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What do you do when nothing is working? *vent*

FarmgrrlFFarmgrrl Posts: 146
So I re-herniated at L4-L5 in September, I'm waiting for ESI #2 next week. I'm off NSAID's until then...my pain doc started me on Elavil this week, I've only taken two doses due to the side effects & my line of work. The first ESI seemed to have helped but my sciatica kicked back in Monday night. Saw the pain doc on Tuesday and she did some trigger points with accupuncture needles on my back, the side of my left thigh and the front of my left calf. It felt good for a couple of hours but the sciatica cranked back up and only got worse since then. I worked a whole 12 hour shift Wednesday night; Thursday night I had to leave early due to the pain. At work I can only take Tylenol for pain (it doesn't do anything) and I try to lie down in the break room a few times during the night when I can. I feel like a wimp and a failure right now. When I went through this last time (2 years ago), I managed to grit my teeth and deal with it until I had surgery. I already dealt with major liver surgery this summer. I'm sitting here trying to go to sleep because I have to work tonight and Sunday night but this leg pain is driving me nuts. I've taken Zanaflex (my doc has given me the liberty to take a max of 32mg/day) and Vicodin. They really just take the edge off if anything. I've done my palm presses all night, taken a hot epsom salt bath, laid on the heating pad. (I know my wonderful and patient boyfriend is tired of listening to me whine.) None of my tricks are working.

So, what do you do when nothing else works?

Thanks for reading,


  • TRY TO just lie down for a couple days to let things calm down if nothing else is working
  • Based upon your post, 12 hour shifts?!?

    I commend you on your bravery and dealing with it but you are not doing your body good IMHO. I do believe we need to stay active and do light PT with a gradual build up but it sounds like to me given what I read in your signature that this seems like working 12 hour shifts is a bit much.

    I would suggest you talk to your boss to allow you to take it a bit easier if you can afford it maybe a cut back in hours for a time and if the boss will also allow you to take 10 minutes breaks every two hours to do some gentle PT and unload the spine.

    The ESI are suppose to help with the inflammation and speed up the recovery process but if you do not give it a chance you will be in a circle of ups and downs where you will end up worse in the long term. IMHO your body is worth more than the cost of loosing some work.

    This is just my opinion but you should talk to your doc more about this and get his advice. your body needs your patience during this healing process. On the other hand you may want to speak with your doc that I can not loose work and would prefer to consider surgery sooner. I would not go that route but you may have no choice.

    Unfortunately there are no quick fixes or a pill that will make this go away quickly but if you do not give it the time and attention, it can get much worse.

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  • Ice! I made it through some real tough times at work by having some gel-packs in the freezer and taking a break and lying down with some ice. Heat only seemed to exacerbate the problem!

  • sorry you are in so much pain... :( and nothing seems to help.. my favorite remedy, take your meds, a hot shower or bath, get into your softest pj's and turn on the radio.. just let the music take you over and for alittle while atleast you may find yourself away from the pain!! :D a cup of hot herb tea is good too!! =D> good luck! spiney hugssss, Jenny :)
  • I'm in the same boat as you so I totally sympathise. I don't have any better suggestions though. I'm taking Tramadol which makes the pain bearable, but then I'm not working. I resorted to chocolate and then nearly brained my hubby when he told me I mustn't eat chocolate as I'm trying to lose weight!!

    Wishing you strength. We will get through this
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  • :D I second the option to use ICE! I had severe sciatica left leg back of thigh shooting into foot and also in hip and buttocks -- iced my buttocks 15 min on and off - really was better than heating pad and try to rest when you can.

    Good luck,

  • try ice instead of heat. I had 2 herniated disc and not once in the past 9 months has my NS had me do heat. She even sent a script over for physical therapy to do ice only. I guess if you think about it, it something is swollen you wouldn't put heat on it. What does your doctor recommend. I always got some relief laying a tanning bed, the heat from the bulbs felt good until I did the ice and it made a ton of better for a longer period of time. I ice 15-20 minutes in a hour when I need to.

    Good luck and I hope you do find something that does work for you!~
  • with C. When all else fails for me ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off does wonders. Especially when it comes to inflammation. I would definitely give up the heat and try the ice. Good luck and I hope that you feel better soon.
  • I'm going to chime in here with ice as well! I Love love love heat on my back... but I realized that putting heat on top of heat was probably not a good idea... ice really does take some of the leg pain away, helps with the back pain and, at work (where I can't take anything serious) makes it possible for me to concentrate on what I need to...

    I've got these really great ice packs (in flannel) that are thick/smushy, not hard like ice cubes, so they mold to my back better.

    I hope you get some relief soon! But, definitely if you can stand it, try some ice :)
  • I use my TENS unit on my thigh for 30 minutes-works wonders!
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