Here's the way it went: I crashed my bicycle in June. It hurt, there was a huge bruise and a little ache.
My handlebar swung around and dug into my left (outer) thigh (thus the huge bruise) and I landed on my right hip.
I was stiff and sore, but was able to move. A LOT. I spent a lot of time hiking over the summer, but getting out of bed (I was sleeping on a blow-up mattress for most of the summer) got harder.
Trips were causing the pain in my hip to get worse and I was feeling sciatic pain by the end of August. Sitting for long periods (trips) made the "issue" much worse with each trip. Taking my son to college was the beginning of the "bad ones" and a 7 hour trip took nearly 10 so I could get out and walk.
Right after that, though, I took a couple 6 hour rides from San Jose to Mount Shasta (and around) and I was stiff, but not in pain.
Then school started. A few things, all at once. Sitting more and moving less. Reintroduce bad eating habits. I went back to the chiropractor and I believe he made things worse.
Another trip to CA; another trip to Marquette. Each made my "back" worse.
Sciatic = back, right?
Weeks of physical therapy didn't help.
Massive amounts of NSaids didn't help.
Tramadol didn't help
I got referred from the sports doctor to the spine doctor when I was told that if I kept taking the Nsaids I could bleed out and die. I said that I'd update my will...must give me something that will work! A prescription for Vicodine and another for Neurantin...and a plan for epidural cortisone injections into S1/L5 and L4&5
At my worst, I was taking 6 vicodine a day and taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen 4 times a day. With the Neurantin. The pain was minimal (once the pills got into my system) and I was pretty functional.
I'd been doing this for 6 weeks
After the epidual injections (the procedure was great; the nurse asked if I wanted to know when she was going to poke me, I said "no" and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery) - anyway, after that, I had no pain in my back, but the sciatica was nearly as bad. I did drop to 3 vicodine a day and upped the Neurantin (per the doctor) and backed off the ibuprofen.
I'd been doing this for 2 months.
I was at my physical therapist and we were talking about how the pain manifested (where, when, how) We were going through a series of stretches and she said..."oh...that's the piriformis"
Think - you have a rotator cuff in in your shoulder, you have one in your hip, also. The piriformis muscle is one of the muscles in the "hip rotator cuff"
If you know how it feels to have a shoulder injury, mine is in my butt - the muscle that makes you able to swing your foot back and forth.
So, the pain in my back was now a pain in my ass (butt, hip)
I have a folded towel on the side of my bathtub so I can sit while I dry and dress.
This Monday I had a cortisone injection into my piriformis. The technique is quite interesting and I only felt a couple of small stabs of pain...but more light pressure.
Today was day 3 after the injection. I was told to expect relief in 3 to 7 days. So far, the pain is just as constant, but not as heavy. The drugs knock it back easier. (By "constant" I mean that if I don't take the drugs, the pain is there. With meds, I had a VERY pain-free today.)
The idea is not so much that the injection will be a cure; but that it will give me enough relief time to do the stretchy physical therapy needed to cure myself.
Tomorrow, I'll describe my pain.