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severe sciatic pain please help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671

My husband who is 39 is suffering severly with excruciating sciatic pain and finding it almost impossible to sit, stand or lie in any position for more than a few seconds at a time...he also suffers from fibro which is causing him problems in its self....He had an episode in the beginning of the year which lasted 16 weeks and he was almost completely bed ridden for all that time....This time looks to be going the same way although he is trying his hardest to be up and mobile whenever he can....even the few steps to the toilet is agony and i can hear and see the pain he is going through....he is also not sleeping due to the pain and is getting mentally exhausted.

He has currently been taking 300mg gabapentin 3 x day with the highest doseage of co codomol he can and maybe gets an hour where the pain is bearable and after that he's back in agony again....the doctor has now prescribed 10mg amitryptiline 2 at night but he is still in the same situation

He has been on pain management courses, to back pain clinic, physio, acupunture, water therapy, tens machines etc

He had an mri earlier in the year which diagnosed a problem with a couple of the lower discs but nothing has been mentioned about them apart from refering him for yet more physio which from experience has not really helped....

Weve tried excercises, heat and cold packs, hanging from the door, trigger point therapy and none have made any difference to the pain....

He did have an episode like this a few years ago when he was given an epidural injection and although this ceased the pain, he has suffered from pilondial? abcesses at the site of the injection and last count hes had 24 of them....so he wont have another epidural....

i asked the doctor to prescribe him oramorph as this was what he had before and it did actually help slightly but she refused point blank...(it was another doctor in another part of the country where we lived that prescribed it) and gave him the ami which has done nothing,,,not even knock him out so he can at least get some sleep.

What can he try now as i dont really know what other options there are but any advice on how he might alliviate some of his pain and maybe an idea of what route to try next would be very greatly apprecited

thanks for reading



  • I'm so sorry to hear of your husband's pain. You are such a great wife to be on here searching for answers to help him feel better. I commend you for that.

    Other than just being honest with his pain mgmt doc and letting them know how much pain he's in and that the meds aren't working, I don't know what else to suggest. I sounds like he's been through most of the non-surgical treatments already.

    Has he seen a neurosurgeon? When was the last time he had an mri or ctscan? Has he had a discogram or EMG to see if the pain is coming from nerves or disc?

    I hope you find this site to be helpful and supportive. I can't imagine what it's like to watch someone you love so much be in so much pain and there's nothing you can do about it. Just be there for him and remind him that you love him unconditionally.
  • My partner is going through something similar at the moment - bed ridden with excrutiating sciatic pain. Even the most minute amount of pressure on his leg (and despite mammoth amounts of painkillers); if he trys to stand he will be screaming in agony. It's so awful to see him like this - I can appreciate how you both must feel.

    In terms of pain relief for the flare-ups, he is on mssive doses of diazepam / codeine (which admittedly touches the sides of the pain but does help with sleeping) and all I can do is make him comfortable with hot/cold packs, hot baths (cammomile & lavendar essential oils seem to help take the edge off) and lots of hugs! Someone did say, he could be hospitalised on a morphine drip if the pain gets too constant. We now have an appointment to see a musculo-skeletal specilalist in the hope that his discs can be operated on. Don't know much about this yet but I think they can shave parts of the affected discs off to stop them pressing on the nerve.

    In terms of long-term care, we had been pushed from pillar to post and the recommended NHS physio appointments did little to help. Despite regular visits, his original GP refused to refer him on, so we went private to get an MRI scan, which indicated two slipped discs. We started him on a diet and exercise plan (had to do a lot of research/reading!) - the weight loss helped to take some of the pressure of his spine)- and he started daily stretching exercises, pilates and weekly acupuncture/reflexology/sports massages - although costly, we're thinking this will have to be a long-term approach as it does seem to help to prevent episodes. He is also booked in to see someone for posture realignment sessions (when this flare-up has gone!) and hope that this will help strenghten his core muscles and help long-term. We found them through personal recommendation.

    Keep smiling and I really hope things get better for you soon.
  • Debi - I would definitely push for a referral to a spine specialist if your husband hasn't already seen one. Although the fibro is probably making things worse, if you have tried physiotherapy and it hasn't helped, something more needs to be done.

    PetuniaApple, I notice you're in the UK. If your partners pain is really bad you could try going to A&E. I did this the first time I herniated the disc and I was admitted to the orthopaedics ward for an MRI and treatment straight from the emergency room. It also has the advantage that you get seen by a consultant or their registrar a lot sooner.
  • Hi and ty to the people who replyed to my previous message....I have a few questions that i hope someone may be able to help me with...

    As my husband is going through a bad sciatic flare at the moment....
    1.....Is it normal for him to be suffering excruiating pain in his right hip when trying to put his trousers on...he cant have anything touching the area as its too painful....

    2. Has anyone else found problems with the knee joint? He says it is agonising so much so that it wakes him every 1-2 hours throughtout the night and he is almost crying with the pain....and this is a bloke that DOES NOT cry easily....It is also swollen slightly and he says it feels as though the nerve in being ripped in his knee....

    3..Skin sensitivity on the shin area of the leg...he cant have anything touching it, cant lay his leg down on the sofa, floor or bed and even him touching his leg with his fingers causes him massive pain

    He has been in touch with the hospital and now has an appointment to see the thoratic team on the 4th feb but are these the right people to be seeing or should he be seeing someone else? He also has physio booked for 12 jan but as he cant lay on his back or front for any length of time, the physio isnt sure what she can do for him until the pain calms down.....

    if anyone could give me feedback on these i would be very grateful

  • I'm sorry to hear about your husband's pain. You should have his knee checked out by the Primary Dr. Just to make sure everything is okay. It may be painful but ice may help and TED stockings. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Sciatic or sciatic-type pain is usually the result of a lumbar problem, usually either disc or compressed spinal nerve. Nerve pain can result in a great variety of sensations frequently described with the following adjectives: burning, stabbing, sharp, ...The skin sensitivities you are describing sound more like a pain syndrom like CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) (you can read about it here: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm)

    It is normal to have pain in the hip with sciatic pain. The dermatomes for the lumbar region run through the hip area, as do the attachments for some of the major large muscles such as piriformis muscle. It is not uncommon for people to think they are having hip pain when in reality it is a problem with a lower lumbar disc, often L4-5 or L5-S1.

    I'm glad your husband will be able to see a doctor soon. I hope this will help and that he will be feeling better soon.

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