Unbearable sciatic pain, help!

A friend was describing pain she was experiencing. I sent her a link about sciatica, and she was amazed.

I told her it sucks to get old and she teared up. She’s 28.

it’s pretty safe or it wouldn’t be over the counter. significant problems from topical use as directed are very very rare

Thanks again.

I was gonna ask if this is an option for the O.P. depending on where they live.

CBD won’t take away the pain, but it helps with inflammation, and reducing that helps with pain at the source. There are topical options, as well as ingested versions like tinctures or vapes.

CBD can have some pain relieving properties, in certain circumstances. More research is needed to figure out its mechanism, and figure out just what types of pain it helps.

THC really doesn’t reduce pain; rather it reduces the misery for some folks. Which makes the pain more tolerable.

Another vote here for surgery, if surgeons tell you it’s indicated. I had it for a herniated L5S1 with massive pulp extrusion. Surgeon 1 said he couldn’t see why I was having so much trouble, then Surgeon 2 said the other guy was looking too closely for pulp extrusion, it was actually extruded all the way out to here and other guy must have just not seen it. Also said he could improve my pain situation but probably couldn’t improve the lower leg paralysis. Surgery quickly eliminated, I’d say, almost half the pain. I then did half a year of gabapentin along with the long-ongoing PT, and lost a lot of weight too, and these things fixed most of the remaining pain. But he was right, the paralysis never went away.

I have pain every day, but not every minute, and it’s mild enough it doesn’t keep me from doing anything. I rarely take anything for it, Naproxen if I do. I just wish I had gone to Surgeon 2 first, and had surgery quickly, which he said would have helped the paralysis a great deal.

I’m glad it worked for you, and sorry it was delayed.

But for every case such as yours where surgery helped, I tend to hear about 2 or 3 others (from my own patients) who say their lumbar surgery made things worse for them. “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” is a thing. I definitely know which spinal surgeons in my community to go to and which to avoid if I am ever contemplating surgical intervention for my lumbar spondylosis.

Cervical spine surgery has a much better ratio of good outcomes than lumbar.

Low backs are such messy, problematic areas of the anatomy.

Yes, this is a worrisome situation to be in. My back surgery was 16 years ago, and at the time my surgeon generalized by saying that lumbar surgery to fix extremity pain was 85% effective, but to fix back pain, it was only 50%. From various readings I learn that nerve compression is relatively straightforward to diagnose and mechanically fix, compared to whatever it is that causes pain local to the back. I heard of theories that ruptured disks could have nerve ingrowth, hurting nerves where nerves don’t belong. But overall just a frequent inability to explain why backs hurt. This all sounded plausible to me at the time, but I take it as very uncertain all the same. If it’s hard for trained professionals to get good outcomes consistently, it’s all the more so for us lay people choosing under duress.

Worse still, perhaps – while it is difficult to predict whether surgery will have a good or bad outcome, in practice it’s the patient themselves who makes the choice in effect, just by their choice of doctors.

So, no easy decisions, unfortunately.

Thanks, Qadgop_the_Mercotan!

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I tried oral cbd before for anxiety. it didn’t do anything for my anxiety but I noticed I was more depressed. I didn’t make the connection until I quit taking cbd and the depression went into remission within a couple days.

not sure if that’s a common side effect for people but I know for me it didn’t work because of it.

Thank you, for that anecdote. I sell THC and CBD products, and I’m always looking for first-hand descriptions, good AND bad. I will make a note of this.

For the O.P. are you in a place where CBD and/or THC products are legal to recommend?
Cuz they could help, but I don’t want to say more and risk incurring a mod wrath.

does she use something like this?


All I can contribute is my personal experience. About ten or more years ago, when I was heavily into whitewater kayaking I got sucked into a very turbulent eddy, got flipped in an unfamiliar boat and when I attempted to roll up I did something to my sciatic nerve. I was incapacitated for a week, plus. I went to a doctor and was given four prescriptions. They took the edge off short term but it took months to get back to normal. Eventually, I recovered completely.
In 2017 I was doing some lumberjacking on my property and was attempting to wrestle a tree I had cut out of the surrounding trees that it had fallen into. I did the same thing to my back but on the opposite side. I expected things to play out the same way but 4 years later I am still having problems. It can be excruciating, OP has my full empathy.

I have a co-worker that has had similar experience. He went through a long period of physical therapy and cortisone shots and finally surgery. Seems to have worked for him.

I have had sciatica of and on for many years, at least once a year I would classify it as debilitating In my particular case I have determined that one muscle or muscle group in my lower back has tightened up and is not relaxing. I found sitting in a chair and propping my feet up and bending my knees into kind of a fetal position and staying in that position for about 15 min 3 or 4 times a day. It will usually alleviate mine by the next morning. Stretching I think is the key for a lot of us. My computer chair seemed to be the thing kicking it off until I bought a horseshoe shaped seat cushion. That mad an unbelievably difference.

Sciatica can be caused by different things, and, the stretches/exercises that relieve it depend on the cause. So step one may be working with your doctor/physical therapist to try to identify the cause. For example, in my family our sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle, instead of beside it. So our sciatica is caused by the piriformis squeezing the sciatic nerve & stretching & relaxing the piriformis is the solution. There are numerous online sources for the appropriate exercises. Another common cause is the sciatic nerve pinched where it exits the spine, which is relieved by a whole different set of exercises. Identifying the cause is important because doing the wrong exercises/stretches can make it worse. But, of course, it may be difficult or impossible to find the cause, so ask your PT if it would be okay to just do the exercises/stretches for one source for a while to see if you get relief, then changing after a few days if it worsens or doesn’t improve.

Just checking back in with an update and to say thanks for all of the sympathy wishes.

I have been pushing myself to walk around the house. I can make it about 5 mins or so before the pain stops me. I’ve also been alternating heat and ice. And stretching while laying here.

My Dr prescribed muscle relaxers. I think they have helped the most. I was able to walk around about 15-20 mins last night an hour after I took one.

I still couldn’t make it out of the house. But I will be needing to get back to work as soon as I can. Just doesn’t even seem possible now. Fighting depression. :frowning:

Anyway, thanks for the help and encouragement. Much appreciated.

PurpleHorseShoe: central california.

She got hers from a different place but it looks very similar to that.

I had a “knee chair” or “kneeling chair” for a while, and that helped considerably.

I joined “The Club” 5 days ago. I toughed it out over the week-end by using my massaging with heat chair seat. And some Aleve. Some, ok, lots of booze.

Monday I called up my PA’s office and they got me in fast. I think she said L4 and L5… but I was in pain at the moment.

After the exam my PA gave me a prescription of 100 mg of Gabapentin X3 a day, and Prednisone 20 mg X2 at once. She also gave me a printout of various exercises to do and referred me to the local physiotherapist (been there for a frozen shoulder and they “fixed”* it). They didn’t call me today so I’ll be calling them tomorrow. (Last time they called me as I walked in the door… landline, no cellphone.)

I’ve given birth 3X, had my left kidney be a kidney stone and have dislocated both my shoulder and the same leg that is troubling me now. This pain tops all of them.

  • They did fix me up via deep tissue massage, a Tens unit running at 11 and making sure I was doing the right exercise the correct way. But I followed their advice and worked my way to being healthy. That time it was med free. It only took about 6 sessions over 3 weeks for me to have full range of motion.

This time, so far, the meds are doing squat. But it’s only been one day of the Prednisone (was advised by my doc to take them in the morning because they can make you jittery… I took a 2 hour nap 4 hours after taking them, then another 2 hour nap 7 hours later just to escape the pain for a bit).

I’ve been doing some of the exercises even while sitting. (knee to chest) (leg lift). I may have to removed some of my foam pads from my bed. See if a slightly harder bed will help. Probably the 2 egg crate pads… because I love my memory foam pads just a bit more.

Whoever or whatever created us made a few design flaws: breathing and eating going down the same tube and a freaking nerve bundle that can get pinched!

Be careful to not miss doses of the Prednisone and take all of it. It’s a powerful anti inflammatory but doesn’t work at once. Give it time.

Prednisone can pick you up or fatigue you. I took it in my 30’s maybe and wanted to paint the garage, like right now. Took it in recent years and could hardly make the energy to do anything for a few days.

yup, its scary.

If yours is due to a herniated disc, it was my understanding that a good PT regime and possibly surgery to cut out the herniated part of the disc could be really helpful.

The human body is scary.