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Bilateral Acute Sciatica

I've recently developed what i think is sciatic pain in both legs. I've had sciatica before but it was only in my right leg. This time it's a bit different than what Ive experienced before. This time there is a lot of pain just above my knee caps. It really hurts when going down hills or stairs. I'm also weak. its very hard to get up from a chair. If i walk much both my ankles feel very sore and tired. ..like almost locked up. Among lots of problems in my thoracic spine I also have congenital limbar stenosis . I have disc protrusions at l2l3 and l3l4. Any tips on getting this to resolve? I never know when to call my neuro about things because I'm not sure what is normal for my condition and what warrants getting checked out. Any advice is truly appreciated.


  • SugarplumsSSugarplums Posts: 77
    edited 08/13/2012 - 1:58 PM
    Not a doc, but I would say that since this is a dramatic change from YOUR normal, you should go see your neurologist ASAP. How long has it been since you have had a lumbar MRI? If it has been a while, you could have significant changes that warrant other treatment.

    Until then... What I do for my sciatica flares is:

    1. First I ice it. Ice is best for a "new" injury or pain. I ice for 20 minutes, then take a break, then ice for another 20, etc.

    ****TIP**** If I get a flare up while I am at the store, I will actually buy a bag of peas, go to the car and lay the seat back all the way and lay on the peas! Works great! ;)

    2. I take my anti-inflammatory meds to help the swelling on the nerve pipe down.

    3. Then I alternate ice and heat if just the ice doesn't stop the flare up. Ice for 20 minutes, then I lay on the heating pad for 20 minutes. I guess I should clarify that I am icing and heating my lumbar/sacral spine where I know my nerves are being pinched! LOL!

    4. If that's not helping enough, then I take my stronger pain meds and muscle relaxers up to prescribed amount. After about a week, I use just the heating pad on my back.

    5. If I can't even walk, bear weight on that leg (or sometimes both legs at the same time!) or pain level is 8 or greater after all my at home efforts have failed for more than a week, I go to my PCP, PM doc, or if necessary, the ER for a Decadron shot to force the swelling to subside and then continue ice and heat at home with a Rx dosepack of steroids.

    Prevention tips:
    Because of the way my nerves are pinched, I deal with sciatica all the time. I find the more I go from a sitting to standing position or any bending at the waist, the more those pinched nerves are agitated, and the more prone I am to a flare. A lot of walking or sitting also agitates those nerves. Therefore, I try to stand or lay down as much as possible. When waiting to be called for your doc appt, don't sit--just stand. When you get into the patient room, stand or lay down on the exam table, don't sit up on a chair. Most psychologists have a sofa--LAY ON IT! Do not sit and aggravate that nerve unnecessarily. An added bonus for you with that is you will have an added medical documentation of your pain by your therapist should you need it for your disability application! Don't stand-up-sit-down for check in, registration, lab, radiology, etc. because the more I find I flex those vertebrae, the more everything swells up, and the higher the chances are that I won't be able to walk by the end of the day.

    I hope this helps! I pray you get relief!
  • First off. Thank you very much for your response. I've been trying your suggestions and they do ease it off a little. The problem in the last two days is the symptoms in my left leg have gone off the chart. I hurt at an 8on the scale. My big toe hurts. My heel hurts. My ankle hurts. My upper calf and knee hurts and still numb on my outer thigh. Now I'm having extreme difficulty getting up from a seated position. It's like there is no leg strength on either leg to boost up with. I know i have to see my Dr. Who knows how many days I'll have to wait before he has an opening. My pain meds aren't even touching my pain. Any further suggestions from anyone on what to do when sciatic kicks in to super overdrive??
  • How weird! I'm having the SAME problem! On Monday I'm going to call the doctor that does the epidural spine injections and give it one more try if he can see me right away. I have to walk with a walker in the meantime, or just not walk at all. :(

    I'm praying for you!
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