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    Old 05-27-2006, 05:42 AM   #1
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    Question Constant sciatica w/ back pain

    On November of 2004 I was running on treadmill for a stress exam which was a requiremnt for a law enfocement position. While running I could feel my feet slamming on the treadmill and felt a sharp pain in my right buttock. I didn't think anything of it at the time. A couple of days later the pain increased and my right leg started going numb and felt like it was on fire. I went to the ER and I was told I had sciatica and it was due to a herniated disc.

    After two months the symptoms subsided and I felt good enough to go through a police academy. While at the academy I was running and I felt the same pain again. Once again I got the numbness and burining pain. I was sent to an orthopedic doctor and he told me the same thing as the ER doctor: herniated disc. I had an MRI done of my back and the results were negative. He sent me in for an MRI of my hips and glutes to check for piriformis syndrome: negative.

    I went to my primary care physician and he told me that the bulge might be pertruding when I sit, walk, and run, not when I am lying down while in the MRI machine. A chiropractor told me I have a disc tear thats oozing fluids that are highly iirritating to the surrounding nerves and that MRIs don't pick them up. The chiropractor suggested a motion MRI and a discogram.

    Since Nov 2004 I've had the following symptoms: Pain, burning, numbness, spasms, denervation, and muscle atrophy of the right buttock and right calf.

    Has anyone had sciatica [B]without[/B] any physical abnormalities on an MRI?

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    Old 05-27-2006, 05:57 AM   #2
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    Re: Constant sciatica w/ back pain

    Hi there,
    Absolutely, that is certainly not unheard of and a lot of people have to suffer for a while with it because people tend to maybe Not believe you. It can be very difficult. I know first hand that this is true. I suffered for 3 years with a misdiagnosis and it was one that really made it hard for people to really understand my pain and believe that something was truly wrong.
    Finally I went in for surgery and everybody understood after the surgery. It ended up that I had numerous fractures in my lumbar region, sciatica, I needed a fusion and my nerves were tied up like my surgeon had never seen before. So to make a long story short, I had the fusion, he cleaned up the broken bones and "untied" the nerves. It's now 4 months later and I have a broken screw. I have to go through another surgery that will be 10 hours and quite invasive.
    So, what I am saying is it's absolutely true that not everything can show up on diagnostic tests. If that were true I would not have had to wait 3 years before having my first surgery and things wouldn't have been so bad. I'm not too sure what the answer is to this but I guess a good start would be to have a standing up MRI. I never had this option but I believe that some people on the board have.
    Good luck and please keep me posted with what goes on. Be sure to take care of yourself. You know how your body feels so listen to it and don't over do it. Kristy.

    Old 05-27-2006, 06:45 AM   #3
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    Re: Constant sciatica w/ back pain

    I also had numerous tests for my back before they found the reason for the extreme pain I was experiencing. MRI, CT, tried therapy, injections finally had a Discogram. They found that I had some discs that were bulging and some would not retain the fluid. I would say have a discogram. I wasted over 2 years with tests and therapy for something that could only be corrected by surgery.

    Old 05-27-2006, 07:21 AM   #4
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    Re: Constant sciatica w/ back pain

    My son's experience might be of some help to you - at least it's encouraging.
    My son is 44 years old. He had been having some back pain and began to lean forward when he walked. The pain got worse, and he had an MRI which said that he had a huge L3-L4 disk herniation which was causing severe stenosis. Physical Therapy helped him a lot, even though it was "very Painful" (the PT). He had seen several doctors - one of which was an orthopedic surgeon who said that he should immediately have an operation.
    Another orthopedist told him that he had caused his back problem to worsen by compensating for the pain by leaning forward, and advised him to see a physical therapist, which he did. He also had one epidural steroid shot, which made his sciatic pain disappear.
    He decided to try to avoid having surgery as long as possible. Instead, he continued with his back exercises, began walking up to 4 miles a day (gradually, of course), and changed his position when drumming. At the present time he is pain-free. He does his exercises each morning religiously and walks 4-5 miles a day. He has given up skiing but still hikes, rides bikes (not leaning forward), etc.
    He followed the advice of a chiropractor on the internet who had had really bad back problems and started a web page to try to help people avoid the problems he had. My son did not see a chiropractor, however. This internet chiropractor said that it is possible for people to correct their back problems, especially if they are young, without surgery. Your problem sounds a lot like my son's in that you only have pain when you do certain things. Perhaps you are walking in a way that is not good for your back, etc. A good PT should be able to help you. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

    Last edited by mabent; 05-27-2006 at 07:33 AM. Reason: to add something else

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