Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just hangin Around

So I cured my own sciatica issue. At least, I believe I have cured it…my doctor is skeptical, but I’m no longer in any pain, so that’s all I care about. A week after that last post the pain was just completely out of control. While watching tv in bed one night (during yet another painful spasm, with my legs elevated on a wedge, narcotics in my system and an ice pack on my back), I watched an infomercial for an inversion table and they suggested that it can resolve back pain issues by releasing some of the pressure compressing the vertebrate. I happen to have 2 friends with inversion tables, so I texted one the next day and asked if I could come give hers a try to see if it helped me at all…I was desperate…willing to try anything anyone suggested at that point.
The next day Scott and I did a bunch of driving/sitting/standing/walking….all the things that trigger the start of the spasms for me. By 6pm that night I was just toast…I had broken down crying while in line at a car place….and then again in my car…and one more time once we got home…it was just agonizing. I had already planned to stop at my friend’s house to try her table so I did.

We started out with just a partial inversion…which actually triggered another spasm to start, so I was not convinced that this thing had any value at all. Just to see if I could do it, we also did a quick full inversion, but I didn’t stay in that position very long since it was my first time. She offered to drive the table over to my house the next day and let me borrow it for a few weeks. I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Partial inversion - This isn't me...just a pic I snagged from google.
Full Inversion

I drove home, walked in the house and took another hydrocodone as the latest round of spasms seemed to be relentless. As the intensity of the pain started to diminish a little, I emailed my boss and told him I wouldn’t be in to work in the morning as I felt like I needed a whole day of just not moving…just to give myself a break from the emotional toll the pain was taking. I knew I would invoke a spasm every time I got up to go to the bathroom, but the goal was to limit the number of spasms overall. My friends dropped off the inversion table and I did one more inversion before going to bed.
In the morning I got up…went to the bathroom, and got back into bed. No spasm. I stayed in bed most of the day, just getting up to occasionally eat and go to the bathroom…I did not have a single spasm the entire day. I was in heaven! I decided to go to work the next day…accepting that the commute in would start the pain up for sure, but after a day of relief from the pain I was ready to deal with it again. So I went to work the next day….walked into the office building…and just got a minor spasm…where my spasms over the weekend had been at a level 10, I would put this one at a 2, max. I had a couple other minor ones as the day went on…but nothing that bothered me. I did another partial inversion for just a couple of minutes that night.
I have been pain free ever since. In fact, some of the pain that I have lived with in my right hip for years is starting to diminish. This inversion table has changed my life! I never, in a million years, thought I would say that about something I saw on an infomercial!
I have done some research and have read things that go either way with this…some say it has changed their lives, some studies seem to show no significant long term benefits. I don’t really know what to make of it accept to say that my own empirical evidence is that for pain relief, this thing has worked for me.

I had an appointment with a physical medicine doctor for this issue three days after doing my first inversion. I was pain free…so he said there was nothing more he would do at this time. When I scheduled the appointment after meeting with my primary care team I was told to expect we would be discussing pain shots, imaging studies and steroid treatments...scary stuff but when the pain is that bad you are open to whatever works. When I told him I had used an inversion table, he had a VERY skeptical look on his face and suggested that I may have “stretched out some tight muscles” but that it would not likely have any permanent benefits and to call him when I’m in pain again. Fine with me.
So…I’m going to be buying my own inversion table (probably this week) so that my friends can have theirs back. I’m eternally grateful to them for changing my life!
I’m getting back into the swing of things with exercising again…feeling so much stronger since resolving the sciatica…it’s amazing! A couple weeks ago (during the sciatica stuff) my knees buckled on the elliptical at the Y…that was scary. Also, I was trying to walk on the treadmill and just felt unusually weak. I’m happy to say those weird/scary weaknesses are gone. My understanding is that they were related to the nerve issues caused by the disc problems. Now I’m back to doing the elliptical without feeling like my knees are going to buckle again.
For Christmas Scott got me a heavy bag and stand. I CAN’T WAIT to get this set up in my garage and start working out with it. My trainer had introduced me to boxing a few months ago….and I LOVE IT. I am so excited!




  1. Glad to hear your sciatic pain went away. That is miserable! I totally sympathize. Boxing sounds fun! I might have to give that a try. I've only done it on the Wii but I do like it there too. Happy New Year!

    1. Boxing is so much fun! And a great total body workout. Now...I've only done 2 minutes at a time...I don't know that I could do a full workout...but it will be something fun and different to throw in to my other routines.

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