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Chronic pain

Sciatica is ruining my life!

22 replies

MissCrowley · 27/10/2021 12:31

TLDR: really bad sciatic, can't take drugs, been referred but need help now.

Since April this year I've had ongoing sciatica which is now 100% worse.
I've seen physios/ osteopaths and god knows who else. Nothing seems to be working.
I've had a referral from the Drs for a spine clinic, I researched this myself and have gone private with them. My first session is tomorrow afternoon but I'm worried in case their treatments dont work either.

I am very sensitive to drugs so I'm unable to take ibuprofen/ NSAIDs- due to asthma but also due to my feeling very out of it even on a small dose.

I'm in chronic pain every day and the only thing that stops it from hurting is lying flat on my back. Sometimes I have to do this every half an hour.

I can't go out anywhere as my leg starts to play up and I'm basically having to hop around like a bloody flamingo.

As funny as that sounds it's completely humiliating, I'm grumpy all the time because I'm in pain and I can't seem to get comfortable sitting down. I work from home and it's desk/ computer work. I understand this isn't ideal but I've tried changing my chair, getting a laptop stand, I've even spent £1000 on a new bed and I wear barefoot shoes!
I love walking with my family and exploring but I've not been able to do it for so long. I think it's getting to the point where it's making me depressed (I can't take ADs either as they make me 100% worse- last time I tried them I had back to back panic attacks for 36 hours)

Does anyone have any hints/ tips or idea on how to make life a little less painful?

OP posts:

helpfulperson · 27/10/2021 12:38

Have tried a standing desk? Or a kitchen table with a box on so your laptop is at chest height. This made a huge difference for me.


HarrietOh · 27/10/2021 12:42

Also echoed a standing desk - I got one from IKEA. It's a god send for my back as sitting all day is bad.


cosmopolitanplease · 27/10/2021 12:45

You might find relief from following an anti-inflammatory diet, excluding the types of foods that can cause inflammation such as sugar, gluten and dairy. Maybe look in to paleo recipes. I hope you find relief as sciatica is awful Thanks


ReturntoSpamfritters · 27/10/2021 12:54



2chooze · 27/10/2021 13:06

I had awful sciatica for 5 months. Couldn’t sit at all , even for seconds, could only stand for a few minutes and walks short distances (was really active before it). I was only pain free laying flat.
I was on loads of drugs, but if it helps at I really didn’t find any of them worked at all.
I did find a TENS machine helped a bit (for a while I couldn’t even lay flat) so it might be worth trying one of those (pretty cheap on Amazon)

I also found a zero gravity garden chair really helped- I could tolerate that long enough to eat as it was almost flat, and I bought a laptop desk type adaptor that allowed me to use it whilst laying flat in bed. That really helped too.

I tried lots of physio etc and the only thing that worked in the end was surgery. As soon as I woke up the pain was gone- the disc had been stuck to my nerve which was really red and inflamed apparently. I am back to a normal now and so incredibly grateful.

Good luck, and I hope the spinal clinic helps.


MissCrowley · 27/10/2021 18:59

Crikey @2chooze! I'm wondering if that's what's going on here. Nothing seems to be working and I'm spending so much money trying to fix it! Today I've barely been able to put weight on it for longer than 5 mins. It's been horrendous and it tends to trigger aura migraines for me as well!

OP posts:

PaniniHead · 27/10/2021 19:02

Have you had MRIs and x rays to establish the root cause?


Fluteyfly · 27/10/2021 19:14

Sorry to everyone that's suffering. Apologies if this isn't helpful but I had mild sciatica so I'm not sure if it helps severe sciatica, but I've managed to calm it after forcing myself to do a couple of daily yoga exercises.. reclined pigeon pose and baby pose. I did them in bed every morning before I got up. Hopefully it might help someone else with mildish sciatica, it definitely helped me x


Moonface123 · 27/10/2021 19:28

I have a lot of lower back pain and sometimes it affects nerves running down my leg.
I have found yoga or pilates exercises ,especially to strengthen the back, do work for me and does offer some relief, even though it's probably last thing you feel like doing. Lots on youtube.


Hexinthecity · 27/10/2021 19:32

Can you tolerate steroids? I had steroid injections around the site of my last herniated disc which was causing sciatica and it really helped

It’s bloody awful pain, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with it xxx


Indecisivelurcher · 27/10/2021 19:35

I had sciatica too due to two prolapsed discs in my lower back. I would recommend finding a specialist or bloody damn good physio. I got so lucky finding mine. The only thing that helped at first was her 'massages'. That's really not the right word as it was blummin painful, I was almost in tears. Then, exercises to strengthen the core. Pp mentioned yoga and I know that comes from a good place but actually yoga was awful for me, stretching makes things worse because it stretches out the sciatic nerve which is already inflamed. I had to flex my back backwards every hour. But in a particular way. And also do side clams with feet raised to improve my glutes, and side leg raises. Then I found a good physio led pilates class which made a world of difference. I know you said you can't take painkillers, but just to mention naproxen helped me which is a nerve blocker. Other than that, to sleep you might find you can relieve some of the issues using pillows. I had to sleep on my side with a pillow under my hip and another between my knees. If you look up sleeping with sciatica I think healthline has some advice. Best luck!


CactusFlowers · 27/10/2021 20:07

I hope your appointment goes well tomorrow.

I don’t think naproxen is recommended if you have asthma but there are other medications for nerve pain that might help?

And I agree that Pilates is very helpful for strengthening core muscles. I can’t say I enjoy it, but it does make a difference. Probably not the right thing at present, but possibly something to try when they have you sorted.


MissCrowley · 27/10/2021 21:46

Thank you everyone for your well wishes and advice!
The clinician asked me last week to not do any yoga due to what a PP mentioned about stretching the nerve more.. trust me I was doing quite a bit.
I was also told by a physio to put a golf ball in my piriformis and omg if anyone gets told to do that DO NOT DO IT! It's the most painful thing I've ever been through and I was told to do it for 2 mins every single day, I think it made it a lot worse.

The chap I'm seeing tomorrow has said he's focusing on psychical therapy along with a mindset approach to the pain. It's just so far away though to drive which is a pain. I live quite rurally in Wales and everything is about an hour away 🤦🏻‍♀️

I'll update tomorrow evening. If I can help anyone else who's suffering with hints that I get told I'll put them in here!

With regards to an MRI yes I am having one, however I have no idea when, unfortunately with the back log it's a bit like the saying "how long is a piece of string" nobody can tell me how long it's going to take, all I know is that there's a massive wait :(

OP posts:

NotMyCat · 28/10/2021 01:33

I had surgery (herniated disc then cauda equina)
I was on all the drugs and oramorph and still grey with pain Thanks I also asked them to cut my leg off. Luckily I then lost all feeling which was blessed relief!

Tips I can think of
Avoid sitting, standing or lying is better and don't stay in one position for too long
Lie with pillow between knees on side or under knees when on your back
Try to use one flat pillow for your head so your spine is in line
Thermacare lower hip and back heated wraps - I'm not kidding, these saved my sanity!
Actipatch for back - hit and miss but might be worth a try
Mine needed heat, so every time I got in the shower I would turn the heat up and direct it on the sorest spot
McGill big 3 back exercises (google)


NotMyCat · 28/10/2021 01:36

Also a good physio is worth it. I had sciatica on and off for years but this episode felt different. I was given so much advise about yoga, pilates, foam rolling...
the physio I saw did 3 sessions, watched me walk in on session 4 and refused to touch me, said something is very wrong, here is a referral for an MRI. I had surgery a few months later and my disc herniation was giant. The surgeon laughed when I said people told me exercise would fix it and I was about 48hrs away from paralysis


MissCrowley · 28/10/2021 10:02

Bloody hell @NotMyCat that's petrifying!! The man I'm seeing is the person I would be seeing on my referral, but I refuse to wait months to see him so I'm paying private. He's said if he sees no improvement within a few weeks he'll be referring me for an MRI.
We had our first consultation last week but that was just an assessment and lots of questions.

OP posts:

CyberPixie · 28/10/2021 10:21

Medfit Pro ultrasound 1mhz. It's about £100 but worth every penny. You can thank me later.


Worldgonecrazy · 28/10/2021 10:23

If you can afford it, try and get the mri privately. There are sometimes special offers available.

A TENS machine can sometimes offer relief too.


Luckingfovely · 31/10/2021 16:24

Just hopping in to share solidarity and support!

I came on looking for sciatica advice and found this thread.

I have a degenerative disc syndrome so my back is tricky at best, but last Friday I threw it out, and haven't been able to walk without screaming since! Sitting or lying down is fine, but the minute I walk two or three steps, crippling sciatica fires down my legs so that I scream and collapse!

Will call my consultant tomorrow as I'm guessing I've slipped a disc, but much appreciating all the advice on this thread Smile


Theballoonsinthesky · 09/11/2021 14:20

I really feel for you. I'm sat here waiting for a discectomy in 2 weeks. Pain medication isn't touching it. I've had this before and developed foot drop (paralysed foot) which meant emergency surgery. I was told then that I had a 90% chance my foot wouldn't move again. 6 weeks after surgery it started to flicker a little and now I have regained power but it was very very scary and the nerve is damaged forever.
Sometimes discs won't go back without surgery. They say 3 months usually if it's doing to go back by itself. If it's been that long chances are it won't and you'll need to be put on the list for a discectomy. If you have numbness or weakness in your leg or lose sensation/control of bladder or bowels you must go to A&E.

I hope you get better or get some treatment soon. I really know how you feel.


MissCrowley · 06/12/2021 16:53

How are you doing @Theballoonsinthesky

I've been quiet as not much has happened.
My Dr never did bother putting my referral in so I was pretty pissed off and moved Drs. Within a week I've been seen today by a consultant who has said that it's chronic sciatica, that I need an MRI scan, an epidural injection and if that doesn't work then spinal surgery.

I'm really hoping after the injection my other symptoms such as migraines become less frequent too.

OP posts:

MissCrowley · 06/12/2021 16:54

Oh and the man I saw was not the person I was meant to see on my referral. It's just he called himself "The Spine Clinic" too. Ended up being a complete waste of time and money and he pissed me off because he was implying that the pain was in my head and I could overcome it with a bit of positive thinking.

OP posts:
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