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Sciatica and treatments not working

I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia about two years ago after searching for a diagnosis for 10 years. Recently, I developed sciatic nerve pain as well. Go me. So I've been to my PCP 3 times. First I was given toradol injection along with tramadol to treat the pain. None of that helped. Second visit, I was given a corticosteroid injection, a prednisone pack, and flexeril. None of that helped. Third visit, I was given more flexeril (stronger dose, 10 mg) and lidoderm patches. The lidoderm patches help somewhat but not much. I also got a referral to an orthopedic doctor. This Monday morning, I got to my appt and have x-rays taken. I meet with the doctor who looked at my x-rays. Then started poking around the IT band on my right leg (the sciatic pain is on the right side) and found it was sensitive. So he decides to treat me for hip bursitis. By giving me MORE prednisone and another corticosteroid shot in the hip. I told him that I just did all that and it didn't work. His response "do you want my help or what?" At this point I just started sobbing. I said "Yes I want you to treat me and make this pain stop. I DONT want to keep going through the same ineffective meds over and over again to get no relief". He said "Well this is the treatment" and I said "well it's not working!" He ignored the sciatica altogether. After the second corticosteroid injection I hurt worse than ever. I almost puked in the doctor's office. My entire IT band on the right is on FIRE and my sciatica is still getting worse. I can't eat, I can't sleep. I can't use the bathroom very well, I can't shower. I can't cook. I can't do anything. As I'm typing this I'm crying all over agin. I am SO frustrated and I don't know what to do. Nothing has helped. I have tried: heat, ice, both, toradol, tramadol, diclofenac, prednisone, advil, aleve, tylenol, flexeril, cymbalta (I take for the fibro anyway), alcohol...I don't know what to do but I'm losing my mind. I'm just going between staring blankly at the wall, to screaming in pain, to sobbing. I can't handle this. I'm afraid that if I go to the ER they will just turn me away as a drug seeker. But I need relief. This is insane.


  • I've been through all those beginning steps over the last month. My doctors are completely unwilling to go further with other tests or treatment options. I continue to get worse and they continue to repeat previously failed steps.
  • When you say "I can't use the bathroom very well" do you mean you cannot physically GET there, or do you have difficulty releasing urine? I had severe sciatica and was bedridden, but when I started to lose the ability to urinate they moved up my surgery date as I was deemed an emergency. Have you had an MRI at all lately?
  • I had sciatica pain for 5 months and ended up having a microdistectomy on the l5 s1 disk on 7/31. Nerve pain was gone immediately and I started walking the next day. I am doing 3 miles per day at a 16 minute per mile pace and started doing core strengthening exercises and feel great. Looking at your post it doesn't say if you've ever had an MRI. You should get one of those so your dr has a more accurate reading of what your problem might be. I was the last person that wanted any type of surgery as I am very active and always try to work through things but this time I couldn't get rid of it and after 2 surgeons recommended the micro I opted in. So far best move I've made, life is too short to deal with sciatic pain.
  • When I meant I can't use the bathroom well I mean that I have a hard time getting on and off the toilet. I still urinate frequently because I also have had a UTI for a few weeks that won't go away. I haven't had any MRIs done in at least 10 years and the orthopedic doctor doesnt think that I need any.....
  • I might try another Dr as the only way to know for sure of the cause of your sciatic problem is with an MRI. Surprised he wouldn't order one because the only way to treat the issue correctly is knowing where the problem is. Good luck.
  • care. The MOST important part of any visit with the doctor is the examination itself, followed by the symptoms discussion, and in the case of this situation, the doctor may have determined based on her symptoms and increased pain in the IT band that there was a problem there.
    A flare up of pain is common post injection and may settle over a few days to a week or so , once the steroids kick in.
    An injection isn't an instant cure, and neither is resolving or determining the exact cause of pain.
    If this fails, then consulting with another doctor may be to her advantage if she feels this one isn't listening, but any doctor is going to make decisions on testing or not based on his examination coupled with her symptoms, not on what the patient thinks that they need.
  • Sandi, Bluebell has only been to her PCP. You may be right that any Dr will make decision based on his exam but a PCP is not a spine specialist and with what Bluebell has posted I don't see how a Dr could be diagnosing sciatic nerve issues without the tools available to him/her.
  • If you are only seeing your primary doctor, then you need to ask for a referral to a spine doctor. If your insurance requires a referral, if not, find a board certified spine surgeon and make an appointment for consult.
    It sounds like your primary is doing what he feels he can do to treat you, but if you are not getting relief, then you need to seek help with the right type of doctor.
    Sciatica can flare for several weeks or months, and then disappear, but without the right doctor treating you, and the proper testing that may be needed, you are in a catch 22.
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