Updates on hurting myself; new diagrams including referred pain, dermatomes, and flexion patterns

Straight-leg-testI tried increasing my hamstring stretch 3 days ago on June 18th, 2015 by about an inch. Typically, I place my leg on a surface that is 15 inches high, then a surface that is 16 inches high, and finally a surface that is about 17 inches high.

I’ve been doing that stretch for about 9 months now. I took a break after the Minkowsky doctor appointment that tore my back up again for a few months. Before that, I have been doing that stretch since about 2012.

When I fExercises for low back imageirst moved to San Diego, I could barely get my foot onto the 15 inches high surface. There was so much pulling on my right psoas. It took months before I could get it done comfortably. With the 17 inch high surface, I had a hard time actually lifting my leg up, I think my SI Joint was too rigid and immobile.

However, I’ve been stagnant for a few months now. So, I thought I would increase by about an inch, maybe 1/2 an inch. Basically, my fingertips usually rest at the top of my knee. On the right side I moved my fingertips to the middle of my knee cap. On the left side, I did the same.

I did this for a week with no problems.

Then those few days ago, I did it again. The right side is always way tighter than the left. So I kept the right side the same, but on the left side I moved my fingertips to just after my kneecap. I rested my weight on the leg.

I felt no pain at the time, I was actually quite cheerful I was making progress.Sciatica Pain

I woke up the next day and was like, ouch. This is going to be a bad pain day. But, I figured, no big deal, you did something slightly new that last week, you did everything right, if you have more pain, that’s just the way it is on the road to recovery.

Yeah, save for the fact that I’m experiencing pretty impressive nerve pain.

My right foot is equally numb and prickly. My right calf is very weak. I don’t feel like I can stand on it by itself for very long. There is also a weird, almost like constant charley horse in my right calf, which I realize is referred pain. When I lift my right leg, it stabs there. Not out, away from my body, but like a knee raise.

anterior_hip_muscles_Again, this seems highly unusual that that much pain would come from simply increasing a stretch, which I feel I did safely, by a half inch to an inch.

I’m so frustrated.

Therefore, I’m going to include some diagrams I spent looking at last night to figure out where my pain is coming from.

It is definitely L5-S1. Most of my pain is in the back side of my calf, on the lateral aspect of the right calf. The location on the foot seems to spread depending on, oh, who knows.

Here is also a good link from U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (1994).

On a side note, really? 1994? Couldn’t we have fixed back pain by now? Shouldn’t there be an injectable or something?


From that article, I found this diagram to be the most helpful …


Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.32.12 AM














Here is another good article with a really good image. The article is basically a back pain guide

L4-S1 Pain distribution






Here is one final image that I really liked:

dermatomal map of nerve root distribution









Thanks for reading. I will still post on my physical therapy appointment later in the week.


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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com