Justice Sciatica

Now THIS is what I call exciting pregnancy symptoms!  Hot damn!

Ok – a little back story.  A couple of months ago, I noticed a tender spot on my right leg.  Think, that spot near beneath your kneecap, on the outside of your calf.  You know, that place sometimes young men get unfortunate calf tattoos.  Not on the backside, on the side-side.  Initially accompanied by three tiny dots, we thought maybe I had gotten bitten by a spider sometime in the night.  It was tender, sometimes warm, occasionally itchy, and made it practically impossible for me to get on all-fours without sending shooting pain throughout my leg and making it feel like the skin was being pulled so tight in that one spot that my leg might explode.  Priceless, feeling, I can assure you.  And no, I’m not telling you why I’m on all-fours to begin with.  OK – maybe next time.

So at the last check-up, the Dr. checked it out, as they do with any kind of leg pain, apparently.  Since, at this point, there was only pain, dots, and some redness to complain about.  It wasn’t swelling, said the man, and we left it at that.  Diagnosis: probably a spider bite, with a dash of Whiny Baby Syndrome.

Fast forward a week or two.  I wake up in the middle of the night, cured up on my side, hugging my body pillow that we’ve named Joe Jonas.  What wakes me up is this very odd tingling/burning/itching which has taken over a spot at the very top of my left leg/hip (where your leg meets your ass?).  Assuming it’s dry skin?  More spiders?  Whatever I assumed it was at 3am, I investigated the spot in the bathroom, then slathered it with lotion.  I ended up dropping-trou and sleeping pantless (hott!) since the touching of my pajama pants to my skin only made the tingling and skin-crawling/creeping feeling worse.  My wife woke up the next morning to find me a pantless, air-assed bed partner.  I explained.  We were stumped.  We tried more lotion, cortizone, changing into different pants (maybe some FREE AND CLEAR laundry detergent was irritating me), and a couple of nights later, it stopped all together.

Back to the calf-pain.  The dots went away, and eventually, the only symptom that remained was the fact that I couldn’t kneel on that knee without the shooting pain/skin stretching awfulness.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, when apparently calf-pain and leg-ass itchiness had some sort of a conference and made a pact to make my lower half unbearably uncomfortable.  After some intense internet research, we landed on sciatica (everyone say together now, “Well Duh!”), which is what we’re going with for now, until we see the Dr. in a couple of weeks for a confirmation.  The tell-tale sign, apparently, is the flesh-burning sensation, coupled with the spider-crawly feeling, on top of topical skin numbness.  Awesome, hm?  So last night, I did a variety of stretching exercises and balance ball sitting to hopefully relieve some of what’s going on inside that’s pressing on the nerves.  My wife, the wonderful, beautiful woman she is, donated a significant part of her evening rubbing my lower back and legs.  We put the rice sock on my calf, and it immediately stopped hurting.  I slept pretty well, considering the nighttime is when the sciatica spiders come out of hibernation.

Other preemptive options include walking the 1/2 mile to and from my car (up hill, both ways!) in the morning and afternoon, plus some dog walking in the evening, on top of making sure I’m not sitting for too long at my desk during the day.  This also means, closing my door for some stretching and taking laps around the building or the campus (on nice days).  Let’s see if that helps.  Any other therapeutic recommendations from you folks out there in the internet land?

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Posted on March 4, 2010, in medical chitchat, second trimester. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Being pregnant is so fun! All these weird things get to happen to our bodies and freak us out and then we get to find out it’s just a symptom of the choice we made to get knocked up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been confused about what my body was doing or feeling and then if only I’d gotten to the next chapter in “What to Expect”, I would have been entirely prepared. Mild sciatica was one of those things. I was like, ‘Why is my leg falling asleep when I stand still for five minutes?” and the Internets were like “That’s a typical pregnancy symptom, fool,” and I was like “Phew! I am so normal!”

    I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m feeling really lucky right now that all I’ve got is a sleepy leg. I think I’ve avoided a lot of pain by doing yoga three times a week, going on lots of walks, and eating bananas. I’m still really, really bad at getting up during the day to stretch / walk. I sit in front of the computer all day and don’t really feel like getting up. I feel the consequences later, though. Especially between my shoulder blades. Actually, I should probably get up right now.

    • Seriously. I sit at a desk all day long – pre-pregnancy, I had some actual manual labor aspects written into my job, but have since had to let go of my heavy lifting duties, which makes my days chair-sitting marathons. Good on you for the yoga – I’m sure that helps a ton. And bananas.. gotta love some bananas.

      The books and internets were also quick to ease the panic of “Seriously.. wtf is going on down there?!” so at least I can put my mind at ease that I’m not *actually* being crawled on by spiders in the night. Personally, I’ll take nerve pain over spiders any day.

  2. What I’ve experienced is kind of similar to yours, but more in my back and hip. My dr referred me to a physical therapist and I am like new! The ball is also really fantastic–can you bring yours to work? I sit on mine pretty much all day, shifting from side to side and in circles when I think of it, and it has really helped.

  3. D, watch the itching– you could be getting cholestasis of pregnancy, which I had and can be serious. Ask you doctor about it, maybe?

    We sent some hand-me-downs via A&S– mostly greens and yellas… 🙂

    • Thanks T. It really feels more like nerve pain than itchiness, though the tingling and numbness often leads to it feeling itchy. Totally weird, nonetheless. I suppose the doc will put an end to the mystery. Thanks in advance for the clothes!

  4. Oh my effing hell! I have had the worst pains in my ass by my tailbone and down my thighs a little bit, that leave me sometimes unable to walk properly. I am almost positive it is sciatica and plan to ask my doc about it this week at my appointment. I have also had an itchy burning spot twice on my thigh. I thought it was chaffing but maybe not?

    I hope you are able to figure it out and maybe find some excercises to help. It’s not a good feeling now is it?

    • Definitely not a good feeling with so much time left between now and the due date.

      The leg-ass spot comes and goes, usually flaring up at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. The calf spot is a pretty good constant source of discomfort, especially when it makes doing the recommended pain-relieving stretching/yoga poses practically impossible. Double whammy!

      If my wife spends some time rubbing my lower back, it will buy me some time (from a few hours to a day) without it being distracting. Good luck to you as well!

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