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Sciatica...or is it Sciatic-UGH?

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Any success or horror stories with sciatica? I've got it, for the first time in my life (age 38), and wow, is it awful. I threw out my back in July by doing nothing more strenuous then bending over to put down a laundry basket and twisting at the same time. Cue excruciating lower back pain that lasted a week. Since then, I've had random muscular pains in my lower back, butt, and upper thigh. This past Saturday I woke up and almost passed out when I got out of bed because it hurt so badly. Later that morning, I tried to sit down and parts of my leg and feet started tingling and feeling numb. I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor, which was yesterday.

X-rays don't show any disc damage (herniation or rupture), so the doc thinks I just have an inflamed muscle that is trapping and irritating the sciatic nerve. Three prescriptions later (NSAIDs and muscle relaxants), I can just barely stand to sit at my desk at work for 15 minutes, and the half-hour drive to work this morning made me nearly homicidal. Perversely, I have a high quality, ergonomic Aeron chair and still the only "comfortable" position is to slump in it with my legs stretched out. At least it gives me an excuse to stop working every 20 minutes or so and wander around.

This doesn't seem to be something that requires surgery, which is good, but on the other hand it means I don't really have any recourse other than painkillers, exercise, and patience. Things could be much, MUCH worse, but it's annoying to be so distracted and incapacitated by something so minor. Any suggestions?
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,491
push your Dr. for an MRI.. xrays may not show herniated discs.
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Good point, ForteKitty. I did ask him about MRI, and he said he'll order it if things don't improve soon with rest and healing. There is always the possibility it is spinal.
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,491
Have you considered a more holistic approach? My bf had a herniated disc and sciatica as well, and he found that his acupunturist who does a massage (more like a beating, according to him) prior to the acupuncture really helped the pain. He was on muscle relaxers and it just made him useless.. didn't make the sciatica go away. His acupuncturist actually used his elbow to get deep inside to do this plucking of the tendons (while bf's on his good side, top knee bent, bottom leg straight, acu's elbow behind top hip where the pain is), and he said it would feel so much better afterwards.. completely loose.
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
ForteKitty|1291768791|2790375 said:
Have you considered a more holistic approach? My bf had a herniated disc and sciatica as well, and he found that his acupunturist who does a massage (more like a beating, according to him) prior to the acupuncture really helped the pain. He was on muscle relaxers and it just made him useless.. didn't make the sciatica go away. His acupuncturist actually used his elbow to get deep inside to do this plucking of the tendons (while bf's on his good side, top knee bent, bottom leg straight, acu's elbow behind top hip where the pain is), and he said it would feel so much better afterwards.. completely loose.
Sure, I'm willing to consider anything that might help, and not cause more damage. I have a friend who's a chiropractor, though he lives too far to visit as a regular patient, so I'm going to to talk to him this weekend about finding someone local, and what to expect. He'll do some muscle work too. I'm resisting using the medications much except to help with sleeping comfortably, and for when I absolutely have to be sitting down at work. I have a friend with nerve issues resulting from shingles, and watching what she's gone through with pain management and dependence on meds has made me very wary.
 

Skippy123

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Messages
24,299
Oh Selkie I am so sorry ;( throwing out your back is the worst! Okay I am a huge huge believer in a good chiropractor! I threw out my back this time last year super bad where my hubby had to come home from work to help me get me in bed. Well later that day my hubby made me go to the chiro; I thought you have got to be kidding me! Well thank Goodness he made me go because I went for one treatment and started to heal and then went 2 more times and that really sped up the healing process. I go to the chiro as needed and do strengthening exercises from PT. I am so glad you have a friend who is a chiroprator; I hope you find a good one and I am sending healing vibes your way. Those chiropractors are so good with our spines and making sure they go back into place. I think when the backs are out of whack it pinches nerves and when you get it back in place it starts to heal and feel much better. hugs
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Thanks, Skippy! I'm glad to hear you had success with a chiropractor. I think that if learn enough about the mechanics of my situation that I should be able to discuss my symptoms intelligently, and be able to figure out if they know what they're talking about!
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Update: I finally had an MRI, and it turns out I do have a herniated lumbar disc. Bah. ForteKitty, did your husband have surgery or any other kind of treatment for his? I really don't want to go there, and if he was able to successfully alleviate it with holistic treatments, that gives me hope. I need to find a neurologist now, if anyone knows of a good one in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/South Bay area.
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,491
Oh no :(

He did not have surgery. After a lot of research, we found out that back surgery's success rate is not as high as we'd like. A lot of people dont really feel less pain, while some actually have more problems. We know people who have had success w/ just cortisone shots.. it allows the swelling to go down and the disc to plump back on its own, so that is something you might want to look into. I'd try an acupuncturist that does massages first tho. If your insurance covers it, try calling a few places and see what you can find.

He went to a acupuncturist under his insurance and the guy worked on him for quite some time, combining massages w/ acu. Let me get the number/address for you tomorrow, it's at work. The guy no longer accepts insurance tho. :( I'm not sure where the new office is, but dont think it's too far from torrance. We're in hermosa.
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
That would be great, thanks! I live in Long Beach and my PCP is in Torrance, so that would be convenient. I do still plan to see a neurology specialist, I just don't want to get pushed to have surgery if I don't really need it. However, since I can barely stand for more than 10 minutes right now without pain, I'm not sure.
 

LAJennifer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
2,018
I'm not sure if I have an valuable advice, but I want to let you know you are not alone - I feel your pain . . . often. I have for years. I have slight scoliosis which results in my right hip being slightly higher than my left hip.

When I was young - jr and high school, though I was a cheerleader, it wasn't much of an issue (in retrospect I believe the athletic shoes was enough to remedy my situation).

Moving on through college and shortly after, as a professional musical theatre actor, the sciatica was nearly constant. Dancing on stage in character shoes and tap shoes, etc for 5 hours every day/night for months on end. There was no fix - just drugs and a good hot heating pad. My cocktail was 500 mg Naprosyn with 10 mg Flexeril.

I don't perform nearly as much as I used to, but the sciatica will still hit me from time to time. The simplest thing can set it off - wearing a new (or different) pair of shoes. Sitting at length in a car my body isn't familiar with. I do get good results with the Naprosyn/Flexeril combo along with some good Thai massage.
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Jennifer, thanks...it's depressing how much it interferes with every aspect of your life, isn't it? Luckily, the Neurontin I'm taking now has eliminated 90% of the pain. Naprosyn is my savior too, when I've been sitting all day. Unfortunately the underlying disc herniation is still there, and not likely to go away on its own. My foot is still weak and numb, and I definitely don't have the mobility I'm used to. I've been getting massage treatments and stretching to deal with the muscle pain, which help a lot.

I'm seeing a neurosurgeon for a consultation at the end of the month. While I don't welcome the idea of surgery, I do want to seriously consider it as an option, because my disc herniation is so large, and is obviously causing constant nerve damage. I'm doing my research and I've talked to several people who've had the surgery, and have had good results.
 
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