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Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.


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Old 08-31-2018, 06:33 PM   #1
martinb8034
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Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

Hello, 5 months post op. One week of excruciating sciatic pain in the left side left rear area and back. Going for walks every day. Doesn't seem to help. Seems to aggravate the condition. But I know I got to keep moving. Laying on the bed the rest of the time with ice packs and Heat. God the thought of this being permanent is just too overwhelming for me. It's messing with my head. I know it's early, but I got a feeling this this isn't going to go away if I keep doing the activities that I used to like to do. Next step is I'll wait another 2 weeks call Advice Nurse set up an appointment to see my surgeon. Was scheduled to see him in February of 2019 for a 6-month check-up. But if I'm going to continue with this sciatic, I am going to ask for real strong pain medication. Norcos ain't cutting it. Need something stronger. Then he can gabapentin like candy that isn't working. So here I am on my bed watching TV. Have a nice day everyone.

 
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:13 PM   #2
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

Dear martinb,

From my personal experience gentle exercise after surgery is important to avoid locked joints, but also in my experience all that will release the pinched sciatic nerve, which runs right through the buttocks, is to gently stretch those buttock muscles.

It's normal when in pain to tighten the muscles, but for the nerve pain to go away those muscles must get relaxed. Drugs can take off the edge but don't get rid of the source of the problem. It's also very unlikely related to the surgery, except that you have been relatively inactive for awhile.

You can look up a phrase such as 'releasing the sciatic nerve' and find many different stretches that address the problem. A physical therapist might tell you these things, but it is sadly unlikely that a surgeon or medical doctor will tell you how to relieve pinched sciatic nerves. Usually they simply have no training in the department of self-pain management. Look it up and try the stretches and see for yourself. Be gentle when stretching, but do it several times a day until the pain subsides.
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 08-31-2018 at 09:17 PM.

 
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Old 09-01-2018, 08:25 AM   #3
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

My husband had such horrible sciatic pain that he wound up getting cortisone injections, which did really help. It reduces the inflammation and with that, the nerves 'calm down".

He also invested in an inversion table and hangs from it for 8 minutes every day,...he says it takes the pressure off the nerve and really helps.

Maybe talk to your doctor about PT or some sort of therapy before doing the surgery route.
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:00 AM   #4
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

Are you still able to work ...I think you said in another post, one night per week?

I would encourage you to read up on piriformis syndrome and look on you tube for demonstrations of exercises to release the piriformis. You will find millions of articles and "how to get rid of" videos, articles and products relating to "sciatica." I know this from personal experience, having bought and tried numerous things in search of some relief to my sciatic pain....The problem with all these things is that they tend to regard "sciatica" as stemming from a single cause...which is inaccurate.

Obviously I don't know specifically why you are now having this trouble. I just went back through all the old threads and your pre surgery issues were very similar to what I had going on. I would like to reiterate that the L5 nerve root was quite impacted by the stenosis you had going on and with that damaged disc. The surgeon was able to clean out and open up the central canal which helped a lot with the pain you were experiencing, but he couldn't do anything about the damage to the nerve. Hopefully with time and now that it is no longer compressed, the ability to get nutrients, etc. it will gradually recover. This process can take months and months so you must not get discouraged.

I would suggest you take short walks several times per day but do little else in the way of exercise. Walk one block and back if you are able. If the pain is too great, you maybe need to do nothing for a week to see if you can get the pain to back off. Try mixing up using ice and heat. Sit as little as possible. Try not to think ahead, worrying about what life will be like IF....

It is important to keep a positive attitude. As I told you before, it took me a good 15 months to get to the point that I could walk and move without pain. After about the first six months, I learned to just live for the day. For now you need to get the sciatic pain to calm down...if you rest for the next week-ten days and it hasn't quieted down then I think you should call your surgeon and get either a Medrol Park or something similar. Perhaps an injection might be effective if he feels it is the nerve root that is irritated.

The thing to keep in mind is that now with the fusion from L3 to S1 you no longer have any mobility in that part of the spine. So...the first segment after that point is now having to take up that slack. This throws off structural alignment of the whole spine....it creates muscle imbalances and a whole new situation that your body must get used to.

Spine surgery is not like any other surgery where an organ is removed or altered. This surgery changes the way you move, walk, sit, etc. It takes awhile for the body to learn its new positioning!

This is where the idea of the possibility that pain is coming from the sacral area or that there are muscle imbalances in the buttocks, piriformis, etc., that causes irritation of the sciatic nerve as it cuts across the buttocks comes in!

Finally it is my experience that no pain medication will touch sciatic pain. Opioids only make the person care less. Gabapentin/lyrical are of limited use. Etc. You must find another way to deal with this...but for now, remember that you are early in the process....be patient. Learn to listen to your body.

And a final thought...if your surgeon is like most spine surgeons I have met, he will not be particularly concerned about your sciatic nerve pain. He will want to assure himself that all hardware is in place and that there is nothing compressing the nerve or a nerve. Once he is assured of this, his job will be done. Pain is not a concern of a spine surgeon!

 
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:39 AM   #5
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488008]Are you still able to work ...I think you said in another post, one night per week?

I am not ready to go back to work yet. If I go out and play music one night a week and pay for it, I'm definitely not ready to go back to work. I have to play tonight so it's going to be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow.

Maybe your right about nerve damage. It's probably going to just take more time. It seems to be a little bit better this week but I have to be super careful. I'm almost through with the prednisone treatment. I think it's helped a little. Going to start physical therapy next week. At least go in for a consultation to see if there's anything they can do for gentle exercises. I'm doing everything else right walking drastic weight loss program. There's no sense in making an appointment with the surgeon yet it's too early to go in I just seen them. He's not going to tell me anything new. It's like you said if all the screws are intact his job is done. Thank you so much for the valuable information.

 
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:43 AM   #6
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=YaYagirl;5487979]Dear martinb,


You can look up a phrase such as 'releasing the sciatic nerve' and find many different stretches that address the problem. A physical therapist might tell you these things, but it is sadly unlikely that a surgeon or medical doctor will tell you how to relieve pinched sciatic nerves. Usually they simply have no training in the department of self-pain management. Look it up and try the stretches and see for yourself. Be gentle when stretching, but do it several times a day until the pain subsides.[/QUOTE]

Thank you.

 
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:33 AM   #7
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

How did you feel after playing last night?

 
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:11 PM   #8
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488098]How did you feel after playing last night?[/QUOTE]
I am feeling my sciatic. So today is rest day ice and Heat. Matter fact that's what it's going to be for the rest of the week.

And I am very careful I don't carry more than 20 lb 30 at the most. I keep it close to my body when I lift. If there is anything else heavier I ask for help. Matter fact I'm starting to ask for help in the grocery store. Have one more day a prednisone, and then I don't know what else to do. I have to lean on my right foot quite a bit to take the pressure off the left side . And when I lay on the bed I have to cross my left leg over my right leg and keep it that way for a period of time to get relief. Not a nice way to live after surgery but that's the way it is. I'm going to take your suggestion and look for some of the sciatic exercises and try some gentle stretching.

Last edited by martinb8034; 09-04-2018 at 10:05 PM.

 
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:29 PM   #9
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

Have you had any imagery (like new MRI) done since the surgery to check that hardware is properly placed and nothing is amiss?

They ended up going in from front and back, right? Do you have cages, pedicle screws and rods?

Last edited by teteri66; 09-04-2018 at 10:30 PM.

 
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Old 09-05-2018, 05:18 PM   #10
martinb8034
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488134]Have you had any imagery (like new MRI) done since the surgery to check that hardware is properly placed and nothing is amiss?

Not yet. I'm going to wait till my appointment in February see what happens with the sciatic. I know it's a long time off to be suffering with it but if I ask for an MRI now, I don't think he's going to give it to me it's too early. I am curious though to see if there's anything that's pressing on Hardware or Etc. Yes I did have the front back done. Because I had 2 top surgeons in the Bay Area tell me that it would be a stronger Fusion. Was very hard because they did both the front and the back the same day. I have two cages four screws, two brackets.



They ended up going in from front and back, right? Do you have cages, pedicle screws and rods?[/QUOTE]

 
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:58 PM   #11
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

I had a MRI three weeks after my first fusion...which was unusual...but six months isn't that unusual especially when you have so much pain. That is usually the first test they order to see if hardware is in place, although it is far from definitive. A friend of mine had a pedicle screw that was actually piercing a spinal nerve and it took over two years and numerous specialists' visits before she was diagnosed...and this began with a fusion at a top Univ. Spine program.

 
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:43 AM   #12
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488178]I had a MRI three weeks after my first fusion...which was unusual...but six months isn't that unusual especially when you have so much pain. That is usually the first test they order to see if hardware is in place, although it is far from definitive. A friend of mine had a pedicle screw that was actually piercing a spinal nerve and it took over two years and numerous specialists' visits before she was diagnosed...and this began with a fusion at a top Univ. Spine program.[/QUOTE]

It wouldn't surprise me if some of the hardware is rubbing on a nerve somewhere in there. Even if that's the case and there is that is being aggravated by Hardware in there, I am not going back in for surgery again. I've heard too many horror stories about second surgeries and Scar Tissue. Could make it worse. Sorry I had to surgery now it's too late.

Last edited by martinb8034; 09-06-2018 at 11:45 AM.

 
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:34 PM   #13
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

I wouldn't assume that to be the case. It isn't all that common. You've had major surgery from the front and the back and your body is still recovering. Do what you can to give yourself the best chance to heal completely.

Have you tried the "traction" exercise I mentioned?

I just had a long talk with a man who is a very experienced physical therapy professor who specializes in orthopedic cases. I am embarking on a new exercise regime and I like to run things by him to find the best way to proceed without irritating the spinal nerves. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where he will consider me anything other than a neurologically challenged individual!

I can still do most everything I want. It just takes me much longer to accomplish a goal compared to someone who has never had spine surgery. One thing he explained to me might help you in understanding your condition...I'll see if I can reiterate what he told me yesterday.

He told me that I need to proceed very slowly when I undertake any new exercise program where I am conditioning what muscles I have and adding on to their mass. If I try to do this before the nerve comes along at the same pace, as the muscle increases in size, the nerve gets irritated....and I end up with nerve flare. But when I work at a slow pace the nerve has time to adjust and it comes along and grows new cells as well.

Normal people without neural compromise can begin a walking program post spine surgery and then go into a strengthening program in PT. But for those of us who suffered nerve damage either before surgery or as a result of surgery, have to find other ways to recondition the body, to relearn proper structural alignment, etc.

I believe you are too early in the process to assume the worst. Try to devote that energy to working toward a solution. I would give yourself several more months. If things are not gradually getting better then you might want to look for some non traditional solutions...bodywork, acupuncture, and similar modalities.

 
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:22 AM   #14
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488217]I wouldn't assume that to be the case. It isn't all that common. You've had major surgery from the front and the back and your body is still recovering. Do what you can to give yourself the best chance to heal completely.

Well see after a year.

Have you tried the "traction" exercise I mentioned?

No, but I will.

I just had a long talk with a man who is a very experienced physical therapy professor who specializes in orthopedic cases. I am embarking on a new exercise regime and I like to run things by him to find the best way to proceed without irritating the spinal nerves. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where he will consider me anything other than a neurologically challenged individual!

I can still do most everything I want. It just takes me much longer to accomplish a goal compared to someone who has never had spine surgery. One thing he explained to me might help you in understanding your condition...I'll see if I can reiterate what he told me yesterday.
He told me that I need to proceed very slowly when I undertake any new exercise program where I am conditioning what muscles I have and adding on to their mass. If I try to do this before the nerve comes along at the same pace, as the muscle increases in size, the nerve gets irritated....and I end up with nerve flare. But when I work at a slow pace the nerve has time to adjust and it comes along and grows new cells as well.

Very interesting. I did not know that. Makes sense.

Normal people without neural compromise can begin a walking program post spine surgery and then go into a strengthening program in PT. But for those of us who suffered nerve damage either before surgery or as a result of surgery, have to find other ways to recondition the body, to relearn proper structural alignment, etc.

I believe you are too early in the process to assume the worst. Try to devote that energy to working toward a solution. I would give yourself several more months. If things are not gradually getting better then you might want to look for some non traditional solutions...bodywork, acupuncture, and similar modalities.[/QUOTE]

I really hope your right. Because not only physically is this taxing on your body, I am mentally drained from this procedure. Thank you for your positive response.

 
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:52 PM   #15
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Re: Sciatic condition 5 for 5 days now.

You just need to hear from people like me who know that much of the information we receive from our spine surgeons tends to be "best case scenario" and they also tend to be a bit on the optimistic side when talking timetables, etc.

I cannot stress enough that while you may hear of people bouncing back from lumbar spinal fusion in a few months time...I am convinced that is the exception rather than the rule. You have been opened up from both the front and the back. A number of muscles, soft tissue and fascia have been cut or moved. This all just takes awhile to heal...and then the real work begins. The body needs to learn a new way to move to compensate for the loss of mobility in the lumbar spine.

The nerves that were compressed were damaged. Depending on how long they were compressed, there can be scarring of the nerve itself. Eventually the cells will regenerate and some new ones will grow...but this is a very slow process. There is no way to know how long it may take and whether the nerve will completely return to "normal." Spine surgeons I've known tend to say if the nerve hasn't recovered in 12-15 months, it probably will show no further recovery. However, I know acupuncturists who have seen progress in stroke patients beyond that time period. I also know that nerves are one area of the body about which researchers and doctors have much to learn!

So for these reasons I encourage you to be patient and try to be optimistic and work to find some solutions to your specific issues in recovery.

 
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