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Sciatica pain - to go or not to go???

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#1
Hi all

A bit odd question but I would like a an advice from experienced.

I`ve planned to do Santiago now in May/June but got knocked down with bad sciatica pain again /second time in 9 months ) , off sick from work at the moment :( I wanted to do the whole walk but now I am not sure if to go or not to go.

Wondering if someone who experienced sciatica or someone who know someone who has sciatica done it, and how dangerous it is.

Thanks
Best
Jana
 

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#3
I would think that your doctor would be the best person to help you decide whether or not to go at this time. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
That`s the thing, if that woold be so easy, I asked her, and she said `hmm, I am not sure, it`s up to you,......hmmmmmmmm`
Not very helpful from a GP ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#5
I was diagnosed with sciatica in 2013 following an MRI that indicated a pinched nerve in lower spine. Nevertheless, I walked from Porto to Santiago with a great deal of pain. I shipped my backpack a few times and on a few days, when I woke up in the morning with my foot on fire, I took transport forward. Fast forward six months later and still in a great deal of pain a neurosurgeon took a look at the MRI and said my condition was misdiagnosed. Now it falls into the murky diagnostic world of neuropathy, my foot still hurts (like hell) but daily exercise and long distance walking brings me some relief. I walked from SJPdP to SDC last year, so go for it.
 

rlang290

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2015
#6
Are you on sick benefits from work? I know if I was off sick, and walked the Camino while I was off, I'd be in a TON of trouble! :)
I can hear them now: "If you can walk the Camino you can come to work!"
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#7
I avoided backpacking for several years because of sciatica. When I started up again, I found that the backpack stress did not aggravate it. It is lateral movements or positions that can trigger it for me. It does not sound like your doctor has identified a critical condition that might have catastrophic consequences on a camino. Probably the worst that can happen is you will need to go home early. Is that so bad?

You must endure a lot of discomfort on a camino, if you are typical. Only you can decide if you can endure!:)
 

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#8
I was diagnosed with sciatica in 2013 following an MRI that indicated a pinched nerve in lower spine. Nevertheless, I walked from Porto to Santiago with a great deal of pain. I shipped my backpack a few times and on a few days, when I woke up in the morning with my foot on fire, I took transport forward. Fast forward six months later and still in a great deal of pain a neurosurgeon took a look at the MRI and said my condition was misdiagnosed. Now it falls into the murky diagnostic world of neuropathy, my foot still hurts (like hell) but daily exercise and long distance walking brings me some relief. I walked from SJPdP to SDC last year, so go for it.
I am sorry to hear that, actually to read that :( hope you`ll feel better eventually

But thanks for your message, really appreciate it, it actually does encourage me to go :)

Is the transport ok there? any problems with getting a place in alberuges if you takes transport instead of walking?

thanks a lot
j.
 

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#9
Are you on sick benefits from work? I know if I was off sick, and walked the Camino while I was off, I'd be in a TON of trouble! :)
I can hear them now: "If you can walk the Camino you can come to work!"
Wouldn`t go while on sick benefits, plan is to quit my job before I go ;) ...so nobody can complain :)
 

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#10
I avoided backpacking for several years because of sciatica. When I started up again, I found that the backpack stress did not aggravate it. It is lateral movements or positions that can trigger it for me. It does not sound like your doctor has identified a critical condition that might have catastrophic consequences on a camino. Probably the worst that can happen is you will need to go home early. Is that so bad?

You must endure a lot of discomfort on a camino, if you are typical. Only you can decide if you can endure!:)
Not that bad, will feel sorry, but can finish it next time, right? :)
Thank you! :)
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#11
Is the transport ok there? any problems with getting a place in alberuges if you takes transport instead of walking?
There is plenty of transport for packs and persons. Some albergues will deny a bed if you do not arrive on foot or bicycle. There are plenty of others, though.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#12
I have off and on problems with sciatica. It is not a good day when it hits on the Camino but I can get through it. I don't think it is any worse or better while walking with a pack.....so I am probably not injuring anything.
I see many people with other problems with feet, legs and backs who are obviously in as much discomfort as me..so I just push ahead and hope tomorrow is better. It usually is.:cool:
I am a bit of a traditionalist so do not use pack transport or buses but suppose I would if the only alternative would be going home.
 

janica

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/ July 2015
#13
I have off and on problems with sciatica. It is not a good day when it hits on the Camino but I can get through it. I don't think it is any worse or better while walking with a pack.....so I am probably not injuring anything.
I see many people with other problems with feet, legs and backs who are obviously in as much discomfort as me..so I just push ahead and hope tomorrow is better. It usually is.:cool:
I am a bit of a traditionalist so do not use pack transport or buses but suppose I would if the only alternative would be going home.

Thank you! That helps too :)
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
#14
Hi all

A bit odd question but I would like a an advice from experienced.

I`ve planned to do Santiago now in May/June but got knocked down with bad sciatica pain again /second time in 9 months ) , off sick from work at the moment :( I wanted to do the whole walk but now I am not sure if to go or not to go.

Wondering if someone who experienced sciatica or someone who know someone who has sciatica done it, and how dangerous it is.

Thanks
Best
Jana
Ouch -- that can be so veryyy painful and truly terrifying . with acute sciatica i wasn't going anywhere ... but with duly attended to rest, and more rest, painkiller&muscle relaxant .... two weeks after i've left the hospital i was on my way to Asia via long flights. but granted, that was decades ago. don't know if my body would appreciate this today.
still - it's up to you how well you know your body and how your recuperated the last time.
being foolish can turn out to be very painful - and being immobile due to that pain. but there is still time, when you rest well, let the muscle tension/spasm ease .. you just might be in decent shape to proceed on the camino with an easy pace and a rucksack on the lighter side.
can also recommend the book 'Mind over back pain" - by John Sarno, MD. - he seems to be a controversial chap for many people, but reading his book helped me tremendously then... -
hope you'll feel better soon ... those acute sciatica periods are not a fun experience, even on the best of days.
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
#15
I suffer from sciatica a couple of times a year. Luckily it did not rear its ugly head while on my camino last fall. In advance of my trip I was 200% sure that sleeping on all the weird beds and mattresses would cause it, and it didn't!!! If you do decide to go, pack the lightest you ever have in your life. I walked 2.5 months after tearing menicus in my knee plus sprained LCL. My orthopedic Dr. said not enough time to to surgery plus PT. So one month in an articulated brace, 1 month in KT tape and away I went. I kept my knee taped as insurance and it worked. Maybe there is a KT tape pattern for sciatica? I've never checked.

Edited to add: there does appear to be a tape pattern for sciatica. Ask your health care provider.
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#16
A friend of mine who has a bad back swears by these packs http://www.aarnpacks.com/ They have made the difference between allowing him to keep hiking and to totally stop. My neighbour has bought 7 of these over the years. I totally love mine because it really does shift the weight onto the hips and you can actually move your shoulders around freely under the pack.
They look jolly weird but if it means avoiding pain and being able to do the walk...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010 SJPdP to Finesterre
SJPdP or Hendaye Via Camino Vasco and CF to SdC 2016
Paris to SDC 2018
#19
I had a prolapsed disc and suffered with sciatica 10 years ago. I was off work for 4 months and my GP was useless. I persuaded my work Dr to give me Amitriptyline for the pain and to help me sleep in the early stages then I asked for Arthrotec 50mg as I was recovering. They worked wonders for me but I found if I stayed indoors even one day my pain felt worse but if I left the house and walked a couple of miles, albeit slowly I felt much better for it.
Of course that's different to walking a whole Camino and that's just me but if you find you can walk a few km's with a small day pack for your food, drink and rain gear it may help you to decide if you can do it. On the Camino you can send your backpack on ahead as already suggested. Consider taking poles too for support.
Good luck with your decision.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
#20
I get sciatica (for over ten years) and have been diagnosed as well with fibromyalgia .
I am currently having a painful sciatica flare up at the moment and I'm sitting in the gp's room waiting to be seen as I write this ! I'm hoping to get something to manage the pain haha . I have walked 2 caminos (2015,2017)and have my flight booked for hopefully my third in two weeks time (22 sep/ 2018) .

I am also a bit worried about this next Camino -and in one insecure part of my mind I'm kind of regretting booking it and wondering if I'm foolish to do it again with the way I currently feel .. however the last few times I found that I have been able to cope -once I started - even though I had a fair bit of pain , in the back and other Camino related pain (ie, feet , blisters , etc) .(and 2 accidents/ health situations -one of which put me in hospital for 7 days in Portugal last year )

I guess it's a matter of always trying to put fears aside have courage and will power and taking a risk to achieve something despite the pain . This is actually the story of life and the Camino is a microcosm of the Camino of life .
I guess the only thing is to go ahead & do it and if , worse comes to worse , then deal with it , if and when that happens . Otherwise push on and conquer our fears and worries. Pain is physical but also in the mind .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#21
Hello Mark,
So sorry to hear of your chronic issues with sciatica. You must be an emotionally very strong person to have the gumption to undertake a third camino in spite of it, not to mention your prior accident in Portugal the last time you walked! I hope you are able to board that plane in 11 more days and that you will have a great Camino experience with very little pain, and instead have some wonderful memories to bring home with you.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#23
Admire your courage! I am sure you discussed your circumstances regarding the Camino with your doctor. Hope you are able to enjoy your camino. Suggest you consider using a baggage service to lighten the load on your back. Correos has a very reasonable service great if you are on the CF? Most towns have pharmacies. I would stop each day and purchase a couple of ice packs (disposable and use them on your lower back after walking. This may help keep swelling in check and assists with pain. Good luck!
 
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