37 answers

Siatic Nerve Pain...HELP!

So despite the fact that I am a nurse and can read about siatic nerve pain until I am blue in the face. I could use some advice from those who have experienced this first hand, please. It has been going on for a week now, really bad for the last 5 days. My leg is numb but still hurts. No position is comfortable for long and atlast I now have darocet which only takes the eadge off. I have done the warm baths(3 aday), heat packs, and stretching. At this point I am up for anything?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the answers. Most went with the chiropractor which i should have mentioned that i saw before writing the question. He did help by adjusting 6 points, but it wasnt enough. I think that the pain somehow caused my muscle to spasm and I needed the pain killers to relax enough to strecth it out. I like the tennis ball idea and am trying it.

Featured Answers

Chiropractor! that's all you need is a good chiropractor. I had severe siatic nerve pain and after only a few adjustments I was good as new however you can't just stop going.... you need to stay in alignment or you could go back to where you were. Usually after you get back in alignment you can go once a month. I can recomend Primary Care Chiropractic in Manchester.


I had intermittent sciatic pain through my 20s. I was about 28 when it got to the point that I couldn't walk. 3 things helped me recover completely: chiropractic, yoga, and massage therapy. By 30 I felt better than I ever had. I don't get sciatica anymore. If I start to feel any pain in my back or hips, I start doing yoga again, get an adjustment, and then I'm back to normal. All these practices have many advantages besides pain relief, unlike the Darvocet, which has undesirable side effects.

I know just how you feel. I had this happen with my second child. I ended up going to have reflexology done. It was a big help.

More Answers

Hey Lori!

I am a chiropractor and I just want to give you a few tips if you decide to go that route on ones that will be best for you. This goes for anyone reading this!
A.) you need to find one that does rehab.....this is EXTREMELY imortant! You need to find out what caused you to have the problem in the first place and prevent it from happening again. Often times it is muscle imbalance that leads to injury. You need a chiropractor who can identify you points of instability and work with you for future injury prevention.
B.) Don't go to a chiro who tells you your nerve is "pinched" if it was truly pinched your leg would have wasted away to nothing by now. Your sciatic nerve is not pinched it is being irritated by one of a number or possible things, which is in turn causing your pain
C.) Go to someone who will make you pro-active in your care helping you take your responsibility in your treatment goals.

I Hope this helps. Chiropractic can help I have seen a number of patients with sciatic nerve problems and have had great results. In order to get the best treatment and the best outcome long and short term please find someone that fits what i said above. I would be happy to find one for you near to where you live. My office is in Saint Charles if you are anywhere close to there. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions!

2 moms found this helpful

I have had this problem for over 30 yrs. Chiropractic is the best for relief. Stretching helps and try sleeping with a pillow between your legs. My favorite stretch is to lay flat on the floor, slowly bring your knees to your chest. While keeping back as flat as possible, roll to the right, hold for a count of 10. Slowly roll back to center for count of 10. Repeat on other side. Then slowly stretch back out flat.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
I am a Massage Therapist and I recommend finding one in your area. The other thing you can do is get a tennis ball, lay on your non effected side and roll back into the tennis ball with the sore side. You can also sit and lean back into the tennis ball under the curve of your hip/low back. You need someone that can massage your piriformis muscle. There are also some stretches you can do to help, sit in a chair with the ankle of the effected side on your good knee, lean forward. All of the things I have suggested are going to be really sore and slightly painful if you are hurting that bad but, I promise they will help. I am in Wichita if there is someway I could help I would love to. Good luck! Try ice not heat that will also help calm the muscles down.

2 moms found this helpful

you could try this

after the warm bath, get a tennis ball and lie down on the floor with it under the muscles of your bum (one side - the side that hurts - or you could do the other side first to warm it up). you should find a really sore spot - put it right there. relax the rest of your body totally. after a minute or two the soreness should lessen. you can move the tennis ball to another spot that's sore and do it again - as many times as you like. then do the stretching. this is basically do it yourself 'trigger point therapy.'

hope it helps (used to be a massage therapist)

1 mom found this helpful

I am a physical therapist and have treated many low back pain issues. The numbness in your leg concerns me as it could be a sign that the nerve is more severely affected. Have you gotten in to see and orthopedic doctor yet? I am also concerned that the darvocet is only taking the edge off. You may benefit from physical therapy to help try to take the load of your spine and teach you to move effectively and efficiently so as to not injure yourself further. I am not sure where you live, but you are more than welcome to come to my clinic in Valley Park, MO. If that is too far let me know and I can probably recommend some therapists in your area. In the mean time if your pain or the numbness continue to get worse, or you start to notice weakness in that leg, you need to get in to see a doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

I would recommend seeing a physical therapist. That is what I did and it help tremendously. I had problems during the end of my first pregnancy, off and on for the next year or so, and then it was really bad during the beginning of my second pregnancy (I couldn't even stand up at times it hurt so bad). The PT I went to specialized in women and she said the women who have had kids tend to have really weak lower abdominal muscles. She said basically you have to think of your lower body as a box - you need strong lower abs, a strong lower back, and a strong base (pelvic floor). She said that if one is weak (like the abs) the other side (lower back) will compensate and cause discomfort and pain. The exercises she gave me took care of the problem. When I feel it starting to flare up again I just start up my exercises again and I can take care of it before all the pain starts.

1 mom found this helpful

I started getting sciatica when I was pregnant, and the only relief I got was getting on my hands and knees and just rocking back and forth for a little while. Getting the weight off my spine seemed to relieve the pressure. Even now that I'm not pregnant or overweight, I still get the pain, and that's the only thing that helps. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried sitting on a tennis ball/racquetball and using pressure point therapy to stop the nerve pain? Or get someone to put pressure on the sciatic nerve notch for a couple of seconds for a couple of times and see if that doesn't give you some relief. Also, have you tried massage?

1 mom found this helpful

I haven't checked any of your other responses, but have you considered it could be related to trigger points? I am a certified personal trainer, fitness coach, have a B.S.E. and you don't need to know everything else, but we recently covered trigger points in an educational tele-conference and it was eye opening! If you have any desire for self-treatment with probably the best results I would recommend The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair & Amber Davies. It is extremely thorough and walks you through self treatment, also gives ideas on who might be able to help if you aren't able to resolve it yourself. The book you should be able to find from any bookstore, ebay, amazon, etc for around $15, worth a try.
My husband was suffering from severe pain and numbness. I suggested we work through it together and after about 2 weeks of self-treatment (if he would have done it as often as he was supposed to I think the time would have decreased) he is finally pain free! I think as an RN you will be much more effective at locating your trigger point than he was. (I was totally hands off and let him do it, with just some coaching from me.)
Best of luck to you and I hope that you find yourself pain free very soon!
In good health, J.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you had an MRI? My now 29 year old son had an exploded disk at age 25 and again at age 28. He is a plumber and hurt his back on the job. He also experienced the numb leg and severe pain. both times after he was taken to the hospital (second by ambulance) they did the MRI and both required immediate surgery or he would have been paraylized. If you have not had the MRI please do so and preferably at a large hospital that has Neuroligists available. Also ice not heat for this kind of pain.

You are a nurse I know and will not like my advise...but, the only treatment that worked for me was cold packs and a chiropractor. After years of pain and almost a year with a physical therapist...the chiropractor "cured" me in a matter of months. It has been years with no reoccurance.

I think that you should try another chiropractor. And, one adjustment will not fix it. Your body did not get this way overnight (even if the symptoms appeared overnight), so you won't be able to fix it overnight either. I suggest another chiro, because if HE thinks he could fix it in one shot or didn't communicate well enough with you WHY you need more than one adjustment, then you need a new chiro. :)

Hi L.-
I am so sorry that you are in pain...that's no fun! Many people have recommended chiropractic, and I would agree. I work for a chiropractor and we see this all the time. Let me tell you though, because of your numbness, this is not something to ignore! You may just need an adjustment or two, or it could require a little more treatment, depending on the severity. If it is more severe (like a disc issue) we have 2 DTS tables which are tables that "stretch" you and help with compression in your back. Typically these tables are a little costly to use, but I feel like we are very competitive in the pricing. We've saved several patients from surgery and been able to help several more that had received the steroid injections with little success. The doctor I work for is Dr. Williams at Williams Chiropractic in Olathe ###-###-####. I'm not trying to plug my doctor (although I personally do think he's wonderful). Please, just find a chiropractor and it sounds like you may want to find one that has a DTS table (Decompression Therapy)...unless you happen to be pregnant. We don't offer DTS for pregnant ladies, but there are several other safe techniques we can use. If you want further info, are anxious about seeing a chiropractor, or are wondering about insurance coverage or cost, please feel free to shoot me a message.

PS. I loved your "about me" section. I too am married to a hot man and owe it all to God for my fabulous life!

I ended up with this due to a bulging disc. I would recommend asking to get into some PT. It worked wonders for me because one of the things they did for me was to put me (basically) on the rack and stretched everything...boy did that feel good. After the workout and that then they would put the big moist heating packs on me. Ahhh!

As for pain killers, for over a year I was on a combination of Vicodyn and Flexeril. Vicodyn helped the day to day pain and flexeril would help relax the muscles so it wouldn't hurt so bad.

But seriously, I would talk with your Dr about stepping up some meds and getting into PT. The exercises there will really help you. I would also have him get some x-rays to find out what is the cause of the pain so it would be better treated. Only through that will you truly get resolution to this problem...otherwise your just chasing your tail with the pills and a vicious loop.

I have not had a problem with this but my father does. he just found out he has some scarring on the vertebrae that has narrowed the nerve passage. so when he moves or sleeps wrong the extra bone presses on the nerve. he is in the process of having it taken care of but it is something you may want to have checked out. he was diagnosed after an MRI.

Sorry to hear your in such pain. I also am in terrable pain, one that has gone on way to long but something the doctors cannot fix. I've had this pain for the last 8 years. Pain level nears 9 on their scale. About the only thing they can do is give me morphine and percocet, which I take a few times a day, just to get by. I finally decided I have to look at the good things in life and try to forget the pain. I've been blessed with three great kids and seven great grandkids. They make my day a little beter each time they come by. The pain is still there, but I've lived with it. I miss quite a bit of work, generally work a very modified work schedule, thanks to a great boss, but I get through it. As you say, it's not easy, but one way or another, I don't let this get me down. I've missed work all week this week, pain is so bad I can no longer support myself on my left leg, but I know it will improve a little, and that's what counts, that and having God on my side to give me the support I need.

I wish you the best and pray that your condition will improve over time. It could be worse, my brother passed away a few years ago with an unoperative cancer is his brain, at least I'm here enjoying my family... May God give you he strength you need to get through each day.

Not trying to nitpick but "siatic" is spelled "sciatic"...thought about physical therapy?

The very best advice I could give you is to find a good chiropractor.

I would go to a chiropracter.

I don't know how much I can help you out...I just had to comment becuse we are both named L.(mine w/o the e) and we have sciatica issues. Mine started 4 weeks ago. I have alright days, and then some days I can't move at all. First I saw a chiropractor...no help there. Then went to an orthopedic surgeon. He took x-rays, said I have the onset of osteoarthritis, and my disc is narrowing between S1 and L5. He gave me a steriod shot and some back conditioning exercizes to do, also a prescription for relafen (NSAID). No changes...he requested an MRI, which I did on Tuesday. Haven't heard the results yet on that. He also gave me a prescription for Darvoset. I'm still going through good and bad times. Today is a little better than yesterday, but it is always there. Mine is on my right side. A sharp shooting pain in the butt and down my leg, through my knee and down to the bottom of my foot. My leg and foot are numb. My foot is more numb that my leg though. I totally understand what you are going through, and like I said, I wish I knew what to do to help you. I'm going to read some of the posts to see if there are any suggestions. I wish you the best, and hope yours doesn't last as long as mine. Oh, also, do you know if you did anything to start it, or did it just sart? Mine just started out of no-where.

Hi L.,
I don't know if you have tried chiropractic treatment yet, but it should help. I used to work as a chiropractic assistant, and saw alot of this and the relief that patients got from treatment. Good luck.

Chiropractor! that's all you need is a good chiropractor. I had severe siatic nerve pain and after only a few adjustments I was good as new however you can't just stop going.... you need to stay in alignment or you could go back to where you were. Usually after you get back in alignment you can go once a month. I can recomend Primary Care Chiropractic in Manchester.


I had severe siatic nerve pain after giving birth to my daughter and I, just like you, tried everything in my power to soothe it and nothing worked! Finally after getting some advice from a friend, I decided to go to a chiropractor. I'm so glad I did!! I found out that my spine was not straight at all and it was rubbing nerves and making life unbearable. I was sore after the first couple times I went, but after that it got better and better! My chiropractor did very minor adjustments for a few months and before I new it I was completely back to normal! I still go every once in a while for preventitive measures. Also never apply heat to a sore back, hot showers are ok, but heating pads are not. Always use an ice pack. Good luck!!

Find a really, really good chiropractor. Worked for me. Just make sure whichever one you pick doesn't keep having you come back several times a week. I've found that those are the ones who really don't do much for you except keep taking your money.

You poor thing, I know your pain. I ended up seeing a chiropractor and after he had me do traction, electro-shock therapy and adjustments, he told me to go home and put ICE, not heat, ice on my back for 20 minutes every hour and to take Ibuprofen. Now, I got to tell you, I was thinking in my mind "Ibuprofen is not going to touch my pain, are you kidding me!?" but I went home and followed his instructions. After about 3 hours of doing the ice intervals, I started feeling better, not 100%, but enough to where I could breathe and sit comfortably. I also tried Icy Hot and that seemed to help me a little, but not as much as the ice did. He also told me that putting heat on it just caused the area to swell and cause more pain where the ice helped with the swelling (like when you get a sprain). Try the ice instead of the heat and I hope it helps. I would also recommend seeing a chiropractor if you can, there may be more going on. When I first injured my back, I had compressed my two lower vertebrae and they were locked together and pinching my sciatic nerve, and that was almost 20 years ago. I went back recently and from that original injury and not taking care of it immediately, I have tiny bone fragments floating around that sometimes bother me. So, now when I feel a flare-up coming on, I break out my ice and it usually takes care of it. I hope this helps.

I recommend pelvic tilts as you would do during pregnancy they are recommened to relive pain as well from the back and also laying flat on your back lifting 1 leg up at a time as if you were streching.I had mine so severe that I was on all 4 for about 2 days and trying to take care of a baby.I do see a chiropractic every now and then and that helps so much,my hips are unequal causing pain and numbness in my legs.Since what yu are doing at home isn't reliving your pain I would go for and adjustment

I know just how you feel. I had this happen with my second child. I ended up going to have reflexology done. It was a big help.

Hi L., I have felt your pain!It would literally hurt so bad that I cried when I would sit. The pain feels like it starts in your hip/butt area and radiates down the leg and feels like it's in the bone. I had this problem about 8 months after the birth of my third child who was LARGE and it made my right hip about and inch and a half higher than my left. I went to my med. dr. and he referred me to a physical therapist who made all the diffence in the world. It's your core muscles that have gotten weak and physical therapy helped me alot, I went 3 times a week for about 4 weeks doing very small movements with my core muscles I didn't even know I had, it didn't even feel like a workout but my pain disappeared after the fourth week and I lost weight around my middle YEA! and that's what I go back to when I feel it bothering me again, the core exercises help with alingment in your body and I just take a couple of ibuprofen to help with pain and inflammation and literally try not to sit too much, which I do, my scale tells me this. :) Also you might try to sleep with a pillow between your knees or a small towel placed under your waistline just above your hip(when you sleep on your side)to help with alingment while you sleep. My physical therapist said women have this problem alot due to childbirth and just their physical shape, the hips always seem to get in the way.:) Good luck and if I can help anymore, just write!
M. B.

I HIGHLY suggest seeing a chiropractor. I am the office manager of an office in Collinsville, IL and I see it all the time!If you would like more info you can reach me at the office: ###-###-####. If you are not near us we can find someone for you! We would be glad to help in any way!

H. LaCroix

Is the pain due to pregnancy? You don't say that you are expecting. If so, talk to your OB about it. If not, go to an othropedic doctor or at least a chiropractor and see if there are bones out of place that is causing pressure on the nerve. Don't just try to deal with the pain, find the problem so that you can fix it.

Hi L.,

I am a massage therapist and kinesiology specialist with a good amount of experience in reactive muscle repattering and neurological integration. I also suffered with siatica and scoliosis from the time I was a teenager. My younger brother was subjected to medical treatment and surgeries for the same problems. He has been on disability since he was 26 y/o and has gone through multiple hip replacements. I was helped by chiropractic and a customized diet. But, don't just go see any chiropractor. Being a nurse, you know that some MDs are more excellent at their profession than others. The same is true in any profession.

We see a brilliant chiropractor. When my husband needed to see an orthopedic MD, the chiropractor sent him to one. As we have learned, see the chiro first and the MD second in most cases. Also, if you need to see an orthopedic MD, get a referal from a chiro. They tend to know who the good ones are. You do not say if you have had scans done or if you suffered an injury. If you have had exrays, MRIs, etc., Take them with you to the chiropractor. It might save you the expense of more exrays.

I have treated a number of nurses who were injured on the job. I still feel that nurses are not provided the safety equipment they need to help support their unstable patients or to move bodies that are not able to move themselves.

Something I wish all women knew before they have their children is that it is so important to see a chiropractor during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, ligaments soften to allow the body to adjust to body changes and to birthing. During the weeks and months that follow birth, those ligaments harden again. This is happening while the muscles of the abdomen are like jelly, leaving the spinal column and hip structure particularly vulnerable to mis-allignment. A slight mis-allignment can impose pressure on the nerve tissue that moves through that area. Then, the slightest amount of inflamation in that area can cause severe symptomologies. Chiropractors can keep us in good allignment while ligaments are hardening. They can also fix some problems we might have had before we were even pregnant. They helped me moderate my scoliosis and siatica before I had my son, when I was 28. But, they were able to completely correct the problem after my son was born! My exrays show a very straight spine now! I was 19 when I first saw a chiropractor. I thank God that the MDs told me my pain was just 'growing pains' and did not take an exray or even look at my spine. They would have done to me what they did to my poor brother.

Also, be aware that long shifts on your feet at the hospital and a 2 y/o at home may be causing adrenal fatigue. The adrenal core produces the glucocordacoids that respond to inflamation. Adrenal core fatigue is common in RNs who are also moms. I've always thought that people who study anatomy and physiology, like the doctors on hospital boards, should understand that the human body was not designed to work a high stressed job that is also physically demanding for 12 hours at a time. That is an unreasonable expectation of anyone, especially the graveyard shift. It is a ridiculous expectation of a woman with young children at home. When a doctor swears to 'first do no harm', is there a clause that exempts them from harming themselves and their staff? It is likely that if you see an MD you will be offered options like surgery, traction, physical therapy, or steroids. I safest of these is physical therapy. I have seen chiropractors get much faster results than physical therapists for issues like sciatica. Chiropractic is a much safer place to start.

I also learned that Dr. Peter D'Adamo's book, Live Right 4 Your Type, is essential. His amazing research will tell you which foods each blood type metabolizes well and which ones to avoid. Following that diet stopped my inflamatory problems!

So, don't just find a way to stop the siatic pain. Listen to what this condition is telling you about what you can expect from your body and what your body needs for support. You will be a much happier grandmother someday if you do!

I know you are nurse but have you considered alternative medicine such as seeing a Chiropractor? I had a pinched nerve a month ago (i was 39 weeks pregnant at the time) and it was just horrible. Saw my chiropractor and I am singing praises to the man. Just a thought


I too suffer from periodic sciatic nerve pain. When I have a flare up I go to my chiropractor and get adjusted and that usually helps me out. If you sit down alot it seems to make it worse, so if there is anyway you can stand more often then try that. I'm sorry to hear about your suffering and hope that the pain goes away soon.

Chiropractor defiately!

Here is a great one!
Dr. Cory Koch
151st and Murlen, Olathe

I had intermittent sciatic pain through my 20s. I was about 28 when it got to the point that I couldn't walk. 3 things helped me recover completely: chiropractic, yoga, and massage therapy. By 30 I felt better than I ever had. I don't get sciatica anymore. If I start to feel any pain in my back or hips, I start doing yoga again, get an adjustment, and then I'm back to normal. All these practices have many advantages besides pain relief, unlike the Darvocet, which has undesirable side effects.

Find a chiropractor/acupunturist that does kinesiotaping! It saved my life during my 2nd pregnancy!! I know of one person in Lee's Summit- Dr. Todd Jones. I know there is a chiropractor in Independence that does it too. It will help!

If you get any good advice, please, PLEASE, pass it my way. My husband suffers from this and I can't stand watching him suffer so much.

One thing we do that helps a little, is to heat the bed at night. I bought an electric mattress cover from JC Penney for about $120.00. We turn it on before going to bed to take the chill off, then leave it on as we sleep at night.
It helps a little, so he can sleep. His days are painful and miserable, though.

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