by Will Forrester
I’ll never forget it was just before Thanksgiving when the pain in my leg started getting really noticeable. Found myself favoring one leg, walking slightly funny. Just thought I was sore, maybe having calf trouble. Then I started waking up early in the morning, and my right leg would be hurting really badly. Then I was waking up feeling like it was on fire. Just one leg. Just the right one. Then I began waking up earlier in the morning. Waking up at 5am. Waking up at 4am. Then 3am. I would just have to get up, writhing in pain, trying like crazy to stretch what was the worst pain I could ever remember enduring.
This was weird. So I did what any young adult would do. I looked it up online. I suppose I had heard people complain about their sciatic nerve before, but I never paid attention. Didn’t concern me. Well, now I was paying attention. Pain has a way of focusing the mind on one thing: solve this problem. Get rid of this pain. I was taking Advil. Then I started taking more Advil. After several days I was taking the maximum recommended daily dosage and still not getting much relief.
So I called a friend who happened to be a doctor so I wouldn’t actually have to go to the doctor. My friend told me, “Well, it sounds like you have what I have had for a long time. Pain in one leg usually means a pinched sciatic nerve. And I hate to tell you, it won’t get much better. You’re probably going to have to get a steroid injection in your back to relieve it. You want to avoid surgery, but you’re probably looking at getting injections until those stop working and then you’ll be facing surgery.”
I was only 34. I really felt like I was too young to be having sciatic problems which were causing massive leg pain. Yes, I knew I was a bit overweight and out of shape and that couldn’t help, but still, I wasn’t that fat and I wasn’t that old.
Some other friends were noticing my limp and asking if I was okay, and so I told them what I was dealing with. I’ll never forget this young woman who boldly suggested I got to a chiropractor. I just chuckled and rolled my eyes. Yeah right. How many times have I heard that they can only offer a temporary fix and you’ll end up having to go to them for life and they really can’t fix it anyway. (Let’s forget for the moment how similar this description was to what my friend the medical doctor had said about the hope of traditional medicine solving my problem!)
I was hurting bad and getting worse. I really, really didn’t want to have to take more powerful pain medicine for a lot of reasons. And I sure didn’t want to have surgery, particularly at such a young age.
Did I mention my leg was in massive pain???
So I called the chiropractor. Even after my first visit, I had some lingering skepticism. I mean, this whole approach was just wildly different from what I had grown up with. But my pain was bad enough that I was willing to try.
At first I had to have frequent visits per week because my condition was really rough. I did feel like I was improving some, but not as quickly as I would like. And I was still popping Advil like they were going out of style. My chiropractor, Dr. Ranicki, convinced me that the sciatic pain I was feeling was actually my body telling me to do things differently. So by continuing to take the Advil, I wasn’t feeling the pain and was therefore probably aggravating the injury and healing more slowly.
So I made another bold decision. To just endure the sciatic pain, stick with chiropractic care, and stop taking the pain meds.
The results were amazing. In a matter of days I began to feel virtually no sciatic pain whatsoever. I began to feel better in other ways as well which I had not anticipated. But I’ll share about that more in another post.
For now, let me just say that if you’ve got pain in primarily one leg, it’s probably a pinched sciatic nerve. And it is a problem that chiropractic care is well suited to solve. Without drugs. Without surgery. You don’t have to keep hurting, and you could be feeling much better by making a few changes and lying on a table for a good adjustment. Trust me it’s worth it.
By the way, my friend the doctor? His back is now hurting him worse than ever. I can’t count the number of steroid injections he’s had since that conversation before Thanksgiving, and he’s looking at having major surgery soon.