Slipped disc and sciatica

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Hello, my girlfriends has recently been told by her doctor that she has a slipped disc in her lower back and sciatica. She's been referred to a back specialist. But while we're waiting for the appointment we were just wondering if anyone knew what this actually means, what's the best pain relief and how will they sort this out..? She's been in a lot of pain since August with her lower back and hips. Over the last week her knees have started to hurt and her toes have gone completely numb. Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance

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  • Posted

    The disc inbetween the vertebrae has most likely bulged so it is touching or compressing the spinal cord and irritating the nerves. The main nerve that branches out of part of the spine and runs down the back of the legs and branches out at the knee is the sciatic nerve. If this nerve is irritated or compressed, your girlfriend will experience above symptoms. 

     

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    Usually a nerve pain medication such as gabapentin or lyrica will be prescribed, an anti-inflammatory and codiene or some thing like that. If the irritation and buldge is severe enough they may operate by doing a micro-discectomy or discectomy. These are done quite often and should be safe. This will relieve the pressure on the nerves and allow it to heal. Most surgeons advise not sitting for long periods for 6 weeks and no bending, turns... Things like that for a period of time but everything should be fine once recovered. 
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    Sometimes the surgeon will medicate it and advise Physiothearpy initially if surgery is not yet needed and strengthen core muscles. If your girlfriend is suffering severe muscle spasm to the point she can't move, Neurofen gel might help. Sometimes Valium might be needed but only as last resort, heat lacks are good to relive the spasms and rest for now. No bending, sitting too much as this will irritate the problem by compressing the spine and therefore the bulging disc. 
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    Does she have pain in both hips and numbness of toes in both feet? I meant heat packs. 
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      Hello thank you so much for getting back to us. Yes the pain is in both hip but seems to be more painful on the right side but the back pain is on the left side. Yes both feet have gone numb it started off as underneath the toes but now seems to be spreading to the rest of the foot. She said that where the pain is in her back it also feels like there's a lot of pressure there too
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  • Posted

    Hmmm yeah do you have the report? Might say where exactly the bulge is? Poor thing, sounds like agony. The left sided back pain sounds like muscle spasms which, if it's bad enough, can cause other symptoms. Try a heat pack and see how it goes if you haven't tried that yet. 
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  • Posted

    Wheat bags are good. Put in the microwave and they last ages. I was a patient but also worked as a spinal nurse for a few years. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Scott ,yes the pain is bad ,I have Pudental Neuralgia ,that goes into my sciatica as well ,down backs of legs ,and into my big toe and the next 2,also knees ,Dr should give her muscle relaxants ,and morphine based pain killers if she can take morphine ,there's FB group she can join ,they're know what's best for her to try ,and eases it better ,that they've tried .Hope she gets help. I've had this now for almost 10 yrs .earlier treatment the better .Get a cushion for sciatica ,there's plenty out there ,takes pressure off  or go get some physio .Sitting aggravates the nerves ,so laying flat best .Terrible condition I know .
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      Brilliant, thank you I'll get her to have a look. She's been told not to sit for too long, bend over or lift heavy objects which is hard as I work 55 hour weeks and we have 3 children, 2 of which are still toddlers so she has to do a lot of lifting. She's been given co-codamol 30/500 but half the time it's not really helping so she's just in constant pain. She says it's normally I pain she can handle without painkillers but there's been a couple of times now where she's been in so much pain she couldn't even get herself out of bed..!! It really is awful
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      Scott go onto You tube ,there's exercises she can try  I do these for mine ,it stretches the backs of legs ,I do them whilst laying on my bed before I get up .What I do have is a heating pad Boots £30 I have that on for 20 mins at a time ,when she's sitting tell her to put her knees up higher than her waist line ,I do that everytime I sit. Plus I've now got a recliner to help with back leg pain ,again for pressure it puts from sitting on those nerves .

         Co codamol ,not strong enough if that's not helping ,they've not helped me either got to say ,go onto Spine health Sciatica ,some try Lidocaine ,and say that's helped .

         No joy having young children to take care for. I know Id find that really hard having this pain .Mine began from Coccyx ,after weight loss ( illness ) females can get it after having children ,just starts out of nowhere .

         Hope she gets relief soon Scott .

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  • Posted

    I Scott, I feel you're girlfriends pain. I have a bulging disc at L4, which irritates the nerve. .. it flares up once a year, and I an literally immobile. At this very moment I'm laid flat on the sofa with Sciatica. .. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I cannot sit, I cannot stand for longer than say 5 minutes. . So going to for bathroom duties is agony, not being able to sit.

    I have crutches to help me walk and my husband has to help me dress, shower, etc....

    I went to the walk in centre at the Leeds General Infirmary. . I had to sit in a chair, agony, they said, and I quote, "you're not showing enough red flags, so we can't take it any further, you need to rest up." They have me oral morphine and diazipam. That didn't even touch it.

    I went to see my gp, fire him to refer me to refer me for a scan, to which he said, had this been a month ago, I'd have got you in today, but the rules have changed, we can no longer send patients from gp surgeries to hospital for scans. I can refer you to the spine clinic and you will speak to them and they will get you in.

    So now I'm on, diazipam 3 times a day, pregabalin twice a day (that's a nerve pain killing medication), Naproxen twice a day, (that's an anti inflammatory) and paracetamol. ... all that just takes the edge off. I have a phone assessment with the spine clinic on the 3rd of Dec. .. until then I'll just keep taking the meds and suffer. ... it's red tape to get a scan.. I've cried a river. .. your girlfriend has 100% my sympathy, it is very painful. Just hug her and be there for her, cos there's nothing else you can do, just support her xxx

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      ... just to add. .. get back to the gp and get stronger pain killers. .. preferably a nerve pain killer.... I've tried everything, heat cold... I'm in to much pain to even think about exercise. .. get the gp to refer her to the MSK team (muscular skeletal team) they are fantastic. I'm passed MSK now, but when I've been to them, they've been brilliant! !
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