Sciatic Pain For Months....

I have been suffering with sciatic pain that goes from my right butt cheek around to the front and down the front of my leg from below my right knee down as far as my toes sometimes.  It is a burning awful, nagging pain that I'm sure I don't have to describe to any of you that have had it.  Most of the pain seems to settle between my knee & ankle.  Though I have had one brief bout of sciatica on each side in the past 5 years, they were always relatively short-lived & seemed to resolve on their own with use of ice, rest and anti-inflammatory drugs. Not so this time around.

This most recent attack of sciatica happened in early November 2008 after my doctor sent me for some physical therapy after an episode of sciatica on my LEFT side had totally resolved itself.  I was about to leave for a 3 week vacation & she recommended I go for the therapy so that I would not have a flare up while away.  I went for only 2 sessions of PT & after the second one I woke up the following morning with excruciating pain on the opposite side..... down my RIGHT side from my buttocks to my foot.  I couldn't put any weight on my foot or walk & was in absolute agony!  I had not had an attack on my right side in 5 years & feel that the manipulations & exercises that the therapist had me doing must have aggravated something to cause a flare up.

I went on my vacation & was in terrible pain the whole time I was away.  Though the pain has lessened as time has gone on, it is still there & the intensity can fluctuate.  An MRI that my orthopedic doctor ordered showed some bulging disks.  I've used OTC anti-inflammatory meds & some stronger prescription pain meds, but they help only sometimes.  Using an ice pack on my lower back seems to give me the most relief.  My orthopedic doctor has suggested that I either see how things go for a while longer or that I see a pain management specialist & consider having an epidural injection in my back.  He claims that gives relief to some people, but doesn't help others. 

At this point I am unsure what to do.  I am scared about the idea of a needle in my back, but I am tired of hobbling around with a cane, being limited in what I can do & being in constant pain.  My family doesn't understand the pain I am in.....seem to think I can just take a pill & <POOF>.... it will vanish!  

I would love to hear comments from anyone who may have had experience with sciatic pain for this long.  I'd also be interested in hearing if anyone has had problems flare up AFTER going for PT.  Would also love to hear if the epidural back injection has offered any relief & if it is very painful to get.   Thanks for having this community & for any sharing of your experiences.   


leghurts leghurts
56-60, F
7 Responses May 25, 2009

hi i an new to this site but not new to pain mine is due to a ruptured disk l5s1 new i am on 9 tablets a day including lyrica,i can still feel pain but bearable,my leg has also stopped jumping,i have sciatica from my *** to my toe right leg,i cannot sit or walk without seves pain and i know that under the meds the pain is still there,my question is should i return to work which involves alot of getting in and out of cars as i am a vehicle inspector,will i do more damage or will i be ok i am 39 two kids and have a bad quality of life at the min and wife is under pressure too.I do not want to have this problem for life as its a poor life with it please help if anyone can,thanks shane.

I share your, and others pain. I had a herniated disk which I left untreated. The result was a crushed nerve through which I was leaking spinal fluid. The herniated disk also broke apart. I was in tremendous pain but after surgery I'm a lot better. I still have pain but not nearly like it was.

Have you heard of the XStop spacer surgery? A friend had it done Jan of 2010 and is doing beautifully. Won't work for me as it cannot be used between L5 & S1which is where my disc is totally gone and now is bone on bone.

I had a bilateral L2-L5 laminectomy for spinal stenosis. Now I have significant sciatica. Can't stand or walk too far as I get neural claudication. I'm not sure of my path at this point, but I'm hoping I can live without sciatica. Neurontin provides only marginal help.

Type your comment here...

Depends on the massage technique.. you do not have to have theraputic massage to relieve your pain.. massage comes in a thousand different forms and as a massage practitioner, I know, that pain does not have to be inflicted to easy your pain.. there is no gain to be had using that technique.. It's a very painful disorder and now you have a seperate issue with a herniated disc.2 things going on now. Have each one addressed in your treatment even if you start out with relaxation massage to see where your tolerance is and believe me it will much more enjoyable to have your pain relieved without increasing your pain first. Pain management will include this concept for you, so take any advise that your doctor gives to you and make it yours.. while one thing will work for another.. maybe not for you but you'll figure it out..Don't blames the pt.. you've had this existing problem for a long time but what phy, does for you is build the mucsle cores up ... and your's we're weak and they reacted please do not give up because the muscles need to be strengthened to support your back , listen to all of the advise that you get to best understand how to approach your recovery.

I have lived with nerve pain for about 8.5 years. so I guess you could say I am a pro. I have had 4 back surgeries within this time, also multiple injections. Unfortunately the surgeries only worked for a short time and then the pain came back even worse. None of the injections worked, but I have talked to many people who were very happy with the results. <br />
My pain starts in my left hip and extends all the way down to my big toe. I am never without pain, but I get most relief when I am laying down on my stomach with an icepack on my back. Over the past few months I have had pain no going down my right leg and also if I sit for too long I get a pain in the middle of my back. <br />
Most of my pain began as a herniated disc and now have what they call failed back syndrome. Where the discs are either herniated or bulging again and there is scar tissue pinching the nerve, which they can't do much with. <br />
We've tried a Spinal Cord Stimulator, which worked for about a year. <br />
Not sure of any of this helped, but I do feel your pain. My only advice would be, only use surgery as the last option. It was mine, but I have know many who didn't need it and are now worse off, but I also know many who have had surgery work for them. <br />
Guess I was just "lucky"

hi I have just been reading your message, I was wondering if you went to physiotherapy? I had a baby 6 weeks ago and during labour I was in an awkward position witch caused my sciatica my doctor is no help she just keeps giving me painkillers and not none of them work, I haven't been able to walk for 4 weeks now my partner has to help me to the toilet its getting very difficult as he is now back at work and cant look after my son I have to ask my mum for help every day. I don't no wat to do and its making me depressed.