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