I feel for every one of you suffering with back pain. I've been a sufferer for years off and on..but I really hurt myself last week while breaking up a dog fight.
The night before last I woke up with excruciating pain going down my leg. It was a sharp, electrocution type pain. It was triggered by me laying on my back. Then again this morning I woke up in that pain again. This time I felt nuasiated and then passed out. I woke up on the floor to my 4-year-old telling me to get back into bed. My kids called 911.
While at ER I got x-rays which showed that I have a birth defect where the L5 is slipped over the S1. I was told that I was lucky that I didn't have back problems as a kid. I was also told that this new injury must have aggrivated it and is causing inflamation that is pinching my sciatic nerve.
My question is: Have any of you had trouble laying down? I'm so afraid to lay down after this morning. I'm exhausted and I have too keep my back arched forward to keep the neve from pinching. Laying with lumbar support and my calves up doesn't work. I have to be upright and arched. I'm getting sore in other areas of my back from this too. Help!
Hi Cheryl, I'm so sorry this is happening to you and that pain is just soo horrific. It really does feel like you're being electrocuted, many of us have experienced that as well.
This past March I had a similar issue, except I know I had something slowly developing b/c I had this intense achy pain in my sacral area radiating out; the pain felt like I would image being kicked in the rear by a horse or something. It felt very bruised, but I came on slowly over 2 wks. Then one night I was awoken by one of the most horrible, intense, sickening, shocking pain I ever had. I was laying on my left side, awoke with this deep burning electric pain from my rear and went in a line down the side/back of my thigh, my outer calf and into my ankle and outer toes. The entire length of it was even twitching, you could actually see it. And the pain again was unbearable. I went to get up & almost fell b/c I realized I had no feeling in my lower leg or foot. I could not feel where I was stepping. And from there the pain even worsened. It turned out I could not sit, not stand, and not even lay down at all. It did not matter what position I was in, the pain never relented. It was like I had been sliced open from rear to toe and alcohol or acid was being poured in there while being shocked. So I really know exacty what you are feeling & going through. I coudl not sleep for several weeks, maybe a total of 2 hrs a day added up. Finally the only thing that helped somewhat was to stand and keep my left knee bent. And that's how I had to walk, very awkwardly w/ my left knee bent, it still hurt like hell, but it was slightly better.
Mine was not caused by what you have, though. I had 2 large disc herniations and 2 bulges, plus I had alot of scar tissue in there that was pressing into my nerves. And there was either a piece of disc or scar tissue lodged in my left lateral recess at L5..which was thought to be causing most of my pain & symptoms. It took 2 months, though slowly over time the pain lessened some, for me to get nerve block done at L5. I was soo lucky that the block really helped me with that particular pain. I have other issues, but that was awful because, as you know, you cannot even sleep or function. Shortly after it happened, I got sick right away too....all that stress tears apart your immune system.
I soo wish I could give you some suggestion to make it feel better, but I honestly don't know what. I had sooo many different pillows propped in different ways, tried sleeping on the floor with my legs propped up on my couch, tried sleeping at the kitchen table; had an inflatable mattress lifter (from surgery), raised the head of my bed & that didnt help; did all the heat & ice, tons of ibuprofen, got either percocet or vicoprofen. I even contemplated piling heaps of pillows around me in a closet & tryign to sleep standing up with my left leg propped up LOL. I tried using a donut to sit on, and even that made my sciatic nerve kill.
I think what you really need to do is to be evaluated by a spine specialist (either a neuro or ortho that only does spine). I think, but don't quote me on this, that you have spondylothesis? I have no experience with this, so I'm not sure what medically can be done, but you need to find out from a specialist and probably also have an MRI done as soon as you can. And you have to tell them how horrific the pain is & how badly it's affecting you
Hi and welcome to the board!! I am so sorry to meet you under these circumstances but I think you will be very happy that you found this group of people to walk with you on your spinney journey. Please realize that we are not doctors but spinneys just like you but many of us have been thru it all -- some of us have even been thru it a couple of times. LOL. Someone is often on 24/7 and I must admit I am on the boards alot because well I just like to chat.
I am wondering who evaluated you in the ER? Was it a regular doctor? If it was, I strongly urge that you see a spinal surgeon (orthopedic doctor with additional training of 2 years or more in spinal surgery) or a neurosurgeon for a complete work up and evaluation. Normally, these doctors have a series of hoops that insurance dictates before they do anything surgical which is a good thing because surgery should be left as a last resort in my opinion. They will probably order a MRI and CT scan and dependent upon your results they may try 6 weeks or so of PT, and a series of 3 epidural injections.
You will find that many of us spinneys worst time is the night time when we slow down and have to lay down. If you have a recliner you might give that a whirl. Put the legs up and slightly recline back in the chair. You can also put a couple of pillows under your leg to relieve some of the pressure off your spine.
You can also try laying in your bed on your side with a pillow between your legs.
I strongly recommend if you are having alot of pain that you not be alone especially since you fainted today from the pain. I am sure that must have been so scary for your little ones. Bless their hearts!! I pray that they gave you some medications to help take away some of the pain.
Please keep us posted and remember that we are here for you and no matter how little the question may be to you don't worry about asking it and if you just need to vent go ahead. We are here to support you. God Bless!
I have the same condition as you, only one vertebra up (L4-L5). What the docs are diagnosing is spondylolisthesis. You can find lots of information online if you want to read up on it. I agree that you should seek an opinion from a spinal specialist. If you haven't been x-rayed at a younger age, I doubt they could tell this has been present since birth. But that is irrelevent as the treatment for the condition is the same.
Many people have this condition and are not aware of it until they have x-rays, often for other reasons. Many people never experience any pain from it. Unfortunately, you strained or pulled or somehow aggravated that area of your spine. You are probably experiencing swelling that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. Have you tried icing it for 15-20 minutes/hour? You want to do what you can to get the swelling down. Right now you need to avoid doing anything to further aggravate the swelling. Avoid lifting anything. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible. Lie down to take the pressure off the disks -- sitting will not take the pressure off. Hopefully, if you don't aggravate it further, the swelling will go down which will make more space for the sciatic nerves to pass and the pain will go away. If not, there are a number of things that can and will be tried before surgery is recommended.
I hope the doctors told you what to watch out for. There are 3 reasons one might need surgery right away. If you have unmanagable, intolerable pain, and more importantly, if you have numbness in your foot that doesn't go away and/or you lose control of your bladder or bowels, this is considered a medical emergency and you should seek help immediately.
I hope that your problem will just be temporary and that your pain will resolve soon. I've been dealing with mine for about 2 1/2 years and am having a fusion on Jan. 7th.
Yep, same thing here, spondylolysthesis. When I was in college I had pain that I swore was hip or leg related. Once they did x-rays they told me the same thing - it had been there since birth but clearly had now surfaced in terms of symptoms. I had an L4-S1 fusion that went very well and 13 years later am still glad I did the surgery. For me it relieved the symptoms completely. I do have some back pain now (I figured I"d never be 100% pain free forever) but nothing like the sciatic pain you are describing.
Thank you, everybody, for all of the help! I've learned a lot, and it's nice to know that i'm not the only one with this..well, not that I want others to have this..but you know what I mean.
I went to my doctor today. She sent for a referral to a Nuero..but that will take 4-6 weeks. Then she wrote up prescriptions for Vicodin and a muscle relaxer..yikes! I'm very sensitive to medications. I mean i can't even take more than 200 mg of Motrin without feeling out of it. I think my doctor is expecting me to go into a coma for 4-6 weeks.
I still can't sleep. I tried everything last night..and the dumb spasm would start whenever I would stay in any position long enough..like 3 minutes at a time. The best postition was sitting up, slumped forward over pillows with my legs pretzel style. Not comfortable, but it would help with the spasms.
Today the spasms seem to be more isolated to my butt, rather than running down my leg too. Would that be a sign of recovering? I sure hope so. I can't handle this much longer. i can't drive because the car sitting position sets it off. Not good if I happen to pass out while driving my kids and mom around.
You guys are great! Thank you for all of the advice and support!
If you have nerve compression, either from inflammation or perhaps from a disk issue, the meds you were prescribed won't help much. Hopefully the inflammation will go down and by the time the appointment rolls around, you won' need to go see the doc!!
Regarding the driving, you might try moving the seat into different positions, using a pillow or something that will get you into a slightly different position. Depending on where the edge of the seat hits your thigh, it can be the difference between being able to drive and staying home. Sometimes just an inch or two will make a difference in whether you're comfortable, or not...or whether you can tolerate it, or not!! This holds true with shoes, too. You will probably find that one heel height (and this could just be among all your "flat" shoes -- they actually all pitch your pelvis slightly differently) is more comfortable than any of your other shoes. You really have to experiment because with sciatic pain, a matter of millimeters can make a difference in whether it is being pinched, or not. Sometimes just bending forward a tiny little bit will take the pressure off the spine.
You might ask Santa for a good back book. One I find useful is Living Well with Back Pain by Robert B. Winter.
Ya know, I was thinking about my shoes today too. I think my sneakers are okay..but I don't know about some of my others.
I did argue with my doctor a little today about the pain med and muscle relaxers. I thought I was suppose to be tightening up those muscles, not making them loose. I told her that i purposely keep my muscles tightened up just to keep the pain away. That's why I can't sleep at night. I'm hunched over pillows and moving constantly.
As far as the vicodin, I told her that I don't think that anything would stop that jabbing pain from hitting, unless I am knocked out. Maybe that was the idea when she prescribed those. LOL!
I'll try that with my car seat after I've healed a little more. I hope soon.
The muscle relaxers your doc prescribed should help with the spasms. Decrease their severity and frequency. You may find the vicodin works really well, and it seems to make less people loopy than, say, percocet.
I just had a fusion to repair my spondy (2 months ago). At the time of my surgery, I could not stand, walk, or sit for more than 20 seconds without falling to the floor with stabbing leg pain. I was to the point where only surgery was going to work. You probably aren't there yet, but I don't think I need to tell you that you are going to have to sleep sometime If it's as bad as you say, it doesn't sound like you're going to be able to fight your way through it. You are going to have to take it easy for a while. If folks owe you favors, now may be a good time to call 'em in.
Please try to take it easy, you don't want your four year old to have to call 911 again.
Take Care and keep us posted,
PS I'm sure you've probably tried it already, but the only position that worked for me sleeping was llaying on my good side, with a large pillow between my legs and a smaller pillow as a wedge to tilt my butt forward.
Cheryl, I feel your pain. I have herniated discs at L4, L5 and have been waiting for surgery since 2005. I have approval by s/c but the actual surgeon now says he wants me to go back to the other surgeon with updated test results as he says he can't fix the arthritus in the lower back but can only relieve the nerve pain down the legs. Last Saturday, I simply leaned forward to move a pillow and went down on the floor in pain. I couldn't even call out I was paralized in pain. One of my chihuahuas came in the room and starting barking at me prompting my hubby to come check. I had him put a linocaine patch that was prescribed for my arm injured at the same time as the initial incident on my back. Within an hour I was able to move again. I could not bend over but I was able to get through the day. 12 hours later when the patch had to be removed I was disabled again. Today, five days later I am almost back to my normal level of pain and didn't use a patch today. Like you I am very sensitive to drugs so this has been a good alternative to feeling loopy.
As I read everyone's description of pain, I'm wondering if I've had some sciatic pain for years and didn't know it. I would get a horrible spasm in my back that would sometimes run through my hips. It was triggered by certain movements. I could relieve it by laying on my left side for 30 minutes. That was bad enough, but this new pain is like a shocking. I feel like what I would imagine being struck by lightening would be like. The worst part is that it just comes out of the blue without me moving or doing anything. That's why I have to move every few seconds. Walking seems to be the best..so I walk around the house all day and part of the night. When I'm still I feel like someone is behind me with a knife ready to go in at anytime. It's very scary. I'm basically living in fear right now and I'm exhausted.
Also, I can't be drugged out all night. I have 2 boys with insulin dependent (juvenile) diabetes. I have to check and control their blood sugars during the night as well as during the day.
I did get a little sleep last night..slumped over pillows, sitting up. Ice before bed seems to help a little...but i still have to get up and walk and stretch every other hour or sooner.
Today I'm using a heat pack that is relieving my tensed up muscles from sitting up all night. I'm exhausted!!