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Will my sciatica leg pain get worse if I go back to work ?

Nick1952NNick1952 Posts: 19
I am in pain for 3 weeks now and off work, first week NSAID pills, second week NSAID injections, third week medrol ...
I find it difficult to understand how people manage with everyday life for months/years of pain...
Last week my neuro surgeon after examining me and the MRI concluded : your problem is not that tragic !!! and gave me medrol pills.
The problem is that my leg hurts when sitting down and at work I usually sit over 7 hours daily ( software developer ).
If I go back to work there would be no problem with my employer to have walking breaks as often as i like
BUT I am afraid that the problem may get worse and my pain too...???
This is where I need feedback from you fellow sufferers.


  • everyone's sciatica affects them different. It drives me crazy to hear a doc "decide" how much you should feel...on that note I would run.

    I would get a couple opinions as to the severity. All MRI's are different too. They have no parameters as far a what "they" see and what symptoms should be there...

    sounds like you have a pinched s1 nerve somewhere. I am guessing but check L5 and s1 nerve dermatomes and see if you can relate.

    pls keep in mind no one knows how you feel but you. if you can take walking and stand up breaks it won't hurt to try working again doing those things. it may help to take a back support.

    good luck
  • Nick,
    I always have great sympathy for those at the initial stages of pain, that they did not have before, although daily and years of pain is not easy, we develop skills and techniques to cope as best we can.

    Many people here manage years of daily pain, with the reasonable expectation of an improvement that never arrives. Nobody here has a crystal ball and do not know how any case will develop, we are not doctors, the best is to deal with what you have rather than what it might become, if you can work do so and do everything possible to manage and cope every day.

    We understand and can help.

    Take care. John
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    As you read some of the threads here you will find many in the same situation as you, just starting out with spinal problems to those who have been dealing with it for years.

    It sounds as results of your doctor's clinical examination and MRI reports that your current condition does not warrant surgery. That is great news! There are many spinal problems, that can be managed via conservative treatments and never need surgical procedures.

    I am glad you stayed with your doctor. Just because a doctor tells you your situation is not that bad, your pain levels should be this or that, you dont need surgery, etc, are not valid reasons to quit that doctor and look for others.

    Those folks that jump from doctor to doctor looking for what they want to hear many times wind up with more than medical problems.

    What is the current plan that your doctor is laying out for you?

    I applaud you for your first wanting to get back to work and then worrying how this will impact your condition. Too many people find every reason to have their medical situation keep them from work.

    I was a Software developer, Software engineer, Data Center Manager, etc for 35 years. Much of that time was spent at a desk 7 to 15 hours a day in front of a computer. Do not let anyone convince you that there is an ergonomically perfect workstation environment. The best practice is to get up at least every 50 minutes, stretch, do some walking and wait about 10 minutes before returning to your desk. As a programmer, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up at the computer and the next thing you know 4 hours have passed and you have never gotten up.

    Can the desk work worsen your condition? None of us are really qualified to answer that. This is something you need to discuss with your doctor.

    Personally, having gone through 4 lumbar surgeries and months of time working before that, I can say that from time to time, the desk work made it much more uncomfortable. I also had a hour commute each way, so that didnt help. But my condition never got worse. Eventually, I did need surgery, but that was pretty well known from the initial MRI report. We just waited to see how things progresses.

    Good luck. Keep your positive attitude.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • thanks for your advice and wishes.
    I am a software developer too, enjoying working with oracle database and TOAD.
    I know very well 'how easy it is to get wrapped up at the computer and the next thing you know 4 hours have passed and you have never gotten up'.
    Unfortunately even in the afternoon I used to sit in my chair with my laptop for hours ... and although I knew it was not good for my lumbar condition I kept doing it.
    From now on when at home I will NEVER sit in a chair with my laptop ! ! ! instead I will work like now from my bed which is reclining and top bottom electrically adjustable.
    I must also exercise seriously...

    One technical question Ron:
    under 'my stuff' list I do not see an option
    view members posts like view buddy posts .
    Is there any other way to search the topic history of a user ?
  • Thank you very much for your immediate support comments.
    The MRI shows herniation and nerve pressure at the L5 S1 level,
    but apparently it is not severe enough for operation yet and my NS thinks I have a good chance of avoiding it.
    Patience is the magic word and approaching my 60th birthday the coming summer, is time for me to try hard to learn how to be patient.
    In one older topic (I think it was yours John) I saw about a bbc horizon documentary 'the secret world of pain'
    It is realy amazing to see the latest research into pain and all the weird facts related.
    In fact some time after watching it I realized that my pain level dropped quite a bit ! ! !
    Of course most likely this was a chance event unless I remain consistently better during the next hours/days...!!! I really hope so.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846

    That depends on how the user set it up.
    Under MY ACCOUNT, you could document your medical history. Then when anyone clicks on your member name in a thread, they will see your medical history.

    I have that also, but I included a link to a thread outlining my medical history. That was something that most of the people on my team set up and a few others have done the same
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    tracking down all posts made by one member here is not the easiest thing in the word.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • if you have one buddy and choose --> view buddy posts you will get a list of all topics started by your buddy.

    If I wanted to get a list of all topics started by John how would I do it?

    In fact John is already my buddy , so I have solved my problem indirectly.

    Finally I must say that this website is really helpful for people trying to keep their spine healthy.
    Thank you all for that.
  • Charry buddy thank you for having already asked almost all the questions I wanted to make.
    Using the option 'view buddy posts' --> buddy=Charry I got a 5 page listing of all the topics Charry has started --> Charrypedia

    For example the current topic I started is directly related with:
    charry How did you know you were ready to go back to work?

    Following the history of her topics I learned a lot of thinqs and also a lot of fun ! for example
    charry Is size important?

    The following is another question I wanted to make:
    charry Does L5-S1 herniated disc and annular tear ever heal without surgery?

    Charry , thanks and stay strong.
    I wish to all of you here to get better with time.
  • I feel 80% normal now and start work tomorrow after 2 months at home ... Keep my fingers crossed.
  • John, I absolutely love your quote: "Many people here manage years of daily pain, with the reasonable expectation of an improvement that never arrives." That just sums it up for us, doesn't it? Unfortunately the Albert Schweitzer quote you reference it truer still. My cross to bear is constant, chronic sciatica since my first pregancy 30 years ago. No need going into detail, because there are no details. Whatever the cause, has long since passed. What's left is a 55 year old female who wants to do so much, but...
  • my point was if a doc doesn't believe you it gets one nowhere fast.

    glad to hear you are doing better!!!!
  • update :

    After a 9 day course of 4mg Medrol (3,3,3, 2,2,2, 1,1,1) I had an improvement which did not satisfy me initially but now almost 2 weeks after with no drugs at all I keep improving.
    I have another 2 weeks off work although I feel I am almost ready to return to work.

    I don't know how much of this improvement is attributed to medrol but who cares ...

    I have been laying in bed all this time with lots of ice packs, lots of simple stretching exercises and 3-4 daily 15min walking breaks.
    Walking was never a big problem in my case but now I can sit without pain and the transition from sitting to standing is approx. 80% better.
    Also all the other weird pains along the sciatic nerve are 90% better except the painful feeling in my foot (like walking on bone or walking barefoot on a pebble beach) which is 50% better.

    I am trying to work out which is the best way to keep reminding myself for the next 6 months/years! that I must be careful not to harm my back . . . every second of the day...

    One idea is to wear my watch in my 'wrong' hand.
    Another is to wear a lumbar belt loosely allowing my muscles to be active.

    Any other ideas ?

  • I have had this pain for just over 2 months i just started with low back pain which i ignored i thought it would go away it was not a bad pain but then it started to v effect my leg i was given lyrica and increased to 300mg morning and night
    Taking panidine fort as well i am 57 work as a store manager i have a week off but fear i may have to give up work
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 486
    Hi Mary....without knowing for sure what's going on with your spine/nerves, it's had to say what's the best thing for you, not that I would know, but test results can usually indicate a plan of action. It's possible it's from inflammatory reasons, and usually an indication of a pinched nerve....why is what you need to know in order to know if you can continue on in your work, or try some other medical treatment.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
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