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Good afternoon everyone!! I´ve been visiting this forum
quite often over the last couple of months. And I`ve learned a lot. So today I
feel that I should share my story with the other users, and hopefully it might
be of some help to other people out there. It´ll also help me get it all off my
chest. Forgive me, in advance, if the post gets too long.
My name is
Gabriela. I´m a 32 year old woman from Brazil. I work from home. I´m not the
most physically active person, but i´m not sedentary either, i do yoga every
week (not anymore). I´m not over weighted. The fact is I´ve always had a really
bad sitting posture. My sciatic and lower-back pain issues started 2 months ago
back in March 2019. And my life´s turned into a roller-coaster of constant
pain, bouts of anger and depression ever since. So without further ado, let´s
THE BEGINNING. Back in the first week of March, I started feeling a burning pain in
my right hip after doing some glutes workouts. I decided to brush it off, as
I´ve had this kind of pain bug me in the past. A few days later though the pain
got worse. And, soon after, a very weird lower-back pain began. Weird because I
had never experienced it before. And yet, I still decided to ignore it,
thinking that I´d be feeling better in a
couple of days. As it turns out, I was dead wrong! All I did back then was to
pop paracetamol and get some bed-rest and cold packs. That routine lasted for 2
weeks total. The pain did not let off. Not even a bit. Still, I stuck it out
and went grocery shopping with my husband, only to come back home in tears. The
lower-back pain had got excruciating, to say the least. That night I couldnt
sleep and cried all night long, knowing full well that something was very
wrong. The next day, I called a local clinic and got an appointment with the
orthopedist for the next week. In the meantime, I took Advil and a muscle
relaxant to counter the lower-back pain and now lower-back and leg spasms! At that
point, I was already feeling depressed.
#1 (spinal specialist). I went to the clinic along with my husband, who was
already extremely concerned. We waited for 1 hour. The consultation lasted 5
minutes, during which I told him about the symptoms I was having. He said it´s
a slipped disk and prescribed an MRI and X-ray scan for lumbar and cervical
spine (as I was having some tingling in my arms back then). He also sent me
straight to Physical Therapy, and prescribed some codeine in case of extreme
pain. From that day on, I cried every single day. But, at the same time, I went
into full-research mode to try and learn more about herniated discs on the
internet. In the process, my anxiety levels went through the roof. Got my MRI
and X-Ray done. Results would be out in 8 days. In the meantime, I started
Physical Therapy, which I very deeply regret to this day!
PHYSICAL THERAPY BOTCH-UP. During the PT sessions, I would do some stretching, TENS machine and some infra-red therapy. In the 1st night, in addition to the
already existing burning pain in my right leg, I started feeling an extra
burning pain in my left leg. So both legs were burning. I didnt think much of
it. In hindsight, how stupid I was..... The next day, I was back to another PT
session with another round of stretching. In the 3rd day, something scary
happened. The burning pain started spreading to my inner thighs up to my groin.
Both legs were affected. The burning went down to my foot. That night, no
amount of ice, hot-pack, and medication would do anything for me. My left leg
started feeling heavy and, at the same time, I would get some crazy strong
spasms, all the while having my lower back pain shoot up. That was the night I
ended up in the ER.
ATTACK. At around 6 pm, I had my very
1st anxiety attack. Only back then, I didnt know I was having one. I called my
husband in tears and told him I was dying, because I was having trouble
breathing and couldnt move my left arm. All my muscles contracted at once. I
couldnt even hold the phone properly. My husband freaked out, called a cab, got
home and rushed me to the hospital. When we got there, I was placed on a
wheel-chair as I couldnt walk, since my left leg was weak. Within a few
minutes, I was admitted to the ER and got my arm full of IVs delivering 4
different types of medication I had never heard of before. While I was there,
an orthopedist showed up and said that I might have a pinched nerve. That was
the 1st time I heard that term "pinched nerve". That night, we left
the hospital around midnight. And it was also the 1st night I could sleep
without any pain. It didnt last much though....
& BACK TO ORTHOPEDIST #1. At that time, due to my deteriorating condition,
my husband was forced to cancel an important business trip and we decided to
cancel our vacations in Canada. That was when my depression/anxiety peaked. At
around the same time, I got the MRI and Xray results back, and learned that,
after all, I did not have a slipped disk. I freaked out. My lower-back pain and
sciatica got worse to the point of making me limp. My husband managed to get me
an emergency appointment with orthopedist#1. Again, we waited for 1 hour and
the consultation lasted 5 minutes. During which he proclaimed that I do not
have a herniated disc, and prescribed pregabalin, a spinal block and more
physical therapy (?!?!)! That day I got home and cried, because while I didnt
have a slipped disc, I also didnt know what I had. So I decided to look for a
2nd opinion and also started writing up a journal reporting on my symptoms.
ORTHOPEDIST #2 (spinal specialist). A few days before seeing orthopedist#2, I
had an episode where I experienced a loss of sensation in my left leg, which
caused me to panic. The consultation with orthopedist#2 went waaaay better than
with orthopedist#1. He actually performed some neurological and orthopedic
examinations and talked with me and my husband for quite some time. He looked
at the MRI and confirmed I do not have a herniated disk. And prescribed:
pregabalin, tramadol, acupunture, Electromyoneurography
(EMNG), psychological treatment to help with my anxiety, a consultation with a
neurologist, and told me to quit PT altogether. He was also against the spinal
NEUROLOGIST #1. He was a neurosurgeon. By then, my lower back pain was still
strong. Both legs were still burning. And new feelings in the leg were added to
my collection, such as: pins and needles, tingling, and a weird feeling on my
skin. The EMNG exam didnt last long and I got the results the same day.
Results: L5-S1 lumbar radiculopathy in both legs. At least now I know what I
have. I asked him when i would get better, and the answer was: It takes time, weeks, even months to heal nerves. He was also against the spinal block.
MEANTIME. At this point in time (April), I couldnt do much. I would lay on the
floor on my Yoga mat most of the time. And my husband does all the chores
around the house, because I still feel pain and burning. I cannot walk for more
than 20 minutes and I cannot sit for longer than that either. I cannot work in
my computer. Even small things like putting my clothes on, or brushing my hair
feel like a major struggle. My life was turned upside down...
NEUROLOGIST #2+ACUPUNCTURIST. Neurologist #2 is also an acupuncturist. He is an
old neurologist. He performed a batch of neurological exams on me. He examined
the MRI over and over, until he spotted something that other doctors missed: a
tiny bulge in my L5-S1 area barely touching the sciatic nerve. However, the
micro bulge was enough to cause a lot of pain. I scheduled 10 sessions of accupunture to help
relieve the lower back pain. He told me to not do much effort, do light walks and wait...
THINGS THAT I TRIED. Mckenzie Method - did not work, instead it caused me a new
sciatica flare-up. I also started doing short walks during the day. I bought a Sit
Stand Lay Down Workstation so i can use my laptop in any position.
Decompression – very good for a few minutes, then i paid the price in more
pain. Watched an interview with Dr Stuart McGill, where he says things about
lower back pain and sciatica that makes a lot of sense to me. I´m following some of his advices.
I did not
try a chiropractor. At this point i was not confident enough to let someone
manipulate my spine.
SITUATION. After 2 months, here´s where I stand.
vitamins, tramadol (only in case of extreme pain). Treatment: cold-hot packs,
bed rest, short walks during the day, acupuncture, massage. I also have to be
very aware of my every move, as any wrong move is enough to trigger a flare-up.
Also have to be very aware of my posture at all moments. I don´t bend forward or twist.
lower-back pain has subsided a bit. The spasms got better, i don´t limp anymore. Sciatica: burning
and tingling are still around, however they keep switching positions around my
legs and buttocks every now and then. One day my left thigh is burning, the
other day it´s the right thigh. One day I have no burning, but instead got pins
and needles. And so on and so forth.
Anxiety and depression: seems to be under
control, but still around. Sometimes i feel really sad for all the things i cant do, feel regretful for ignoring the first pain.
can´t do the house chores, i can´t sleep in side position or sit for long
periods of time. I don't wear my skinny jeans anymore because it causes me pain for
I keep my
journal to track my improvement.
it! Sorry for the long post. Every day
is a new day in my battle against sciatica! Some days I feel hopeful, some days
I feel like jumping off a bridge! The bright side is that I got my husband by
my side at all times!
on posting updates on a weekly basis.