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A baffling virus

Wow! What an unbelievable month of pain. I have PMR/GCA. I am in Actemra monthly infusions for the GCA, and have slowly reduced the prednisone to 4mg. However, I have developed sciatica this past month. My symptoms are severe pain in the coccyx area, lower back , right hip, and right gluteal muscles. The ER doctor had me take Prednisone 40 mg for 5 days to decrease the nerve inflammation from the sciatica. Unfortunately, then Prednisone is not helping. I'm also in PT, and on pain med.

Last week, I experienced severe diarrhea for several days with low abdominal pain. I had lab work, stool cultures, and abdominal X-ray. All normal. This week, I have severe interestingly spasms, belching, weakness, and exhaustion! After more lab tests and a CAT scan, the doctor thinks I have a virus. I have been on a clear liquid diet, but I'm starting to add chicken noodle soup and bananas.

I am so weak and exhausted from the combination of the sciatica and virus. I would just appreciate some encouraging words or insight. You are all so special on this forum. We journey together in the midst of storms and in calm.

11 Replies

I'm assuming that your rheumatologist knows all about this? Just asking...

How horrible - and presumably the Actemra is not helping fight off the virus. As if GCA wasn't enough to deal with.

Hope it clears up soon - and I bet you have lost a load of weight so if you are better by Thanksgiving you won't have to worry about eating too much!

What about seeing if you could find a Bowen practitioner to see if it would help the sciatica?



Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I am in communication with my rheumatologist.

I will check in to the Bowen therapy here. I always appreciate your comments. Being in so much pain for so many days has weakened me physically and emotionally. I wa finally able to sleep for a while this morning. It's amazing how much that helps. I have to ride out this storm, but it helps to talk with others who understand acute illness on top of chronic illness. 😍🌅


Sleep is a great healer - and something that is in shortage with many autoimmune disorders.

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I slept 12 hours last night after being totally wide awake for 38......that's never happened before, in fact I've been thankful I've always slept very well on Pred...hope this isn't going to start happening s lot..



I had sciatica at the beginning of the year, it is horrible. I was offered co-codamol, naproxen and tramadol plus paracetamol. I found the only thing that worked was my physiotherapist. A friend did show me some exercises she does, in the middle of the coffee shop we were in, which looked pretty complicated but amused/amazed everyone else. Pain killers have no effect at all I found.



Thanks for your comments. I can imagine the people in the coffee shop were amazed when your friend showed you the exercises. When we are hurting, we don't care where the help comes from.

I agree that the pain med. don't really help. Neither did the high doses of Prednisone this time. The high dose of Prednisone did help when the sciatica first started a month ago.

I hope you are all better now. 🌻


As I said the physio helped enormously. I am so glad the sciatica just went away. It really is unbelievably painful, I don't know which is worse sciatica or PMR.


Definitely sciatica for me! PMR hurt all over but was a more grumbling complaint - sciatica was a scream that hurt without warning at times but was permanently there if I moved.

Both together - won't even go there!


I agree that the sciatica pain is worse than the PMR for me as well. I feel like a weasle has bitten me deeply into the bone, and never let go!


I second the value of a good physio. Also, if the sciatica is aggravated or even caused by sitting too long at the computer, I have just installed freeware called "Workrave" which provides a system of short and longer breaks reminders which you can set to suit yourself. I tried an egg timer but did not have discipline to stop and stretch etc. when the time was up.

There are lots of other similar but this is the first I have tried and so far I mostly do what I am told



I am going to check out "Workrave." I don't know if sitting too long at the computer has caused my sciatica, but I definitely find if I sit too long it really aggravates the sciatica pain now. Thanks for the suggestion. 🌻


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