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new guy just trying to survive re:sciatica

Paradox28PParadox28 Posts: 3
The condensed version of my story is that at age 16, I pulled a lower back muscle playing baseball but its the only known time I've injured my back. Since that time, I've had spells of the muscle acting up and causing back pain but never any nerve pain. Fast forward to September 2014 and as I was sitting at the computer one night chatting with friends, I went to stand up and could barely straighten and/or walk without severe pain. I had pain that went down the back of my thigh, made my knee ache like crazy, the outside of my calf and numbness in my 4th and 5th toes. I gave it a couple days(which turned into a couple weeks when it wasn't going away) before seeing my physician and was given a steroid pack, a single fill of flexeril (generic), and a prescription for Ibuprofen. At the visit, I was asked to stand up and my glute muscles were felt...checking for piriformis syndrome I guess? Nothing was apparently found and I was told that this would probably be a recurring problem in my life. Took the meds as directed, but the pain never subsided at all. Went back again and was ordered for X-rays. Two days later I receive a call that says "abnormalities were found on your x-rays and we need to schedule you for an MRI" Between that time and the MRI appt. my doc did the straight leg raise test which I felt pain on immediately after he started to raise(think this is positive for a herniation, right?) Oh great, the worrying starts. Whats abnormal in my back???? By the time I was able to get in to have an MRI I was actually pretty much pain free...this was late December/early January of this year.

I have the MRI done and then have an appointment with a neurosurgeon a few days later. He tells me that I have a herniated disc at .....I guess its L5/S1 or just S1? Well, he actually told me I had 3 separate herniations over time but the lowest one was the one likely causing problems. Was told my back was very worn out for a 33 year old. We talked, I said I wasn't feeling any pain at the time..was told to give it 6 months and if the pain came back...make an appointment. Boy, did it ever come back. This time is worse than the last and hit me approx. last week of February and continues until now.

Sitting is always painful. Coughing and sneezing send a pain in my butt(which doesn't really hurt otherwise..it starts right below the butt cheek and goes down my leg as before..except it goes through my heel this time, too. I've been prescribed Gabapentin 300mg once daily for 3 weeks now but it really doesn't seem to do anything for the pain. I'm also not keen on it since it can be an addictive drug in its own way. Anyway, the only relieve I get is after sleeping for about the first 10-30 minutes I'm awake and then the pain comes back and goes from a mild 3 to what I call a 10...so bad it makes this grown man want to cry, literally.

I'm just curious if anyone knows about a herniated disc causing off and on sciatica? If its something else entirely causing me this pain? I'm miserable about life at the moment as I am a pretty active outdoorsman and golfer and am unable to do either due to pain. Walking for more than 30 minutes makes my leg start to feel "heavy" and I develop a weird gait to avoid as much pain as possible. I can't bend over without pain down my butt and entire leg so I have to squat or do this weird straddling thing to reach down.

Sorry for the long rant but I've not had anyone to talk to about this who can or might understand so ..it all kind of came out..oh....HI!
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  • LizLiz Posts: 9,654
    edited 03/21/2015 - 8:00 AM
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I feel your pain. I had a microdiscectomy and it worked like a dream for me. At the beginning of my injury I could not stand or sit without excruciating pain. Overtime though I began to sit with a bearable amount of pain. As to why the pain changes...I do not know. I also had that extra pain when sneezing. I would also say your sciatica is caused entirely by your herniated disc but dont take my word for it. Just know I was exactly where you were and believe me...I know how unbearable and never ending this pain can be. Hopefully PT or an injection will give you some sort of relief. I wish you luck. Stay strong and positive.
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  • Welcome! I am new to this site as well, but not to back/nerve pain. I too had intermittent nerve pain which started Halloween of 2006(although I can remember the first time I injured my back at age 11), tried to stand up and got shooting electric pain down the back of both legs, went straight to ER where they just gave me pain meds and sent me on my way. I was in my mid thirties at the time. It was something that occurred on and off for years and years, some times I would go to the dr who often just sent me home with narcotics. After a few years, they did throw in PT. I am also very active and had two babies at the time this was going on, so narcotics and rest were not options for me for a couple of those years as I was breastfeeding. PT did help and for quite some time it was believed to be my hip causing the sciatic pain along with a c section injuring my core, first PT appoinment i was not even able to engage my gluts. Fast forward to 2012, the episodes become more frequent and more intense. I finally broke down and went to the doctor, who immediately sent me for an MRI and got me into neuro that week. Ended up needing a mcrodeisection on two levels, s1-L5 and L5-4.

    Things I would tell myself if I could go back:

    1) See a doctor after every time symptoms come back
    2) Ask for steroids at appointment to help body repair herniation naturally
    3) get on a neurosurgeon patient list so everytime it recurs you can see her/him, who has more experience treating this
    4) realize nerve pain is not normal and can be treated with other things than just strong pain meds, things that can actually help the condition if caught early.

    I don't now if any of this helps, but hope the is something there that is helpful!
  • Sarae601SSarae601 Posts: 5
    edited 03/23/2015 - 4:46 AM
    I'm 31. I've had sciatica 3 years in my left leg. I beg Drs to cut my last two toes off as well as my leg.
    I'm 31 years old. Nothing about my back has ever been normal. It started on June 26,2012. I was sitting Indian style in the floor. I couldn't stand up. It was a disc protusion on the l5s1 and on my sciatic nerve. I went months trying different options that were not surgical. I had a microdisectomy on nov 7,2012. By January I was still in lots of pain. My surgeon sent me to a physical medicine dr. I tried for months with meds, pt, injections you name it and nothing worked. I went back to the surgeon. He said I was structurally fine. He sent me to a pain mgnt. Dr who specialized in spinal cord stimulators. I was so hopeful.. I went they the trial. It worked. Went in and got the permanent one. It was so painful. The dr butchered me. 2 incisions and 37 staples later it was in. Every time I turned it on it hurt me so bad worse than what my pain was. We reprogramed or 12 times from October to February. He wouldn't say anything was wrong. I listened to my body tho. Changed drs and started over. Thru new testing it showed the disc Iat the l5s1 was degenerative. And scar tissue was on my sciatic nerve. My body absorbed the disc and caused the vertebrae to collapse which in turned caused every disc from the l1 down to buldge/ herniate. Thru testing the device it turned out it was stimulating my motor neurons instead of the sensory neurons which was why it caused more pain. We took the device out. Another surgery. I did more scans, X-rays, myleogram, discogram. Had my fusion on December 2, 2014. I'm still in lots of pain, lower back, sciatic leg and hip. I can hardly get up and down and still walk with a limp. I started pt 3 weeks ago and it's so painful. I'm miserable. I am31 years old and crippled. I
    Sthomas
  • culanic said:
    I feel your pain. I had a microdiscectomy and it worked like a dream for me. At the beginning of my injury I could not stand or sit without excruciating pain. Overtime though I began to sit with a bearable amount of pain. As to why the pain changes...I do not know. I also had that extra pain when sneezing. I would also say your sciatica is caused entirely by your herniated disc but dont take my word for it. Just know I was exactly where you were and believe me...I know how unbearable and never ending this pain can be. Hopefully PT or an injection will give you some sort of relief. I wish you luck. Stay strong and positive.

    How long was your recovery from the microdiscectomy? The worst thing about all this for me is that I work in the lawn care business so everything I do pretty much involves my back and being able to operate machinery(driving varies from mildy uncomfortable to torturous right now depending on the day). I'm very excited to really grill my neurosurgeon at the upcoming appointment to try and get as many answers and as much info as I can before just agreeing to a surgical option.
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  • Sarae, I'm sorry to hear your story :( Thats what terrifies me the most about the pain and also the surgery....I just don't want to be disabled at this age :( I wish there were some comforting words for you but in the end, I hope God has a good plan for you.
  • Paradox28 said:
    culanic said:
    I feel your pain. I had a microdiscectomy and it worked like a dream for me. At the beginning of my injury I could not stand or sit without excruciating pain. Overtime though I began to sit with a bearable amount of pain. As to why the pain changes...I do not know. I also had that extra pain when sneezing. I would also say your sciatica is caused entirely by your herniated disc but dont take my word for it. Just know I was exactly where you were and believe me...I know how unbearable and never ending this pain can be. Hopefully PT or an injection will give you some sort of relief. I wish you luck. Stay strong and positive.

    How long was your recovery from the microdiscectomy? The worst thing about all this for me is that I work in the lawn care business so everything I do pretty much involves my back and being able to operate machinery(driving varies from mildy uncomfortable to torturous right now depending on the day). I'm very excited to really grill my neurosurgeon at the upcoming appointment to try and get as many answers and as much info as I can before just agreeing to a surgical option.
    The recovery time for me was 6 weeks. Was told to avoid sitting as much as possible. Also was told not twist or bend for that 6 week period. The incision is small but I was walking the next day very carefully and slowly after surgery with no pain. I felt really great at around the 2 week mark and by 6 weeks I was back to a normal life. Everyones recovery is different but after going through all the pain I did my best to make sure I recovered as best as I could. Currently doing muscles strengthening exercises over a 3 month period. Keep us posted :)

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