Sunday, October 28, 2012

Uninvited Electric Shock Therapy. Please Help!

Well well... so it seems I have to deal with my first ever case of Piriformis Syndrome. ~18 years of running and riding and never had this issue before... though I hear it is a common one so hoping maybe some of you out there in Blogland might be able to help me through it? I've had my share of calf issues in the past so feel like I've got the process of managing that one down pat... but this piriformis/sciatic pain thing is new and I'm kind of at a loss.

It started a few days ago seemingly out of the blue. Well, I did a long run on Sunday (19 miles) but woke up Monday morning feeling awesome... the pain actually started on Tuesday evening but wasn't really that bad... but Wed morning I woke up to what felt like some more serious type of pain. Weird- like pulsating electric pain down the back of my left leg. I was guessing it was nerve pain b/c it was just so different from anything I'd ever felt before? I bailed on my planned run that day (and the next) b/c it just didn't seem prudent to run when I had this pulsating electric pain every 30" all day/night. It didn't seem to matter if I was sitting or standing or sleeping or swimming- every 30" or so I'd get this shock of pain down my leg that was enough to make me grimace. I broke down and took some ibuprofen (had to go out and buy some b/c we didn't even have any in the house- I don't take that stuff unless emergency!) but it did not seem to help. Ice did not seem to help though eventually after consulting Dr Google I moved the ice pack up to my lower back and interestingly that provided more relief than icing my hamstring which was where I was actually feeling the pain.

So I've been stretching with every piriformis stretch I can think of... rolling my ass out on the Trigger Point ball (UM< OUCH< OMG> WOW< PAIN) and seems like I've gotten it to release a bit... enough that I ran a short bit on Friday morning and while it didn't feel perfect it wasn't crazy painful. I went and had acupuncture on Friday afternoon (nothing like having a long needle stuck in your ass- glamorous!) and thought maybe it would be better but rode ~30 miles yesterday morning and after that my left foot was numb and tingly. Prob not a good sign, eh? Since then the electric shock nerve pain is back and I had a hard time even sleeping through it last night. :(

I have an ART appt tomorrow and my guy is good- he works with IM athletes so hoping he'll be able to help.... but of course I'm curious to know how other athletes have managed this type of piriformis tightness when it's affecting sciatic nerve. That nerve pain is uncomfortable (to say the least). Any tips on how to get rid of it??


Steve said...

sounds like you have a pinched nerve in your back. Have you had back pain before??

sciatic pain = back problems. I ruptured a disc, and could only be on my feet with aspirin. Like you I never take aspirin, as a matter of fact don't remember the last time I took one. I never get headaches.

Rest and alcohol (alcohol = muscle relaxer) are the only cure. Pinched nerve heals, ruptured one heals with a micro surgery. I was out one week when my disc was ruptured.

Sounds like you are just pinched though.

cherelli said...

Yowch! Sorry i have nothing much to suggest as I've never had anything like it - but like you hate taking medications - along the lines of Steve's muscle relaxants, perhaps some extra Calcium/Magnesium? Oh, and 19 miles????? Holy moly, impressive.

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

Oh no! Def pinched nerve. I used to have this all the time, and def coming from your back. Your ART guy should be able to help, but it will probably feel worse before better. I do know tho - you have to be careful about where to roll (with the ball), like it could actually aggravate the nerve more.

I would go for the muscle relaxer if you can get your hands on one. AND hopefully ART guy will use the electro stem thing to get the inflammation in the back down that is causing the nerves to be compressed/pinched

Damie said...

sciatic pain is not always back problems per previous comments, although it could well be. I had my first bout with sciatic pain 2 years ago, and I totally thought I had injured my hamstring. It could be piriformis, but it could also be femur near the nerve causing problems, which was what we suspected with me, inferior to the piriformis. Message me after ART if you don't get to the bottom of it, and we can chat. xo

DR said...

hi michelle

here is my pain in the butt story: i have had pain in the butt for about 4 months, hard to pin point. i thought i had torn my glut medius or maybe had piriformis syndrome. i saw a massage therapist (some relief but it did not last), then a chiro for ART (felt good during treatment but worse the next day). I had one more massage and all my muscles (including the adjoining paraspinals) were so tight and i had some mild radiating down my hamstring. That night I went home and iced (wet ice, i.e. frozen water in a take out coffee cup) and it was the first night i slept with no fact pain free for most of the day. I con't to be sore, also in my ipsilateral SI joint, but the icing really helps (awkward but you do what ou have to). But because the pain con't I finally had an showed a large grade 2 disc protrusion in the L5/ husband is a radiologist and was actually shocked that I don't have more symptoms. I saw my family doc and she urged me to do see a PT (as I am early in pregnancy) and this can only get worse...It was actually interesting as the PT assessed me and because I have no muscular weakness, no radiating pain etc, BUT she did diagnose a rotated pelvis on that side that was very painful. Who knows, i may have have had disc impingement that caused muscle compensation putting my SI joint out of wack or the other way around. But I have done some simple exercises to get that SI joint and so far so good.
As a physician I don't agree with is really a last resort even with ruptured discs mainly because surgery does not improve the pain when compared with say time to heal, and it is also one hell of a surgery, even micro techniques. I would say ice (15 minutes q 2 hrs to start) and if the ART/stretching is not helping get it imaged radiographically as disc manipulation can make disc protrusions worse (like in my case). Disc protrusions do heal in 80% in 6 weeks and by 2 months even more have resolved. You can rest initially to get the pain under controlled but no exercise does not help...certainly you do not want to run on a herniated disc but you will want to stay active (I read on the internet bouncing on a big rubber ball to increase blood supply to the discs).
So I have nothing to add but keep being proactive...and wet ice (rather than an ice bag) is really underrated for all sports injuries.

Jill R. said...

I had pisiformis two years ago, I always called it Deep Butt Ache. Mine did not send "pulses, "though, it felt like a really tight sore muscle somewhere hard to find, but the pain would go down the bak of my leg. If I kicked my leg up, a la rockette, it hurt. I found that it would go away as I ran. First couple of miles would be slow, but I didn't adjust form, and eVentually it warmed up and want away for the rest of the run. So maybe you have something else with it?

Jennifer said...

Do this exercise every day!! This completely cured my piriformis.

Long term, you may have some hip issues... that's what has caused my piriformis issues and I'm still working on that...

Katie said...

I've been through this, and it took quite a few ART elbows to the ass to fix it. That plus a couple night of muscle relaxers (like you, I hate taking that stuff). Ugh. Sounds like you caught it right away - mine crept up and I ignored the signs for months which made is so much worse. Sigh. ART should be the magic!!

GoBigGreen said...

check your QL on the contralateral side, since your pelvis could be rotated away from the side you have pain on. Just a thought, otherwise just give it some time, no surgery and lots of gentle stretching. Sometimes the "Im coming in whether you like it or not" approach just makes things close up even more.
Im a fan of heat to loosen things up, unless you really noticed an initial incident, which it sounds like you didnt.