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Sciatica Relief Advice Please

Started by Anney on 04/20/2010 5:52pm

I had spinal fusion 6 months ago to treat an L5/S1 pars defect that was trapping my right side sciatic nerve. Unfortunately I still suffer pretty much the same level of sciatic pain. I have a TENS machine that is useful during the day but I cannot use it at night. I take Voltaren 3 times a day, 2 Tramadol 200, 2 Endone and supplement these with Panadeine Extra - but I still have a significant level of pain. I am 55 years old and retired from the workforce. I also have osteoartiritis and my right hip is pretty badly eroded but I am deferring hip replacement as far as I can stand it.

I have tried hydrotherapy but it did no good and the core strengthening exercises actually aggravated the pain. I am seeing a new physio today. I exercise by walking on a treadmill - aggravation is pretty severe after 2 kms, exercise bike for 30 minutes is about my limit and I do yoga for an hour 4-5 times a week. I have had 3 CAT scan guided spinal cortisone injections with varying degrees of success - the last was fairly useless. I am on a waiting list for hospital pain management treatment but I may have to wait up to 12 months until I see someone.

I am not sure whether anything I am doing is further aggravating the pain. Does anyone have any tips regarding exercise, stretching, medication, diet and anything else that might help me. Thanks in anticipation.

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7 Responses


I wish I had the answer as I too am dealing with sciatic pain. But mine is due to an arthritic back (lumbar region). I've tried all of the temporary fixes. Muscle relaxants, Schedule III drugs (Tylenol III), and over the counter medications. And yes , also yoga. But my pain reoccurs about every 10 days. I get where I litterally have to crawl to the bathroom, after an agonizing period of trying to get out of bed. Very warm baths help a little, but the pain returns as I try to get out of the tub. This may not be a good answer as I too am seeking one, (also with the assistance of my doctor), but stretching seems to loosen up the muscles and although it is quite painful to do, I seem to get relief within a day or so. But that just might be due to time. But I litterally do feel your pain and am awaiting helpful suggestions also.


I have the same questions as you regarding sciatic pain. I have tried everything you have except the prescription meds. I too am looking for answers for relieving the sciatic pain from my spinal stenosis. I have gone to physical therapy, chiropractor, massage therapy, steroid shots in my back, I do an aquajog & arthritis swim classes 3 times a week and yoga 1 day per week. And I bought an inversion table about 6 weeks ago and hang every day for a few minutes. NOTHING has helped me yet. My low back (and into my butt) pain is constant, everyday but my sciatic pain comes and goes. Sometimes it last for weeks and then subsides for weeks.I have yet to figure out what if anything I am doing wrong or right. It is so frustrating. I have even started keeping a journal of what I do and how I feel everyday to try and make sense of the pain! UGH! My neurosurgeon says i need to have a laminectomy and fusion to fix my problems but I am terrified to go through all the surgery pain and end up still being in pain!
I am starting to believe there is no rhyme or reason to my pain~ it seems to come and go and doesn't seem to be related to anything I have done!
So I am with you in this search for answers~ Good luck to you (and I am sorry you went through the surgery and still have no relief!)


I know how frustrating it is to have gone through all the effort you have and yet not have relief. After living with back pain, fusions, and muscle spasms for 40 years, I am once again facing another spinal operation in the fall. This is not something I look forward to, in fact my last surgery left me worse that I was before I had it, but I have to believe I can be better than I am. With that said, I can hopefully give you something new to try with your sciatica problem. When I am have the creepy crawlie pains, my husband massages from the hip down to the ankle. While I'm on my opposite side he puts a freezer pack [for aches] on my hip to calm the nerve and a small pillow between my knees to help keep the hip in a straight line position. I can usually get to sleep using this method. I hope it helps you.


I have been diagnosed with degenerative arithritis, spinal stenosis. sciatica, and Reflex Sympathetic

My spinal problems involve both the cervical and lumbar regions causing facial numbness and pain on the left side of my face(cervical), and a severe case of sciatica (both legs) and disc pain (lumbar).

I have tried everything except surgery. Doctors say the odds for a successful outcome is 50/50. So far, I have decided not to have surgery. I have had 5 epidurals and one rizotomy. Two epiderals worked, one for 6 months, one for 9 months. The rizotomy worked for 4 months.

My ability to perform any type of rehab has been quite limited because of my RSD. Different diets have not helped.

The only thing that has had an effect on my pain is a regimen of Percocet. All others have not worked.


Hey folks, for what it's worth, have you guys sort 2nd and 3rd opinions about your problem? My own personal experience is that it took me 3 different opinions and a lot of personal research on what they said to finally choose my doctor. I had a herniated disc pressing on the siatica which numbed my entire right leg. My quality of life suffered and I was totally fed up of all the drugs and exercises that were supposed to solve the problem. The doctor did the surgery and I'm happy to say that it's now been 3 yrs and thank the lord I have not had any problems since. Reply to me if you'd like his name and number......but he's from the republic of Trinidad & Tobago. Trust me, I know what type of pain it is to have with your back and you can't sleep, sit, walk, bath, or even use the toilet properly......its a pain that humbles you.


Hi, Annie, are you still un-resolved with your issue? It's been since 2010 that you wrote in, and wonder if I might join in here, but fear you are away now, either it's ok or the other case: still not! I also am particularly interested in diet, spices, (Tumeric like found in most Curry powder thus Indian dishes, area a mainstay in my own diet at doctor recommendation; also vitamins D and Tumeric Capsules). Is yoga a part of your life that is making a huge difference? I wonder why, if not. Perhaps discuss and look at different instructors always first having Dr.'s clearance to practice, leaving out any headstands or other uncomfortable positions unless accommodations are available. It should be a "mind-body-soul" essential to find practice helpful). Walking has been discouraged by my doctors, though I enjoy brief sessions on the beach, or gardening in our yard whereby I can work without bending my back incorrectly, leaving all lifting to someone else. I found, too, riding my bicycle in a town that was safe w/ bike lanes on busier roads, and preferably ride through neighborhoods with one-way streets and nice views around me. Medications are also part of the struggle- having a doctor not under the gun by the FDA, or limited by number of patients they may prescribe for. It is the hardest part of my life! If you are waiting 12 months to see someone then you are not being referred properly, and should be more assertive w/ your M. D. as well as calling ahead w/ the new specialist. Also be sure to get others' opinions about the clinics as they vary widely. Seek out someone who is known not to be reserved to use medicines that are not just over the counter sort, starting with a low-content opiad that may do it for you along w/ Ibuprofen, and Gabapenten, or Neurontin - ,( prob. misspelled sorry!). But either is the same ),and I have all 3. At least for now. I suffer at least 2 seasons a year from a bulging disc that is right on the Sciatic Nerve, when it becomes inflamed ; w/ an Epidural , I found relief from THE most extreme pain ever have experienced I suffered at bedtime,( resorting to heating pads and up-right sleeping position, when I got home from a trip,)(1st round) . It either completely took away the Sciatic nerve pain that was typical as described "by the BOOK", down from my hip to ankle, or I have also had to have a 2nd round of injections about a month later for it to take effect.
I do not know how anyone can live with this kind of pain without this type of intervention. My spine is under the general category of degenerative disc disease, and I believe that it could be genetic on my maternal side. Not much research has been yet done and I so hope for this as it is a life changing diagnosis that includes different opinions, medicines, no medicines, (this depends on the Federal government, how limited prescription help is for your doctor , and how extensive your damage to your spine is). I cannot imagine living without anything, for when it is in-between the bouts of this nightly pain attack, I have chronic arthritis pain as well as radiating pain to either or both hips, that only responds to the medications and yoga. I believe yoga has literally saved my life! I started practice before I herniated a disc in my late 40's which led to discovery via an MRI the condition of my entire spine was poor. I was stunned to hear my doctor, and yes he is a neurosurgeon, as we looked at the film together- he nor any other M. D. I have seen has viewed me as a surgical case. My entire spine is at risk. The Sciatic Nerve disturbance in the Lumbar section was 1 of 3 active bulges, w / risks of stenosis as space was narrowing; same for all other areas in my back. IF not for the yoga, daily mediation, and the strengthening of my core muscles that run between each rib front to back, engaging support for the spine, strengthening the back muscles, I would as one doctor has said recently , be in far worse shape than I presently am in. Hope that you have found your happy place! I am hear checking in periodically, it's all new to me today, though I hope to hear back from you. Best of all things, life is way too short to suffer! There are medications and ways to find peace. Namaste'


Hello, Anney (and everyone else)--

Though this thread is a few years old, we want to share some resources about sciatica treatments that we hope will help future readers who find this post.

This first article includes some alternative sciatica therapies that may be worth considering: ( Alternative Treatments for Sciatica: Acupuncture, Acupressure, Biofeedback, and Yoga ).

Also, have you tried chiropractic care for sciatica? ( Chiropractic Treatment of Sciatica ).

Lastly, we'd like to share our sciatica video library, which includes educational content and exercises that may help ease pain: ( https://www.spineuniverse.com/videos/sci... ).

We hope this information is helpful as you explore treatments to manage your sciatica pain!