We are now more than 2 months into Quarantine and doing our best to flatten the curve and get back to “normal” life. In this time, we have all done our part to fight the spread of COVID-19, but that fight does not come without consequences.
Many people I’ve talked to over the last few weeks are trying to stay as active as possible, but with the required social distancing that has led to working at home, teaching the kids, and all the extra time to sit on the couch, it’s really hard to stay as active as you were before.
We all know that staying active is essential for healthy living and making sure that when we get past this health crisis that we will be healthy in other ways (For more information on neglecting your health, check out our Blog on the Impending Secondary Health Crisis). (You could also check out our Blog from last week on “The 7 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System--So You Can Fight COVID-19 and Everything Else” to make sure your health stays up to par—and avoid that consequence).
I have been getting a lot of questions about a pain in the butt…but not the figurative kind.
One person I spoke with thought that sitting on the dining room chair all day while working was making his butt hurt, so he went into the harder kitchen chair for a day without any help. Luckily, the weekend came and he spend the weekend on his recliner watching movies and talking to his friends via zoom…only to find that his butt pain got worse.
Then on Monday, he went back to the dining room chair for his work day. As the day went on the pain in his butt got worse and he even started to have pain down the back of the leg a little.
So he did the only thing he could do in quarantine, he googled his “butt pain into the leg”, and after getting past the “I’m going to die” results, he came to the conclusion that it was Piriformis Syndrome, so he googled “treatment for piriformis syndrome”, and found this stretch:
He did the stretch for 3 days, 3 times a day…religiously…just like google said…and no help! Then on the fourth day he woke up and couldn’t stand up in the morning without shooting pain down his leg.
That’s when he called me.
We spoke on the phone first, where he explained all of this to me and how frustrated he was with all of this, because he tried to do everything google said, but it only got worse. After listening to the whole story, all the symptoms, and what he has done about it, I explained that this is not Piriformis Syndrome and that he did nothing wrong (just helped us to figure out what it wasn’t), and I can definitely help him.
What can’t be taken into account by “Dr. Google” is the whole story and how each movement affects the problem.
All the extra sitting (in a bad work chair) was putting a lot of pressure on his low back and ultimately his sciatic nerve was irritated, which caused the pain in his butt. Then as he sat in the soft chair all weekend (and probably slept in a curled-up position), the back situation got worse and irritated the sciatic nerve more—sending pain down his leg.
This is a very common problem that was made worse by quarantine and the exercises prescribed by google.
I explained that I could either help him with Virtual Visits by doing a couple of tests via video to get the specific issues narrowed down to the exact problem, and we could go over exercises, positioning and activity changes to get him back to feeling good over the next couple weeks….
OR, if he was comfortable and wanted to get this taken care of a little faster, he could come into the office for in-person visits, where he could get the whole boat treatment…
He felt safe coming in and wanted to get going.
Turns out he did have an irritated sciatic nerve that was irritated in in his back from all the sitting and bending. On the first visit, we went over some exercises, did some manual therapy to get the muscles around the area to calm down, some joint mobilizations, discussed sitting posture, and some ice and electric stimulation. By the time he left, his pain was down 50% (which made him ecstatic), but he went home and did his home exercises for 3 days. When he came back in to see me, he had no pain in his leg and very little in his butt, but his back was more painful.
We were on the right track… That is the way this back problem should progress…
Another treatment and 2 more days of exercise, and no pain…
He is on the road to recovery with less frequent problems and less pain. We will probably need a few more weeks to make sure the problem doesn’t come back, and he is all in on that, so I expect a full recovery for him.
Long story short, there are a lot of these stories going on in quarantine…
The change in activity level, chairs, and the added stress have given people all new aches and pains…
…and Google only has so many answers—including the difference between piriformis syndrome and a low back issue.
Quarantine has become a LITERAL and figurative Pain in the Butt.
If this is happening to you, please don’t rely on google to figure out your pain, give us a call at 845-675-8444, and let’s get to the bottom of this pain.