I’ve been a long time lurker and I’d thought I’d post to see if anybody else has experienced the same chronic pain.
For the last 2.5 years, I’ve experienced pain in my left buttock ONLY when sitting. It started out as a dull pain and could usually be managed with ice, stretching, and ibuprofen, but now I can’t sit down for more than 5 minutes without experiencing a sharp pain in the left glute. Describing the pain is somewhat difficult, but I like to say that it’s a deep pain in the middle of the glute and after sitting for a few minutes, I get a sharp pain in the part of the glute that is closest to the hip joint, the area of the left SI joint, and the part where the hamstring connects to the left buttock. There is some very mild numbness around the hamstring area, but the pain and/or numbness never extends past the middle part of my hamstring.
Nothing seems to bring relief. Ibuprofen, stretching, icing, and strengthening once kept my symptoms at bay, but as time has progressed, even 800mg of ibuprofen with diligent stretching only provides a modicum of relief. I also tried new ergonomic chairs. I spent $2,000 on chairs and I now have a standing desk at work. I also had an ergonomic evaluation—all of this to no avail.
My primary care physician assumed that it was a fleeting muscle ache and prescribed ibuprofen and rest. After he realized the pain was getting worse and he couldn’t diagnose it, he told me to see a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor). The physiatrist ordered an MRI, which showed no disc degeneration or disc bulges, but I did have very mild foraminal stenosis at L5/S1. Nonetheless, he said the foraminal stenosis is so mild that he didn’t think it could be the cause of my symptoms. He thought I may have piriformis syndrome, but the piriformis test was inconclusive. To completely rule out piriformis syndrome I had a nerve conduction study (provocative EMG), but there were no latent wave signals and therefore the test was negative for piriformis syndrome. At any rate, the doctor still had a feeling that it could be piriformis, so he referred me to an anesthesiologist who injected some cortisone into my piriformis muscle (under fluoroscopy), but it didn’t do anything for me.
At this point, the physiatrist waved the white flag and told me to see a chiropractor. The chiropractor also thought it was piriformis, but he didn’t have any success treating it. So I waited a few months and saw another chiropractor who specialized in hip injuries, he thought it could be bursitis, so he started me on a rehabilitation regime, which I followed diligently, but much to my disappointment, didn’t resolve any of my issues. After 2 months, I went to go see a spine surgeon who looked at the MRI and thought that the mild foraminal stenosis could be causing my pain, so I received an injection at L5. The procedure actually reduced my pain by 50%, but it was transitory. After 48 hours, I was back to square one. The spine surgeon thought I might need some more cortisone, so after 3 weeks I went back for another shot, but this time I didn’t get any relief.
At this point the spine surgeon didn’t know what to do so he referred me to a pain specialist at UCLA medical center. The pain specialist was at a loss for words. The problem, she says, is that the symptoms are very odd:
- No back pain
- No weakness
- No pain when lying down
- No pain when standing
- No pain when walking
- No pain when running
- No pain when playing sports
- No pain when lifting weights
- The ONLY thing that causes my pain is SITTING.
The doctor thinks there’s a slight possibility that it could be ischiogluteal bursitis, so she ordered another MRI of the back and left leg. I go get the MRI in two weeks, but she basically told me not to hold my breath—that is, she doesn’t think the MRI is going to tell us anything.
To give you all a better idea of this condition, perhaps I should indicate what DOES provide at least some relief. The only things that provide short term relief are: stretching, nerve flossing, ibuprofen, squatting with a massive amount of weight, leg press, hamstring curls, lying down, walking, running/sprinting, and other intense physical exercise.
What do you guys think? Has anybody experienced the same pain patterns? Your thoughts and feedback are very much appreciated.