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Sciatica & Sacroiliac pain going on 7 years...

I've had sciatica problems for about 8 years now. Initially, it was just slight pain that would go away after a day of rest. I had gone to PT, but the sciatica has progressed and the episodes have gotten more frequent and more painful.

At this point, I have about 6 episodes a year which last 3-6 weeks. I'm going to a Dr who specialized in spinal injury. I've been seeing him for the last 2 1/2 years. He has sent me to the physical therapist three times and to the chiropractor once. Both the PT and the chiro took a good 5 weeks before the pain went away. That's about the same amount of time it takes if I do nothing. The chiropractor's routine was extremely uncomfortable and painful. It's something I'd rather not do again.

The last time I went to the Dr, he said there was a problem with my sacroiliac joint. He had me do 6 weeks of PT. I did the 6 weeks and by the end the pain had subsided. Of course that was last month and now I can feel it coming on again.

Now, I have been doing the same thing for 3 years and getting the same poor results. I feel like I need to try something different. The other thing is I haven't had an MRI in seven years. Is it possible they could see something on an MRI that would change my prognosis?

According to the PT, I'm supposed to do the stretches until the pain goes away. Well, what if I'm stretching and the pain doesn't go away.

Also, what am I supposed to do when the pain is too much to do the stretches. I mean there are times when it would literally take me 10 minutes to lay down.

The last time my back went out, my Dr was out of town. Another DR prescribed me a steroid and a painkiller. The painkillers prevented me from going to work, but also forced me to lay down and miss work for 3 days strait. After that rest, I felt better, but I cannot take that much time off work.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I going to be like this for the rest of my life or can it be cured? Should I be asking my Dr for any type of treatment in particular.


  • Footbag,

    I am 49 and have been dealing with spinal problems since I was 12 yrs old. From your post I think that sciatic pain is caused by a problem in the spine. I believe a MRI would be helpful but I have had MRI's every year for the past 5 years and although my symptoms have increased dramatically my MRI's have not changed dramatically.

    In my opinion if I were you having the pain you have I would want a MRI to know what I was dealing with. Additionally, if the exercises have worked in the past, is there any reason you can't do some level of exercise daily to ward off problems?

    Even with the severe spinal problems I have had for the past 30 years the one thing I do everyday is exercise. It may not be pretty and many days I have to lie on the floor and do stretches and core training on my back but exercise has saved me from being in a wheelchair and exercise helps me everyday cope with pain and life in general.

    I was like you in terms of wanting to stay in the work force as long as possible (I still work) - and at times I was put on narcotics and had trouble working and had to learn to cope with alternative techniques - like meditation, prayer, relaxation, accupuncture and massage etc.

    Keep us posted as to what your next move is - get the MRI, exercise or start a daily exercise program even if this seems counterintuitive to being in so much pain - it works. The meditation regime is up to you - I thought it crazy at first and didn't stick it out. Several years later I decided I had nothing to lose and set some goals and developed a meditation/relaxation discipline that helps me daily.

  • nkaynnkay Posts: 105
    edited 02/01/2013 - 4:20 AM
    And why haven't they done an MRI?
  • Thanks for the comments. I have been on a daily stretch routine. It is usually just stretches when my back is hurting, but I have been introducing some aerobic exercise. I know the intent is to build some core muscles. I like running and other sports and would play every day I could. Typically though, after a few weeks of core building exercise, I'll have a recurrence and my back will go out. For example, earlier this week I was doing an aerobic TV workout, then two days ago my back was acting up, yesterday, I thought I was going to have to call my DR for pain meds, this morning I woke up feeling perfectly fine.

    This has become a problem when explaining it to my Dr. The few times I get to his office in pain, he is confident he knows the problem and claims I'm not doing my exercises. Well, the last time I saw him, I wasn't doing the stretches because I couldn't move. I was reluctant to schedule the appt because I didn't know if I could get out of bed. He asked me if I've been doing my stretches, I should've just said "yes". But I said, "I haven't been able to move for a week." He took that as meaning that I wasn't doing them. The truth is, I was doing them when possible, but kind of wanted some clarification as to how I'm supposed to do them when I'm at my worst.

    I'm an optimist, so when my back is feeling good, I tell my Dr I feel great. So now, he looks at his notes, sees I'm currently feeling good, have been exercising, and appear to be getting better. The problem is the occurrences are getting more frequent, more painful and more debilitating.

    I really pushed hard to get an MRI. I told him and his nurse that I didn't want to see him until after he sent me for an MRI. He wanted to see me first, but still didn't send me for an MRI. He also told me it looked like I had Sacroilliac disorder. My Sacroiliac was "stuck" as he put it. So I thought we kind of had a breakthrough, but the treatment was the exact same for both issues. Long story short, I've been doing the same treatments with the same poor results. I feel like I have to change something.

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