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    Sciatica pain
    Fernfr posted:
    I am new to this site and not sure how it works. My problem is sciatica pain. My problelm is right now it is real inflammed. I will be getting an injection of depo medrol in a few weeks. Has anyone had that injection and do you feel it is safe. Second question, what is the best way to get the sciatica nerve to calm down and once it is calmed what is the best was to keep it from acting up again. Thanks, Fern
    bj1208 responded:
    hi and welcome to the support group -

    I've never had this type of injection so really can't comment on that -

    regarding sciatic nerves - there is a reason they act up and become 'inflamed' - there are different areas a pinched nerve can happen - in between joints (hips, elbows etc., ) but one of the most common seen here on the support board is a disc(s) that is bulging/ruptured/slipped (all same meaning) and is pressing on a nerve root. Pain Management physicians and/or spine specialist will try injections to see if that will help with the inflammation. most common injections are cortisone, but there are other types of medication used as a 'cocktail' (mixture) to see if that works as some people (myself included) who cannot have cortisone injections.

    you have not stated where your sciatic nerve issues are - if you would please let us know. if this is related to your back (nerve issues will be noted thru the upper buttocks/hips and/or legs). Please let us know more history and we should be able to help more.

    take care - Joy
    Kelly_30 responded:
    Hi Fernfr,

    I too suffer from sciatica. Have you had an MRI? It is important that the anesthesiologist knows precisely which nerve is affected and to guide the needle to that nerve through the use of imaging such as an X-ray. Otherwise, the bulk of the medicine may not get to where it needs to go. I would make sure that they are going to use imaging during the procedure.

    I have had 4 injections of depo medrol and they have helped considerably with my sciatica. The injection only lasts 4-8 weeks on average. And to minimize complications, the injections are repeated every 3 months. So approx. 1 month before an injection I am in A LOT of pain and discomfort. I am maxed out on all of my medications and then for the first few weeks after an injection, I have considerably relief and can do so many things that I want (and need) to do and I can reduce my pain medications.

    The injections do come with risks, such as an infection can happen at the injection site. If you see any red streaks near the injection site, be sure to call your physician asap. Over time, the injections can start to thin your bones and lead to arthritis of the hip. Your physician can run periodic bone density tests to ensure your bones aren't deterioating.

    I have not had any complications with the procedure and it is fairly safe. I plan on continuing them as long as my bones hold up lol!

    I have found that Alleve really helps with sciatica pain through the reduction of inflammation. If you are really hurting now, taking an Alleve or two once a day can help.

    For me, sciatica is a constant battle. When the injection wears off, the sciatica is still there. Oh! Almost forgot...stretching the back of the thigh by crossing one leg over the other while sitting in a chair and bending forward, stretches out the muscles and helps calm the sciatica down for bit. I like to cross the leg on an ottoman and then bend forward as it is more comfortable.

    Best of luck. Let us know how the procedure goes.

    ebyrd replied to Kelly_30's response:
    Kelly, This may sound silly to you, but have you seen a chiropractor at all. I was plagued for 2 and a half years with sciatica. My MRI showed severe curves in my spine along with a pinched nerve. I vowed to do all I could without surgery. I did physical therapy, exercises, epiderals (3) and finally gave in to seeing a chiropractor. I never had faith in them and know some Kooky ones but after much investigation tried one who had nothing but rave reviews. After my third adjustment, I began to have some relief. It has been over 3 months, and I am now just seeing him once a week. I have had wonderful results. For my problem, it seems to be the best solution at this point.
    Just had to throw in my two cents worth.

    Good Luck,

    Kelly_30 replied to ebyrd's response:
    Hi Jan,

    Yes I did about 3 years worth of chiropractic in my twenties. And it did help the pain in my thoracic spine quite a bit but it was very expensive as my medical insurance doesn't cover it. I was paying for it with auto accident insurance. My back pain then was well under control without meds, injections, etc. and it was before my discs started bulging and rupturing.

    I went to the chiropractic 2 times a week, physical therapy 1 time a week, and massage 1 time a week. All of those therapies really gave me relief but by the 3rd day without an addjustment or massage, my back would begin to lock up again. I blew through $150,000 in auto accident benefit money in 3 years. I tried to do maintenence thereafter out of pocket but could only afford to get massage and chiropractic once a month and it wasn't enough to have any lasting effect. I was blowing money away for only a day or two of limited relief. It was about $300 a month for one visit each of chiropractic and massage. Each prescription I am on costs $10! My epidurals are a $150.00 copay and they last 2 months! I am getting more lasting effects from my physician and anesthesiologist than I ever could with massage and chiropractic (I even tried accupunture and cupping, very short pain relief). I have even replaced massage by doing self accupressure using my theracane. I can get more knots out myself than a deep tissue massage therapist ever could!

    I think everyone is different and different things work at different phases of one's chronic pain disease. I am glad that chiropractic is helping your pain considerably. I hope it continues for many, many years.

    Fernfr replied to bj1208's response:
    Hi Joy;

    About 12 yrs ago I had L 4 & 5 fused with cages. After surgery I had numbness down both legs and into the foot. I questioned at that time if the cages was not hitting a nerve which I was told no it was not and over the yrs I have questions this with the neurosurgeon and was told there was no pinch nerve. About 4 or 5 nomths ago I was rear ended by another car. I thought everything was fine tell about an hr later my back and neck started hurting and the neck has calmed down but the back keeps giving me problem. About a month ago it really flared up and I can't get it to calm down. At first it hurt across the lower back around the waist line then it shifted to the right side (buttock) and at time still hurts across the whole back. No pain shooting down the leg. I get sharp pain in the right leg and foot, not always in the same area. I always felt my back surgery turn out good. Always had some problems over the yrs but could always get it calmed down. I am going to have an depo medrol injection on the 18 of this month. Do you know anything about that injection? I am a fairly active person, ski, bike ride, was looking forward to getting back into hiking tell this happened. I had a colon problem that stopped me from hiking for a while. I am assuning when I got rear ended it shifted something in my back. I think I problably need an MRI to see what is really going on. On the 28 I need to fly to Portland and back so need to try to get it calmed down by then. The one exercise I use to do to get it calmed down was the rubber band over the door knob while setting on the chair but this time it is not helping. At this point it does not take very much to get it hurting more. Thanks, Fern
    Fernfr replied to Kelly_30's response:
    Hi Kelly;
    The one exercise that usually helped me is a rubber band over the door knob will setting on a chair. You stretch the band around the back of you heel of your foot and bend the leg back at the knee. Hold and repeat. The bands come in different strengths by color. I forgot about the bending forward on the chair. Thanks, I will do that one too. I will only have this one injection then will asks for an MRI. I need to try and get the back calmed down by the 28 as I have to fly to Portland and back on that day. My bones are on the thin side so thanks for letting me know about that. I really think the cages in my back on hitting the nerve. I read where they stopped using the back cages for fusing the back cause they were to big and was laying on the nerve. When I was rear ended a few months ago I think it jamed it closer together. Thanks, Fern
    soreinsanjose responded:
    I had about 20 injections last year for my lower back, sciatica, and pain into the knees. It helped for a few months then the pain came back. After speaking with my neurosurgeon who did my neck surgery about 15 years ago, he said these types of injections are a waste of time.

    Just my 2 cents, well actually his. Hope things work out for you better than they did me.
    Fernfr replied to soreinsanjose's response:
    Hi soreinsanjose;

    The only reason I have agreed to have an depo medrol injection is because on the 28 of this month I have to fly to Portland and back on the same day and need to try to get my back to calm down so I can make the trip. I don't think I would agree to any more injections. I feel I should problably have a MRI to try and find out if I have a pinch nerve, which I have always felt I had one ever since I had back surgery 13 yrs ago. Until I was rear ended 4 or 5 months ago it never flared up to where I could not get it calmed down . I think when she hit me something shifted more in my back. I ski and with all the falls I have taken it never hurt my back so always felt I was lucky and the cage was in my back solid. I alway felt one of the cages was hitting a nerve. Over the yrs after back surgery when they taped on my knee it moved less and less and now it does not move any.

    Have you come up with anything that helps the sciatica nerve???
    Thanks, Fern
    Kelly_30 replied to soreinsanjose's response:
    Hi soreinsanjose,

    They are only supposed to help for a few months. So since you had some relief, the injections did work as intended. The injections are not a permanent fix. They only help get rid of the pain for a period of time so you can be more comfortable and do some things they you enjoy that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do because of the pain.

    For some conditions, the injections are a waste of time. For example, they have not been very successful for low back pain. They are many times successful for sciatica as the medicine reduces inflammation of the nerve root which reduces the body's response to pain. Inflammation sends off an alarm to the body that something is wrong. When that alarm goes off, the nerves become very active and send pain signals up the spinal cord to the brain. The anti-inflammatory medication injected at the site turns these alarms off. But when the medicine wears off, the alarms turn back on. The injections are much more powerful than anti-inflammatory oral medications but they also can do a lot of damage over time.

    Kelly_30 replied to Fernfr's response:
    Hi Fernfr,

    Thanks for telling me about the excercise with the rubberbands. I will have to check around for them at the store. The excercise sounds like it would be very helpful to me.

    There is another option to the depo medrol injections and that is taking oral steroids for a week (usually the medication is prednisone). It is steroid medication taken orally versus by injection. I have had to take them in the past for inflammation from a wicked bug bite on my leg. I noticed a significant reduction in back pain while I was taking them. And, doctors sometimes do prescribe them for back pain. They are taken for about a week once or twice a year in lieu of injections. They come in a blister pack similar to the type for oral antibiotics and you take them until the blister pack is gone and then it is repeated every 6 months to a year. The oral steroids are considered to have more risk to developing adverse side effects than the injections but since you only plan on one injection for your plane flight, this could be a more comfortable alternative. The injections aren't very painful but oral steroids are painless.

    I think an MRI would be very beneficial to see what the root cause is. I am happy that you have already planned on getting one. I am hoping that you get some relief so you can have a nice relaxing flight.

    Fernfr replied to Kelly_30's response:
    Hi Kelly;

    Do you have sciatica problems? If you do what do you do to help with the problem? Fern
    Fernfr replied to Fernfr's response:
    Hi Kelly;

    When I go on this site i seem to end up it a lot of different places, not sure what I am doing that causes that. Sometime I end up where my messages are and other time I seem to to in another place. So many times when I try to write a message the site is down. I think I will call the doctor that did not surgery and see if other people that had cages put in are having this problem and if so what they did about it. I would like to think if a nerve is pinched they could just go in and clear what ever is hitting the nerve away, like part of the cage on the bone they used to grafted it with. Do you know what place in the US is the best back place to contact? Thanks, Fern
    Kelly_30 replied to Fernfr's response:
    Hi Fernfr,

    I do have severe sciatica problems and there are several things that I do:

    1. Take medication prescribed my physician (if you want to know more about what I take and why, I am happy to elaborate, just let me know )

    2. One aleve on days when my sciatica flares up and gets really bad.

    3. lumbar injections of depo medrol, these work wonders for my sciatica, the shooting pains actually STOP completely for at least a month following an injection but the injections are turning my bones to mush and I am at a crossroad lol!

    4. Theracane therapy - you can buy a theracane online, it is a green candy cane shaped object that allows a person to perform a self massage. A lot of pressure is able to be applied, which can aleviate knots and thick bands of muscle located in the glutes and legs, that can aggravate sciatica.

    5. Heat - I use a heating pad on my low back and on my legs where the shooting pains are located.

    6. Lidocaine - this has worked wonders for my sciatica. You need a prescription for it and you can get it in patch form (called lidoderm) or as an ointment. I use the ointment that you can apply with or without tegaderm (tegaderm is an occlusive dressing). The lidocaine blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain for up to 12 hours if you apply it using the lidoderm patch or lidocaine w/ tegaderm. If you apply the ointment without the occlusive dressing, it will last 1-2 hours. The shooting pains disappear during this time and it is wonderful! You can apply up to 6 inches of ointment in a 24 hour period and the lidoderm patches you can wear 12 hours on and then 12 hours off.

    7. Stretching, I plan on trying the excercise you mentioned with the rubberbands.

    Kelly_30 replied to Fernfr's response:
    Hi Fern,

    Unfortunately, I don't know which hospitals in the US have a good reputation for treating back conditions. Others here may have a better idea of where the best facilities are that treat back pain. The doctors have been trying to push me into surgery but I haven't had surgery done yet. I have a ruptured lumbar disc that is spilling out and applying pressure on the membrane that covers the nerves in my spinal cord and I have a bulging disc that is displacing my S1 nerve root (this is the cause of my sciatica). I see my PCP for pain management along with my anesthesiologist for the injections.

    At the very top there is a search box and below it there is a link that says "doctors". If you click on "doctors" I believe it brings up a directory of physicians that treat multiple conditions. You can then narrow the search for only physicians that treat back conditions. Best of luck to you. I really hope they can find and eliminate what is causing the sciatica.


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