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Back Problems Message Board

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how often do the episodes/flareups occur? how long do they last for? it might be an idea to document them and also the pain rating 1-10. I have nerve/sciatic pain in my leg for 4 years and it is a burning pain, like my leg is on fire so it doesnt appear this is the same as you so you can rule out sciatic pain I think.
Regarding an MRI, ask your doctor for a referral letter to a neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon and get their opinion about your pain and if they think you need one they will order one.
Re insurance for MRI, if a general practitioner orders the scan your insurance may not cover it. I made this mistake 4 years ago and was landed with a 500euro bill as the insurance said the referall for a scan must come from a consulatant/specialist for it to be covered so that is also something to bear in mind.
I think GP's are very quick to dismiss back pain due to general wear and tear that comes with age, but what alot of GP's dont realize is that it can cause debilitating pain for a small portion of us. I have not experienced pinching pain, sorry i cannot shed like on the possible source of you pain, My pain in burning and numbness and tingling in my leg and foot due to degenerative discs.
If you are finding the episodes very frequent and interrupting your daily life or work etc. then ask your doctor for a referal to a specialist. If only for piece of mind i think it is worth the money.
let me know how you get on

I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that for so many years. Of course I am not a doctor either, sounds to me like it could be nerve pain by the way you describe it. I get all sorts of nerve pains, including sciatic nerve pain on and off, though I've been taking Lyrica for about a year and 1/2 now and it helps somewhat. Usually sciatica can be felt from the buttock down through the leg and even into the foot, however, it is not always the case that one feels the pain along the entire path. You might even have different symptoms along that nerve path such as numbness, weakness, burning, stabbing pain, and pins & needles. It can also be erratic. You might feel one or more symptoms down the whole nerve path one day, none the next, or in just one or two areas another day. I've had times where the nerve pain was terrible just on the outside of my ankle area, where it felt as if someone was drilling large nails into it all day long. Other times it would be so painful down my entire leg or I might just twitching or pins & needles on a part of my leg, etc. I do know that sudden severe nerve pain can bring someone to their knees! I don't just get sciatica, though...I get nerve pains all over the place (though I do not know why). Sometimes I get a sudden shock on the back of a leg that literally makes my leg jut forward. It's just like an automatic reaction, I guess, the leg trying to get away from the pain, maybe. It feels like being stuck with a hot poker or something.

I am surprised, though, that your doc hasn't yet sent you for an MRI after so many years. Usually, if one has pain for 2 weeks or more...or if it comes and goes like yours constantly, one would be sent for an MRI. If I were you, I would demand one after all this time..It's your body and you are the one living with the pain, you deserve to have it thoroughly checked out. MRI's, though, don't always necessarily catch everything either. Maybe you have a disk that has been herniating just enough to touch a local nerve. It's possible that herniatons can resolve themselves over time without perhaps yours herniates, then resolves, then herniates, etc.. Also, if it's just in your buttocks, there is another condition called Piriformis syndrome. This is a large muscle in your buttocks which can sometimes aggravate nearby nerves. Of course, like you said, you need to have some imaging done to at least have it checked..there might even be something else wrong. Also, if it's getting worse at you get older, you might even be developing stenosis.

You might want to see a different doctor, if possible. Or get a refferal to a spine specialist. That is usually what takes so long....getting in to see the doctor. At least for me, after I get a script for an MRI, I can usually get it done within a few days.

I wouldn't rule out siatica nerve pain yet. I'm just now coming out of a 2 month flare up that was unbelievable. I was just about bedridden for 7 weeks and have just started being able to walk, sit and stand for more than a few minutes at a time, and start doing the things that life requires us to do. I couldn't even sit on the potty without causing extra pain.

I have DDD all through my spine, adult onset scoliosis, and a ruptured disc at the L5 S1 which is probably compressing my siatic nerve, and spina bifida (though I am not disabled, my spinal cord is not exposed), and bone spurs everywhere. My sciatic pain is the absolute worse pain and the weirdest pain I have ever experienced. I am one of the many millions of uninsured Americans, so I have only been able to get Xrays. But this is the probable DX per my Internist from what can be seen on Xrays and my symptoms.

I get the gripping butt cheek pain too, but I also have about 7 areas down my right hip, leg, ankle and foot that the intense pain concentrates at. Personally, I believe siatica pain is different for everyone. Other people that I know who have siatic pain describe their pain differently.

My pain changes almost minute to minute and the pain level stayed at a 15 and never let up. One minute it was gripping, or burning, or cramping, or a combo of each. I felt like I had bugs under the skin of my ankle and the bottom of my foot. Or it felt like someone was pounding knives in the tips of my toes. Sometimes my leg just felt "raw." I still have an area on the bottom of my foot that feels like a stone bruise. And I have bruises up and down the outside of my right leg from 2 months of rubbing it trying to get some relief. I literally was stupid with the pain.:dizzy:

My ex had the same problem at the L5 S1 and he would have intense cramping pain for a several weeks then one morning it would be completely gone. I'm not so lucky, I get another couple weeks of soreness before the flareup is over.

If you have insurance, there is a Lidoderm (lidocaine) patch, that I found helps. And it's non narcotic. But it only helps in the exact areas you put the patch on but you can only use up to 3 patches at a time with it being 12 hours on and 12 hours off. The box of patches is like $160 for 30 patches. I also added 4 Advils each time I took my pain meds and musle relaxers.

I would definatly ask your doctor for orders for Xrays to start and an MRI. Being uninsured, I just went to the local Solantic (walk in clinic) and for $90 got 3 lumbar xrays and a radiologist reading within 24 hours. It gave me the answers I needed and they also gave me a copy of the DX and a disc with my Xrays. So it was worth the $90. I have found locally here in Florida that I can get a MRI for $675 with a radiologist reading. So that is next on my list of To-Do's now that I can start driving again.

Anyway, hope this helps or gives you a bit more info. Good Luck!


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