Think / Able - and Check out My Parkinson's Facebook Page

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

What a Difference a Week Makes or When Parkinson's Induced Sciatica Comes Calling... REVISITED SEPTEMBER 2018

(Author's note) The non-fun of when we twist our backs out of whack and sciatica sets in. It happened again today. Ugh! Thought I'd share this old blog I wrote over a year ago.

            What a difference a week makes. Last Friday, I was pushing 8.2 miles round trip up the mountain to the Appalachian Trail in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania (near the Cabela’s in Hamburg, for those who are more familiar with landmarks, and really, for all the tourism it brings, that really is an attraction). By Tuesday, I was waking up in pain with serious lower back nastiness that left my right leg in pain and hobbling to the point where I felt I had gone 12 rounds with Jaws and lost.

            As Tuesday was a holiday, I was ticked off because I wanted to hike and lose weight while seeing some sights, but nope. The pain made me feel really gimped up, so it was hard to get moving to go spend the 4th with my family. Then, when I went home from my parents, I was in worse pain than earlier from the pressure on my back. Working Wednesday and Thursday didn’t help much either. Nevertheless, by Friday, I was determined that my Parkinson’s induced sciatica was going to get better. It had to. I’ve had it a few times before, but it always went away in a couple days, but yesterday had me hobbling really badly in the morning and afternoon, so other than tutoring a soon to be 9th grader for an hour and doing errands, I was eager to get back home and rest again instead of getting out and doing what I wanted, which was pushing for distance on the Horseshoe Trail (relatively flat local trail that I can get to in a short time without spending a ton on gas).

            About 3-4:00PM, I finally got up and moved around to see the scenic sights of my living room and kitchen, which really are nice since my wife is quite the HGTV person, but at the end of the day, I’d rather be seeing a mountain or a waterfall, personally. After moving around for a little while, I actually felt better and more stretched out than my stretching exercises allowed me to be. It’s definitely interesting to see how rusty Parkinson’s can make me; that’s for sure!

Silverthread Falls in the Poconos of Pennsylvania

            So last night, I was standing and sitting more comfortably and even was able to bend down to pick things up better, as long as I didn’t sit too long. As I tried to take it easy, but keep myself stretched out, we decided to go to my wife’s work to take advantage of the hydrotherapy option for stretching and feeling better. Yep, one of her job benefits is to be able to use her retirement community’s indoor pool and hot tub, and like Eddie Murphy playing James Brown, I was feeling “too hot in the hot tub (in a good kind of way, like we do when we would go see our friends in Florida at the vacation home they would get)”! There’s something about a water jet right on the source of the pain to make it all feel better.

            Michael J. Fox Foundation is big on moving and exercise to include yoga. Other recommendations that looked good on the list included the ever popular massage, which is definitely looking to be a vacation option – when the last month of the term goes by and I get 2.5 weeks off to unwind before classes start again. I’m always down for a good massage, and I promise to purr like a cat when my aches and pains get taken away.

            Acupuncture is another option for pain relief, but I’m not convinced about that yet. Maybe someone who had it done can convince me otherwise. I also read a trusted source (Paul Offit) who wasn't subscribing to that based on his research, so yeah. 

            Other non-surgical choices include ibuprofen, stronger meds (which didn’t help for my spondylosis issues, so I’m not into going that route with this), stretching, hot+cold treatments, and medication. Of course, there is surgery, but as my one former PA once said, “Go to a chiropractor or a voodoo practitioner or do whatever you can before you cut because there are 3 options that can occur.

1)      You get better (ideal)
2)      You don’t improve (pain and money and time)
3)      You get worse (more pain and money and time)
So at the end of the day, I do like that advice enough to say that I’m not backed up into any corner for surgery I don’t necessarily want or need.

All the same, I sit here today reflecting on how we Parkies seem to have won the lottery with our condition and its accouterments, so the next time you’re feeling a symptom, look it up on a reputable site like Michael J. Fox, and you’ll probably find that, like back pain, it’s a free toaster for playing this game.

That said, thanks for listening to me whine about my pain. Know that I feel a heck of a lot better today, and I’m thinking about having a fun day with my family for my aunt’s 71st birthday tomorrow. Before that, it’s dinner, an independent league baseball game, and fireworks with the wife.

Life is too short to not get up and make ourselves find ways to enjoy it.

Here’s to a great week for all of us (Author's note - and a quick end to this current round of sciatica pains)!

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