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Sciatica & low back pain

(264 Posts)
Horseshoebeach Sun 08-Dec-19 20:08:28

I was hoping all this would be gone by now or at least easing a bit. But several weeks on the low right back pain, buttock (rump area), sciatica in leg down to the ankle, is quite literally making life hell. First off I thought it was down to a fall I had. The x-ray I had confirmed there was no fracture with a little additional info re osteophytes lower down in the spine. Sitting for longer than 10 minutes is difficult to say the least. Then there's getting up from sitting with muscle type spasm, then finding a comfortable position to sleep. It's always there. Had an MRI (don't know results yet) & I'm so embarrassed to admit I barely made it through (felt panicky). Then at the end when it was over I asked the radiographer if he had all he needed and to take longer if he wanted (had calmed down by then) but he said he had all he needed. Now I'm worried in case he felt the need to rush it because of my anxiety. Many people have it so much worse with pain and illness and I know that. I just feel in such a mess with this and want this thing to start feeling just a little bit better. Has anyone been through something similar that seemed to go on? This is my first time posting so apologies if I'm on the wrong thread (& so sorry for the moody rant) X

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NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Sun 08-Dec-19 21:38:32

You have my sympathy I have had two bouts of Sciatica in last three years and like you couldn’t sit down for more than a few minutes.
My first attack last nearly six months, I only coped as I did manage to sleep reasonably well, my recent episode lasted about 10 weeks.
What pain relief have you been prescribed?

CatToddlerUprising Sun 08-Dec-19 21:40:36

Sciatica every day for the past 10 years. Are you under consultant care?

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Sun 08-Dec-19 21:40:58

I had an MRI a few years ago, I was in a panic and the only thing that kept me going was that my 8 year old had managed one just a few months previously, so I thought if he could I should be able.

Horseshoebeach Sun 08-Dec-19 23:16:21

Thanks for replying, I'm taking naproxen and gabapentin. Sometimes it helps for a bit but it can vary to be honest. Hope you're well now x

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NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Sun 08-Dec-19 23:59:34

My sciatica has been replaced by tendonitis in my ankle now!

Do you find walking helps, i got so fed up one day with my first bout of sciatica and just walked for 2 hours, it started to improve the next day.

user1497873278 Mon 09-Dec-19 07:21:22

I had a fall a few months ago and I’m not sure if it’s related haven’t been able to bend down since but was slightly improving then all of a sudden excruciating back pain low left side of spine gradually getting worse over 2week period crying in pain couldn’t get into doctors so was hell worse than child birth and iv had 4 with no pain relief at all anyway seen consultant waiting for mri he thinks disc pressing on nerve have got some diazepam that helps the terrible leg spasms an cramps that can last hour and half I have honestly been climbing the walls with this pain I can’t lay at all so have been sleeping in chair for 2weeks now the pain when laying down was horrendous and getting up impossible my only relief if you can call it that is walking around house slowly still painful but eases the spasms and calf cramps it feels like it’s never going to end the consultant said move as much as possible you won’t make it worse well getting in car to get to him had me in tears and I’m no wimp have even had route canal without pain relief as I’m allergic to lots of meds that was fucking horrendous but honestly would rather have every tooth done than go through this just want some sleep and a few hours with no pain unfortunately I can’t take many meds because of allergies so I’m only on paracetamol st moment with the diazepam so been awake most of the night and oh my god I feel your pain let me know if you find a miraculous cure and I’ll do the same I’m only 50 but feel 100 and so not used to being inactive 😩

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Mon 09-Dec-19 19:51:36

I sympathise with you all. I had my firdt bout of sciatica about 2 years ago which lasted for several months but I now realise this was a mild flare up compared to my current one. For 4 and half months every day I have been in pain and unable to sleep for more then a couple of hours a night. Have to sleep on the sofa which I'm sure is crap for my posture but it's the only way I can lay down wedged on my side with big sofa cushions and a cushion between my knees.

It's horrific. Had my MRI done and showed a large broad based herniation of L5/S1 disc and it's severely pressing on the sciatic nerve causing the horrendous pain in butt and down my right leg.

I have had over 3 months of physiotherapy, weeks and weeks of accupuncture, nothing is shifting it and my posture is now dreadful and I'm getting problems further up my back from stooping and not being able to stand and walk properly. My physiotherapist has sort of said it's not improving and given me crutches to walk with to try and enable me to keep active.

It's looking like I may end up having microdiscectomy but always heard surgery should be avoided if possible but I can not carry on like this.

Horseshoebeach Tue 10-Dec-19 00:12:05

Sorry to read about the tendonitis in your ankle (hope it gets better for you soon x). Actually I do find that walking helps with my sciatica. & it helps get my mind away from it for a while. x

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Horseshoebeach Tue 10-Dec-19 00:16:01

PrincessAnnaOfArundale, so sorry to read about the pain you've been having. Has your GP been helpful /or are you under the care of a consultant? x

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PrincessAnnaOfArundale Tue 10-Dec-19 06:07:32

My GP has been as helpful as she can be. She referred me for MRI the first appointment I had with her which was good. She also read the MRI report and referred me straight to the neurosurgery at the advice of the radiologist report. I have spoken to the neurosurgery consultant who would be doing the microdiscectomy but I'm so unsure about what to do. The pain is horrible and constant and with 2 children to look after (thankfully at age 8 and 12 they aren't too physically needy, I can't imagine coping with babies or toddlers like this). I feel like I'm barley even parenting them though. Dh has been fantastic but I miss doing activities with them. We've always been an ourdoorsy family, hiking, camping, kayaking, outdoor cooking etc and I am currently parenting them from the sofa sad Thank you for the sympathy though. It's nice to have a moan sometimes because I'd go crazy otherwise! I wouldn't wish this on anyone so huge sympathy and support to anyone else feeling this because it's shit tbh.

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Tue 10-Dec-19 06:16:25

I was very anxious getting MRI too so I totally get where you're coming from. I have health anxiety as it is and this is crippling me physically and emotionally. I am dreading the prospect of surgery but I am in so much pain sometimes that I am writhing about crying. Do any medications work for you? I seem to be struggling to find anything to take the edge off. If you want to know your MRI results sooner then I'd go to hospital out of hours gp and lay it on thick about the horrendous pain you're in and they should be able to access the MRI and get the radiologist to rush through the report while you are there. Might be worth it because MRI results waiting times are up to 12 weeks here which is ridiculous when you are in so much pain.

ClientListQueen Tue 10-Dec-19 06:20:25

@PrincessAnnaOfArundale I had surgery (5hrs) on a severe L5/S1 herniation because I developed cauda equina
Up and walking within an hour and discharged less than 24hrs later. I still get some slight lower back pain but no leg pain

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Tue 10-Dec-19 16:29:17

Thank you so much ClientListQueen. These are the stories I need to hear haha. I had a phone call from hospital today and they have a slot on 30th December if I want it. I've said yes but now I'm shitting myself if I'm honest. I have to admit stories like yours fill me with hope. I want my life back sad

ClientListQueen Tue 10-Dec-19 16:49:39

You need to do the recovery as they say, it was 8 weeks of no bending whatsoever, lifting or twisting. Loads of walking and I did a lot of gentle core work like standing on one leg and walking on cobbles etc
I was back on my horse at 9 weeks post op

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Tue 10-Dec-19 18:35:49

Wow that's fantastic really. I miss just walking without being hunched over and my muscles locking. I miss being able to sit and lay comfortably. Everything is such an effort. I managed to slowly walk round Sainsbury's today holding on to the trolley and I felt like that was a work out in itself but felt like I'd really achieved something! Ridiculous when 5 months ago we were snorkelling and climbing mountains. Now a shuffle round Sainsbury's is an achievement for me!

fitflopqueen Tue 10-Dec-19 18:41:11

I had sciatica for months, GP wasn't really interested, got to the point where that slight tilt to brush your teeth and spit was difficult in the mornings and getting socks/pants on.
Went to yoga - fixed within a couple of weeks, now just more aware, so consider alternate options too.

ClientListQueen Tue 10-Dec-19 19:03:52

To add don't touch yoga/Pilates/chiropractor/NOTHING until you get your MRI results
I was nearly paralysed, and no amount of yoga was solving that plus one move could have fully crushed my spinal cord

user1497873278 Tue 10-Dec-19 21:11:39

Princessannaofarandal
I feel your pain I have a nearly 3 year old and she can’t even sit on my lap for a cuddle just feels like my life has stopped the pain is constant at best just about bearable at worst I’m sobbing diazepam is giving me about 2 hours sleep but then I have to get up and walk around for sometimes hours to ease spasms I’m waiting for mri so consultant thinks it’s same as you I sleep in chair at a different angle every night the left lower side of my back is so painful now I can’t even rub the ibuprofen gel into it I am missing out on everything Christmas as I can’t get in car and it’s the not knowing when it will end or if that’s the worst bit I’m dreading the consultant saying I will need an op as I have a bad track record with operations and drug allergies I really feel your pain literally will be thinking of you when I’m walking around at 1.30am😲

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Wed 11-Dec-19 06:30:21

User1497873278, this really sucks doesn't it? I'm currently laying on the sofa after waking up at 1:30am and finally getting back to sleep only to wake up for the day at 4am again in pain. Are you on gabapentin or amatryptaline? They are able to block some of the nerve pain for some people. I understand about the missing out on Christmas things. I went to pick put our Christmas tree with the boys and I was in so much pain and unable to stand up straight for long enough to walk round the shop, ended up just.leaning on the counter while the picked it out. Often end up crouching or on all fours which is just embarrassing and not always doable in public places! The last 4 weeks I have given in and gone on Gabapentin which has taken some of the edge off the nerve pain, it's still there, biting away but less breath taking searing stabbing in my leg, more cramping and aching but it seems to have calmed the pins and needles too. Still muscle spasms and unable to stand for long. Who knew that discs could cause so much pain? I am 35 and feel so disabled by this.

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Wed 11-Dec-19 06:44:11

Sorry meant to say surgery is a scary prospect for anyone but with your track record it must be worse.

Honestly before Gabapentin I was seriously to the point of contemplating suicide with the pain being what it was and I don't say that lightly. The pain is something so intense and unrelenting that I.just couldn't see a way out. It took about 2 weeks to up.the dose of gabapentin and get it into my system before I stopped feeling this way. The pain now I feel is still horrible at times but it's under control to the point where I can get in a car now, walk with my crutches or hanging on to a trolley. A month ago I was housebound and spent every evening just crying on the floor. I don't know what medications you can tolerate but please don't give up on finding something to take the edge off.

I still use an ice pack when it's bad, for some reason placing ice pack right near the coxyx and over my butt cheek seems to calm the nerve or numb it a bit.

I dread to think what I'd be like again if I wasn't on the gabapentin. But now I'm torn between troughing it out, carrying on with meds and giving my body time to try and heal itself or going for surgery. My.phsio said with the impact upon my posture I should consider surgery to avoid long term damage...it's been 4 and half months of hell and I'm so confused. By the time of surgery it will be over 5 months of pain. Torn as to whether to wait longer or just take the op.

user1497873278 Wed 11-Dec-19 07:18:10

Princessofarundale I have been awake since 2am have to admit I have been feeling so bad that I thought I don’t want to live if this is it can’t take anymore so shattered tried to lie on my side on sofa as with pillow between legs it was horrendous then couldn’t get up will try to get some different drugs hoping you went back to sleep

user1497873278 Wed 11-Dec-19 09:11:46

Amitriptyline is one I can’t have but I’m going to try docs again today to see if I can get the phone consultation I was waiting for yesterday just really want to know if there is anything else they can prescribe me for when the pains unbearable like you said nerve pain then I know I could cope better just need a few hours a day with manageable pain then I know I can cope with the really bad bits I know your still a long way from ok and I hope you don’t have to go down the operation route I just would like to get out of the house drive a little even if it stays like this for me I will be begging for op even though he did mention spinal injections first but still have to be put to sleep x

HoppyHop Wed 11-Dec-19 09:21:46

So sorry you are suffering with this, it's horrible.
My diagnosed sciatica built up slowly over 4 months to being unbearable. A yoga teacher friend gave me a sheet of exercises to do that enabled the spine to open up and release the sciatic nerve. I was sceptical but it really made a difference to me and my symptoms had gone within a month. I now do the exercises (fairly!) regularly as a preventative measure.
As others have said please get checked out first to ensure no further damage can be done but it worked for me.

user1497873278 Wed 11-Dec-19 12:01:25

Thank you waiting for the mri

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