Like mother, like daughter. Both Leila Tong (唐寧) and her mother suffer from sciatica, a kind of lower back pain that extends down to the affected leg. It happened to Leila first–in 2008, while shooting for the TVB drama The Greatness of a Hero <盛世仁傑>, Leila started to notice that she had leg numbness and lower back pain.
“I played Wu Zetian’s secretary, so I was always standing by her side,” explained Leila. “I’m always standing, and rarely had opportunities to sit. The shoes in costume dramas have a slight heel, but it’s hard and uncomfortable for the feet. I noticed that it made my legs numb and my lower back hurt.”
Leila consulted a doctor, who diagnosed her with sciatica. She was prescribed with medication and stretching exercises to reduce the pain, which helped.
Then, two years later, her mother started to go through the same pain. “She told me that her feet were feeling very numb, all the way to the tip of her toes, and I started to think that maybe she had sciatica too.”
Leila’s mother suffered through the sciatica while caring for Leila’s son during her postpartum months. “My mother would try to help bathe my son, but that only aggravated the pain. We ended up hiring a helper to assist.”
Leila recalled that the sciatic pain was so severe for her mother that she couldn’t even move. “She couldn’t get out of bed, so in the end we had to call the ambulance. For someone who’s known for handling pain very well, it was a very big deal,” said Leila.
Her doctor prescribed Leila’s mother one month of physical therapy to treat the sciatica, but there was no progress. Leila’s mother finally resorted to surgery to treat the symptoms.
“You have ‘jelly’ between the bones as a buffer system,” explained Leila. “In my mother’s case, that ‘jelly’ was leaking out and pressing onto a nerve. In that case, [she] has to go through surgery to remove some of the ‘jelly’.”
While not as severe as her mother, Leila did suffer a second episode of sciatic pain. “I was carrying my daughter at the time,” she said. “The pain came all of a sudden. My entire body, the back of my legs, and my feet were numb. While not super painful, it was painful enough to affect my sleep.”
Unlike her mother, Leila did not receive surgical treatment for her sciatica, but she has been managing the pain by doing frequent stretching exercises. “Before I sleep or sit down, I would always stretch my legs. Since I do them so frequently, it’s not hurting as much anymore.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.