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Sciatic Pain for 7 weeks...Really concerned.

I am new to this forum but after reading many forum threads the past two weeks decided to finally make a thread.

I have been suffering from moderare scaitic pain in my left hip, right hip, left lower back and left foot for the past 6 weeks. When it first startrd it was intense, took 3 days off of work and after that it was tolerable but still with me. Over the past 7 weeks it has changed in intensity and location often but just won't go away. Over the past 4 weeks I have seen a chiropractor once a week and a physical therapist twice a week. I am now taking gabapetin nos and awaiting approval for a steroid injection. I am having anxiety over this not going away and having to have surgery. 

I am 33 and am not new to sciatic pain. I had my first episode 3 years ago which was intense and debilitating, never went away and after 3 months I had a micodiscetomy at the L5/S1 level. The neurosurgeon told me I had DDD at that disc too. Last year I had a scaitic flare up twice, but they were short lived only last a week or two. 

I have some optimism this time because the pain is not as intense and is on/off. Last time it was constant and never went away. Still my anxiety about this not going away or getting worse is starting to kick in.

I work a desk job and I have been minimizing sitting. I have equipment that allows me to quickly adjust things so I can easily alternate between sitting and standing. Also I swim every morning for cardio to try and stay active along with PT exercises.

I am so worried if this. Any advice or anyone experience a similar flare up that went away?

Thank you in advance! 



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Comments

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 655

    It is good that you are active. However, some of your activities may not be implemented at the right time. Meaning, swimming may be strengthening muscles that are not in need (and the same is true for PT). Also, I don't think its as much about standing vs sitting, but that the movements you do whilst standing or sitting that make the difference. The issue with sitting is that it trains certain muscles to be active and allows others to go dormant. It just so happens that the dormant ones were once primarily used for walking, running, swimming, bending, lifting, etc. I too have a standing desk, and often think that "standing will be the new sitting (where sitting is the new smoking)".  

    To me, it would be more about getting the muscles balanced before all else. Not strengthened. What I've found to work best is doing exercises that allow for muscle release through gravity focused movements, along with some strengthening. However, just know that if strengthening you must do bilateral exercises - meaning whatever you do to the right you must also do to the left side of the body. That holds true for both stretching and strengthening. 

  • The physical therapist I am working with has me on a regime to strengthen core muscles to take pressure off the lower spine and stretches that relieve pressure on the disc that push disc material towards the inside. He has each of the exercises targeting both side. I trust that this the correct approach. At first it was reducing sitting but now its more change position. Sit for 30 minutes, stand for 30 minutes, take a 5 minute walk every hour. Prior to this I would often sit for a few hours. Its not good to stand all day too, and I agree standing is the new sitting in that regard, some people just think standing all day and avoiding sitting is great for their health. 

    I really am trying to stay active despite the pain. I swim/PT exercise every morning. After work I stretch, lay down for 20 minutes, then try and stay social with friends and family. The anxiety of the pain never going away or having to have another microdiscetomy is awful. Then you worry about it screwing over the career/fiances if I can't work etc. But I do really try and remind positive each day.

    I really want to get the steriod injection.

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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 655

    Having dealt with sciatic nerve impingement for over two years and low back pain for over 25 years, I tried everything. Core work was always something I did yet always had the low back pain. I dealt with the LBP all the while, but once I got sciatica, I had to figure something out. One thing you may want to ask yourself (as I did my own self) is "When will all this core work add up and get rid of my pain?". Look up a few exercises to see what I mean about allowing gravity to do the work while the muscles take time to release and balance. One is the Static Back, and the other is the Supine Groin Stretch. These are two staples in my routines. 

    I'm not saying go out and do them...just trying to show you a tidbit of what worked for me. I'm also not saying my way is better and don't do anything else, but rather just saying what worked for me. 

    You're on the right path with changing positions, but if your muscles are currently out of balance, all the core strengthening, changing positions, swimming, etc could possibly strengthen those imbalances and hence cause more pain. It made sense enough to me to consider staying out of the gym for a few months and focus on getting my muscles balanced. 

    What is it that you are hoping to get out of the injection? Not knowing much about them, I'm curious to know what their purpose is? Thanks for your help! 

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