Sciatica: why is that woman doing the seal-wobble-walk?

19 October 2013

My friend Judy, currently residing for 6 months of each year on a canal boat somewhere in France, used to suffer terribly from sciatica.   Yes, canal boat + 6 months + France, in the one sentence!  Livin' the dream.  She used to tell me of the pain.  The shooting pain down the leg. The difficulty sleeping, walking, sitting.  The slow process of recovery.  But, me, I was living in Healthy Land.  And then ...

Strange tingling titillated my fingers and arms.  Must have slept weirdly, I thought.  Some nights my arms end up in awkward contortionist style arrangements.  Hope it's not a heart attack!  If I ignore it long enough, it won't be a heart attack!  It will go away in a couple of days.  I haven't collapsed on the floor clutching at my chest, so it's not a heart attack ... is it????  It WILL go away.

My sister and partner came to visit. My older and wiser sister.  "You've got sciatica," she says.  Me?  No.  "Tingling fingers, arms, pains down your thigh? ... Sciatica.  I get it all the time," she says.  Yep, but not me.  I don't get sciatica.  I live in Healthy Land ... remember?

So, where does one turn when one needs to confirm the truth according to one's older, wiser sister? ... Dr Google, every doctor's nightmare!  Self diagnosis, followed by self medication, followed by ... emergency visit to hospital.  Well, not always ...  So, in keeping with modern intelligence, I ask Dr Google and what does he say ... sciatica.  Yep, I can't argue with Dr Google.  He knows EVERYTHING! 

One of the possible causes, Dr Google suggests, is constant wearing of what he describes as "flip-flops" ... thongs ... feet type thongs ... not American thongs ... please don't let them be the cause of sciatica!  As mentioned, in passing, in previous blog musings, it's hot in Far North Queensland (FNQ) and standard foot apparel is ... the mighty thong.  Combine this with heat combating tiled floors and what have I got?  Some fundamental ingredients for sciatica!

My most-est favourite-est thongs for wearing around the tiled-tropical-abode are sweet to look at, and, possibly sciatica's new best friend.

These much loved thongs provide substantial support to my legs and spine ...

or ... maybe not.  But they are cute, you have to admit.  $7 at K-Mart, how could a girl go wrong!

Dr Google's advice.  Keep moving.  Don't take to the bed.  Do yoga exercises.  So, I do.  I do the exercises and then I think "keep moving", where's the best place for a nice long walk? ... Ikea, of course, kilometres of walking, just like Dr Google advised.  I'm confident that's just what he had in mind!  But, in the middle of the Ikea walking exercise, I am wobbling from side to side, seal-wobble-walking, and I still have a looonngg way to go to escape through those distant checkouts.  I'm trying to act like this is the normal way to walk.  I am NOT in pain and I WILL be able to walk the remaining kilometre to the checkouts and then the further 2 kilometres through the maze of a car park and I WILL find the car.  I will.  I have to.  I have no choice.

And, Dr Google's further advice, wear supportive shoes.

So, where do I find my self today? ... Buying sensible, supportive shoes ... Mrs Doubtfire would be pleased.  Sensible, FNQ appropriate shoes, with lots of support for my legs and spine.  And, if I have to buy them, then they will be ... purple, of course.

Beautiful, sensible, supportive, purple, FNQ-friendly thongs.  When I think of what I have been putting my feet and spine through, I cringe.  I want to apologise to my spine, to my sciatic nerve and, I hope, they will respond to the peace offering I have made by allowing me to no longer seal-wobble-walk.  I promise to do the exercises.  I promise to wear my purple thongs.  I'll promise anything!  Just don't let the Sea World trainers come knocking on my door.

My happy smiling feet and, hopefully, happy smiling sciatic nerve.

I know ... I need to paint my toe nails, but my sciatic nerve hasn't deigned to allow me to bend that far just yet.  And, yes, I am going to my real doctor to see if Dr Google is correct.

PPPS: In hindsight, wonderful hindsight, I should have gone to a real doctor, not Dr Google. Don't think it was sciatica; I think I had a virus, a virus affecting my nervous system. Hmmm … hindsight.

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