My surgeon has cleared me to return to work next Monday, the 24th. I started Physical Therapy today and will be going for at least the next two months. I drove for the first time in nearly three months as well.
According to the therapist, I haven't been walking correctly for quite some time. I apparently don't use my hips, but rather my lower back muscles. I didn't understand how that was possible until he started to move my legs to show me the muscles I wasn't using correctly. Holy crap, did that hurt!
I have a whole set of exercises for trunk stabilization, the piriformis and getting my hips to work properly when I walk. During my regular evening stroll, I paid more attention to how I was walking and tried to use the same muscles from the PT session. It was a totally different walk. I don't really know what is up with this, but I will keep doing it.
Coming off of the drugs is a long process - finally down to one dose of valium and darvocet a day (down from a lot of doses.)
Thanks again to those who have posted comments wishing me well. You have helped a lot. Also to the people who keep coming back to read this page. Still amazed that anyone's interested, but well over a thousand people have come through in the last 30 days. It has been very theraputic to know folks are reading.
And now, as a bonus for reading this far, a very funny video of comedian David Armand "signing/miming" to Natalie Imbrulia's song "Torn." If you don't want to go to youtube to see it, his wikipedia page has a link to a downloadable .wmv file. Enjoy.
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.