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S1 Sciatica numbness - how long does it last?

seaniboysseaniboy Posts: 14
Hi I'm new to this forum - 48-year old male - and would really appreciate any advice people have to offer.

About 9 weeks ago (end of September) I fell over very heavily playing tennis. Two weeks later I had the classic sciatica symptoms: back/leg pain that made it terribly hard to get out of bed and quite impossible to drive or sit at a desk. I tried physiotherapy and a range of painkillers which made some improvement. But my MRI scan subsequently revealed a herniated L5 disc.

My specialist is hoping that it will heal of its own accord with conservative treatment; but he has also said that ultimately L5/S1 decompression surgery may prove to be the only solution. I'm not desperate to have surgery if it can be avoided; and so am willing to put up with the pain for a little longer to give the natural healing processes more of a chance.

Although the back pain has largely gone away now, I still have to take quite high dosages of pain killers as I have quite a lot of leg pain plus total (S1) numbness in the 4th/5th toes, heel, and outside of my right leg. Sitting/driving for any prolonged period of time is still almost impossible. As a researcher my work involves a lot of time at a computer in front of a desk, so, aside from the discomfort, this is a big deal for me professionally.

While I am not experiencing the same degree of excruciating pain that I was, 4 weeks ago, the level of discomfort has more or less remained constant over the past three weeks. I think if natural healing could not cure these symptoms, I would have to opt for surgery in the new year.

My specific question relates to what forum members' experiences of numbness/loss of sensation in the leg has been.

Have people found that the numbness just suddenly goes away one day? Or does feeling come back over a period of time? (If so, how long?)

And as for the operation itself. I have heard (some!!) people report that they woke up to discover themselves completely free of leg pain afterwards. But nobody seems to comment on the numbness. Does that disappear straight after the operation? Or does that take a while to come back? (does it ever come back?)

Thanks for your help!!


What i would like to know is what people's experiences
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Comments

  • Hi Seaniboy,

    I think everyone would be differnt. Myself, I was hurt almost 3 years ago, and have herniations at L4/L5 and L5/S1. The second is compressing the nerve root, causing lots of pain and numbness in my right leg. When I was first hurt, the numbness was in my toes on the outside of the foot, and I only had pain in the back of my upper leg. Then the numbness went away. I was doing Physiotherapy at the time, and chiropractic. In the last several months, the pain and numbness has come back with a vengance! It's to the point I can't sit, lie down, stand or walk too long at once. And I'm taking lots of pain killers that just take the edge off a bit. I'm going for surgery Dec. 10th, and hopefully it will help the pain in my leg. But the doctor said I may always have some numbness and tingling in my leg - depending I guess on how much the nerve is damaged.

    I've heard others with similar experiences, and others who say the numbness goes away as soon as they have an operation. I think it depends on how much and how long the nerve has been compressed.

    Hope you get some relief soon, take care,
    Sandy
  • Hi,
    I posted earlier in the other forum, for new comers. Well, I need to understand how this sciatica works, and possibly that's what's occurring with me.

    From my experience, I had a lot of pressure on the sciatic nerve with my first surgery and the disc matter was again on the sciatic nerve. After the first surgery, very gradually and slowly, the feeling came back and I had lots of PT. I had trouble with balance, which I have to say I do have to still be careful of like if I am in the garden, and trying to take big steps. I think perhaps those of us with discs blown, will have balance issues because we have lost that cushioning!

    Maybe from what Sandy is saying, I could right now be having a vengeance of the numbness, pain and so on that could go away eventually. I hope so, and hope so for you, too, Seaniboy.

    I know I wanted the second surgery (last June) because the disc was on the sciatic nerve a second time, and I believe it was on it for a few months before I saw the surgeon. I remember I wanted that surgery because the less time the nerve is compressed, the better the improvement of numbness, etc, that could reside. But, if there are going to be these rebounds of pain and numbness, is there really a good chance of being ahead? Maybe I am actually affected by that first surgery, where the nerve pain and numbness was so bad. So, I would say, see what your doctor says. And don't let it go too far. If the doctor is good and you have heard good news about him or her, then don't let it go too far. In my case, I had no way of knowing it was blown for a couple years until it really went WICKED bad and I could not move. And, then surgery followed like three months later which was as soon as I could find a good surgeon. I think a good surgeon, today, will not rush it but do surgery when it is really needed.

    My chiropractor went into chiro because she was not having any luck with her disc issues, and never had surgery. She did end up with numbness, and so on, but she does say that the body does have a way of dealing with things like that. Good luck, and try not to worry about it too much! I know it is hard, when you need to keep sitting in that chair doing your work, and you are in pain! It isn't fun! And, imagine I may be crazy, but you really do gain a high pain tolerance over time, too. But then again, it is hard to get a pain tolerance to nerve pain - that is the worst.
  • Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your kind words and for replying so quickly.

    I'm very cheered up by your news that the numbness went away eventually. But very sorry to hear that it has returned of late. What kind of PT were you doing that cured your numbness?

    I really hope your date with the surgeon goes well - I'll keep my fingers crossed. Do let me know how it turns out - I'll be thinking of you! - and I'd be interested to hear in particular what happens about the numbness after the operation.

    Good luck!

    Sean
  • Hi Missy,

    Thanks for your detailed reply! When you say the feeling came back very slowly and gradually after your first surgery what are we talking? Weeks? Months?

    What I'm trying to find out is whether the numbness is because the nerve is compressed or whether it is because the nerve is defunct and has to regenerate.

    But thanks for your advice on the surgery front. How did you find the improvement second time around?

    Sean
  • Just to clarify a point: the posters are talking about different issues. There is a "sciatic-type" pain that most of us casually call sciatic pain. It usually runs down the back of the leg, usually stopping around the knee, but sometimes going into the foot. It is almost always caused by a compressed spinal nerve.

    Sciatic is technically a collection of symptoms that is caused when one of the five nerves that come together to form the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, inflamed or otherwise damaged. The nerves involved are L4, L5, and the sacral nerves S1, S2 and S3. When the nerve or nerves are irritated, pain is felt in the lower back, buttock and one or both legs, or part of a leg, sometimes going into the foot. You all know the feelings: pain, numbness, muscle weakness, tingling, pins and needles, feeling of heat, etc.

    The other problem is true sciatic nerve pain. This occurs when something pinches off the sciatic nerve that branches at the end of the spine and goes down the back of each buttock and leg. In 15% of the population, the sciatic nerve goes through the piriformis muscle (located in buttock)rather than under it. If there is any swelling of the piriformis, it can squeeze on the sciatic nerve, causing the same feelings one has when there is a herniated disc or compressed spinal nerve. Other tissues can affect it, too.

    None of this matters to the patient, but it is an important difference to the doctor as it will determine the type of treatment you receive.
  • I can relate to what you're going through. I still have sciatic pain, mostly in my right leg, since my surgery. I also sit at a desk at the computer for long periods of time. One thing that has helped me (recommended by my cousin, who is a nurse) is a device called a Back Joy. It is not a cushion, it's an orthotic. Somehow or another it makes sitting in a chair a lot easier. I could never do the 2 hour drives to see my surgeon without it. You can Google it and see what it's all about. If you have a Bed, Bath, and Beyond locally, you can get them there. If you have their 20% off coupon (BB&B's), you can get one for about $40. The other thing that may help you is a TENS unit. I got one during the course of treatment for my injury and I still use it occasionally. Our nerves affect the muscles in our butts, and can really cause some knotted muscles at times. The TENS unit can help to settle those down. Also, if you have a shower massage, you can turn the water to a very warm temperature and blast your butt, hip, leg (as I am about to do in 2 minutes!). All the best for a natural recovery. If you can avoid surgery, you'll be doing yourself a tremendous favor.

    Linda
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • If you are starting to feel somewhat better, you might want to do what you can to maximize healing and try to avoid any surgery. You don't mention having taken oral steroids or having a steroid injection. This are often given in an attempt to assist with healing and to reduce any inflammation you may be having around a spinal nerve root.

    It is possible to heal a disc but it does take a lot of patience and perseverance. My husband ruptured L5 many years ago. It took about six months before he was back to feeling reasonably "normal" and to this day, he does his "back" exercises faithfully, every morning. He takes reasonable care to pace himself with activities that he knows result in strain -- things like raking leaves, shoveling snow, etc. He has not had a major flare in 16 years...so I know it is possible.

    One thing I would suggest to you is to spend some quality floor time. If you can possibly take five minutes and do this at work, better yet. Lie on your back on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms close to your sides, palms facing up. Be sure the pelvis is in a neutral position (not tilting up or down.) Also, you want your head in line with your spine. Do not tilt the chin up toward the ceiling. Once you are in position, just lie there and relax. Breathe from the belly, slowly and deeply. You only have to stay like this for several minutes at a time -- it is a natural form of decompression and the position will unload the discs. Another way to do this is to lie the same way but snuggle your hips up next to a couch or chair. (Body will be perpendicular to the couch, head pointed out away from couch). Place your lower legs and feet on the seat of the couch or chair, arms by your sides, palms facing up. Again breathe slowly and just relax.

    When I was really having a flare I would do this for five or ten minutes each hour. I have also been known to find a quiet corner in an airport concourse and do this. Please give it a try and see what you think.

    Regarding work, try to take a mini break as often as possible, like once each hour. You don't have to stand or walk long, but do get up and stretch. Also, be sure your work station is set up well for your body. Good postural alignment is extremely important once you have disc problems.

    It is very important to avoid any activity that involves bending, and especially, twisting, reaching up overhead and to the side, lifting anything heavier than about a gallon of milk. Avoid long car rides, anything that jostles your spine, like very bumpy roads. For the next several months, the best and safest activity for you is walking. And drink tons of water.

    If you find your leg pain and numbness does not improve by the first of the year, you may have to proceed with surgery.

    There is no way to answer your question pertaining to numbness. Anything involving nerves is a big unknown. If a doctor is honest with you, he will tell you statistical outcomes. He has no reliable way to predict when the waiting becomes "too long" or the compression is too much. Some people have nerve damage after a week or two, and others are OK after years of living with nerve pain. I can't really tell you how the nerve pain recedes. Some people wake up from a discectomy and all pain and numbness is gone. Others have pain that very very slowly gets better. I personally believe that if something is truly numb, it may get better but I don't believe it ever goes away entirely -- but that is just my opinion. I don't know how it is for others. Sometimes people are left with little patches where there is numbness.

    Most doctors will tell you it can take at least a year for nerve damage to go away. Some say up to two years. But I never give up because I think it is possible for nerves to continue to heal and regenerate. My toes have been numb since the end of 2001 and just fairly recently I have started to have new sensations in them. They are far from "normal" but there is feeling and it keeps changing.

    There are only two situations where you must seek medical attention right away. When there is involvement with the bladder and/or bowel, it is considered an emergency. And if a patient develops foot drop he should also call his doctor ASAP. Otherwise, it is a matter of how much pain can you live with, how does it impact your life, etc. There are always trade-offs and it is a very personal decision.

    Did you read through all the articles on this website pertaining to sciatica? Here's a link to one I like:

    http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sciatica/what-you-need-know-about-sciatica

    Good luck to you. Please post with your questions and comments.

    Gwennie
  • Dear Gwennie,

    Thanks for your explanation: I'm interested in what you say about the pririformis muscle because the start of all my trouble was when i fell down very heavily on a (hard) tennis court. WhenI got home that evening i had a very stiff back getting out of the car - but I was still able to play tennis (twice!!) the following week. (Madness!!!)

    But by the end of that week I had pain from the buttock down to the knee (which I think is a classic piriformis type problem). For that reason my physiotherapist said she thought that my problem might be SI Joint pain. It was only two weeks after my original fall that the pain spread to my ankle/foot (and became excruciating).

    However when I had my MRI Scan about 4-5 weeks after the fall it showed no (visible) problem with the SI Joint. All very strange.

    Sean
  • Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your tip - I'll look into i a Back joy (although I think in the UK - where I am - it must be called something else). I've heard good things about the TENS machine too - so that's another avenue I'm going to investigate.

    Certainly agree about the shower massage: at the moment I am trying to go swimming as much as possible and a whirlpool massage afterwards is always very comforting.

    Sean
  • Hi Gwennie,

    Thanks for your tips - and sorry not to respond before.

    I haven't had any injections - or indeed been offered any. I have been taking Tramadol pain-killers plus fairly large quantities of Ibruprofen and Paracetamol.

    I've also been doing my exercises. My PT recommends lying flat on the floor with one knee bent and lifting my hips up off the floor. When things were at their worst I couldn't cope with that. But now I can do that fairly easily. I'm also doing a lot of swimming.

    I'm pleased to report that 11 weeks since crashing over, things have eased quite a bit. I now take 2 Tramadol at night and two in the morning. But although I can do loads more than 4 weeks ago, I still have some residual numbness in my foot. Also, I still have quite a of stiffness in my leg - it's like a bad hamstring/muscle pull. I would describe that as permanent background discomfort rather than pain. But if I kicked a football and followed right through with the leg, the result would be agony. And I still have a bad limp which is particularly pronounced after a period of sitting.

    My big dilemma will be whether or not to opt for surgery in the New Year if these symptoms don't go away. I can't believe that I can have made so much progress only to be held up on the home straight!! This week I'm going back to the PT for some more demanding exercises in the hope of freeing up that compressed nerve.

    Anyone have a suggestion as to the point at which someone like me - who seems to have a relatively straightforward problem - should accept that surgery is inevitable?

    I should also say that, having read many of the posts, it seems that there are some people who are really suffering in a big way out there. So I feel very humble reporting on my symptoms which - in comparison to everyone else's - seem rather trivial.

    I also know that some people from the UK contribute to the forum, so I thought for those Brits suffering like me I would say something about the way I managed my health care using the NHS.

    When I first hurt myself playing tennis I went to a private Tennis Club Physiotherapist as I get a member's discount. Half an hour of PT costs £30. She was very good - but can't prescribe medicines. So I had to go to my GP for that. 3 weeks worth of prescribed pain killers cost just over £7 on the NHS. The GP too was very helpful and would have organised (free) PT on the NHS if I had wanted it. But I preferred to keep going with my Tennis Club PT as that was more convenient for me.

    However, after 5 weeks of pain, I decided something more radical was required and my PT offered to refer me for a scan and - if I wanted - to a specialist. In the UK you can't just go and see a specialist or have a scan - you have to be referred either by a GP or a private health practitioner like my PT.

    The problem in the UK is that it can take quite a while to get a scan on the NHS and to see a specialist (I'm not quite sure how long). But if you are willing to pay and go privately, then you can usually get something done within a week.

    I had to pay £195 for an MRI scan - which was interpreted by both the radiologist and the PT as showing a L5 S1 disc herniation. I thought that was money well spent because I then knew exactly what was wrong with me and could make a plan about what to do. Just knowing what was wrong - rather than floundering in ignorance - was a big help psychologically.

    But it also meant that I could take my scans to the specialist that same week who I saw as a private - rather than NHS - patient. (Most specialists in the UK work partly for the NHS and partly as private consultants).

    So for another £200 within four days I got a 50-minute with the specialist who outlined my options: basically an extended period of conservative care with surgery as a possible option if things didn't heal up on their own. Again, I thought this was money well spent as I then felt that I had actually done everything within my power to address my condition.

    But - and this is the trick with the NHS system - having seen me as a private patient, the specialist is entitled to treat me as an NHS patient should I need surgery - and so he placed me on his NHS waiting list. Under NHS rules, once you are on the list you have to be treated within 18 weeks; according to the published statistics, the actual waiting time for (non-emergency) cases like mine would be nearer 12-13 weeks.

    I could have asked to have the operation done privately within the next two weeks; but he didn't recommend that - and it would have cost £7000 pounds. On the NHS the surgery and post-operative care is, of course, free.

    So I spent just under £400 getting an MRI scan and a specialist consultation - and I appreciate that not everyone can afford that - but my advice to fellow Brits is, if you can, it is well worth the money, because even if if you go privately for the scans and specialist consultation, you can still opt to be operated on under the NHS scheme if it turns out to be necessary. (If you were in an acute state with incontinence etc. they would do the operation immediately - no waiting for 18 weeks). Moreover, even if you pay to go privately, although the operation would be done sooner, it would still be done by the same surgeon and in the same hospital.

    OMG I 've gone on for so long! Sorry! Time to sign off.

  • Honestly IMHO giving you the options of PT or surgery seem a bit extreme. Especially in your case where you are having success with PT. Surgery should be the last option not the second option.

    Most folks would go through a series of ESI shots atleast before going to surgery. It all really depends on how bad is the herniation. How big is it? Ask your doctor how serious in terms of perm nerve damage.

    There are many different treatments before you need to go down the surgery route and should see a PM if possible and maybe get a second or third opinion which should include a spinal orthopedist and a neurosurgeon.

    Finally after my 5th different doctor was I offered an option other than continue with PT as your herniation is mild and the risk is too high for surgery. Surgery can be a long path of multiple surgeries and fusions. Once you affect the structure of the spine it can lead to multiple issues down the road.

    This is all food for thought...

    -js
  • Thanks for the explanation of how you got some attention. I don't live in the UK but am interested in NHS since it looks like we're headed in that direction with Obamacare.

    I wanted to mention that the pain in your quad that feels like a pulled muscle is probably referred pain from your herniated disc. The dermatome for that S1 nerve runs right down the back of the leg....Before my husband was aware he had a problem disc, he walked around for several months rubbing his quad, thinking he must have pulled a muscle running. Then on Christmas Eve morning, he woke up, started to get out of bed and couldn't move. The disc had finished rupturing over night. My point in telling you this is so you won't push too hard thinking you just have a pulled muscle or are tight from inactivity. Your disc may just be on the verge of becoming worse....just a possibility, but worth mentioning, I think.

    Gwennie
  • Hi, Im new to this forum, Ive suffered from sciatica since bank holiday weekend in august 09, and struggled to try to keep going and working through the pain. I kept going to work, only to last a couple of days and then being signed for a couple of weeks, then declaring myself fit to return then again lasting a couple of days...god loves a tryer..right?
    Anyway, to the point, whilst signed off I went to the supermarket with my wife ( I found gentle walking on smooth level floors was easy and seemed to free me up a bit)when I got out of the car, I felt my back go, as most of you who suffer from this will know, the pain was so bad this time I was close to fainting, I even had tears running down my face, and Im a big strapping guy, I can take pain, or so I thought...
    I ended up laying on the car park ground flat out waiting for an ambulance. Long story short, I ended up totally bed ridden for 5 days, and was called in for an operation a lot earlier then booked (I was booked for an op mid jan/feb '10)Its been 9 days now since my operation, and now in the last couple of days, my sciatica pain has returned, also along with a numbing sensation down my foot and length of my leg, which I didnt really have the numbness before. This is a real set back for me and to be honest has got me down a bit, as I thought after the operation I would be able to get back on with life again. Maybe this is part of the process after the operation, I dont know? It is a major worry, Im 36 years old and work in construction management.
  • Hi Gwennie,

    Thanks for your helpful explanation - I think you are quite right that what I think is hamstring pain is, of course, referred pain caused by my L5 S1 herniation. So I will indeed be taking it easy.

    But I have some good news to report, namely that for the first time in 10 weeks I have some feeling back in my foot and can feel my 4th and 5th toes again - so that has made my mood incomparably better. And, according to my PT, my SLR has also improved markedly so we did some more stretches, and is optimistic that I can avoid surgery.

    And very interestingly, in the light of my comments about the NHS, she said that sometimes being forced to wait a bit can actually be a good thing. As she said, if I had had private medical insurance and the specialist had offered me the chance to have the operation 6 weeks ago when the pain was truly unbearable I'm sure I would have said yes. And that, as many people on the board have intimated, might not have been a good thing.

    I know that the NHS has become a bit of political football of late in the US. And there are many things that are wrong with it. But I have to say that my 88 year-old father, who gets a pretty modest teacher's pension, had a serious case of pleural effusion (water on the lung) about this time two years ago which meant he was in hospital for about 4 months and operated on several times. All that was free on the NHS, the staff were great, and he made a good recovery. I'm sure that, at his age and with that kind ofpre-condition, he would be almost uninsurable on a private scheme (at least in this country). So, for all its faults, I still have a very soft spot for our NHS.
  • Hi RPG1,

    Sorry to hear about your post-op experiences. But having read around the forum I think that quite a few people have experienced something similar.

    I think the key thing is to take enough time to recover properly. Really hope things look up for you soon!
  • seaniboy said:
    My specific question relates to what forum members' experiences of numbness/loss of sensation in the leg has been.

    Have people found that the numbness just suddenly goes away one day? Or does feeling come back over a period of time? (If so, how long?)

    And as for the operation itself. I have heard (some!!) people report that they woke up to discover themselves completely free of leg pain afterwards. But nobody seems to comment on the numbness. Does that disappear straight after the operation? Or does that take a while to come back? (does it ever come back?)
    Post-Op: My pain was gone. I was still experiencing a slight tingling in the big toe and as of this time, 9;30 PM on December 21, I still feel some tingling. Doc said it would take a while and to be patient. Surgery happened Wednsday so more time will tell. I'll keep you posted.

    BTW, surgery was my first option, I wanted no part of injections or therapy. "Cut me and let me heal, so what you have to do to get me better." O was ready.

    Mike
  • Hi Mike,

    Sounds like your operation went pretty well. Hope things are continuing to improve. Keep us posted.

    Interestingly, I have found that the feeling is beginning to come back to my foot (without operation). Two weeks ago I started to feel my fourth toe - and now the loss of feeling is confined to a small strip down the RHS of my foot. According to my PT, that return of sensation after about 3 months is par for the course.

    But I still have some residual leg pain around the SI joint area that means I am not as comfortable as I would like to be. Bt a big improvement on before!

    Merry Xmas everyone!

    Sean
  • I haven't thought a lot about actual numbness because I really didn't notice it. But when I went to the nuerologist he touched me with his little vibrating tuning fork thingy and said 'feel that' and I said 'feel what?' He put it on my other foot and I felt the vibration, back to the left leg and I felt nothing. When I touch it with my hands I feel it, probably because I am feeling the pressure. I use my left foot to drive my car on the mail route and it hasn't been a problem. (I'm a rural mail carrier and sit on the 'right' side of the car to drive.)
  • It's now about three months after my problems started and about 10 weeks since I lost the feeling in my outer toes. But I'm pleased to report that about a week ago all the feeling has now returned to my foot. I'm over the moon! :)

    My PT checked me over and said that three months is about par for the course. And she also said that my SLR is negative - which is even better news.

    I still have some tightness in the glute area - and still wouldn't like to take a full bloodied kick at a football - but I'm going to get working on strengthening the core muscles before going back to tennis!

    So new year's resolutions are:

    1. Strengthen core muscles
    2. Lose some weight
    3. Don't spend such long uninterrupted periods in front of a PC

    Happy new Year to you all!

  • Hope that you continue feeling better and don't need to have surgery. It sounds very encouraging.

    I am trying to avoid surgery too (in the UK) but my tingling, pins and needles and pain in my feet (only small amount of numbness) is increasing.

    Happy New Year!
    PS I like your new year resolutions, and may adopt them myself. Time to get up from the computer and walk about!

    Take care.
  • Hope you manage to avoid surgery; I'm definitely of the opinion that if you can effect a cure without, then so much the better. Of course in the UK, the problem is getting the operation within a decent timeframe if you need it (though as I wrote above, I think the built-in delay that the NHS has is not always a disadvantage as it puts the brakes on knife-happy surgeons!)

    I was very worried about the numbness in my foot (though I also had a tingling pins and needles type sensation plus some ankle pain in the right foot) . My PT suggested that when I was doing my swimming exercises I should always made a point of walking across the swimming bath on my heels, and then walking back on tiptoe. As you have to pull yourself along using your arms you end up doing a kind of underwater funky chicken. You'll get some funny looks from your fellow swimmers - but I always found them very sympathetic once I had explained what it was all about!

    No idea whether that contributed to my general improvement - but I always did it regularly, so perhaps it did. I found it reassured me because I could monitor the onset of any muscle weakness (and maybe it combatted that too).

    Good luck with your own situation.

  • treblejunkiettreblejunkie Posts: 2
    edited 09/15/2014 - 5:40 AM
    I couldn't figure out EDITED was wrong with me. My right side butt cheek hurt, and my right leg hurt quite a bit. Rolling in bed was so painful, but if I lay in the same spot, it'd really hurt. Walking was getting to be difficult. I thought a ride on my bicycle might make it feel better, as it works for the osteoarthritis I have from the hips down. After riding a bike for a few miles, the pain went away as I rode the bike, but walking after was near impossible. After recalling moving somethings that are fairly heavy, and almost wiping out, I did this sciatica damage I'm positive now. It doesn't take much of a wrong twist to bugger your back up. Just tripping like I did caused this pain...I just hope it goes away soon. My 2¢.


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  • devyne01ddevyne01 Posts: 1
    edited 07/20/2015 - 8:18 AM
    Ok so I'm new to this experience a it's soo bad I can't take it no more as of today right now my entire left side of my buttocks and down to my foot is numb literally I'm reading everyone taking about numbness goes away after surgery I'm thinking does it go away after a few hours or no? I can't live like this the only thing I'm able to do bend my knee and barley move my toes... Ima going to see my physician today and I'm hoping I can walk to get up and go .... My back was hurting very bad for days then it started to move to my legs on like the forth night my back was no longer my major concern as my legs were hurting so severe I have been taking ibuprofen over the counter but not much help anyways so right before my legs became a major issue I had Ben laying in bed for days and I decided I have to get up and shower since every task was so difficult and exhausting anyways once I was done with my shower I tried so hard to lotion and but pants and socks on that it got over whelming so I laid down again and that's when my legs went a turn for the worst they were hurting so bad I regretted taking a shower as I tried to find a comfortable position to lay it seemed after an hour one side of my legs was fine but the other kept hurting with any movement then finally just went numb completely I'm freaking out thinking omg the doctor is going t to amputate my foot or leg so I started looking up leg numbness online and and found all this sciatic information that matched everything I was feeling I'm typically one of those peeps that think when something's wrong there not going to find what's wrong and just send me off with medication but I'm happy that I found this forum Cuz I'm a bit relieved that I'm not losing my leg and that numbness is Normal even though I'm still worried about how long my leg is gonna stay like this I figured maybe I'll fall asleep and it will be fine and no it's been hours and still nothing please anyone with numbness symptoms please elaborate more on your experiences thanks De'Vyne

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  • W0LFIEWW0LFIE Posts: 2
    edited 07/20/2015 - 8:20 AM
    Firstly thanks to Seaniboy for the original post & the clear & positive info he supplied. This thread has been very reassuring & joining this forum may help me to vent some frustrations, discuss my problem with others & share some positive advice.. I'm very conscious that I've bored my family, work colleagues & friends by now when discussing my Sciatic pain. (I bore myself too be honest).

    I came to this site having injured my lower back 3 weeks ago. I was gardening and ended up on the floor unable to move & my wife had to call the paramedics. Only with gas & air was I able to stand up and get into the house. Once up it was painful but an immediate relief to how painful it had been whilst lying down.

    Over the following days my back pain subsided & I was able to return to work. My injury felt muscular, lower back to right of spine. It's an old sporting injury that has always haunted me when I do too much.
    Well I returned to work thinking I'd be ok but gradually my right buttock started to hurt. Over the next week the pain became excruciating and spread down my leg.
    I still get sharp back pain if I forget & do something I shouldn't such as try to kick something or take a long step. My buttock and ankle now hurt more than my back & my right foot and toes are numb.

    Taking 1 30mg codeine capsule every 4hrs & 2 capsules before bed has allowed me to resume normal movement & sleep. However this dulls the senses somewhat so I can't drive and obviously it isn't a cure. ( I'm also aware of how easily one can become addicted to strong painkillers so I want to minimise my dependence on Codeine).

    I'm signed off work for another week and was hoping this would be enough time to heal with a bit of gentle exercise.
    Reading this forum I'm not so sure it's going to be as easy or as quick as that! :-(

    I'm reassured that my numbness isn't something to worry too much about as its only been 3 weeks and some have had it for months. People pull a face when I tell them my toes have been numb for a week & visions of black frost bitten toes falling off spring to mind!

    I saw a PT yesterday & they are convinced the nerve issue is muscular and not spinal which is a relief. However the treatment is expensive & I m quite old fashioned when it comes this sort of thing. How much does a PT actually do that I can't do myself through exercise.
    I want to cure myself so seriously thinking about maybe 1 or 2 more trips to PT but if not fixed by then ill switch to exercises and maybe a tens machine. Like the idea of swimming but if my back goes won't I drown? :-)

    I'm daunted by how long this may all take (having seen this thread) but understand that patience is going to have to become one of my vertues.

    I fully sympathise with everyone that has posted because we all know that positivity & sense of humour seem to leave the party the minute back pain arrives.
    It's important to remain positive, keep your chin up (not literally as that may hurt) and be patient.

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  • Thank you all for great advice
    8/31/15 microdiscetomy laminotomy
    8/15 reruptured l5
    12/24/13 laminotomy/discetomy of L5
    9/98 laminectomy l4/l5
  • PipskimaripskiPPipskimaripski Posts: 7
    edited 09/23/2015 - 2:44 AM
    I've had leg pain, like something is knowing behind my knee and a pulling sharp pain from my left buttock, I went for acupuncture, Chirpractor and physio, the chiropractor made it worse, lifted both my legs and then asked me to support them in the air, the pain was so severe I couldn't bear it, he said "It's definitely Periformis" be careful about trying to cure yourself as it wasn't! The physio made me go to the doctors who then referred me to a Physio Consultant who said small bulge of the disc, she sent me for an MRI, she was a bit hesitant because I had had it 13 weeks which is the time that it starts to get better, anyway I went for the MRI and it was a LARGE central disc protusion. I went back and saw another consultant and he said it's very large. I am currently trying to get an image on CD to show an Osteopath, basically I have been referred to a surgeon but just for a chat, it's now been 4 months since it all started and no better, last night the grinding pain in my leg kept waking me up, I am on Co-Dydramol, 8 tablets in 24 hours and Naproxen a strong anti inflammatory and Amytripyline a strong pain killer for nighttime that gives me bad dreams, you start off on 1/2 a tablet and then build up to 2 tablets over the course of a few weeks, it takes a long time for them to kick in and alleviate the pain but I stuck with them and the nightmares, this does enable me to sleep. I can only get comfortable if I sit with my bottom slightly higher than the level of my knees and I sit upright, as soon as I slouch I get pins and needles in my leg. My middle three toes are numb, my ankle and up to my knee on the back of my calf. I have nightmares about it going higher and I think at night time when I am dosed up it does go higher, this wakes me up and I get out of bed and walk around for ten minutes. You have to watch out for Cauda Equina which is basically not realising you have wet yourself, loss of sensation, this is in extreme circumstances and the consultant said you will definitely know when this happens, there is no doubt and dial 999 and get to a hospital. So after 4 months I am coping but it is draining and dragging me down. I am full-time working with my own graphic design business so have to get up from my chair every 20 minutes and walk around. I have found pottering around is the best, housework apart from hoovering is good but I avoid any lifting of repetitive loading and bending, this makes it worse and you just undo the healing process. The disc has bulged, it's a bit like a blood blister on the side of your thumb, painful to start, then the thumb cuts off the blood supply to the blister, the blister shrivels and then eventually disperses and drops off, thats a bit how it works with a disc and it fixing apparently. Anyway I had a week off work for holiday, with lots of gentle walking and pottering around for the whole week and it didn't make it any better so I went back to see the doctor as my surgeon appointment is not until November another 8 weeks. The doctor said to avoid surgery and wait it out, she said she has had it herself and has had patients where the whole leg is numb but the numbness has gone in time, it can take a long, long time for it to go though, nerves do heal but can vary from person to person on time length. She said to avoid surgery on your back if possible, it fixes it to start with but then spurs can grow out from where it has been operated on and cause problems down the line, sometimes good painkillers and anti inflammatory tablets, not over the counter ones, get decent ones on prescription kept the pain under control and the body is wonderful at healing itself with time. You just have to treat your bones with care and go gently. Good pottering, regular walking, not route marches but lots of walking around all helps and patience. Hope this helps someone.
    Know pain, no gain
  • mickey5627mmickey5627 Posts: 4
    edited 09/25/2015 - 9:28 AM
    I am new to this site and I wish I had seen it 4 years ago.
    History: 9/2011 fusion in neck with plate.....Left me with numbness and partial paralysis left arm from elbow to fingers...
    7/2012 Disectomy L-5/S1 ... Some numbness and tingling on left side but ok...
    10/2012 Disectomy again L-5/S1...pieces floating around resting on sciatica. .Result still numbness and tingling PT for 9 months
    7-2013 Ulnar Nerve surgery on Left arm.. still numbness and paralysis just rerouted nerve but damage already done.
    Constant pain and cramping on left calf. Tingling and numbness and weakness and burning on left side from center of buttock to the end of my toes. Sciatica flare ups often but would cease. Took gabapentin, hydrocodone when needed , ibuprofen and icing center of lower beck even though I had no pain. Feb 2015 sciatica flared up went to neurosurgeon said bulging disc and he would not do surgery.Said my option would be a spinal stimulator. Well after going to Primary Doctor, neurologist sent me to have orthoses made for both feet because I had drop feet and left foot was also numb and I fell constantly. June of 2015 I woke up and could not move. Went to ER gave me shots and sent me home. Went to Primary referred me to Pain Mgmt. no apt until 8-31. Sciatica let up until 7-4 and could not move again..went back to Er gave me morphine dulaudin and steroid..did not make a dent. Sent me home with hydrocodone and I am now going on 11 weeks bedridden. After Pain Mgmt apt was cancelled due to dr illness I raised a fit and got in next day with another dr. set me up for epidural injections on 9-22.. Today is 9-24 and I feel worse then before shots. How long can a person live with this debilitating chronic pain?? I cannot sit, stand, walk and can only lay on my stomach. To go to the restroom is the most painful tearing screaming experience of my life. How does anyone do it? The minute I put my foot on the floor my nerves are like fireworks going off in every direction from my butt to my toes. Sharp shooting pains , aching you name it it happens. I have seen every star there is and then some. and talk about depression..i want to walk again..I want to be able to stand for more than 5 seconds before the pain overtakes me. Taking a shower is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Any input you an give will be greatly appreciated..I am at my wits end. Obviously the epidural shots will not work on me..I praise ya'll that are dealing with us. I just want to smile again ..no more tears... Thank you for letting me vent.. 4 years for me is a long time to deal with something I don't even know what I did to bring it on.

    spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease,narrowing spinal canal, bulging disc s1 l-4-l-5, myelomalacia, myelopathy, drop feet, neuropathy

    God Bless You all

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    mickey
  • I have a chronic swollen knee from a knee replacement, might that cause sciatica symptoms?  I have not hurt my back. Just came on suddenly after sitting
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