Sciatica 

Introduction 

Sciatica

Dr Rob Hicks explains the causes, symptoms and treatment for different types of sciatica (pain radiating from the lower back along the legs and calves).

Media last reviewed: 18/01/2013

Next review due: 18/01/2015

Back pain guide

Back pain guide

Explore this guide for information about different types of back pain, ways of preventing it and advice on treatment

Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.

Signs and symptoms

When the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, it can cause pain, numbness and a tingling sensation that radiates from your lower back and travels down one of your legs to your foot and toes.

The pain can range from being mild to very painful, and may be made worse by sneezing, coughing, or sitting for a long period of time.

Some people with sciatica may also experience muscle weakness in the affected leg.

While people with sciatica can also have general back pain, the pain associated with sciatica usually affects the buttocks and legs much more than the back.

When to see your GP

Most people find their sciatic pain goes away naturally within a few weeks, although some cases can last for a year or more. You should see your GP if your symptoms are severe or persistent, or are getting worse over time.

Your GP will usually be able to confirm a diagnosis of sciatica based on your symptoms and recommend suitable treatments. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

You should immediately call 999 for an ambulance if you experience loss of sensation between your legs and around your buttocks and/or loss of bladder or bowel control. Although it is rare, these symptoms can be a sign of a serious condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Read more about diagnosing sciatica.

What causes sciatica?

In the vast majority of cases, sciatica is caused by a herniated or "slipped" disc. This is when one of the discs that sit between the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) is damaged and presses on the nerves.

Less common causes include spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve passages in the spine), a spinal injury or infection, or a growth within the spine (such as a tumour).

You can minimise your risk of developing a slipped disc or back injury that could lead to sciatica by adopting a better posture and lifting techniques at work, as well as stretching before and after exercise, and exercising regularly.

Read more about the causes of sciatica and preventing sciatica.

How sciatica is treated

Many cases of sciatica will pass in around six weeks without the need for treatment.

However, a combination of things you can do at home – such as taking over-the-counter painkillers, exercising and using hot or cold packs – may help reduce the symptoms until the condition improves.

In more persistent cases, you may be advised to follow a structured exercise programme under the supervision of a physiotherapist, have injections of anti-inflammatory and painkilling medication into your spine, and/or take stronger painkiller tablets.

In rare cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem in your spine.

Read more about treating sciatica.


Page last reviewed: 26/08/2014

Next review due: 26/08/2016

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The 149 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

pocu1000 said on 07 September 2014

Hi
I'm 37 and I have suffered with sciatic pain on and off for over 8 years and recently discovered it must be linked to my endometroisis, which took seven years to be diagonised. Since 2001 I have had two surgeries for that, but it was after having my first child and the return of my cycle that sciatica really begun for me. Since 2006 the pain starts around my cycle and can take up to a week after for it to calm down. It is so severe my whole leg through my ankle to toes can go numb and feel like it is on fire. This pain is excruciating as you all know. But rarely do younger girls think about whether sciatic pain is around their cycle every month.

If it is perhaps they should seek a referral from their Dr to a gynaecologist. There are many articles online regarding the links of sciatic pain and endometrosis. Just waiting to confirm my sciatic pain is linked. But I'm almost certain it is. Same time every month, same symptoms.

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rennie103tAD said on 01 September 2014

Hi, does anyone have any idea how long after a microdiscectomy you have to wait before trying for a baby? Obviously I wouldn't consider trying in the first six weeks after my op (which is in 18 days) but I really want (and need, because of my age) to start trying asap! I can't find anything anywhere - there's a lot of advice about how long to leave before returning to work.....and I'm thinking of having two weeks off. I want to resume my long, fast walks as the past 8 months of being housebound and in absolute agony have been long and torturous. Love hearing about everyone's positive experiences from the microdiscectomy. Bring it on!

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AshleyB1 said on 08 August 2014

Hi

I've suffered back pain around 10/11 years or so.it started with an ache on the lower left part of my back then spread across all my back. I got shooting pains down my leg/foot and also felt numb.
I also suffer from pain in my back/left buttock as though someone is squeezing my nerves. It's really painful and can hardly move. Had an MRI in 2003 which didn't show anything apart from possibility of developing arthritis.

Years later I still have the symptoms which are worse and more persistent. In around 2006 I slipped and damaged my coccyx and last yr slipped downstairs which exacerbated the pain.

I have been given medication which relieve the pain but worried that they're masking the pain rather than helping. My consultant thought I had a slipped disc however the exercises given did not help and have been referred to have an MRI. I am waiting for the results.

I am worried about the results. Can anyone give me any advice?

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Jc 60 said on 27 July 2014

sufferig bad staica in back both legs should pain be as.bad this cant lie sit hurts I move also bad suffer anixerty to .... :( cry all do hurts

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RottenRotties said on 14 July 2014

I was diagnosed with sciatica at 18 years old, and I am now 45.You can learn to live with it, but sometimes the pain is excruciating. I have never been given a reasonable explanation for my pain, but have recently been told I have psoriatic arthritis. I wonder if the two are linked as have been told arthritis could have been around in my teens.

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SouthArchie96 said on 21 April 2014

Sciatica is no doubt the worst pain I've felt in all my life. I'm only 17 and how I got this is unknown. I've been suffering with sciatica for about 3 weeks now and have just started to recover. For the first couple of weeks I found it so painful to move, basically anywhere. I was unable to walk ( I used crutches ) , sit down properly and even lie down. ( when I was in bed, I was unable to even move, so I was just lying on my back all night). The doctors gave me painkillers which relaxed my muscles in order for me to stretch out that nerve that has been trapped. Even though stretching it hurt so much , it proves to be the most effective treatment , hence why I am on the road to recovery. Once you go through what you think is the most painful thing you've ever felt running through your leg, you're just going though the worst part, and you're definitely recovering regardless of how painful you might think it is. I certainly do not wish on anyone to have sciatica. And wish a speedy recovery on those who are suffering from sciatica at the moment.

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Susan Bokhari said on 28 February 2014

Straightforward And Helpful.

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pinkworld said on 08 January 2014

Please be careful if you are experiencing chronic back pain in the form of severe sciatic spasms for over 12 months. This happened to me. I was given strong meds (Gabapentin & Tramadol) to name a few. Pushed for a scan after 8 months of terrible pain which was so severe I lost my job due due to time off work and the strong effects of the Gabapentin which effected my thinking, memory and judgment.
The scan showed ' prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc impinging on the left S1 nerve root and degeneration L5/S1.
The doctor cheerfully told me I would not be needing any surgery.
The pain got even worse and bad enough that I had made more than two trips to A&E. Each time I was sent home with more pain medication. I had told the staff that the pain was going down both legs and into my feet.
5 months later I was unable to urinate one day, or move my bowels, my saddle was numb and my legs weak. Got an emergency appointment at the doctor, where I was asked to go and wait in the outpatients clinic at the Orth Department. There were may people in front of me as I sat in terrible pain. Suddenly my bowel and bladder went from retention to total loss and they opened in the middle of the waiting room.
I caught a nurse's eye and was ushered into a room. Was then assessed by a physio and sent on a bed straight into a ward where I then had an MRI and a 6 hour emergency operation to decompress the nerve.
But the damage was done. Two years on and I am left with CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME, which will be with me for life. I have bowel and bladder dysfunction, saddle anesthesia, lower leg weakness and sexual dysfunction. I cannot work and walk with crutches.
My message is not to scare anyone, but if you do have a scan and are told you will NOT need surgery, please ask for a 2nd opinion. My life will never bee the same, and I believe I could have avoided this, had I had decompression surgery after my initial scan. Cauda Equina Syndrome has changed my life.

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beans87 said on 11 December 2013

I've had sciatica for last three weeks it's been unbearable specially at night, been doing stretchers for it, laying on floor straight lift knees up move them side to side ten times, also lay on floor front ways n lift from the hips up just before it hurts that seems to help it. Also just put some sports tape or kinesiology tape on where it hurts down my bum and leg it's been on a day and seems to be helping. Give it a try

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JasonR1968 said on 22 October 2013

Since my previous comments below, I have tried everything. Chiropractor, no help. Deep tissue massage - the same. I have since had a spinal operation to put things right - only two days ago. The staff at the hospital were amazing, the surgeon awesome. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I am in tremendous pain at the minute, but the way the a staff on ward 203 in Derby DRI was brilliant! Thank-you ladies for everything.
I was lucky, I got a cancellation whilst waiting for my op. - I am ready to move on. I know the pain and the suffering, but it can end.
Thanks again to all who helped me and the surgeon.

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Harry247 said on 22 August 2013

Just wanted to add my experience. I am 49 and not unfit (I jog about 6 miles a week but have a desk job). Putting on my socks 4 days ago and had trouble stretching so just "went for it" What a bad mistake!
Have just endured three days of shooting pains all day and misery all night from the aftermath. All left leg with a knife-like stabbing in my calf and pins and needles all up my leg and strong pain behind my knee and strains all up the front of my thigh.
Didn't bother with doctor and self medicated instead with lots of ibroprofen hoping it would ease. It didn't. Yesterday in desperation phoned a chiropractor and booked an appointment for this morning at 8.30 for £50. Thank god i drive an automatic so could just about get there. He did the knee hammer tests etc then pulled me about a bit. A bit wierd but I was past any caring.

Results were Absolutely fantastic. It felt better almost instantly and got better through the day - I went back to work and just kneeled at my desk. It's now 10.00 and I am a little pins and needlesy and still dont have anything like full mobility but OMG I might sleep tonight!!
Seeing him again day after tomorrow. Cannot recommend highly enough. Don't know what he did but who cares.Try it I am so so glad I did.

Huge empathy by the way to all of you who are in pain as you read this. My few days were bad enough. My heart really goes out to you.

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warriorsq said on 06 August 2013

Sports tape has almost stopped my sciatic leg pain
I've had sciatica for 9 weeks now only the 2nd time I've had it, last time was 5 years ago. It started for me while training for a 103 mile ultra marathon and so running 200 miles a month as part of the training. I'm waiting for an MRI now and taking Tramacet, Codeine phosphate, Gabapentin, Amitriptyline amongst other things. Chiropractor I paid for gave up after 9 sessions saying "save your money I cant help you" at least she was honest. Hospital physio gave me a sheet of exercises to do but after that failed I'm now waiting for an MRI like I said. A physio friend of mine who was seeing me once a week to help tried something new .She put sports tape across my lower back, buttock and all the way down the sciatic leg. Now Sunday morning I struggled to put my socks on and was in constant pain like many others here - since the tape went on Sunday afternoon I've had hardly any pain in the leg, not taken the pills and got over 50 miles of cycling since Sunday night, it's now Tues evening. I've no idea how the tape works exactly but it's brilliant.

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tomek84 said on 31 July 2013

Let me start by saying that I wish I hadn't wasted my time with NHS treatment for sciatica. I am 29 and used to go to the gym a lot, got fit but I overdid it and started having back pain which gradually travelled lower and lower and eventually I ended up with terrible sciatica. Almost everything I did caused pain in my leg; sitting, standing, running, walking, eating, sneezing, coughing and even laughing. My life was taken away from me and I got very depressed. I had visited my GP about my back pain a few times and was told to have a break from the gym, do some walking and if the pain gets worse they can give me painkillers. The pain was getting worse and I went to see an osteopath privately. He did help me a bit but my sciatica was going lower and lower. I went to see my GP again who carried out all the tests and at the end of it she asked me 'So what I can do for you?' I asked for an MRI. Had it done and later went to see my GP to get the results and was told the scan showed a protruding L5/S1 disc and a cyst coming from a facet joint. Was referred for physiotherapy and also to see an MSK specialist. Had to wait for a month to get an appointment with a physio and at that point I went for some other private treatment called IDD therapy. It cost a fortunte and it made my symptoms worse at the beginning but after 20 sessions I only get a little bit of pain in my hip when I sit for too long. My therapist paid for my post-treatment MRI. Sadly, the images still show a disc bulge but the cyst is gone. It turns out that the cyst could have been compressing the nerve. Yesterday I saw an NHS MSK 'specialist' who didn't seem interested in finding out what caused my back pain when I told him the whole story and only said 'back pain is a big medical mystery'. How he got his diploma is more of a mystery to me. Then when I said I felt better after IDD he said 'That's just coincidence.' Some nhs doctors do not care about your back pain!!! Sad but true!

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JasonR1968 said on 18 June 2013

I have been suffering my first bout of sciatica for the past 5 weeks. It is not just the pain that is getting to me, it is I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I am waiting a scan, but that is another month away. I am taking all the painkillers I can, but it doesn't stop the pain. I find myself getting more and more down. I can't sleep through the night, and the lack of sleep makes me even more susceptable to feeling down.
I am doing my stretching exercises, I am walking loads to try and carry on as normal. I have been signed off work as I can't sit at my desk. I am worried about my job. It is a never ending spiral of pain and depression caused by this sciatica. I feel I have no options through the NHS, and not being supported. My doctor is really great, but he can't do miracles either for me, or getting the hospital to do something quickly to help me.
I have had bad backs before and I can cope with that, this sciatica is something else.
I wish all who suffer weigh it a speedy recovery.

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tigger2013 said on 23 May 2013

I myself have had siactica for over 10 years now. As well as this i also have a condition called CRPS. For the last month and a half ive been having a severe flare up of siactica. its such a painful condition and i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy. i sympathise with you all that suffer with it.

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ihatesciatica said on 04 May 2013

i must also add, if you are lucky enough to get surgery, please make sure you get a surgeon who specialises in back surgery, some surgeons are a 'jack of all trades' you do not want that. my sciatica started in my left bum cheek and went all the way down the leg, i was using a hot water bottle constantly and so hot it turned the back of my thigh black, i really cannot say if lying in bed or to keep moving is better than the other,every doc you see will tell you different. i must say i am petrified of my mri results because i cannot go through with what i went through before, this isn't the way i was meant to go. its funny how we are made to suffer and told we have to carry on and take painkillers when i know of a policeman,anesthetist and a pm was given emergency surgery. do yourselves a favour, don't take any rubbish from doctors.

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ihatesciatica said on 03 May 2013

docs only like to give you tablets and ignore you and god help anyone who calls an ambulance. sciatica is thee worst pain i have ever had in my life, i had slipped disc from an epidural when i had my son,(docs will always tell you its not the epidural, you must have laid funny while giving birth, what completely flat and straight?) so i suffered slipped disc for 6 years before anyone took me seriously, one doctor had the cheek to laugh at me when i asked for an mri. i was in and out of hospital like a yoyo, treated like dirt by casuality staff, i could not walk at all, nothing gave me relief apart from gas and air and oramorph which made me sleep round the clock. i cannot express the pain of my sciatica, it just came on gradually and was at its worst, physio was useless and rude. anyway, i had a disectomy and fusion, it was the best decision i have ever made, out the next day and back to normal. 8 years on i have endometriosis which makes my back very bad and its been bad for a while now. i shifted a wardrobe 3 weeks ago and i think ive slipped another, i felt something wasn't right and i then collapsed on the floor and could only get about on my hands and knees, (great, more tablets) but as i had been after an mri for a while, i got my scan and it really couldnt come at a better time, just waiting for results, i know its bad news i have pain down both legs. i can assure you i will not be going through what i went through before, i will take every tablet ive got. no way will i have that pain and be treated the way i was again. to anyone who suffers badly from it, you need to put up a fight with docs and hospitals. who wants to be on tablets for life and in pain? my quality of life is zero the op to me was a miracle, i know is not for everyone and its not a cure but no 'mind over matter' will help you.

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User769607 said on 01 May 2013

I would advise those suffering sciatica to not read these comments. One comment, from screamingunadulteratedpain upset me, and I requested to have it removed. The editor felt it should be here. If you have an opinion on that post, please add it.

For those who do not take my advice and are continuing to read: I am a young sciatica sufferer (32) and am in my second re-occurrence, having first had pain in my leg start about 8 years ago. I am speaking form the perspective of someone who has suffered continuous pain for over a year in one of my previous episodes.

The reason I feel so strongly against these negative comments being left on this page (one of the highest ranked pages on Google for sciatica), is that it has been proven that mental attitude, is the only predicting factor as to whether you will suffer for a long time or short.

You simply cannot wait for a miracle doctor, or technique, or spend time searching out something that others are recommending, while not taking any positive action. Rest is not going to improve things, any delay will hinder recovery. Each day you don't do something makes it harder to get the ability to do that back (if it is getting out of bed, taking the dog for a walk or going to work, it makes no difference). As soon as it is within your pain threshold to do an activity, you must do it. Get to a physio, and start stretching exercises. Without movement your back will get worse. Sciatic pain does not mean you are harming your back when you feel it. You are very unlikely to hurt your back further following the advice of a sports therapist or physio, Resting and visiting a practitioner every so often, waiting for them to 'heal' you will lead to disaster. Pushing yourself through the pain is the only way to move the limit upwards. For a short period of time, you'll need massive amounts of painkillers, so take them at maximum dose and very regularly.

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JoNoGo said on 12 April 2013

If you have chronic sciatica I recommend you go to see a sports therapist. My nightmare followed the usual pattern - Weeks with little sleep - GP prescribing very strong painkillers - me begging for a referral - going privately for a consultation and MRI (lucky that I could) - L4/5 protrusion found advised operation only option after further 3 month wait - I then went to see a Sports Therapist out of desperation as the physio was useless! This is what she said/did:
1. Your posture is wrong and is putting pressure on L4/5. Do these exercises to lengthen your hamstrings and shorten your quads to get your alignment right. Sciatica eased off!
2. My back remained stiff especially in the mornings so she cleared up a range of problems in my muscles via trigger points.

This wasn't cheap, there is no 'cure' for disk problems, but things have been bearable and I have continued to work. I've recently had a reoccurrence of sciatica in a different place ( pain in hamstrings and bottom of feet) so it's back to the sports therapist. I can't believe I spent money on a consultant who told me there was nothing wrong with my posture and I should expect back problems at my advanced age (51!). Thank goodness for Sports Therapy which looks at posture and muscles first. Why isn't this available over the NHS?

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screamingunadulteratedpain said on 11 February 2013

I have had severe right leg sciatica due to a prolapsed disc since 2008. Being pain free is a distant memory for me now. Gps fob you off with painkillers until you end up with stomach problems and depression. If it was'nt for my husband and what it would do to him i would have ended it before now. What happened to the hippocratic oath? The nhs is run for profit not compassion anymore. I am just tired and dissapointed there is no humanity left in medicine, I even complained to the health minister and was fobbed off there as well. I wish I could win the lottery and pay privately.

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jan convey said on 15 January 2013

Hi

i have been suffering with sciatica for about a year now, i have had a MRI scan last year, which has showed that i have got a bulging disc. but as the months have been going on i have now got it all the pain down the left leg and the pain is really bad, but in the last few weeks it is numb now in the buttocks and it seems to be getting worse i also find that when going to the toilet now it feels numb but i am okay with the water works, most of the time, I am still waiting to see someone, which seems to be taking a great deal of time. i have not been to the gym since the beginning of Dec 2012, and have now put the weight back on.

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neroburner said on 16 October 2012

I have been off work for 6 weeks with sciatica. MRI scan confirmed a slight bulge at the base of the spine.
For real pain relief get your doctor tp prescribe DHC continus. Best to minimise the time on this drug as it sends you into ga ga land and you sleep about 20 hours a day. Also what really helped me was going to physio and getting on the traction machine. It basically has 2 straps 1 goes under your ribs and the other on your hips. The machine then stretches your spine. I felt an instant improvement in my sciatica and was able to come off the DHC. Hope this helps.

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Dunc782 said on 10 October 2012

Hi Peach, my girlfriend has had chronic sciatica for about 2 years (she's only 33) and has tried the injection (which worked for a bit) and physiotherapy (which didn't really help). She has now discovered that doing lots of pilates to improve her core strength has worked wonders - I guess because she can hold herself better so there is less pressure on her slipped sciatic nerve. Give pilates a go. Hope it works for you.

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Peach2011 said on 27 September 2012

I have had sciatica for a year, I have tried all sorts of painkillers and nothing has worked, I had the injection in my back done in may and the pain didn't incompletely but was not as bad but it came back with a vengeance 6 weeks before my wedding, the pain has come back worse then before and I'm booked in to have the injection done again but if it didn't work the first time I don't hold much hope, I struggle on a daily basis with the pain and it has started to effect my job now, I have had hardly any sleep for months and don't no what else to do, if anyone had any suggestions I wold be grateful

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maggie4me said on 06 August 2012

My wife has suffered badly for 3 years with chronic sciatica, she has gone through the list of treatments, medication as far as morphine, had numerous scans and the next planned procedure is an EMG in September.Walking just a few steps is agony for her and it takes many hours after to allow the pain to subside..By chance, she turned sideways to walk through a doorway, and found that walking sideways with her back upright and legs straight she could get about much easier without pain, we presume that by walking this way, the pressure is not bearing down on the sciatic nerve. I'm sure that this is not a miracle cure, but it has made my wife's life so much easier, and the smile has returned. so if this is helpful to anyone else, we wish you the best of luck.

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chessmachine said on 05 July 2012

I have struggled with back pain and sciatica for several years however it has got a lot worse in the last three months. I am doing McKenzie exercises throughout the day which helps, inversion table at about 60 degrees 10 mins a day which also helps and taking Naproxen which also helps. However as it is seriously effecting my ability to work I am considering disc replacement via a Dr Dare in Southampton.

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lauradaisy35 said on 08 June 2012

Hey. I have suffered for many years with this problem which has been managed with px and excercise. I found out in Feb I was expecting, by 11 weeks I was in the most horrific pain in buttock radiating down to my foot. I was completely bed ridden for 8 weeks. I was on the phone to GP nearly every day in tears but would not px anything due to being pregnant, only paracetomol. I was admitted to hospital for 3 days as pain was unbearable, I hadnt eaten, showered for days, couldnt even go to the loo as I couldnt sit on the seat due to the horrendous pain, all the docs and medical team said was " Have complete bed rest till baby is due in October as there is nothing we can do. I finally went on a website and read a ladies story about seeing a chiropractor. I found a local one to me. I managed to get to one by lying in the back of friends car and hobbling in on crutches to waking in the morning a totally different person... I could walk... my pelvis and spine were totally out of line which was causing the pinching on the sciatic nerve. I ve had 3 treatments now and would say Im 80 % cured. I still get a shooting pain down my leg which is very sore and have to be really careful how I go about everyday things. Im hoping to get an MRI scan after baby is born to see whats going on. Its been a miserable 3 months but hopefully on the mend :)

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karim74 said on 05 June 2012

I've had lower back weakness & pain for years, with mild sciatica. In my case the cause is postural, no slipped discs or anything obvious like that. Cycling really helped as it keeps the muscles & nerve moving without moving into pain.

Chiropractic really helped long term, pretty much cured it, although it's expensive and after a long course of chiro I am convinced that chiro without physio is pointless - adjustments treat the symptom (spine misalignment) but not the cause (weak postural muscles). You HAVE to strengthen the core postural muscles to get your spine to re-align permanently, not just for the 10 minutes after seeing the chiropractor. If your chiro won't give you a thorough exercise routine either change chiro, or get a physio as well.

If your problem is postural then piriformis and gluteus stretches are probably going to help as it may be tightness in these that is pinching on the nerve. Also relaxation exercises, hot baths or compresses, and diazepam will help relax seized up muscles.

Remember: you are your own best doctor, so gather information, keep trying stuff, and notice what causes pain to increase or decrease. Retraining postural muscles is tedious, but very important; physio only works if you do the exercises so do them religiously! Hope this helps someone. Good luck!

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Jenii92 said on 29 May 2012

Hi, I'm 20 years old, I've been getting lower back pain and someone told me i may have sciatica when i said its spreading down my right leg, recently its got a lot worse and my right leg has become very weak and the pain has brought me to tears on several occasions, should i be worried about this? my doctor doesnt seem bothered about it but i don't think it's right..

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HUGS said on 24 May 2012

I suffered from sciatica from age 21-29 for no apparent reason, it always seemed worst in winter. It finally went away after I had my first child, who knows why? Unfortunately both my children were posterial or sunny side up as the Americans say, so there backs pressed against mine when I was in labour. I had some lower back pain in my 30s but nothing that caused too many problems and found the more I exercised the better I was. In 1998 I slipped a disc, fortunately I was in Portugal at the time and the doctor and physiotherapist were brilliant, I had ultrasound and diathermy treatment and then went off to the gym with a sports injury therapist who showed me all the stretches I needed to do and exercises, my physiotherapist also told me that the best thing to do when I had pain was to lie on the floor on my stomach, best thing ever, he said watch tv down on floor too with chin in hands, such a relief! I now rarely get lower back pain or sciatica, but when I do I know I need to do my stretches and exercise, sometimes just walking can help, dancing is really good too. Sitting and lying around is the worst thing you can do, I always find if I am sick and have to stay at home I end up with back ache and sciatica, some of the exercises on youtube are the ones I was shown, so speak to the physio and get them to show you what to do, it may hurt at first, but in the end it works.

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myb71 said on 19 May 2012

hi there, ive had the same pains for over a year now, the last six months have been the worst though,,, it started with a bout that lasted for about a month and flarred up again a couple of months later then completely went away... it then came back with avengence 4months later and hasnt gone away yet. Ive had a MRI scan and my PRE-OP earlier this year and im still waiting for the op now!! As my scan showed it was found to be a prolasped disc that they would need to trim off but they said it might not stop the leg pains. My doctor prescribed me with Pregablin(LYRCYA) to block the nerve pain which, at the moment has worked brilliantly,, but i still get twinges and my right leg is numb to the touch from my buttock to my heel. I also get the feeling of hamstring and calf musle pains all the time wheter im sitting,standing or walking which is sometimes managed with the help of co-codamol but it doesnt always help the pain Ive been signed off work for 7months now and relly miss my job but cant return til after my op,, ive tried osteo and it hasnt made any difference at all,, i just hope my op is pretty soon as i cant stand being in this position much longer, it does alter your way of life dramatically and relly gets me down at times,, hope anyone else with same gets better soon

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rubynolegs said on 25 April 2012

Dear Memoo,
I can only advise you not to bother with that Injection. I had to have one before anything else would be done. I was cold turkey, a cold spray on the back and in they went with the needles. once they found the nerve (that was already identified on MRI) they wiggled it about and I screamed and screamed. Massive electric shocks down my left leg that left my knee in agony when there was no pain there before.

I thought I was in the Dustin Hoffman film where the dentist tortured someone with a tooth nerve. I am now worse than I was before I had this Barbaric procedure.

I had asked for a tiny bit of Madazolam or other mild sedation but was refused. I would never reccomend this.

If you do have it, be prepared and expect the worst, and I hope you get the best. It wasn't just me, there were several ashen faced patients as they came back to the ward, and one was so shocked she could not talk....the leaflets lie and say 'uncomfortable', it is all lies and the writers and performers have not gone through it themselves so how do they know??
I have given birth to 3 children without an asprin, and had a High cavity Forcepts delivery that damaged my back and had me laid up in hospital for 2 weeks, but none of that was anything like that awful procedure. All I got out of it is the confirmation of the cause of pain...I could have told them that.
Saying a little prayer for you x

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Julie Shrive said on 24 April 2012

My 5 acute episodes have turned out possibly to be a kidney stone [ found via ultrasound] How I knew was was that the pain only resolved when upped the chronic uti medication [ have 3 weekly inspections by a Prof] yet he and GP did not pick it up or 2 A&E Depts. Still not seen the kidney doctors due to illegal delays re NHS Constitution. Even this site has acute back pain on as kidney pain .Have taken a kidney cleanse recommended by an alternative therapist I know. My attitude is can't do any harm as probably numerous medications made toxic anyway .Needless to say the pain & severe stiffness resolved in 12 hrs . The stiffness relates in my opinion to spina bifida occulta [ found through chronic utis in my 20's by a kidney Prof & Urologist Royal Free ] & CFS / Fibromyalgia [ Prof Davies].

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Memooo said on 10 April 2012

Hi, I have had a bad back for 9 years now and I'm 24. it has come to light that I have two damaged disks, along with sciatica.I have tried all kinds of tablets that have been described above and tried other treatment such as physio, acupuncture, massage, tens machine, heat pads etc with hardly any to no relief.
I have applied to have an injection to help but am currently waiting to hear back. my quality of life is no where near what a 24 year olds should be, i can't even walk to the shop which is two mins away without wanting to sit down. It's taking a huge toll on my life as a whole. in the past two months my sciatic pain has now made its way down to my foot and causes pins and needles and numbness, it's unbearable. I don't know what to do. has anyone got any ideas as to what could help with the pain. I wish you all the best with your cases.

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HilaryBlunt said on 07 March 2012

I have read many of the comments and wonder if anyone can help me. Last May, I had an operation for spinal decompression, 5 discs were involved; sadly it was not successful; I have permanent pain in my left leg, ditto back ache, and the consultant and my GP have both given the impression it is just bad luck and that it! How can I do something to be able to walk more than a few yards without resting my left leg; I am gradually becoming completely disabled. I take gabapentin, not sure if it helps at all. Exercise is almost out of the question, the pain is too acute. Anyone else out there managed to overcome this? Do I ask for another operation, possibly fusion? Any advice will be gratefully received!

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User651580 said on 03 March 2012

I had a bad back and sciatica. had physio but this was all a waste of time. Doctor and physio said I just had mechanical back ache. Basically, i pestered the doctor over and over and eventually got an MRI scan on NHS. Major prolapse. Got better over 6 months and then it went again. This time agony beyond what can be explained in words. I was really lucky as I was still on the waiting list for epidural and got one after 2 weeks. The pain relief was instant. If you can, get one. Before that I wanted to be put down. Went from unable to move without spasm to walking around fine. Still had really bad back spasm - walking around twisted then doctor hit me with 2 weeks of tramadol/diclofenec/paracetomol highest dose and then it all just settled down ! So these drugs/treatments do work if taken in the right way.

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ggback14 said on 07 February 2012

It's worth pointing out that pain killers, co-codamol, Gabapentin, etc are only short term pain relief methods which only mask/temporarily hide the core issue/problem. And like other people have commented here, if you have pain for months, it's not good to take these types of pain killers for a long period due to their side effects.

The root cause of the back problem should be addressed for long-term recovery. In this case, it's best to look at a variety of help that is not 'pain-killer' based help, i.e. physio, osteopath, acupuncture, sports massage, etc.

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Adie1969 said on 05 February 2012

Hey all, I just want to let people know my story. Six months ago in September I hurt my back although i dont know how. I felt like i had pulled a muscle on my left hand side which gradually developed over a month into debilitating sciatica which went into my calf, foot and toes. I could barely walk or stand without excruciating pain and found myself only being able to lie on my right side for relief. I had to push the doctors every step of the way for pain relief, an MRI and physio. My quality of life changed completely and i was virtually housebound up until about a week and a half ago. The painkillers i was put on were initally co-codamol, low and high strength. This did nothing so went on naproxen, tramadol and evenutally after a recommendation from my physio, amiltriptyline. My MRI showed an old back fracture on l3/l4 and a bit of disc hydration loss but nothing to worry about. I have been referred to the specialist who i see this wednesday. However in the mantime i have been seeing fantastic physio who wouldnt work until after my mri scan, and who decided in her wisdom to give me traction for 10 minutes. The traction appers to have freed up the sciatic nerve. While i am getting twinges if i move awkwardly or if i do too much, it has essentially been reduced by about 80 percent. Its not the end of the road for me as i still have very bad back pain in my lower left lumbar region, hip and groin, and unto the left side of my mid back. However, it is now tolerable for me whereas before i was in despair. I found the painkiller combo of the naproxen, tramadol and amiltriptyline very helpful as while it didnt take the pain away it made it more bearable to get on with trying to live day to day. I hope that i will continue to get better and that the specialist is not ineffectual ;p My point here is push push push your doctors. i was dismissed a couple of times and i kept on at them. I am now taking half the amount of painkllers. Good luck everyone :-)

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hobbo01 said on 03 February 2012

Thank you Pete. I have an appointment with my Dr next week. Fingers crossed something will finally get sorted x

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dynamical said on 29 January 2012

hobbo01 ask your doctor about Gabapentin ... its an anti spasmodic.. I had a disc bulge with trapped nerve.. the pain was unbelievable.. they put me on 300mg Gabapentin.. its accumulative so you have to take it for 2 weeks before you'll even notice anything... but then after about 3 weeks you'll notice the spasms are a little less severe.... Ultimately i got the surgery to remove the disc bulge and release the nerve... i still get the occasional twinges down the leg.. but definitely try Gabapentin to ease the spasms... Pete 29

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hobbo01 said on 28 January 2012

I need some advice. I have been suffering from back ache which my doctor informed me was sciatica. 9 months down the line it is now unbearable. I practically cry myself to sleep every night & getting up in a morning is just ridiculous. I'm only 31 so feel this is unfair. Have revisited my doctor on at least 3 occasions to be told to take ibuprofen. It doesn't help. Just recently its got so bad that I deal with it at work, because I have to, then when I get home I get in the bath & just stay there as long as possible as it's the only relief that I get. This to me isn't enjoying life. I have had pain so bad that i'm physically sick. I just don't know what to do anymore.

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ggback14 said on 19 January 2012

@ cherrywooden,

For Cherry and others who are in complete agony and considering surgery - from some of the stories I've heard, surgery should be only considered as the very last option. My wife's ex boss had surgery for his original slipped disc and he's had more problems after, including several more operations - he's currently being operated on whilst on holiday in the far East.

I would recommend to anyone to exhaust every avenue and "alternative therapy" that's available out there whether it be private, physio, osteopath, acupuncture etc. Do research, get recommendations, whatever it takes.

From my experience, GPs and doctors (hospital) throw pain killers at back problems, followed by referrals to physio therapy. If that doesn't work, or for severe problems, it's surgery.
I wasn't even offered a scan for my sciatica to see exactly what and where my problems was - that's how much they can be bothered with back problems / sciatica, even though back problems cost businesses/private sector huge amounts with people off work sick, etc.

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cherrywooden said on 18 January 2012

I was moved to tears by the post from xnatzxk on 13th Nov 2011. Her situation is so similar to mine. I have been in agony with sciatica for the past 6 months. I also have a 3 year old & the impact on our relationship (& her behaviour) has been devastating. I am pretty much unable to cope with her on my own & can barely function at all most days. I have been given every tablet under the sun with no effect & have recently had a nerve block which hasn't helped either. Without the support of my family I really don't know how I would have got through it. I can't work, exercise or make any plans & feel as if I have virtually no life at all. What makes me feel very angry is the complete lack of care, compassion & understanding that I have been shown by all the medical professionals I have encountered in terms of the emotional impact of the condition & the impact on my family. It can't be right that anyone is left feeling the way I, obviously xnatzxk & I'm sure many others feel for extended periods of time. Surely, they understand the links between physical & mental well-being by now? Like xnatzxk I feel that I am nothing but a statistic & that no-one really cares. I am made to jump through hoop after hoop (I wish!) to access the treatment I need. There is no consideration of my individual history (I had a decompression 7 years ago on same disc), my personal situation or my emotional health in deciding my treatment or its urgency. Rather than wait another X number of weeks/ months to see a consultant I have now decided to get a private consultation. I can't afford it ...but I feel I can't afford not to as I cant carry on like this. I have even looked into re-mortgaging my house to pay for an op privately as I am so desperate. To xnatzxk, I really hope that things have improved for you? Don't give up, keep fighting!

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ggback14 said on 14 January 2012

I thought I would post-up my experiences and it's worth pointing out that my comments relate to ME only and everyones problems are different.

I have what the NHS class as 'acute' sciatica, i.e. which meant I could not get a MRI scan to take away with me to show other clinics, doctors etc (to get one on private costs around £300-500).

My sciatica is related to an old back injury from lifting a heavy object which was dropped and pulled me forward, so a NON-slipped disc injury since '97 approx. It's been a recurring issue/pain since.

My recent episode was painful enough to wake me 5/6 times during the night. I sought help from my local A&E on a Sunday which in a word was 'Useless'. The doctor said the same old story - would I like stronger pain killers and "Wait 2 weeks and it should go away".
Wrong. I'm no doctor but I know that nerve-related issues take a lot longer as my last episode took around 4 months. So that was 1.5 hrs wasted at A&E dept.

Next I decided to seek alternative treatments. I was recommended a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and after my consultation I was told acupuncture would be suitable as my problem was nerve based. Other treatments such as cupping & massage were not suitable for me.

The acupuncture worked for me, taking affect after 24hrs. It reduced my pain so that I no longer relied on painkillers to mask the pain (the shop bought ones were having no affect on the sciatica pain). I also had a second treatment as the tightness moved down my lower leg.

The Chinese doctor also advised me that I would require some further "manipulation" from an Osteopath to help put back & repair what I originally damaged and in-turn would help repair my back permanently! Why did the NHS doctor not mention this??

I have since visited an Osteopath for some "back cracking" and now on the road to permanent recovery... hopefully, rather than repeated back problems.

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User628849 said on 01 January 2012

Add your comment in 2000 I'd just like to add something positive. I hurt my back in early December and now it's new years day so just short of a month, nothing I know against some of these stories and mine wasn't Sciatica, just Sciatic pain due to trying to shift some shelves at work but it's been agony. I've spent hours wondering what to call unbearable pain that you are bearing, never to any great conclusion. My first tip is Volterol, it's quite dear as you can't get home brands like you can with Ibuprofen but it's the only hing that's helped. I've always sworn by Ibuprofen but this Sciatic pain just shrugged it off, even after 5 there was little improvement but 1 Volterol really early gets me a little quality sleep and another one when I get up gets me to the necessities of life and another at lunch time and I'm starting to feel like a human. I know this is not news to a lot of you sufferers and I don't want to belittle your suffering, I know I've been lucky.
The other thing that's made a huge difference is a thick 60mm memory foam mattress topper. Before this my bed was agony and I bought it for its back healing qualities but memory foam gets flat and mattress's still have springs. The memory foam seems to ensure you end up in the same place and your buttock is your lowest point and you get this awful pain in your change pocket. I got this new topper and it seems you can get them for less than a hundred pounds if you look about. Once your bed isn't a rack and one aspect of the many this condition seems to have gets a little better you can start to mend the rest. I'm supposed to be back at work day after tomorrow which is unlikely but perhaps the week after.
As happy a new year as you can to all of you from someone who seems to have got off very lightly. or less

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deb13 said on 20 December 2011

hi emmae82 , i have a very similar problem as you, to be honest sounds the same i have had mine for 15 years, did have an op 13 years ago on my l5 disc, been numerous places over the years and got a private appointment tomorrow,where i hope to find some answers,as fed up with it!!! it impacts your daily life so much,especially when you have children,as you cant just stop for a sit lie down etc. i feel for everyone who has back/leg pain, as its so invisable & until you experience it yourself people really dont understand!! x

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daisysej said on 18 December 2011

Hi, My mum is suffering at the moment with a numbness and tingling pains behind her left hip.. sort of in her buttocks. With lower back pain and "Firework"pains shooting down her legs, but the pain moves around, but always within lower back , legs, pelvis and hips. She says her hips feel raw sometimes like they have don't have any skin or anything on.
Does this sound like sciatica? Pain killers don't have much affect, the only thing that seems to help, strangely enough is paracetamol. She is in agony all the time - cant move at all now! The GP has shown no interest in finding out what's causing the problem.. just keeps throwing pain killers our way.
We have an appointment to see a private spine specialist, but unsure if this is the right person... any advice or ideas would be very much appreciated...

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emmae82 said on 16 December 2011

Hi all, i posted in November when i had an orthopaedic appointment. Due to pain my my buttocks, down my leg, groin and tingles in my foot and saddle paraesthsia i had an mri. For almost a year i'd been told this was just an unusual form of sciatica since i had the leg pain on the back and inside rather than outside of my thigh. I had a follow up yesterday and got my scan results. Nothing showed on the scan at all! I've just had a referral sent for physio but will have to wait around 6 weeks. Although the san showed nothing, i do wonder if i still have nerve irritation down there? I do have a patch almost in the crease of my groin and leg just slightly towards my backside which is sore to touch, but theres nothing there? It's ruining quality of life and im a single mum to 2 children. I was so sure something would show on the scan. I'm now back to square one, no idea whats wrong, back to drs next week. The mri was a lumbar one, so anything in my pelvis wouldn't show. I think the main problem must be there, especially as i get so much groin pain. When i had gabapentin the pain did ease although not completely (but i had a reaction to it so had to stop) so that suggests to me that it IS nerve related? Has anyone had a similar situation?

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pazir said on 10 December 2011

the cupping treatment is not expensive it is only £30.for 1 hour treatment it really does work

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pazir said on 10 December 2011

l suffered with sciatica for 2 years l had an mri scan which showed l had a prolapse disc it was so bad l ended up in a wheelchair l tried everything medicines physio nothing seemed to work it was only when l heard of cupping treatment were they heat the cups an put it on your back an legs after the first treatment l felt as if a huge weight has been lifted off me the numbness an tingling feeling felt less also the tightness in the leg was as not as much as before l had cupping treatment done twice a week for 6 months an it been a year now l am fully recovered after that l never had that problem the doctors wanted me have the operation which l refused an today l am mobile an no back problem you can google it an get information about icupping therapy it does work an there no side effects the lady l used to get the treatment done from massaged my back an leg for 40 minutes an 20 minutes she used to put the cups on the treatment is for 1 hour an you do even have to pay alot for this treatment it does work

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jk1958 said on 17 November 2011

I have sufferred from a bad back since 1978 when I was only 20 years old. In 1986 I had a shattered disc removed in Edinburgh. I continually suffered from chronic back pain, as well as acute spells. Eventually I was refferred to se eanother consultant at Rosshall Hospital in Glasgow. February 2008 I had 2 Wallis Implants at L4 & L5, but although the implants remained in place, they didnt do the job as my discs continued to move. By July 2008, an MRI Scan showed L3-L4 disc bulging, L4- L5 more disc protrusion, L5-S1 disc protrusion as well. However, I was offered no further treatment & have had recurring spells of acute pain. My latest episode started about 5 weeks ago, whereby reall bad pain going all the way from ny back, through my buttock & down my left leg. I have been to A&E, My Doctor, & have finally got an Orthopaedic appointment for Tuesday 22nd November 2011. I have had an x-ray which shows my lower lumbar discs are all causes problems of some sort. I am now 53, & I have to work fulltime untill I am 60 at least. I have been of work, and this is my 4th week. I don't & can't afford to be off, I just want a better quality of life. Anyone else have similar probs?

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xnatzxk said on 13 November 2011

Wondering if anyone can offer any help.
Nearly a year i have been suffering with left lower back pain, and pain all down down my left leg, tingling and pins and needles, i have no quality of life, i walk with a permenant limp, and walk with a bend to one side due to the pain on the left side, i can stand up straight, so aswell as walking bended to one side, i walk hunched over, not walked with a straight back in a long time, i have a 4 year old and i know its bad but because of this i have no energy for him and cant do anything with him.
I cant stand for longer than a minute without needing to sit down, i find it hard cooking, cleaning, anything really.

I used to get physio at my work which never helped, im currently now off work due to the pain, which is adding to how low i feel.
Had every med under the sun, paracetamol, dihydrocodeine, amitryptaline, ibuprofen, codydromol, cocodomol, diazepam, diclofenac, gabapentin, cortizone injections..n many others, nothing even takes the edge off, finally doc referred me t nhs physio in august, have had 3 sessions n still the same.

Im only 24, i feel about 60 odds, no quality of life, i cant go out with friends or do anything, even food shopping i have t get online, im so depressed, every day i spend indoors as the thought of trying t walk is unbearable.

I feel by now that there should b other steps they should b taking? physio lasts 6 months and i really cant c me waiting that long...i feel surgery is the only answer for me, but no one seems t care, its all about statistics, im really on the edge n feel like if this is what life is going to b like then what is the point? :( physio has gave me a walking stick to, and he says my disc/discs r bulging out

Because im unable to b mobile, my weight is going up drastically, i was already overweight, doc weighed me and in the last 9 weeks alone ive gained 9lbs, which obv wont help my back neither

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emmae82 said on 04 November 2011

@princess83...they do sound like symptoms ive had described to me as being typical sciatica. I had my ortho appointment yesterday and been referred for a scan within 6 weeks. The chap i saw was very nice and thorough. I don't have 'typical' symptoms so he is wondering if it could be more than 1 thing causing my problems. As glad as i was to finally get the appointment, i suffered yesterday from being examined and today some of the buzzing is back on my thigh....another symptom i felt silly describing!
I would go back to your gp and ask for a referral. I wish i had pushed for a referral sooner, i could have been treated by now.

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Princess93 said on 24 October 2011

I think I suffer from Sciatica. I last had unbearable back pain last year, since then I have had this pain again. It can come and go, or it can last up to a week.

The worst pain I have suffered was two nights ago. It started on the saturday evening I was in so much discomfort the bottom of my spine was sore and I had shooting pains in my lower back travelling down into my bottom and into my thighs.

The pain was agony. Nothing helped, it made me not want to move possitions it was too painful. A hot water bottle helped but I know for a fact it wasn't muscular pain it was shooting pain. Im worried, does anybody think I do suffer from Sciatica?

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emmae82 said on 17 October 2011

@Keziah....it is awful you have have to endure that kind of pain for so long! I truly empathise with your friend who was told she didn't really have the pain. Drs have done this to me as well. I have a life long illness which i was told was in my head (tests proved otherwise..finally) and when the groin bum and leg pain started with nothing visible to suggest what it was, i was back to hearing the same thing...'give it some time, come back if it's bad in 3 months'. I kept going back and nothing. I get some odd sensations, some i find incredibly difficult to explain..like things crawling up my leg, heat/cold patches, intermittant tingling and like a buzzing in patches. I have reactions to a lot of painkillers as well which makes the pain awful to treat. I've in the past few days also started getting pain just under my bum on the left side and today the weird groin feeling and tingles are back. I've been for a walk today and i've just made it so much worse, along with having to endure sitting in a very uncomfy wooden chair which did not help one bit last night. I am keeping fingers and toes crossed that this appointment is very soon because i cannot take this much longer! I've had this 10 months or so, i am shocked to hear people have been suffering for decades. It affects quality of life so much it is so disheartening!

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scotty567 said on 17 October 2011

Dont listen to the doctors. I have been suffering for 5 years now, they do nothing most dont even acknoledge chiropractors! Realigning the spine is paramount together with massage and your own excercise. I spent months in pain before going to a chiro. I hobbled in and walked out, thankfully my back problem tends to come and go after treatment, but not one doctor, and i have seen plenty for painkillers, have ever tried to properly diagnose the problem. The first doctor i ever seen said" you have sciatica and will have it for the rest of your life, hears some pain killers!!

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KeziahSearle said on 16 October 2011

I've been reading the comments and really sympathise with anyone who has this problem. It's one of the "invisible" complaints - no-one sees it so no-one believes you. I first went to my GP in 1997 with back pain and "burning" feet and legs. I used to walk around the house with damp crepe bandages around my legs and at night used to put bin liners on my bed and drape my legs with damp towels to try to ease the burning sensation. When I was sitting, I used to feel as if I was on a bag of pebbles. My GP did nothing and I endured the burning feet for eleven years. I couldn't even wear socks or tights in the winter because my feet felt so hot. I gave up telling my GP because he was so dismissive, but fortunately he retired and my new GP recognises I have a problem. From what I understand I have peripheral neuropathy and at the moment it is manifesting itself as sciatica - and has been for about the past four months.
I feel very bitter that this condition was not diagnosed fourteen years ago, as proper treatment perhaps would have improved my quality of life. I had, in fact, been diagnosed as long ago as 1978 with "non-specific inflammation of the nerve ends", which used to surface as back problems and sore/burning sensations on my skin.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that if anyone has similar problems and they are dismissed out of hand by their GP - get a second opinion. Someone I know did this when her GP tried to tell her she had psychological problems because she lived alone and was imagining everything!

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emmae82 said on 13 October 2011

I can't believe how many people are suffering and getting nowhere. I've seen my gp lots of times, had a back xray and given gabapentin, which i reacted badly to and it didn't work well anyway. I have right buttock pain, usually towards the centre of my behind but sometimes more in the middle. I get pain inside my thigh and groin and have had tingling, pins and needles and pain from my groin to my feet. I've told them this, they don't care despite being told it was very dangerous when you have this.
Yesterday the inside thigh-groin pins and needles and odd sensation started again and saw emergency dr tonight and she just said if i go toally numb get to hospital. I'm getting quite down about this. I have other long term medical problems and they seem to be blamed for any new illness or complaint i have or they say it's stress. I am under a great deal or stress and im aware of unconcious stresses but im 100% sure this pain is not created by any amount of stress and neither is the tingling. It seems doing little walking or a lot of walking affects it but when it's bad i don't want to go for a walk and it doesn't always help anyway! I'm fed up of visiting my gp so much. I'm considering trying to find the money for a private mri but i've no idea of anywhere near me who would do it at a reasonable cost. I noticed someone paid £200 on here in Bath...i'm in surrey and i'd be happy to pay that amount for somewhere close to me as i just want to confirm a diagnosis and get well again. I've gone from exercising/gym/running 5 times a week to nothing, don't smoke or drink and eat very healthily so it's hard to understand why i now have so many medical problems. I'm only 28 but starting to feel like 78!

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Notsufferinginsilence said on 12 October 2011

Just wanted to add a more positive comment. 10 weeks in and this 'episode' feels as though it's finally nearing its end. I've been taking codeine phosphate, naproxen and amitriptyline and until last weekend was still waking in the night - although later and later - and struggling to sleep again. Last Sunday night I didn't wake up until the alarm went off the following morning - a wonderful feeling! I've had lots of physiotherapy, sometimes incorporating acupuncture, and have usually felt better for that, but still struggling through the night. I have now been referred by my GP to the main guy at the sports centre who has referred me for an MRI scan, which will be on November 10th. I'll probably be ok by then - at least I hope I will. I have been going to a Pilates class for a month now, and using some of those exercises along with ones from the doctor and my physio, and I really feel the benefit of the Pilates. This morning certain exercises really hurt at the time but a couple of hours later I felt fine. The pain hasn't quite gone yet but the drugs are beginning to work and I'm even starting to cut down the codeine, hoping to be free of that next week at least.
I've read some of the other stories on this forum and feel desperately sorry for everyone who has suffered with this. It must be horrendous for the younger sufferers - at least I got to 51 before I experienced major pain that made me want to die. Although it didn't feel like it at the time, I was luckier in that I could always move - in fact, had to keep moving and walking around to manage the pain at its worst. Now that I'm catching up on sleep I find I'm much stiffer in the morning! One thing that helped me feel in control was to record when I took each drug, where the pain was at its worst, any exercise I had done. I have been averaging 3-4 miles walking every day and my 24 hour chart is beginning to look clearer as I have fewer symptoms and drugs to report.

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Dickens66 said on 09 October 2011

I have made a forum for people with back problems - if any of you would like to join, and have a chat about our experiences
It needs a few tweaks still :)
http://spinesurgerysciatica.phpbb3now.com

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max69 said on 18 September 2011

Hello, I have suffered with chronic sciatica for about 6 years. I have fallen down the stairs when my leg went numb and I find that my sciatica gets worse around my period time, when I can hardly walk! I have been given no tests, no physio...nothing but painkillers and these do not stop the pain, tingleing, crawling or pins and needles.

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dsp2001 said on 12 September 2011

i recently had similar symptons to this flare up whilst playing football.

i do not have any lower back pain though, just in left hip, buttocks, thigh and calf. it is relatively mild, but whenever i play football it comes back, and now am seemingly unable to play.

i'm 35 and feeling quite down about this, as i love playing and dont want to rule it out. i am considering starting up yoga classes to work on stretches. i have no real need of painkillers - only a wish to fully recover in order to play sport again.

is this a possibility ? football is explosive, with lots of twists, turns and jars. i really am sick of this (only been two weeks, but feels like more)

can anyone advise me the best way to get better ?

i dont live in the UK and dont have health insurance - as the symptons are pretty mild 90% of time, i dont want to pay for a doctor if possible

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kulfonik7 said on 04 September 2011

I have sciatica and my legs are in pain but it goes away after some weeks of exercises then coming back after couple of years or so,i would recommend for those who really need to go for private operation abroad for example to my country Poland, i have just checked it is about 6k for all including neurology refferal and consultations.Why beg for this here and live in Pain.

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PzChris said on 01 September 2011

Hello,
Many years ago I damaged my back whilst serving in the army, not too serious at the time but since then I have suffered chronic sciatica, usually after extreme physical exertion. I have noticed that the condition is exacerbated by severe emotional and mental stress - bottled up and unresolved issues. I reckon there is a very close relationship between our emotional and physical selves. It got so bad, the usual symptoms so well described in previous comments, that I couldn't ignore it any more. I used the usual pain control but all that does is mask the pain and doesn't cure the underlying problem.
In the end I saw a 'shiatsu' practitioner. She cured me, it was an amazing and miraculous experience. It wasn't a permanent cure but she realigned my body and released the pent up emotional stress. She also taught me exercises to alleviate any future flare-ups. Hope this might help others.

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amazing leech said on 29 August 2011

Hallo.Sciatica is nothing difrent than inflammation of the sciatica nerve. I have had this problem for a while. I have visiting many of doctors and they couldn't help me.Only one amazing thing helped me - it was leeches treatment.
They helped me not only with sciatica ,but with my general condition. I recommend them always

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dramaqueendramaqueen said on 23 August 2011

Desparate for Surgery....My husband is a chronic sciatica patient having suffered from agonising pain for 7 years. It is so hard to sit by and watch him suffer so much. All the GP does is refer him to the Physio and all the Physio says is do more exercise. Cycling and swimming and various types of movement are too painful and do more harm than good causing complete seizure of the back and horrendous spasms. His leg too gives way and he has numbness and pins and needles and constant stabbing pain. He can barely sit down for 2 seconds before having to change position or stand up or do something to try and get in a comfortable position. Sneezing is excruciating. He has damaged discs and boy do we want surgery, we have heard great reports of laminectomies and discectomies and it is very hard for me to understand why they won't offer my husband the option to having surgery. He takes 7 different painkillers day in and day out and God knows what is happening to his insides, he has been on the maximum strength of Cocodamol for years now and was prescribed opiates recently and even those brought no relief. He was given a nerve injection too and still no relief. Why is he still in such pain, he can't work anymore, his pain drives him up the wall, we are a young couple, nearly in our 40's, and it would be so much better if he received the op now so that he can enjoy his life more, rather than being isolated in pain.

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Notsufferinginsilence said on 20 August 2011

I agree - couldn't believe it when I read this somewhere!

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Notsufferinginsilence said on 20 August 2011

I'm now entering my 4th week of severe sciatica - 1st episode although I think the signs were there before. Have been to the doctor and independently seeing physiotherapist who also gave me acupuncture yesterday. Feeling desperate at the moment as I can't sleep beyond 3 or 4 hours when the pain wakes me and there's no position that gives any relief. Walking helps but I can't go walkabout at 2a.m. and I'm feeling desperate because of lack of sleep as well. Just read that I should take anti-inflammatories regularly and not just when the pain is at its worst - nothing helps then. Have been taking ibuprofen but now progressed to Valtorol(?) and can't take too much paracetamol as well as then I get chest pains and shortness of breath. I can manage during the day with walking about but if only I could get some sleep, that would help. I have my plan in place for when it stops - Pilates exercise every day (went to really good class when this first nearly flared up nearly 3 years ago and that protected me until the teacher moved away, and have done yoga since which doesn't seem to have had the same effect) but not coping at all - mostly through lack of sleep and not being able to find a position in bed that I can maintain.

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mummykerry said on 18 August 2011

im 21 years old, ive had sciatica pain for 2 years, i had my son at 18 and he was about 6 months when it started, i just had a sudden agonising pain and had to be carried into the out of hours doctors, they gave me codines and told me i must have pulled a muscle and trapped a nerve (they never even checked me over). they didnt help with the pain after a few days it went, but then every so oftern it would come back sometimes for a few days, sometimes a week, painkillers and codines or co codamols and ibuprofens did nothing. i got pregnant again and had my daughter in 2009. the siatic pain is everyday now and gets worse with doing excersize, it goes through my left bum and allway down leg, i get numbness, cramping, tingling, my leg gives way and pins and needles which make it really hard to walk. doing the housework is a painful experience, all the doctors have done is sent me to physiotherapy the first time was when i was pregnant with second child and she showed me how to sit properly!! i constantly went back to doctors to be prodded at and then given pain killers which are expensive and never work. i went to see another physiotherapist she told me it was a muscle in my back squashing the nerve!! gave me excersizes (which make it million times worse) i went back to docs and she gave me gabapentin which seem to be helping a little but i stil have huge bouts of pain. went to see another doc on tuesday just gone and he prodded at me and said he thinks i have a slipped disc! so now he said to stay on the gabapentin and if it dont get better they will refer me AFTER 2 YEARS!! im 21 and i feel really old, i have no idea whats causing it and it also scares me as im constantly straining my back (picking kids up picking up after kids house wrk) i dont even know if im making it any worse, reading all comments here i see the pattern of the NHS doing nothing!!

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pollyo said on 13 August 2011

To Happy2beloved in particular

I'm also suffering with pain in my groin, as well as from my buttock down to my foot. My chiropractor said it is part of the sciatica problem and not something else, I was glad to hear that as the thought of it being anything else would have been too much! Hope this helps you and your boyfriend.

This is not the first time I've had sciatica thankfully it's been over 14 years since I had an attack. I'm using a flexible ice pack on the base of my spine 10-15 minutes on, 10-15 minutes off as much as I can each day. Lots of painkillers every 4 hours, although have got to the stage that the co-codamol taken last thing at night get me between 6 & 7 hours sleep, no longer waking 3 and half hours in desperate for more painkillers. Also going to the chiropractor 3 times a week and have had some aromotherapy massages, helped me relax a bit.

I don't find the NHS route much help and think chiropractor and osteopaths services should be provided via the NHS as alternatives to physio or surgery.

Reading the comment about cognitive behaviour therapy made me think total rubbish. Although I do know someone who gave birth twice using only self hypnosis, her GP taught her how to do as part of a trial as an alternative to painrelief during labour. She said it worked wonderfully and she was pain free throughout. Might ask my GP if he can teach me self hypnosis to help me with the pain. If he can and it works I'll post again.

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adj89 said on 29 July 2011

Hi, Andrew1971 I know exactly what you mean and I had the same trouble with my GP hence I had the chiropractor refer me for a private MRI then I felt vindicated when it showed the nerve pinched by a bulging disc. Cost of a private MRI is £200, it goes onto the NHS system (I had mine at the RUH Bath on a Sat afternoon) so doctors and consultants can see it later and you get your own copy on the day . If you look round the internet you can even have a pretty good go at self diagnosis by comparison!

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Andrew1971 said on 27 July 2011

ive had mild back pain on and off for 20 years but never enough to upset my daily life.

however this christmas i started to get alot of pain in my right buttock and down the back of my leg and sometimes into my foot, also pins and needles at times.

i managed to get booked into physio quickly but it hasnt helped. the best pain relief for me is walking, 45 mins and the pain is nearly gone. BUT 15 mins after i sit down the pain is back!

getting more than 2 hours sleep at a time is my biggest prob.. 2 hours kip, i then wake up, have to walk 45 mins and back to bed.. rinse and repeat.

some mornings (sounds wierd) my whole leg is numb but at same time im in terrible pain and cant move leg properly. as i said though, after moving about for 45 mins im okish and my mobility is good.

getting this across to my doc and physio is hard. they do usual tests and im okish. i almost feel stupid about it. but after 7 months of troubled sleep i think im gonna go mad and still it goes on.

im taking codeine and ibuprofen but they do not work at all. ive mentioned an MRI to two diferent docs. one ignored me and i nearly punched him..oops.. and the other said that since my mobility is good i would not need an MRI.

im at wits end... ive had two hours sleep and i have to be up in just over 3 hours... so ill need 45 min walk before i try for another 2 hours sleep... i cant keep this up but i guess i have to !!





.

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Trudy103 said on 25 July 2011

I have had sciaica in the past but it got better within about two months, but last year I developed it in July and none of the medication and physio helped at all. Eventually I had an operation (in Gran Canaria as we were travelling in the Canaries when it was diagnosed).
It's hard to say whether the operation was a success or not! The pain is a good bit less but I still can't go a day without at least some sort of painkillers. Some days are worse than other days and sometimes it seems that doing less activity seems to result in more pain.
As another contributor said cycling seems to be the best kind of exercise for it, and swimming isn't too bad either.
I am going to have some "gentle" physio as suggested by my GP. I haven't had it up until now as I hoped I wouldn't need it but will give it a go in the next couple of months. I am a bit disappointed that I still have pain at all but I suppose it would have been far worse without the op!

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ladani said on 20 July 2011

I have now been suffering for years with a bad back that comes and goes. But since December I am suffereing from sciatica, I am on pregabolin, paracetamol, and baclofen. I have been to a physio, and a chiropractor. Nothing works, I am so desperate now and the pain is so bad, I am 42 years old and feel like I am 90! I am to the point where I can't walk properly, every 30 seconds I have to crouch down and rest! i have two young children and life is hard because i can't do anything, even brushing my teeth is a pain as i have to sit on a chair when cooking and washing up! I have been diagnosed with MS but that doesn't bother me as much as the sciatic nerve. Dr's seem reluctant to help which is really annoying or they don't seem to be sympathetic. They make me feel like I am dramatising the pain. I will finally have an appt with a musculoskelital specialist in mid August but I think i might get up to over a year before i get some real help.

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adj89 said on 18 July 2011

Hi Cath, difficult to to imagine living with the pain that long. I started to get a weak foot (John Thaw (Inspector Morse) had that problem) and that was the point I went to the consultant for more advice and he said it was the way nerve damage can progress. This, and the daily pain, has made my mind up to relieve the pressure on the nerve by microdiscectomy now due beginning of Sept. I have not noticed muscle wastage yet but I'm sure it will happen because there is a tendency to favor the other leg. I have noticed I lean away from the painful side so have a permanent sort of bend in the body at the waist. I am also 51 but male, pretty active (slowed by the sciatica) and find cycling a road bike helps relieve the disc pressure and hence the pain. All the best Alex

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Cath H said on 17 July 2011

Hi all. I am a 51 yr old female who has had sciatica now for about 16 yrs maybe more. I have permanent numbness in some parts of my right buttock, leg & foot. Lots of tingling, shooting pains. I also have a weakness in my ankle & it often gives way when I'm walking. Very embarrassing :( I limp when I walk too. I don't go a day without pain, but mostly it is bearable, until it flares up again.
Have any of you noticed any muscle wastage too? My right calf muscle is significantly thinner than my left.

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adj89 said on 13 July 2011

Hi Avogado, Just a small question - How was sciatica ruled out as the cause of the pain in the nerve? You do not mention an MRI scan of the spine which would rule out a herniated disc. I have had sciatica pain (same as you describe only pain in buttocks and leg) for 10 months, every day, all day but I know it is from a herniated disc pressing on the nerve. Ihe only way I found out for sure was the MRI. I have no back pain at all. I had a nerve block injection last month which confirmed the point of compression and have decided quality of life is worth the risks involved in having microdiscectomy surgery and saw the consultant today to be added to the waiting list. if the pain recedes in the meantime I can always cancel. I don't know how you have put up with it for so long. My email is sandy.jackson at homecall.co.uk if you are interested in swapping notes. All the best Alex

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Avogado said on 12 July 2011

I have been having on-going pain in my right buttock and waist area for the last 5 years.
Initially this had been diagnosed as "sciatica". I had physio over one year but the treatment didn’t improve my condition. One day, when I was studying muscles and related problems (I was studying anatomy and physiology) I came across this condition – “Piriformis Syndrome”, and it’s said “often confused with Sciatica”. The description of "Piriformis syndrome" clearly matched with my condition, so I mentioned this to my physiotherapist. They also agreed, but told me that there isn't much they can do about it, so I was left alone to deal with pain. Since then, I’ve researched and looked around info in different countries’ (mainly US) as I am unable to find info from NHS site and have also looked into holistic therapy. I have tried acupuncture, shiatsu, Osteopath and have been doing all "self-help" things including self- stretch and change life style. Some helped me temporarily but pain always returns and never goes away. By now, I have been living with constant pain nearly every day and pain is always there. I no longer rely on my GP, since he showed neither interest nor knowledge to treat me. OK this is not life or death but it affects my quality of life and my family greatly. When pain is server, I am unable to breath properly, I cannot concentrate on anything, and I am depressed.
I am disappointed STILL not being able to find even proper info from NHS by now nor help from professionals. I have been living strong ibuprofen nearly every week as my condition flare up from time to time. Reading this section made me realise I am not alone. Wonder if anyone in NHS health professionals or management care to do anything about it ??

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PippaRB said on 18 June 2011

I've had back pain (in the leg, buttock and lower back) for almost 2 years and started off paying privately for a chiropractor who said it was my L5. The pain was relieved but I had persistent pain in my thigh and despite repeated visits, it wasn't getting any better so I went to a private physio. They did a good job but didn't alleviate the pain entirely, mainly moving it from one area to another. Their diagnosis was a weak core. I then went to a another physio (again private) who said it's nerve related and quite honestly seems to have made it worse. (over £1500k later on private treatments) They put me forward for a MRI scan via my GP.
He's been fantastic, asked me a few questions, put me in for one, got one done in a week on the NHS and am just waiting for the results. Both the NHS and my GP were great.
Reading all the above has given me a great insight as I'm at the point where it's stopping me doing anything - I like exercising but mentally I can't bring myself to do it, even bending down to pick up something from the floor.
I think I will look in to alternative therapies recommended here. As one lady said, it's a relief to know I'm not alone.

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minimim said on 14 June 2011

I have suffered with sciatica which was caused by herniated disc at L5/S1. I had it for 10 years, and have just had a disectomy back operation in the past two weeks, My nerves were stuck to the herniated disc, so the surgeon isolated the nerves and removed the herniated disc. I am now pain free, I can walk normally!! at long last. I would recomment this operation if your consultant recomments it, of course everybody has different circumstances, it took less than an hour and I was home after 28 hours! My life is going to be so much better, at long last :)

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adj89 said on 06 June 2011

Hi ljcockroft, Happy2bloved21 and NeilM, Do not delay any longer get your GP to refer you for a private MRI asap! Yes I know it is £200 but what is that compared to your health! You can do this in stages. Once you have the MRI proof of the problem (the clinic will give you a disc with the pictures on at the end of the scan (if they don't insist on a copy you paid for it)). Then you are in a better position to get your GP to make the appointment to see the specialist. Make sure you go to the pain relief consultant and insist on a nerve block injection. This actually targets the area of concern and if works means surgery in that area would also work! Again Do Not wait the injection costs £300 privately, borrow/beg the money if needed. If surgery is needed try to get this done on the NHS as it is £5000 private. However what cost is your health?? Get out there and get the MRI done (waiting time just 2 weeks remember!)

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ljcockroft said on 05 June 2011

ive suffered with lower back pain and leg pain since i was little, was told for years it was growing pains despite me tryin to tell the doctor i was in alot of pain. finally got diagnosed with sciatica around 5 years ago and was sent for physio. i was then told by the physiotherapist that my pain and lack of movement had nothing to do with any medical problem it was because i was overweight and leaving me in tears, even though at this time i was 16 and a healthy size 14. being 16 and very sensitive about my weight ( as i had lost alot of weight) i refused to go back. i do since regret this as since then i have had very little help from doctors about the pain. since i had my daughter, ive found i get alot of numbness in my thighs. im lucky its not constant but its most nights and alot of days i end up barely able to walk and having to take alot of painkillers just to be able to sleep and manage with day to day life. its gettin me down as i have a toddler and would love to be able to run around with her all the time. im sorry to hear there are so many sufferers out there but its nice not to feel alone with this.

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Happy2bloved21 said on 04 June 2011

Hello,
I can sympathise with all of you, my partner suffers from sciatica and spondylitlis, I knew it was bad but lately has gotten much much worse, I am sending him to the doctor with the information of "Piriformis Syndrome" as it seems to be his buttocks that are giving him the most amount of jip, leading to his leg. He's not so bad throughout the day but at night he seems to cease up completely.
Something I wondered if anyone could help me on, is anyone else getting pain around the groin area, I'm not a 100% sure if its just where he has been spasming so much he has actually pulled a muscle.
Any help is much appreciated for my poor fiance who I would like to see be able to walk down the aisle and stand for our wedding in September. Thank you and good luck to everyone suffering.

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NeilM said on 29 May 2011

Go private if you can (I can't), or just wait and wait and wait, referred 3 times to referral centre, 1 Physio apt in 6 months, 1 urgent ref got to spinal unit, but after 1 month they passed that back to physio, third referral waiting. Problem is sciatica is not treated as anything to worry about, despite crippling pain, one crawl into A&E or not being able to dress yourself. It's been 2 1/2 months of agony so far, I'm self employed so can't earn any money, can't claim any benefits either. My GP is backing me but because of some stupid system put in a few years ago he can't book an apt direct with the consultant he wants me to see. I already know from a physio I know that he can't help me, he can see I have a disc problem, I need an MRI, it's all about keeping me off waiting lists so the statistics look good. In the mean time I am on 3 x Diclofenac, 4 x Codine Sulphate and 4 x paracetamol per day, which adds up to constipation so I need movicol 3 times a day, which gives me the opposite, but it's OK any longer and I won't be able to buy food! Shame they wont give you the anti depressants for longer than a week, cos they were good!

If you are into masochism then go to A&E, get some pills and the leaflet they give you and do the exercises, go home via somewhere that sells wheelchairs 'cos your going to need one, assuming your lucky and can actually sit, lay down, sleep etc.

Good luck to you in the NHS, it's time they got rid of the managers and employed Doc's, nurses etc.

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adj89 said on 27 May 2011

Sorry to hear so many others are in the same situation with sciatica. All I can do is share my experience so far: The pain in the lower back started Oct 23 2010 after a car journey could hardly stand up. Things got worse with pain moving into the leg. GP gave pain killers and offered physio. First appointment end of November next after Christmas. All exercises given just made things worse! I also saw a Chiropractor, didn't improve things but referred me so I could have a private MRI at just over £200 at RUH Bath, appointment within a week, results there and then, well worth it. The result showed a prolapsed disc pressing on the sciatic nerve I was quite pleased as at least it was not anything more sinister. Armed with MRI went back to GP who then referred me to the Orthopedic nurse, another 3 weeks, who after examination and a look at the MRI asked me did I want pain management or surgery - up to me. I decided surgery because at least two people I have spoken to said relief was immediate and permanent 10 or12 years on. Another 6 weeks for the consultant appointment. So that was March and all the time taking Gabapentin and Dyclofenac 2 a day and Paracetamol and Tramadol 4 times a day every day and the pain was still like raging toothache in the leg all day, all night. The Surgery consultant said I was on the cusp and should get a epidural steroid injection and see how things progress then he would see me a month after. Fine but that meant another 6 weeks for an appointment to see the pain consultant booked for June, There will be 8 weeks before the procedure. If this is the only way forward I guess I am willing to pay the £680 to have the epidural early. I am disappointed and feel the NHS is playing statistics with appointments. Currently the pain killers are on top of the pain most days but the numbness has spread from the toes up to the knee. Advice, go private early if you value your sanity and sleep.

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Bowen Therapist said on 13 May 2011

I have suffered with sciatica in the past and thought it was worth telling you about a complementary therapy which I have benefited from and maybe of interest. Since having bowen technique I have had no re-occurrence of sciatica.

I am a bowen technique (sometimes known as bowen therapy) therapist and I have treated clients with sciatica with good results. You can find a list of registered therapists through the Bowen Therapy Professional Association website.

The difference with bowen is that it your body only does what it needs to do. It does not matter what the therapist or client wants. It is a very relaxing treatment, almost as though you are asleep. With many people drifting off, me included. As the therapist makes small rolling moves, the body makes changes to the fascia (the layer below the skin). It does work on both the physical and emotional elements which can take some readjusting to whilst you’re trying to restore your equilibrium.

Bowen doesn’t suit all, the same as other therapies. It can be a bumpy road to travel for some people. It can have remarkable results.

I discovered bowen after getting nowhere for 3 years with muscular pains in my back and arms. To this day I/the doctors still do not know what is wrong. After my first bowen treatment I ached and cried for a week. My pain levels increased for 6 weeks before tailing off. From not being able to clean my teeth, I am now able to swim 72 lengths several times a week. My pain and movement levels have increased by 95% and I’m off pain killers. I was so greatful to bowen I decided to train as a therapist myself.

I do wish everyone could experience the benefits of this treatment, especially if it was available through the NHS. It would save them a lot of money.

Please do some research and try bowen if you’ve not already done so, it may just work for you.

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metalmidget said on 11 May 2011

about a year ago I started to get a tightening in my left leg just under my pelvis on the outside .Believing i had just pulled something at work I ignored it but it didnt go away.So I went to a sports therapist and it seemed to help a little but then the feeling moved round to my back so i went to the docs.He said he thought it was an inflammed bursary sack and to take anti inflams and not to go back for sports therapy .But still the discomfort .I am now at the point where I have paid for private visits to a chiropractor and now back to a massage therapist.The problem is worse than ever and is afffecting my knee too.I feel like noone understands and i still have no clue what is actually causing it .Before this i was totally healthy.I am going to go back to the doctors in the hope that i have more success .I am only in my ealy 30s and it is stressing me out completly

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emma23 said on 11 May 2011

i know what people mean about GPs fobbing u off ive had that for ages now and have now finally been refered for a scan next week which im hoping will find the root of the problem which my doctor thinks is down to a collapsed disc i get really really frustrated atm because im in so much pain i have pain from the bottom of my back down to my foot get bad tingling cramps and pins and needles ive had every pill going from the docs none of which have worked i salute u Carpo for being so demanding with your doctor and getting the treatment you needed it seems all they want to do usually is get you out of the surgery as soon as possible am hopin soon i won't b in this much pain anymore as i can but hope

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carpo said on 09 May 2011

im not really sure why there are so many people taking "no" for an answer from there gp when they are clearly in a lot of pain?? i had my sciatica re-occur in july 2010 and went to my gp and DEMANDED an mri scan and got this reasonably quick due to me having a lot of pain. The scan was done and showed i had problems at l5-S1 and i was given an appointment for an operation to have removed and have had no real problem with my sciatica since. (Was in hospital for 36hrs then allowed home) Forget the painkillers and pain management just put your foot down!!

Hope this has helped. Im 47 years old.

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carremargs said on 09 May 2011

Thank you Ellen H for the useful site on Sciatic pain treatment. A lot of what I have been told or shown to do in the past has just been blown right out of the water! Tried the first initial assessment as described and it was really helpful so I am going to continue this daily for a while and I will report back. Thanks again for this useful site.

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Bexpolly78 said on 26 April 2011

I've had this problem for the last 5 years when I prolapsed a disc moving house at 27yrs old. I've tried physio, osteopath, pain clinic leading to epidurals, nerve root blocks, hydro, pain management programme, various meds - tramadol, lodine, diclofenac, pregabalin, gabapentin (was allergic to), amitriptyline to name some, and a year ago had a spinal cord stimulator implanted - only for at the start of this year my pain level went through the roof and was barely able to walk across the office. I went to A&E and saw or spoke to every GP at my practice who said either increase my meds - (not negotiable) or 'we'll write to the pain clinic - see me in a month'. I work for the NHS and spoke to a GP I work with who suggested a CT scan (can't have MRI due to stim) so I asked my GP for it and was told that no, I wasn't going to get one as they cause cancer! When I told this to the A&E Dr, he put his head in his hands! I looked into paying the £500 to have it done privately when I had a phonecall from the hospital to say that my specialist wanted to see me the following day. When I saw him, he ordered a CT saying that he doubted I'd prolapsed another disc as I wasn't in enough pain for that. I had the scan & 4 weeks on got fed up with waiting so called to get the results and surprise - I have prolapsed the next disc down so have now done L5/S1. The hospital probably still won't do anything like remove the disc or fix the prolapse as they tend to work on a conservative approach. I now am having problems sleeping, the surgery I had last year seems to have been a big waste of my time and NHS money as it doesn't seem to be helping at all no matter how high the stim is turned up to and am in more pain than I have been in a long time. My walking is worse as I walk with a bad limp and I'm soo fed up with people watching to see what is wrong with me when I park in disabled bay (which I'm entitled to as I have a Blue Badge)
Rant over!

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10penny said on 21 April 2011

Been bad with my back for 18months or so. was having physio for 5 months but was just getting worse so i had a mri scan and it showed i had a L5 S1 disc bulge so i went to see a specialist who said it wasnt that bad (dont know how he knows that im in real bad pain all the time from my back hip and down to my foot and cannot control my bladder ) ive had a steroid injection which didnt work and 3 sessions of accapuncture also hasnt work through pain management so now they've said there is nothing else to try just to go back to my dr . i don't think they are bothered. I can't get out of bed properly ,i'm limping all the time ive just tried to get help from D L A but been refused i cant walk for long and cant sit for long i'm going out of my mind no one takes me seriosly .

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emma23 said on 06 April 2011

ive just been reading through all of this and am so relieved its not just me who is suffering this i first started with it 14 months ago when i had my son and at first it was just a minor irritation but now its full blown agony i feel so guilty on my kids coz most days im just in to much pain to do anything with them and they don't understand been back and forth to the doctors about 10 times just recently i started seeing a new doctor and she has described me anti depressents yes ur reading this right anti depressents 4 my leg because supposedly they have something in them that can help with joint pain she started me on 10mg and has boosted me upto 25mg last week they do nothing 4 the pain whatsoever just make me sleep im so so sick of being fobed off now im in total agony takes me ten min to get out of bed in the morning and im constantly limping am getting to that point now of just wanting to chop my leg off seriously need to get it sorted

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lurgan liar said on 04 April 2011

I've had this curse of a condition since May last year. I noticed it coming on me gradually when i was playing a lot of snooker. After seeing all 3 doctors at my GP surgery I eventually got them to listen to me and i was sent off to ICATS. Once there I was told I had a slipped disc L5-S1. The MRI scan a few weeks later confirmed this... I've seen the spine surgeon and my options have been explained ... I've waited 10 months now, every other treatment has failed... Physio initially helped a bit. Before getting physio I couldn't stand up for more than about 2 minutes .... Now i can grin and bear it. Walking around in supermarkets is interesting ... I can walk pain free for about 2 or 3 minutes then the Choking kicks in and i have to hobble up and down the aisles while people look on wondering why i can walk one miinute but end up limping the next... I've been waiting 8 weeks on my Consultant to get back to me about the epidural injection... How can i get him to speed up the process...? SHould i go see my GP again and get him to contact the Consultant .. all this waiting is starting to get to me... I just want my life back!

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Ellen H said on 21 March 2011

Thank you all for the comments. Very helpful indeed! I am so tired of repeated bouts of sciatica but it is oddly reassuring to see that it is not just me with this problem.

Daithi, I have tried the exercise over the past four days (http://sciaticnervepainandtreatment.com/the-best-exercise-for-sciatica/) I must say it wasn't easy at first! The instructions are very drawn out - but once i figured it out it was fine and i am feeling better for it.


Outdoorslover, thanks! I have heard of a Tens machine but did not realise they were available.

Many thanks

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mckeown55 said on 18 March 2011

I first hurt my lower back when I was 16 while working on a building site - I was off work for 3 weeks with crippling lower back pain. It didn't bother me very much after that until I was 30 years old. Other than some back pain I hadn't had much bother. However, when I reached 30 and was on holiday in the Isle of Man with my wife and 4 young children I really hurt it badly when lifting my suitcase to return home to Northern Ireland.
Something so simple - but, while lying on my tummy at home the next evening I went to get off the floor and the pains shot down my right thigh, leg and foot but almost disappeared from my back. After seeing a different trainee specialist each month at my local hospital for 3 months and being sent home on each occasion, I was walking down the corridor when the lead Orthopaedic consultant saw me walking. He stopped me, brought me into a waiting room, had me admitted to Musgrave Park hospital the next day and emergency surgery on Saturday morning to save me from being paralysed.
Although I am not paralysed it was too late to prevent severe damage to (I think) the S1 nerve. I now have a drop foot, along with pain, pins and needles, etc. which moves from area to area of the foot from toes to as far as the knee.
I practically have my own pharmacy lol here at home and recently was fitted with a Spinal Cord Stimulator which is great for any of the low to medium range pain. It masks the pain with an electrical pulse signal. It definitely does not help me with the more severe pain.

I just thought some of this info might be useful to someone and can I thank all the users for their comments - I have found them extremely useful in reinforcing the fact that none of us are on our own.

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rosedraws said on 17 March 2011

I really surprised at how many young people are suffering with this illness, my physio seemed surprised when he saw my condition so I presumed it was a abnormality for someone in their early 20's to get sciatica.

I've looked all over the internet for treatment and most of the info says 'keep moving' and not to sit down for long periods. Walking and exercise is actually the thing that has made my symptoms worse. I constantly moved around when I started developing the illness (I had two part time cleaning jobs and was having to 'run' around to try and secure a new GP to get help). After 6 weeks of constant movement I was unable to walk down the street without being in crippling pain.

There was a week after I gave up my part time job where I was feeling improvement and the second trip to the physio he gave me an exercise to do whenever I could. However after just five days of this exercise my sever symptoms came back.
Is extreme sciatica excluded from this 'keep moving' solution?

ALH1987 - I know what you mean about the walking stick. I'm in need of some equipment to help my mobility as I can't leave the house without someone to lean on. I was considering a walking stick but like you said, being in your early 20's it doesn't exactly boost your ego!

mckeown55 - Glad to hear its somewhat accepted (as it should be), even if it's a hit and miss. Soon after that post I've been told by my local disability organization which helped me fill it out that I should be entitled to high rate mobility too so fingers crossed..

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ALH1987 said on 16 March 2011

I first started with Sciatica at the age of 17. Back then the pain was mild and infrequent, what is classed as acute Sciatica. It subsided with Diclofenac and paracetamol. Last year, my pain became increasingly worse and for more prolonged periods. I have a form of Spina Biffida (Occulta), not detremental to my health, apparently. I was referred to my physio via my GP and there I found out I have one leg slightly shorter than my other by 5mm, also I have flat foot. All this put my faith into the physio, and he then did manipulation which was great, I felt like a new woman for a while. I went back for some Traction (a machine which stretches your back) in sept 2010, and this was where it went downhill, and fast. I was rushed to hospital that evening and ever since I have been in constant agonising pain, throughout my lower back, hips and legs. My Sciatica had just got a million times worse, I live each day in pain. I have tried a what feels like a pharmacy's worth of pills to try and alliviate the pain (tremadol, amitryptiline, codiene, diazepam, gabapentin etc) all with dire side affects. Im now on diclofenac, paracetamol and amitryptiline, which isn't even beginning to mask the pain. My doctor mentioned Morphine, has anyone else tried this? I am awaiting an appointment with my nuerosurgeon regarding my MRI results. My GP is concerned about my pain being bi-laterral (changes from one leg to another on a daily basis) Fortunately, I have a partner who has had back pain years ago so knows what I am going through. He helps me change, get in and out the shower/bath, onto the loo, sitting/laying down etc. I am only 23 and feel ancient. I used to be very sociable and outgoing, now I feel deflated and useless. I use a walking stick to aid me when walking, which is a blow to the ego. I find the more I walk, the pain increases. Anyone have any advice? I tried Bowen therapy and accupuncture, both have not helped me. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Sympathy to you all.

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anniemac16 said on 16 March 2011

i've had the pain bout 6 weeks this time although the pain never really went away from its last visit, last time it was for 2 n half yrs with very little help from my gp. i was sent to physio but it was makin it worse much worse and the physio told me not to be silly n get on wiv it, i missed 1 apt coz of snow and never got aother apt to go back, this time i seem to be gettin a bit of help well at least i'm not just hving tramodols dished out and being sent home. i've already lost 1 job because of this, dont want to loose another. the worst part is i just bought and insured a car for me to learn to drive and havent driven for about 2 wks. i am not just going to put up with the pain this time i will be demanding things get sorted this time.

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mckeown55 said on 16 March 2011

rosedraws

I get DLA High Rate Mobility for severe Sciatica - it appears to be a very hit and miss as to whether you get it or not as I know a couple of other sufferers who get absolutely nothing - it has been a blessing to me as the Doctor advised me to no longer drive normal gear car but to drive only automatic - I had to tell Licence Authority who got me to do a Driving Assessment with a local Disability organisation - it transpires I am now only allowed to drive Automatic cars with Hand Controls due to spasms in right leg. - so a Motability car was a God-send under the circumstances
All I can suggest is send in the completed forms anyhow

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rosedraws said on 14 March 2011

Also - I've read people writing comments on here about symptoms with numbness on their inner thighs -

"Sciatica generally gets better; the only situation, in which it is considered an emergency, is when there is numbness between the legs or difficulty with bladder or bowel control."

This quote is taken from a website my orthopedic gave me. Get medical attention as soon as you can!

Also would like to know - has anyone gone down the route of Disability Living Allowance from suffering from this long term sciatica? I haven't been able to walk normally for 4 months now, as well as stand long enough to cook, walk to the local shop most days and difficulties dressing/washing myself. I feel like a 90 year old! Because of this I'm currently filing out a claim (suggested by citizens advice bureau) but have no idea if they will accept sciatica as an illness ?

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rosedraws said on 14 March 2011

I can definitely relate to anonymous91. I'm 22 years young and suffering from what appears from my symptoms to be sciatica. Apparently I'm in the 10% of people that have had it longer than 5 weeks (how special do I feel). In total I think I've had it for a year and a half, but the most serious of symptoms brought on last November. I was without a GP until a week after new years so getting anywhere help-wise has been very slow. I've visited my GP every week for new medication, all painkillers taking little effect (and a huge expense, as my health problem has made me unemployed). I've had blood tests and an x ray, all come back as normal. I've been referred to an NHS physio (which I'm still on the list for, 8 weeks later). In frustration from the slow progress I booked myself in for private physio at a local clinic. The physioist examined me and told me one of my dics is buldging and pressing on a nerve and also that my back is completely straight, with no curve at the bottom - has anyone else been told this? Anywho, he did something amazing and sent a letter to my GP, strongly suggesting an MRI scan. This definitely put the wheels in motion and she made an appointment for me to see an orthopedic at a private hospital, but on NHS - with an MRI soon after. The consultation was fab - the doc examined me thoroughly, told me what he thinks I have (yep, sciatica) and gave me this amazing website:

http://www.eurospine.org/p31000225.html

He told me to look on there, get my research on the treatments they do and write down questions to ask at my next appointment after the MRI, to help me pick which treatment I would prefer. I'm thinking epidural but haven't heard many opinions on it - anyone had it for treatment?

With NHS cuts it's pretty hard to get to the MRI stage - it costs NHS £800 for the scan and they even pay doctors not to refer its patients to physio, orthopedics, etc. You really need to prove its not just going to go away in 4 weeks.

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Outdoorslover said on 09 March 2011

Thank you for all the comments people have added to try help each other.

I haven't read all of them but I am at the moment crippled with Sciatica. It is very acute this time. I have had loads of chances and not taken heed. To all you young ones you must, must perform strengtheing exercises now to last you your life, don't give up when you feel better.It is an effort but if you are having problems now it will stop you enjoying life when yoiu get older.

Yoga has some great back exercises which can be done everyday, don't leave it too late.

One thing I cannot see anyone has written about is a Boots 'Tens machine. You can pick them up on ebay and just buy new pads. I have been prescrible co-codamol 30 mg, Diclofenic 50mg, diazapam.............nothing will touch my pain. The Tens mahine is my life saver. I put it on highest setting (after years of building up to it) and it is uncomfortable but does stop the pain. Some people love them some hate them but it has helped my back probelms time and time again. it is totally safe.

I cannot put any weight on my leg it jst buckels under me. The scaitc oain is below by knee. It is agony.

I have treid everything and have the bank balance to prove it. Chiropractors, Osteopath, Private physio.....the only way forward is to stick to an exercise programme which is vertaully impossible I know!!

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auntyl said on 03 March 2011

It does help to read others experiences and am grateful for any tips. lve had lower back pain for many years, following csection-sterilisation, later diagnosed with i.c. Several month ago started with pain in right buttock down right leg thigh, knee, calf, foot, at worst limping and struggling to walk for short spells, saw gp suggested sciatica, but generally was suprised at the blase response to such severe debilitating pain, he said it would go in time, an mri scan degeneration of spine, a physio showed me an exercise to try help, it did settle after a few month, weeks later came back, suprising the difference in pain, sore tender heat, aching, numbness, prickly, serious stabbing pain, often worse at night in bed, meaning restless with less sleep, bed wreck, sleep in then the tiredness and down feeling through it. Guess l,m lucky l can at least walk, but it does curtail and affects motivation,
also seems to aggrevate my ic meaning frequency,
so nights a disaster, but do take low dose amitrip, nerve end calmer, helps with sleep, then just usual paracetamol, ibup day time. After reading letters see many of same sypmtoms,some a bit different, sorry for younger people with it, l am older but feel its still aged me more. Will try the pillow support tonight,
and one or two others meds reccomended and see how it goes. good luck to all.
though sometimes the leg gives way briefly,

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donna church said on 05 February 2011

hi
I'm 24 and have been suffering with severe back pain since december 2008 when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter it was so bad that I had to get on all fours just to get of the sofa and then crawl on my hands and knees to the bathroom. It calmed down for a while after the birth but then when I got pregnant with my other daughter it started again almost straight away. She's 5 weeks old now and I'm still in pain.
It shoots down through my bum and then down my leg but always on my right side.
The doctor won't give me anything other than co-codamol but they don't really do much anymore.
Has anyone got any advice, I'm desperate cos its starting 2 affect my daughter cos I can't pick her up or even run around with her in the garden.

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ailec said on 28 October 2010

To frosteemaria
Thank you for the link to the spine health website, it has so put my mind at rest. I have seen 5 different doctors and only one of them suggested as an afterthought that maybe it could be sciatica, a doctor that i had to pay for privately. as my gp's were nothing better than useless. One of the gp's at my surgery actually shrugged his shoulders and said he couldn't help me!!!!! Unbelievable! another one said it was a mystery! what is it exactly that they get paid for?????
At least now i feel i have an explanation and having checked out that website it is all making sense now. I never had the pain in my inner thighs until about a year ago, so i thouight it was something totally unrelated to sciatica.
So, thanks again, very much appreciated.

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Anne 51 said on 17 October 2010

I am currently using the Alexander Technique to treat sciatica with some success. Definitely worth a try, Here is a link.
http://www.alexandertechnique.org.uk/sciatica.htm

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Har01 said on 02 October 2010

jdarr9 -- have a look at the site from the link I left (http://saveyourself.ca/articles/sciatica.php). There's lots of information there. :)

Also have a go at these exercises: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r39igD7Tj8A&p=D1E23EF44969F163&index=2&playnext=2

Good luck.

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jdarr9 said on 01 October 2010

I'm 15 now but since the age of 9 I've been obsessed with playing Cricket and sometimes football. Since about 10/11 till now i've played cricket pretty much as much as i probably could have, casually with my friends and for a team as well.At about 11 i started playing for a club and this season i started played adults (3rd team and 2nd team).
At the age of 13, I started to get non-frequent sciatic pain only in my back, causing me to miss the end of my 3rd season in cricket. and i got refered to get my back checked out who refered me to a physio which was finished after just one physio session.

As the pains were so infrequent, they completely stopped by my 14th birthday and i had a perfectly pain-free season last year. However this year since the last couple month of the season (last month), I've been getting moderate to severe sciatic almost every night and most mornings and unfortunately at school during the day. My knee feels weakened and sometimes gives way, and i find myself pulling the muscles behind both my knees in the night, sometimes even causing a locked knee. The pain peaks at about 9pm - 1am and i have noticed my posture getting worse and worse every day, with a very hunched look very evident. Two weeks ago I went back to my GP and told her the bad news about the reoccurance and she referred me again.

I have quit cricket temporarily/permanently today
:(

please help me , i'm only 15 my parents think i'm too young for all of this my gcse exams are in may!

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Har01 said on 16 September 2010

Hello pain friends

First see this!!!

http://saveyourself.ca/articles/shorts/2008-06-11-sciatica-surgery-barely-worthwhile.php

Then: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/shorts/2008-06-11-sciatica-surgery-barely-worthwhile.php

Also try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r39igD7Tj8A&p=D1E23EF44969F163&index=2&playnext=2

Good luck!

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Den08 said on 12 September 2010

Help! I was involved in an RTA, over the course of two months my mobility seriously declined through a combination of severe pins and needles in both hands and upper arms (60/40 right Vs left) to a lower back pain that brings me close to tears at its worse, crushing sensation, numbness, sharp pains shooting from groin area into legs and general back ache all over. Sitting, standing or lying changes nothing. The NHS said a Thoracic Annular Tear, a medical examiner for my insurance agreed saying TWO then wrote sciatica in his report, now the third party Physio want to focus on the minor upper body issues (neck and arms) and say there could be a Lesion to a disc causing referred pain. I am waiting for a referral from my solicitor (claim report) and my Dr for a treatment decision. I have to get back to work, will this amke things worse as I have to sit (driving) for 4 to 5 hours at a time???

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KevShiatsu said on 12 September 2010

I am a Shiatsu practitioner and have found this form of therapy to be very affective in dealing with sciatica and its symptoms.
I have treated my mother who had suffered with sciatica and lower back pain since my birth, so the least i could do was give her treatments for it!!

Through a series of 3-4 treatments Shiatsu relieved her from sciatica and her love for yoga has prevented it from re-occurring.

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NannyDeb said on 10 September 2010

I have suffered with Sciatica since 2001. In the beginning it was manageable. It gradually got worse with each episode causing crippling pain to the extent that I can not walk. If I am standing when the pain starts I cannot sit, and vice versa (well I can but not without excruciating pain). In January 2008 I paid £2,000 to have MRI scans and the nerve root block injection in the hope that it would give me the 18 months I had been promised of no pain. The injection was painless and for 6 months life was wonderful, pain free! Then the sciatica reared it's ugly head again, only this time it was worse than it had ever been. I went back to the Consultant who I had seen privately (as the NHS were only giving me pain killers) and he told me it would settle. It didn't. I do not have sciatica everyday but at least 2 days out of every week are lost to sciatic pain. I have had physio with no positive outcome. I have seen a chiropractor once a week over 6 months again with no positive outcome. I am 43 years old and feel that I am too young to have to 'put up' with this or to take pain killers for the rest of my life. The Dr won't refer me for surgery as his opinion is that it is not bad enough, well it is not his life that is affected by it - it's mine. I could pay privately for surgery at a cost of around £10,000 but why should I? Dr's need to realise that this is a crippling, debilitating condition and we need help!! I have an appointment with my dr this afternoon, at present I can barely move without pain but I have to somehow get into the car and get to the surgery as I am not urgent enough for a home visit!! I can't wait to see their faces when I struggle to get into the surgery, maybe then they will listen.

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frosteemaria said on 03 September 2010

I have had sciatic pain for over a year following a car accident. I have also had an MRI scan where I was told there was nothing wrong. (So I must be imagining this pain, then and staying awake at night on purpose?) I am sick of taking painkillers, they hardly work now and that is only treating the symptoms not the cause.
@ailec said on 26 May 2010
Watch this video - very useful and might give you an explanation of the pain you are suffering.
http://www.spine-health.com/video/sciatica-interactive-video

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julie56 said on 21 August 2010

I have been suffering sciatica to a greater or lesser degree since Oct.'09. Was doing ok until I had a heart attack March'10, the enforced inactivity for 4 weeks wreaked havoc with my sciatic nerve, numb left calf & tingling foot.As part of my cardiac rehab I have been visiting a person who, amongst other complimentary techniques,practices Kinesiology as result of which they identified me as having problems with my left piriformis muscle. They sorted out my meridians without touching me & I left 40 mins later in a physically MUCH better state. I then went on later to see my physio & I advised them of what the other person had done. My physio proceeded to deal with what they called the "structural" aspect of my state. Well, after an initial bout of slight stiffness this morning, I am in a better state than I have been since last Oct. Still slightly numb & tingly but SO much more mobile! Physio's not done with me yet & I can tell it's not completely sorted, got to go back at least twice more. I don't understand what they did & physio said the treatment would hurt & it was almost as bad as giving birth but worth it. The nerve is meant to go either in front/ behind the piriformis muscle but for some people the nerve goes THROUGH the muscle - something that occurs at conception. It is costing me £35 a visit but when I spoke to my GP they said that physio on the NHS is not much cop - not being nasty about the service - the care I experienced in the coronary care unit earlier this year was second to none - it's not their fault, just the system. PIRIFORMIS, PIRIFORMIS, PIRIFORMIS - all I can say is if you're in pain, it's something to enquire about!

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pinklove said on 13 August 2010

Hi all im not sure if i have sciatica or not i have had pain for 8 months now its mainly on the left and in my abdomin left side ,down my leg .im ok ish if i keep moving but if i stand still for a few mins its feels like tremendous cramping pain ,but once i get going again it eases ,also if i sit for a few mins it agony to get up and go again and if i lie down in bed i cant sleep on my left side without my hubby having to turn me over cos the pain to move is so bad .its agony getting up in the morning and walking to the bathroom i feel like an old person its awful.i wont go to the doctor cos they will probebly say loose weight that will sort it .i have lost 3 stone in 3 years and still have 3 stone to go so i feel slightly lost as what i can do.it gets me down at times im normally a very possative person but this is no joke.

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keri80ann said on 12 August 2010

Hi everyone, Ive never been on here before but after reading some of your comments I felt compelled to join and tell you about my experience. I first developed sciatica when I was 20 following a rough game of water polo, and like many of you was bed ridden for about a month, in tears when I was trying to take just a few steps to the bathroom. I was in my 2nd year at uni, and had to come home early and the doctor said it was unlikely that I'd be able to do my exams. I was offered physio by the doctors which did nothing and was scanned for a slipped disk which was clear. I was taking a huge amount of pain killers each day which I was obviously concerned about. My mum has always suffered from a bad back, and has seen a McTimmoney chiropractor in the past (this is a gentle form of chiropractor, as I believe some can be a bit rougher), and so she booked me in for a session. The chiropractor did some tests on me and said that I had a tilted pelvis, and then gave me half an hours worth of treatment. At times it was a little uncomfortable, but not too bad, and although I ached even more for the next day, it felt a little better after that. I then had a further 4 treatments, and after each treatment it got better and better and I returned to uni. Although the treatment isn't cheap - It was about £35 a session a few years ago, it is brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone who is suffering. It is not available on the NHS because it is regarded as 'alternative medicine' but it was far more effective than any of the drugs or physio I was offered by my doctor. I am now 30, and have not had any significant problems since, although it has started to hurt over the last week, so I have made an appointment for next week. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with sciatica as it really did do wonders for me.

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Dannymagic said on 01 August 2010

omg...i thought i was going mad. i am so relieved i am not alone. i have suffered for 7 months now. Doctors were of no use. tubes of heat rub. I am getting slight relief but i am concerned about the amount of painkillers im taking, but the doctors arent. My L4 &L5 are gone completely. Not sure if it was the heavy lifting i did as a care assistant, or the accident when a patient collapsed and i without thinking caught them. I am Due for the steroid injection in 10 days time but have not heard any good news about it. I am desperate for some sleep as i do not get more than 2 hours at a time once or twice a day. i cannot believe some of you have had it for years......:0(

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anonymous91 said on 13 July 2010

Hi,
I know the feeling Sparklefrog, I have had chronic sciatica for nearly 10 months now and can no longer stand up straight, straighten out my right leg, walk properly, stand or sit for more than a few minutes at a time or get up without help, and I'm only 19. I've had to leave work and have tried a variety of different painkillers, nearly all of which were completely ineffective, I now have to take Tramadol which anybody who has ever taken it will know has quite unpleasant side effects, just so that the pain is eased enough so that I can get some sleep.

I was initially left in pain for months when a doctor told me I had probably 'strained a muscle' and it was only after several persistent trips to my doctor's surgery that I was finally taken seriously. I was sent to a Physio who told me that it was too severe for her to treat and was bounced back to my GP, who referred me for an MRI, which diagnosed me not only with a herniated disc in the bottom of my spine but also Degenerative Disc Disease. I'm also from an Island and was terrified that I'd be in this unbearable pain for a long time before I was seen by anybody as the neurosurgeon I was being referred to only comes once a month. 'Luckily' as my case is so unusual given the sate of my spine and my age, the hospital only had to show him my file before he contacted me and recommended surgery, and recently I was given a surgery date for next month. I'm hoping it goes well and I will be able to start getting back to normal. I really hope that everybody suffering with Sciatica receives treatment that helps them and that everybody recovers soon, I know only too well how helpless it can make you feel!

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SunMan1 said on 17 June 2010

I have been suffering from sciatica for 6 months. I had physio and the pain went away 3 months ago. I stopped physio after that thinking the problem has gone away. The pain came back last week. Muscles spasms, not able to walk much etc. Diazipam helps but I can't keep taking medication for ever.

Has the steroid injection worked for anyone long term. thinking about getting this done but worried it is only a short term solution!

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Emms99 said on 28 May 2010

That sounds awful sparklefrog I feel terrible for you. I am just recovering from an acute episode and had a spinal injection (with steroids) last Monday which seems to be doing the trick. My brother suffered crippling pain for 18 months until he finally had an operation last October and is now recovering well. The best advice seems to be see a neurosurgeon not an orthopedic one. Don't go for physio, chiropractor or osteopathy until you have had an MRI scan to determine what is actually wrong as they can do much more damage than good as evidenced by my brothers 18 months of suffering which included intervention from all 3 essentially making the problem worse. The advice he gave me was don't sit for more than 15 mins at a time and ideally not at all and keep mobile going for short walks even if just around the house. I found when i had the pain you are describing when I walked it was very painful but it did get easier as I continued to move. Be careful of lying on the floor I thought it would be good to release the pressure on my back but got stuck and needed help to get up, I was lucky someone was there.
An excellent website for information is:
http://www.chirogeek.com/000_Sciatica_General_Infor.htm
Hope this helps!
Good luck with your recovery!

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sparklefrog said on 27 May 2010

Hi everyone. I am new to this site but have found reading your posts interesting and helpful.

I am currently incapacitated by an acute episode of sciatica. I've been signed off work last 5 weeks. I'm on a range of medication to protect my stomach.

Even with the above cocktail of painkillers, I cannot walk further than the bathroom (around 7 steps) without being in agony and 3 minutes in the shower leaves me in intolerable pain and tears.

I have been referred to Orthopaedic surgeon but as I live on an island and have to wait til he/she next comes up and long waiting list, I could be in for a significant wait.

I feel very anxious about being stuck for months basically immobile waiting for this to improve.

Never experienced pain like this and worried how long this is going to take to get better. I am a teacher and am anxious about having to take so much time off .
While my Doctor has been helpful in providing me with pain relief, I do feel rather isolated and left to get on with it.

I am seeing physio who got me crutches which she tried to get me to walk with but too sore.

When she assessed me she said right achilled reflexis gone and right calf not responsive.

Is there anyone who has had similar symtoms/does it sound like I'll need surgery?

Am tempted to go private for an MRI - has anyone done this also?

Any advice or experience of sciatia would be welcome as despite friends and family being sympathetic, unless you;ve had it I don't think you can appreciate how excruciating and debilitating it is.

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ailec said on 26 May 2010

Hello all,
I have suffered from sciatica for around 27 years, i take amitriptyline for the pain and it does help me, also it enables me to sleep. I have been having pain in my inner thighs for maybe a year now, my doc has suggested varicose veins so far, doesn't appear to be that at all, now i am told by a different doctor that it could be due to sciatica as apparently the sciatic nerve branches off towards the front of the thigh. I am wondering if anyone else has this kind of pain and been told it is due to sciatica. I haven't heard of having sciatica in that area of the leg. Also my skin can feel very sore to the touch, but not all the time, or maybe i am just used to it feeling like that, who knows.
I would be interested in any comments from anyone who has been told they have sciatica in their inner thigs.

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christinacortina said on 22 May 2010

not sure whether i have sciatica i am experiencing severe pain in my left knee similar to arthritis it goes up my leg up my buttock and lower back most painful when sitting and resting also wakes me from sleeping the pain is that bad sometimes i am reduced to tears especially when trying to get to sleep do the symptoms i have sound like sciatica had it for obout a month with no letup

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helenlegs11 said on 17 May 2010

YVONITSA, I am so pleased I saw your post, but more than pleased that my post has helped you.
I really want to wave a piriformis syndrome placard, as I think it is disgraceful that this clinical diagnosis is not even mentioned on this NHS site or indeed recognised by neurosurgeons who diagnose sciatica.I would have though it should be on their list of possible causes? ? If I was totally unaware of a small but crucial piece of information in my job, it would incur huge extra costs! and I would feel dreadfully responsible.
But then, that isn't a problem as I am unable to work anymore! I was paid a fair bit less than a neurosurgeon would comand, but in this country they seem to simply be ignoring piriformis syndrome as a cause of sciatica. It is a complete disgrace, although I suppose unlike in my ex-employment where cost implications were involved, at least in a neurosureons case it is only someone elses pain and suffering that is affected.

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fortyfab said on 11 May 2010

After reading everyones comments, I no longer feel alone as a sciatica sufferer. I have never ever met or read about others who suffer as badly as I do. Until now! I was only 18 when I was struck down and here I am 19 years later - STILL suffering. I had sciatica 24/7 for at least 10 years. I now know that overcompensating for the pain probably caused much of it as well. Professionals weren't as educated back then as they are now and I spent thousands of pounds on alternative treatments to find a 'cure' but to no avail. The Alexander Technique broke the cycle of pain to start then I began pilates followed by yoga. My chronic attacks subsided. Last year was a relatively painfree year but only last week I had a chronic attack. As many of you have said, the pain is unbearable. I can no longer tolerate it and it gets me unbelievably down. I am on anti depressants. Sciatica has, to a certain extent, ruined my life: my career for one. I used to be extremely sporty but had to give it all up. I daren't try to do too much exercise in case it flares up. When I don't get sciatica, I get other pains - nerve pain in either of my thighs, severe muscle spasm in my buttocks, pain in my hips. I'm almost always in some kind of pain. I can't tolerate high dose painkillers as they upset my stomach. My thoracic spine is stiff therefore I also suffer pain around my shoulder blades daily of different intensity. I don't know how much more I can take as I have suffered pain for more than half of my life. Mr dr only prescribed painkillers last week and a physio referral. I've had an MRI about 5 years ago and it showed minimal/normal bulging of discs. I have no idea if I have 'real' or 'false' sciatic as this cannot be proven. As far as the NHS are concerned, I am a normal healthy adult yet I suffer such chronic pain. I hope to regain my muscle memory back with physio and better flexibility in my thoracic spine. I constantly fight with my posture. I'm a mess!!!!

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lotusflower said on 11 May 2010

Hi All,
I am new to this site and have been reading a lot of your letters and found some useful tips thanks.
I have had right sided sciatica for 5yrs now and it was caused by a herniated disc.
I have had a LS1 LS5 Decompression lamineotomy in 2008 and it did help for about 6 months then I fell over.
I am back to square one again and have become worse since this. I have poor mobility now and find walking near impossible without pain and I am on Dihydro-codeine and Diazepam.
My physio therapist seems to have given up on me as all she trys just leaves me in pain.I wondered if I would benefit from a walking aid as I noticed that josie64 you have crutches where did you get them from ?
I lost my job with the NHS because ai could not walk about all day and bend and sit for too long.
So now I am stuck at home bored silly wondering what to do with my time its so depressing and sometimes I wonder why I bother to get up at all, but then if I do not it just causes more pain.
Has anyone heard of this rehabilitation for spine and back and what its all about? as I have just seen a new consultant and he says that I have got into a state does anyone have any idea what he is on about ? as he would not explain himself and said he would write to the appropriate DR who Knows ?
strength to all of you J

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yvonitsa said on 23 April 2010

Thanks to 'helenlegs11', I googled 'piriformis syndrome' and, after executing a couple of exercises whilst sitting at my computer watching a few minutes of video posted on YouTube by a fellow sufferer, the debilitating pain and nausea I had been suffering for over a week just disappeared! I was prepared for my normal 4-6 week period of pain before watching this video (see link below) and doing the simple exercises. So, do go to the YouTube site and see for yourself.

Good luck everyone. I wish you all a pain-free time ahead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFtUgS69rPk

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helenlegs11 said on 06 April 2010

Everyone who has sciatica, especially if the diagnosis is not specified, i.e. no evidence of prolapsed disc etc. should look into piriformis muscle syndrome.
The piriformis muscle is situated deep in the buttock but more importantly, it has a close association with the sciatic nerve. If the muscle is spasmed, due to trauma ot overuse, it can compress the sciatic nerve causing all the symptoms of sciatica and more.
If you are one of those people, like me, who has been 'written off' by doctors who diagnose 'degenerative disc disease' because they can see no obvious spinal cause of sciatica, google piriformis syndrome. You won't find a thing about it on NHS sites, although it is well recognised by physiotherapists and osteopaths. Hopefully the NHS will catch up soon? ?

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barb1607 said on 30 March 2010

For over three weeks now I hve been in alot of pain they did diagonise a kidney stone which I passed and thought the pain would go away but it hasn't now they say I havve sciaticia ...How much longer will I get this pain...the pain killers do not work they take the edge of it thats all...I do not know how much more pain I can take and reading on here that it probably will never go away I am feeling so low.

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net100 said on 26 March 2010

I had a lamincectomy for a prolapsed L5/S1 DISC back in 1991 at the age of 21. over the next 10 years i still had chonic sypmtoms,but my GP did not reffer me back to a spinal consultant,in 2002 i finally got refferd back to a spinal consultant, and a MIR showed a small right sided prolaspes at the same level. I had suffered this undiagnosed for 10 years which damaged my L4/L5 discs and I am now disabled.

PLEASE PLEASE if you are not happy with what your GP is saying about your sypmtoms demand a second opinion. demand you see a spinal consultant if your sypmtoms keep returning. do not put up with this GP lottery that we are in today.
take the contral back,its your health...
good luck

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DLH said on 07 March 2010

5 years ago aged 38 i had 2 periods of immobility, the pain was unbearable and no pain relief seemed to help, i saw a private consultant and had an MRI scan, i had 2 prolapsed discs one which was causing serious damage to the sciatic nerve. I had a discectomy 2 weeks later, went in hospital walking with a stick, left hospital 5 days later. 2 months slow recovery but back to work then. No further problems until about 8 weeks ago when i fell on the ice. Had a lot of bruising to my hip but didnt think anymore of it until 2 weeks later and when getting out of bed i fell to the floor in excruciating pain, was unable to stand for 4 days then only long enough to have a quick shower befor the pain in all of my left leg started, but no back pain. 4 weeks on and i am only taking paracetamol but do have lower back pain and intermittent sciatic pain, have to constantly be aware of how i sit, and move, have to bend really slowly,can not sit for more than a few minutes and awake regularly to move.I am considerring paying for a second MRI to see what the problem is. I think i was very lucky to manage 5 years without re occurring problems. I understand what others have said about how down and useless you feel. I can do very little around the house cant manage the supermarket. I was very active before and now feel i may even have to reconsider my career.I have not yet tried physio or accupuncture but am thinking of these options.

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KellyDawn88 said on 26 February 2010

Hi! I too am a chronic sufferer of sciatica, and have been for the last 14 months, since my 20th birthday. I have spells of severe and unbearable pain - 3 so far. One when I prolapsed a disc last January and that lasted about 2 months, one from about June to September and my ongoing pain that flared up around the end of October. I have had physiotherapy that hasn't helped me so far, but have sometimes found a good slow walk each day can help (although recently walking has started to become a painful task). Walking with a permanent limp at my age doesn't really appeal.

I don't do any heavy lifting at all, my prolapsed disc was caused from repetitive strain from my work (I am a seamstress who works a lot leaning at sewing machines or tables, mannequins etc...) and I am scared at the thought of having the pain of a 90 year old at the age of 21.

I have felt myself falling quickly down an emotional slippery slope especially when I am at the point of little (1 or 2 hours) or no sleep a night. The emotional strain can be very draining and gives me incredible lows. I have often found the pain worse at night because there are no comfortable positions. The shooting pains are excruciating. My boyfriend is very patient and understanding but I worry that I am keeping him awake at night with my sometimes constant shifting.

Although it frightens me, surgery is something I would really consider if it was a potential answer. The father of a friend of mine had surgery for Sciatica last summer, and from what I understand, has made an almost full recovery already.

Does anyone know of any potential permanent risks the operation may have, like the risk of becoming paralyzed or any worse pain that may arise? Also, has anyone had effective surgery, and if so how long was your recovery period?

Yours painfully,
Kelly!

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josie64 said on 22 February 2010

Hi everyone!
I am a sciatica sufferer 2 and have had the condition for 16 years and I still don’t have a cure and my pain not full undercontrol,I have what I call flare ups,at the moment its awful I have nerve pain down both legs, muscle spasms and increase stiffness that effects my ability to walk .I have been for so many test/operations/injections/seen different health professions !
I have conditions called Anker losing spondylitis and spinal tears, but they say that it ist not the main cause for the sciatica?! I get so desperate at times and feel that no one understands and it effects my whole life,I am only 29 and feel 80!
Im currently waiting to go to a specialist back clinic, visiting the gp for stronger pain relief and now giving in to my pride and applying for a disability car pass.
My tips are!
-sleep with a pillow underneath your knees when on back or side,takes a lot of pressure off your spine
-don’t apply heat as if your nerve is hurting is inflamed,you need cold every hour for 15 min
-get the right balance of rest and walking (if you can)
-Get a walking aid! I use crutches if I can walk as supports me more and reduces the risk of falls

ps- alice springs that doesn’t sound like a typical symptoms

J

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alicesprings said on 07 February 2010

Hi, I'm new to this site. regarding sciatica, the low back pain's subsided a bit (or at least now I know how to stand/sit to lessen it!) but I'm left with a kind of stinging sensation on the inner thigh which I can't avoid because it's just always there, stinging away. Tights/trousers make it feel as though they're rubbing and it feels like the skin will be red raw, but there's no outward sign of the stinging. Any ideas how to help alleviate this? Is this part of sciatica, or something else? Thanks.


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squirley said on 01 February 2010

I have been suffering from back pain and sciatica predominantly in my right leg since July 07. In July 08 i had surgery for spinal decompression which did not alleviate the pain and so in Dec 09 i had a spinal fusion L4/L5 involving metal cage and screws.
5 days after surgery i started to have an unberable pain in my left leg and foot which follows the sciatic nerve and is causing severe pain, weakness, numbness and burning. This is in addition to the extremely painful back pain following my recent surgey.
My consultant thionks its a rare condition where he thinks a piece of the bone fragment from the fusion site has dropped and is pressing on the nerve. I am booked in for a CT scan next week but wondered if anyone has had the same experience and/or can give me some more details.
Many Thanks

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papa_freak said on 26 January 2010

I've put up with pain running down my left leg since August. It gradually became excruciating so I finally went to the Dr.'s in November. Who told me I have Sciatica and has referred me to the back specialist clinic at the hospital. Its a 16 week waiting list. I've been off work on the sick for 2 months now and still nothing.
I take Dihydrocodeine, Diclofenac and Paracetamol. This combination has taken the edge off the pain. I can now at least have a shower and go to the toilet without being in agony.
I have tried 2 other alternative therapies, of which I had to pay for.
Firstly, The Bowen technique, I know a few people who swears by this but it did not do anything for me. If you don't notice any difference after 3 sessions then you should know if its for you or not.
Secondly I tried Acupuncture. Again I know a few people who swears by this too. After my first session it totally wiped out all pain. I was amazed. This turned out unfortunately to be short lived. However I had no pain for a few hours. I stopped going after the second session didn't really do anything.
This does not mean these therapies won't work for you though. Anything to take the pain away is worth a try.
I can totally emphasis with anyone having this debilitating condition.
Its real sh1t.
Hang on in there and good luck to you all....

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Ang3l said on 17 January 2010

Hi all I too suffer with terrible chronic sciatica amongst other things. The only help given by the NHS is pain medication (MST - Morphine Sulphate Tablets, and Amitryptyline) the reason for my sciatica is due congenital kyphosis and lower flat back due to another congenital spinal abnormality - (failure of segmentation of the Lumbosacral junction L5-S1) which in laymans terms means that my pelvis is tilted backwards, so whenever sitting I'm sitting on the sciatic nerve, the only relief comes from trying to force my pelvis to tilt forwards,when standing and too stretch my hamstrings as much as humanly possible, but this is very short term, as soon as the muscles are relaxed the pelvis returns to its orignal position and the sciatic nerve is pinched again. The NHS know all this from MRI's and X-rays done after an accident fractured my spine, but instead of treating the cause at a short term high cost, they choose to treat the symptoms (poorly) at a much higher long term cost, thats the problem with the NHS they look to minimise their year to year costs to look good on their financial year end reports, but in the long term the cost is increasingly leading to crippling the NHS, it's not even the Dr's at fault, they are forced into this by beauracratic mid-level managers who only care about the money they can save in the short term, I'm sure that Dr's, Nurses, consultants are frustrated as well by all this. But I guess all we can do as patients is take whatever limited help they try to provide, what a shameful situation. I honestly think that it would be better if we had a private health system like the US, it's not free granted, and medical insurance is a must, but in essence we already pay medical insurance in the form of National Insurance contributions, and look at the service it gets us....!! In the meantime my symapthy go's out to anyone who is sueffering from this condition, and if anyone has any suggestions on ways to help, PLEASE post details here.

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materialgirl said on 11 January 2010

I suffer from sciatica - have done for a few years and it is getting worse. Some days I can barely move. I now have the flu and the pain is out of this world unbearable. Sometimes I think that cutting my leg off would be less painful.
I've been to an osteopath who was useless - I've had physio which only causes temporary relief. The doctor gave me anti-inflammatory which does not help and another drug which takes the edge off.
When I go to doctors I get made to feel that it's just something I have to get one with. But it's not funny anymore - I really need to get it sorted out once and for all. I've never even been sent to hospital for more investigative procedures like MRI - perhaps I should insist on it.

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guitarman said on 05 January 2010

id just like to add pregablin starts at low dosesages if it dont work on lower dosages go up to 150mg another thing try useing ralgex cold spray and massageing the leg it stimulates the nerve i have been dealing with my wifes pain 4 years with bone cancer and nerve pain try these things i suggested and let me now if they work another thing try useing hot water bottle on leg this might work on some people not all thank a warren consultant

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guitarman said on 05 January 2010

i suggest u ask your doctor for pregablin this is a drug used for nerve pain my wifes got cancer in her back witch causes a lot of nerve pain these tablets work well

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lazybeat said on 27 December 2009

Sciatica treatment is vastly varied depending on the level of damage. I found the NHS did not help me at all. They prescribed me pain killers and sent me home. Since I have had an MRI scan done and found the exact problem via BUPA. My Pain was so bad it was worse than the time when I had been stabbed when trying to stop a fight. The epidural is only 1 of many options in the private medical field. What I do recomend is when your epidural has been administered wait a few days and then exercise like mad. This way your body will not have as many problems in the future. Exercise and weight loss is a must. Look at some of the back exercises and arching the back as well.

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jannb said on 22 December 2009

i have just had a week in hosp, with sciatica. in so much pain, i was given oromorph, and diazapam, i had an mri scan. the orthopedic surgeon told me they can not help me,as i have had 2 previouse ops for ruptured disc and also an op to remove scar tissue. The orthopedic surgeon thinks that any more surgey is not an option. so do i live in so much pain, and high with the pain relief, all the time.i am in so much pain i cant walk, cant sit and litteraly dont know what position to put my self in.its so pain full i could scream. what are my altenatives.even with the medication i am not with out pain

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xmas09 said on 17 December 2009

i'm sorry to say this Jarileigh, but so far the treatment that i have received for my sciatica has been virtually none existant. Very slow progress and made to feel that I should just get on with it. i popped a disc last April and have been riddled with the most chronic sciatica since August. The pain almost brings me to tears. Sitting is the most difficult for me, so being in work and driving are absolute hell. I am due to see an orthopedic specialist soon, so hopefully they will point me in the right direction. until then I will continue to take copious amounts of painkillers/anti inflamatories and nerve pain tablets, all of which are very strong with unpleasant side effects. physio has made it worse and all the osteopath releived me of was £70!! good luck to anyone who suffers from this most debilitating agony which is so painfull its difficult to put into words.

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Jarileigh said on 17 December 2009

I am horrified to hear this. I am a athlete (former) who has had ultrasound, manipulation, etc and most of all the exercises made my situation so much worse and so much more painful! I am American and new to the UK, can anyone tell me if this is truly how the NHS views and treats sciatica? I am unable to walk without painkillers due to the intense pain, & the fact it has been getting progressively worse through the years. In the US, I was told in 2007 that only surgery would help, but my disc was too damaged to be partially cut on & needs to be completely removed surgically. I can no longer move my left leg without painkillers. I also can't believe they say the reason is unknown, mine is due to a epidural in 1990 that went horribly wrong and damaged my disc and/or nerve, then a auto accident in 2006 made it impossible for me to function afterward. PLEASE, can someone tell me what the NHS offers as treatment options for this condition? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!! Good luck to all you who suffer from this condition, may God be with you, and may you all receive relief from this condition!

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scienceshorts said on 06 December 2009

I too suffered from sciatica and was given ULTRASOUND TREATMENT. I am now pain free; please ask your doctor about this treatment and good fortune attend you.

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sal123 said on 05 August 2009

"In many cases of sciatica, there is no obvious cause. However, in some people, it is thought that a combination of muscle, joint and bone strain may lead to sciatica."

No, there are always causes but they are simply not recognised by national health service doctors. For example SI Joint disfunction seems only to be treated (successfully) privately with prolotherapy -- it wouldnt cost much for the nhs to provide this and save sufferers of this chronic painful condition a life of agony. SIJ disfunction and pelvic imbalance according to the nhs is simply classed as "sciatica" with "no obvious cause". Please, which century are we living in?!!!

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ollypocknell said on 03 August 2009

I'm with practicalmagic on the CBT as a treatment. What a load of old codswallop.... My pain is horrendous but I am about the most positive person I know, yet it still hurts like hell. I can't compare it to childbirth though, not until men can have babies but it is like a kick in the you know where's!!! Thinking about it ain't gonna make it better is it.

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practicalmagic said on 16 July 2009

What a load of rubbish !! im sorry but i WOULD NOT accept being offered cognitive behaviour therapy!
as a "treatment" to help my slipped disc & sciatica!!!
teaching you to try & ignore & manage your pain & have a more positive outlook!
its the body's natural response to send painwaves to the brain! its saying "fix me" deal with this problem!
when im in the grip of my sciatica , im in more agony than i was in childbirth!
will they be offering mind over matter therapy for that next!
ridiculious !

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