I've got sciatica

Why doesn't sciatica respond to medication. I had it a couple of years ago it was the same then no matter what painkillers the doc gave me they didn't work. I have given up this time I haven't seen the doc because I know nothing is going to work until its ready (like PMR) sorry for moaning  but they tell you not to give in to it and just sit I've done what they say walk etc  but its agony. Wendy

33 Replies

  • Know what you mean about the agony. Have arthritic knee and back, last week GP said - well you need to keep walking - never mind the pain. That's easy to say, when you haven't got any. I think we all know we need to keep moving, but sometimes it's too blooming painful! 

    Mind you, got my own back, he had back ache, so when I left I said - no point seeing a doctor then, they'll only tell you to work through it! To his credit, he did laugh. 

  • thanks for your reply I am at times at my wits end

  • I know! But as my late husband used to say - don't let the ba***ds grind you down! Sorry to swear on a Sunday, but sometimes you just have to.

    Hope you soon get some relief. 

  • Better the day the better the deed my father used to say...

  • Have they not identified what is causing it? There are various reasons for the sciatic nerve being irritated as I've written before - and so the management varies too.

    But I know the UK is very dismissive of sciatica...

  • they were very  dismissive consultant named Jaz didn't want to know had a poke around my back and pronounced that It was caused by being overweight because of steroids etc. and the pain would go away of its own accord within 6 weeks, which it did but those 6 weeks were the most painful  I have endured. I am in the second week of this bout and I can get no relief from the pain.

  • I saw a physiotherapist ( who did Bowen therapy) when I had sciatica and he worked wonders with me. It was well worth the money! Hope you get sorted soon. 

  •  Have had sciatica off and on for several years, very bad during undiagnosed pmr.  With physio and nighttime application of heat (lying on a hot water bottle) it is much better.  I can now walk quite a good distance and not feel any sciatic pain, although I cannot lie on my side without pain developing within minutes.  Perhaps your problem can be sorted by similar simple means. I hope so!

  • hot water bottle works wonders I am sitting on one as I write. Phisio was a waste of time all he could tell me was get your pain under control (if I knew how to do that I wouldn't be wasting my time seeing him) and walk. I like walking but at the moment I am in such pain I can't do it.

  • Too bad about the physiotherapist.  Mine asked me to get a copy of my back x-rays and she uses that report to help relieve whatever is pressing on the nerves that cause sciatica.  Maybe ask around your community, your friends and acquaintances.  You might be able to find someone a bit more on the ball!

  • it made me laugh which can't be bad. pain is agony this morning having been in the shower contorting myself getting and out of the bath. got to sit for a bit with a hot water bottle before I can do anything today

  • I had sciatica earlier this year, caused by an inflamed sacroilliac joint pressing on the sciatic nerve, which I understand can be caused by the PMR. I was given paracetamol then co codamyl, both a total waste of time. One GP said it would last four weeks, another six weeks, I then went to a physio who said it could last three months. In fact the physio sorted it out in a couple of visits. I must admit one GP did say a physio was better than tablets! 

  • Sounds preferable to what happened to me with an inflamed sacroiliac joint - I couldn't move at all so was admitted for infusions of painkillers/pred and diazepam as a muscle relaxant. First day, brilliant, all pain gone (which was a good start I suppose) but on the second day I had a reaction to the diazepam, developing atrial fibrillation. The 3rd day they just gave the pain killers in the morning thinking it was the Medrol that had done it - but it all kicked off again at night after the diazepam. VERY interesting...

    I can't complain too much - treating the a/f removed the funny episodes I'd had since soon after the PMR started, a/f due to autoimmune damage to the electrical cells in the heart.

    But like you - it was the pain clinic lady and the physio who sorted the sacroiliac problem.

  • I must admit the pain was excruciating. People do seem to take it for granted when it is not them. I would just pant with the pain. I just hope it does not come back!!

  • I'm not given to being demonstrative - but I squeaked loudly and in public. Panting wouldn't have covered it...

  • I should have not written that last post, as this morning the sciatica started to come back, I had reduced the pred by 1mg yesterday. It is not excruciating yet, perhaps I am tempting fate by saying that! I will try squeaking.

  • Loudly is allowed...

  • Loud squeaking here we come!

  • I'm having a bout of "my hips playing up" which includes trochantic bursitis and sciatic nerve pain.  The physio I have just started with thinks its piriformis syndrome which I have thought for years but as usual did not say to the GP.   In 15% of people the sciatic nerve passes through rather than under this small muscle.  He's giving me "shock wave" therapy which I thought might be a mistake as the pain was much worse the day after but a few more days  things are improving.  An MRI shows no significant disc problem.

    .  I have not heard anyone mention gabapentin which I take for nerve pains (I have Parkinsons  and its hard to know what condition is causing the leg ache sometimes).   Gabapentin is one of those meds.used for one thing and found to be good for another.  In this case its an epilepsy drug but calms other irritated nerves.  My GP has prescribed it as an "as and when" med but other knowledgeable people said it works best for sciatic pain  as a course of tabs. over as long a period as three months. I am   taking 2 x 100 mg tabs every night and it helps me get a decent stretch of proper sleep though still not enough. 

  • I do struggle with the idea of handing out "nerve pain drugs" such as gabapentin without a thorough investigation of WHY my sciatic nerve is giving me gyp. I know mine is because the nerve is being irritated by being pinched by muscles in spasm around it - it makes far more sense to investigate if there is any way of changing that, and that is exactly what my lovely anaesthetist-trained pain specialist looked for first. 

    But I'm not in the UK - when I first had such problems I was looked at as if I was nuts in the UK. Nothing wrong with your spine he said, after x-raying it lying down. A few years later, in Germany, the x-ray was done STANDING - you can't see what is going on in real life if you look at a patient lying down said the orthopaedic specialist. His mentor at medical school teaching orthopaedics had also insisted they learned chiropractic. I could see the problem on the x-ray - I'm not a radiographer! Both bone and muscle problems were attacked over the next 9 months and were nearly sorted out. But I returned to the UK where it was a case of "if you can stand and walk there's nothing wrong". Over the years it deteriorated again with the odd bit of help from a couple of superb physios - until the better one died of breast cancer. A few years later I had another whiplash injury and was back to square minus two - the proper approach to the cause of the pain and I've been OK. But that is here, in German-speaking Italy where most of our doctors trained in Austria or Germany  - and they have very different ideas.

  • Another thing which has worked well for me  and others but   unfortunately  does not work for me now , is putting a cushion between your knees whilst lying on your side at night which will align...........and here my memory lets me down but its to do with the spine alignment.

  • I usually go back to a book I bought from amazon years ago called pain free which gives specific exercises you can do for different parts of the body that are painful. Most of them are static using  gravity to assist realignment and I find them possible even when quite stiff with PMR pain or steroid withdrawal! You can find some on the internet under egoscue method if that's any help. Hope your pain improves.

  • I've been reading through the replies re sciatic pain. One suggestion (I'm an ex masseuse, who worked with osteopaths) and I would recommend regular massages coupled with osteo treatment. When muscles become too tight they trap the sciatic nerve causing the pain and misalignment of the skeletal system. Often a massage will be enough to help the alignment and stop the pain, although it may take some time for the nerve stop being irritated. I know Bowen technique help some folk.

    Whilst I was working I did to a course on a treament called the Dorn method. It's a very gentle technique and if in UK you can search the net and find a practitioner approved by FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists). We're all different, but thought I'd share. Hope this info is of interest. Good luck with the pain. It's miserable ( I know).

    Regars Gosingen

  • How kind of you to show the links to above therapies.


  • Thanks - don't know how many times I've written almost the duplicate of your post. Now people can see it isn't just me!

    I've praised Bowen on here repeatedly as it worked for me to stay upright with PMR plus for the 5 years pre-pred. Not heard of Dorn - interesting.

  • Do look Dorn method up. It's so gentle and interesting. When I was doing the course one of the participants was a well known osteopath working in London; she was very impressed with the treatment and I know that she did go on to use it as well as her regular osteopathy.

  • I really really like the emphasis that IT MUST NOT CAUSE THE PATIENT ANY PAIN! I would really like to try it - but I doubt there is anyone here. 

  • I've obviously had it done, it's fabulous and there is also a massage done with a special piece of silk paper, lush. I hope you can try it one day; who knows there may be someone who does it where you live. Good luck. If not if you ever visit UK, then arrange for a treatment here, more and more are offering this now.

  • How many sessions does one require? Found a few in Innsbruck...

  • Million dollar question. Glad you found some practitioners. It's a long time ago since I did the course, and I honestly can't remember. But as always it depends, sometimes just one treatment can do wonders, sometimes more are required. You are also given exercises to do on your own. As with every type of treatment it is recommended you have preventative treatments every so often, as I'm sure you will know if you have had Bowen treatment. I suggest you make some enquiries with the ones you found. Wish you all the best. Let me know.

  • One in Innsbruck seems to have disappeared - the website doesn't exist. There is another though.

  • Good luck, hope you find a therapist so you can try the technique.

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