Sciatica state, can anyone relate?

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Fabian
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/19/2008 2:23 AM (GMT -7)   
I’ve been diagnosed by a doctor as having sciatica since late November and although I’ve seemed to have done all the right things such as daily stretching, physiotherapy etc., it has come to a stage now where it is getting much worse and at times pretty much unbearable.

For those unfamiliar with Sciatica (I’d never heard of it myself before I got it!), it’s fundamentally a nerve pain that starts from the sciatic nerve located in the lower back (that is often brought on by a severe injury) and travels through the buttock/hip and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. As a result, I have a bulging disc in the vertebral column which is putting pressure on the radicular nerve (nerve root) in the lower back, which forms part of the sciatic nerve.

Initially, my doctor referred me to see a PT (Physiotherapist). I knew this would be an expensive exercise, especially if I had to go weekly, but I was willing to try it at any cost if there was a chance it might help. Besides, I didn’t have any other better options at this point. The first appointment with the PT seemed to go along fine at first thought. I was a little sore afterwards for the first couple of hours but then soon felt better after that. However, late in the afternoon, the pain returned to normal. This happens normally, it’s often worse in the morning when I first wake and late afternoon/night. Anyway, I went to my third appointment, which happened to be the week before Christmas. A time of year I don’t usually cope too well with!

Again, the same thing happened, soreness, then a short period of relief and then Whamo! Welcome back, mr. sciatica! At the time, I was actually feeling a bit positive about it because a) I had been losing weight (I had been the heaviest I’ve ever been in my whole life last year!), which was good, especially since being overweight can worsen the symptoms and reduce the chances with recovery. b) I was told by the PT that she was confident that my condition wasn’t too severe as I had a lot of flexibility in my joints and a generally strong physique. I was told that if I do all my stretches with regular exercise and treatment, I should be recovered in 6 weeks. I started doing swimming (which I was advised to do) but this only managed to give me more pain. I was also advised to walk as much as I can. This was more beneficial but some days it wasn’t. What next..?

Soon after Christmas I found I was getting worse, particularly at night. I was getting numbness in my leg with pins and needles in my knee which ran down to my foot. It’s very hard to describe, it’s more of an uncomfortable feeling more than a painful one. It makes me terribly restless. Even now as I’m typing, I can feel my knee joints stiffen up. It’s frustrating because it is at its worse when I lay down to try and sleep. This has been happening every night since! Every time this occurs, I have to start stretching (on my bed) and doing exercises like a motion that resembles riding a bicycle in the air. I do this to get the circulation going in my leg as it feels like the blood supply is cut off from the knee down. I have what I suspect is tendinitis in the knee and perhaps the sciatica is exacerbating it? Here I am doing exercises at 4am, it’s no wonder I can’t sleep properly… that, on top of having depression, anxiety, headaches/migraine and taking numerous pain-killers. Insomnia has been at its worse since contracting sciatica problems too.

Just last week, I tried out another PT for a second opinion and a new outlook. What did I have to lose? Again, I was told that I should recover in 6 weeks! What!? Prior to this appointment, I tried to get treatments through the Community Health (as it would be much less expensive) but the problem was (for me personally anyway) that there is only one PT doing that for the entire shire (try saying that 6 times very quickly! but then again, why would you want to lol)) but he was a male. I felt too embarrassed at the time to say I preferred a female and cancelled the appointment later instead. There was no point explaining why anyway.

Since seeing the new PT, my condition has worsened considerably. I don’t know whether this is just coincidental or not? I wasn’t too worried when I was first diagnosed because I felt confident that I would recover from it based mainly on specialist’s opinions. As you can imagine, my hope is waning at this point. Everything now seems to have spread from my sciatic nerves to my whole nervous system. So what’s scaring me most now is not the sciatica but my inner self.

notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 2/19/2008 2:49 AM (GMT -7)   

Sorry to see your having such a difficult time with this and I to have sciatica due to the degenerative disease in my spine and this is mainly the only symptoms I have of this disease but a whopper when it happens. That being said mine comes and goes and lasts a few days to a few weeks but at this point I always know it will go away eventually and for at least awhile.

Like you said it is hard to describe it as a pain but it sure is aggravating just the same isnt it?

Here are a few tricks I have learned over tie and HEAT being number one and helping me more then anything else. As for the exercise I find it always makes it worse at certain points in the process and that when I am in a flair is when it tends to do that wouldnt you know it? As it is begining to fade away is when I usually begin the stretches and lightly here not to overdue it.

Walking it out is Ok and I am not sure if this is really theraputic or if it is caused by the restless leg thing associated with it.

I weat some really heavy and tight fitting long socks,like knee hi all the time this is going on since the warmth helps me tremendously like I said and heating pads are not always optional at all times. The heat wraps like therma care and those help when I am up and about and as for where to put it as obviously you cant cover your entire legs with them,the upper thigh helps me alot and for that I use the cervical one as it fits best.

I noticed you said you suffer from depression and if your on meds for that there is one that has been known to help with nerve pain and I wont begint o go into how but it might be worth asking your Doc about if this is going to be an ongoing thing for and I know a few folks who have had good luck with it. There are also several other meds out there that help with nerve pain but it is one of the most difficult pains to treat sorry again.

It seems most folks suffer this in bouts so if it is any consolation it may not last forever and I know that doesnt help alot.

I almost forgot that one of those hand messagers and it doesnt have to be an expensive as everyone carries them now,small,compact,battery operated,is perfect helps a great deal too. One last thing is nice hot baths and I mean soaking long and leisurely here helps for awhile to.

Good luck and sending healing vibs your way.


2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/19/2008 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Many of us suffer from sciatic nerve pain as part of our pain syndromes, but it can have many causes. It appears that convervative measures like physical therapy aren't working for you, and I would recommend you ask for a consult with either a neurologist or othopoedist to see if they can determine what is causing your pain. Nerve pain and muscle pain are different; physical therapists can help with muscle pain, and if it's the muscle that's compressing the nerve, the pain may be relieved. Certainly it helps to have our muscle be relaxed, but that may not solve nerve pain which has other causes, such as compression in the spine. Sounds to me like you need a more comprehensive evaluation. One thing many of us have learned the hard way is that the longer you let nerves be damaged, the less likely they are to heal if you do have some kind of surgical procedure. So you don't want to wait months and months as it's getting worse to find out what the source of the pain is.

TDoern
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 2/19/2008 6:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Depending on where the problem is, I used to find temporary relief in bending over a foot stool. I would get on my knees, I hate to use the term, but "doggy style" is the real description, it would give me temporary relief. For me, heat works well when it's bad. when the muscles in the area are flipping out I put icyhot on if I can. I've also found that leaning and crossing my legs helps sometimes, is always a chore to find a "good" position.

Try not to over do it!
Best of luck to you!
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

"Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of, You might bend, till you break Cause its all you can take; On your knees you look up Decide you've had enough, You get mad you get strong Wipe your hands shake it off, Then you Stand" From "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
_____________________________________________________________________________
Dx.: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ulcerlative Colitis, Chronic Inflammation of the Colon, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1 w/pinched nerves, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Costochondritis, Back Muscle Spasms, Asthma, Benign Tremmors (hands)


volfan
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 2/20/2008 12:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Fabian,
As others said, "don't let this go too long!". You definitely need to get this checked out by a good ortho or neuro guy. Sounds like you may have a disc problem, maybe a bulging disc. If it is a bulging disc physical and or decompression therapies can often times get it back in shape again. While doing therapy ask your doc about getting a epidural spinal block. This will help get you back on your feet again by allowing you to better perform the prescribed exercise regimen. If you do get the blocks don't give up after the first or second block. Often times people won't see relief until after the third one.
I wish you all the best with your pain. I know how bad it can get!
Have a Blessed Day
Volfan

InMyHead
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/20/2008 6:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I woke one day with excruciating pain from my buttox all the way down to the outside of my ankel. I have medical background, so I was pretty sure what it was. Yep, Sciatica sad   I was sent to an Ortho who in turn ordered an MRI, a Medrol Dose Pack, Flexeril, and of course pain meds as I was literally in tears the pain was so bad. I could not stand, sit, lie.. nothing. The MRI showed a ruptured disc at L5-S1. The Ortho I went to does not operate on backs and referred me to a Neuro guy. I worked in surgery years ago, and my personal preference was that if I ever needed spinal surgery it would be a Neuro guy not an Orthopod who did it. At any rate, while waiting for my appt. with the Neurosurgeon my Sciatica got so bad, I was all but dragging my right leg with me, I had a definite limp. The meds I was given did not help, other than the pain ones, but it barely took the edge off.  The day of my appt. the Dr. came in and said to me you have Sciatica bad don't you? I answered yes, how do you know as I had my MRI films and report in my hand. He said I saw you walking up the hall and I could see.  He looked at my films showing me the area of concern.  I had a huge ruptured disc!  He said he could do an Epidural but there were no guarantees with it, or he could operate explaining he has had great results.  After much talking and questions on my part I decided on surgery.  I was scheduled within 2 days. It took me a few weeks to heal, and I know my back will never be 100% again, I do have to say I am very much improved from where I was and am very happy I had the surgery.  The Sciatica was the worst pain I have ever had in my life!! I have given birth to children (2) as well as given birth to kidney stones and have never endured that kind of pain.
 
If I were you I would get a second opinon, see a Neuro guy. Ask lots of questions.. and about alternatives too.  Its a very individualized choice as backs are very tricky. Its not like removing your tonsils!!!  I am very happy I did this, even though I still have pain many days, its not near what it was before the surgery.
 
Good Luck to you. Sciatica is a very common diagnosis, you just need to find the cause and work from there.
 
Shelly

A. Nonymous
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 2/21/2008 9:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I applaud you for your efforts to get better, especially losing weight, which should reduce the strain and compression on your spine.  I've found over my last 4 years of sciatic pain that doctors, therapists, whatever, will treat patients the way they know how, regardless of the situation.  Hence, the "6 weeks" diagnosis you got twice.  Funny, it didn't work the first time, but the next one thinks it will!  Jeez. 
 
Quote:  I have a bulging disc in the vertebral column which is putting pressure on the radicular nerve (nerve root) in the lower back, which forms part of the sciatic nerve.
 
See a neurosurgeon, preferably one that's not prone to cutting as the first option.  How was this diagnosed??  You'd need an MRI to show this, which, in my layman's opinion, should be your next step.  Also, IMO, rarely will P/T fix this.  However, most surgeries to trim a bulging disc aren't that invasive, though you'd probably want to try an injection or two before going that route. 
 
As to your knees, sounds to me like you're working too hard.  Walking, swimming, P/T.....   Like I said before, I applaud your effort, but this is a type of problem that "out-working it" isn't usually the best strategy.  Trust me on this one.  Best of luck.
 
Anon 

PerlaRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/2/2008 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   

I can relate to sciatica...have had it for about 18 years now...had all the PT, DRX9000, injections, etc. and nothing helped...especially the exercises...makes it worse.  Some days I can't even walk on the treadmill.  I am taking hydrocodone and amitriptyline (to sleep at night).  There are plenty of days that the frustration level is way WAY up.  I am a gardener but have lost much hope of ever getting back to where I can enjoy it.  I know people say to hang in there, but for what?  I saw a pain MD but he was only in it for the $$$$.  When the pain gets to a certain level I go back to my GP and all she can do is prescribe a different med that, like hydrocodone and amitriptyline make me even more tired...not the way I want to live my life.

 

 


PerlaRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/2/2008 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry, Fabian...This is apparently and 'Angry Day'....Yes, the longer a nreve is compressed the more damage is done...If you can have a more comprehensive exam, do it.  Hope you find the answer!

kara487
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 3/5/2008 7:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sorry for your sciatic pain. I suffer from it too. I hope you have a low pain night.

mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/17/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
 
 
   As I sit here typing this I am in so much pain confused   I have called a neurosurgeon today, am waiting for a return call.  I have been dealing with back problems for the past three or four years.  But the scitica has gotten so bad I can hardly straighten my back.  Can't sleep, the pain feels like it's deep in my buttocks and goes all the way down to my foot.  In the mornings it's the worst, I sit there in bed and pray that God will help me to be able to get out of bed.
 
   I have been through brain surgery, and honestly I think the sciatica is worse.  I saw a pain management doctor and they told me to try epidural injections (steriod) I have it scheduled but I'm scared.  I went through pt and it wasn't to much help, took zaneflex,hydrocodone, some kind of patch with no relief.
 
  I'm waiting for the neruo to call, because I wanted to ask her if she thought the injections would do me any good before I go through that pain.  I have a protruding disc at L4-L5 and a degenerative disc.  My back has never hurt me so bad.  So I really feel for anybody that suffers with this pain.  Please say a prayer for me today, the pain is really getting me down.  I am so used to stayiny active and not being able to do much of anything is killing me.
 
  God Bless,
 
  Mercyme

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/17/2008 12:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Mercyme,
It looks like you're not new to the forum, so I'd encourage you to read a lot of the threads you think might help you either with support or information.

I feel for you - I know exactly what this is all about, as do many of us. One way or another, you need to at least get better pain management, even as you're going through procedures. Sometimes the injections are also used for diagnostic purposes - to help identify specifically where the main cause of your pain is. A surgeon will probably require that much before considering surgery. The injections for me were not that bad, but also not helpful.

I'd strongly suggest telling your doctor that the current medications you have aren't working, and seeing if you can get something else at least until you get to a neuro. consult.

Take care,
PaLady

Grannyof2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/17/2008 12:15 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  First time responding but felt like I needed to repond to your post. Well like you I called my surgeon yesterday. I just cannot take the worsening pain any longer. I am at this moment on Opana, Fentanal patch, percoset and now roxicodone starting today. As you know the pain is just unbearable and I am still trying to work. I had my last surgery for my lower back last june. They thought I had an infection in my back and they would not do the fusion just went in a cleaned the disc because of the prior surgeon has left disc material loose in my back. Now I have been gettingworse the last few weeks. Left leg and buttock pain.  I tried to hold out but can't anymore. Got to have the fusion and hopefully I will get better. Wishing you a letup from the pain. Grannyof2
 
Sweet home Alabama

mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/17/2008 3:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so very much for your replys, and your support. I did get a prescritpion for a steriod pack today, suppose to take it for six days. I'm praying that some of the inflammation will go down.

I went to Wal-Mart to get my prescription, and while I'm driving around looking for a parking space, I'm praying dear Lord please give me a close spot I can hardly walk. And He came through like He always does, got one right up front. If my back keeps giving problems I'm gonna have to get me one of those handicap parking tickets to put on my pt cruiser.

As I'm walking across the parking lot my little seven year old said "Look out little old lady coming through" LOL she just had to get a laugh at Mommies expensive. but it was a little funny, Just a little. lol

I still haven't reached my neurologist, hopefully they will call in the morning. Mean while I bought me some sleeping pills hoping just to make it through tonight. and to beat all of this we are trying to make vacation plans, we rented a condo in
Hilton Head Beach S.C. for middle of June. I'm praying hard I will feel better by then.

Thanks again,

Mercyme

A. Nonymous
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 4/19/2008 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   

I don't want this to sound like a horror story, but if I knew then what I know now, I might have saved myself several years of excruciating pain, strained relationships with my family, depression, and a very promising career that is quickly going down the drain.

If 1 round of P/T doesn't work, get an MRI ASAP.  And, review the report YOURSELF.  I recently discovered that an MRI my doctors called "normal" that was done 3 years ago actually showed a small bulge in the L4-5 disc. A little research on the 'net will tell you the size of the bulge and the amount of pain you experience has no corrollation. Large herniations may cause no pain, while small bulges may be excruciating.  I previously asked, TWICE, if a provocative discography would be beneficial as a diagnostic tool, but my surgeon said it wasn't necessary.  Now that I've changed surgeons, the first thing done was the discography, which revealed a badly torn L4-5 disc.  After 4 years, it's pretty obvious this won't heal on it's own, so now I'm scheduled for disc removal and fusion, as I'm not a good candidate for the newer prosthetic disc procedure. 

I've not only endured daily pain, but so many procedures, excruciating trigger point injections, surgery, P/T, osteopathic and chiropractic manipulations, countless dollars spent and suffering that could largely have been avoided had I had a doctor smart enough to run the correct diagnostic tests.  Damaged discs can be a source of pain, even without any compression of adjacent nerve roots.  Only a provocative discography will diagnose this. 

I had, supposedly, the best doctors in my area, plus got a second opinion from unrelated surgeons, and still didn't get the appropriate treatment.  Seek out the BEST spine specialists you can find, and travel if you must.  Do some research online and search these boards for recommendations.  I've heard great things about the Cleveland Clinic and the Texas Back Institute, though I'm sure there are many others.  I wish you the best of luck.  PM me and I can give you some links for a quick education.   

 

Anon

 

 


mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/19/2008 3:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Sounds like you've done your research Anon, that's always wise. I have an appt. at a surgery center on Monday to have a epidural steriod injection. The pain is unbearable, and I need some relief fast. I can't even go to church for the past month, because sitting or standing for long periods is painful.

If the injections don't work, then I'll have to take another route. But with all that's in me I'm praying it works. I can hardly straighten my back today. It's embrrassing when we go out to dinner and when we get ready to leave, I have a hard time just getting up from the table and leaving. I have to stand for a minute before I can move.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Just take one day at a time, and pray for the best.

God Bless,

Mercyme

A. Nonymous
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 4/19/2008 7:13 PM (GMT -7)   

Epidural injections are successful for some people, and I sincerely hope you are among that group.  Good luck and God Bless.

Anon


mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/26/2008 2:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Had the epidural injection on April 21st, it's April 26th and the pain is still with me. the day after the injection I was able to move around a little better, then by day three I was in terrilbe pain hardly able to move to get out of bed. But I've found so far that my mornings are by far the worst. After I'm up a couple of hours the pain goes down a little. by evening the pain is on it's way back up.

So I guess I'll just deal with it, and be thankful for my good days. I don't want to go through back surgery.
Do you think walking would be ok? maybe if I just walk one mile a day, that is if the pain is not unbearable. I was walking about 3 miles a day 4 days a week. I really want to start walking again, even if it's just half a mile a day. I sure don't want to make things any worse. But I don't think you should give in totally and become stiff. I'm doing stretching exersices every night to. Trying to be a good girl and take care of myself.

I hope you all that have been dealing with sciatica are doing better.

Mercyme
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