I am new to this board, glad I found it, its a great resource for all of us suffering from back pain.
My story: I am a 41 yo college professor (no health insurance, of course)
I have been suffering from sciatic pain for about 12 weeks now and am very disheartened and stressed out - I was gradually improving, then last night had a relapse (now worse than it was in the beginning) and I cant help but feel my livelyhood (job, finances, health) are all in serious jeopardy now.
My story- history of lower back pain since my youth (started when I worked in a warehouse), several episodes of back "going out" over the years. But always recovered within a week or so, and I was able to resume normal activities. I only saw a doctor for it once when i was in my 20s and he sent for a couple of weeks of PT.
Recently, (April) I was having mild but irritating back pain for about 3 weeks then fell asleep on the couch one night- moved abruptly and BAM! Felt a rod of pain go down my right leg all the way to my ankle. Next day I could barely walk more than a few feet without intense pain (8-9) down back of leg, heel/ankle, my calf felt like it was clenching/burning. Sitting was even worse.
Got relief only when lying on my side so I could still sleep (something to be grateful for after reading all your posts!)
Week 1-3: after a lot of web research, started cobra exercizes but they seemed to make the leg/ankle pain stronger so as directed, I stopped them after week 2. I still managed to work/teach classes even though the pain made it hell. Started using a lumbar pillow whenever sitting (still the hardest) and working on posture.
Since I didn't have insurance, I chose to try Chiro- tried one for about 4 weeks (used activator), then swiched to another Chiro (manual adjust) for another 4 weeks. It may have helped a bit (or maybe I was just healing anyway) but wipe me out at times and I felt I would need 1-2 days to recover after each visit. X rays showed some scloliosis, disc narrowing at S1/L1, some structural problems (short leg, very straight lower back) but overall the xrays were not that bad, as one chiro put it- not consistent with pain level.
By week 10,
the pain was down to a 4-5 but stronger by the end of the week after teaching/activity.
I was still impatient but happy to have some life back. I opted to stop chiro.
2 weeks ago and was still making progress walking 2 times a day for 30 minutes and mild stretching (sciatic stretches mostly). still worried about overdoing it. Then BAM- last night I coughed and back to square one, even worse than before. walking more than a few minutes is excrutiating. Whats more, now I cannot work and am afraid I will loose my job.
I have to start this whole hellish thing over again. What to do next?
More Chiro? See a Neurologist? An orthopedic doc? Should I be thinking surgery at this point? Surgery I can’t afford? I know I need an MRI asap but am afraid using my newly aquired, crappy insurance will set off red flags. Sorry for the long rant, but I don’t know what to do/try next. Any suggestions would be appreciated.