Severe Sciatica - 4 weeks+Waiting for MRI



  • Sorry to hear about your experience. I had something similar happen in Dec 2018. Went to a very rigorous spinning class and when I got home had some lower back pain. The back pain was manageable and I went to Chiro for treatment. 5 days later I was stuck with radiating pain down my right leg and pins and needles in my foot. The pain was excruciating especially in mornings. I almost passed out a few times and had to put heat on for a while and then try to get up again.  I have never felt pain like this before. All this happened over holiday period, so doctor gave a prescription for very strong oral steriods (Prednizone ) which I had to take over a period of 10 days. This helped somewhat and I found that the only painkiller that helped marginally was the over the counter Arthritis Tylenol. Heat (not ice) helped a lot. I still do "warm water bottles" every day. Only after pain died down somewhat could I start with PT etc. Now, 2 months after my experience, I have virtually no pain but my right foot is still numb and my calf muscles so weak that I walk with a limp. I had an MRI which showed a herniated disk but the diagnosis changed nothing in terms of handling the symptoms. I would find a doctor who is prepared to treat with steroids before the MRI if you can. 

  •  MarWin,

    Your observation that my ice chipping was the catalyst to something that was likely pre existing was very insightful. I re read the radiologist report on my MRI. That report states "L4-5, there is mild disc space desiccation and loss of height. There is a 2 to 3 mm retrolisthesis.Small to-moderate central and left parasagittal disc protrusion causing mild-to-moderate mass effect on the left anterolateral thecal sac. Suspect some impingement of the traversing left L5 nerve root. No significant foraminal narrowing."

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the underlying problem therefore is the retrolisthesis. I am now unclear if this protrusion is ever going to let off impinging the Nerve Root given the retrolisthesis. In other words , is it permanent and being symptomatic because of the retrolisthesis? Any thoughts? Thank you again 

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  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,173
    edited 07/11/2019 - 11:07 AM


    It is unclear to me what kind of doctor you are seeing, if I missed it in your post I apologize. Keep us informed.


  • Ross88RRoss88 Posts: 6
    edited 02/24/2019 - 5:16 PM

    I am seeing a Sports Medicine Doctor who has indicated that a referral to an Orthopedic Surgeon will be  forthcoming in the event all conservative approaches have not helped. Thanks again for your sound advice.

  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,173
    edited 07/11/2019 - 11:07 AM

    Ross, That sounds like a excellent plan, I hope that conservative treatments work for you. I put off fusion surgery for almost 3 years with injections.

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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    @Ross88, Wow, that's a lot of very big complicated words. I bet your head was spinning trying to figure out what it all meant! Been there myself, cross-eyed and everything, LOL! 

    My opinion is that DDD (loss of disc height), as well as compression of the vertebrae are completely reversible. That was the result for me anyway. My first learning curve was that my poor daily postural habits are the true initial cause of all my back pain. Those poor habits then led me to have many muscle imbalances. And don't get me wrong....I was very active with sports and working out. At least that's what I interpreted as being active. 

    When it was made clear to me that muscle is what moves bone it all then made sense as to why I had so many postural misalignments. My fix was to start a daily routine of muscle balancing exercises specific to sciatic nerve impingement, and to try to keep my movements as active as possible through the day up to bedtime. Additionally I have increased my hydration levels, and well as retrained my diaphragm to once again do its job as my primary breathing apparatus (not my lungs). 

    In your case, make sure you ask more questions than you need to, and then ask them again. Find out what the success rates are for any invasive procedure followed by the supporting rehab, as well as what you can expect afterwords as far as limitations and quality of life.  

  • charryccharry Posts: 104
    edited 02/26/2019 - 6:31 AM

    when I had foot numbness right away my Dr sent me for an EMG of the affected limb and that day the Neurologist saw me. Either way, I had to wait for an MRI. I have DDD with many herniated discs. You can call the MRI dept. where you get your MRI and ask to be put on a cancellation list or call every morning they may have a cancellation and get you in the middle of the night. 

    I see it's been awhile maybe you're getting your MRI soon. 

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