Unbearable sciatic pain, help!

Definitely worth a try. As Filbert points out, it’s not a long-lasting solution. In fact, it pretty much only helps while you’re using it, but then you can be a bit mobile while using it and that mobility is a good thing. Because it’s non-prescription, no side effects, no major potential for harm, and relatively inexpensive, it’s a good thing to try. You can experiment with where to place the pads for maximum effect, and the one I got has dozens of different settings. Trial and error will tell you which one is most helpful for you. In a recent flareup for me (when we were still going in to the office), it allowed me to go to work on days when I couldn’t otherwise. Then I left it in the office back in March 2020 when we shut down, and I actually bought another one to have it at home since I couldn’t go back and get it.

I was referring to days of NSAIDs, not weeks or months. I’m not sure where got that, but my apologies for being unclear. And I’ve seen people tend to treat say Advil as if they were curing a headache (“one dose didn’t work, I give up”), where a different approach is necessary and not very obvious to the sufferer of prolonged pain from inflammation.

on the subject of NSAIDs would a topical cream be better than oral pills? you can get Voltaren Otc now.

Less true than you might think~PTs have lots of techniques that can help relieve pain, plus re-educate you how to prevent future pain. I shredded a knee in a fall two years ago (ended my NFL career). Spent a month trying to get my primary docs to give me pain meds, to no avail. Couldn’t walk on it, cried at times from the pain. Went back to a PT who had helped with neck pain and he did wonders in two visits. Professional level TENS, deep tissue massage, traction, etc. then came the home exercises to keep me functional. PTs with sports injuries experience excel at this. Don’t eliminate that a PT could help.

I’ve been suffering from spinal stenosis for 6 years. I can be on my feet for a few minutes before I absolutely must sit down. At least I’m ok when I sit.

I take 900mg of Gabapentin and 2400mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid, daily. I actually take them for diabetic neuropathy, but they help the back pain slightly. I can’t take any other pain meds because of other problems, like kidney disease.

One thing that did help was water exercise therapy, which I did a few years ago prior to knee replacement therapy. Just moving in the water was a big help. And it helped psychologically as well, being able to move without pain.

I agree with Amber Lee, a cane helps immensely. I use it in my opposite hand, but taking a little bit of weight of my leg lets me exercise a little and that makes it a little more bearable.

I’ve had sciatica, the worst was when I was up all night long because absolutely no position didn’t cause me pain. I couldn’t walk because I could not pick my left foot off of the floor; with a cane I could hobble by dragging that foot behind me like a zombie from a horror film. The morning after I went to urgent care and they shot my hip with cortisone which was the only thing that gave me relief.

I started going to a chiropractor (recommended to me by the urgent care doctor) which I’d never done before, and also paired that with physical therapy. Between those two things I have managed to keep flare-ups to nothing more than a slight problem every now and then.

But I feel for you. The only pain I’ve ever felt that compared to that bad sciatica was my first kidney stone which was the size of a pea. (If that seems small to you, keep in mind it had to pass through a tube the width of a human hair.) It’s so much worse than a broken bone. It’s like your own body is torturing you in a Spanish Inquisition sort of way.

this thread makes growing old seem terrifying

Just enjoy not being old until you start getting old, and by then you can’t really do anything about it. Don’t let the stress of getting old ruin not being old yet.

Just know there’s a reason why old people can be grumpy and/or not give a crap what other people think.

Most of my back pain has been lumbar related but I did have a spell of sciatic pain when I tried to stop a 120 lb air conditioning unit from falling off a wheeled cart. Ow. Anyway, one thing my doc told me was that sciatic pain is aggravated greatly by tight hamstrings and gave me a whole bunch of exercises to get my hammies to let loose some and damned if that didn’t help a LOT.

I’ve had acupuncture for frozen shoulder and it did help quite a bit–more than the cortisone shot did, for sure. I have also been doing regular deep tissue massage for about eight months to fix tendinitis in the OTHER shoulder and my therapist has actually corrected some other pain areas around my hips and lower back in addition to loosening up the shoulder. Guy’s a sadist but knows what he’s doing.

CBD is always a good idea to try–won’t hurt and helps a lot of people.

My first bout with sciatica was at 24

My sciatic pain was due to spinal stenosis - bone overgrowth (osteoarthritis) constricting the sciatic nerve. Gabapentin, and eventually surgery 4 years ago to remove some of the excess bone have worked well for me (although it’s not a permanent cure, but a postponement, and issues are staring to crop up again).

Do you know if there’s something specific causing your sciatic nerve to be irritated?

Thank you everyone, from the bottom of heart. I appreciate the time taken to explain the medical side of it and share your experiences. I’ll respond as I can but sometimes just rolling over on the couch will send searing pain into my side. Holding my phone becomes uncomfortable.

I especially appreciate the lessons NSAIDs. I thought most OTC stuff was pretty much the same so I’ve been taking Excedrin. I’ve since switched to aspirin.

I’ve had back issues on and off for years. Injury + growing old. I had an mri about 8 months back an there is damage. I got an epidural that helped for about 5 moths. But that was lower back stuff, and while also very painful was a different thing.

Tho I’m no spring chicken I am in otherwise good (ish) shape. I do stay active (treadmill for 40 mins, a few times a week). So I’m not sure it’s inactivity. It might posture related but I do make the effort to be aware.

My wife got me some Voltareon. But reading the warnings frightens me a little. Doc, can you weigh in on that? Thanks.

Damage in what? Discs, ??? Is it anything that can be surgically alleviated, or do you have to learn to adjust? PT can really work wonders in many cases by strengthening the supporting musculature so that the sciatic nerve doesn’t get pinched. (As we get older - and weightier - our backbones compress with gravity, causing distortion and nerve compression. Stronger musculature helps stabilize it.)

After getting my MRI’s and a good diagnosis from a good back doc/diagnostician, I had consults with an orthopedic surgeon and a neurologist/neurosurgeon. But my condition is so common that it was a no-brainer diagnosis; just a matter of which surgical approach to take.

Physical therapy at the hospital 3 days a week, and all symptoms were gone. It’s not immediate, may take a month or so. Came back a few years later, and repeating the same exercised at home fixed it again.

Your sciatic nerve runs through a muscular saddle in your lower back, If you lose that muscle tone, the nerve gets abraded. A PT can show how to reupholster that saddle.

I was 29.

Is that like Bengay? I’ve tried that sort of thing with no results. How can aspirin absorb via skin? I’ve had major sciatica for 20 years off and on – only thing that ever helps is STRICT bed rest for days combined with anti-inflammatory (e.g. ibuprofen) meds.

No, you don’t want to shut down a whole major motor/sensory nerve with a block. Makes walking, standing difficult in the case of sciatica.

Voltaren’s not a bad NSAID. It can work topically or in pill form. Many NSAIDs can readily be absorbed through the skin, when placed in the right medium.

Thank you. I don’t have the tube in front of me but it said don’t us if taking others. And it will damage other organs etc. only use a tiny bit. Like I said, it came with a looong sheet of cautions that made me a tad fearful. I know it’s otc but is it safe?

But made a major hurdle, took a bath last night!