28 answers

Severe Sciatica...

Hello Everyone

I had sciatica when I was pregnant with my boys, and I have it now again, although I'm not pregnant. I am in such excruciating pain that I went to Urgent Care last Friday, where I was prescribed with Vicodin to keep the pain to a bearable level. It's affecting me so much that I can't keep up with the kids, the housework, etc. I go to the dr. today, but I'm obsessing over what could be causing this, and how I get rid of this horrendous pain as SOON as possible! It started out with my left side, and now my right side is bothering me too. The pain is brought on by bending, walking, etc. My lovely mother in law just HAD to comment that she gets sciatica from time to time, and that I need to "grow some balls and get used to it." My husband informed HER that I've been sobbing everyday for the last week because this pain is so bad :-(

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I saw my fam. dr yesterday, who put me on steroids in addition to the Vicoprofen. Also - PT exercises. I felt better for about 15 minutes after PT last night, then it was back. If the pain isn't gone by the time the steroids are gone, I have to get imaging done to see if there are spinal/disc issues...thank you SO much for your help and support!!!

Featured Answers

Perhaps trying talking to a yoga or pilates instructor. When I did yoga, I remember that I could reduce the stress on the nerve causing the pain.

You might try massage therapy, chiropractics and/or physical therapy, assuming other medical conditions are ruled out.

My heart goes out to you! I had sever sciatica with my last pregnancy, and it's extremely painful, as you know! If it's possible, I'd start seeing a chiropractor! I went to one for a few months and it helped me tremendously! I hope you find a way to feel better soon! Good luck.

More Answers

See a chiropractor or osteopath for treatment and to be evaluated. Massage therapy and acupressure therapy are important. Most muscular/skeletal pain can be relieved with a combination of massage/acupressure and chiropractic. Very rarely there could be something wrong that requires surgery--but that is very rare. And pain killers do NOTHING for the problem except cover it up--if they are giving you some relief then certainly use them until you can get some help with the cause. Also, Until you can get in to someone and for in appointments get 2 tennis balls put in a sock and lie down on them on excercise mat or bed (depending on what you can handle) put the balls where it hurts under your sacrum and roll onto your side for the hips--you will probably find several very tender spots. Your MIL needs to develop some compassion--just ignore her and get some help!When talking with someone who doesn't understand the debilitating effects of pain I will ask them if they have ever had a "charlie horse" most have had at some time--intense pain in the calf that can double you over! This is a muscle spasm--a muscle spasm in the back can hurt even more and that is what is causing most pain the back area. Many people are confused as to what kind of pain they actually have--sciatic pain is a specific kind of pain and what your MIL had and what you have could be soemthing entirely different. I have been a massage therapist for almost 30 yrs and Jin Shin Do Acupressurist for almost 25 and have helped hundreds of people with all kinds of pain--about half of the clients I have helped alone and about half have needed chiropractic or physical therapy in addition. In all those years I have had only 4 clients who finally decided to get surgery after I or anyone else was not able to help--1 older man needed a hip replacement, 1 woman needed neck and 2 needed back surgery--and 2 of those had been in severe accidents.So don't panic--but you don't have to live with pain! I am not sure where in Ohio you are--I am in Indiana but I have a sister in Tipp City and if you are anywhere in that area I could find out who she goes to --she has been to several of the Chiropractors and massage therapists in that area--loves some and did not like at all others! And I have had a few students from different areas in Ohio for acupressure. Email and I will see if I can help you find someone!

1 mom found this helpful

I would try chiropractic. I had the same problems during pregnancy and had regular adjustments to keep it tolerable until the baby was born. I cannot say enough about the benefits of having regular adjustments. Even my daughter goes! Her first adjustment was at 5 weeks old! That and icing the area would be my best suggestions.

It's a pinched nerve called the sciatic nerve. I went to the Dr. last April and my Dr. wanted to prescribe a pain killer to hide the pain. That doesn't help the problem. I knew that if I went to a massage therapist or a chiropractor they would be able to help. Well the only massage therapist that was on my list was an hour and a half from work or two hours from home. So, I opted for a chiropractor. It was the best thing I've done. In the first week I felt the pain ease up a bit, the second week it was still there but barely, the third week it was non existent till just before the next appt. I am now up to once a month and I barely feel a twinge a day or two before my appt. Exercise helps, work out your glutes daily even if it is just one exercise a day to begin with, when there is more muscle around those nerves it's less likely the bones can pinch the nerve.

Hope something here helps, take care.

-- K.

Go see a chiropractor, he /she can adjust you and relieve the pain in no time at all. Mine gets so bad with pain that it makes me throw up what ever is in my stomach. The vicodin will only lessen the pain but not take it away.You might try Advil between the vicodin it helps with inflamation.
Ignore your Mother in laws comments she has obviously never really had to suffer enough to understand your pain.I have a very high threshold for pain and when I resort to my Vicoden most folks would have already been to the ER and Zobied out on some kind of major nacarotic.Hang in there it will get better.

J.,

I know the pain is unbearable, i've been through it, and although the pain meds help a little, i've come to find that going to the chiropractor has helped alot!!!! it's not a quick fix and won't instantly be better, so you need to keep going back for adjustments, and you might have to try a couple different chiropractors until you can find one that does the best! Good luck!

I was also suffering from sciatica recently during my pregnancy. I mentioned it to my OB/GYN and they recommended a heating pad and Motrin. He said that Motrin occasionally during pregnancy is ok and as far as the heating pad goes, don't sleep all night on it. I used it for maybe 15 minutes at a time and within about two days I was feeling much better. Be sure to check with your OB to make sure he/she does not object to you doing any of the above.

I had it during preganancy and the doc sent me to pt. The exercises and ot help were a godsend. I especially like the massages I got as well. If your insurance covers pt as the doctor for some. It was well worth the $20 copay.

There is a chiropractor in Anderson named Jack Henderson. You might try him:

DR. JACK HENDRICKS
CLEARLY CHIROPRACTIC
1228 NORDICA LN.
CINCINNATI, OHIO 45255
PHONE: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####

I can't remember what type it is he uses, but it is very very gentle, nothing like you normally picture chiropractic. You might give them a call and ask what style he uses and research it online.

I personally like all of my bones to be repositioned when I go to the chiropractor. The person I use now, and all through my pregnancy is Jack Armstrong at Wholecare. http://www.wholecarechiropractic.com/ I think he is great!

You might also try acupuncture. The person I found locally is Mimi Tager, but I haven't gone in awhile. If you are interested in that, let me know and I can try and track her down for you.

Wishing you wellness. P:)

Hi J.
I had the same problem with my last pregnancy. Then afterwards every time I would start my period, the first 2 days, it would return. It was so unbearable that I could hardly walk. I was on my feet all day, with my job. I found Ultram took the pain away. Once I had a hysterectomy the pain has never returned. (I had a hysterectomy due to a prolapse uterus.) I only took this once a day as it would keep me up at night.That has been over 8yrs. I am no means telling you to have a hysterectomy but perhaps it is hormonal(?).
Many Blessings
D.

Hi J.,
Walking, resting (getting enough sleep), PT and massage therapy really helped me (plus getting my little one to walk more on his own!!). Take a break at a certain point at night....stop bending and twisting, and walk, walk, walk! I see you take care of lots of little ones during the day. Any way to take some time off from that or get some additional help for a couple of weeks until this flare-up subsides?
Try to get off the meds, they are only a band-aid and the pain may keep coming back unless you change the way you lift, stand and exercise (healthy habits start now, right!?).

Good luck and hang in there - and remember to ask for help - it's not weak, it's smart!
:)

Hi - I had sciatica once - I went to my MD and he said to take pain medication and make sure that when I was driving, to have the heel of my foot resting on the floor of the car, not up in the air - that was his advice!!

I ended up going to a Chiropractor, who adjusted the nerves that were affected, and it went away! I have found that they can work on many things that ail us without medication - just by working on the nerves and the spine - it's amazing. My suggestion is to visit one and see how it helps.

J.,
I also had this so severly I was sobbing just about every night!! I couldn't sleep, I couldn't even do anything during the day the pain was so bad! I eventually went to my doctor and she had me go for an MRI - the MRI showed two buldging disks and I was in surgery the next week. The surgery was simple, and I was fully recovered in two weeks. I have not had the pain ever since!! I would suggest bringing it up to your doctor and tell him/her that you just cannot take the pain anymore and pain killers are not an option with small children! Good Luck!

Dear J.,

Sciatica is a usually easily fixed problem but it takes a chiropractor who knows how to realign everything. I have a couple of really good ones in the Dayton area (Dr. Brandi Hickman ###-###-#### and Dr. Merkle ###-###-####) but if you are not local ask around and someone will rave about theirs. If possible you want someone who uses the "Activator" Method. It is much more scientific then the old pop your bones system, doesn't hurt and works very well.

BTW - Taking drugs and doing PT with out realigning everything is not smart. Imagine you car was in an accident and the door didn't close correctly. Would it make any sense to squirt oil on the bent hinge and slam the door open and closed? Of course not. First you have to have an expert realign everything. When it is properly aligned the problem will be fixed. Now a little PT may be required to get the muscles working properly but the pain should be gone.

God Bless,

S.

My heart goes out to you! I had sever sciatica with my last pregnancy, and it's extremely painful, as you know! If it's possible, I'd start seeing a chiropractor! I went to one for a few months and it helped me tremendously! I hope you find a way to feel better soon! Good luck.

You need to see a good chiropractor right way. narcotics are not the way to treat back problems. i suffered from sciatica and my dr has totally cured it. if you are in the dayton area, i can recommend a great chiropractor. his name is ryan shank. he has a couple of offices. my kids have even gone to him.

Have you been to a chiropractor? I guess that sciatica can be caused (or worsened) by your back being out of alignment. Basically, the nerve gets pinched by the vertebrae being out of line with one another and this causes a lot of pain. A Chiropractor treatment would be a big time investment. We're talking 3-5 days a week at the beginning and decreasing over time. The chiropractor has to re-train your muscles how to position themselves and it takes time and patience. A lot of chiropractors will do a free consultation to assess your situations and talk about treatment options. My sister is seeing a chiropractor in Columbus right now for neck pain and highly recommends this guy. I could get the information for you if you like.
Best of luck,
J. B

hi J.,

I am sorry that you are experienceing so much pain. I too, go through n immense amount of pain due to neck and back pain. I take 120 mg of AVINZA per day (time released) and Norco (similar to vicoden, but less tylenol). The Norco is neccessary because my issues cannot be corrected. So to take so much tylenol for very long is very damaging to the body.

About Avinza, it is great, because it feels similar to taking a tylenol, that it doesn't make me feel messed up or anything other than normal. Depending on your pain levels and reactions to medicine, it comes in increments of 30 mgs, (30, 60, 90, & 120), and it is also nice because you take it once and it does the most to nip the pain to a more tolerable level.

Good luck and God Bless!

A.

You might try massage therapy, chiropractics and/or physical therapy, assuming other medical conditions are ruled out.

One word:Chiropractor! I had sciatica since my first pregnancy and had it for years afterwards. I had to go several months to the chiropractor but now I NEVER have it. I go to the chiropractor still but much less frequently and for things like my neck, which is where my stress goes. Good luck and make sure they rule out something majorly wrong like a disc problem.

L. Etta, mother of an 8 year old boy and 6 year old girl!

Hi J.,
I know what you are feeling. I hurt my back in a factory 15 years ago and have been to zillions of doctors for 3 years, who kept telling me that there was nothing wrong with me, until I went to a rehabilitaion center that pin pointed my sciatica was giving me all of the pain as soon as I walked in the door and explained to them how I felt. They said that stretching and doing some sort of exercise will keep it in "limbo" so it doesn't bother me so much. I couldn't stand, sit, lay down at all to get comfortable. They explained to me that, when that nerve pops out of place and come in contact with my body fluids, and feels like you have just touched a live wire. Even when I am driving and my sciatica pops out,(I feel like straightening my leg will help it go back to where it is suppose to be and after a short while, the pain eases up some) so I take my foot off of the gas. I think that is just a reaction but I do it everytime it happens. After I quit my job, I started going to a chiropractor from 2 days a week to monthly now just to stay "limber". He said that I had a buldging disc in my low back that helps the sciatica give me all of this pain and to this day, I still have pain with my sciatica form sitting, to standing, to lying down, from time to time, I just take Aleve before I go walking or do any form of exercise because, I know I will be paying for it after I am done doing any sort of exercise. I joined Curves to keep my muscles and joints relaxed. Just don't go into it full force and I think you will see a difference in the way you feel. I know I have and I thought my life was over with all the pain I had experienced. Even though there are other people out there that has problems with sciatica, none of the pain is the same with each person. I hope this helps you because I know what you are going through. Good Luck !!!

Without even looking at you, I can tell you some issues that cause and/or make this worse. You are a leg crosser (one of the WORST things you can do to your hips & back - learn to cross at the ankles, if you have to), you stand on one hip (creates lateral curve in the lower spine & pushes on the sciatic nerve, you rotate your hips when you walk rather than them moving front to back (anterior to posterior, flexion/extension) and/or you have one hip higer than the other - from standing on one hip, leg crossing and side sleeping w/ the top leg flopped over.

Tell me if I'm TOTALLY wrong. I SEE IT ALL THE TIME!!! I'm a certified posture alignment & pain management specialist. You need to go to Amazon and buy the book PAIN FREE by Pete Egoscue. It's VERY user friendly.

You can also visit the website (google EGSOCUE) and "talk" to some therapists, pull off a couple of e-cises for back pain, etc.

IF you are in the Fishers area, I teach three posture alignment & pain management classes a week. I can give you more info about them.

It may not be sciatica. I had the same problem with my first son. After he was born my docs put me on a bunch of "habit forming" pain meds. I finally saw a Rheumatologist and found out that I have (sp?) Ankylosing Spondylitis. It is a autoimmune disease that causes severe swelling in your sacro-illiac joints. So the pain will migrate from side to side. I went through 3 docs before I found one I REALLY like. I take Nabumetone 2x a day and a shot of Enbrel 1x a week. Life is SOOOO much better now. PLEASE email me if you need a good referral or just more info. I went three years in pain before I was diagnosed. I would LOVE to keep you from doing the same. Good Luck!!

Dear J.,
I too suffered with severe sciatica without being pregnant. I struggled with it for around a year. I was in tears about once a day. I tried everything!! I went to the chiropractor, took meds, tried stretching, exercise, vitamins and "icy hot" rubs. I finally went to the neurologist and found out I had a herniated disc. I had surgery to remove it. I know, surgery is a last option, but let me tell you, the pain is totally gone and I am back to doing all the things I love! I play soccer, volleyball and more! Don't be discouraged because no matter what it is, you will recover! (But you must follow dr orders too.) I'll be praying for you.

J. first of all Mother-in-law should learn to keep her mouth shut PERIOD. I know what you are going through and I understand the meds due put you out of commision. I am the same way. I had sciatica too and figured out it was because I was sitting in short chairs. It was during my many years volunteering at school before I became employeed out side of the house. None of the docs I went too thought it was a big issue. Ticked me off, But I happened to be in major pain one day at a craft fair I was doing and the booth across from me was a herbal soap and candle both. The guy working the booth did a physic healing on me and honestly the problem has went away but now I am having other issues which are in the spine. Whole nother ball of wax. A friend of mine told me there were exercises you could do to help it. You sit cross legged and pull the knee on the effected side up towards your waist. I hope I discribed it to where you can understand. It hurts like crazy but she swore it helped her. I only did them a time or two. Good luck.

Yes, I have had the same problem. It is brought on by bending in an off position, lifting in an off position, and carrying something when not level in the hips. It is a swelling pressing on the nerve. Pain pills are all well and good, but if you don't get the muscles etc., to release the nerve it isn't going to go away. I had muscle relaxers and pain pills for the problem. As long as you carry, lift, etc., with the children it will probably continue to happen. Good luck.

Hi J., by all means seek out a good chiropractor. I have sciatica many times and the only way I could get thrugh it and over it was to see a chiropractorl Good Luck

I had pain levels like yours for two years. I was misdiagnosed for at least a year (dr. said it was sciatica), but like another commenter here, it was a bulging disk. In fact, the entire disk was blown. After another year of very intense pain, I saw a neurosurgeon who said the surgery was a breeze and had I come sooner, the recovery time would have been quicker. The surgery was a breeze and I felt better immediately. It took a while to get back to normal (however, I was back on my feet in two days), but surgery was the only thing that worked (I tried everything in the comments below and more). Make sure you get an MRI and be confident that you have the correct diagnosis. I wish I had the surgery earlier instead of spending two years with daily pain at levels 8-10.

Perhaps trying talking to a yoga or pilates instructor. When I did yoga, I remember that I could reduce the stress on the nerve causing the pain.

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