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What does your sciatica feel like?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,553
I thought it might be interesting to hear what other people would describe their sciatica pain as feeling like. I wonder if the pain is similar for all of us or really different. My pain feels like there are 2 strings in my body. One starts in my lower back, the other starts in my right foot and they are tied together where my butt and thigh meet. Then it feels like someone is tightening the knot where they are tied together and at the same time pulling down from my back and up from my foot. Of course I have this with the electric shock like pains and burning sensations in my thigh.

What does it feel like for you?


  • Imagine a fist inside your gluteus muscle squeezing it as hard as possible, and constantly. Brutal. Also had radiating and severe pain down outer left thigh, and outer/ central left calf. I experienced no burning or electric shock sensations, but lots of painful cramping, stabbing pains, and spasms in left calf. It never extended to the foot for me. It's better now since surgery, but it still comes back to say "Hi" if you get my meaning. I'm sure it's a bit different for everyone.
    Stay cool,

  • mine is like that too ..and i have also described it like my leg and foot being encased in concrete and someone pouring boiling hot water over it..or like ..cling film wrapped all over your leg and someone standing on your foot..dont we have it good!!
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  • mine feels like a burning rope running all the way from my butt to my foot. Some malevolent being has vice grips attached in intervals and is playing a Metallica rif on them! I also like to tell people that its kind of like hitting your funny bone, but the pain, numbness, tingling never go away!
  • When my sciatica first started, I only felt the pain in the right buttock. It felt like an ice pick or a knife stabbing my buttock. The exploding/shooting pain would stop me in my track and I had to wait until the pain subsided to move on.

    Later the sciatica pain radiated down to the back of the thigh. First, I felt burning and throbbing there. The pain travelled down to the ankle. That's when all types of pain came together: burning, tingling, aching, throbbing, shooting....

    I got really nervous when my foot felt cold. My husband assured me that my foot didn't feel cold, but I felt like it was cold. Something inside me warned me that my nerves were being damaging. Coldness meant a loss of circulation for me.
  • previous to surgery mine felt like this....in mid butt cheek it felt like something was torn inside and always ached, any time I had to roll over, get up from a chair or sit down in a chair it was horrendous, like pulling and tearing,had to yell out just about every time. Always got electirc shock when getting up and sometimes during walking.

    the same kind of pain continued into the back of my thigh with the added joy of stabbing sensation to the back outside of my thigh.

    it traveled down to the back of my knee where it only ached

    then to both sides of my calf where I felt aching all the time and numbness at times.

    into my outside ankle intially then my whole ankle. always terrible aching.

    bottom of my foot and outside toes, numbness and pins and needles with some burning.

    after my last ESI things got worse. developed pain in front of both of my thighs as well as groin and hip pain. All this was just severe aching.

    6 months post surgery thing are much better. no problems with feet. ankle only aches during and after hard day of work. still feel tightness in back of calf like theres a rope or band inside pullin tight and needs to be snipped. it will ache too during and after work. back of thigh still hurts while walking or sitting, sometimes lying. It feels like a sore muscle most of the time. Occasionally will get the stabbing and burning feeling in back outside of thigh while working. Having more issues with bum not just center cheek any more. now have what I describe as tightness right around the top of my "cheek divider":) also have alot of piercing type burning sensations all around this area.

    Nerve pain is so unperdictable. its all over the place. up and down in and out always morphing.just when you think you've experienced it all you get the joy of finding yet another pissed off nerve.
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  • I have had back problems since I was 11 years old and fell backwards down two fights of concrete stairs, the real problems did not appear until I was 45 years old and then it started out as unbelievable pain around the tail bone, I could not walk more than 50 feet without having to stop for 10 min for the pain to slacken. After about 2 years the problem seemed to lessen and then it started again when I as 50 and has never stopped. I had lumbar disc decompression l4-l5-s1 4 years ago and it helped for about 2 years, the last mri i had showed that the problem has comeback with a vengeance. I am no longer a viable candidate for surgery, diabetic, heart problems, diabetic neuropathy, etc. So now i just stay home, if we go out to the store I drive my wife but can't go in, I could not make it from the car to the store. I still work (this has been a huge source of the problem as I sit at a computer terminal 10 - 12 hours a day), fortunately from home, my ability to drive is becoming questionable my right leg has gone dead on me a couple of times which resulted in falls that were very embarrassing.

    Most of the time my sciatica feels like my tailbone and surrounding area is in the jaws of a massive bear trap.

    I have a supply of hydrocodone but use that sparingly, it tends to make me somewhat goofier than normal and the taking it while writing computer software can yield some interesting results.

    This past week at my annual poke and prod with my primary care doctor we discussed this at length and he gave me a stack of lidocane patch samples, I have been using them for 2 days now and am amazed, i can actually sit without the pain that i normally experience.

    Of course this doesn't do much for the other leg/foot pain/cramps that keep me company 24/7.

    I was on gabapentin for 2 years for the neuropathy and finally ditched it as it really didn't do much and the risks outweighed the benefits.

    My feet go from feeling like they are in ice water to feeling like they are in an oven, I make my wife nuts when i wear 3 pairs of socks in the middle of summer. Most of the time my feet feel like they are wrapped in big blocks of jello, strange sensation, does not do much for ones balance either.

    I wish i could offer words of encouragement to others but that would be difficult, what I will say is people are adaptable and we learn to over come and adapt to the little curve balls that life tosses at us.

  • Picture a 36 inch razor blade inside your body. And when you make a wrong movement the blade sticks your nerves very sharply. Not pleasant.

    I just had surgery 3+ weeks ago and I'm having pains in the same areas. They are different than what I've described above but the last couple of days they've proved to me even more intense.
  • The first time mine started as intense pain from by buttock down the back of my thigh to my foot. The burning pain in my thigh for the last month or so leading up to my microdiscectomy was so bad I could not get relief anywhere except lying flat on my back on the floor. I had an ACL repair in '97 and kidney stones but the wrost thing about the back/sciatic pain besides the intensity is it is unrelenting. I had a micro D in Nov of '08 and for 7 months i was great until my back pain came back with some swelling a few weeks ago. Now I have tingling in the toes and some pain in the thigh at times. It is nothing like before yet but I'm going to the surgeon this week to get him to order a new MRI to see if it is a new herniation or scar tissue. If it is another hernia I'm already resigning myself to possible fusion. I'm 37, jog and lift weights (not heavy weights) to keep in shape and was progressing well until this latest setback.

    Micro D Nov '08
    next ??
  • Pre my first operation i just had problems with the soles of my feet. Felt like I was standing on cobble stones. This was resolved after my first operation (and since returned) but I now have terrible sciatica.

    my lower back aches, I have a stinging like 100 hot needles in my buttocks, really tight (tears in my eyes at times) pain in my hip / outer thigh then tingly down one thin strip in back of thigh. Lower outer leg numb, top of foot super sensitive, soles of feet tender and numb. Sometimes my toe feels like someone has stuck it in acid, pulses every 4 minutes or so.

    I never imagined sciatica could be quite so debilitating.
    I frequently walk like I am drunk, although I laugh it is not funny.

    Guys, I wish you all well and hopeful recoveries!
  • Sciatica for me has always felt like a deep rather sharp aching in my right buttocks. In the last couple of years the sciatica hasn't bothered much. Instead, I'll have aching pain down my leg and on the front of my shinbone which is aggrevated by sitting. Lying flat on my back anywhere but on my airbed causes my whole leg to hurt and it will go to sleep if I don't keep moving it.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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