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Tips on pain relief for sciatica. It is unbearable :(

(74 Posts)
FifiFerusha Fri 06-May-16 10:09:09


I wondered if anyone knew what I can do as I have to wait 6 weeks to get a physio appointment and I am in agony. I also have a 9mo and a 6yo and I am finding it really hard to look after them properly with the pain I am going through.

The doctor says to just keep taking the painkillers but they hardly touch it. The oaharmacy said en to take neurofen and co codomal together. This is the only thing that has worked and give relief for about two hours although I can only take them every four. I am also worried that co codomal should only be taken for three days. .how can I keep this up for 6 weeks? I am really struggling to carry my son around, get him to sleep , bf him(I only do this in the morning now and avoid co codomal at this time although I feed him in agony, he is a big boy). The doctor hiwever says I can take co codomal and bf but am simply worried about affecting him.

The pain is around my bum, in my right thigh and projects down into my shin, ankles and leaves my feet with pins and needles. It is worse in the evening and most nights I am genuinely wondering whether I need to go to the hospital it is bad. I am not a hypercondriac and am a very get on with it kind of person but am genuinely struggling to do that right now. My doctor wasn't very helpful. Any tips? I have tried stretching advised( form the internet) but it actually leaves it feeling worse so am scared to do anything until I see the physio. I also start back at work in five weeks and I am not sure I can actually function. Please help if you can x

Napnah Fri 06-May-16 10:11:31

Can you take naproxen if b feeding? As that is what you can ask for.

PacificDogwod Fri 06-May-16 10:18:14

You poor thing.

Continue taking regular Co-codamol (?what strength - your GP can prescribed 30/500) and an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
The 3 day 'rule' is only on the box to make sure people don't treat their, say, broken leg with painkillers without seeking medical help and you have been seen by your dr, yes?
Try hot and/or ice back, consider going for one physio appointment privately - often they can help you a bit with a massage or gentle manipulation. IME physios know more about human anatomy and the biomechanics of our back than most doctors will ever know (well, at least I know that is true for me blush).
Consider a trial of a TENS machine, most chemists now sell versions for a tenner or so.
Also, go back to your GP and discuss whether you might benefit from something for neuropathic pain such as Carbamazepine (an anti epileptic), Gabapentin (another one) or Amitriptyline (an antidepressant). None of these are painkillers but can make a big difference to nerve pain with is what sciatica is (your sciatic nerve being irritated by either muscle tension or a disk bulge etc).

You will get better, but it does take time, sometimes a lot of time which is hard to bear when you have young children to look after. Oh, and re BFing: sometimes you have to weight the benefits vs the risks of additional drugs. The BFing Network has very good information about meds and BFing. It is worth a discussion with your dr.

daydream86 Fri 06-May-16 10:22:02

aww sweetheart I really feel
for you, I've been there 2 years ago and it's the worst pain in the world. I'm a nurse and had a disc prolapse 2 years ago. when I was going through it my GP was really
good we tried a cocktail of codeine Phos, paracetamol, naproxen (NSAID) and pregabalin. I'm not upto scratch which you can use them While BF though, sorry. I also
found a tens machine massively helpful if you haven't already considered that. I bought one from lloyds pharmacy for about £20, I had it strapped to me for most of the day during my lowest ebb. physiotherapy is proven to help for the vast majority of people, if you can't wait for 6 weeks is it possible at all financially to go for a private physio? I did for around £30 per session (weekly) and it was the one thing that made a massive difference for me, they were fantastic. unfortunately sometimes physio doesn't help, I don't
want to alarm you but my disc
problem was one of the <5% that doesn't respond to physio and they fast tracked me a referral to an NHs Spinal surgeon who I saw within 2 weeks, 2 weeks after that I had a microdiscectomy operation which was 100% curative for me. I hope this info will help. hang on in there
it does get better x

tiredgranny Fri 06-May-16 22:46:17

Try to get appt for pain clinic. I had sciatica and they did something to the nerves think cauterize them . Never been bothered since

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 06-May-16 22:50:08

My DH had fantastic success with physio for sciatica. Would it be possible for you to see one privately?

BlueUggs Fri 06-May-16 23:05:51

Get an MRI scan done (£200 privately) so you know exactly what is causing the pain.
I got told I had sciatica- turned out I needed a hip replacement and put up with increasing pain for about 3 years!!

AnnieOnnieMouse Fri 06-May-16 23:09:02

Tens machine user here, too.
It will release the spasm in the muscles around the sciatic nerve. These spasming muscles cause more pain than the actual initial damage.

FifiFerusha Sat 07-May-16 07:37:48

Thank you everyone. I would love to go private but unfortunately am not in any financial position to do that. I may try and get another doctors appointment to get better painkillers but am worried they will just fob me off with oaracetomol and Ibrofene.. The cocodamol I am taking are the regular ones I bought from the pharmacy. Can. I really takes this for weeks on end? Am worried that it can be addictive but the pain is so bad I can't see any other way out.Will try a tens also. Any exercise that you have found helpful? X

Napnah Sat 07-May-16 07:39:50

Ask for naproxen. It takes a couple of days to work and is tough on your tummy but it is marvellous stuff. Not sure about breeding though

Napnah Sat 07-May-16 07:40:17


I mean bfeeding!!

lovelilies Sat 07-May-16 07:47:52

I have sciatica on and off for years, pregnant at the moment. My pregnancy yoga teacher has shown me some good stretches that help, including one with a tennis ball. You kind of sit on it pressing right into your buttock where the pain is, it hurts like mad but you need to keep the pressure on and after a couple of mins it really relieves it. I think it's some kind of acupressure.
I'm sure there are others too if you google.
Also YY to stronger analgesia.
Good luck.

princessmi12 Sat 07-May-16 07:52:07

To go private either to see chiropractor or for pain relief it's best thing you can do for yourself despite money situation.I would not put much hopes on physio as it might not work(didn't in my case). For around 3 sessions and about £120 you can start feeling better . having said that you probably should stop picking baby up and curry him around as little as possible as his weight might be biggest contributor to your problem

princessmi12 Sat 07-May-16 08:06:59

Yoga with the ball and stretches come second after sorting actual issue . Most likely it's nerve trapped or disk jammed. I went chiropractic route,sorted the issue with manipulation of the spine and only then did stretches and strengthening exercises to maintain wellbeing

frazmum Sat 07-May-16 08:20:15

Have suffered with sciatica for 3 years starting with a bad episode like you're having so really sympathise. As others suggested could you manage private chiropractor or osteopath? Physio doesn't work as well I found. Osteo helped me get off pain meds. In the night if in pain, get up and walk around for a while. Be wary of Gabapentin, for some (like me) can mess with your head, I became a bit paranoid.

RJnomore1 Sat 07-May-16 09:12:40

If you can possibly find the money to see a sports Physio it would probably be the best money you've ever spent.

SellFridges Sat 07-May-16 09:19:34

I second a physio. I have a recurring hip pain and am so lucky that we have a physio on site at work who we can see for free. She does accupuncture on the precise spot that the pain radiates from and it just magically relaxes and goes away. I can get a similar feeling with a tennis ball but it's not as precise.

Piemernator Sat 07-May-16 09:30:56

Sciatica sufferer here.

What shoes are you wearing? People automatically think heels are bad and they are but totally flat pumps and unsupported trainers were part of the problem for me. I now wear sketchers with quite a high instep inside or wedges, hell wedges have totally changed the pain levels I get. Two years ago I was having to use a walking stick it was so bad. Now it is totally manageable. I actually think painkillers make no difference whatsoever to sciatica.

Chuck out stuff like Converse for starters and ballerina pumps.

PacificDogwod Sat 07-May-16 10:13:53

Yes, you can take strong painkillers for as long as you need to.
They can cause a physical dependency, but as long as you take them for PAIN which of course also means cutting them down when your pain is less, you'll be fine. It's when people start taking them just 'they've always taken them' or 'to feel normal' you'd have to worry.

I hope some of the advice here is helpful.
Do see your GP again.

It may be different elsewhere but here pain clinics are very much CHRONIC pain clinics and have a waiting time of a year hmm. They are not designed to deal with acute severe pain.

NorthernSkies Sat 07-May-16 10:16:42

Agree with Piemernator, flat soled shoes are one of the worst things you can wear if you have back issues. A few years ago my sciatica was so bad I couldn't stand up for more than 10 seconds without being in agony, for nearly 9 months I had physio, various painkillers, an MRI(it found I do have 2 bulging discs) but nothing helped.

Then one day I happened to get a new pair of shoes(i'd been wearing ballerina flats) they had a slight wedge to them and to my absolute surprise found the more I wore them the better my sciatica got, and has continued to get. I can also really recommend Fit Flop shoes/sandals, they are like walking on air.

Roomba Sat 07-May-16 10:21:49

I was almost prescribed naproxen for joint pain a couple of years ago, but when the consultant realised I was BF she changed it to diclofenac as she said naproxen wasn't suitable if BF. So you may want to double check that. That said, I wa prescribed naproxen whilst BF a few years before that - which was for sciatica.

You have my sympathy, OP. I suffered with it for years and it is awful. Mine eased off eventually, not sure why, and I live in fear of it returning. Physio didn't do much for me, but others I know have found it to be a lifesaver.

Roomba Sat 07-May-16 10:25:39

Also - the cocodamol from the chemist's only has 8mg of codeine per tablet. Your GP can prescribe cocodamol that has 15mg or even 30mg per tablet (so you can take up to 60mg of codeine at once which may work much better). I took these for months at a time, just when needed, and never had any problem stopping them. Ask your GP for something stronger. Pain clinics are for people with longstanding pain issues which nothing else has helped, and have very long waiting lists.

iwantavuvezela Sat 07-May-16 13:06:44

You can also try placing a hot water bottle on the pain on the side of your bottom, and alternate with a bag of frozen peas. (15 minutes of each, alternating) I found the hot water bottle really helped.

To sleep I used to lie on my side and wedge a pillow between my legs.

Ultimately the only thing to get rid of it was 3'sessions with a chiropractor. The relief afterwards was immense!

FifiFerusha Sun 08-May-16 22:05:25

Thank you everyone. Your advice is really helpful. Although it is awful for us all it is reassuring to hear that I am not alone and that I am not being a silly wimp and the pain I am experiencing has been shared although I wish none of us have to, had to, go through it..

I always wear flat shoes but have some wedged sandals so will try that out. I am willing to go private if I can find the money but I need to know that it will work. There is no way I can afford tons of sessions to not get anywhere with it if that makes sense. Also I am not even entirely sure where the true problem lies. Will a chiropractor be able to diagnose this. I feel slightly ignorant about this and would welcome experiences. Is it also possible myi body is getting used to the pain killers I am taking. I have started using regular Ibprofane with co codomal instead of neurofen though it isn't working as well. Neurofen is so expensive though. As you can see I am on my last three months of mat leave. . .meaning zilch income. . .it sucks.

Has anyone also had strange pains in their bones? In the. evening I have pangs in my bones, shin and ankle. I am wondering if they are just taking the strain of whatever the original issue is.

I have started to try and carry DS front ways as I usually hold him on the hip of my weakened side. It doesn't help that he is a very clingy mummy's boy at the moment, his age. In fact I have also noticed how much my body depends on that side.
Should I get another doctors appointment (for stronger meds and..)to see if they can make some kind of diagnosis or am I right in thinking a regular GP will only refer as it isn't their specialism..

Sorry about all the questions but you all seem to know what you are talking about.

Again. Thank you all x x I am so sick of being in pain. It gets to a point where it takes over your mind sad

PacificDogwod Sun 08-May-16 22:21:15

Of course you should go back and see your GP - to be assessed for Red Flags (bladder/bowel problems, weakness, numbness to name but a few), to reassess your pain relief (you can get Ibuprofen on prescription + stronger opiate pain relief like Cocodamol 30/500 +/- something for neuropathic pain) AND for referral to physiotherapy +/- specialist assessment for ?MRI scanning.

I know lots of people get benefit from osteopathy/chiropractical manipulations. I'd be a bit wary until my back problem was diagnosed. Personally, I would go for physiotherapy - a good physio knows so much about human anatomy and how it should work. Many of them will do some manipulations as well if they feel that might be appropriate.

Also, would you consider carrying your DS in a sling/backpack type thing?? Much, much better for the back than any kind of hip carry.

I hope you feel better soon thanks

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