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Back/leg agony - can't cope!

specialksspecialk Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:03 AM in Chronic Pain
Will try to cut a very long story short: whilst pregnant with my youngest (now aged 4) I had sciatica. Months after his birth one day I couldnt get out of bed as my back had just 'gone'. Doc gave me copious amounts of painkillers & booked physio. Tried physio which didnt really help.

Was kind of accepting that I just had a bad back so was thinking that was me for life. It continued to plague my life (lower back pain) & restrict me. After moving house my back went again & I decided that at the age of 34 I was not going to accept that this is how I would be. I have 2 small children and feel useless and unmotivated due to my back. Doc gave me more painkillers, did blood tests & sent me for an xray. Blood tests clear & xray showed 'signs of strain' but not enough for him to be bothered about.

Started to see an osteopath who after 5 sessions signed me off as it wasnt working & suggested I push the Doc for an MRI scan. Now the pain is unbearable (had to go to A & E the other night as almot passed out with the pain) & has travelled down my left leg to my foot. My foot & ankle are numb. I cant sit down or lie down as in agony also I cant drive. Only way I can sleep is on my front which is still sore. Doc gave me more painkillers.

Now after taking the meds for a week (& no improvement) he has booked me for physio & sent me away. Came out of the Docs in tears. He didnt even check that I had enough meds left to see me through. I am in constant pain and am so depressed. This has been going on for almost 5 years now & it is at its worst stage but still my Doc wont suggest an MRI. I am really upset and feel let down. Dont know what to do next.....


  • specialk, I'm so sorry for what you are going through. From some of the terms you use, I'm guessing you are in the UK or Canada? I'm not sure how the medical system works either place, so I hope something I say is helpful.

    I'm not a doctor, but what you describe sure sounds like nerve compression. Nerve compression is agony and it's serious because it can lead to permanent nerve damage. Do yourself a favor and fire your doctor.

    My doc refused an MRI too. I requested it three times. I threatened to go to ER if they couldn't help me more with the pain, so I did eventually get pain meds. But by then the crisis was in full swing, and nothing helped much.

    So, I went to a different doctor, and it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. He wasn't an orthopedic surgeon but a sports medicine guy in an ortho's office, and he immediately ordered an MRI for me. He also gave me a lumbar corset, which provided immediate relief, much more substantial relief than the pain meds ever did. I'm doing physio too.

    If there is one thing I have learned from reading these boards it's that our kinds of problems are mistreated on a regular basis. It amazes me that so many people can be in so much legitimate pain, and the doctors don't believe, or maybe they just don't care. At any rate, it's really important to be willing to be assertive-unto-aggressive to get adequate treatment. It starts with finding a knowledgeable doc (maybe a specialist) who is willing to order an MRI. I really hope you can do that.

    Remember that pain meds make the pain seem better, but they are not preventing nerve damage.

    Please keep us informed as to what you decide to do.
  • wow thnk you for your reply. your advice is much appreciated as its really getting me down. Yes I am in the UK. I might try an see about seeing a different doctor somehow. I am in constant pain so cant believe he just sends me away. Dread sleeping tonight cos its so sore especially when I wake in the morning. It so nice to hear from someone who has/is experiencing the same problems.: )
  • I too can relate to what you are going through and it is true about the nerve damage. I was put off so long because of my age and what the Dr's saw on my MRI he said it "should't be causing that much pain". I guess he thought I was seeking pain meds. Someone on this site said something that really made sense and that was "you are innocent until proven guilty unless you have back pain, then you are guilty until proven innocent". In my opinion that is a very true statement. I have been bounced around to several Dr's and specialist and they all want the other one to prescribe the meds because they don't want to be responsible. Good luck and know you are not alone. Chad
  • I'm sorry for what you are going through...

    The one thing that I do recommend though is that sleeping on your stomach is the absolute worst possible thing you can do...

    You need to sleep on your side with a pillow (long one) in between your legs/knees. The one I have goes from my inseam to my ankles. And then I have another smaller pillow that goes in between my elbows/arms.

    Along with a contoured pillow for my head/neck...

    This way, when I am on each side throughout the night, my spine is perfect alignment...

    So sleeping on your stomach can actually cause even more issues and pain.
    Same thing with sitting....be sure to get up and move every 15 to 30 minutes...This will help keep the pressure off the nerve.

    Can you go to an Emergency room to have them perform the MRI? Or go ahead and switch Drs. to find one who will do this?

    Also...did they at least give you a nerve pain medication to take like Lyrica, Neurontin, or Cymbalta? Along with a muscle relaxer to help as well?

    An opiate is really only going to dull the pain somewhat and it it's not meant for nerve pain at all.

    And I know it's hard to do....but if you can find a swimming pool to be able to help stretch and keep the rest of your muscles strong...especially your core....This will actually help your back.

    As well as doing some regular light stretching/yoga that you can tolerate.

    Trying to think of some suggestions to help until you can get the care you need...

    Keep us posted..
  • Thanks for the replies guys - much appreciated. I seriously cannot lie on my side even with pillow. The only way I can get a small amount of sleep is on my stomach which still is not very comfortable. Am going out of my mind. I was on diazepam, tramadol & diclofenic but now without the diazepam and I cant cope. Even thinking of taking some co-codamol but dunno if this is safe with the other drugs. I just need the pain to go. I have 2 kids this is no good. am falling deeper into depression.
  • p.s. about the sitting - I would be lukcy if I could sit for 15-30 mins. If I manage to sit the intensity of pain builds up so can only manage to sit for like 5 mins max!!
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