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Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/10/2008 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had painful sciatica in my left butt and leg for six months. Diagnosis: Spinal stenosis, disc degeneration and protrusion, etc. etc. Goes with the old age territory. (I'm 84). No pain while lying on my right side or standing bent forward or sitting down. But if I sit for more than a few seconds pain is much worse when I stand up. I have had two MRI's, three epidurals, physical therapy all with no lasting relief. The second epidural worked but lasted only one day.
 
VERY strange experience with the second MRI last month (February 9, 2008)--pain in my leg was excruciating while I lay on my back with both legs stretched straight out and only a small pillow under my knees. Pain so bad I came close to asking the technician to stop.The MRI lasted for 40-45 minutes and during the last few minutes the pain subsided. When I stood up the pain was gone completely! I was able to walk normally, erect, without bending forward, for a few hours. Amazing. I thought maybe the sciatic nerve was deadened by the pain. I didn't think an MRI could have any therapeutic effect but my doctor told me other patients had reported some benefit from an MRI, although none so dramatic as mine. When I got back home I sat in a comfortable chair and fell asleep for half an hour. When I woke up and stood up the pain was back. 
 
Can anyone explain this?  I always thought magnetic therapy was snake oil but now I'm not so sure. After my experience with the MRI I bought a magnetic back brace but don't feel any effect. Of course it's nowhere near as powerful as an MRI.
 
I've had four acupuncture sessions. After the third I felt less pain but after the fourth it was worse. Don't know whether to continue. Any advice?
 
Casarena   

notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 3/11/2008 2:15 AM (GMT -7)   

84? Wow! You go!

Welcome to the forum and sure hate to see your having such a time with sciatica as it is one of the most frustrating pains to deal with as it seems there is only breif relief from any one thing.

As for your miraculous "cure" if only temporary I would say it was more from teh positioning of your spine then the magnetic forces at work.

When it we have a flare up it is generall caused by the nerve having pressure applied to it for whatever reason and by something out of line in the spinal alignement. Most of us will not or can not stand to change to a position to ease up and let off the pressure for the amount of time required to render the nerve back to noncompressed state,the pain is too unbearable but you did since you were trying to complete the MRI and it worked for awhile. When you went home and again slumped back over in the easy chair to sleep it again most likley slipped back under the part applying pressure to begin with.

For example I have noticed when mineis acting up and I am lying in bed if I stiffen the leg effected to the point of tightening all the muscles in that leg for as long as I can hold as tight as I can hold then when I let go I feel total relief for a bit.

I have no experience to the accupuncture though but I know others here have them and will most likely stop in to say Hi and share their experiences and opinions with you.

 


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!
 
Formerly Ruth Thomas


Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 3/11/2008 11:41 AM (GMT -7)   
WOW! I so admire you. Not many 'seniors' your age are so computer literate. I know they scared my folks who would have been about your age.

I agree with above...likely the position you were in for a while. I'm no scientist but I've had similar things happen from just the position I am in. Possibly a nerve became "unpinched" and once you relaxed it went back to where it usually is. I have pinched nerves that run down both legs and some days it's tolerable and others I can barely walk.

But...if it was something to do with the MRI machine then sign me up! Is an interesting toping to research.

Keep in touch,
Chutzie
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.
***************

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)


Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/11/2008 11:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Ruth Thomas and Chutzie. Appreciate the really good insights. I'm planning on continuing the acupuncture and if that doesn't work, I'll check out arthroscopic surgery, which is a lot easier on the patient than traditional open spine surgery. Any thoughts about or experience with arthroscopic microdiscectomy? (I learned about this on Google.)

Casarena

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/11/2008 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Casarena,
I'll chime in with the others to welcome you and congratulate you for making it this far in life. You go girl!

I'm 58 and about 6 months ago had a lumbar fusion at 2 levels (a diskectomy was done before the fusion). I've posted in other threads about my results, which haven't been so great, but my neurosurgeon told me I was only one of a couple of his patients who continued to have problems, and that evidently the minimally invasive approach didn't work for me. He wants to do a traditional surgery and as far as I'm concerned no way will I let that happen! But others do evidently have some success, but they're probably not posting on this board. I would look very cautiously at surgery, especially as we get older our bones and spines are deteriorating and surgery of any type may just make things worse. Has your doctor recommended surgery as an option?

Like others, I tend to think what happened with the MRI was likely due to postural issues and that makes me think that possibly you could do some readjusting at home of your body mechanics. Did your PT ever train you in sitting, moving, etc.? Maybe you could at least make it a little better, even if you can eliminate the pain completely. From what I know of acupuncture, it's not a cure but can help manage pain and if I had the money I'd be getting some treatments myself. Look at surgery very, very cautiously. I'm sure others will attest to that also.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/11/2008 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   
p.s. I continue to have sciatic pain in my right butt, leg and both feet despite the surgery. And in my post above I meant to say "even if you CAN'T eliminate the pain completely." The fact you had some relief with the one epidural may just be an indication they found the source of your nerve compression, but there's another thread about epidurals that gives a lot of info. about how they do - mostly don't - work.

djdaz_1985
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 3/11/2008 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi there Casarena and Welcome to HealingWell!

I cannot claim to be any kind of expert with Sciatica or Magnetic Therapy but I felt compelled to come over and say hi and I hope you get the answers you are looking for here. I dont come across many older people here on HealingWell... Depression is dominated more by 16-25's. I think its fantastic to see that HealingWell is reaching all types and ages of people.

Good Luck to you!

Darren


Everyone has a guardian angel. They help pick you up when you fall, comfort you through your times of need and help you appreciate the times when things are going well.
 
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Sherrine
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17101
   Posted 3/11/2008 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Casarena!  I'm so sorry you are having such difficulties.  I know, with an MRI, the surface you lay on is quite firm.  I think that once your muscles relaxed and got used to the firm support, whatever was being pinched slipped back in place.  Is your mattress soft and your chairs soft?  I have some back problems due to scoliosis and I have to have a firm mattress and sit in firm chairs that are pretty much straight back.  The soft, cushy chairs feel wonderful but I pay for it when trying to get up and the pain is worse.  The same goes for my bed.  (I do have a fiberbed on top of my mattress.)  I also get out of bed by rolling to my side, drawing my legs in a sitting position(they are actually hanging off the mattress) and then I use a cane to push off and my legs swing down and pulls me in a sitting position without using the back  or hip muscles.  This has really helped me.
 
You are doing really great!  I'm so glad to see a senior using a computer!  I'm 60 and travel with people in their 70's and 80's and rarely do any use the computer.  It's wonderful and will keep you and your mind young and up to date! Keep up the great work and have a wonderful day!
 
Sherrine  
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


Another Day
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1055
   Posted 3/11/2008 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Casarena,
 
I don't usually visit this forum, but heard you were here and wanted to welcome you to HealingWell.  I know you will find this group to be very supportive.  I am also impressed with your computer skills at your age.  Good for you!  When did you learn to use the computer?  Just curious.  I am 57 and I know a lot of people my age who won't even try to learn to use a computer.
 
Take care!
 
Carla

Moderator, Allergies/Asthma
 
Help support the forums so we can support you:  http://www.healingwell.com/donate
 
 
Epilepsy, asthma, GERD, depression, hypothyroidism, tinnitus


dakotagirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 3/11/2008 5:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Casarena - welcome to HW! I saw this thread and had to investigate. I'm in the process of being "put back together" by my chiropractor. Pain is miserable and she's helping me to feel SO much better! She's convinced me that even though I didn't feel any pinching that I really did have some things pinched!

I enjoy hearing about others who are using complimentary (alternative) therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, hypnosis, biofeedback, etc. Also in the UC forum, there are many of us who believe in supplementing our medical sides with complimentary side - diet, probiotics, etc.

I sure hope you're able to find out what caused you to be pain free - and then repeat, repeat, repeat!!!
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
 
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Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/11/2008 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks PALady, Darren, Sherrine, Carla and dakotagirl. Your interest is much appreciated. Incidentally PALady, I'm a guy, not a girl. I'm surprised at so many comments about my age; I don't think of myself as old. When I was in the army during WWII I didn't think I'd reach this age. Among other jobs I had my main MOS was Ordnance Bomb Disposal officer.

Does anyone have something encouraging to say about arthroscopic, minimally invasive spine surgery? I think of it as a sure-thing but last resort if acupuncture and another epidural don't work.

Thanks again.

Casarena

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/11/2008 7:51 PM (GMT -7)   
oops, my bad, Casarena! Sorry for assuming you were female!

Please remember that those people who had successful minimally invasive surgery may not be posting on this board. I wish there was a place where people who had POSITVE experiences with a variety of prodedures went to report so the rest of us could see if injections, surgeries, etc. were really helpful to most people, but just not us. There was someone posting who recently had surgery - Lakeside, I think was her screen name here - and she had reported some initial positive results. You might want to search these pages for her threads.

notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 3/11/2008 11:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Oops forgot the question about the arthroscopic surgery!
 
I had both knee's doen via the scope and they left little tiny scars that faded to almost nothing a few years out. I was done and headed home about 2 hours post-op so that worked well for me as I had several kids at home and didnt have anywhere for them to stay if I was going to have to be hospitalized for any amount of time.
 
The 1st time I did have alot of post op pain on days 2 and days 3 and even had to go to ER to get ahead of the game,one of the drawbacks of not staying in the hospital is also not getting scheduled injections of pain meds or a pain pump and having to rely on meds by digestive means taking longer to get to work.
 
This pain could have been my bad as I also was injected with large amount of lidocaine in the knee prior to closing the entrance and for more then 24 hours did not feel the knee at all and so I probably did alot more moving of it then should have if I was protecting it due to pain I could feel on movement right? So when the caine wore off I was left in horrific pain,also had not been taking meds due to not feeling the pain and once it gets ahead of you its hard to get control of it.
 
The 2nd time around I was smarter and was up on the knee without assist of crutches or cane on day 3,not reccomended by the way and totally against Doc posts op orders,but hey that's me! I had total pain control without intervention by way of ER and was started in PT on day 6 and did very well. I had several knee scopes over the years and one total knee replacement which was done via the open way and give me the scope anyday!
 
I had a total of 4 stitches once and a few staples with the other times versus an entire set of 27 the invasive route.
 
As for spinal arthroscopy I cant shed any light here as I dont know anyone that has used it nor have I but know alot of folks who have had shoulders,knees and hips done this way and all have had no complaints with it.
 
Keep us informed as I am interested in hearing which way you decide to go.
 
I like the others are amazed at your computer lit,most folks aging are terrified of the things and at 50 I seriously had my doubts when I first got one that I would ever be able to do more then turn it on and look at me now! I dont know when to shut up and turn it off! LOl
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!
 
Formerly Ruth Thomas


kara487
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 3/12/2008 1:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Ruth, I had a knee scoped I ended up having a torn mensucus and had to have that repaired. so I know what you are talking about knee surgery its not fun. I hope you have a lpd.

Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/12/2008 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks PA Lady. Glad your knees are better. Good point about not hearing from those who have had successful arthroscopic
back surgery. Maybe only the unlucky ones post their bad experience.

As for my computer skills, I worked until I was 80 and had to use a computer in my business. Now I'm addicted to it.

Thanks again.

Casarena

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/12/2008 8:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Casarena - considering your diagnoses, it might be good for you to have a consult with someone who does minimally invasive spine surgery to even see if you're a candidate for that procedure. That might end up making your decision for you. Either way, you could get information specific to you and your body.
Good luck!

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17101
   Posted 3/12/2008 8:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Casarena, I do want to thank you for your service to our country.  War is horrible, but I don't have to tell you that!  If you can make it through that you definitely can make it through this problem!  You are smart and using your head before jumping into surgery.  I haven't had arthroscopic surgery but I know many that have and had great success with it.  It wouldn't have lasted this long if everyone had problems with it.  But, my advice to  you is to thoroughly check out the doctor doing the arthroscopic surgery, if you go that route.  Hopefully the acupuncture will work for you!  Have a good day!
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/12/2008 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks PA Lady and Sherrine. Good advice.

Casarena

Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/12/2008 6:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to Healing Well and I am so glad you found us here.......

It is an honor to have you among us on HW

LYN
  DX With Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum, Anxiety/ Panic and Other Disorders
         Mod for Alzheimer's, Anxiety and Panic and Co Mod for Crohns
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Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/13/2008 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks gagabonnie, gramps and Howlyncat.

Yes, gagabonnie, I have lots of stretching exercises--including many from a series of physical therapy sessrions. They don't help, in fact they sometimes make the pain worse. Thanks for the offer. Gramps, I've heard too many horror stories about VA hospitals to ever consider going to one. Sorry you had such bad experience with them. I've had MRI's and epidurals at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC and believe they would be better at arthroscopic spinal surgery than the VA--if I'm a good candidate for it and decide to try it. I wouldn't go for traditional open-back surgery. Incidentally, just yesterday I tried overdosing on Advil and that helped, with no apparent side effects. Aleve however made my foot and ankle swell on my good leg.

Casarena

Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/13/2008 7:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Gramps. I'll ask.

Casarena

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/13/2008 7:34 AM (GMT -7)   
If you're near NYC you should have lots of wonderful options regarding treatment. Great place to at least get consults. I agree with Gramps - get some good pain management. Perhaps then surgery won't look as attractive. Remember you may end up taking pain meds even after surgery. Also - alleve and naproxen have sodium molecules, and thus can cause more water retention, as opposed to the regular advil, motrin, etc. I know that high doses of ibuprofen can sometimes be recommended; I used to take 1800-2400 mg/day but that was under an MD's supervision. As Gramps said, be careful of GI effects.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17101
   Posted 3/13/2008 10:37 AM (GMT -7)   
I've taken up to 2,400 mg. of ibuprofen for over 20 years for pain from fibromyalgia but, I also take Prilosec to protect my stomach.  2,400 mg is the highest SAFE dose you can take.  If you take more, be sure to take it with food.  That helps protect your stomach, too.  I always check with my doctor and my pharmacist, too, before taking any new medication.
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


Casarena
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/13/2008 11:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again PALady and Sherrine for the helpful advice

Casarena

Keah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7314
   Posted 3/15/2008 10:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Casarena, Surgery of any kind is always a last resort and I'm glad that you're working on other options first. That said, when surgery is required, arthroscopy is almost always the preferred methos as it allows for easier/quicker healing. However, not everything can be done via arthroscope and even when a procedure can be done via scope, finding a qualified and experienced surgeon for that procedure is not always easy. I will admit, you are certainly in the right place to find such a surgeon. NYC has so many hospitals and so many specialists that you'll undoubtedly find a good one.

I am also in NYC and have an excellent Pain Mgmt Doc who specializes in spinal problems and even does some spinal procedures himself. I'd be happy to share the info with you if you're interested. His office is on the Lower East Side, just near Joint Diseases. Hey, maybe one day we can meet for a cup of coffee or something. If your interested, feel free to send me an email. Just click the envelop under my name.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
 God helps those who help themselves.
Please help us support this invaluable forum.
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