Severe Sciatica - 4 weeks+Waiting for MRI

I am a 58 year old male generally very healthy.- swim and golf in the summer. 4 weeks ago I was smashing ice from my driveway (here in  Canada) and I was forcefully scraping it. My arms were vibrating due to this forcefull activity. At some point I felt a massive shock in my back followed by overwhelming massive pain that literally froze me .Somehow I crawled  to the house where my wife immediately got me onto the floor , gave ith mass does of Advil and a cold pack.. Had a locked highly sensitive lower back for next 7 days, and for the last 3 weeks suffering from overwhelming Siatica - mass pain in left  buttocks is incredible, plus tingling left foot and outer  calf which gives way to mass pain in left calf. Can stand or walk for about 1 minute. I get about a 1 minute of relief by sitting or leaning forward at a 45 degree angle. Again sitting and lying down are fine but immediately on getting up I have about a minute. I can walk on my heels and my toes no problem. Also can lie down and bring my leg to 45 degrees with  no pain in leg and  only a little in lower  back. Have not worked for entire 4 weeks which is soon going to be a problem. Cannot walk any further thant the end of a short  snow and ice packed driveway. Doss this  a herniated disc ? I did go to physio and they gave me all these exercises to arch my back. Did not work. Odly the relief (which is only for a minute) is leaning forward. (Flexion bias). I can push a chair on the hardwood floor at 45 degrees (almost like a walker and that helps some) but is no way to live. Taking Tramadol and Celebrex waiting for an MRI which up here could be some time. Sorry for running on but the painn nd uncertainty are causing high anxiety. Any insight, suggestion feedback, diagnosis or prognosis would be most appreciated. Thank you for your time.



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,190
    edited 07/11/2019 - 11:06 AM

    Ross- Sorry you are in so much pain. Nobody can give you a diagnosis but a qualified specialist. I did not realize how slow Canada's medical system was until I started reading these forums, makes me thankful for the U.S. even though insurance is expensive and they rule what doctors can do. Good luck to you and feel free to vent on here anytime.

  • Can you get MRI’s? When’s your follow-up? 

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  • Awaiting MRI. This will be weeks if not months. There is a private clinic in Quebec that can do it right away for $750 but II need a requisition which I hope to.get this week.

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,128
    edited 01/28/2019 - 2:07 PM

    I’m so sorry. I just noticed in your thread title you mentioned the wait time. I missed that the first time. 

    These days in the USA my insurance might approve an MRI of the brain in seven days but other body parts can take longer. 

    It also depends if the same body part has already been scanned in the past 2-3 years.

    If so the doctor has to prove there’s enough justification for a new scan otherwise it might be denied. 

    If that happens you can appeal and hope for the best.

    If not I can get a cash MRI (without contrast) for $399 including radiologist report.

    Unfortunately the best mom and pop MRI boutique went belly up in 2017 but there’s another one about 30 minutes away.

    Please hang in there and know you aren’t alone.

    I’m only able to work part-time because of pain. And even that is becoming more and more difficult.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,414
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM

    welcome to spine health
    all new members should take the system tutorial

    i wanted to formally welcome you to spine-health. if you do go to quebec for the mri, will a doctor be available to give you the results? i know the anxiety of the unknowns is getting to you, but try to focus on now. keep a good attitude that something will be done to give you relief. as challenger said, ice packs. they can work wonders even if for a short time. i do a lot of stretching too even though it only gives a short period of relief, something is better than nothing.

    take care and please keep us posted on how you are doing.

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  • Everyone, thank you so much for the kind words of support- it is very much appreciated.

    It is very odd that leaning forward at 45 degree  sitting down or lying down helps but the second I am upright the lower calf tightens, foot tongles and buttock pain overwhelms.

    Not being able to stand or walk for 4 weeks has been incredibly dehabilitating. 

    Thank you again.

  • Ross88-

    That sounds exactly like what I just went through. Even though only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose doctor found a large synovial cyst compressing on my L4-L5 nerve roots in left side. I was told synovial cysts that cause this type of trouble is rare, but when they due, like mine..the best treatment is usually to preforme a micro Laminectomy to remove the cyst.

    I had my surgery Feb. 7th,2019, and so far So good..Most all my left buttock/leg pain an numbness is gone..Just back post surgical pain..but being only 3 days post-op, I am optimistic!!! 

  • Had an MRI two weeks ago at a private clinic.Results indicated a (protruding) disc at  L4-L5 which is impinging the traversing  L5 Nerve Root. Currently taking Lyrica and Celebrex. Radicular Pain is still  severe in left buttock thigh  calf ( rear and outside and foot sstill tingles) This has now been  7 weeks. The Lyrica takes the edge off but I still can only stand or walk for about 4 minutes. Spend most of my day on my side in bed. Still off work. Going to have to apply for disability. Very hard on my wife plus winter here has been brutal this year - heavy  snow and ice everywhere.. Next up is a Epideral Steroid Injection at some point in the coming weeks. I have stopped physio because those extension exercises were causing more pain. This whole matter is very unsettling. I honestly have no idea if it is going to resolve as I was led to believe that  Protrusions do not reabsorb , unlike Extrusions and Sequestered herniations which do. Wondering if I should ask to see a surgeon and request a Microdiscectomy and be done with this? Also is my supposition about protrusions not reabsorbing and resolving correct? What about stopping Physio? Should I go back or see a Chrio? This nightmare has changed my entire life. Every day I wake up and hope it was all just a nightmare but it is isn't. It is pure evil. Sorry for running on and getting emotional. Thanks in advance.

  • I know many people who are on disability and who also work 10 to 20 hours per week.

    This way they have two checks each month to live on. It may not be much but it’s better than disability alone.

    However, I agree that you should exhaust all conservative treatments first and if those don’t work get several neurosurgical opinions.

    You don’t want a life of paltry disability and being underemployed if the physicians can repair the issue.

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654
    edited 02/21/2019 - 10:26 AM

    Hi @Ross88, man-o-man do I feel for ya. I don't want to downplay your pain, but if it gives you any solace, I suffered for over two years. Basically the same symptoms as you and for the same type of disc bulge. Although scraping ice wasn't the catalyst for me, I just wanted to say "I thought I was the only one whom experienced vibrating arms after chopping ice",  :) . I think one thing we overlook is that the protrusion is also a symptom. In my opinion, discs do not just bulge/protrude/herniate for unexplained reasons. In order for a bulge to occur there has to be force or pressure applied. If you are like me, a good assumption could be the L4-5 were already compressing the disc and the force of the motion while chopping away was the catalyst. To me, the protrusion is a symptom of the vertebral compression.  

    For me, sitting was the worst. But with you, and my mother-in-law, standing is the worst. I have to believe this is because of the position of the bulge and resulting impingement on the nerve. It is great that you can lie down, hopefully on your back. Any other position [in the long term] is not something I would suggest because the spine and pelvis and shoulders can be put into positions that could cause more harm than good. I will say from personal experience, age is not necessarily a determining factor of pain, nor is age a factor to rehabbing and getting better. 

    Well, that's my insight. I hope you can get back to moving again and back to work! 

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