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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I've been suffering with a sciatic pain for about 4 months. In my search for a diagnosis and to free myself of the pain, I've gone to orthopaedists, had cortizone injected, attended physical therapies, had accupuncture, and been adjusted by chiropractors. I also do 'core strengthening exercise's at home.
Like yours, my pain feels very deep in the buttocks, more than the hip, and it extends down my right leg to the ankle. It's been most excrutiating when I'd get out of bed in the morning; to a point that I could barely put weight on my right leg and walk. I could hardly straighten up. I would hobble around in a bent over position, in tears, from the extreme pain. Fortunately it would dissipate after an hour or so, and I'd be pretty pain free for most of the day. When it reached a pain level that was intolerable, I went to an orthopedist. At that time, (over 2 months ago) I had x-rays that didn't show any bone problems. The orthopaedist diagnosed a 'trochanteric bursitis' in my right hip and sciatica. He prescribed ibuprofen and physical therapy. (I learned that 'sciatica' is just a catch all phrase for pain that starts somewhere in the lower back and goes down the leg, sometimes into the foot. Sciatica can have many causes.) After three weeks of PT and ibuprophen, I was still in extreme pain in the morning and the pain was escalating. The orthopaedist gave me a cortizone shot in my 'trochanteric bursa' as a point of further diagnosis, but it didn't relieve the pain. So he ruled out the bursitis. He ordered an MRI. The MRI revealed 2 MILD bulging disks: L-4 + L-5. [B]A radiologist friend, who read my MRI, told me that if he was to do an MRI on 100 people in my age range (60's) he would see some degree of spinal problem in about 85% and they would not have symptoms or pain.[/B] He said that I therefore couldn't rely upon the MRI as an exact diagnosis for the 'root' of the pain. (Makes you wonder, right?) I began PT for disk involvement, but I wasn't getting relief from pain. I've done much 'research' on the web and I've come to the conclusion that I may have a few 'back issues,' one being [B]'piriformis syndrome'[/B]. You may have that as well. Google it!
The piriformis muscle sometimes spasms and presses on the sciatic nerve causing sciatica, and the sciatic nerve gets iritated by the muscle, and causes the piriformis muscle to spasm, creating a 'viscious cycle' that's difficult to break.
In my quest to be pain free, recently I bought an inversion apparatus, (the kind that you 'hang from your lap' (thighs).
I do believe the combination of inversion, massage therapy and 'core strengthening' exercises is helping me, because, though I'm not pain free yet, I've felt so much better in the past three weeks.
I don't know if this long explanation is any help to you, but I want you to know that I do relate to your pain. Chronic pain can be just as depressing as it is physically debilitating.
I've learned that [B]you must be proactive about your back issues.[/B] Most people struggle with back pain at some point in their life, and it seems that the MD's cannot always give a definitive answer, or diagnosis, or offer a cure. Explore all options and take a conservative path. (I've several friends who have had back surgery for a variety of reasons. Most are still deaing with back issues, some new issues as a result of surgery. Surgery should be a very distant last resort!)

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