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I’m looking for some advice or encouraging words from anyone that has suffered from long-term sciatic nerve pain.
I’m 41 and have been running for the past 2 years (late starter after giving up smoking and boozing!). I slowly increased my weekly mileage and did a couple of half marathons. All was great. Then in January this year I noticed pain in the back of my thigh. It would get progressively worse when running and remain sore for a day or 2 afterwards. Over time, the pain spread to the outside of my knee, into my calf and eventually into the sole of my foot.
I saw a physio, who thought it was a tight piriformis muscle aggravating my sciatic nerve. They prescribed piriformis / glute stretching, foam rolling and nerve glides / flossing. I did these as prescribed for 2 months but there was no improvement. By this point I’d stopped running altogether as the pain, especially in the back of my thigh, was too intense.
After seeing an osteopath and another physio and trying various combinations of stretching, strengthening of my hips and glutes and nerve flossing, all with no success I paid to see one of the leading sports doctors in my city. They reckon the problem is actually a bulging / herniated disc between my L5 / S1 vertebrae which is pressing on my sciatic nerve and therefore causing the leg pain. There is no pain in my back at all, it’s all in my leg.
They’ve referred me for an MRI, but this could take weeks. In the meantime they’ve suggested I keep active and continue nerve glides / flossing. I’ve tried pool running, swimming (without using my legs), cycling, rowing and the cross-trainer but all of these things aggravate my nerve and cause pain either during or after the workout.
So, currently I can’t do any exercise at all, which is driving me mental, I’m really missing running and I’m starting to feel pretty despondent and like my injury might never get better.
Has anyone else experienced anything similar?