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HELP & advice needed for sciatica!!

Hannah LouiseHHannah Louise Posts: 26
Hi all,

I have come across this site a few times while looking for advice and thought it was time I finally joined. I am 23 and am currently suffering from severe sciatica. I also have health anxiety so I over worry and think the worst with everything although I have been advised so many times how common sciatica is and because I have no 'red flag' warnings there is nothing seriously wrong.

As said I am currently suffering from sciatica to the point I can no longer walk without having to rest or sit down to stop the pain, I am completely lent to one side and feel I am leant over also and am unable to straighten up, unless I am lead down, then I can manage it sort of. I have seen a physio who I am still seeing and having acupuncture, chiropractor and had a massage which none have helped, and I believe the chiropractor actually made me worse! I have been having symptoms for 5 weeks now and just feel like I am not getting better just learning to cope with it! I'm not sleeping at night for long before waking up in pain & im just completely fed up! All the professionals I have seen have said they think I may be suffering from a prolapsed disc but won't send me for an MRI until I have tried other things :/

I have been put on 10mg amitripyline which I would really like some advice as to whether it helped anybody? I have took it for the past 3 nights so I know that's not long! I am also taking tramadol, paracetamol & ibuprofen.

I'm currently unable to do anything, like leave the house or move around a lot and I also have a 2 year old son so it's such hard work for me at the moment. I'm also going on holiday on the 3rd June and I'm really really hoping to be better for then!! I just wondered if anybody had any advice for exercises/medication/pain relief as I feel I am at my whits end!! After reading some posts I feel awful moaning after just 5 weeks but with my son, family and I am also at the end of my university course but am unable to get in to classes because I can't walk I really need to get better fast!

Sorry for such a long post just really wanting some advice!
Thanks, Hannah.

Welcome to Spine-Health

It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
    - What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
    - Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are
I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways its like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then its up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 05/11/15 13:32 est


  • - it first started around a year and a half ago after having my child but I've had 'bad' episodes twice. One in December that lasted around 4 weeks and this one now which has been going on for 5/6 weeks.
    - no accident or trauma
    I've seen my GP, chiropractor, physiotherapist & masseuse
    - I've had ultrasound treatment, receiving acupuncture now, seen a chiropractor (who I believe made me worse by manipulating my back) and a masseuse who gave me a deep tissue massage.
    - I've had no tests to confirm my condition yet

    I'm currently taking 10mg amitripylin at night time (going to up it to 20mg as had no effect), tramadol 50mg when needed, 8 paracetamol a day & 6 ibuprofen a day which I am wanting to come off as I know the effects on the stomach!
    - my physio has advised me to continue with my amitripylin and acupuncture and if nothing works to be sent for an MRI but with my health anxiety this terrifies me!!

    Thanks for reading, any help & advice would really be appreciated.
  • I started having problems after my first child too. I have bulging discs in my back one is very bad and I have degenerative disc disease. I can't sit for any length of time and my sciatica goes from being severe to manageable. I have had this problem for 6 years now and it started in my first pregnancy when i was 23. Everyone is different tho and this might not be what's wrong with you.

    I also have bad anxiety. The last time I had it bad was when I was pregnant with my last child 2 years ago. It really can take over your life. My advice it try not to overthink things and stay calm this i know can be hard esp when you are in pain. Try to set yourself goals or do something that takes your mind off the stressful situation.

    The things that help me which may help you are the following: yoga,sitting on a Pilate's ball and bouncing or doing circles with my hips, the back exercises that the physio gave me and Pilate's.

    I have tried tens machine but they don't work great for me and they never made the sciatica any better.
    I had traction at the physio and it made everything really bad for me. I never been so bad until I had it done I wish I never did.

    On a bad day I ice my back and I honestly thought this could never work but after the 3 time I did this it helped to the point where I didn't need pain killers.

    The best thing for me is to move slowly without any sudden movements regularly and not sit down for any length of time. Also when the sciatica has eased walking slowly as much as I can. For me the tingling and pain get less as long as I stick at it.

    However I do listen to my body and rest when I need to.

    I don't know if any of this will help you but hope you are pain free soon.

    If you don't mind me asking but what is ultrasound treatment? I have never had this type of treatment before so I am interested. Did you have any good results with it?
  • Hannah LouiseHHannah Louise Posts: 26
    edited 05/15/2015 - 5:02 AM
    Thank you for getting back to me :) it makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one going through it and also with the added anxiety. I do try not to over think things but as you probably know it is easier said than done!

    Yesterday I had another round of acupuncture at the physio and today I do feel a bit better so I'm hoping that's working! Although today I have 'overdone' it a bit as my son wasn't well so I didn't really have a choice, but I'm hoping with moving around that may of helped things. But we will see tomorrow!

    Ultrasound treatment was just a machine what she used to put over my back it was like ultrasound just without the screen and it apparently sends electronic waves into the nerves & joints but it did absolutely nothing so I don't think it works, but it may work for other people!
  • It's an ssri or antidepressant. It is used off label as a neuropathic painkiller and can make you very drowsy. And I'm surprised that a physio is advising you about medication as they aren't generally qualified to do so.

    A definitive diagnosis can be obtained by a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon. Get them to give you a full clinical exam and assessment, followed by diagnostic imaging. Then discuss a treatment plan from there.

    a neuro surgeon would also be a good call too.

    Steve x
    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • Thank you for getting back to me :)

    I have been taking it for over a week now, and no you're right it isn't a pain killer at all :/ But apparently it helps with my nerves eventually when it kicks in. I haven't actually experienced that much drowsiness, which has surprised me considering the reviews I have read on it. I'm just wanting to know how long before it starts working. And yes I thought that about the physio, but she said that it is very effective for nerves so that it would help my treatment.

    I will have a look into finding a orthopedic surgeon or a neuro surgeon, I doubt very much I would be referred now if I went to my doctor as it 'hasn't been long enough' that's all i seem to get as an answer now.

    But thank you for the advice :)
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