JOHN F. CARTER TELLS A LONG TALE OF HIS JOURNEY FROM UNBEARABLE SCIATICA PAIN TO PAIN FREE HEALTH. Much of the telling of his ordeal is spent relating the series of mental and attitudinal changes that occurred when relief did not appear to be in sight. How he adjusted his approach to work, life in general, and most frightening, a future enduring near-constant pain.
“It was that futile search for answers that led me to write this article and share my experience with others” he explains in the Medium.com article.
It’s a lengthy story, and it’s not about the specific exercises that ended his ordeal; he recommends the books he read but spends very little time describing the physical therapy that helped him.
This brief Science Friday blog provides a link to the exercises he may have been performing. The reason for this supposition is that I had a much milder form of sciatic nerve compression about a decade ago. I had endured progressively worsening right lower leg and foot pain, especially when driving long distances for a couple years. My remedy was to stop every 20 minutes, get out of the car (or desk) and walk around for 5 minutes. Finally, after also suffering left knee bursitis that prevented walking and having been prescribed physical therapy for that problem, I mentioned the issue to a therapist.
She insisted on obtaining permission to safely treat this additional problem from the orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed the knee. I got it, and she provided me with some exercises, the same moves demonstrated in a PDF from the Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina.
Incredibly, the pain subsided with a week or so! I felt I had been handed a life-saving device. The effect on the quality of my daily activities had been incredible.
She explained that likely multiple hours of sitting hunched over a computer preparing lectures as an associate professor in a medical school and looking through a microscope as a research pathologist, and then leaning forward in the driver’s seat with the back set straight up during my 2 hour commute each way each weekday was compressing the anterior portion of my lumbar spine; and it required stretching exercises to extend it and lessen nerve compression.
Her intervention worked. I’ve not seen much written about this issue since that year. John F. Carter’s article hinted that he had a similar problem, but much more severe and debilitating symptoms, and was helped by at least one of the moves I was prescribed and performed.
Clearly, any type of significant leg pain should be investigated by a medical doctor to determine it’s cause and treatment. The purpose of this blog post is to share lumbar spine extension exercises that might prevent this problem from occurring in those who may be prone to developing it. Frequent, prolonged upright or hunched-over sitting for hours at a time was key to my foot/lower leg pain.
Check them out. The prone extension on pillows was my go-to exercise. I still perform it every night before sleep!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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