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Strong pain relief for sciatica

(45 Posts)
Faebird Sun 21-Jul-19 16:37:56


After some advice for the most effective pain relief for severe sciatic leg pain.
I can only describe the pain I'm experiencing as like extreme tooth ache x 10 and going from the bottom of my back straight down to my heal. I can barely walk and am up most of the nights in pain. My life is on hold at the mo while I wait for an MRI and then god knows what. I have a 2 year old and am struggling to be her mummie at the moment which is depressing me.

I'm currently taking a strong dose of cocodemol which only just takes the edge of, doesn't get rid of it and I need more. I didn't get on with naproxen or amatrytaline so am wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and found a certain drug worked well for pain relief?
Should be seeing the doc again tomorrow and want to ask for something stronger but I have no idea what.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated especially positive stories to help me remain positive that I'll get through this. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Redannie118 Sun 21-Jul-19 16:43:19

I have this- tried several combos and the only one that came anywhere close was standard over the counter ibuprofen, paracetamol, prescription strength codine and gabapentin, and yes they are safe to take together. The only issue you may have is tge gabapentin makes you sleepy- not ideal with a 2 year old i know. You have my total sympathy- ive just had a 8 week stint of this and its just easing now, the pain is like nothing else on earth. I found hot baths and heat packs to give some small relief too.

Orangesandlemons82 Sun 21-Jul-19 16:45:41

Pregabalin or gabapentin is often the next choice after Amitriptyline, some people find it more effective but it does take 2+ weeks to start seeing some benefit. Tramadol can help that type of pain in some cases. Good luck finding a solution, that type of pain is unbearable.

tenbob Sun 21-Jul-19 16:47:07

I had a huge disc prolapse a few years ago and found a combination of amitriptyline, Valium and co-codomol helped

But Valium makes you a zombie during the day so it is probably only something to take at night. At least with a decent sleep, you can function better during the day...

The amitriptyline is less harsh in your stomach than diclofenec but they may want you to try that or naproxen first

Orangesandlemons82 Sun 21-Jul-19 16:48:21

Whilst waiting for the pregabalin to take effect, my GP prescribed some zopiclone - sleeping tablets so at least I could get some rest still, which made the day times more bearable

Nat6999 Sun 21-Jul-19 16:57:47

Ask if you can try Dihydrocodeine, it's not as strong as tramadol but stronger than paracetamol, you really do need something like naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. Gabapentin or pregabalin will reduce the pain but they make you very sleepy, they turned me in to a dribbling, drugged up zombie.

Faebird Sun 21-Jul-19 17:00:29

Gosh see my ignorance, I've not heard of most of these. I'll ask the doc about them tomorrow.
I've had this since January 😣 and just in the last week my leg has gone numb and the pins and needles are constant and the pain beyond anything (and I gave birth without any pain relief so I reckon my pain threshold is high!)
Thanks so far everyone, the more the better. I just hope once I have the scan and get some answers than maybe I'll be taken abit more seriously because I spoke to an out of hours doc on the phone the other day and he said he can't understand why I weren't sent for an MRI months ago considering how long I've had this and had no improvement with physio.
I just want to pick my daughter up and play with her again 😔

OP’s posts: |
tenbob Sun 21-Jul-19 18:36:31

You probably know this already, but if it gets worse and you get ‘saddle numbness’ - a loss of feeling around your bum/groin/inner thighs, or any sort of incontinence, it’s a 999 situation and tell them you think you have cauda equina

And incontinence doesn’t just mean wetting or pooing yourself. If you are on the toilet but can’t feel if you’re going, or can’t stop once you start, that’s also a ‘red flag’ symptom.

Hope it gets sorted soon flowers

Orangesox Sun 21-Jul-19 18:51:30

Gabapentin is the one that does the trick for me, I do also take a high dose of Amitriptyline as well due to some other nerve problems I have.

You do need to give any neuropathic pain drugs a bit of time to take effect though, and by that, I mean a few weeks. Neuropathic pain is categorically the worst pain I’ve experienced in my life, and it’s the unremitting, constant monotony of it that pervades every fibre of your being that wears you down the most. It’s also one of those issues that cannot be fully alleviated with any form of medication, and will still be there in some form with whatever drug works best for you.

It’s a really poorly catered for issue I find; I’ve had back problems for nigh on 18 years, but it took an emergency admission to A&E for me to get an MRI which funnily enough showed multiple massively herniated discs, and then led to an onward referral to a Spinal Specialist. The reason they don’t fish out imaging left right and centre is that for the vast majority of people, their symptoms will resolve within 18 months with conservative treatment - but for those of us with major issues it lengthens the waiting time to have things looked at, and we end up with zero quality of life in the intervening period.

Blueuggboots Sun 21-Jul-19 18:54:01

Dihydrocodeine is twice the strength of codeine, hence the DI at the beginning...

squiglet111 Sun 21-Jul-19 18:57:42

Tramadol worked for me when I had sciatica bouts. Nothing else I tried worked (paracetamol, ibuprofen, codine)

TantricTwist Sun 21-Jul-19 18:59:05

OP the person (generally a spine specialist) who refered you for the MRI should have told your GP to prescribe you Gabapentin and told you they were doing so.

Do you have the MRI date booked already?

Gabapentin and co-codamol work very well together generally.

Faebird Sun 21-Jul-19 20:42:18

Tantric Twist no I'm currently 9 3 weeks into a 10-12 week waiting list just to see an orthopedic specialist who would then be the one to refer me for an MRI so thankfully I have a generous mum, she's offered to pay for me to have a private MRI which fingers crossed I shall be hearing from tomorrow and then hopefully having the scan some time mid week. I'll ask about this gabapentin, it sounds like the majority of you would recommend it.

Orangesox sorry to hear you've had such pain for so long I can even imagine it! The thought has crossed my mind if I could live like this and the answer is no but obviously would never give up easily not when I've got my little girl to get better for anyway.
Has anyone had the discectomy surgery? X

OP’s posts: |
S1naidSucks Sun 21-Jul-19 20:46:29

I know you’ve received lots of good advice and as a regular sufferer of agonising sciatica I can relate. It sounds strange, but can you get some ‘Deep Freeze’ gel? I had it for weeks and the meds and pain weren’t touching it. A chemist recommended Deep Freeze and the difference was amazing! Seriously it’s worth a go.

BetterEatCheese Sun 21-Jul-19 20:50:02

Naproxen is fabulous

Loz90333 Sun 21-Jul-19 20:51:57

I second @tenbob . I had excruciating sciatica due to a disc herniation which turned out to be Cauda Equina. Not to scare you OP and not to say you have it, but ANY numbness/ can't wee/ can't poo/ wee yourself/ poo yourself ring 999. Honestly not trying to scare you, just don't want any one else to have this!

weediva Sun 21-Jul-19 21:00:26

Hi. Sorry you are going through this, I have had 3 spells of sciatica all lasting between 3 & 6 months. I was on amytriptalene, diflofenac and tramadol. When it got to the point I couldn't walk and dragging leg I also was given diazepam. I was a zombie for so long but the last bout was helped by a chiropractor. I had tried physio, acupuncture and an osteopath but none of those helped or if they did ease it slightly it was short lived. Chiropractor was expensive but we worth every penny to feel normal again. As soon as it started easing I kept up with stretches and exercises as much as possible. I also agree with the ice cold sprays & gels. I hope you get some relief soon x

tenbob Sun 21-Jul-19 21:26:53

I had a micro discectomy
I was supposed to have the discectomy and fusion but while they were prepping me for surgery, the surgeon decided to do the smaller operation, and see how I recovered.

I so clearly remember coming around from the anaesthetic and realising I wasn’t in pain, and bursting into tears of relief.
My recovery from the op was really straight forward. I was out of bed the same day, home the next day and back to normal within a couple of days

jewel1968 Sun 21-Jul-19 21:33:40

I have had similar and found a TENS machine (from Boots) really really helpful. I find most pain medication not great but I haven't tried all that is suggested on this thread. Icepack too is good. I read somewhere that one specialist described sciatica as a river of pain. Really resonated with me.

AWafferthinmint Sun 21-Jul-19 21:38:02

You poor thing, it's such a relentless pain. I second a PP- a TENs machine was the only thing that helped me cope. You can pick them up quite cheaply from your chemist.

Qwertyguerty Sun 21-Jul-19 21:41:25

I used to get deep pains in my wrist and regular acupuncture alleviated it almost right away. If you have time to do it maybe give it a go? Good luck!

WhenOhWhenWillIThisBeOver Sun 21-Jul-19 23:37:57

A combination of medication is best. You need the following
Strong painkiller (I take oxycodone, both slow release and quick acting liquid for top ups);
Something for nerve pain: I take pregabalin, which is similar to gapapentin but newer, supposedly fewer side effects
Strong anti inflammatories : I actually take slow release ibuprofen as I found it worked best for me, normal dose is 1600mg a day.
Plus maybe something to protect your stomach from the anti inflammatories, and something to help you sleep/act as a muscle relaxant - I take alprazolam and sometimes zolpidem.

I also see an osteopath.
Good luck, back pain is miserable.

Whoops75 Mon 22-Jul-19 01:57:14

I take Arcoxia 90mg in the morning

Paracetamol during the day

Amitripaline 20mg at night

Still have some pain and constant tingling but it’s so much better than it was.

My mri was clear so I’m waiting for more tests

Good luck

OneHanded Mon 22-Jul-19 02:29:26

I don’t suffer sciatica but have chronic nerve pain disorder from nerve damage and gabapentin taken as prescribed makes all the difference in the world for me. It’s a nerve pain drug so definitely speak to your doctor re if it’s a possibility for you.

me55age5 Mon 22-Jul-19 07:47:23

Physio helped and continued faithfully with stretch excercises she gave me. When I stopped doing them back again with sciatica pain. The muscles get strengthened around the nerves.
Over the counter adco dol helps with pain and a sleeping tablet. Heater pad on lower back. One that switches off after a period of time. Exinef plus two paracetamol help also in place of adcI dol. The excercises are the best for me and to watch lifting and pushing heavy things around. A pillow or cushion between your knees at night supports the back.

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