95% of the exercises I was encouraged to do were in fact basic Yoga routines. I still do the same exercises 2 or 3 times a week at home or in the gym and quite honestly in all the years since the incident, I have never suffered with any back problems at all.
    Keeping your stomach muscles reasonably in tune helps too, the Doctors told me the developed abdominal muscles act like a weight lifters belt to support the spine and that had helped me when I had injured myself.
     
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  38. nomad orphan

    nomad orphan Tracker

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    Nv blue... I agree. Good advice.... but I cannot get an mri anymore. Best bet they say is to stretch and stop doing dumb stuff. Eat right yadda yadda. Definetly no more fun...

    Deep introspection seems as helpful as anything.

    The good advice here is help.

    You know someone has the answer key...
     
  39. mugsy

    mugsy Guide

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    THIS IS THE SMARTEST THING YOU CAN DO.........It does wonders, decompresses your spine.....the guy from the teeter commercial IS NOT BLOWIN SMOKE UP YER WAZOO!!! I own one and it is THE best investment(in your future...SERIOUSLY). 5 minutes in a.m. and 5 min p.m. start out with a little tilt and gradually work your way slowly to full inversion(NOT IN ONE DAY!!....over time and your bodies response)
     
  40. mugsy

    mugsy Guide

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    i bring my back support belt as a precaution, but beyond that there isnt much besides ibuprofen that will help.
    strengthening of core spinal muscles through yoga or particular excercises for that purpose, along with 5 minutes inversion in morn and night has done more for me than all the doctors and the meds they throw at the symptoms.
    2008 was the last time i had back trouble thanks to this regimen......i was supposed to have surgery the inversion eliminated the need for that and the core strengthening keeps me goin!!
     
  41. petey091

    petey091 Scout

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    I had a sciatica attck several years go that caused my right leg to go numb and I couldn't find a comfortable way to sit or lay down. After about a week it went away. Since then I have done several things. I stopped carring a traditional wallet in my let rear pocket. I now carry a Trayvax in a front pocket. I also lost weight. I was spending a lot of time on a treadmill but that seemed to make it worse. If I have to get on a treadmill I rarely go more than an hour and at a slower speed. I do streches to lessen the chances of another sciatic attack. Since this time I have backpacked a lot of miles. Backpacking never seems to be a problem.
     
  42. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    I've been dealing with bilateral bursitis of the hips for several years, an annular tear (L4) of one of the disks in my back along with degenerative spinal spondelosis (sp?). Unfortunately, sciatica comes with the package.

    I can no longer take aspirin, ibuprofen, or maloxicam (sp?). Tylenol or tramadol work well, but there is also Voltarin topical gel that works quite well.
     

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