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Concerned about sciatica

Mom_3boys
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09/22/2009 - 11:12am
Concerned about sciatica
Hi Esther (or any members willing to offer advice, who've suffered similar problems!),

I have been studying your book diligently for about a month and have attended a couple of your online courses as well.  I was having problems with my back (I have young children that I have to help put their seatbelts on in the car frequently, and work in the evening from home at the computer for hours at a time), and finally went to see a PT about it last year when my pain started getting worse (I believe I have sciatica, as the pain comes and goes, and is usually associated with my left buttock and upper thigh, making it painful to walk and sit).  Basically, the only thing the PT offered to me for the pain was to advise doing sets of 10x cobra stretches every chance I can get (at least every 2 hours or so), a la McKenzie Method.  Now that I have read your book, I am very concerned about doing that.  Also, over time, it happens to cause ganglion cysts and carpal tunnel in my right wrist because the wrists have to be in extension during the cobra stretch.  Anyway, for the last few weeks I had no pain, and have become familiar with all your techniques, except for glidewalking (I just can't figure it out just yet).  But now all of a sudden, the sciatica has come back with a vengeance.  For the past week, I have been getting it daily, and it seems to be associated with me standing for long periods, or perhaps overarching my back when I have attempted stacksitting.

I have been trying to learn stacksitting and figuring out which chair that is best to accomplish with, and recently purchased a simple wedge.  I put in on a simple office chair that has a forward tilt function and went ahead and tilted it a good 5-10 degrees, then put the wedge on top of it to make the forward tilt more significant.  I am concerned that in the process, I am perhaps overly tilting my pelvis anteriorly?  Now, should I back off on the stacksitting and tallstanding until I have no more sciatic pain (the pain always goes away in the morning after stretchlying/sidelying)?  When will I know it's OK to attempt the stacksitting again?  Also, since it seems so much better for my back, is it OK to just go ahead and continue bending using hiphinging?  Also, when I am having a sciatic problem, is it OK to just sit through the pain using stretchsitting?  But if so, how do I know that I am not overarching my back when we put our bottoms as far back in the chair as possible and then use a thick towel/yoga mat to hook our back onto midback?

As I write this I have sciatic pain and am stretchsitting as described, but I definitely have pain down the left leg, way down to my knee.  

I also wondered, is the Gokhale Method something that can eventually heal my sciatic pain, since I will be getting to the root of the problem, or once the back is compromised this way, I must be careful always to make sure I don't do anything to aggravate it?

Sorry for the long post, but any help you could give would be appreciated!!
Mom_3boys
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09/22/2009 - 11:12am
I just wanted to post an update:

In desperation, I went back to the [email protected] seminar you gave that is available on Youtube, and through that presentation, I think I can pinpoint some of the mistakes I was making.  Firstly, I think I was pushing too hard against the chair for stretchsitting, and trying too hard to feel the spinal stretch.  After sitting for awhile at the computer I looked in the mirror and actually saw that the area was completely red from the compression, even after I had stopped sitting for a good 5-10 minutes!

Also, I think that indeed, the stacksitting is perhaps something my spine is not yet ready for, at least not the extreme degree I was doing.  Your presentation really emphasized that this needs to be a gentle process, and perhaps I have been pushing it too fast.  I think that my back also has some sway to it a bit higher than the L5-S1, so this exaggerated anterior tilt seating was only making that worse.

I think I need to stick to stretchsitting/stretchlying/inner corset/hiphinging, with exercises from your book in Appendix I until my back is a bit more stable.  What do you think?
Thanks so much for making that available to us 24/7!
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09/10/2008 - 8:36pm
I'm back from seven weekends away teaching the GM 101 course ini different cities. I have catching up to do on the posts. Soon we'll have a greater number of qualified people to answer all the questions coming in.

It sounds like you need to be cautious in ow you proceed. Stacksitting with your pelvis exaggeratedly tipped forward is not good good. Even stretchsitting too aggressively can cause problems. Also, in stretchsitting, though you want to have your buttocks back in the chair, don't overdo this or once again you will cause a sway in your back. I would emphasize the inner corset - you can't go wrong with that very easily. Sounds like stretchlying is working for you. You may want to consider a Skype session with one of us to check that you are doing things appropriately. Also, our 2010 itinerary has recently been posted - perhaps you can attend one of the courses or get a private session while the instructor is in town. You don't want to fool around with sciatic pain as I can tell you from personal experience.
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