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Sciatica, agony. Should I go to gp, osteopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist?

(21 Posts)
Ouluckyduck Mon 29-Oct-12 08:47:00

I havent slept properly for days and just want it to stop. Was abroad last week and doctor there did give me painkillers but they are not helping at all. So what to di next? It is really getting me down!

TheWombat Mon 29-Oct-12 08:58:47

You poor thing, sciatica is horribly painful. I suffered with it after some major pelvic surgery and found some gentle stretches made all the difference.

I am NOT a health care professional and I think whether these offer you relief will depend on where the nerve is being 'pinched', but here's what I did:

1) lie on your back, knees bent. Gently let your knees fall to one side, then rock them slowly over to the other. Only as much as you can, and slowly.

2) bouncing gently on a gym ball felt comfortable for me.

3) yoga 'cat' stretches

4) gentle hamstring stretch: sit on a chair, and stretch out one leg, with your toes flexed. Lean forward gently from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold for 20 seconds, then try and lean forward a little more.

5) the tennis ball exercise: lie on your back, knees bent. Place a tennis ball into the small of your back and wiggle gently, letting it settle into a spot where you feel tenderness. Just relax against the tennis ball for about 30 secs, then move it into another tender spot. This is supposed to relax muscles which are impinging on the nerves causing sciatica. It was hugely helpful for me.

Of course you shouldn't do these exercises if they cause you more pain, and if the sciatica is causing you to lose all feeling in your legs / loss of bodily functions, you need to see a Dr.

Hope you feel better very soon.

gingeroots Mon 29-Oct-12 09:21:32

Personally I would go for an oesteopath .
From my own experience with frozen shoulder .
GP will give pain killers and refer but IME the referral takes weeks if you're lucky ,months if not .

StarsGhostTail Mon 29-Oct-12 09:27:10

Move, go for a walk, swim, do not sit still!!

I had to fight with Birmingham on Sat, ended up walking miles. Back and legs much, much better grin

Physio or osteopath work, but I found the free NHS one and the paid one did exactly the same.

I was very lucky, we have very little waiting to see the physios as they are in our small town cottage hospital and don't require a referral in to the county wide black hole.

Ouluckyduck Mon 29-Oct-12 17:56:51

Is aspirin better or ibuprofen?

poozlepants Mon 29-Oct-12 18:00:45

Having just had a bout of sciatica a few months ago I would recommend ibuprofen 3 times a day and an electric heat pad. I also found walking helped a lot and sitting down for long periods terrible. Mine was always worse when I woke up if I'd slept in the wrong position. I had it when I was pregnant and the osteopath was magic- 3 sessions and it disappeared.

TheWombat Mon 29-Oct-12 20:34:35

I think it depends on the cause of the sciatica: if it's caused by inflammation and swelling pressing on the nerve, anti inflammatories can help reduce that. But I can't take that, so codeine was my best bet.
Get well soon OP!

Feckbox Mon 29-Oct-12 20:42:18

terrible, terrible condition. You have my utmost sympathy.
Most cases resolve on their own within 6 weeks. Good luck

Ouluckyduck Tue 30-Oct-12 17:13:57

I went to the gp today and embarrassingly burst into tears but after a week without sleep I felt like I was losing my mind. He has prescribed codeine now which seems to work better, and also diazepam to help with sleeping which Im a bit nervous about taking, but I think I need to do it just to get back on an even keel.

Smudging Tue 30-Oct-12 17:20:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatoPotato Tue 30-Oct-12 17:21:56

I strongly strongly recommend Pilates!

SuzySuzSuz Tue 30-Oct-12 20:26:50

Ir's awful and my husband is going through the same so I can sympathise. He tried diazepam and tramadol along with naproxen which unfortunately didn't help him, so I do hope they help you and give you some relief. It's just awful when you can't even sleep or find a comfortable position to get any relief or rest, you can feel like you're going mad. Husband's on morphine patches from tomorrow so we hope they help otherwise the GP said there isn't anything that can help. We're waiting for his urgent MRI referral to hopefully go through, was due for knee op but pain is so bad for back, hips and other knee we need MRI to identify what's the cause of that pain and see what can be done.
Sorry for harping on (!) I really sympathise and hope you get the pain relief and treatment you need, unfortunately from what we've seen the GP referral process is more constricted and long winded with some of the recent changes to the NHS.

Ouluckyduck Tue 30-Oct-12 20:41:18

sad Suzy

Has your dh tried anything like an acupuncturist or an osteopath? Sounds horrific the gp saying there's nothing else to be done??

SuzySuzSuz Tue 30-Oct-12 20:59:00

No they've never suggested it but will look into thanks! husband did some private physio which had been helping until a few weeks ago.

It started back in May with husband having bad knee pain&mobility, went to GP, went away with pain killers & anti inflammitaries, went back as no improvement, felt like we were fobbed off with stronger versions of both, were eventually referred for ultrasound which didn't show much aside from fluid & inflammation, GP then said husband must be "riddled with arthritis" and basically he'd be on pain relief for rest of life and need to manage with it so husband was gutted. This was completely wrong and we started using a different GP after that.

Then had NHS referral for physio, saw one brilliant woman who said what she thought needed doing with knee but it really felt like we had to fight "the system" to actually get the referral for the consultant to review.

Finally he got an MRI on right knee, he's booked in for op 16th Nov as needs clean up of knee and muscle repair but over last 4 weeks he's been in agony with left side, left knee and back. It may be these have been taking the strain for injured right knee but due to pain it may be that these too have become affected.

His prescription for morphine patches starts tomorrow so we're hoping that helps while we wait for the MRI on back and hips, the GP basically said that if the patches don't help at all then there isn't any pain relief that will help so I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed!

Smudging Wed 31-Oct-12 10:20:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gingeroots Wed 31-Oct-12 10:58:21

My osteopath did " dry needling " and this was brilliant at releasing muscle spasms .

SuzySuzSuz Wed 31-Oct-12 15:54:34

Thanks ladies, will get looking online!

Sorry Ouluckyduck for rambling on so much (!) I hope you're starting to get some relief from your pain.

Ouluckyduck Thu 01-Nov-12 11:00:46

Have an appointment with an zcupuncturist next Tuesday, fingers crossed it will help.

HerbWoman Fri 02-Nov-12 16:26:38

When I had problems a friend lent me a book by Robin McKenzie "Treat your own back" which has several exercises in it. Some are for maintenance and some for flare-ups (can't move type pain). Now, I say exercises, but the first emergency one is simply lie on the floor face down. They really helped me. Then I had an aching back for a few years after that which wasn't anywhere near as bad as it had been but still hurt, and that finally got better when I cut out sugar.

The McKenzie book talks about putting the curves back into your spine correctly, and once past the emergency pain relief exercises, working to strengthen the muscles to avoid problems in the future.

Smudging Mon 05-Nov-12 21:14:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alan92 Wed 27-Jan-16 17:05:51

I´ve seen very good results on my patients treated with osteopathic techniques. There is a great work that gives all the resources to treat sciatica with Osteopathy and all the results.
The book is called 'Osteopathic treatment of low back pain and sciatica caused by disc prolapse' and you can find it here:

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