Chronic sciatica since April 2013.

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I have had chronic sciatica since April 2013. I woke up one morning and could not put any weight on my left leg due to agonizing pain in my left buttock and lumbar region. 20 years prior to this i had a microdiscectomy for a herniated L5/S1 disc. This alleviated the totally numb right leg, from buttock to foot. It also helped a lot with the pain and inability to walk anything but snail pace. I had recurring episodes of back pain over the next few years which was helped by co-proxamol/ naprozene/ and piroxicam at different times. One day while out with my husband and cousin in spain driving in the mountains(Me back seat passenger. We hit a pothole at speed and bounced all over the place which amazingly cured any residual pain and stiffness in my back. Up until April this year. My MRI Scan has shown posterior bulge on L4/L5 and narrowing of the spine on the left side. Also my operated on disc L5/S1 is flattened. Despite visiting an osteopath since April I am still in pain every morning until i warm up. I was takiing 30/500 co-codamol 4 times daily, amiltryptline nightly and gabapentin 3 times daily. I am only taking 8/500 co-codamol once a day now and the occasional gabapentin. I have being told by the osteopath to give myself at least a year/18 months to recover up to my optimum level. Sadly i gave up my long standing job with SEN children as i knew i did not have the fitness to continue. sad

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there I had a DISCETOMY on 17.4.13 on L5/S1 and although I can walk now it's very slow and every step is painful.

    I am on Tramadol 100mg x 4 times a day,naproxen 500mg once daily and now antibiotics as they are trying a new thing on me. I was also on codeine but they took me off it because of its addictiveness, although I can still have one at bedtime if the pain is stopping me sleeping. I haven't worked since January this year and although I tried in July to return on reduced hours it's was agony so the doctor sigh ed me off again.

    I am also on citalopram for depression which I was already on prior to this sciatica but feel that has helped as I've been very down due to having no life as such and no income, it has changed my life dramatically we have had to sell our home and go into rented as I don't know how long this will carry on and if I will be able to work, it is a desk job, not the best for this condition.

    So now I wait I've started the antibiotics today and If it is an infection I should start to feel better in about 6 wks onwards.......

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  • Posted

    Hopefully the antibiotics will work. I have heard about the use of antibiotics with chronic back pain, but, this was not a treatment for me as i have no sign of any infection in my spine. I am nearly weaned off of Gabapentin(my idea) as fed up feeling tired all the time. I did ask advice of my pharmacist before doing this. He said if i could put up with increased pain that was ok. Only time will tell. Tramadol is addictive as well. Both Codeine and Tramadol are opiate based and work in similar ways. Have you seen a nhs physio or private osteopath at all.

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  • Posted

    Yes I'm hoping so, tummy not felling happy today but I was warned that may happen .

    Yes I had 6 lots of PT ages ago when it got bad and couldn't even stand up straight this was on NHS.

    I also went to osteopath another time when it was bad and I couldn't stand up straight, this was privately.

    this is all last year.

    I also had PT after the op for 6 wks (NHS) But that is it I have resisted going to a Physio that was recommended to me as I didn't know until Tuesday what the problem was and didn't know if I would make it worse. Plus it all costs money and that's something I haven't got a lot of.

    I'm a prime candidate for the antibiotic treatment as I have inflammation both sides of spine where the disc was cut off that was herniated and a cyst! What's that all about I never had a cyst before? It's all quite scary to be honest but I'm happy to try this to see if it works just to stop the pain.

    What is Gabapentin, I have never heard of that?

    I also find mornings the worst for about the first 3 hours is hell then it eases a bit but then around 5pm it starts getting worse again. My sleep is disturbed as I obviously turn in my sleep and that hurts so wakes me up is day 2 so here we go next tablet please lols x

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  • Posted

    Gabapentin is for neuralgia and nerve is also a drug for epilepsy. I was taking 300mg x 3 times a day. It did take the edge off pain in lumbar region. This was to substitute the co-codamol which i had taken since April.

    Do people get infection post op now? I remember when i had my op years ago they drip fed heavy duty antibiotics intravenously to prevent this happening.

    Maybe you need a follow up MRI scan to check for new problems?

    I hope all improves for you soon.

    I'm going to try herbal/alternative medicine once off all medication.

    I am lucky that i can walk for 1 to2 miles with increased mobility

    I also do stretching exercises( recommended by my osteopath) daily to open up spine.

    Also ask your GP if a mackensie lumbar roll will help. Its a roll of foam 6 inches in diameter that is tied around waist prior to bed time it helps support the lumbar region while you sleep. A rolled up towel is a good substitute if money is tight. Also place a pillow under your knees. Or, between your knees if lying on your good side! Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    Could you tell me the warm up exercises that you do.

    I am now on every pain killer and anti-inflammatory that has been subscribed to me,and seeing a consultant 6th January .

    I am now seeing a chiropractor but wondering if this is making the pain worse,any ideas,as now I am practically house bound with the pain.

    Sleeping with a pillow between your legs does help.

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  • Posted

    I do a few warm up stretches. DO NOT DO IF IT HURTS MORE!

    I lay on a yoga mat on the floor, and place a small cushion under my neck. Lay flat and try to push small of back into floor by pulling in tummy muscles. Hold in tummy muscles and pull each knee gently up to chest. Keep other leg with knee bent and foot on floor while doing this. Do 10 repetitions with each leg. Then pull both knees up to chest and place arms around legs and hug towards chest for 2 mins.

    Another good one is to lay in same position, back flat as poss both knees bent and feet together on floor. Let knee slowly go sideways so it is 6 inches away from other knee and bring it slowly back up to touch other knee., do each leg 10 times. Hold tummy muscles in at all times. Try not to hold your breath when doing stretches.

    I also use an icepack(Wrapped in cloth) on sore area of lower back for 20 mins twice daily.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jan

    Please see my other post it explains I've had another MRI in November and saw consultant last week, that's when she put me on the 100 days of antibiotics.

    Thanks for the info on those tabs u r taking. I've heard of them just haven't had them.

    I don't know how the infection got there or when it got there and the cyst ! the mind boggles tbh I was in shock as I was expecting her to say I'd re herniated and I'd have to have another op.

    At least d know what to,expect ATM they don't know for sure just what the MRI's have shown. Let's hope she is right though as that means I might start to feel better in a few weeks, we will see not counting on anything .

    ATM I'm just getting through each day, the tabs have made me very nauseous and I was sick Sunday felt so ill I couldn't believe it. I've spread the doses out more by starting earlier and taking the last one later and that seems to be helping and I feel better today.

    The excercises i do are like yours which I learnt at Physio also I have an excercises ball, also something we did at Physio.


    At are the plans for you then, shouldn't you be referred back to your consultant for another MRI etc? As it will have changed no doubt and you don't seem to be getting any further forward?

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  • Posted

    @ Jacqueline

    Hopefully you will be sent for MRI's too so they can see what the issue is. I went to a chiropractor Prior to being referred last March to a consultant . It did help in the short term but the pain when it came back was so bad and in the end I felt best not to mess with it and leave it to the hospital.

    I was housebound in end, as I kept working and ended up waking up one morning and couldn't feel my feet, that was kid January this year and I haven't been able to work since. I did try phased hrs at my request GP wasn't sure but needed the money. Sadly it just set me back in my recovery from my op in April, I felt like I'd gone bk about 6 wks . So here I am wk 2 of 100 days of antibiotics!

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  • Posted

    Message for all

    I must tell you that from July till end October I asked my GP to refer me back to the consultant/surgeon and he kept fobbing me off. I could have already completed this course of 100 days antibiotics and know the outcome and be taking further action to get it sorted.

    However it turns out it costs your GP MONEY TO REFER YOU, don't know how much but this may explain why I was fobbed off and made to wait for soo long!!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Dawn and Jan,first it is good to talk to fellow suffers as no one can really know the pain. After seeing the highly recommended chiropractor I am now in even more pain and am house/bed bound.

    I had a home visit from a doctor who gave me more pain killersTramadole. so I am now on co-codamol, Robaxin,Naproxen,and Diazepam,but I do take Omeprazole for my tummy.

    I will certainly try the exercises but at the moment when my left leg touches the floor I am in agony.

    I have asked the doctor to call me today regarding an injection I will pay if necessary,but I have a feeling nothing will happen until I see the consultant 6th January.

    I am lucky as such that I have family who are waiting on me but they do not understand the pain.

    Keep me updated girls on your progress and lets hopefully celebrate Christmas in the New Year pain free.. I have had a MRI scan which shows my dodgy back and the nerve pressing on or near my pelvis.

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  • Posted

    Hi Hacqueline,

    Yes it's very good I've found this as I was feeling pretty alone again with it. I was on another site but it was American and although some peeps were friendly enough they quite often talked amoungst themselves as our treatment is different to what they get also, so this is much better.

    I wouldn't be doing any excerise just gently trying to move around to avoid stiffness if you are hurting to that extent I have been there and there is little you can do at this stage. I found I used to massage my leg a lot to try and help the pain.

    I think I would give the chiropractor a miss tbh as if it hurting more it may not be helping you at all. I'd wait now you haven't got too long now for your appt, mind you it probably feels like forever to you right now I've been there earlier this year .

    How are you finding showering /bath. I found it awful I had a little chair in the shower for some time and avoided washing my hair too often as I found it took too long and I couldn't stand it it was agony 😰

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  • Posted


    Sorry about the typo, I was going too fast, I also meant to say no one understands the pain unless they have it/ have had it there is nothing like the agony it causes and can be frightening. Keep your chin up hopefully you will know what is to happen when you see the consultant on the 6th xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Dawn

    I am certainly giving the chiro a miss also cannot walk or drive. He recommended a belt as he said my pelvis was lopsided! as you know we will try anything to cure the pain, so spent more money and got it. Friends are coming back to me with Chinese herbal drinks so will give you the info when I get it.

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  • Posted

    Message to everyone,

    Hope you have a reasonably happy Christmas.

    I'm off pain relief as from today and trying herbal tinctures. White Willow/Turmeric/Rosemary and Passion Flower extracts. All are for sciatic/back pain/muscle pain. Had enough of pain relief from GP as i think nearly 8 months on tablets is enough for anyone's system.

    Will post updates, wish me luck.

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  • Posted

    Went to my doctor today for an ant-inflammatory injection but he could not get it from any chemist

    so advise me on handling my drugs,four pain killers at one time! Will be very interested to know about

    the herbal remedies,going back to the doctor on Monday.

    Missing out on all the social parties so lets hope we can all celebrate a healthy New Year.

    Lots of luck and keep us updated.


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