I thought I would start this thread because I'm suffering as per the title and have read so many of these threads which have helped me understand my problem, however I have noticed that there are so many people suffering as I am, but yet many feel lost with no direction and are desperate need for help. My aim is to keep this thread positive as possible because many threads unfortunately aren't because we are all suffering and desperate for that help. There clearly is no short term fix but a methodical approach may just help?
I'm 47 years old, always been very active, gym, running, biking, DIY and 10 years ago I herniated a disc and was diagnosed with DDD. It repaired itself and I was told by a specialist I need to get on with life, don't treat my back like a China plate but ease up.
Anyway 6 months ago I started suffering with Sciatica which I had never suffered with before, so now I will tell you about what has happened since then and what I have learnt, but please don't think this is medical advice. I'm by no means fixed but learning as I go which I wish to share, because I habe turned a corner and the positive effect is helping.
Firstly I consulted my doctor which is what I recommended everyone to do in the first instance. Get advice, don't try and live with the pain. My first mistake was that I did not push my issue with him to get further help, however he gave me anti-inflammatories which aided well but you need to take these as prescribed unlike painkillers you take as and when you need them. The anti-inflammatories aim to reduce any swelling to fix the issue. Pain killers just mask it.
My next issue was I didn't push for an MRI, if I had, I would of found out how bad my issue was, so if you have not had a scan, get one so you can look to fix the root cause rather than live with it which only delays for your fix.
I went for physio before my MRI, and whilst this aided me to get my sciatica better I didn't realise that I was at the point of a major prolapse , hence you maybe trying the wrong thing to fix the issue. If I had known this I probably wouldn't of done physio.
A quick point on Sciatica, I have read so much now I am learning as I go but what I didn't realise is that the lower in the leg the pain gets the worse you are getting, which may mean that what ever you are doing isn't helping so stop, if the pain goes back up the leg to the back, it means it's getting better so continue what you are doing. Again if it's getting lower get advise. If you are suffering with numbness in your legs and or growing with pins and needles, seek emergency help without fail as you could be causing damage to your nerves.
Now, i was in so much pain, that I just laid flat on the floor even though it eased the pain, it wasn't helping. I found that after a few days getting up walking around very gently, loosened up my body and has eased my pain. But don't over do it. Typically pain is more prominent in the morning , I think that's because you stiffen up in bed, so aim to get up and get moving, but slowly and gently. By the end of the day I feel better, however like many of you, after 4-5 hours of sleep at most, I wake up in major pain, there are recommendations to lay flat on a pillow under your tummy, lay on your back with a towel under your lower back, or on your side with back straight and a pillow between your knees, my advise is these are all good, but there is no magical solution so please don't hope they are but they will assist. you may need to keep moving until you find the best position for you and this may change nightly. A hint though, when I lay on my side with a pillow between my legs it hurts bad with throbbing pain, however if I move my right foot just a fraction lower (sciatica in my right leg) then the pain is still there initially but it's different, in fact it still ispainful but is consistent and almost calming which is better than throbbing and if I stick with it, it goes away in about 30 minutes so my advice is, sometimes a slight tweak can make all the difference. Just keep tweaking each position your in.
Next, I spoke with a friend who had also suffered badly as I am, he advised a book called "treat your own back by Mckenzie," again no magic solution but keep reading about your issue and it educates you which I have found has kept me positive so I know what to expect and how I can look after myself whilst I go through this. This chat also helped because he had the same as me, he had the steroid injections, he started Pilates, he worked his core himself and whilst it took over a year he has come through and gave me a great motivational conversation.
My next advise is talk to someone, I have found this draining at first and emotional, however talking to someone who had gone through this or is going through this has helped me, it's ok to cry and tell someone how you feel. I broke down about two weeks ago and all of a sudden the issue didn't feel so emotionally draining.
Think what you are doing day to day, even with this, when your doing thing such as brushing your teeth or shaving (for the guys) don't lean forward in to the mirror as we do, this puts pressure on your back, it won't help and will make things worse.
Keep your mind active, it might seem hard, but I have found watching something really intense on TV, talking on business calls, listen to great music or just reading intently when my pain is worse takes my mind of the pain, again it doesn't fix it but remember your body and mind is capable of blocking out pain at times.
So where am I up to now, well after my MRI scan, my orthopaedic consultant has said I have a severe prolapse at L5/S1 and the disc us posing the sciatic nerve hence my whole world of pain. Today I went for my first spinal steroid injection to ease things, it was painful but hopefull enough to reduce the inflammation and allow me to gently get mobile and work on repairing myself.
I have also been focusing on my core, make sure you do this at all times without fail. If you move around, I.e. Going up stairs getting out of bed, pull in your lower stomach and engage the core. This will aim to take the pressure of your tightened back muscles, and again no magical fix but a step in the right direction. Even when you are laying flat, there are some easy low intense core exercises you can do.
So finally right now whilst I type I am in a spare bed in my house, not my usual one with my wife, I write that because I am trying to say change things to find what is easier for you. I tried lying in bpmy usual bed but couldn't turn in the night as I needed because I didn't want wake her and didn't allow me to get in the positions I needed to frequently throughout the night, now I get some sleep, not as much as I would like but more than I did, and if I awake and I can't sleep, well I either read, watch TV and before you know it, it takes my mind if the pain and I'm back to sleep without waking her, and she is being a saint.
I have my next review with my consultant in 4 weeks so more to come, but I really hope whoever reads this, it may help.....