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Is this Sciatica?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
Hello, I'm new to these boards and found it because I am desperately in pain, unable to sleep.

To make a long story short, 2 winters ago I had a bad fall on some ice. Ever since then I've been having horrible lumbar pain and this pain in my hip that brings me to my question: Is this Sciatica?

I've always read that when you have Sciatica, that the pain travels down your legs or into your buttocks or your leg may feel numb. This is not the case with me. About an inch or 2 from my right hip bone, I get this stabbing feeling as if someone is stabbing me over and over with an ice pic. No traveling pain anywhere. It hurts the worse when I am sitting down, or laying on my right side, putting pressure on it. I can't even sit in a car for very long.

I do go to a pain management Dr. He has me on Vicodin ES, which does nothing for the pain except make me loopy enough to not care much about it until it wears off. He is not willing to give me anything stronger. I've also tried Neurontin and Lyrica for the nerve pain with no success at all. He wants to do a nerve block and I am all for it! The problem is that every time I make an appt., I've been put on a waiting list and never get a chance to get my procedure done.

He is a very good, popular, and busy doctor. I recently had MRI's done and asked him at 1 appt. what was pinching that nerve. He told me to ask a nurse to look up the report. I did, he told me to ask next time. I just keep getting the run around. I have 38 MRI pictures on disk of my lumbar and hip area and have no idea how to read them myself. Not that knowing would take away the pain, but I would like to know if it does sound like Sciatica since the pain doesn't shoot down or travel anywhere, and what is going on in my body!

Thanks in advance, and sorry this was so long!



  • Hi Amy,

    Firstly, let me welcome you to a forum I found recently, and which is a great source of knowledge (some good - some bad), but more importantly, a great source of sympathy and comfort.

    I'm no doctor, but I have something similar since last Easter. Pain in lumbar area, pain in butt. I had an MRI and that showed DDD with bulging at L3/L4 and L4/L5. My doc had me see a Neurosurgeon, and I'm now 4 weeks away from a discectomy, which I hope will see an end to it.

    Initially, leg pain was non-existant, but gradually I started getting shooting pains down the front of my legs to the knee only.

    From what the surgeon told me, the Sciatic nerve comes out at different levels of the spine, and each branch can manifest pain at a different place in the leg. I now have tiungling down the whole leg to the big toe, and I've been told if it tingled in the little toe then that would be a problem at a different branch of the nerve.

    I've done the Lyrica, which wasted me but didn't stop the pain, and now take Difene and Zydol when it gets too much - just to feel a little relief.

    If you're getting the run-around, perhaps a second opinion would help?

    Anyway,keep your spirits up, and best of luck.

  • Thanks so much for responding Michael, even though I don't wish this on anyone, it helps that I'm not alone. I wish you lots of luck on your Discetomy!

    Unfortunately, this is the only pain management dr. that does nerve blocks in the area. That's why he is always so busy. There are people who go there just for the drugs, which ruin it for the people who really are in pain and have to wait hours in the waiting room for their appt.

    I really need to sit down with him and say, "Look. I can't live like this any longer. What is wrong with me and what are my options?" I'll have my hubby block the door if I have to. j/k ;) He's never in the 2 years I've been a patient told me my diagnosis. ~X(
  • hi amy,
    and welcome to sh. i was just wondering if you gave the lyrica time to work??
    i too am on lyrica and know for a fact that it does take a few weeks to get into you system before you get the full affect from it.
    good luck and let us know how you get on.

    LOVE P
  • I know how you feel about blocking the door - but fortunately I've been always aware since I had the MRI as to what was wrong, and the first time I saw the Neurosurgeon he made me aware of the options (discectomy or discectomy!! :))( ). He sent me for a Nerve Block, to try to verify that his diagnosis was correct, always with the discectomy in mind.

    I have to say, the Nerve block only lasted hours for me, but that too had always been the intention of doing it. Permanent relief from it would have been a bonus as far as they were concerned.

    Blocking the door may seem drastic, but I know the last time I went to the surgeon, and got the op date, I would have gladly wiped all the crap off his desk there and then if he'd had a scalpel in his pocket!

    It's tough to put up with, but bring support and make sure they know what goal you want from the next appointment - namely a diagnosis, and if you buckle, give them the authority to speak up for you.

  • You know, Mrs. P., you could be right. I think I took the Lyrica for a few weeks and then gave up on it because I wasn't noticing a difference at all. Perhaps I should stay on it longer. I'm just so impatient when it comes to pain.

    Does the Lyrica take all of the nerve pain away or just dull it?
  • You're right, that block door has to stop blocking me!

    I'll take this pain to go away for even an hour, just to know that something can be done for it.

    My husband also has back problems. He has a ruptured L4/L5 and has had blocks done with success. The first block caused a new pain, but another block did the trick. He's even gotten one done on his head for constant migraines. 2 needles in each side of his head, 1 right in the temple. Good thing he was under Versed and Fentyl at the time!

    For some reason, our PM Dr. wants to do a disco-cardiogram (sp?) to see where exactly his pain is coming from. He keeps canceling the appts. because he is scared. He heard it's the worst pain ever.

    Thanks for listening to my babble. :)
  • Amy,

    I have to ask - has he done one before - does he think he'll feel the pain?? =))


  • LOL no he hasn't had one before, but the doctor said that when the pressure got down to the problem that he'd experience extreme pain. This from a man with a HIGH pain tolerance.
  • in the middle of your buttock? You said 2 inches from your hip bone - above hip bone, to the right/left of hip bone, below hip bone?

    When my troubles start, I had a severe pain in the center of my right buttock. For the longest time, it didn't radiate, but would hurt like the dickens. I would walk around with my fingers digging in to the pain because it made it feel better. Hubby would say "Honey, do you have to do that everywhere we go?" lol He didn't think it looked too attractive with me pushing into my buttock.

    Anyway, I called this my RBP - Random Butt Pain. When I finally went to the family doc, she laughed and had no idea what was my problem, so she sent me to physical therapy. They spent 5 minutes with me and decided I was hands off- get myself to an MRI - they were sure I had a massively blown L5-S1 disc. I said it couldn't be that, I've never had back pain!! They stood firm and they were right.

    The MRI showed a massively blown L5-S1. I've since had 3 surgeries at that level, including a 360 pLIF with full instrumentation and my back is now stable.

    But the nerve pain? Which now radiates to my foot? Never went away and has only gotten worse. No one understands why, but it is suspected that he 4 months I delayed medical treatment was long enough for the herniation to "burn" the nerve and permanently damage it. I think most people have longer than 4 months before they face permanent damage, but that is how it worked for me.

    I now have permanent S1 nerve damage and just got my SCS - spinal cord stimulator - on Monday. I am now buzzing instead of burning. I love it!!

    Take care,

  • normally sciatica comes from the L5 nerve route.it travels from your lower back down one or both legs all the way to you toes {if the damage is bad}lyrica and gabapentin works well if you can take it{i can't} also the acticare unit is a big help {acticare is a high end TENS unit and it is also an external spinal cord stimulator with high frequency modes and radio frequency modes too }well worth having in weapons against pain!
  • Wow Cheri, you've been so much! I'm glad to hear that things are getting better for you.

    I put 2" from my hip bone because I couldn't quite tell exactly where it was. I knew someone would ask. ;) I'd have to say it's more like an inch up and diagonal from the left from my hip bone. I just stood up and started poking around to find the place.

    Edited to add: Sometimes it seems to travel to my tail bone.
  • This is why I'm so frustrated! It feels how I read others describe it, in the same location, only it's just intense stabbing but only when I am sitting or laying on my right side. If I am laying flat or standing, it's my whole lumbar area that bothers me instead. I just can't win with this pain. Thanks for your reply!
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