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  • Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

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    Old 01-05-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
    tja
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    Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    I am new here and have read many threads and gotten lots of good information. I would be so appreciative of any help anyone could offer here!!!

    History-Quick Version:
    L5/S1 lamenectomy 2/1/10. Difficult recovery but totally pain and numbness free within 3 months.
    10/15/10: Twisting injury at work brought back pain. Numbness returned.
    11/10: MRI results-L4/L5 disc herniation, L5/S1 disc bulging
    12/10: ESI which reduced symptoms but did not eliminate.
    Current: Last couple of days have been miserable pain and numbness which seems worse than before the shot. Back to my neurosurgeon tomorrow ...

    My neurosurgeon is very confident he can fix this without surgery. First thing he did was take me out of work. Then scheduled an injections. I have had this before surgery through my Spinal Specialist, but this one was different. This doctor used Xrays throughout. He actually cared about my pain and well being and spent a great deal of time with me. My previous injection was done quickly and the doctor could have cared less about me, and it only made it all worse.

    He has kept me off work and "off my feet." I had a reduction in symptoms which was wonderful, but in the last couple of days it has come back with a vengeance! The pain is in my low back, left buttock and my leg. The back and butt pain are very sharp and acutely painful and worsen with sitting and extended standing. I also get electric shock type pains in my rear/very upper thigh. The leg pain is a deep, very painful ache (not such a sharp pain, but just as bad). The numbness is the WORST. It is always in my lower leg and can spread to my upper (I would have expected the opposite.) It causes a heavy, numb foot and calf (front and left side of my calf) and weakness. The numbness will tingle (pins and needles) at times and will spread to my upper thigh front and back. I also at times get the feeling of things crawling on my leg in those spots.

    I go back to my doctor tomorrow and am concerned about further referrals for injections. I know I have only tried it limited times, but I don't know how many times I want that sharp object and injections near by nerves. But nothing else is working! I have always been in shape and very active and being stuck off my feet is making it all worse psychologically, much less I feel like physically I am just losing muscle tone which I need, right?? I don't know how to navigate from here and am looking for help about these symptoms! THANK YOU for any help!

     
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    Old 01-05-2011, 10:37 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Hello and welcome to the board. Sorry you find yourself in this situation, but hopefully you will be able to get some relief soon. I hope you will come back and let us know what you find out at your appointment tomorrow.

    If all your pain is coming from your disc herniations, it is possible to have a resolution of the problem without surgery...but when you are having numbness, current thinking is that you do not want to leave the nerve compressed for "too" long.

    The injections are standard procedure as they are trying to get the inflammation to go down so the nerve has space in which to function more normally. Since they contain a corticosteroid, you are limited to the number you should have per year. That number varies from specialist to specialist but generally is somewhere between three and six.

    Keep in mind that at least as I understand your symptoms, and of course all of us are fellow "spineys" without any formal medical training, your pain is coming from some spinal nerve root compression, probably the result of those disc herniations at L4-5 and L5-S1. In order to attempt to be relatively pain-free again, and resume your active lifestyle, it will be necessary to somehow get that nerve or nerves decompressed, so that there is enough space so that the blood can flow freely -- hopefully he can accomplish this without surgery.

    I am extremely familiar with sciatic-type pain and have permanent numbness in both feet, so you have my sympathy. Good luck tomorrow, and please report back.

     
    Old 01-05-2011, 10:57 PM   #3
    WhatisPain
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Thank you so much for sharing this I have also lost sensation in my right foot I thought I could get it back. I want to try a Osthopath some people have found relief I guess I am looking for all types of relief without staring the sugery root.

    I was misdiagnosed for such a long time cause I also had damage to my ankle. They treated it but didn't realize that the back was also injured until it got progressively worse. I started with a Chiropracter, then exercises, medication, now shots. I also am loosing muscle tone in the leg. Now it is beginning to affect the other leg. I think it's affecting my digestion. So glad to be able to talk to fellow sufferers to figure out what to do. There is just limited info on what actually works I will try to Orthopath and see if I need manipulation. Thanks.

     
    Old 01-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #4
    maltluver
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WhatisPain View Post
    Thank you so much for sharing this I have also lost sensation in my right foot I thought I could get it back. I want to try a Osthopath some people have found relief I guess I am looking for all types of relief without staring the sugery root.

    I was misdiagnosed for such a long time cause I also had damage to my ankle. They treated it but didn't realize that the back was also injured until it got progressively worse. I started with a Chiropracter, then exercises, medication, now shots. I also am loosing muscle tone in the leg. Now it is beginning to affect the other leg. I think it's affecting my digestion. So glad to be able to talk to fellow sufferers to figure out what to do. There is just limited info on what actually works I will try to Orthopath and see if I need manipulation. Thanks.
    Hi, and welcome. It most definitely sounds like severe nerve root impingement and with all the numbness and loss of muscle tone, I think more injections aren't going to be helpful.

    Have you thought about getting a second opinion? As your doctor seems to be reluctant to discuss surgery with you, I think a second opinion is vital. It can't hurt and it can be quite helpful to have "fresh" eyes take a look at your films. You don't want to allow a nerve to be compressed too long as the damage can become permanent and you already have some severe symptoms. I know that you don't want to think about surgery( who does?) but sometimes it is the only way to get help and relief. I am concerned that you are considering manipulation. With the problems you have, that can be quite dangerous and I would think twice before going that route. At the very least, it seems to me to be wiser to get the 2nd opinion and discuss going for manipulation with the experts.

    Keep in mind that this is just my own opinion and I am no more than a layman who has had several spinal surgeries. I am only sharing what I have learned from both experience and research, but I am certainly no expert.

    I wish you well and hope you will stay in touch with us.

    Blessings.

    Carol

     
    Old 01-06-2011, 12:01 PM   #5
    WhatisPain
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Thank you for responding so fast yes it is scary and the feeling of water running down my legs is really scary especially when the doctors stop talking. I have already scheduled an appointment for a second opinion I am scared of the symptoms getting worse and suffering more nerve damage. Since I cannot sit and standing is an issue also.

    I have suffered for 8 years going on 9 years not knowing what it is..it's not the surgery so much that scares me it's getting the necessary after care treatment to and help to get back on my feet.

     
    Old 01-06-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
    teteri66
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    The sensory feelings, such as "electric shock" or water running down the leg, are actually less serious than numbness. While it is disconcerting, it is an indication of some spinal nerve compression.

    Have you seen a spine specialist, either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon who devotes the majority of his/her practice to issues of the back and neck, for a diagnosis and plan of treatment? As Carol indicated, you don't want someone manipulating your spine unless you have an accurate diagnosis and know that it will not cause further nerve damage.

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 05:59 AM   #7
    WhatisPain
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tetonteri66 View Post
    The sensory feelings, such as "electric shock" or water running down the leg, are actually less serious than numbness. While it is disconcerting, it is an indication of some spinal nerve compression.

    Have you seen a spine specialist, either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon who devotes the majority of his/her practice to issues of the back and neck, for a diagnosis and plan of treatment? As Carol indicated, you don't want someone manipulating your spine unless you have an accurate diagnosis and know that it will not cause further nerve damage.
    I have not had any diagnosis which is very upsetting..what is bothering me the most is not being able to sit up even on a shower chair or to sit up. Getting numbness in the lower back and my left big toe concerns me I have an appointment for someone else to look at my films and report. I tell you so diappointed in the medical establishment. I have been looking for a doctor to give a good diagnosis and treat yet my insurance company's suggestion is always chiropractor. Any sharp movement irritates the nerve and I am also have bowel difficulties just concerned hope to find a doctor that truly is knowledgeable and cares to explain the situation and himself and what he suggests.

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 06:26 AM   #8
    teteri66
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    May I ask if you are located in the US?

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 06:42 AM   #9
    tja
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tetonteri66 View Post
    Hello and welcome to the board. Sorry you find yourself in this situation, but hopefully you will be able to get some relief soon. I hope you will come back and let us know what you find out at your appointment tomorrow.

    If all your pain is coming from your disc herniations, it is possible to have a resolution of the problem without surgery...but when you are having numbness, current thinking is that you do not want to leave the nerve compressed for "too" long.

    The injections are standard procedure as they are trying to get the inflammation to go down so the nerve has space in which to function more normally. Since they contain a corticosteroid, you are limited to the number you should have per year. That number varies from specialist to specialist but generally is somewhere between three and six.

    Keep in mind that at least as I understand your symptoms, and of course all of us are fellow "spineys" without any formal medical training, your pain is coming from some spinal nerve root compression, probably the result of those disc herniations at L4-5 and L5-S1. In order to attempt to be relatively pain-free again, and resume your active lifestyle, it will be necessary to somehow get that nerve or nerves decompressed, so that there is enough space so that the blood can flow freely -- hopefully he can accomplish this without surgery.

    I am extremely familiar with sciatic-type pain and have permanent numbness in both feet, so you have my sympathy. Good luck tomorrow, and please report back.
    Thank you for your understanding. My doctor is very understanding of my concerns about doing another injection, but he recommended trying one more. My previous surgery was done by an Orthopedic Surgeon. I was going to a Spine Clinic back then and only saw my Physiotherapist, who I really did NOT like. She was one of those doctors who kept saying "mm-hmmm" while I was talking while glancing at me over her glasses from her reading my file, generally not really listening to me. Her responses were totally off from what I was saying. My mom was visiting me one time and she is a retired RN, has dealt with many difficult doctors, so I took her with me once and she was flabergasted with how rude this lady was. I had seen the actual surgeon for maybe 30 to 45 minutes at that clinic. I am now seeing a Neurosurgeon who I really trust and love. I see HIM or his PA, but he always checks in with me in the examining room, even if my appointment is with his PA. My neurosurgeon is absolutely wanting to try to solve this without surgery and I love that he is very dedicated to that always goes into problem solving mode. He also convinced me to try Lyrica.

    Here is where I get confused. The MRI does not show a BIG compression on the nerves. So why am I getting this HUGE pain/numbness in my leg? It is not slight, it is really extreme numbness and tingling. He was disappointed that the pain and numbness came back so fast and really reacted to me saying it came back with a vengeance. He said that he felt safe doing one more injection. If the result is the same he wants to do a Myleogram (sp?). I hope I took the right path!

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 06:54 AM   #10
    tja
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tetonteri66 View Post
    The sensory feelings, such as "electric shock" or water running down the leg, are actually less serious than numbness. While it is disconcerting, it is an indication of some spinal nerve compression.

    Have you seen a spine specialist, either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon who devotes the majority of his/her practice to issues of the back and neck, for a diagnosis and plan of treatment? As Carol indicated, you don't want someone manipulating your spine unless you have an accurate diagnosis and know that it will not cause further nerve damage.
    I would also agree about manipulating the spine. I would be reluctant to do that without further guidance from a Ortho or Neurosurgeron.
    I had surgery last February and the results were great until this twisting injury.
    Have you looked into Arachnoiditis? The feeling of water running down your leg is one of the symtpoms. I know how frustrating all of this is!

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 08:52 AM   #11
    WhatisPain
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    New Jersey.

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 11:03 AM   #12
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    whatispain- i have had bouts with sciatica and i know it is painful ! my first treatment with pain mgmt for it back in 2005, the dr used a fluoroscope to do an injection diretly into hip socket - PAIN GONE IMMEDIATELY, and i did not have any sciatica flare ups for more than a year & so far, have not had to have another hip socket injection! he gave me a morphine lollipop to relax me, once i didnt give a crap, he began the procedure which was very quick. he gave me a local anesthetic injection to numb the area of hip injection. all i felt was a tiny *****. after a few minutes he was sticking the area to make sure i had no feeling there- i didnt feel any of the pricks. knowing it was nice and deadened, he did the hip socket injection- i never felt a thing and he was done very quickly.
    sounds like the first injection you had, the dr did not use the fluoroscope (xray guidance machine) that shows them exactly where they need to send the needle. NEVER let a dr give you an injection in your spine without using the fluoroscope !
    i suggest you ask dr to do a hip socket injection, as the sciatic nerve goes dead thru it and causes pain all the way down to your ankle. another thing, maybe you should have a nerve conduction study done. i had one done in early 2010 on both legs from knee to ankle, and it showed severe nerve damage in left leg, minor in right leg. my left leg, i felt very few shocks. the dr diagnosed it as peripheral neuropathy, possibly resulting from lower spine damage. i also have pain and numbness in feet. i have ddd, osteoarthritis, buldging disc, and osteophytes in lower spine, and even worse problems in my cervical spine.
    i have had one epidural at c3/4 level with made the pain worse, so no more of those. i now use the LIDODERM patches on my neck, along with oral meds & TENS unit. lidoderm helps the most, but since they can only be used for 12 hours out of 24, i rely on meds and TENS during awake time. i also wear a neck brace, on 30 minutes off 30 minutes repeat during daytime, but not when i have to drive.
    ask dr for lidoderm patches (this contains numbing agent lidocaine for pain), voltaren gel topical , and or flector patches (contains anti-inflammatory med), all are topical, not addictive or dependency forming, and can be used anywhere on the body (other than the head of course). these are my life line meds... good luck to you - hugs

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #13
    tja
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    msgenerallee: I agree with flourscope. As someone who had my first injection done without it, wow, what a difference with the second one. I had quite a flare up after the first injection without it. After my second injury I had one done with and the doctor was amazing. Didn't get longterm results, but doctor recommended one more to see if I could get better results.
    The study you had done, what that a myleogram (sp?)? My doctor said he would like to use that if this does not resolve in another month. Was it painful? Just curious what to expect if I have to go down that road.

     
    Old 01-07-2011, 09:40 PM   #14
    WhatisPain
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msgenerallee View Post
    whatispain- i have had bouts with sciatica and i know it is painful ! my first treatment with pain mgmt for it back in 2005, the dr used a fluoroscope to do an injection diretly into hip socket - PAIN GONE IMMEDIATELY, and i did not have any sciatica flare ups for more than a year & so far, have not had to have another hip socket injection! he gave me a morphine lollipop to relax me, once i didnt give a crap, he began the procedure which was very quick. he gave me a local anesthetic injection to numb the area of hip injection. all i felt was a tiny *****. after a few minutes he was sticking the area to make sure i had no feeling there- i didnt feel any of the pricks. knowing it was nice and deadened, he did the hip socket injection- i never felt a thing and he was done very quickly.
    sounds like the first injection you had, the dr did not use the fluoroscope (xray guidance machine) that shows them exactly where they need to send the needle. NEVER let a dr give you an injection in your spine without using the fluoroscope !
    i suggest you ask dr to do a hip socket injection, as the sciatic nerve goes dead thru it and causes pain all the way down to your ankle. another thing, maybe you should have a nerve conduction study done. i had one done in early 2010 on both legs from knee to ankle, and it showed severe nerve damage in left leg, minor in right leg. my left leg, i felt very few shocks. the dr diagnosed it as peripheral neuropathy, possibly resulting from lower spine damage. i also have pain and numbness in feet. i have ddd, osteoarthritis, buldging disc, and osteophytes in lower spine, and even worse problems in my cervical spine.
    i have had one epidural at c3/4 level with made the pain worse, so no more of those. i now use the LIDODERM patches on my neck, along with oral meds & TENS unit. lidoderm helps the most, but since they can only be used for 12 hours out of 24, i rely on meds and TENS during awake time. i also wear a neck brace, on 30 minutes off 30 minutes repeat during daytime, but not when i have to drive.
    ask dr for lidoderm patches (this contains numbing agent lidocaine for pain), voltaren gel topical , and or flector patches (contains anti-inflammatory med), all are topical, not addictive or dependency forming, and can be used anywhere on the body (other than the head of course). these are my life line meds... good luck to you - hugs
    The doctor used the scope I was watching as he was viewing my spine. he numbed it there was nothing wrong with the technique he helped the inflammation yet I am still having the issue with tail bone pain where I just cannot sit up for even 2 minutes. I have tried the Lidoderm patch I have gone through about 200 of those plus I can no longer take oral medication everything seems to upset my stomach. The hip socket injection was the first one they tried it worked yet I felt it was kind blocked it didn't go all the way down I felt the pressure and the shot go across my hip and not down to my ankle. I have done two nerve conduction tests, very painful. I just feel cut off from treatment as all they are suggesting or giving to deal with this is physical therapy since my allotment of injections have run out.

    I went 6 years without much treatment since they totally missed it, I am just trying to stop the nerve damage to my other foot. My whole leg is so weak it's difficult to walk on and I feel so off balanced surgery has it's risk I have tried tens but now have so much sensitivity in my foot it is painful. Massage in my foot and back helped a lot but the Physical Therapist wouldn't continue to do it. Just trying to find my way back to health.

     
    Old 01-09-2011, 10:13 AM   #15
    Arggg
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    Re: Please - need quick help! Sciatica numbness/pain is unbearable

    I've had sciatica successfully treated by a chiropractor in one or two sessions. Chiropractic is not for everyone, but it's done miracles for me.

     
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