Seriously, all I can say in the nicest terms possible is, “Ouch.” Sciatic nerve pain is NO JOKE. And that leads me to the point of the blog: when you are a mother and your family or friends offer to help you when you need it, TAKE THE FREAKING HELP.
I had so many hopes for this weekend. The house to myself and one-on-one time with the baby — I could not WAIT. So it should come as no surprise that those plans went to shit when the constant back pain I had had for two weeks intensified to an all-out war on my left side Friday evening.
In the middle of the night during a nursing session, my left leg shot out in a streak of lightning hot pain. I couldn’t stretch it, couldn’t sit comfortably and could only bite my lip to keep from screaming out and fully waking the baby. Cue four to five more episodes during said nursing break and I realized, “Oops, I’ve overdone it.”
Come Saturday morning, after rotating a heating pad and Tylenol doses, I was starting to feel more “normal” (as in, back still aches but it is what it is). My parents had generously offered to come help with the baby so I could rest up, but what does any overachiever Mom do? “Oh no, I’m feeling fine – I can get by! Come by to see the baby but I’m still able to get stuff done today.” After several scoldings from my Mother throughout the day, I continued on my merry way. I “helped” my Dad assemble the new bookcase from Target and I insisted on spreading the fertilizer throughout the yard. Boom – getting things done!
It wasn’t until after my family left as I tried my best to carry both baby and laundry basket up two flights of stairs that I collapsed in serious pain. The searing hot stabbing feeling was back and stronger and accompanying it was a tingling sensation running down through my butt, leg, feet and toes. Major oops.
I roughed it Saturday night and flopped in bed hundreds of time praying for relief. Finally at 3 AM I text my chiropractor brother-in-law to see what kind of relief I could get. He called me as soon as he woke the next morning and I drove myself and the babe over to his house to get checked out.
His analysis of the symptoms and a spinal/muscle check led him to believe that I am enjoying a nice bout of Piriformis Syndrome.
A what what? Well, the Piriformis is a small muscle located DEEP in your butt cheek (my medical terms) that runs over or around the sciatic nerve (the case in roughly 12-15% of people). When this muscle tightens, it constricts the sciatic nerve causing severe pain and numbness/tingling along the path of the nerve, which starts at your hip and runs down through your feet. He explained that during and after pregnancy, my joints were loose from the hormone relaxin (such a perfect name for what it does to the body). Muscles that don’t normally work to stabilize the body are forced to in an effort to prevent Mom from falling all over the place. In doing so, these muscles are more likely to pull on areas where they shouldn’t.
In my case? My terrible form in lifting my little 15-pound E resulted in lower back pain. My overcompensating for the pain and walking like a penguin for two weeks likely caused the little old Piriformis muscle to spasm out and tie knots all over my sciatic nerve.
So, here I am, rotating between a heating pad and ice treatments while hobbling all over the house trying to stretch out that tiny, hard to reach muscle in my butt. I’m sure my neighbors have enjoyed the views as I seriously dig my deep tissue massager into my left cheek to find relief.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful job where I can work remotely when sick or injured, otherwise my poor colleagues would probably feel pretty awkward watching me worm around in discomfort while sitting on my ice pack. I’m hopeful I’ll be “normal-ish” enough tomorrow to get back into the grind.
Until next time… I’ll be taking it easy.