Does anyone know if sciatica is linked to SLE - or is this new form of pain merely an awful coincidence?

Have been in pain for 3 days now, struggling to walk, dress etc.... limping like mad. Out of hours GP said it was an SLE flare up and I should get used to it (marvellous! she managed to diagnose this without asking me any questions or even examining me! THis was once she knew I had SLE). My GP however, reviewed my SLE symptoms and meds, and then on thorough exam diagnosed sciatica.

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  • I've suffered with sciatica since being pregnant with my son (who is now 5). I have not had a definite diagnosis of lupus yet but I would not be suprised if the two are linked. Wish I had some useful advice for how to make you feel better but I haven't found anything that helps so far xxx

  • Thanks Megs_tom, all the best to you, its awful that youve had sciatica for so long.

  • If the pain goes from the lower back to the leg, then yes, it is likely that it is sciatica and not due to lupus, more like nerve compression. But then lupus could indirectly lead to nerve compression through misalignment of the spinal joints and connective tissue inflammation at that site, so one never can say never with SLE.

    This is the thing - we try to learn as much as possible about sle and in the process we stumble over other things not working right with our bodies.

  • Thanks purpletop.

  • Hi slowmo

    Sorry to hear about your back pain. It does seem to be common among lupies, & I think purpletop is right when she says it could be indirectly linked to SLE.

    My back problems started a few years ago, & flare up every now & then. Initially my GP said it was my age. Which was about 40 then, but 140 in lupus years! After trying a chiropractor with no improvement, I asked for a NHS physio referral, which really was worth waiting for. They gave me muscle strengthening exercises, which I continue to do every day, & seems to keep things under control. I certainly notice the difference if I miss a day for any reason.

    I tried Pilates classes too, but found it utterly exhausting & caused my lupus to flare. So I have adapted some of the exercises & added them to my others. I have heard people on here mention exercise DVD's which they have found helpful. It sounds like a great idea because you can do this when it best suits you, & at your own pace.

    I was also told it's important to keep moving, even when the pain is quite bad, otherwise the muscles will tend to seize up. I find walking helps, & I can adapt this to how I'm feeling. If I'm having a really bad lupus day, I will put boots & long jacket over my PJ's, so I can get out even for a little walk around housing estate where I live. I might look like a bag lady, but it works for me.

    I hope you this helps a little, & you get some relief very soon. X

    PS, can you take ibuprofen? Initially this will reduce the pain & inflammation, so that you can get moving a bit more.

  • roobarb: loving your reference to Lupus years!!

  • Hello Slowmo.

    I had a slipped disc or two last year - and boy are they painful. The injury that led to it was lupus related, to the extent that because my knees hurt so much I was carrying too much on the stairs, in the hope of making only 1 trip and not two or three. So when I wobbled, I had no hands free to steady myself. Personally I believe that my weight gain and lack of exercise due to being extremely ill for about 3 years (and continuing to work, etc) had a large amount to do with the fact that slipped discs result from so minor an accident. I had an MRI arranged by my rheumatologist to confirm it.

    Get some exercises from a physio - and get it under control ASAP. I hoped mine would 'pop back in' which was what I was told - but it was never going to do it on its own. Don't let it go on for a year, like I did!

  • Thanks for all of the answers, in answer to Roobarb - I cant take ibuprofen, but GP confirmed sciatica this morning and prescribed really strong cocodamol (much stronger than my normal ones) - which have really helped with the pain, but have had the side effects of strong drugs, i.e. like i'm drunk when I tool first ones!

    But the pain is easing thankfully, i am doing some stretching exercises and yes it is right to keep moving, pain increases when I sit or lie down. So a quietly active day for me, I keep plodding around the house, slowly!

    The reason I asked was it seemed coincidental that lupus has been giving hip and knee pain (severely) for days prior to this sciatica - so I wondered if there was or could be a link. But like Maggie says - maybe the strain of walking and holding myself awkwardly from joint pain preceded the sciatica.

    Thanks again all.

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