Self Diagnosis Fixed Back Pain

Sciatica pain struck me a few days before the Formula 1 trip. It persisted, lessening twice before resuming. I woke pain free today, 13 days after returning home. It was the third occurrence of sciatica pain in my life, all in the last 6 years. The first two times it passed in a few days with the aid of pain meds and staying as active as possible, as per doctor’s orders.

The extended pain duration caused concern. Pain and I get along like oil and water, so I searched the net. Bottom line is I have Piriformis Syndrome (PS). Self prescribed treatment worked and fit what I knew about my body. Best of all, the path to prevention is as obvious as it is easy.

PS is rarely diagnosed, maybe because there are no standard tests for it, maybe because it’s symptoms are often essentially the same as sciatica. Maybe it was easy for me to diagnose because my piriformis muscles are as tight as drum heads.

Orthopedic clinics had extensive info on the syndrome – except for self diagnosis and prevention. I found those on Chiropractic and Yoga sites.

Diagnosis was easy: stretch the piriformis. If it activates the back pain, it could be sciatica or PS. Treatment is to slowly and gently stretch the muscle. If it’s PS, improvement in pain free range of motion is immediate. Stretching every other day eliminated my pain.

Getting and keeping the piriformis loose should prevent another occurrence. That’s where Tukta, my massage lady, come in. She knows where this muscle is, can make it (me actually) beg for mercy, knows how to make it hurt like a mofo the next day, but it’s all worth it because it stays loose for a month after that. I need to stretch every other day and have her work on the entire area as needed.


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