I probably should have been using this way before now, but I haven't been good.
I was reading back through my blog entries, and on the May 25th entry, I read about starting a fire on a tree stump on May 21. Then I realized "hey, this is when my current episode of back pain and sciatica started!" I've been asked that question by at least 3 doctors, and now I know for sure. (great use for a blog, tracking dates)
It always happens this way. First, I strain or stress my back, and it gets sore. Then, other things happen, and I make it worse, until I wind up flat on my back for a couple of days. That gets my attention. Then, I take aggressive action (pills, etc.) and am very careful until full function is restored. It's okay until the NEXT episode. This has been going on since 1983! I only remember 3-4 bad episodes, but maybe I'm blocking.
Since May 21, my mother passed away (June 30), we moved all her stuff out of her apartment (July 7-8), I went to my doctor (July 11), had 2 MRIs and an ultrasound (July 16), and saw a chiropractor (July 23, 25). Then I eased off on the treatment until sometime in September, when I went back to the chiropractor. My leg started really hurting during the last week in September, but I still sat up in a tree on October 2 for about 4 hours, and by October 7, I was flat on my back for two days of pure misery. I went to the emergency room on October 9, and got some prescriptions. It's only been the last three of days that I have gone off the Ibuprofen, which upsets my stomach terribly. I still have some back pain, but I'm taking it easy and doing lots of stretching, etc. I also have an inversion table, which I use daily.
I think I'm on the mend, but promise to not re-injure it more in the near future. I have been feeling so bad and tired lately that I decided to retire effective December 31, 2010. More about that later.