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Old 04-25-2005, 10:16 AM   #1
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acl828 HB User
If not Sciatica....then what?

My pain has been around for a few years and I always just thought it was what I commonly heard "sciatica". Recently, however, I've been trying to dig further and make sure. I saw something which said that sciatica pain goes down the back of the legs and my pain is more on the side. Any thoughts?

 
Old 04-25-2005, 10:44 AM   #2
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Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

Oh, boy...that's a loaded question. My main thought is that you need to see a spine specialist! Stop guessing and start finding out what it is so that you can get the help you need. If you guess wrong, and try the wrong treatment, you could actually make it worse.

Carol
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Old 04-25-2005, 10:59 AM   #3
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Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

[QUOTE=carol632]Oh, boy...that's a loaded question. My main thought is that you need to see a spine specialist! Stop guessing and start finding out what it is so that you can get the help you need. If you guess wrong, and try the wrong treatment, you could actually make it worse.[/QUOTE]

[COLOR=Blue]Funny you should say that. I actually have 2: a Neurosurgeon and an Orthopedic surgeon, both who have done additional specializations with the spine. Even funnier--the Neuro recommended ESIs, PT and pain management for this latest in a line of problems for me while the Ortho suggested an ADR. I don't think I'm a candidate for the ADR because I've already had 3 back surgeries in the past 4 years (then again, the doc knew that before he recommended it). I've had 5 ESIs since Dec. '04, done PT and been taking pain meds. The ESIs helped me none and the PT, in my opinion, made my situation worse. I am supposed to see the Ortho again on May 18. Then, I plan on loading him up with a question list I started that is already a full page+! I will definitely follow up here with what he said.[/COLOR]

 
Old 04-25-2005, 01:52 PM   #4
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Rampage HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

when you mean "on the side" where exactly do you mean? if you're taling your torso, then it's not sciatica. but if it's around your backside or lower, then it is sciatica too. for ex, i get the standard pain down the back of my leg but also on the side where my "hip bone" is located. the reason is b/c my sciatica is caused by my piriformis, which attaches at that bone from the spine.

hope this helps!
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Sciatica, L3-4 Tear, Spinal Stenosis, DDD L3-S1
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Laminectomy '06
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

[QUOTE=Rampage]when you mean "on the side" where exactly do you mean? if you're taling your torso, then it's not sciatica. but if it's around your backside or lower, then it is sciatica too. for ex, i get the standard pain down the back of my leg but also on the side where my "hip bone" is located. the reason is b/c my sciatica is caused by my piriformis, which attaches at that bone from the spine.

[COLOR=Blue]If I were to stand up and place my hands on my side, there's where the pain runs. Actually, let me be more specific.
It starts just off the left side of my sacral joint, runs across my left buttock then down my left hip and all the way to my left ankle. When it's at its' worst it feels like someone jabbed me with a knife and yanked with all their power. When it's like that I also have a very had time walking because my left leg gets a "jelly leg" type of thing going and keeps bucking out from under me. On my right, it's the same deal but strange. I feel it on the right side of my sacrum then it stops, then picks back up again in my thigh, like it's on fire. This stuff is so strange. I've often wished I had just broken a bone rather than had nerve involvement and back trouble. I wouldn't wish this on my very, very worst enemy of enemies! Thanks for your response and to all of you who have taken the time to answer. [/COLOR]

 
Old 04-25-2005, 02:26 PM   #6
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et318 HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

ACL,

The true meaning of sciatica has been lost over time. Physicians and patients have used it to describe almost any pain that begins in the back and seems to radiate through the buttock/hip and into the leg maybe even to the foot. It has become just a "catch-all" phrase.

Your description of location leads me to think L4, L5 and/or S1. There are some diagnostic tests such as EMG/NCV that can help to pinpoint the affected nerve roots. This can also be narrowed down through more specialized epidural injections called selective nerve root blocks. Given your past surgical history I would try the more conservative route.

Good Luck

 
Old 04-25-2005, 03:23 PM   #7
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Rampage HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

sciatica has been used kinda loosely lately...it's used alot for anything that causes your sciatic nerve to hurt (vertebrae, disc, muscle).

sounds like you have "sciatica" on both sides, but different causes. the right sounds like maybe a disc, while the left sounds like your piriformis is the cause (which is my problem).

i'm not sure if my assessment of the right is accurate (since i don't know what else you've had done, like mris etc.), but i'm POSITIVE about the left. if you're feeling the "fire" of the nerve AND the "ache" that runs out and down your backside, then that's more specifically known as "piriformis syndrome."

if you place your thumb on the greater trochanter ("hip bone" on the side, where you measure for pants, etc.), and it hurts there, then get back to me. i've got some pretty good ways of relieving the pain.

good luck!
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IDET '04
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Anterior Fusion (BMP) L3-S1 '13

 
Old 04-25-2005, 04:08 PM   #8
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acl828 HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

[QUOTE=Rampage]if you place your thumb on the greater trochanter ("hip bone" on the side, where you measure for pants, etc.), and it hurts there, then get back to me. i've got some pretty good ways of relieving the pain.

[COLOR=Blue]In the past, I remember hearing "periformis" come up. My symptoms have been very similar to what you're saying. In fact, they have done numerous shots into the bursa around my left hip thinking it was bursitis but they didn't help. I have been confirmed via an MRI to have degenerative disc and arthritis at L3. (I've already had L4-5 and L5-S1 removed and replaced with "cages" and a double level fusion done)
I'd welcome your inputs about pain relief. It is at its worst in the evening and night. Right now, just trying to sit here and type is killing me! Thanks..[/COLOR]

 
Old 04-25-2005, 04:41 PM   #9
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Rampage HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

i've been dealing with this for 5 years so i sure understand the irritation part!

i do the following:

1) stretches. there are plenty of stretches w/graphics online, so you should be able to find good visuals to help you (just type "piriformis syndrome" in any search engine). mine's on the left, so this'll be easy to type in detail the stretch that i like best: lie on your back on the floor, with your feet flat on the floor; lift your left leg (the one with the ache in your backside) and place the ankle on top of the right knee; then pull the right leg/knee to your chest (i usually "anchor" it to my chect using both my hands to endure i'm getting a good stretch).

2) massage therapy. i basically have no "dignity" left, so i ask for them to work on that muscle. even if i have to pay for extra time. i go to a therapist with a combination of training - reflexology, sports, trigger point, etc. they're more able to "tailor" to your needs. plus, if you qualify for a flexible spending account and can get your dr to write a script for it, you can get reimbursed from the account. do what you can afford, but 1-2 times a month could help improve the problem (maintenance work).

3) tennis balls. i know, you're asking "what the %$#???" i learned this from a massage therapist. lie flat on your back on the floor and place 1 tennis ball under the middle of your "cheek." adjust until you feel that lovely ache. trust me, this HURTS the first few times, but you realize it's the "good" ache and the muscle can be stretched using this method. i LIVE by this one!

if your nerve is pinched by a disc, there are tons of ways to address the problem. if it's the muscle, most people don't even know to look for it let alone how to address. i've also had steroid shots in that area, but the long-term problems with steroids forced me to look into other options.

hope this helps you!
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Rampage
Accident '00
Sciatica, L3-4 Tear, Spinal Stenosis, DDD L3-S1
IDET '04
Laminectomy '06
Fusion (BMP) L4-5 '11
Anterior Fusion (BMP) L3-S1 '13

Last edited by Rampage; 04-25-2005 at 04:42 PM.

 
Old 04-25-2005, 06:21 PM   #10
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acl828 HB User
Re: If not Sciatica....then what?

Thank you Rampage! I will absolutely give this a try. I will try and remember to post the outcome.

 
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