Skip to comments.Has Anyone Had Experience with Sciatica?
Posted on 04/04/2009 4:59:24 AM PDT by MetsJetsandNets
I'm in the midst of my first bout with sciatica and would enjoy hearing from any Freepers that have been through it and have some home remedy tips.
A bit of background...I've suffered broken bones, had plates and screws and even a bone graft, but the pain from the sciatica matches any of that. It travels across my right buttock, down my thigh, encircles my knees and deadens my leg from the knee down. I can't lie on my back, sitting is difficult. Lying on my left side provides the best relief.
The doctor prescribed prednisone for inflammation, tiazidine as a muscle relaxant and hydrocodone and neurontin for pain. I've completed a one-week cycle of prednisone and, after three days off, am about to begin a second cycle.
I would appreciate any suggestions for home remedies or tips that may help speed recovery. Thank you in advance since I can only spend a few minutes sitting at the computer and may not be able to respond to each suggestion individually.
Chiropractic! I used to think they were all quacks (mostly from my first experience with an idiot). My husband has had problems with sciatica - it works!
My BIL has it, and he swears by physiotherapy and special exercises.
The first thing you need to do is stop rooting for the Mets, Jets and Nets. The amount of choking done by those three franchises would cause any sports fan’s sciatic nerve to become inflamed.
My wife’s was helped greatly by doing 20 minutes of slow stretching (to a Yoga video in her case) each morning.
Senator Sciatica has been a pain in the butt for all Americans.
Chiropractic. I see mine regularly. When I was pregnant I have sciatica. He was the ONLY doctor who could take the pain away.
Well, I thought I had sciatica, but I guess not after hearing how bad it really is.
Get well soon.
There is likely something in your everyday life that is hurting you. In my case it was my wallet in my back pocket and the driver’s seat in my car. Find out and get rid of it. Relief is nice, but you know what they say about prevention and cure...JFK
I had it so bad once I could barely walk. I ended up going for physical therapy and the very simple easy (one of them merely entailed laying on my stomach to watch tv) exercises really did work. Every now and then the sciatica kicks up but those exercises nip it right in the bud. If you feel any numbness from the sciatica, call your doctor immediately.
I’ve had problems with nerve inflammation - my chiropractor has repeatedly told me to watch my diet - I do notice that the problems flares up when I give in to my sweet tooth. If you think your diet could be a problem, search out anti-inflammatory diets - certain foods you can eat to help with the problem.
2 partial discectomies and laminotomies, constant disk pain and sciatic pain
you hurt because something is hitting your nerve and wearing away the outer lining
when that outer lining wears away, the pain you feel will become numbness, no strength, loss of strength, zip, zero, nada function
that most likely will heal, but years later
traction helps, go to a swimming pool, wear ankle weights and float in the water. Use a board or float to help keep stable, let your legs just dangle, and just stay in the water
when you lay down, put a large pillow under your knees. being on your back hurts like hell and bending the knees helps a lot and might take away the pain all together
GET AN MRI, see what other damage there is, you may have a blown disk
GET THIS DONE NOW, damage to those nerve areas can lead to dead nerves in the butt, groin, leg and elsewhere
If it had just one cause it would be easy to fix.
Unfortunately, it has many causes. The Wiki article on sciatica is a pretty good start.
Mine was a combination of them - spinal injury and resultant muscle spasms putting pressure on the nerve.
Given that yours starts in the buttocks, I would suspect that it is either the Piriformis muscle in your lower back and/or the Gluteous Maximus muscles fighting it out. If so, check into some exercises to stretch and relax these muscles, relief should bring almost instant relief.
A good Physical Therapist can help as well.
(Ping to neverdem for any additional help/comments.)
I don’t have Sciatica, but I can tell you Neuropathy is no fun either.
When it comes to pain killers, the NSAIDs made my stomach very upset, to the point where I couldn't take them. Hydrocodone or other narcotic painkillers are good, but two caveats--1)be careful, they are addictive and 2) use a little alcohol--it's like hamburger helper for painkillers. I used a glass of wine with two pills and man, they work much better.
But have you identified the cause of the sciatica? Is there anything that can be done? For me, the MRI was the big breakthrough. It wasn't until I got the MRI that I knew what to do.
I had surgury to repair/remove disc fragments that were pushing against my sciatic nerve. Problem solved. The pain killers and NSAIDs just mask the pain or make the inflammation go away temporarily. YOu need to see if you can address the root cause. Hopefully you can.
Just to underline...get an MRI. Also, only use the narcotics for short term. And forget steroids, cortisone shots, etc. That is a temporary treatment for inflammation. The inflammation will come back until the CAUSE is dealt with. Get an MRI, find out if you can address the cause of the nerve pain. Hopefully you can. In my case, it was L4-L5 disc damage. I had a 90+% chance of eliminating sciatica and it worked.
Been there. Same excruciating pain. Had an MRI which clearly showed the disk herniation and immediately had surgery to correct. The doctor removed some back bone to get to disk and snipped away the portions that were herniated. That was in 1998. I’m just now to the point where I can comfortably run again.
Do whatever you can to heal the herniation without surgery such as exercise. My wife has since heard that some doctors believe the herniation will heal without surgery. The best exercise for my back are stomach crunches, believe it or not. Good luck.
Stretch and walk through the pain. Whatever you do, don’t stay in bed all day.
Also, my opinion of chiropractic is pretty low. While the adjustments may temporarily relieve the pain, in my experience, they did not cure the underlying problem, and as a result, I had recurring bouts with sciatica for twenty years until the underlying problem was corrected surgically. As the surgeon told me afterwards, “All the chiropractic adjustments in the world would not have removed the pieces of fractured disk that were pressing against the nerve.” He also suggested that the chiropractic adjustments may have contributed to the disk breaking apart.
I still get muscle spasms from time to time. Just had a bout of them this past week. Regular stretches designed for back support are good. Stretch the butt, the hammies, the lower back. Nothing too strenuous. Take Ibuprofen as needed. Heat is good. And a good massage from a licensed therapist helps a lot too. I stay away from chiropractors. I find them a little rough.
I agree with you re: chiropractors. And definitely agree about the underlying cause. I got an MRI, saw the broken disc pieces, and skipped the cortisone shots (waste of time) and went for the surgery. Problem solved. Depends what the cause is, but for me, anything other than surgery was a waste of time. MRI=knowledge=power.
Anti-inflammatories may help
Try to avoid surgery if you can
Consider a WII with the optional exercise board. There are lots of program exercises including Yoga.
I tried the yoga as a lark but found it really really made a difference in my well being.
My wife had back problems and visited a chiropractor and th WII regular use made a very big difference. She is not painless, but there is a major difference
Last May I had a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted in my back to control pain from degenerative disc disease in the lumbar back. It is like having a TENS unit only it is inside you. The technology is from Boston Scientific.
See it at:
“Back” in 1977 I was in excruciating pain from a herniated disc. I guess that was sciatica. Finally my orthopedic surgeon in Rome ran out of other options and performed a laminectomy. That was 6/6/77 and I have never had one twinge of pain since.
Stretching helps a little but I've had to have steroid injections. After 2 years, I'm finally getting off the pain meds....mostly. But I don't have constant, nagging pain anymore AND I can feel my foot again!
Good luck and I sincerely hope you find some combination to relieve your discomfort and numbness.
GET THIS DONE NOW, damage to those nerve areas can lead to dead nerves in the butt, groin, leg and elsewhere
An alignment will help. But also ask the chiropractic if a moderate swimming regimen (hydrotherapy) might help.
RATS! I had a bet with hubby over this. He kept telling me to do crunches and I kept saying, "that doesn't make sense, it'll kill my back!"
Amazing how many different options there are.
Those exercises help. Also - find a stool (I use a piano stool) the height is important. Lie on your back with your bottom up close to the stool - place the calves of your legs flat on the stool/chair. The object is to rest your weight on your legs and very slightly elevate your lower back. I did this for 20 minutes several times a day. I think it works like a form of traction - takes the pressure off of the nerve and allows swelling or whatever to subside. Hope you find some relief soon!!!!
My Mother used to sleep with a board under her top mattress - seemd to work for her!
Pills and back quacks give temporary relief, that is for sure, but it is like putting a bandaid over a cancer. It just covers it up. Until the problem is surgically addressed, you still have a cancer covered up by a bandaid.
Getting your back cracked is like getting a massage, it relaxes you somewhat but you just need 12 more treatments before we begin to cure your problem. There is a place for relaxing and feeling good, but it doesnt fix the bone chips or bone spurs off the lower vertebra that are irritating the Sciatic nerve. If you have insurance, go to an Orthopedic surgeon and get the problem fixed once and for all.
My son in law just had his fixed, it was a one inch incision with three or four stitches, and he was back to work in two weeks. He was at home for about three or four days, letting the incision heal, then he began to get out and get some exercise, having more relief each day. He works oil field, and had plenty of leave time so it all worked out fine.
Every case is different-especially with backs. I was left with a couple herniated discs after a woman talking on her cell rear-ended my car while I was stopped at a red light—talk about pain—I was traveling a lot for work at the time, and so I saw different people in differnt cities over the next few years.I found chiropractors and an osteopath were far better for me than a couple of the wanker MDs I went to.
My big break was something I found myself online—spinal decompression-I used Vax-D http://www.vax-d.com/. Some chiropractors and regular doctors use it—it got me on the road to recovery—I’m pretty much 100% OK now. Thank God.
Don’t know if it will help you—but worth asking about.
Also, it may sound odd, but something called the “Bowen Technique” (Google it-) may help. Good luck.
Yeah, lots of people have.
#1 Ask your personal physician for a referal to the best Neurosurgeon/Orthopedic surgeon in the area. I wouldn’t trust my spinal cord to anything less. They will send you for an MRI and tell you how to fix it.
Sleep on your side in a fetal position. It takes the strain off the back. If you cant fall asleep that way pin a tennis ball to the back of your night wear. This will help you sleep on your side. Ice in the effected will help reduce any swelling.
Been on Oxycontin for 6 years for surgery to remove tumors from my feet, they damaged the nerves in both feet when they took the fascia out of both feet. Have had L4-L5 and L5-S1 disks repaired and no more sciatica
Find yourself a good chiropractor. The nerves start at the spine. A chiropractic adjustment will release the sciatic nerve from its misplacement. Pills will only give relief from the pain rather than fixing the cause.
There is also an exercise you can do that will help until you can get a treatment, but I highly recommend taking the chiropractic route. It certainly works for me and has alleviated other nerve pain conditions in addition to the sciatica.
In addition to Yoga stretching and chiropractors, I have found relief with moist heat treatment. I have not had the type of sciatica you described for several years, but hot baths seemed to relieve the pain and allow me to stretch. It was then a matter of time before the nerve became non-inflammatory. I never found much relief with NSAIDS.
I still occasionally get an inflamed nerve in my neck. The best solution is to sleep with a towel wrapped around your neck. It retains body heat and moisture - the key is to combine heat with moisture. Then, do some gentle Yoga stretches (buy a book or take almost any public exercise class - they start you with gentle Yoga stretches).
Exercise specifically for the hip/lower back part of the body and a vitamin B complex of at least 100. (always take the complex - never take a B vitamin alone - the B vitamins support each other). Keep taking the B complex after symptoms subside.
What I’ve found to most helpful is stretching types of excersise and massage. Staying in bed too long and sitting too much exacerbates my pain. I find that ice packs help a lot. It relieves the stress in my back to lie on the floor with my knees bent. I watch TV that way sometimes.
I’ve had this problem since I was in my early 20’s. Wouldn’t listen when my grandmother told me not to work so hard and lifted too many heavy things that I shouldn’t have. I have a disc that has completely disappeared and the vertebrae have fused together on their own. Degenerative disc disease is what I was told it was. I had a sciatica attack that left me with permanent nerve damage in my foot and leg and walked with a limp for a while until I figured out how to live with it. I wish you good luck and a pain free life.
Have you seen a neurosurgeon?
It is my understanding that the pain comes from pressure on the nerve. The prednesone (et.al.) is an attempt to reduce any inflammation on surrounding tissues that might possibly be putting pressure on the nerve. Hopefully the medication will help and you will soon have relief.
I had sciatic nerve pain during my pregnancy with my fourth child. It was hell on earth! Thankfully, after delivery the pressure on the nerve was relieved and I have never had a recurrence.
I am very sorry. You have my sympathy and prayers.
I quickly scanned through the previous posts and didn’t see any reference to using a spa or whirlpool tub (I apologize if I missed it). When the pain is acute and constant, I found that the buoyancy provided gives some temporary relief. It doesn’t cure anything but any relief that you can get is welcome.
I had sciatica about 30 years ago. My local doctor said it was because my stomach muscles were weaker of my back muscles causing a nerve to pinch. He prescribed situps to correct the imbalance, not a lot of sit ups, just a few a day.
It worked. I hae had no pain since.
I had back issues for the longest - and now that my workout routine includes some brutal core work - back and stomach - I don't have as many issues with my back.
Same situation for me. I've been going with my wallet in my front pants pocket now for several years. I don't care if it does look odd. I just know I don't want to have to endure that pain again.
It took awhile before it didn't flare up on a long long drive anymore, but I haven't had the problem at all for a few years now, so making that change did take care of it.
I've blown a disc three times and use an inversion table every day. Also helps my knee with no cartilage. May not be for you if your all broken up.
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