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I’ve had a few bouts of sciatica in the past but this current one is a bit different. Normally I have really bad lower back pain and limited movement in that area and the pain through the right leg is sharp shooting pain, however this time the back pain was just a low grade niggle each morning this week which wore off with movement. Yesterday morning I went to get up and my whole right leg felt “unattached” then my hip became tight and locked up. I wet back to bed and my calf muscle started to have really painful cramps, most of yesterday was a mixture of cramps, numbness and tingling in my right leg but no real back pain. I took tramodol and ibuprofen and found that as long as I lay flat on my front I didn’t get any more cramps just numbness. This morning seemed much better until I sat up and after a few minutes of my leg being lower than my waist I was back to numb and tingling / mild cramps. I’ve stopped taking the tramodol as its not really painful but I’m not sure if I need to keep going with ibuprofen? Also is the fact that the pain is less a sign its getting better or just that I haven’t been in positions that hurt? Not really sure what to do next, previous experience has taught me that there is no point going to the doctors as they just prescribe rest and pills…
I get sciatica badly from a large prolapse. I am on gabapentin/nuerontin but although it works during the day -overnight by morning its awful. Gabapentin is a nerve pain medication and very effective. Last 2 nights tried sleeping with a pillow between my knees and it was amazing when i woke this morning. Hardly felt a thing. Also when we moved to new house 2 yrs ago we bought a bed mattress from bensons on the recommendatiin of a friend as the one we had was too soft and that made a huge diffetence to sciatic pain as did hers. There are exercises u can do. Uf its worse say on left side sit on edge of bed/chair and rest left ankle on upper surface of right leg between right knee and thigh and then gently touch left knee and push towards floor. This will strengthen and stretch piriformis muscle.
As might says – and as you probalby know – the sciatic nerve is being squashed by something in your spine and it is causing it to feel pain. I get sciatica from scar tissue in my hamstring which is mostly just pins and needles but shooting pains as well sometimes. I have had acupuncture for it (which helped and aslo cleared up my hayfever!) and most latterly sports massage, which is £40 a pop but has helped a lot. It may be worth speaking to a physio or massage person, they will tell you if they feel they cannot treat without a doctors say so.
Thanks for the replies, I’ve got a really good chiro who unfortunately is away for the Bank Holiday but will fit me in on Tuesday. I’ve got some gabapentin that OHs brother left behind after a visit. Do you think it would be safe to take when it wasn’t prescribed for me? Or should I just keep resting and taking ibuprofen as surely the leg just being numb now is an improvement on painful so I guess the pressure on the nerve is reducing?
You have to be really careful when you take Gabapentin. Not only can it cause dizziness it can also caused increased risk of suicidal tendencies although I assume this is long term. you have to be really careful when you come off it and reduce the dosage very carefully for this reason. It also causes viral infections, increased appetite and depression, anxiety and increased palpatations. Best not to take anything unless prescribed.
I’m at week 5 of my latest bout of it. Niggly back pain became worse followed by tingly toes and nerve pain in calf and thigh. Went to bed, didn’t sleep due to spasms and cramps, got up in the morning to find no pain what so ever but a left leg that felt as though it didn’t belong. My foot was numb and I have no power to move it. I’m not going to lie, I laid in bed and lifted my left arm up in the air several times… I thought I’d had a stroke!
Doctors gave me naproxen and diazepam and referred me to physio. I’ve been seeing my chiro in the mean time. Which is helping. On advice of my chiro (who does suffer with her own back problems) I switched pain relief from naproxen to co codamol, which I find does help me better.
I’ve been doing gentle stretching exercises and trying to stay as mobile as I can. Stay square on to everything…tv, someone you are talking to, computer… become robotic if you can. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees helps if you lay on your side or under your knees if on your back. Try and keep your spine as straight as possible without tension. I’ve now been to physio where they did strength test to determine the amount of damage. There is significant weakness and I have an urgent MRI referral.
I’m in a better place than I was a few weeks ago. Mostly pain free other than a few aches through my hip but I am still unable to move my big toe and my foot doesn’t belong to me so walking is odd. The concentration it takes to know where your foot is going is immense! I no longer feel like I’m going to fall over and no longer roll my ankle.
Speak to doctors about physio and proper pain relief.
UPDATE: Went back to chiro yesterday who did another realignment and some acupuncture, came home to bed and too diazapam which sent me to sleep so things relaxed a bit but this morning back to pain again. It’s all in my ankle and foot and can’t face the pain of walking which chiro says I need to do, maybe I need to get to the docter but can’t drive and OH is working away all day.
I have suffered with bad sciatica in the past, regular shiatsu massage really helps. Now I just have piriformus pain (like sciatica but pain stays up near the hip more)
About 6 weeks ago I discovered a local trigger point pilates class. WOW what a difference, who knew that sitting on a pair of squishy prickly balls could be so good. It’s a cross between yoga and pilates, using foam rollers and squishy balls. I feel so much straighter and my core strength and flexibility are really improving.
Made it to the doctors who have referred to the spinal clinic for an mri and agreed I can try 1 gabapentin per day with the diazapam but warned they may make me really sleepy which works for me as can’t feel pain when I’m asleep.
I called the spinal clinic but apparently they can’t process the referral till 14th so I can’t call to make an appointment till then, I can’t understand having to wait over a week to book an appointment, God knows how long I will still have to wait for the appointment, in the meantime I worry that my clients at work will probably go elsewhere.
Best thing is to ask for an MRI before you go for any treatment. Sciatica is an umbrella term for a number of symptoms and unless they can tell you it’s definitely trapped, impinged or crushed it would be hard for any professional to recommend a course of action or treatment and anyone doing so is simply fobbing you off
I’ve had sciatica on and off for years. I’ve had a prolapsed disc and also impingement on the other side. Both sides have had different treatment which has worked. Myofascial release and posture re-alignment for one side and yoga for the other – as you can deduce, both involve posture/core work. Theres no denying imbalance in the body due to tightness/slackness in your fascia, tendons, ligaments, muscle etc will pull your straightness out of balance and this is easy to remedy…. however!! If your BONES are involved it’s very very difficult to treat and you might require an operation. Thankfully MRI showed that my prblems were superficial not structural.
So… please please please request an MRI.
Well I still can’t sit or stand without being in masses of pain, I called the hospital to say that the doctor said I needed an MRI but the referral team were quoting 6 weeks and was there any way to be seen by their orthopedic department and get an on-site referral to which the answer was no. I called the referral people to see if it could be speeded up as I was losing business and unable to get out of bed. They checked my notes and said I was referred for physio which is 4-6 weeks wait. I told them the doctor said I needed an MRI and they said that wasn’t there call to make but the physio might when the appointment comes through. I can’t spend 6 weeks unable to move around, has anyone got any suggestions, the issue is all in my foot and ankle as soon as I sit or stand.
I tried talking to the doctor again today but they aren’t available until tomorrow but to be honest their attitude yesterday was so bad I don’t think I will get anywhere with them. I called the unit that does the physiotherapy from referrals directly and they said they didn’t have the info yet but if I got the doctors surgery to fax them the referral letter directly they will see what they can do so hopefully that might cut through the red tape and get me seen much quicker.
I just wondered if you could then check whether it was a mistake in the referral or not/where they actually wanted you to go.
I’ve just been dealing with MSK referrals myself and where I am the GP can only refer to the musculo skeletal service, they then triage the referral and decide where it goes. Mine got triaged to the consultant not physio and he has now requested the MRI, so Im just wondering if wilts is similar and the GP cannot ask straight for a scan.
I think from what the referral number said it is very similar here, I just don’t know what I will do if I can’t walk for a minimum of 6 weeks whilst I get bounced from waiting list to waiting list, it would be annoying if I was employed but as a self-employed dog walker it will absolutely be the end of my business.
Stupid thing is the meds aren’t needed if I stay on my back and are nowhere near strong enough when I sit up. I’m on 2x 5mg diazapam every 4 hours, with 400 mg ibuprofen and then tramadol and gabapentin in the 2 hours in between – I feel like a zombie…
Went to physio who said that it is probably a prolapsed disc which can take up to 3 months so won’t mri or investigate further till after that time, why I why didn’t I take out private health care a few months ago when I looked into it.
Have faith. In the most serious cases, surgery is necessary.
I know many people who have had great success with pilates, yoga, and posture realignment therapy. All these things you can start doing gently before any results come through. By strengthening your core muscles now will only support your back/spine further and is not detrimental.
I was in a similar position and discovered that I could pay for an MRI at the local university, it wasn’t as much as I thought it would be (£300 ish). I too had a prolapsed disc and I’ve been doing physio led pilates for about 18 months that has helped enormously. Be careful about who you go to for pilates – there are pilates classes… and there are pilates classes. I would only ever go to a physio led one in your position.
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