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  • Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

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    Old 04-08-2008, 04:53 AM   #1
    wildflowers
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    Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hi everyone For the first time I am confronted with the problem of having to take prednisone for a sciatica problem. In January while watching my granddaughters while my daughter was in China adopting my new granddaughter, I twisted my torso after slipping on some ice on the steps. I had no immediate problems only some soreness. However, after coming home I decided to move a bookcase with heavy books from the upstairs bedroom to the den downstairs and yikes!!!! I was unprepared for the pain that happend. To make this medical history shorter, eventually after three months of pain I was diagnosed with sciatica at the Cleveland Clinic. I cannot take NSAIDS because of GERD, so the only alternative is two weeks of a 6 day pak of prednisone. My concern is with the osteoporosis and what prednisone will do. Would it be less likely for bone loss to occur taking it for two weeks only, should I increase my calcium intake because prednisone stops absorption of calcium? This is new territory for me personally, if anyone has encountered this dilemma would you be so kind to share your experience with me. It's springtime and as a gardener this is happening at the worst time for me, however, I want to make a good decision. Sometimes pain supersedes other priorities. Thanking you in advance Blessings! Wildflowers

     
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    Old 04-08-2008, 09:19 AM   #2
    phylwill1152
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hi Wildflowers, sorry to hear you are hurting. You are too active a woman to be sidelined by aches and pains. I don't think a 2 week course of prednisone would affect the osteo you have. Is it one of those packs where you take a smaller does each day? I think it's long term use that would pose a more serious concern. Did you ask the dr. about this when he prescribed it? I don't know if upping your calcium would offset the effects, maybe you could eat more calcium rich foods during this time instead of more supplements. If the prednisone takes calcium would taking more give it more to take..does that make sense??? When i ask a pharmacist about calcium intake she told me that your body only absorbs what was lost since the last time you took it, its a balancing act of sorts Here's a thought..call your pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist on duty, they are better informed about drugs and how the work with other drugs. I'm sure some of the others will have good advice for you...this is just me thinking.

    With the nicer weather i've been busy getting the yard ready to plant. I've raked several huge piles of leaves and i'm still not done, where do they all come from??? I have plants coming up but also several empty spots i'll have to fill. I hope you get to feeling better..i know how you love this time of year. take care...phyllis

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 10:01 AM   #3
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Thank you Phyllis, I do believe when one is in pain the thought process is severely diminished, I appreciate you opening up the pathways in my brain again. All that you mentioned completely makes sense to me. I still have not conquered being able to get all my questions answered going to see my primary physician or a specialist. I always go in with a list of questions and sincerely try to have them answered, however, they zoom in and zoom out and before I know it I am on the way home, woulda, coulda, shoulda, wondering what happened. I am doubly sad because my wonderful doctor who really listened and was very holistic in her approach left for another hospital leaving me without my medical mentor. When you have someone who knows your history, knows who you are, medications etc etc. a gift indeed, suddenly then to have to start from scratch when your in pain is hard.
    Yes, the prednisone is in a pack and you take so many pills at breakfast, lunch, supper and bedtime each day and slowly are weaned by the 6th day.
    I did have a cortizone injection for bursitis years back and didn't have any side effects only some flushing, I didn't know at that time I had osteoporosis.
    You are right, taking it for only two weeks would not be a problem, long term would. Also, you are right again, more calcium in, more calcium out.
    For the first time Phyllis, I have to hire a handyman to clean up after winter. The spring flowers are out and words cannot do justice for how they make me feel. I expect shortly to be out there among them doing what I love to do. I am happy you are loving it also. Blessings! Wildflowers

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 01:09 PM   #4
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hello...we have a rainy day here, but the grass is getting green, the baby chicks are growing like crazy and i have a pot of veggie soup on the stove. The trick to getting all your questions answered is is to not allow the dr. to steam roll thru the visit and hit the door running. I'm lucky that our PC is good about going thru my list and doesn't hurry, but if your does hurry just say..."wait a minute, i have more questions" and not as he's leaving. I have my list visible in my hand when i go in so he knows i have it and knows that we will be talking. I guess as i've gotten older i've become more bold and realize that the dr. works for me and not the other way around. It also helps that the dr. is young so its like talking to one of our kids. Also, if this new dr. doesn't take the time to get to know you, then maybe he's not the right dr. for you to see. Don't let this get you down...take your time to get better and when the time is right you'll be able to enjoy your gardens fully. Just think of all the weeds that will be waiting for you. Better get your garden rocker ready for a workout. Take care..phyllis

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 04:29 PM   #5
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Wildflowers: I think Phylwill has given you excellent advice; a couple of weeks of prednisone should be fine. Don't know if sciatica is a recurrent problem for you, but if it is, have you thought about giving acupuncture a try? My husband had sciatica (job-related) a few years ago and was to the point where he was hobbling instead of walking. A client suggested acupuncture, so he went, and at the end of the 1-hour appointment he was walking with minimal pain, and a few days later he was completely pain-free.

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 04:57 PM   #6
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    I have somewhat the same delimma. I have chronic back pain with radiating pain and used to get epidural injections for it. After finding out that I had osteoporosis I quit getting them. Plus I can't take NSAIDS either due to stomach problems. So I am left without pain medication and use ice, heat, and massage.

    There is a NSAID medication that is injectable that works a whole lot better on me to get rid of the muscle spasms and the shooting pain down my leg than using Prednisone pills that really did nothing for me. You might check on that. It doesn't go through your stomach and I had no problems with my stomach after the injection. Otherwise I don't think one round of Prednisone would adversely effect your osteoporosis. I hope the sciatica isn't a chronic problem for you. I'm reserving any epidurals for emergencies like after surgery or extreme pain and I'd do those before taking oral prednisone because it didn't work for me. You'll have to consider how bad the shooting pain is. Have you tried Physical Therapy?

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hello Wildflowers,

    So nice to hear from you again. But I am sorry you've developed sciatica. Normally, before prescribing prednisone, the doctor (at least mine does) - usually asks the patient if they have osteoporosis, or other medical probs. My husband was ''not'' given a steroid shot because he has a kidney prob, and was given loads of cream instead after developing a red itchy rash from an allergy to an antibiotic. I'm glad the doc did ask in my husband's case, because if he was to have gotten the shot, it could have been dangerous. That's just an example of how important it is for docs to ask patients these important questions, and for the patient to have the info handy, when asked.

    Phylwil is probably right in that short-term usage, such as the 2 weeks of prednisone, prescribed in your case, should not be a problem. By the way, acupuncture is also a good idea, but does not work for everybody. When it does work, most people will generally need more than one visit - quite a lot more. It tends to be pricey, but sometimes insurance may cover it, although not always.

    Hope you feel better soon, and do keep us posted

    Monte

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 06:26 PM   #8
    wildflowers
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Thank you Phyllis, It never dawned on me to carry a list to the doctors office, I have always kept the questions in my head and then I get white coat syndrome my blood pressure goes up and I get totally blank. I do believe carrying a list would send a strong message that I am prepared to ask all the necessary questions and he or she should be ready to answer them, that way I would come away feeling satisfied, not trying to hunt down the answers after I have left the office. I spend more time after the doctors visit trying to sort out all the info, meds etc, it's really a waste of energy and time Thanks again Phyllis I will do it!!!!!! I have a apt with a physical therapist tomorrow, I don't know how I will be able to do any therapy with the pain still
    with me. I am so grateful phyllis at least its not bitter cold, the warmth of the sun is good for this ole' body.
    Thank You Starfish, This is my first time experiencing sciatica pain, I hope with all my heart it is not recurrent. The key words for me Starfish is when your husband afterwards had minimal pain and was complete pain free. I will definitely definitely try acupuncture. I hope the prednisone for two weeks helps me. It's a kind of pain you feel that there will never ever be a end to it, it strikes like a lightening bolt and I was totally thrown off balance, I just wanted relief. This may sound like a silly question but how do I find a acupuncturist? Would the doctor's office have some referral's? I have heard that it does do good things but never thought about it for sciatica pain. Blessings! Wildflowers

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 07:04 PM   #9
    wildflowers
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hi there Taape and Montesflus, I tried the ice packs, in the beginning it was good and soothing then it made the shooting pains more severe. Is sciatica a muscle spasm, is that what is causing the pain, does the nerve go into spasms? In your leg it feels like someone is pulling tightly a rubber band that has a sharp knife at the end of it. Taape does the physical therapist do the massage? When you mentioned a NSAID injection that wouldn't hurt my tummy, that sounded like a gift from heaven, do you have the name of the injection p lease!!! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for finding some other solutions to this, I really didn't know what to do. If my prednisone doesn't work, I will have some alternatives that up to this time didn't feel I had any. I am being totally honest, I really was wondering how do I get rid of this nasty pain. Montesflus is a epidural, a cortizone injection, should I have had that instead of the oral meds, maybe like you I should really save it although I am getting close to wanting relief right now. As I think about it I am amazed that my doctor didn't ask me if I had osteoporosis. My goodness what do we do if we are not our only advocate for our health care. It really is so necessary to be on your toes. The pain gets so bad you really lose your edge on getting your needs met, thanks to phyllis I am back in the game, she opened my brain waves initially. You all are my hero's this evening. Blessings! Wildflowers

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 09:10 PM   #10
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Sciatica is a nerve pain, shooting pains, for me it's like an electric shock originating from my back and going down through my hips to my toes. Sometimes I get it down my leg instead. It's very painful. It can mean that the nerve is irriated or being compressed. For me if my spinal disc settles down the shooting pains go away. Muscle spasms for me at least are a completely different thing, my muscles will knot up in such a glob that I have to get a Toradol shot and days of PT before it will release. Toradol is the name of the injectable NSAID. I've never noticed any stomach irritation with it and it works fast.

    Physical Therapy does massage when I get those gigantic muscle spasms. But I go to a massage therapist on a weekly basis hoping to prevent really monster muscle spasms.

     
    Old 04-08-2008, 11:40 PM   #11
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Hello again, Wildflowers

    Actually, I wasn't even aware that Prednisone was prescribed for Sciatica! apparently I was wrong.

    Re finding somebody who does acupuncture. Check for ads in your local yellow pages, or ask around in your area which neighbors may have used one. You could also check online by doing a search for acupuncturists in your neighborhood. My husband has used one in the past, and it definitely did help him, but he had to go about twice a week for quite a few months. Check if your insurance plan covers this treatment.

    I don't think that a cortizone shot is the same thing as an epidural (at least I don't think it is). I could be wrong, but I'm sure somebody will correct me, if I am

    Hope your pain improves soon,

    Monte.

     
    Old 04-09-2008, 05:03 AM   #12
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
    This may sound like a silly question but how do I find a acupuncturist? Would the doctor's office have some referral's? Wildflowers
    Y'know, I'm not sure what to advise re: how to find one. I guess we were lucky in that we knew someone who had had good results so we asked who they went to and that's where we ended up. I suspect that a doctor wouldn't be much help in a referral to anything other than Western medicine. Ask around--there's probably someone in your area who has had acupuncture treatments and is happy with their practitioner. Montesflus is correct in saying that it likely won't be covered though. With all I've been thru/tried for this damn BMD issue, I'm getting used to paying out-of-pocket, although I guess I should consider myself fortunate in that I'm able to do so. I just have a "healthy mistrust", if I may call it that, of western medicine and doctors who believe that drugs are the only way.
    Wishing you relief from your sciatica pain very soon!

     
    Old 04-09-2008, 05:22 AM   #13
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Good Morning! I am hoping for some relief at the physical therapist this morning, at the very least to tell me what I should do as far as exercises, some suggestions on how to even sit and sleep would be very helpful at this point. My body is now in the protective mode and from holding myself so tight, other parts are starting to feel uneasy, I hope that comment made sense.
    Taape I have a apt next week with a spine doctor, the one I just went to was a ortho specialist, initially went to ortho because my primary physician said she thought I had hip bursitis, he said no way, now off to a spine doc. I did have x-rays, spinal and hip, my hips were great he said, but I noticed on the paper that he wrote this word, I am probably going to spell it wrong, spononthetis?? maybe that would have something to do with spine compression. I do know I have osteoarthritis, bone spurs, degenerative disc disease, and of course osteo. I never have given much thought that sciatiaca could be involved with all that stuff. I need to take a course in anatomy. The injection Toradol and massage is another path for me to choose, thank you. When you get a massage I should tell them I have osteoporosis, I use to get massages all the time before osteo, I stopped when I got osteo thinking they would break a bone, I have so missed them, sometimes they massage very deeply, I just wanted a light swedish massage, very light. That would be so soothing and relaxing.
    What I am finding out I am once again at a different plateau in my life, pain is very humbling and causes me to look even deeper and contemplative in wanting to make each and every day count. I have always had a natural empathy for everyone, now it seems even more important and precious to me to make sure that I make a difference in what is left of my lifetime. Over the years I had the luxury of good health, a gift I sometimes now know I took for granted. When I was healthy I expected that is the way it will always be, as the years went by I grieved each loss wih a good degree of optimism. The hardest part for me is when I had to learn to slow down, and not do everything. I am a gardener I would rather my family find me among the petunias then give up that most wonderful lovely nuturing part of my life. I do believe this episode frightened me to thinking I wouldn't be out in my garden this year.

    Montesflus I am hoping the prednisone works, I am on the second day, I really don't know how long it takes before it kicks in, till my body reaches a level of the right amt. for the inflammation. The acupuncture sounds right to me and I will check with my insurance. I have always taken the holistic approach to my health and body over the years, found it very very hard to take meds, and when I did, had side effects. I chose not to take meds for my osteoporosis and I have been fine with that, take my calcium and vitamin D, eat healthy, will learn at the end of the year if it all is working.
    Thank you friends for listening to my ramblings this morning, it is very nice to have folks who listen with open hearts. Blessings! Wildflowers

     
    Old 04-09-2008, 04:25 PM   #14
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Wildflowers,
    I hope the spine specialist can help you. An epidural steriod injection is steriods which prednisone is one type. I hope the Prednisone helps you. In my experience though it has only helped such things as Poison Oak not systemic inflammation and pain.

    Did Physical Therapy help you today or did you learn anything new there?

    That word is maybe spondylthesis. It's some sort of condition but I don't know what it is.

    I always tell the Therapist that I have osteoporosis and tell them to be sure NOT to bang on my back. You know the Karate chop things that some therapist's do. Otherwise, all the other types of massage have been ok for me even deep tissue.

     
    Old 04-09-2008, 05:17 PM   #15
    wildflowers
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    Re: Prednisone medication needed - osteoporosis?

    Good Evening Taape, I went to the physical therapist and spent 60min. there, during the time I was there she went over two exercises good for sciatica pain. Laying on something firm, floor or mattress, bend your knee and pull your knee up to your chest, hold it for the count of 5, making sure your other knee stays bent and not flat to the table, then the other knee. The second one was pull both knees to your chest for the count of 15, making sure that you let one leg down at a time so there would not be any back strain. Laying on the floor with your legs on a chair also takes the pressure off the nerve. Well, to be honest it felt good with the legs bent, however as soon as I got back in my normal position the pain came back. I do believe you have to have some sort of lessened pain to do those exercies because by the time I was through I was hurting. The P.T. also put some kind of electrical stimulation to my back area and I layed there for 15 mins in the dark, that hurt also when I got back on my feet. So.........I decided to call my spine doctor and get a apt sooner. I will be going on Friday instead later in the month. Right now Taape, I am taking extra strength tylenol for the pain, it takes the edge off but the throbbing is still there. I am grateful for that. I have been prescribed alot of pain relievers which I haven't used, I am still bitting the bullet. I want to find out what is causing the pain, not just relieving it. If they tell me they cannot do anything for me then i will adjust accordingly. My problem is I have no trust in the health care system, everything is driven by money, patient census, amt. of patient seen etc. etc. drug companies. I went to get a yearly eye exam and the doctor was pushing selling eye glass frames, telling me mine looked worn etc. I thought to myself this is silly, I want a eye exam not the latest frames. I think you know what I am trying to say Taape.
    I talked with my pharmacy about prednisone, they said I should have had some relief by now, it does reduce inflammation, if there is some other problem going on then it would not be as good.
    I would not feel bad to find out what the problem is, in fact it would be reassuring and I would know what i would need to do. The hard part is the diagnostic route we have to go through.
    Wishing you a pleasant and peaceful evening. Blessings! Wildflowers

     
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