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Hello. This is my first ever post. I am so frustrated and tired of being in pain, I thought I would ask for some help from people who are experiencing the same thing.
I am almost 37 (in 2 weeks), and over the past 4 years I have had 3 episodes of extreme sciatica. The first time it happened, I thought I felt it coming on slowly, my right leg was really sore for some reason. I remember waking up one morning soon after that in excrutiating pain. I could barely walk from the pain. I toughed it out and went to work. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I went to urgent care, was given an injection of Toriadol (which did nothing except leave a huge bruise) and got an Rx for vicodin (which also did not help). After a couple more days with no sleep at night, as NO position relieves this pain when I am laying down, I went to a massage therapist, who advised me not to take the vicodin because it'll make my muscles tense up. No biggie - vicodin makes me nauseous anyway so I don't take it. She actually hurt me a little more, even though she was really trying to help.
Went to a regular doctor, who sent me to physical therapy. The physical therapist told me I was sitting wrong, showed me how to sit correctly, and had me lay face down on that table that bends you backwards for about 15 minutes at a time. I did this for 3 weeks or so, 2-3 times a week, and felt better. So, I stopped going.

The PT had shown me a couple exercises I could do if it started up again. Any time I would feel a twinge of the remembered pain, I would get down and do these exercises and it would help a little. The pain faded - this is over a period of about 3 months.

A year and a half later, I unknowingly passed a kidney stone. I had no idea it was kidney stones - I thought I was having muscle spasms in my back. It was so excrutiating, I could not straighten out my back when standing. I was walking hunched over for about 4 days. Flexiril (which my boyfriend had for his back problems) did nothing at all. I tried doing my exercises, but all it did was make it worse. I finally went to the doctor, was told I had passed a kidney stone and that those were my ureters in such pain. BUT becuase I had been walking around all hunched over, my sciatica flared up again, even worse than the first time! My doctor at the time reluctantly sent me to PT again. I went to 2 visits, and the backward-bending table made it hurt much worse. It was hurting really bad by my tailbone this time. I started thinking that this PT could actually hurt me more, so I stopped going. I caved in and went to the boyfriend's chiropractor. Up to this point, I had avoided them, as I had never really had a very positive experience with any, and I'd been to a few.

He was a life-saver! He did a full exam, took a full set of x-rays. Sat me down and showed me where my L4 is half-way gone on the inside, and is pinching my sciatic nerve. He seemed shocked that my disc could be so degenerated and I'm only in my 30's... He also gave me the rundown "Have you been in any traumatic accidents, fallen out of a tree, car accident..." No to all of that. Other than breaking my arm when I was 6... I've had no other serious injuries. So - I did LOTS of appointments with the chiro. It helped. It got better.

I was advised that I need to lose weight - I have a desk job that is pretty high-stress, and I work a lot. I don't get a lot of activity anymore, and the pain is limiting me even more now. All my weight goes right to my middle, and my core muscles can't handle it I guess. I'm probably around 75 pounds overweight at this point.

Went back to my regular doctor, who straight up told me that chiropractors are not real doctors. He took some x-rays on (I think) the first x-ray machine ever made - the x-rays were totally blurry and he proceeded to tell me nothing was wrong with my dics, "look at the x-rays, can you see a missing disc??" At this point I decided this doctor sucks and I am never going back to him.

I got to a point where I was feeling ok, and I was getting tired of having chiro appointments all the dang time. So last fall I stopped going to the chiro. I think I have gotten to a point where I am ok with living with moderate pain. It has not really gone away this time, like after the first episode.

I have a new doctor now. The pain has flared up big time. I go to the doctor a couple months ago and give him the whole story. He asks me "did you ever get x-rays" and I'm like - yeah, the chiropractor took a full set. He says "no, I mean MEDICAL x-rays" ARGH!!!!! So I go and get more x-rays done. His office was supposed to send me to PT again. I don't want to go to PT. It doesn't really help, and I don't have time for all those appointments. I work for a big national corporation, and they don't like a bunch of absences. They never call me about the PT though, so that's good. I go back in to follow up on the x-rays, and he just confirms the DDD diagnosis, plus adds in that I have arthritis in my back. Aren't I too young for arthritis?? He tells me I really need to get in to PT.

It's been 4 weeks since that visit, and they still have not called me to get the PT going. I know that I should be following up also, but I really don't want to go back to PT so I guess that's why I haven't bugged about it.
I feel like there are no doctors that will take me serious. I also feel like I am just gonna have to learn to live with this pain. It's changed - I constantly have pain in my tailbone area - it feels like there is a bone out of place, sticking out kind of. It's hard to describe, but it doesn't feel right. It is making my right hip and the right side of my pelvis hurt. I am pretty much crippled when I wake up in the morning, and it takes about an hour or two before I can walk without lots of pain. I am depressed because of the pain. I bought an elliptical machine, because it's so low impact and I really don't mind doing it! I can only do it for about 10-15 minutes before my tailbone area gets really painful and I have to stop. My nerve is also bothering me. My entire right leg, from my butt to my toes, goes numb while I am walking. Sometimes I get hot/cold sensations running down my leg. Sometimes it's pins and needles. I have also started experiencing slighter symptoms on my left leg now.

My doctor told me there is no evidence of my nerve being pinched.
I don't know what to do at this point. I am tired of being in pain!!! There's got to be something that can be done about my back. I'm tired of trying to find a doctor that will listen to me and take me seriously. I think that they all are assuming I just want pills. Pills are ok if they work and you don't get hooked on them!! But nothing I've been prescribed helps. I want this fixed. I don't even care if surgery is the only way to have it fixed!
I guess I am posting, looking for advice. I read through some threads, and see that some people are having similar problems. And that some people have been living with this for years.

I want to be able to be active again! I am in so much pain all the time, all I can do is make sure to not sit for more than an hour.... I am not getting any sleep at night because there is not really any position that relieves the pain, though I have found a couple now that lessen it a little, thanks to the $4800 tempurpedic bed the boyfriend and I splurged on for our backs' sakes.
I have trouble with so many doctor appointments, because of my job. I could do a intermittent FMLA thing - my doctor charges $25 to fill out paperwork. My problem with that is, I don't see an end in sight. The doctor visits don't seem like they will ever end...

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