Due to a bad impact injury I’m experiencing pain in my back and upper leg. Any suggestions?

QUESTION: Due to a bad impact injury I’m experiencing pain in my back and upper leg. Any suggestions?

Hi Beth,

Thanks for this opportunity! I had an injury back in 1978 where I slid sideways on my back into a narrow tree. The tree, because it was so narrow was able to really dig into the muscle and nerves thus creating a substantial, impact injury. I was treated right away and subsequently later on through the years. I had chiropractic work done also which temporarily helped. If I sit in the car too long (2-6 hours), I start to get pain in the back of my right leg; the injury was to my lower, right back area, just below the hip. I have to get out and walk a bit to ease the pain. If it spasms really bad due to lifting or twisting wrong, I become pretty much incapacitated; it’s very difficult to get up from a chair or couch. In that case, I have to “push” down on my knees or a table to get up; the strengthin my lower back/kidney/hip area is just not there! Now and for the past 2 years, I sometimes get sciatica in the back of both legs.

I surf, swim and hike and work out in a gym. It seems that after working out in the gym with light weights and such that the sciatica increases….then I back off. I try to stretch and do qi gong to relax and stretch to help with the pain. Now, it is not unbearable, but a few weeks ago when I was helping a friend move, it became really bad to the point where I felt like my quads were just “giving out”! I don’t have that problem now, but minor pain now “comes and goes”.

Any suggestions much appreciated…. by the way, I have studied towards a PT degree, but got sidetracked into recreational therapy.

Thanks again and much Aloha!! Bill

ANSWER:

Hey William,

Just got back from a great Hanalei Bay trip. I talked to my PT friend about this and she concurred with my thoughts. I think it is very important that you go back to a doctor to get a new diagnosis of what the problem is. Things may have shifted and changed over the years through use and abuse! And there are 3 additional steps I would take.

1. Get back in with a chiropractor that you trust. If it helped initially, it will probably help again.

2. Try to find a very knowledgeable body worker who can help loosen up you body without causing inflammation to the pained area.

My first 2 suggestions are the easy ones to adhere to because someone else in doing the work. However, without answer #3, all this body work may not hold and your problems may come back.

So…

3. You need to get some serious groundwork going on your trunk region. I would first start with basic trunk strengthening exercises and then work your way into FUNCTIONAL trunk stabilization.

For your basic trunk exercises, I would sign up for a few mat pilate classes so you become aware of your abdominal wall and how to separate it from the rest of your body. Most people tend to try and strengthen their abs by doing basic situps without any knowledge as to which abs they are using to do what. This tends to call in the use of your back and neck muscles which you need to avoid.

Once you get this basic abdominal foundation you can then move on to functional trunk stabilization. This is necessary so that when you are doing your sports and daily activities, you actually use your abs to do the movement along with the rest of your body. To become familiar with these exercises, I would find a trainer or a PT who is aware of this kind of training to teach you how to do this properly.

I know this sounds expensive but if you invest a little $$ and time now, you may be able to kick this chronic problem.

Good luck and let me know if you need some names and numbers! Hasta, Beth

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