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Kaji 10-06-2012 11:47 AM

I went to the orthopedist yesterday because I've been having a lot of pain and stiffness etc in my upper leg and I thought my bad knee was messing with my hip. He says it's not my hip at all - I've got sciatica, and the x-ray showed some arthritis in my lower back... so I have to have physical therapy (and an MRI on my knee, but that's another matter...) Any idea what I should expect?

Moldova 10-06-2012 11:56 AM

Re: Sciatica?
Well, if you lucky enough to find a good PT place, especially if they have walking swimming pool, you may benefit from it greatly.
Try to find a place locally where you can go and swim at least couple times a week, this helps a lot with Arthritic pain/changes.
OA is age related changes in our bodies and may affect any part of it. MRI will show every little thing in your knee, and if this prevents you from being active, they may offer some knee shots. For some people it works for some is not, depends on damages, age, etc. I had good once, forgot the name, but it made out of chicken. Suppose to be very expensive and helpful, many people say it great help to them.

They may offer epidurals; watch out for them especially now and read tons of information since latest fungal meningitis affected those who had latest epidurals done. I had a month ago few done, I am OK but my DR didn't use the troubled ones.

Try your best to stay active; swimming is the best thing for this type problems. PT, walking... Your body will tell you what you are capable of and what is too much for you. You should listen.

OA is something we all have to deal with sooner or later. So try your best!

Best wishes

Kaji 10-06-2012 12:22 PM

Re: Sciatica?
I had a back injury when I was a teenager, so I'm not really surprised that there's something actually there to show up on an x-ray... but my hips had early arthritis as well, and I've been having bodywide joint issues for the last two months. I'm only 41 and I feel more like 90!

teteri66 10-07-2012 12:45 AM

Re: Sciatica?
The Health Fairies are waiting to start the B illnesses until you get into your 50s. ;)

But seriously, have you had a lumbar MRI? It may turn out that you have something amiss in your lower lumbar spine that is causing the pain in your knee and hip, too. If there is misalignment in your spine, it can result in this sort of trouble.

Do you have any numbness or weakness in your leg? How long have you had the sciatic pain?

If you really think you are having pain in many joints all at once you may want to think about seeing a rheumatologist. There are some types of arthritis such as ankyosing spondilitis that need the attention of a specialist. Usually most of us have osteoarthritis in the spine...but sometimes it is more complicated.

Kaji 10-07-2012 07:54 AM

Re: Sciatica?
Somebody take the medical dictionary away before the health fairies get to something really nasty. :P
The doc didn't suggest an MRI of my back. He wants me to do PT. Which I believe is what the insurance company wants you to do first anyway... I've had sciatica/back problems a few times in the last five years, and there have been times when I can't lean forward without something to hang onto, and so on. My usual cure is to spend as much time flat on my back as I can for a week...
Funnily enough, I didn't associate my current problems with my back at all - I've been spending enough time lying down resting that my actual lower back hasn't hurt for months. It must be passing the pain on down the line. I wasn't too thrilled to look it up and find out that sciatica isn't actually 'the problem' it's just a symptom that something is amiss... not sure where that leaves me in the long term!
PS. The next thing I need to do is to ask my GP to send me to a rheumatologist... my SIL suggested it and I was already thinking that I should go. I'm not really any better than when I started my meds, it's just covered it up and made it so I can function semi-normally. I could hardly walk to the bathroom in the mornings without them, and now I can do two miles again. I tried to go a day without a pill to see if I could, and I didn't make it till lunchtime before all my joints started singing at me.

teteri66 10-07-2012 09:39 AM

Re: Sciatica?
If I were in your shoes (and I consider myself an expert on sciatic pain!) I would get the appropriate tests to rule out any form of Psoriatic Arthritis because I imagine the joint pain is a separate problem from your back issues.

I had sciatic pain for about five years and never had much back pain. But the point of origin for most sciatic pain is in the lower lumbar area. Mine was from a spondylolisthesis and stenosis...but it took three surgeries to "get it right."

I know a number of people who thought they had a hip problem, including one who was contemplating hip replacement surgery, when it was finally discovered that the pain was originating at the L4-L5 disc segment. My mother-in-law was being treated for hip bursitis for several years. I happened to be with her after I had my first back surgery, which was PLIF at L4-L5....After watching her walk, talk about her pain, etc. I suggested she had something similar to my problems at L4-L5 and suggested she go back to her doctor and ask him about that possibility. Sure enough, MRI showed a lot of stenosis at that level as well as enough other problems that she had a one level fusion at age 86...and, it resolved her hip pain.

And knee pain can be a result of problems with structural alignment. If one has pronation in the feet, it can cause knee issues, hip issues, can cause the pelvis to tip or rotate, carrying one hip higher than the other, etc. The issues get magnified as one moves up the spine. (Do you remember/know the old song "Dem Bones?" It makes this point of how the bones are all connected....)

Since you will be going to a physical therapist, you might ask him/her to evaluate your posture and beginning with your feet, which are the foundation of our structural alignment, see how you "stack up."

If you continue to have sciatic pain, please go see a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon whose practice is limited to the back and neck. If you have a condition like stenosis, no amount of PT will be able to resolve the issue.

Kaji 10-07-2012 12:51 PM

Re: Sciatica?
Thanks for your helpful response! I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes... speaking of which, I just now realised that my limp is most often NOT coming from my knee at all - I assumed it was because when it hurts I limp... but I'm limping a whole lot more, and it's not from not bending my knee - my right leg works normally, but my my left foot is dropping a little at the front and dragging on the floor unless I make a major effort to avoid it. The further I walk the more I loosen up and the more normally I go, but for short distances it's a definite shuffle. I just pushed a grocery cart around the store with no limp - but the minute I left the cart behind, back it came. Not sure if it's anything more than a bad habit, but I never used to do this.

trragtop 10-12-2012 09:47 PM

Re: Sciatica?
i also had pain above & below right knee. surgeon & therapist both correctly advised it was sympton of l4 related isuue. so go get mri & seek surgeon's opinion. also post surgery i had leg/foot issue & walking exercise helped me, especially walking backwards exercise for 10-15 mins every 3 hrs. good luck

teteri66 10-13-2012 11:23 AM

Re: Sciatica?
Kaji -- what you are describing sounds like a condition called "foot drop" and it is a result of nerve damage or compression to a lower lumbar spine nerve. It is not caused by a problem in the knee itself. Was your doctor made aware of this foot drop? If so, I can't believe he wouldn't order a MRI for you.

Are you going to physical therapy? If so, be sure to mention this weakness and ask for exercises for sciatic pain. Even though you haven't had a MRI, you might want to proceed as though you have a problem with those lower lumbar segments: L4-L5 and L5-S1.

Also you can look online for sciatica exercises...and you can gently try a couple to see how it goes. Just look for a site run by a physical therapist or a doctor, not one that wants you to buy a miracle cure!!

Kaji 10-13-2012 12:00 PM

Re: Sciatica?
I wasn't aware that it WAS foot drop until after I'd seen him, or I would have made sure to mention it. I went into the consultation thinking my knee was the big issue, but it's really just a red herring. He asked if I limp, and I told him I limp a LOT. He x-rayed my lower back and said there's some arthritis in there, and he referred me for physical therapy. I won't see them till Thursday. On the good side, the sciatica has been easing off, probably because I've been resting a lot more. But my lower back has been tweaking occasionally when I reach or bend. Ouch!

teteri66 10-13-2012 01:14 PM

Re: Sciatica?
Try not to bend or twist. Did I tell you about lying on the floor? I write it so often I lose track of who I've mentioned it to....

katrae 10-15-2012 06:19 AM

Re: Sciatica?
[QUOTE=Kaji;5071655]I wasn't aware that it WAS foot drop until after I'd seen him, or I would have made sure to mention it. I went into the consultation thinking my knee was the big issue, but it's really just a red herring. He asked if I limp, and I told him I limp a LOT. He x-rayed my lower back and said there's some arthritis in there, and he referred me for physical therapy. I won't see them till Thursday. On the good side, the sciatica has been easing off, probably because I've been resting a lot more. But my lower back has been tweaking occasionally when I reach or bend. Ouch![/QUOTE]

Hi Kaji. Not sure if you posted lately, still learning how the boards work. How is the foot drop doing these days? Hoping since the Sciatica eased off, it helped the drop foot. My drop foot was caused from hip replacement surgery over six months ago. Praying it will improve in time. Drs said give it at least a year, and there have been small signs it might be a touch better. A lot of nerve pain, taking a generic for gab., called Neurontin. It helps the nerve pain greatly and doesn't cause constipation. Best of luck to us both, kathleen

Kaji 10-18-2012 06:01 AM

Re: Sciatica?
Time to start my physical therapy today... so of course I'm feeling much better than I was. I know I need to do it anyway - I've had lower back problems for years and years, and every time it goes bad I say to myself 'next time I'm going to get it seen to instead of just waiting...' The foot drop is most apparant when I'm lying on the bed - my left foot is about two inches more 'pointed' than my right. But wearing shoes decreases the limp and makes it a lot less obvious. I haven't been wearing the knee brace because it's not really doing much, but my knee was extremely sore a few days ago. The pain in my hip is 95% gone, but I've been resting a LOT.

katrae 10-18-2012 01:38 PM

Re: Sciatica?
[SIZE="4"]Kaji. Good to read you're feeling better. Seems a world of folks have some sort of back problems. Thinking I'm beginning to have some and probably from how I walk now with the drop foot.

Have you had any falling episodes due to the drop foot? Like you, I wonder if my foot brace is helping me much. At times, like walking across a large parking lot it does help me become less tired. Mostly I need to be extremely mindful to not let the toes catch the ground and trip me.

My night time sleep has improved a lot since being on Neurontin. I mostly fall asleep within ten minutes, unheard of. Meanwhile I seem to have more pain in the night. It's coming from the leg that has to do all the work to make up for the leg with drop foot. What a mess. kathleen

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