questionshave you ever had sciatica?

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I have it due to an automobile accident I was involved in. (I was a passenger.)

I changed to a harder mattress, lost some extra weight, take an anti-inflammatory, and did cortisone injections.

It made the pain lessen, but I will have it forever, unless I decided to allow them to cut up my back.

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I've had sciatica. The first time I had it, it was from a herniated disk. I suffered for over a year before I got a mylogram and went to Canada for a less invasive treatment (This was years ago).

No amount of drugs will stop that kind of pain for any length of time. I ate meds like candy.

Most docs like to treat it really conservatively. If you don't get relief I'd just ask for an MRI and find out if there in fact the nerve is being compressed by a disk or if is from something else.

If it is in your lower back, and this sounds just like mine, like someone stabbed me in the butt and dragged the blade down my leg, then look to get laser disc surgery. It's out patient, easy.

Do some research and then get going. I would wait maybe a month or two. Also get some PT, that might help if it is not disk involved.

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I don't have the same thing, but I have a similar issue where I'm still having constant neck pain and a stabbing sensation between my spine and shoulder blade from a car accident I was in last year.

I do 2 Aleve every day and heat/cold pack or shower therapy, but you're right, it never ever goes away. The only doctor related things I've found to help are thus far PT (no longer do), massage therapy, and chiropractic. All of these things are temporary relief, though the chiropractic has at least restored more of my ability to turn my head though it's still painful, but I'll take it. I don't know if any of those can apply to you.

Count your blessings that your doctors believe you I suppose, mine don't.

Edit: Weirdly enough, there is an ad on the right hand side of this page as I post this for "minimally invasive laser spine surgery" from northamericanspine.com for Stenosis, Sciatica, Disc Bulges and Herniated Discs. I love stalker ads.

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I suffered for years, starting when I was in my late teens. Mostly severe lower back pain, but also the sciatica problem you described. I could go for a couple of years sometimes with no problems, but when it flared up the pain was almost unbearable. Went thru all types of physical therapy, prescription anti-inflamatory drugs - nothing really seemed to work. In my late thirties it really got bad, and the pain was constant. Orthopedic surgeon gave me a series of cortisone injections - no go. He sent me to a pain clinic where I received a series of ccaudal epidural steroid injections. After the 3rd treatment I thought I was good to go, but the pain returned about a week later, and was just as bad as it had ever been.

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continued:
By this time I had been off work on sick leave for about 4 months. I was finally referred to a neurosurgeon, who did an mri and scheduled me for surgery the next day. He spotted the problem immediately after doing the mri - a herniated disc. The day after surgery I fealt better than I had in months and was walking up and down the hallways of the hospital with no pain at all, just slight numbness in my right leg, which went away the following day. I would be surprised if your doctor didn't give you some excercises to do. Plain aspirin always worked as well for me as any prescription medication, but my stomach doesn't have the problem with aspirin that some people experience.

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I had it and still do.

1. Had surgery to fix the L3-L4 disk. It worked for about a year.
2. Had another surgery to fix the L4-L5. It worked for about a year.
3. Need surgery again to fix the L4-L5 again. I'm now a caregiver so I cannot have the surgery.
4. It got so bad that I had to take an ambulance ride to the hospital. I was given a morphine shot and a steroid. Worked great for about a month. It's now back.
5. I've been given Lortab 10/500's but the supply ran out and doctor will not prescribe any more. Claims they are too addictive and can be bad for my liver.
6. I'm now in constant pain with no hope for a cure in the near future.

If I didn't work from home and able to lie down with the laptop on my chest, I would have to go out on a long term disability. I am so lucky with my job because I don't know of any other job in the world I could qualify with this condition.

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Ask your Dr. about Amitriptyline. Cheap drug. Used to be used mostly as an anti-depressant but nowadays it's used for nerve pain (sciatica, peripheral neuropathy), migraine prevention and insomnia. Most folks take up to 25mg for nerve pain. Bonus side effect, mood elevator and helps you sleep better at night. Con, that nerve calming action works on the whole body, not just your back, which means delayed orgasm for some. On the other hand, no pain, great sleep, not depressed!

Also ask your Dr. about Neurontin. A friend of mine said that worked wonders.

Not a fan of surgery. I was a Work Comp Adjuster for 10 yrs and one surgery usually led to another and, you know, it's permanent. If the Dr. jacks up your back/back doesn't get better, you have to live with it or do another surgery. Rx, PT, Exercise isn't permanent. Something to consider.

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Wow tons of great thorough responses!

If, after this week of steroids, it's still bad then I'm going to PT and a Chiro (I'm always hesitant to go to a chiropractor, but a trustworthy neurosurgeon has recommended one). Then if that doesn't help I guess it's MRI time to see if it is in fact a herniated disc.

It's such a terrible affliction. It's more mentally unbearable than physically for me. I can't even sleep :(.

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Nope, not me. Though it sounds painful. Hope it gets better!

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It will go away, sometime. A nurse gave me a shot on that nerve by accident. Could not move for 5 minutes, could not wear pants or turn over in bed due to the burning pain. Lasted for 6 months or so.

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Lots of great advice here. I hope it is not a disc or trapped nerve problem. I have had simple (and that DOES not mean comfortable by any means) sciatica. My doc recommends Aleve twice a day and icing for 10 minutes several times a day. That will usually take care of muscle and nerve pain for me. Some of these injuries/conditions need time and unfortunately plenty of it. A massage therapist could also relieve some of the pain, especially one who specializes in reflexology. Accupuncture is also useful I have heard.

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@klozitshoper: I've never tried acupuncture, but I know that it works for some people. I posted in a previous reply that I had an MRI done. I was mistaken. Someone posted here that they had a mylogram - that's what I had done. Don't know if MRI even existed back in '78, but I think the mylogram was similar. My problem flared up again several years after my surgery, went back to the neurosurgeon and he diagnosed it as a muscle problem, not related to the disc problem that the surgery took care of. Tried a chiropractor that was recommended by my (ex)in-laws and did get some relief. Ice helps a lot. Chiroman would put me on ice packs for a half hour before making an adjustment. And using ice packs at home really did help. I still have occasional flareups, but nothing like it was before - problem is self-inflicted because I'm not careful at all when it comes to lifting things I shouldn't be lifting.

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My family has a genetic malformation of the pelvic bone that pinches the sciatic nerve. Surgery is very dicey, and no-one has gone that route. We all get a great deal of relief from those memory foam pillows with the cutout for the tailbone. Some prefer the gel seats like they make for wheelchairs, which, I have heard, many long distance truckers use. Both relieve the pressure put on the spine while sitting. PT is very helpful, if you get the right person. Pay attention to the ergonomics of how you sit, especially if you do so for long periods.

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I have sciatica occasionally - one Dr's theory is that mine is caused by a slightly misaligned (tilted) vertebrae in my lower back that pinches a nerve. I bought an inversion table (~$100) and use it when the pain flairs up. The idea is to stretch the spine to relieve the nerve pinch. It feels much better immediately after use, and then within a few days it goes away. A quicker, easier (somewhat less-effective) substitute is to lay flat on my back on a hard floor, with my hips and knees bent and my calves resting on a couch or chair. Think of sitting upright in a chair but rotated 90 degrees. Try to get the hips and knees each bent as close to right angles as possible and the lower back relaxed and touching the floor. This position helps spread the lower vertebrae and relieve the pinch.

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@ojulius: I know what you mean about self-inflicted. I have been doing that for my entire life. I always underestimate the damage "just one more whatever can do" Also, if you have access to water, the orthopod also is an advocate of walking - just walking - chest high for relief.

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I suffered with sciatica for many years and tried all sorts of treatments. But now I believe that you need a four pronged attack to deal with sciatic pain.

i) Deal with the immediate pain – Pills, analgesics, creams etc.

ii) Reduce inflammation – Sometimes with medication often with topographical applications eg. hot and cold packs

iii) Restore your normal mobility and function – Often through stretches or exercises, but can in extreme cases require surgery

iv) Prevent any re-occurrence or flare up of sciatic pain – by strengthening the muscles in the problem area and making some lifestyle changes that may have led to the problem.

I've added a link for a site that has lots of information on each of these areas. There are useful articles on the site and you can also sign up for a FREE e-mail mini course. The site specifically relates to sciatica but the information is good for all back pain
http://www.symptomssciatica.com/relief-of-sciatica-pain/

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@dreamyvelvet: "Not a fan of surgery."
Me too neither, ;}
Every doctor, and every other sufferer that I've talked to, have two choices.
1) 1:3 get better, 1:3 get worse, 1:3 no change.
2) It's 50/50, you'll either get better or worse.
You can't undo surgery. And many insurance droids want you to sign a waiver that says this is it, for better or worse, they won't cover anything else anymore after you get home. Don't sign.
If you have a Wellpoint franchisee you'll usually get a prescription for a Tylenol thing ($30 copay!), and advice for "Take it easy you're making it worse!" and "If you rest you're making it worse!" at the same time.
I got it after an illegal ran over me and my motorcycle. Runs from my middle back down to my right heel. Every so often I get a real kneebender twinge going.

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As a follow up.

The steroids plus meds didn't do anything so, after almost three weeks the doc ordered an MRI (last week). Went and got that done, paid my $600 charge (guh!), and the results came back negative.

He opted for a nerve conduction test. I countered with muscle relaxers and good PT (suggestions from a neurologist friend). Doc agree and as SOON as he ordered them - the whole thing went away almost over night.

Ha!

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I have had sciatic.It not pleasant.I was off work for 5 weeks..All the pain relief I was on did not work?
Anyway went to physiotherapist.It was really helpful but it is slow going but you get there in the end.
happened October 2013