Sciatica Sucks

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    Sep 17, 2010 4:12 PM GMT
    UPDATE: Already healed...been back at work since November.
    Thank god for chiropractors!
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    I've been to the ER and got shots, I've been to the chiropractor and got adjusted, and in a few minutes I have my 2nd acupuncture appointment.

    This shit has been hurting for three weeks now...can't sit for more than a few minutes at a time, can't drive bvecause of the sitting issue, can't go to work because of the sitting issue, had to cancel two important appointments today because I can't sit to drive to them...this just isn't healing up like it should.

    I've googled and googled and read and researched as much as my little brain can take. I've followed all the sound advice for stretches, resting, ice packs, heat, etc...still no relief.

    So my question: What is the worst case scenario here? All the people I know in real life who've had this say the same thing - "it only lasts a few days." Yeah, bullshit...mine is lasting WEEKS!
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    Sep 17, 2010 6:02 PM GMT
    Had it bad 10 or so years ago and it did takes weeks. I tried everything as well and nothing really worked other than time,, just kept on walking as much as possible. Sitting seemed to make it worse as did laying down sometimes.
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    Sep 17, 2010 7:03 PM GMT
    Yeah, I'm starting to think all this money spent on Dr's, chirpractors, and acupuncture is just being wasted...seems that time is the only thing that's gonna heal it, IF it even heals...it's just so fucking persistent.
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    Sep 18, 2010 6:29 AM GMT
    You know a tight piriformis can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve which can cause excruciating pain. I think your most effective bet would be to see a good, reputable neuromuscular massage therapist, who can release your piriformis as well as any other trigger points which may be causing you problems.

    Good luck
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    Sep 18, 2010 6:47 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidI've been to the ER and got shots, I've been to the chiropractor and got adjusted, and in a few minutes I have my 2nd acupuncture appointment.

    This shit has been hurting for three weeks now...can't sit for more than a few minutes at a time, can't drive bvecause of the sitting issue, can't go to work because of the sitting issue, had to cancel two important appointments today because I can't sit to drive to them...this just isn't healing up like it should.

    I've googled and googled and read and researched as much as my little brain can take. I've followed all the sound advice for stretches, resting, ice packs, heat, etc...still no relief.

    So my question: What is the worst case scenario here? All the people I know in real life who've had this say the same thing - "it only lasts a few days." Yeah, bullshit...mine is lasting WEEKS!


    Hi Paul

    This is a complaint I've endured for years off and on. The only thing that really seems to help me is walking.

    I force myself to walk through the discomfort and it gives me some relief. Heat packs also help.

    I hope it settles down for you soon man, I know what its like...
  • justinlee86

    Posts: 501

    Sep 18, 2010 6:48 AM GMT
    I have had sciatica for a year now...nothing you can do about it!!!
  • hartfan

    Posts: 1037

    Sep 18, 2010 6:54 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidYeah, I'm starting to think all this money spent on Dr's, chirpractors, and acupuncture is just being wasted...seems that time is the only thing that's gonna heal it, IF it even heals...it's just so fucking persistent.


    Dose up on the advil and just power through. It will get better over time, until it comes back again. But chiropractors and all that does help in the long term and each time it comes back it hurts a little less and clears up in less time, as long as you've been keeping up the treatment and especially the stretching/resting/icing etc. Unfortunately I think your job isn't going to help. Have you discussed with the health care professionals possible things you could do during your shifts that could help?
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    Sep 18, 2010 12:46 PM GMT
    hartfan said
    paulflexes saidYeah, I'm starting to think all this money spent on Dr's, chirpractors, and acupuncture is just being wasted...seems that time is the only thing that's gonna heal it, IF it even heals...it's just so fucking persistent.


    Dose up on the advil and just power through. It will get better over time, until it comes back again. But chiropractors and all that does help in the long term and each time it comes back it hurts a little less and clears up in less time, as long as you've been keeping up the treatment and especially the stretching/resting/icing etc. Unfortunately I think your job isn't going to help. Have you discussed with the health care professionals possible things you could do during your shifts that could help?
    Had my 2nd acupuncture session yesterday, so I'm finally feeling better today...may go back to work next week, mid-week or so.

    As far as my job goes, I'm definitely going for a career change to something that doesn't require sitting for long periods of time. Until then, I'll cut my hours at work (sub-contracted pilot - hours are flexible). Of course that'll mean less pay for a while, but I'll think of something to supplement the income 'till I get settled into another career.
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    Sep 18, 2010 1:28 PM GMT
    Don't want to scare you, but it can last a lot more than a few weeks.
    Hopefully, you won't have to suffer it too long, but then you will have to work hard on avoiding it to come back.

    Your pain has two sources : the nerve pinch itself, and the constant muscular contraction out of the nerve irritation.

    For the nerve pinch, it will last as long as the vertebral disk hernia doesn't resorb (you did your google homework, so you know what I mean).
    There is no real way to make it come in place faster than what nature decide, but you can avoid making thing worse (and longer) by spending a lot of time in bed and walking only with sport shoes.

    For the pain out of muscular tension, depending of how serious is your sciatic, it can go from lower back to ass to back of leg up down to calfs.
    You can significantly reduce the pain with a all muscle relaxation technics : drinking gallons of water, hot baths, massages, mio relaxant pills, anti inflamatory drugs. It won't stop the sciatic, but it will reduce the pain, and helps you sleep better. You need to be able to sleep good and long to recover.

    Your tense lower back muscle reduce your spine mobility, and make it more difficult for your disc to snap back in proper conformation, so alleviating muscular pain is not just comfort, it also helps recover faster.

    When the episode is over, you are a fool if you don't goole again and learn how to minimise the risks to have sciatic come back.

    Sorry for your pain, I know that kind of 24/7 pain can drive anyone crazy.

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    Sep 18, 2010 2:04 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidAs far as my job goes, I'm definitely going for a career change to something that doesn't require sitting for long periods of time. Until then, I'll cut my hours at work (sub-contracted pilot - hours are flexible). Of course that'll mean less pay for a while, but I'll think of something to supplement the income 'till I get settled into another career.

    My back was already going bad in the 1970s, but my military career didn't give me any options. You were either in and did the job, or else you were out, and I had too much time invested (and loved it too much) to be out.

    So some things I've done before, that's I've already mentioned to you, when I, too, have back pain that lingers over weeks. Mine is due to degenerative disc disease of the L4-5 vertebrae, and can never really get permanently better without surgery, and even that's doubtful.

    - Bought an air mattress from Select Comfort (now called Sleep Number) in 1993. Instead of dreading the old bed spring mattress when my back would begin hurting, it's where I now found I could get relief.

    - I was a stomach sleeper, so I had to break myself of that habit. Now I mostly sleep on my sides, alternating, with my knees drawn up a bit. Sometimes I'm flat on my back, but in bad cases, I put a pillow under my knees. Also a pillow between my knees when on my side if I'm really hurting.

    - Take ibuprofen early when I feel the first twinges, and keep it up continuously for a few days after the pain stops. Ordinarily I only take pain pills when I'm actually in pain, but for back pain it's important to continue while it's healing. Sorta like finishing all your antibiotics, even when you're feeling better. And for bad pain I have pills with codeine, and other "good stuff" the doctor prescribes, that I use only sparingly. I know narcotics are a problem for you as a pilot.

    BTW, ask a doctor how large a dosage of ibuprofen you can take. You may find it exceeds by possibly double the amount the over-the-counter label will recommend. In fact, the VA used to give me single pills that were 4 times the common dosage. But that's tough on your body, and the VA regularly monitored my blood & urine, so check with a doctor first.

    - Rearrange my daily routine for a few days to become very sedentary (well, OK, MORE sedentary). And no going out for drinks or to restaurants during that time, the chairs usually very tough on my back. And doing as little car travel as possible, if any. I would just hibernate & heal.

    - Walk very slowly and carefully, using my cane even around the house. I know, I look quite infirm, but appearance becomes secondary to results. The cane (of the proper length, don't use one too long) helps to stabilize me, and take some of the work off the lower back. The cane also reminds me to move more carefully & slowly, and not forget and quickly spin around to see something.

    - No masturbating for a few days, even in bed. I've found an orgasm can cause the back muscles to tighten momentarily, at least for me, which is what I'm trying to avoid.

    - A doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers, in addition to pain pills. This helps to break the vicious cycle of pain causing muscle pulls on the spine, leading to more pain. The VA gave me Methocarbamol (aka Carbamol, trade Name Robaxin in the US). It has other names when combined with pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. I don't believe Carbamol is a controlled substance, but again, a possible issue for you with the FAA you'll need to check.

    - Applying continuous heat to the lower back. I have an electric heating belt I can wear around the house, and the chemical belt pads work well, too, especially if you're out & about, at work, driving and elsewhere. They cost about $7.00 for 2 at Walgreens drug stores, and each lasts 8 full hours, which is all they say you should do a day. My partner C. used them successfully last week when his own back got bad.

    - Most important, you've got to stick with a treatment strategy without let-up. This won't heal in a day, and approaching it from the standpoint of "I did something specific today, so I'll wait until tomorrow to evaluate the results" will fail. Your therapy must be continuous and long term, even on days when you don't feel as much pain, or any at all. I usually go for at least a week after the pain finally stops.

    This isn't like an upset stomach where you take some Mylanta and it goes away in a few hours. Or a sore muscle that a massage therapist can help in a single session, and then you're done. If you've got fundamental physical changes to your spine then you're going to see a lot more of this. Sorry... icon_sad.gif
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Sep 18, 2010 2:17 PM GMT
    Hey buddy! I know what you mean with sciatica.....I have had two lower back surgeries in the past for the removal of lumbar region discs. The sciatica I had weeks prior to both surgeries was awful. My last surgery was in 1986, but I have had a couple of bouts with it since then....lucky it went away and I had not injured my self again.....

    You mentioned accupuncture and treatments from a chiropractor. My personal feeling here, and it is my personal belief.....please understand....that I find chiropractors to be less than knowledgeable when it comes to what could be a potential back injury for you. Now, you may not have a slipped or ruptured disc here, however, if I were you, please discuss the sciatica issue with either an orthopedic doc or even a neurosurgeon.

    Worst case here is you do have a disc issue (CT scan should bear this out) and if surgery is needed for removal--anymore that is outpatient stuff. Unlike it was for me, when I was in the hospital 14 days for my first surgery (1972) and 4 days for the second in '86. They have come a long way with this.

    The very least here friend----get a second opinion from either a neuro or an orthopod.

    Get well. I understand completely how uncomfortable it is for you.
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    Oct 18, 2010 3:04 PM GMT
    You bet sciatica sucks!

    It's a nerve impingement that is most often caused by tight external rotators in the hip - most notably the piriformis - that pinch the sciatic nerve just underneath your butt muscle. The sciatic nerve reaches all the way down to your ankle, which is why you can experience pain down the leg.

    I have a video that shows how to stretch the piriformis, if you'd like to check it out. It will likely hurt like hell the first bunch of times that you do it, but if you keep up with it, you could get a significant amount of relief. Here it is:

    http://doyogawithme.com/content/piriformis-stretch

    Another great thing to do is to take a couple of tennis balls, put them in a sock and tie a knot in the sock so that the tennis balls are kept tightly against one another. Put it on the floor and sit on it so that you're putting your weight into the tennis balls right in the middle of your glut. Your piriformis is located right under the sciatic notch, a small divot in the middle of the glut muscle. Move around on the ball to massage it and get it to release.

    It would be a good idea to release all of the muscles around the pelvis, on a regular basis. I have a couple of online yoga classes you may be interested in trying, since they target the hips, legs and lower back. One is a gentle hatha yoga flow, and the other is specific to runners. They're both around 30 minutes.

    http://doyogawithme.com/content/30-minute-class-hips-hamstrings-and-lower-back

    http://doyogawithme.com/content/yoga-runners-stretch-class-it-band

    Cheers,

    David

    http://doyogawithme.com/
    Pure Yoga Online. Absolutely Free.
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    Dec 01, 2010 8:19 AM GMT
    It could be that the root reason for your sciatica is not eliminated, so it doesn't go away. Many times sciatica is caused by muscle imbalances - once you find where they are in your body and "fix" them - sciatica goes away.

    You can read about it more here, hope it helps:

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Sciatic-Pain-Relief---What-Your-Doctor-Will-Not-Tell-You-About-Sciatic-Pain-Relief&id=4387212
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    Dec 01, 2010 9:08 AM GMT
    turtleneckjock saidHey buddy! I know what you mean with sciatica.....I have had two lower back surgeries in the past for the removal of lumbar region discs. The sciatica I had weeks prior to both surgeries was awful. My last surgery was in 1986, but I have had a couple of bouts with it since then....lucky it went away and I had not injured my self again.....

    You mentioned accupuncture and treatments from a chiropractor. My personal feeling here, and it is my personal belief.....please understand....that I find chiropractors to be less than knowledgeable when it comes to what could be a potential back injury for you. Now, you may not have a slipped or ruptured disc here, however, if I were you, please discuss the sciatica issue with either an orthopedic doc or even a neurosurgeon.

    Worst case here is you do have a disc issue (CT scan should bear this out) and if surgery is needed for removal--anymore that is outpatient stuff. Unlike it was for me, when I was in the hospital 14 days for my first surgery (1972) and 4 days for the second in '86. They have come a long way with this.

    The very least here friend----get a second opinion from either a neuro or an orthopod.

    Get well. I understand completely how uncomfortable it is for you.


    This is easily the best advice so far! Thank you for saying this! Everyone keeps saying piriformis this...piriformis that...muscle imbalance this and that... and the OP may have an issue with muscle imbalances in that area; however, we were never given a full history of what is causing the sciatic issues. The sciatic nerve runs over several muscles and originates from the lumbosacral plexus. Hence more than muscles issues can be the cause!

    And please be careful with the PT stretch techniques. Those can DEFINITELY exacerbate the pain (especially if it is NOT due to muscle issues).


  • Aries5452

    Posts: 55

    Dec 01, 2010 9:44 AM GMT
    Not reading any of the replys, my Mom had Siatica and I know that it is hell on earth. She was is a recliner chair for weeks. She ended up having surgery and it was the best thing for her. She feels like a million bucks now! Try more docs!!
  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 662

    Dec 24, 2010 8:46 PM GMT
    Probably multiple solutions to this kind of problem. I had sciatica with lots of back spasms, started in my 20's. It took a long time, but I found a combination of effective measures, some from chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapy programs, and trainers. The combination of increased flexibility and strength of certain soft tissues (muscle, ligament, fascia) seemed to help. Core strength (back, hip, ab) and stretching of hips, legs and back have made the most difference. Long-term, painstaking solution, but a I have been free from this problem for about 5 years after having it for 25. I don't know anything about surgery for this, but it would be a last resort for me. I had to do weight loss through surgery which has also helped. Weight loss surgery was a last resort for me because it didn't happen any other way I tried.
  • jlly_rnchr

    Posts: 1759

    Dec 24, 2010 8:56 PM GMT
    I'd forget about the acupuncture and chiropractor, I would classify those as wastes of money. You may need a succession of cortisone shots. Was that the shot you received at the ER?

    My mother had a total of three shots in the span of two months, and she's been pain free since 2006.
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    Dec 24, 2010 10:35 PM GMT
    jlly_rnchr saidI'd forget about the acupuncture and chiropractor, I would classify those as wastes of money. You may need a succession of cortisone shots. Was that the shot you received at the ER?

    My mother had a total of three shots in the span of two months, and she's been pain free since 2006.
    Chiropractor + inversion table + a shitload of core exercises fixed me. icon_biggrin.gif
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 24, 2010 10:42 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    jlly_rnchr saidI'd forget about the acupuncture and chiropractor, I would classify those as wastes of money. You may need a succession of cortisone shots. Was that the shot you received at the ER?

    My mother had a total of three shots in the span of two months, and she's been pain free since 2006.
    Chiropractor + inversion table + a shitload of core exercises fixed me. icon_biggrin.gif


    don't forget blow played an important role too (the job, the drug, and the dryer)
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    Dec 24, 2010 10:50 PM GMT
    calibro said
    paulflexes said
    jlly_rnchr saidI'd forget about the acupuncture and chiropractor, I would classify those as wastes of money. You may need a succession of cortisone shots. Was that the shot you received at the ER?

    My mother had a total of three shots in the span of two months, and she's been pain free since 2006.
    Chiropractor + inversion table + a shitload of core exercises fixed me. icon_biggrin.gif


    don't forget blow played an important role too (the job, the drug, and the dryer)
    I haven't done blow in almost 4 years. Thanks for making me want some. icon_lol.gif
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    Dec 24, 2010 10:52 PM GMT
    One foam roller. It's material is like styrafoam. Kind of like a noodle that you use in the pool to float on. Larger though. Use it frequently during the day/night, It will reolve your problem. I have one i bought from 24 hr fitness and it resolves my sciatica problems every time.
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    Dec 29, 2010 6:22 PM GMT
    I have experienced sciatica 3 times, all due to improper deadlift form. Chiropractor was a waste of time and money. What has worked for me is high dose ibuprofen to reduce swelling and physical therapy. PT's interest is to get you well and on your way. Chiropractors ( not all of them, there are good ones ) interest is to keep you coming back. There are many possible causes of sciatica. A good PT will be able to diagnose and provide relief.
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    Jan 12, 2011 10:35 PM GMT
    Dude, mine lasted for months. It was only through regular and intense physical therapy that I was able to get past it. No ice and advil would solve this - I needed help from professionals, for a long time, before I was able to beat it.

    Daniel
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    Jan 12, 2011 10:43 PM GMT
    Had lower back surgery in 1997. I was walking with a cane the pain was so unbearable and at 33 it was not very attractive. Feel great now! Oh there's an occasional twinge but not bad... it's the herniated disc in my upper neck that I am dealing with now.
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    Jan 12, 2011 11:11 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidYeah, I'm starting to think all this money spent on Dr's, chirpractors, and acupuncture is just being wasted...seems that time is the only thing that's gonna heal it, IF it even heals...it's just so fucking persistent.



    Believe me I've had sciatica for about 10 years and yes time and changing activities that bring it on are the best medicine. Figure out which activities bring on the pain, and avoid those activities especially during the flare up, muscle relaxers help too, I take Flexeril when I have a flare up.

    My best pain reliever is changing my activity often and avoid getting in and out of a car frequently, long rides in a car, and long periods of sitting. Some days Sciatica kicks in within minutes of getting in a car, some days I'm able to ride with no trouble but I cannot predict when it will hit me. Another one is that I cannot lay or sleep on my right side or Sciatica kicks in over that. I've learned to live with it and work around it and now I have very few major flare ups. Just pay attention to your body and work with it, you'll get better with time, Good luck !!!