Monday, March 4, 2013


OMG - That Effing Hurts!

Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. Symptoms include lower back pain, buttock pain, and pain, numbness or weakness in various parts of the leg and foot. Other symptoms include pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body.

Although sciatica is a relatively common form of low back and leg pain, the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is irritating the root of the nerve, causing the pain. The treatment for sciatica or sciatic symptoms often differs, depending upon the underlying cause and pain levels. Causes include compression of the sciatic nerve roots caused by a herniated (torn) or protruding disc in the lower back.

Yes, mes amis, I am suffering through a bout of "sciatica". It is no fun, no fun whatsoever.

I've been to the doctor, about a week back (cue pun, now) and was told that there didn't seem to be any disc slippage or herniation of said discs. I had probably just "moved wrong".

Well, that's possible. A couple of days prior to the pain arriving, I was carrying something which was not heavy, but was awkward to handle. In shifting this burden from one arm to the other, something may have been tweaked. Couldn't rightly recall, I was at work and I was somewhat "busy".

I've had back issues in the past (back issues? like old Sports Illustrateds, old Reader's Digests?) and normally they would go away after a bit. Not this time. And that sucks, sucks big time it does.

The meds the doc gave me (anti-inflammation type stuff) were something I'd taken in the past. And they fixed me right up, no sweatie-da. This time all they did was make me unable to sleep. Over a week's time I was averaging about two hours of sleep a day. But not in a single night, more like:

Sunday Night = no sleep

Monday Night = four hours
Tuesday Night = no sleep

Your Humble Scribe
 was starting to go all frayed and distracted. Go figure. So after consultation with the doc, I stopped taking the anti-inflammation stuff and just pop a muscle relaxant before bedtime. Ah, sweet blessed sleep.

But no relief on the sciatica.

Oh, and for those of you playing medico in your heads right now, another piece of information. I quit smoking on the 4th of November, 2012. I'm still smoke-free after four months. The only problem is, weight-wise I gained the equivalent of a two year old kid. And not a skinny two year old kid, a hefty one.

So yes dear reader, that weight gain is definitely a factor.

So it's more stretching, dieting (arrgghh) and probably another trip to the doc.

I would say that it sucks getting old but all reports seem to indicate that it beats the alternative. At least I remain on the sun-ward side of the grass.

I'd whine more about the pain, but blogger-in-arms Kris in New England (you can read her stuff here) knows pain. Compared to what she's been through, my pain can be classified with a simple -


*Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care.
Yes, I put that on the Acronym page.


  1. Most of my aches and pains are a result of my weight. Dang. I hope you get well quickly.

    1. Same here. But I reckon when (if?) I shed the excess poundage, something else will malfunction. I'm at the age where age all by itself causes problems. Not to mention that my body is not exactly low mileage either.

      There are many days when I've been "rode hard and put away wet", to put it in equine terms. Many are the injuries I had in my youth which haunt me nowadays. I have a knee which is a reliable atmospheric low pressure sensor.

      Oh and thanks Lou!

  2. Bend at the knees, and lift your headup to straighten your spine before you lift anything, I mean anything, even a pencil.

    After that I got nothing! Hope the meds, stretching and rest cures you. Back and neck pain is a bitch.

    1. Sound wisdom. As I get older lifting a book can sprain something.

      Thanks Joe, I'll work the kinks out eventually.

  3. Now I don't feel nearly so bad about gaining 17 lbs since I stopped smoking some years ago
    I would say I quit smoking, but I have learned to hedge a little
    The first time I stopped I said I had quit
    Obviously, since this is the second time, I hadn't quit
    BTW... congratulations on another day smoke free

    I totally understand your back pain issue
    If you strengthen the abs, it may help... eventually

    1. Yeah, I try not to say "I quit smoking", rather I go with "I've been smoke free for XXX months". Because I too have quit before and then resumed. So yes, I get that.

      Definitely need to strengthen the abs. (And the quads and the glutes and the... well pretty much everything!)

  4. I relate. I did that herniated disc thing, had back surgery, and went thru a year of physical therapy. That was quite possibly the WORST year of my life in every sense of the word, seein' as how The Second Mrs. Pennington (aka the maid) gave her notice at exactly the same time.

    Take care and get better, soonest.

    1. Like they say, "It never rains but it pours..."

      Thanks Buck!

  5. I'm sorry Sarge. I know how miserable that is. I hate to say it but I think you're doing about all you can. This too shall pass my friend.

    1. Yeah, just another thing to get through. I'm learning to live with the fact that I'm not in my twenties anymore. Only took me about thirty years to figure that out. Oh well...

  6. There are two types of folks in the world - those that know back pain and those that do not understand. Even moderate amounts of it can be incapacitating adding misery to just about anything that you do.

    I have more when I don't work out. Running (or brisk walks) and lifting. Even doing some pushups and situps on a regular basis really make an impact in a positive way. Heck, even just doing some pushups when my back twinges helps to make it go away. And when I work out, I stretch which also helps my back. I figured out a few years ago that since my back was hurting all the time anyway, I might as well do something as not. I gradually worked my way out of constant back pain and now endeavor to stay that way. It's not perfect, but it's a quantum level better than it used to be.

    I spent all of last summer working on getting my foot in better shape. It took four months before I got to where I could run again. After over two years I was back to running again. I went a year where I couldn't even run on a track, only on an elliptical. Then finally last August, for the first time in over a year, I was able to run outside on the ground. I had gotten to the point where I was beginning to accept that I would not be able to run normally again for the rest of my life. Fortunately, that is not the case.

    I'll shortly be closer to 60 than 50, so it's not like I'm still in my 40s. I'd kill to be there again. But, it gets a lot easier at this point in our lives to sleep in or say "I'm too busy, I'll do it tomorrow". Things are definitely not easier as life goes on.

    C'est la vie.

    1. I'm on the threshold of sixty this May as a matter of fact, it doesn't seem to get any easier.

      Went to the grocery store today, the pain was all encompassing and brutal. I felt as if I'd just been bayoneted in the lower back. Took a deep breath, did some stretching (which drew a number of odd looks) and worked the kinks out enough to carry on.

      Oui, mon ami, c'est la vie.

  7. I sympathize and empathize, Sarge. I'm 72 and my back pain started in the late '90s as I came up to the age of 60. I had a major episode in 2000 that put me down for about a month. When I looked in the mirror I was literally crooked and totally incapacitated. The neuro guy said "moderate" herniation of a couple of discs. I don't want to know what "severe" would be like. But since then I've only had a couple of minor episodes and (knock on wood) I've managed to keep it controlled through exercise and pain meds. Hang in there pal.

    1. Thanks Dan. I AM coming up on 60 in May. But my back "issues" started a few years ago.

      Oddly enough, just the other day I was stretching (in order to relieve some pretty severe pain) and everything seemed to get better. Almost magically. I wonder if I have some loose parts down in my lower back.

      At any rate, things are a lot better today.


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