I had sciatic-type pain, and it was due to a herniated disc at L4/5. Meds really didn't help it, and ESI's worked for a year, and massage was key to keeping the muscles limber, but when the ESI's quit working it was time to consider surgery.
I had a laminectomy (No fusion) at L4/5 in late December. I now have no sciatic pain and am back to work after 5 weeks of recovery.
I have sciatica from L5-S1. I agree with the others here..nothing really takes away the pain. However, I currently take tramadol and sometimes advil to take the edge off. It helps me function so I can work. I can really tell when it wears off. The pain gets alot worse--to the point I can hardly walk. I've tried other things (opiates), but they made me sick and I can no longer take them.
I've been wondering how long I can keep taking these? I've been on them an entire year now. I guess I probably need surgery, but am trying to avoid it as long as I can. I've already had one laminectomy at that level. I'm afraid what will happen after the next surgery. At least with the tramadol I can half way function. I've gone thru the bedridden, horrible, can't move, nothing helps, pain. I'm so afraid of ending up there with no way out. So, now I just have the keep-taking-pills-to-get-by pain. It's seems like a no win situation.
I've been thinking about another round of ESI's. They helped last time, but I don't like taking those either.
Oh well, we all have to make these difficult decisions. I'm thankful when it works out for someone.
Its hard to find a medication that will relieve sciatic pain. Generally the only way to deal with the pain is to address the cause rather than treat the symptoms. In terms of meds I find that tramadol gives me some relief when combined with a muscle relaxant.
I haven't found a pain medication that works for the Sciatica pain either! I had it VERY bad (the worst ever) last week for about 5 days. I was pretty much in bed for all of those days. Called me Neurosurgeon he had me taking 2 Propoxyphene every 4 hours and that didn't do anything for the pain. I got another round of Steriods that I started taking last Monday .... plus muscle relaxers. So I was doing all of that plus using moist heat on my lower back and thankfully by last Satuday my pain was gone BUT now I am numb. I am numb on my left side (left buttocks, back of my left thigh, left side of the bottom of my left foot). I will take the numbness over the pain ANYDAY!! Probably not a good thing but .... that pain is bad and I feel for you!! I was in tears most of the days last week when it hurt so bad. I am not sure if it was the oral steriods with the muscle relaxers that helped me for now or what. Hopefully that pain will stay away now!! I am crossing my fingers! (or I should say, Knock On Wood)!! Have you gone to the doctors about it? If so, are they doing anything for you?
I'm so sorry you're going through this, I'm sure everyone on this board can relate.
Before my surgery I was on oral steroids (Prednasone) and taking Percocet every 3-4 hours. It helped somewhat, but I was pretty much incapacitated until surgery. This last surgery (July of 2003) was my fourth in about 16 years.
I still have some sciatic pain, the level of pain varies, but Advil usually takes care of it.
TxHunni and Whackedback, I was the same way, nothing took care of it long term for me except surgery. I'll never regret having the surgeries, it got me back on my feet, and back to work.
Tifferzz, I might be concerned about the numbness you're now experiencing. I have a lot of numbness in my right leg and foot (and some weakness). It's caused by damage to the sciatic nerve.
kastenm, good luck to you with whatever decision you make. I left it as long as I could too, and suffered a lot of nerve damage because of it. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor.
Oh wow HipChiq, so you had surgery in 2003 ...... and you still have the numbness? How do they tell if it is permanent nerve damage or temporary? Is there a way to tell? Like an EMG or something? Yeah .... I might have done it in for myself with waiting on the surgery If it does end up that I have permanent nerve damage ..... it's definitely all my fault!! Everyone wanted me to have the surgery sooner and I kept saying no. I'll find out what my family doctor says tomorrow when I go. I'll probably get yelled at LOL. What happens if the numbness stay? Will my muscles still be ok? If you have the numbness ..... doesn't it lessen the blood supply through your muscles or no? I am sure you know more than I do HipChiq since you have been through it all .... do you know how they tell if it is permanent damage? Definitely would like to know more if you know more about it. Thanks!
I am by no means an expert, well maybe an expert in pain and surgeries. Sorry, silly joke.
I'm trying to think back what the doc said about permanent damage. I was just glad to get rid of the excrusiating pain I was going through. My fourth surgery came only 8 months after the third. I had started a different job (faster paced office, bending too much etc.) so I did quick damage to my disks. I have degenerative disk disease as well. I made the mistake of thinking I was 'cured' after the 3rd surgery (it was 15 years after the first two), that I could do anything and everything again. Anyway, the surgeon who did number 3 actually referred me to a different doctor (Dr. John Jane of UVA). He said he thought I needed the best. That pretty much told me that there was a lot of damage. When I saw Dr. Jane he told me that the damage had definitely been accerbated by overworking my back. By this point I was literally dragging my foot when I walked. He considered a fusion, but then told me that it would put too much pressure on the remaining upper disks. After the surgery he told me I might have to rely on a cane, that I definitely had permenant damage to the nerve. I guess he could tell the extent when he was doing the surgery.
Sorry...this is more of a rambling post than I had intended.
Recovery was a little slower, but I took my time as well. I was very careful this time around. Absolutely no lifting. And I try never to bend, I do a kinda 'stick your butt out crouch'. I went back to work after 6 or 8 weeks, but I went back to my old job which I was foolish to leave in the first place. It's slower paced, (Optical store in a mall). I get to walk the mall anytime I need to, to get the kinks out.
Oh, that reminds me... walking helps so much. I walk on the treadmill, and I do a couple of laps around the mall whenever I can.
The doctor suggested I lose some weight which will also help. I'm terrible at losing weight, but I never stop trying.
As far as muscle damage, I do notice that my right leg (the damaged nerve) is a little smaller in the calf area than my left. Very slight difference, I don't know if anyone else would notice if I didn't point it out.
Did I manage to answer any of your questions, or have I just rambled?
Hee Hee ..... nooooo you did not ramble at all. I love hearing other peoples experiences, suggestions and comments!! Trust me, I take it ALL in!! I have never been through the surgeries, never have gone to Physical Therapy and never had this numbness before. Now, I have had on and off back pain since 2002. Sometimes it gets real bad where I can barely walk. I feel ok now ... it's just this darn numbness!!
So you said you are still numb in places? Where are you still numb at? I forgot to also mention that I am numb in the left side of my groin area too. I have never had pain in my calf or my foot. It's weird though that I do have numbness on my left side of my foot. I don't have numbness in my calf. It's just the other places that I mentioned (left butt cheek, back of left thigh, bottom left side of my foot and the left side of my groin area). Heck, you think you ramble?? Look at me Hee Hee.
What kind of surgery did you have HipChiq? Yeah, I have a treadmill but EVERYTIME I have tried to use it .... my back kills me later that day or the next day .... then that pain would last 1-2 weeks. Seems when I do walk a lot I get bad again. So twice this week I have gone back to doing pilates that way I can keep my left side a little active with the exercise. I just move my left leg as far as I can without over doing it. But anyway .... see, I really ramble!! LOL.
I'm numb mostly in my calf and part of my foot. I get pain mostly in my lower leg, sharp burning pain which I'm sure is the nerve. I've never had very much pain in my back, mostly in my leg. I do get the afore mentioned butt pain.
The surgeries were laminectomies, and I think the last one was diskectomy. All of them were done with incisions. The first two (years and years ago) were done by a orthopedic surgeon. He used staples to close the incisions, and I woke up with a drainage tube inserted. I had a hospital stay of 3 or 4 days.
The next two (done in late 02 and mid 03, were done by neurosurgeons. The incisions were done up with internal dissolving stitches and external steristrips. 2002 surgery I stayed in the hospital overnight, the 2003 surgery I went home 4 hours after surgery (insurance issues).
Only your doctor can tell you what's really going on with your back. Tell him precisely what you feel regarding numbness, pain and weakness. Please let us know what the doc says...keep us updated. *hugs*
I'm off work today, which means errands and grocery shopping. I'll check the board later today. It's so good 'chatting' with you!
By the way Tiff, where are you located? I'm in southwest VA. If you'd like to email or anything like that to keep in touch just let me know, okay?
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Last edited by moderator2; 01-26-2005 at 02:31 PM.
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Right now, I am going through a bad bout of pain in my toes and foot. I woke up screaming last night, stabbing pain in the toes. Like someone stabbing with a butcher knife.
Vicaden does absolutely nothing for it. Two or three percocet will take the edge off, taking it from a level 9 to a level 7. I spent yesterday drugged up so bad I could hardly see, but the pain persisted. I laid on the couch screaming. At least it comes and goes. I'm 7 months post op.
There is nothing like nerve pain. It is the worst, isn't it?
the good news is, I just went through this mid december with my leg (worst pain in 6 months. Usually would have 5 days bad pain, then 5 days less, then 5 days bad again, though none as sharp as this latest time mid dec.) and have had no pain since and the leg came back, thigh no longer numb, and leg went from 20% strength to 50% in one week! Foot and toes are still numb.
So...I'm hoping this toe pain, worst toe pain yet, is the same thing...that nerve coming back.
Don't people take neurotonin or something for nerve pain?
has anyone else found their leg or toes come back after bad bouts of pain?
My toes still hurt today, so I'm off that leg, surviving another day of this, hoping it is a good thing.
I had Sciatic pain due to a disc herniation at L5-S1.... had a Hemilaminectomy/Discectomy back on June 2, 2004..... relieved my Sciatic pain for approximately 2 weeks... then the pain started to come back, and has returned full force plus.... and now the pain is not only in my right leg, it is in my left leg as well now....I have not found any medications to help it, physical therapy did not, ESI's did not help.... only thing that gives me slight relief is by laying flat on my back....Best of luck to ya.
Hi again HipChiq Wow, you definitely went through a lot of surgeries! Yeah, I am seeing a Neurosugeon right now. Tomorrow when I go to my family doctor ..... I want him to give me a referral to get a 2nd opinion. I have people around here where I live who recommended this other doctor who is an Orthopedic Surgeon. The bad thing is ... I called them the other day and their first appointment isn't available until April Meanwhile my surgery with the Neuro. is scheduled for March 10th. So not sure what I am gonna do there!
I live in Pennsylvania (Central, PA). I am not too far from VA. I think about 5 hours away. Hubby and I are hopefully going to be in VA in April for the Nascar race! Although if I have surgery in March, we might not be able to go to the race. We'll have to see. Yup, I will let ya all know what my family doctor says tomorrow. I am getting ready to type up a bunch of stuff to ask him.
ladybird988 .... you are right ... nerve pain is DEFINITELY the WORST!! I told hubby last night that I would rather go through labor again than to have that bad nerve pain!! I would take labor pain without an epidural over the nerve pain anyday!!