Severe sciatica

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Hi I have had this pain in my lower back for months now and have just been told I have severe sciatica.. doc didn’t say the cause but looked at my X-ray and said something about L-5 and s-1 disc degeneration . Can anyone give me some more info as to what this means as all I have been told now all they can do is wait for a physio appointment !! 

Thanks in advance ...

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  • Posted

    The sciatic nerve root exits the spinal column at L4 and then the spinal vertebrae at L5/S1.  Any impingement (bone spurs, bulging discs, etc.) of the specific nerve can like cause sciatica symptoms.  Other possibilities are misaligned hips/pelvis, locked SI joints in the hips and more.  If, however, your doc has pinpointed the source of your problem, then the cure is a decompressive laminectomy of L4 through S1 or just L5/S1...doc's gotta see exactly what to do once he goes in.  In my case, they also found a bone spur impacting the nerve at L4.

    I had same-day surgery, immediate sciatica relief, just some diminishing nerve pain over the course of a week as the inflamed nerves calmed down.  OTC anti-inflammatories.  Piece o' cake...  One of my simplest, no-recovery ops ever.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much, none of this was explained to me ... I just got given naproxen and diazepam( to help me sleep) and told to wait for physio !
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    • Posted

      So you're on Valium and Aleve (an NSAID anti-inflammatory).  Valium has a half-life of 18-24 hours so that should get you to sleep (take it 1/2 hour before bedtime), and hopefully keep you asleep.  If it doesn't, Klonopin is a similar benzodiazepine with a 36-hour half-life.  Better for keeping you asleep but you might feel groggy in the morning.  Also, Xanax has only a 3-4 hour half-life so it knocks you out but doesn't keep you that way.  You have to find the med that works exactly the way you want it to.  

      On the NSAID side, 800 mg ibuprofen TID can be prescribed by a doc if OTC meds don't work.  Gotta work with the doc to get max anti-inflammatory benefit. 

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  • Posted

    Your L5 S1 degeneration could be because of age (maybe over 50) or the kind of work you have done. I ha dthe same diagnosis. My X-ray only showed some narrowing of the spinal vertabre hole which the nerve passes through. My MRI result read like this....

    L5-S1: Moderate disc space tearing with disc desiccation. There is a small posterior disc osteophyte complex greater in the posterior lateral aspects with mild stenosis of the bilateral neural foramina. IMPRESSION: Multilevel degenerative disc disease as above most significant at L4-5 where there is mild stenosis of the right no foramina and moderate stenosis on the left.

    My sciatica came on suddenly (within a week) after strained leg press machine work out and running afterwards. I'm 60 years old. I was out of work 6 weeks, and 14 months later I still have some pain in my leg and foot. Had physical therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, pain meds, The only thing that helped was stretching. I use a heating pad at night when the pain is uncomfortable. But it is getting better. At one point I had to crawl to the kitchen from the dining room.

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  • Posted

    Hi Kaz73,

    I'm sorry to hear that you also suffer from severe sciatica and I know that mine is due to Lumbar disc degeneration although I also have Lumbar Stenosis as well. 

    I have had one previous decompression op which worked though I was informed it was likely to be only a temporary solution and its benefits lasted 2 years for me, but it might be the answer for you! 

    Wishing you well on your pain journey.

    regards

    Dave

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  • Posted

    Hi, thank you all,

    2weeks in and still painful, have had my first physio session (ouch)!! She gave me some exercises to do and I go back next week..

    My friends have suggested I see an osteopath or chiropractor but was unsure as to do this as I don’t know for sure what is causing my sciatica, should I wait until I’ve had my MRI first to se what the cause is? 

    Thanks

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  • Posted

    I see an Osteopath once a month and although I then have a couple of days where my muscles ache but then I have 3 weeks of relative freedom with my Sciatica with only the occasional twinge. It's weird how most of us sufferers have the same problem area, but it is one club membership I'd happily cancel. I hope that you get your Physio appt soon as they will be able to show you what exercise and stretches you can safely do without causing yourself more harm, sadly unless you are able to go private these are the steps that you need to undergo  before any surgical intervention which I hope you will not needs as like me decompression surgery is not a permanamt cure.

    i really hope the Physio does the trick for you.

    regards Dave.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Dave,

      I had my first physio appointment last week, the exercises she gave me to do are a little painful, not sure if this is normal, hopefully it will ease the more I do them...

      Karen

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