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Old 01-14-2007, 06:03 PM   #1
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Back pain/Sciatica - please help

My boyfriend who doesn't have health ins. right now has a herniated disc at L5-S1. The past week he's been having extreme pain/numbness/tingling in his left leg which he says is sciatica. He's been resting most of the time, as walking is almost impossible at times. I was wondering if anyone can recommend anything to help him until he receives his insurance in 2 weeks. Maybe stretches or exercises that have helped you with the same problem? Any suggestions are appreciated!

 
Old 01-14-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Usually one of the first things that is tried by the doctors is physical therapy.
It costs a lot of money to pay for on your own but basicaly you could figure out some lite stretching to alleviate the pain. It dosn't always work but if you keep it lite then it shouldn't hurt. One thing that doctors prescribed for me was an anti-inflamatory called naproxen. This is a prescription but it is the same medicine as aleve. They prescribed 500 mg naproxen for me but aleve is only 250 mg.. It never helped for me but it does help for some people and it is something you can give a try for the time being until you get insurance. Good luck and don't do anything to strenuous.

 
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:28 PM   #3
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Defiantly sounds like sciatica...I've been battling it regularly for 6 months now and had surgery 3 months ago...still have problems though. Symptoms of sciatica are: burning...shooting pain across the butt, and down the leg. It may be worse when standing, but the thing to remember is that everyone has different symptoms, but the burning shooting pain is the common one. You may not have any back pain at all. The pain may develop into numbness, tingling, and weakness down the leg. S1 nerve compression: symptoms are...pain/numbness across your butt and around your hip, then down the back of the leg directly behind your knee-cap; then, down the Achilles tendon to the heel and over the outside of the foot to the little toe.

The 1st thing the Dr or PT will do is test your reflexes and do a straight leg raise. In the early stages of sciatica, the nerve is usually really inflamed so you may not be able to raise the leg very far. 800 mg of IB works very well. Heat packs will help the blood flow to the lower back this may increase recovery time.

Things to really think about: Sciatica is a result of a pinched nerve in the lumbar back...this could be due to a number of things but most likely due to the narrowing of the space in the back between the spinal cord and vertebrae. Some people are genetically predisposed to this, some people actually herniated the disk effectively reducing the free space for the nerve to move around. In either case...this is a long term condition and although the symptoms may go away in few weeks, eventually they will return. Core exercises, stretching and strengthening the mid section as a NEW way of life are important. If you read this forum you will find that sciatica can be debilitating if not taken seriously. Surgery is not the end-all-be-all, it will not put you back where you were before and the scar tissue from the surgery may make the pain worse. Find a good PT and maybe even a chiropractor. Good luck!

 
Old 01-14-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

He has tried numerous stretches and nothing helps. He did have a brief period of time yesterday where the pain was isolated in his lower back and the pain in his leg went away. We are both concerned b/c he is starting a new job soon and has to be able to function in a office setting. He has been using ice and it doesn't seem to be helping either. PLEASE HELP US!

 
Old 01-14-2007, 08:41 PM   #5
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Sometimes heat helps. He might want to try a heating pad for about 20 minutes at a time. Some people follow this by icing for 20 minutes. He should continue doing this through the day at about 2 hour intervals. Also, he should not be lying or sleeping on his stomach or doing anything in hyper-flexion (bending back). He should sleep on his side with a pillow between his legs or on his back with a pillow under his knees.

 
Old 01-14-2007, 10:00 PM   #6
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Angry Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

OK - its the boyfriend. The pain behind my knee cap is excruciating. I have to be able to work in 1 week and I am very concerned . I will try using heat and sleeping on my back or side using the pillows as instructed. I am taking loritab]hydrocodone for the pain, diclofenac for an anti-inflamatory and flexeril as a muscle relaxer. It has been like this since the 1st of the year. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! This is so depressing being bedridden! I really appreciate everone taking the time to help me! I NEED to get better. Should I force myself to walk? Sit? Stand? Please.....share any advice!

 
Old 01-15-2007, 07:24 AM   #7
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Did you have an "event" on that date when the pain began? Did you fall or otherwise injure yourself? Since you know specifically that you have a bulging disc, it sounds like you've had past problems and a MRI...would that be correct? And is the pain localized behind your knee? Do you get any relief from the pain by changing position? In my case, I get relief as soon as I sit down.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 08:25 AM   #8
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Yes, I had an MRI which showed a bulging disk. Sometimes I get relief from the pain when I sit down, but not always!

 
Old 01-15-2007, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

I would not do exercises at this point. You may be aggravating your injury. I would take it easy, start your job and then wait a couple of weeks and see the doctor. I would say nothing about the hernated disc -- because they may deem you as having a pre-existing condition and not want to insure you.

Just my spin on things.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 08:52 AM   #10
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

I've had sciatic pain for about two years, but luckily mine goes away as soon as I sit or lie down. Current thought is that staying in bed for periods of time longer than a couple days can actually be detrimental. It sounds like you're taking the right meds. Gentle stretching done lying on the floor to protect the back might be a good place to start. Pelvic tilts are usually about the first thing a PT will show you. And then "marching." There are a number of very good websites that have lots of info pertaining to sciatica and that show the exercises.

If I were you, I would use a heat pad for 20 minutes on your lower lumbar area. (This will warm up the area, kind of like a PT's use of ultrasound before you do the exercises.) Then I would do gentle stretching for about 20 minutes, or as you can tolerate. Obviously don't do anything that is other than VERY gentle, and I would suggest doing them lying on the floor. Then, ICE. I would repeat this several times each day.

If you aren't sure about what stretches to do, have your girlfriend go to a good bookstore and look through the back section. There are a number of good books that address what stretches to do for sciatica.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 01:35 PM   #11
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

Definately try ice packs on the back, for 15 minutes or so, several times per day.. It will help reduce the inflammation and help numb the pain... It worked alot for when I herniated my disk...Fortunately, I tried physical therapy and although it took a while, I am getting better.. Dont push the exercises too much if it really hurts... But as soon as he feels better, he should stretch, walk, and do his excercises...

Maurizio

 
Old 01-15-2007, 02:03 PM   #12
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

I am not able to walk, but it still hurts alot and don't know if I should push myself. Any suggestions. From what I have found, laying around in bed really does help it. Also, can you refer to any good websites for stretching! I need all the hewlp I can get so that I can start this job and support my family!! And, get the insurance that I so desparately need!

 
Old 01-15-2007, 02:27 PM   #13
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

The moderators will not allow posting web site urls, but you can probably find them in any search... I would search for, not only stretches, but Mackenzie method excercises which are designed for back problems..

And dont forget those ice packs.... Even though you dont have insurance, it may be worth to see a doctor for one visit, and get him to prescribe some good muscle relaxers and pain killers.. Valium and Percocet work wonders, along with Naprosyn (Aleve) or even Advil.. Taking those three should help you get to the point where you can at least walk a bit and get to your job. Even if you are laying down, try doing some tightening of your abs to keep your muscles strong..

God Bless,

Maurizio

 
Old 01-15-2007, 03:31 PM   #14
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Re: Back pain/Sciatica - please help

I would suggest you run a search for back exercises. Also there is a good place on the internet called spine universe. You might try looking for it.

To get you started, lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Now draw your belly button in , keeping your back flat on the floor. Think about trying to pin your belly button to your spine. Draw it in as far as you can and hold. Without releasing try to draw it in a bit further. This is the position you want to think about while doing any stretches.

In this same position, slowly lift one knee toward your chest, keeping other foot flat on floor (but with knee bent--same position as above). Return foot to floor; repeat with other leg. Do very slowly while holding your belly in toward spine. Keep alternating legs at a very slow pace.

Another thing to try, if it feels ok, is to lie on the floor with your legs together,propped up at a 45 degree angle against a tall chair or the wall. Just lie there, relax and breathe deeply. The object is to decompress the spine.

Then ICE.

 
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