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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello everyone,

I have had this problem since my childhood. I first noticed that if I sat in our new car behind the driver and rode for a long time, I'd get bad nerve pain in my back and down both legs. Sitting anywhere else in the car was fine.

I was never taken to the doctor for this. (My parents insisted I was lying.) Throughout my 20 years of marriage, I would get spells of this sitting or standing. The only thing that would help if I needed to stand was to stand somewhere that I could raise one foot and stand like a stork or something. This issue cost me a couple of jobs.

I once went to a good chiropractor for a shoulder issue probably 15 years ago, and when he took full spinal x-rays he asked me how I could even walk. I was shocked. He said I had severe arthritis and should be in a wheelchair. I was glad I wasn't in a wheelchair. But after his treatments I didn't have the back or shoulder pain for a few months.

Now, it is back with a vengeance. It starts out feeling like it is in my tailbone, and goes down both legs. It feels like severe nerve pain. The only way I can describe it to anyone is to say it reminds me of the feeling I get hearing someone's fingernails scrape a chalkboard, and the ache all over of the flu. There's also heat and sensitivity to touch in the area around my tailbone.

I've mentioned it to my family doctor, and he just tells me that he can't diagnose it unless it'd happening when he sees me, which it never is.

I'm just wondering if this is arthritis, sciatica or what. I thought it wouldn't be sciatica because it happens with both legs, everything from the tailbone south. And I also considered fibro, but it's only in my back and south. I don't have any other trigger points.

It's getting to the point that OTC pain medicine isn't helping. And the doctor won't give me anything until he can diagnose it, and he can't diagnose it until he is there when it happens. And he won't refer me to any specialists until he sees that it's happening for sure. And I can no longer afford the chiropractor. So I'm stuck.

I just wonder if anyone else has these weird combination of symptoms and what they call it, so I can search on the internet for some answers to help me survive this.

Thank you for any responses.

It is impossible to guess what might be causing your pain....It does sound like what people commonly refer to as sciatic pain...and it can come and go. Sometimes people have it when in their twenties for awhile, then it goes away and doesn't return for several decades. It is possible to have sciatic pain in both legs, or it can switch from one leg to the other. What we call sciatica is just a symptom coming from something else that is causing nerve compression...and it can be a variety of different ailments.

If you do indeed have arthritis in your spine, it may be that one or more spinal nerves are being compressed, which can result in this sciatic-type pain.

You won't be able to form a plan for treatment until you have some imaging done, like a MRI. It sounds like your current doctor is content to ignore the symptoms. Unless you want to do the same, I think you will need to look for another doctor, preferably an orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon who devote their practice to issues of the back and neck, to evaluate your situation.

Good luck in your search.

Thank you so much for the information. I wasn't aware that sciatica could happen in both legs, or that arthritis in my lower back could cause sciatica-like symptoms.

Right now, our home is without medical insurance. We are on the tail end of unemployment benefits, with no prospects for work. My doctor will not see me without cash in hand, which we don't have. So I will hope that this pain doesn't get much worse within the next few years, until things change or until I'm old enough for social security and Medicare. Then maybe I can find a doctor who will take a look and provide me with some direction. I would just be happy being able to see a chiropractor again.

Thankfully my pain is not 24/7, but it has become almost daily. I just hope it doesn't get worse.


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