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Been home for three weeks now

Yet another surgery update:

I am taking less of the pain pills (darvocet.) I have gone from 2 every 4 hours to 1 every 5-6 hours.

Sleeping the whole night through now, which is good. Even able to sleep on my side, which is far more comfortable after spending the day on my back.

Before the operation, I was "listing" severely to the left and my right leg wasn't really working too well. Now, I am standing perfectly straight up and my right leg is dominant again.

I have noticed that after just walking for about ten minutes, I start to feel some sharp muscle pain in the left buttock. I am thinking this is due to the piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Since I have been pretty immobile since the beginning of May, I am sure that as I start using those muscles again, the pain will lessen. I should be starting physical therapy after the 10th of July, so I will definately update you about that then.

I have also been considering taking up yoga (of all things!) after I get the clearance for it. I am sure that stress has caused some of my issues and getting my mind and body in shape can't be a bad thing. They even have a pose that takes care of the piriformis.

Anyway, I am going to take it a little bit easier on the walks and take two shorter ones, instead of one long (if you can call 20 minutes long) walk.

Since I have talked about my butt, let me venture into another delicate area of that I (and I am sure some of you) are suffering through. Bending to pick up things off the floor or even something as mundane as lifting the toilet seat is a literal pain. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a "reacher," like this one here. It is amazing how that little piece sticking out at the end can help lift the toilet seats and the grabber piece helps to put on clothing. I would be helpless (or totally drive my wife nuts with requests) if I did not have this handy device. Amazon sells the one I have called the "Sammons Preston Rolyan 32" Reacher." If you are having issues bending, this is not a bad thing to get. I also found some other neat devices from a company called Standers. They have things like bed and couch canes to help you stand and so forth. I know it may seem odd for some of the younger people with sciatica to use these things, but you will find that your comfort level will improve.

Hope all of this helps somebody. Please leave a comment if you have used any of these devices or have any post surgical pointers that can help out.

(Original spinal fusion surgery posting)

I have had back surgeries and this site helps to distract me from the pain. When I am finding cool sites and ranting, I feel better.

Would acupuncture help with the symptoms of sciatica or would any other complementary medical solutions be worth considering?

I have found it helpful to do the stretching exercises my physical therapist recommends. Do some core strengthening exercises, such as the ones highlighted at The Mayo Clinic. By keeping your core strong, your back won't put itself in a position to cause that sciatica pain you are having.

This book, Back Pain: What You Need to Know (Johns Hopkins), is very good and inexpensive; regardless of what the review on amazon says.

Good luck and try to stay off the pills (unless you really, really need them!)

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