New to Sciatica, multilevel degeneration of lower spine, fracture L4.


I'm brand new to experiencing sciatica. 37 y/o female.   3 weeks ago I began experiencing lower back pain.  I work as a gardener and didn't think much of it.   3 days later I was in so much pain at work I had to leave and go to the Er.   I was given torridol, 12 Hydrocodone 7.5mg tablets and flexeril.   After 5 days I was still in pain and went back to work.

At this point I should add that I live just outside of Tampa Florida and unfortunately was a statistic of the pill mill/opiate epidemic going on in this area.   I was hooked on oxycodone off and on for 7 of 10 years and unfortunately moved on to Dilaudid and even heroin.  After several overdoses, years of homelessness, and poly drug abuse (my compulsion to use drugs became so great I did drugs I didn't even like if I was around them)... Well I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and I found a halfway house and got myself sober. I now have my own apartment by myself and support myself fully with no government help and will be celebrating a year since my last relapse in a few days; March 9th.

 I was back at work and in serious pain for 3 days.  Rent was coming due and I refuse to be homeless again!  I hurt my back again(worse every time) ....went to a Different ER had an x-ray and the results say I have a fracture in L4 and multilevel degeneration of my lower spine..  They put me on  high dose steroids and told me to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon.  I cannot afford to go to a specialist.  I started to feel better with the steroids and went back to work. 4 days  later the pain became so great I worked weeding a clients garden on my belly.. . But I made it thru the day. The next morning I could not get out of bed, put my socks on... Anything. I saw a primary this past Saturday, March 2nd.   Obviously, narcotic pain medications are a liability with me and I have to be honest with myself that I am an addict and likely to begin abusing the medication again. So after discussion the primary decided that we should ignore the fracture listed on my x-ray, address the inflammation, and hope that I will heal.

I am on a one month cycle of prednisone, starting at 50mg... I will be lowered every 10 days thru the 30 day period.. Obviously muscle relaxers, gabapentin (luckily since apparently people are abusing that too now), and iboprophen 800mg.  I have not been able to work this week.  I can't stand without feeling terrible burning/stabbing pain in my left theigh, calve, and ankle.  I also have numbness in the entire bottom of my foot and 3 of my toes. I can now get myself to the bathroom without crying but I don't see how I could  possibly go back to work Monday when it is now late Wednesday night Thursday morning and can't stand for more than 5 minutes at a time without resting.

Is it common for a Dr to start with oral steroids and hope that you heal?  Or should I be getting a second opinion?  I really cannot afford to see an orthopedic surgeon.   Do people heal from an injury like this and go on to lead a normal life without steroid injections, nerve blocks, or surgery?   Is this going to continue to occur?   I keep hurting myself again.  

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions to me as to what to do? 

Has anyone experienced severe pain in the theigh area accompanied by lumpiness of the muscle tissue?  It feels like there are rocks in there.  The x-ray tech said my back is so tense she Couldnt  tell where my bones were versus my muscle tissue.

Any suggestions for the pain in my theigh? 

Can I go back to work with a back brace once I can stand for a while longer?  Am I just making myself worse by going back and getting hurt again? Is a week off enough? I keep seeing people saying 4-8 weeks. I'm so terrified that I will become unable to work in horticulture and unable to make enough money without the specialty business I am in to support myself.  

Worried, stressed, and in pain.  No narcotics. Any suggestions would be helpful. 

Now I understand what the pill mills did to chronic pain sufferers and also to the local people in my age group.   People with chronic pain can't get the medication they need to manage it and people in my age group became addicted to the pills and lost their lives....3 I knew personally died in January alone because the shortage of pills on the streets due to the new laws and cheaper price of heroin.  People are getting heroin laced with fentanyl and dropping like flies.   What a nightmare!

Never experienced pain like this. Please help. Please pray! I need advice! Should I go to er again? 

What about the insomnia from the steroids?  I've been awake 22.5 hrs and the pain just gets worse as the hours go on without rest. Trying to do sciatica exercises...

God help us all! 

Thank you!




  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 844
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM

    hi jaymelea! 

    first off, welcome to the forum!!!!

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    wow you have been through a lot!  first off, i admire your strength-you know about your opioid issues and choose to not go there again.  that is simply amazing. 

    second, the pain you are describing sounds to me like what i had with my nerve pain.  the gabapentin helped me a lot with that pain.  one thing that also really helped me was muscle relaxants-the spasming
    muscles were trying to stabilize my spine but doing damage by pinching
    nerves... i'm scared to read that you have fractures and cannot afford to see a surgeon.  can you get a consult at all?  can you take a break from your gardening?  or at least get some help for the working at ground level, or find some tools that will let you stay standing and in a neutral position to do the weeding (hoes or rakes)?  i had 2 fractures in my back, and even after having my long fusion working at ground level is a sure-fire way to be in pain fast....please, be gentle on yourself....and if you can somehow work out seeing a specialist i think i would....i'm sure others will be along shortly to lend their thoughts as well.

    in the meantime, welcome to the forum!!!!

  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,190
    edited 07/16/2019 - 10:12 AM


    First things first, I would like to commend you on getting sober, that is a great feat. I am sorry you are going through this now, the job you do is very hard on your back. I wish I had more and better advice for you, please do not give up.


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