Herniated Disc - Sciatica Pain - guidance please

Hi there,

I've been suffering with lower back pain for the last few weeks - compression around my sacrum - making forward bending almost impossible, despite numerous Chiropratic appointments and pain medication from GP (including Diazepam) the pain has increased now to include shooting pains along the back of my right leg into my calf and foot causing numbness and tingling sensation. I expect Sciatic Nerve compression caused by herniated disc. It is difficult to find a comfortable position to maintain, I cannot drive as sitting is not possible, and sleeping has been very challenging. I am waiting for a snan appointment. In the meantime is there any advise that members can give with regards to provide any relief. I'm self employed, fit, active and healthy otherwise and I'm struggling with this period of inactivity and pain.

16 Replies

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  • Hi yoganix I am suffering Similar as you, & have been for over 6 Weeks!! I have had a partial Disectomy in end of August. Unfortunately my recent MRI is Showing Scar Tissue build up.!! So a nightmare st moment. My Consultant doesn't want to reoperate.!! Sorry All Can Suggest, really push for Scan. If any differences in Sensation of Bladder or Bowel? Go To A& E AS EMEERGENCY!! Take Care of Yourself !! I Totally SYMPATHETIC AS IT IS A NIGHTMARE TO LIVE WITH. XXXX

  • ooh Fibroglow - bless you! That does sound like a complete nightmare - and not to have any resolution after surgery is very frustrating. How are you coping with the pain?? The inability to sit, stand, lay for any length of time? Thank you for your reply x x x x

  • Pain relief

  • The pain ended up in A & E with Fibro had to up my Butrans Morphine I

    Am now on 20mcg Patch. I have been given Neuropathic Medicine. Bit worried to take as Feel doped up enough with Morphine increase.!! I am walking small amounts with Crutches. Standing & Sitting very uncomfortable. I put a pillow Under my knees when lying on Sofa, Or Bed. And put it in between legs to try to Sleep. XXX

  • :-)

  • Hi yoganix

    I've had sciatica for two years now, MRI revealed a tethered cord, long story, have opted to avoid surgery due to the risks so manage as best I can. Fortunately in terms of work I was just into early retirement as tethered cords tend not to go away.

    Has the pain medication from your GP included anything specifically for nerve pain? I can only talk from personal experience but Pregablin and Duloxetine have made a big difference. They don't suit everybody, if you search this site you'll find a wide range of opinions.

    I still find sitting difficult but walking is usually ok unless the nerves are really playing up. I've had to learn to pace myself and learning about pain mechanisms and Mindfulnes has also helped, the first because if I understand something it's less scary, the second because breathing and learning how not to unintentionally make things worse is helpful.

    But I'm going on a bit, your pain is still considered acute I presume. I find warmth and relaxation helpful. When lying I lay on my side with a pillow between my knees, I can't lay on my back. And I would be lost without my iPad given I can't sit at the computer. I bought a hydraulic desk but have to pace the standing!

    I really do sympathise, go easy on yourself. If for now you can't, you can't (something about pots, kettles and black comes to mind).

    Best wishes and hope you find some help

  • Agree with you about the more i understand a condition the less it worries me - the signals for the inset of thennerve pain are obvious now and I'm learning to therefore adjust my position to ease it as much as possible. However sometimes something that worked previously no longer does.

    I'm a self employed yoga teacher so of course am doing some stretching - anything - to try and ease off the compression is good however it debilitating as I can't drive because I can't sit and therefore can't work.

    Thank you for your reply ginger31 it is helpful. Although I must say I'm a little freaked out by the period of time some have suffering and coping with daily pain x

  • Hopefully you wil get an answer from the scan and it will be something treatable. In many ways I was lucky to have got away without major problems for many years.

    A very wise Physio (who has left the NHS as she couldn't stand it any longer) warned me that nerves don't behave like other bodily tissues, and that sometimes things would flare up and I'd know why, at other times there would be no obvious cause. She was right, it's very unpredictable.

    Do let us know what happens with your scan. Take care

    Best wishes x

  • Your symptoms are very similar to mine, I have been having these problems for nearly 6 months now and it unfortunately just seems to get worse for me each week that passes. I have just had an mri end of last week so hoping that will shed light on what is causing my problems. I'm sorry I can't say much to help but wanted you to know you are not alone and deepest sympathy to everyone who is suffering this or any pain. Sciatica really is a horrible pain, but like it has already been mentioned there is medication that can specifically help nerve pain. I was taking pregabalin for a different health reason prior to this problem with no bad effects, my gp has just started to increase the dosage so hoping that will help some. Also I take oxycontin (long acting) with oxycodone (fast acting) for breakthrough pain. But nothing seems to stop the pain, but taking these makes it manageable for me to get through the day, still can't walk more than a few meters or sit. Thank goodness for modern technology, stuck in bed, it is a godsend. I just try to take a small walk around the house every hour. Sending you best wishes and hope you feel better soon x

  • Hello Yoganix,

    Sorry to hear you're experiencing sciatic pain. I've had the pain shooting down into my calf for 3 months now and also have degenerative disc disease and arthritis in my spine. Here are a few things that help me:

    As much as possible I try to put ice on the sciatic nerve every 2 hours, and in between I use a moist hearing pad.

    I sleep with a pillow under my knees when sleeping on my back, or between knees when sleeping on my side.

    Cyclobenzapar (brand name Flexeril), a muscle relaxer 1 - 2 hours before bedtime to help sleep. Hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever, when I absolutely have to go somewhere and want to be able to walk properly.

    Best wishes, I hope something here will help you!

  • Thank you circus12345 - I'd gone from ice back to heat but I think I will have to try the icing again.

    The pillow under legs definitely helped last night. But then there are times when even then it's difficult to find a. Inflatable position which eases the pain.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond x

  • I have found that drugs specifically prescribed for nerve pain are helpful to a degree that morphine was not. Pregabalin, gabapentin and amitriptyline. For me, pregabalin together with amitriptyline produced good results.

  • Hi Yoganix,

    I'm so sorry to hear that, most of what you've written certainly rings true with me (& obviously many others). I seem to veer from having the same pain as yourself (tingling, numbness etc) on some days, but then on others, I struggle with even getting out of bed. Some days I have to use a stick, others I don't.

    I eventually had an MRI and was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, the next one added a herniated disc with tethering (what the tethering bit means I have no idea!) In between scans I tried to continue working but eventually I had to give it up because I had a patient fall on me. That was back in 2010.

    I'm not considered ok to operate on, but I still try to work towards getting back to work. I tried not to take any meds at first, so the 'novelty' of being off work was ok, but after that I almost drove myself bonkers because of the lack of activity. Now, I have to pace myself with most things. I'm back driving (any long distances have to have breaks allowed so I can stretch or wriggle into a different spot).

    I use a bag of frozen peas or a hot water bottle for some semblance of relief , and I've noticed that quite a few people say that putting a pillow in between your legs (if you lie on your side) or underneath your knees if you're lying on your back.

    Distraction-wise, I've tried all sorts of things from hypnosis to decorating cakes (badly!). Swimming is good as it's more gentle on your back and supports your body in the water. I'm sure that others will have far more ingenious ways and advice than I've attempted to give!

    Anyway, I hope that you're being supported during this and you have great Dr's who'll ensure that you get a scan very soon.

  • Very helpful thank you - the combination. Of ice and then heat is good. The daily change from what you can do one day to the next is like a continual puzzle isn't it. Driving is very challenging. I've had to really rally myself to keep going. I think I will try the swimming. Thank you for your response x

  • Sorry to hear of your pain. I've hafld sciatica for 4 years it's excruciating at times.

    Have you tried a tens machine. I know some people don't like them but I have found this helpful. with this and a hot water bottle.. can help.

    I've had gluteal tendinopathy . . in my right hip so just gone back to work. I'm still in agony . pilates and yoga can be helpful just depends on if you have classes nearby .

    Good luck and hope the pain subsides.

  • Oh my! I've never heard of a gluteal Tendinopathy - that does sounds dire. When you used the TENS (I have used one before during labour) where did you place the pads for sciatica? On the origin of pain of where the pain manifested? Thank you for taking your time to reply and I wish you significant recovery! X

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