I just found out that I am having an MRI done on Monday for frequent sciatica

@nonew3 (1941)
United States
June 21, 2007 8:02pm CST
I went to the doctor this afternoon because my lower back and sciatica pain have not lessened in spite of years of chiropractic care, rounds of physical therapy, rest and anti-inflammatories, icing my lower back from time to time, and everything else I have thrown at it. I then found out that I am going for a lumbar MRI this Monday afternoon, Pacific time. Depending on the results, I am looking at the possibility of steroid injections and possibly more physical therapy. Has anyone else here had recurring sciatica that doesn't ever really go away in spite of everything you've tired? Has anyone else had a lumbar MRI? Steroid injections? What have been your experiences with any of this?
2 people like this
5 responses
@1grnthmb (2063)
• United States
24 Jun 07
I can very much relate to you. I do not have sciatica in itself but have sacroilitis (An inflamation in the lower spine)and ankolosing spondylitis (AS)(Calcification of the spine) and have had a lot of the pain that goes along with sciatica. (Please excuse my spelling). The pain is often unbearable. And I seem to have gone through a lot of the same stuff you have. It is really hard for me to sit in a normal chair as you would at a job or even at church. And forget about standing for very long. I was self employed and had a landscape maintenance business that I had to close because of my health problems. I applied for disability but it took five years to finally get on it. They kept telling me that I could work but where can a person work who can not stand or site on regular chairs. I can not see I business putting in a chair that reclines so I can work in a comfortable position. I can not go to church because church pews are the most uncomfortable seats ever made and the pain would get so intense pain I could not pay attention to the leasons anyway. You would not believe how often I got calls from members of the church and told that I was in sin for not going. I think God knows better then they what I am capable of and where my heart is. I have lost almost all of my friends because I can not do anything with them. Now to get to what you wanted, The MRI is nothing really except a big tube that you have to be in that makes a lot of noise. I say that you said that you are familiar with them. They actually are cool if they let you look at the results. I have never had the Steroid injections in my spine but had them in my shoulder and knee. The effects are only temporary, Maybe a couple of months at the most. Oral prednisone has helped me a lot more then the injections ever did. It sounds like you also need to see a Rheumitologist and a Neuroligist. Both of them are covered by medicare and MediCal. I also take Neurotin, it helps a little with the nerve pain that goes down and is in my legs and feet. I was having better success when they also had me on Efexor but it was making me sick. I am on sulidac as an antiinflamatoy and sulfasalazine for the AS. I have been on the Oxycodon but it also made me very sick. I hope that they can find something that can help you with the MRI.
1 person likes this
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
24 Jun 07
You are right about church pews being the most uncomfortable seats on earth. Even the stacking chairs at the closest church kill my back. I get so fed up with Christians telling me that I am in sin by not attending church, Bible study, etc. The truth is, I have a hard enough time even doing Bible study by myself because the pain, and sleep deprivation from not being able to sleep well with this, make it extremely difficult. Oh, and I get soooooo depressed. I will have to write more later. It hurts very bad to sit right now for more than a few minutes or so at a time, and I have reached my sitting limit. Also, I need to get on to bed. I am thoroughly exhausted. God bless you.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
25 Jun 07
Well, I had the MRI done today, and it was just as painful as I thought it would be simply because I had to lie perfectly still on a very hard surface with a very painful lumbar for 20 minutes. It didn't take as long as MRIs I had in the past. Well, now my lumbar is really in roaring pain after that, but at least the test is done. The doctor should get the results in a couple days.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
29 Jun 07
Just letting everyone know, I still have had no word yet from the doctor regarding the results of my MRI test. One of the hardest things about having a medical exam done is the waiting. I have been incredibly eager to get rid of this problem once and for all, just like I have been so eager for so many years. It is agony to wait. In the meantime, I have basically almost no friends at all, keep getting banned from businesses because they think I am crazy and "a physical threat" that I most definitely am not, am having to miss out on church due to bouts of excruciating pain, and am for the most part alone. And, I keep missing out on sleep because this pain and tingling won't let me sleep at night. Sleep deprivation is VERY difficult to live with. A lot of people are brutally cruel, uncaring, and calloused to those who are in severe chronic pain. I am very tempted to list the name of the business that, by far, has treated me THE WORST of all businesses that I have ever been banned from. If they were going to ban me, at least they could do it POLITELY AND HUMANELY without going into such morbid detail about how they think I am "very mentally imbalanced and going to physically harm the store owner and his employees and how he (the store owner) has a duty to protect his staff from me"? I am in PAIN and am SLEEP DEPRIVED!!! I am NOT criminally insane or severely mentally imbalanced!!! I did leave a complaint with the headquarters of a wireless modem that I purchased from that business prior to them banning me, and let them know that this business has refused to issue me a refund for the wireless modem that I purchased from there. Going to the attorney general and the Better Business Bureau did no good at all. I am having to go directly to the headquarters of the wireless modem to request a refund from them directly. I would go to small-claims court, except that the price of the modem makes it not worth the cost and time of court. I am kind of angry that I have had to have so much pain for about 20 years in spite of going to so many doctors, and that it has really ruined my social life (WHAT friends and social life???), spiritual life (hard to go to church and read the Bible, etc., with this roaring pain, exhaustion, etc.), and has caused me to be banned from a couple businesses. At least I would like to know what is wrong with my body to cause this blasted pain in the first place. Then I could have something specific to blame all this on.
@Amstardam (1348)
• United States
3 Jul 07
I saw this discussion when you first posted it two weeks ago, but didn't respond. I see you still haven't gotten results yet. Let us know when you do! MRI's are a pain. But yeah, be glad they aren't as long as they used to be. As far as I can remember, they used to be about two hours or longer! I started getting them around nine years old and I remember they used to play movies for me and I was able to watch the whole thing. But with modern improvements, they've been able to reduce it to about 20 or 30 minutes. Now I just listen to a few songs on the radio. Yay! I had a little sciatica pain due to pregnancy with my son. It is very painful! I can't imagine having it long term. I hope they can figure out how to help you with this!
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
3 Jul 07
Yeah. I still haven't had the MRI results, yet. I will give it a little while longer, and if I still have heard nothing then I will call the clinic. Sciatica is incredibly painful. Dealing with it off and on for 20 years has been miserable beyond description. I am very desperate to get over it somehow. One of the reasons why I have gone organic vegetarian is to lose a lot of weight, fat that might be contributing to the sciatica and back pain by putting more of a burden upon the lower back and nerves. And, so far, it appears to be working. My closet can attest to that. Soon I won't have to wear plus-size clothes anymore. The MRI only lasted about 20 minutes. I am very glad for that.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
5 Jul 07
Still no word about the MRI results. I'll be darned if they show up normal again. I've had a lot of tests in my life that kept showing up as normal. I can't speak to my doctor's nurse on the phone. All I can get is voicemail. So, I left a message requesting the results. Now it's a waiting game, and I hate having to wait on doctor's offices.
@Amstardam (1348)
• United States
5 Jul 07
How long have you been a vegetarian? I've always been picky meat eater...and didn't each much of it but recently I have gone all the way vegetrian. I just found I'm pregnant again so that'll be interesting to see what I need to do to still get my baby the nutrients he/she needs. 20 years is a very long time! Hopefully losing weight will help with your pain a lot, if not at least you'll feel better knowing you've done something good for yourself! :) Still praying for ya!
@youdontsay (3503)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I've not had chronic aciatica, only the acute variety that responded to treatment. I can't imagine tolerating it chronically. The pain is horrific. MRI's are easy on the patient. The hardest part for you will probably be having to lie still for a time. But if it leads to a solution that will resolve your problem it will be worth it. I have had a steroid injection into a joint. It was amazing how it relieved the pain. And the injection itself wasn't very painful, which really surprised me. If nothing else it should give you some relief for a while. I look forward to hearing that you are feeling much better soon.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I have battled repeated bouts of sciatica for well over 20 years. I would say it is most definitely time, then, for me to have the MRI done. I am glad to hear that the steroid injections should help. I have had MRIs done before, but just never of the lumbar area. The doctors' idea, each time I had a flare-up of this, was to use crutches or a cane if necessary, physical therapy, ice, bed rest off and on, anti-inflammatories, wait it all out, and it will heal by itself in a month or so with treatment. However, the sciatica kept returning. I would go to work, school, or whatever, and...well...here we go again. I got fired from work because of it. I got very poor grades and had to quit college because of it. I lost a lot of friends and made countless enemies because of it. I got banned from a local computer store because of it, because when I wrote an angry email in excruciating pain from being made to sit for hours and hours of tech support in spite of my protests about how painful it is for me to sit in front of the computer for that long, the store owner thought I am criminally insane and will kill him and his employees. I also got banned from a temporary employment agency for life because of it, because I got upset when I could not find the place and had to hop all over heck for hours with crutches trying to find it, and then they denied me the initial interview when I finally showed up late on crutches and in totally mind-splitting agonizing pain. Heck, who understands chronic sciatica? It's supposed to go away and not keep returning again, and again, and again like this! Of course I am mentally insane, a faker, a nutcase, and a whacko, at least to some people! Imagine being told, again and again and and again, over the course of about 20 years, by so many doctors in doctors offices and trips to the ER in splitting pain, that it would eventually heal and go away with treatment, never to return. But, it would be back soon, and then go through it all, all over again. My teeth are in terrible shape because I can't sit through a dental exam or cavity filling or anything. I can't go to counseling because I can't sit through a session. I can't go to church because I can't sit through even a little bit of the service without excruciating, mind-splitting pain. Yet, some Christians actually had the audacity to tell me that I am sinning by not attending church. That is balogna. I would go if I could. It got so I got fed up with doctors, and now I tend to avoid them like the plague for this and other reasons. I couldn't see where they were doing me any real good. Well, all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that, perhaps this time, there will soon be an end to my agony.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 07
Oh, I do hope they get to the bottom of it soon. Do you have a pain clinic where you are? If you have to look forward to more chronic pain, a pain clinic can help you to deal with it. Have you tried acupuncture? My daughter has nerve injury from an auto accident and says the acupuncture was wonderful. Pain, especially chronic pain, is debilitating physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually at times. I understand your feeling "out of your mind". I have had fibromyalgia for years and there were times when I was in constant, unrelenting pain. It does make me crazy. Thankfully, my pain is not as severe nor as long lasting as yours. But I can empathize completely. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I did go to a pain clinic for a while, but due to not getting enough reimbersement from Medicare and Medicaid, they kicked me out and left me on my own. I had nowhere else to go but back to the primary care physician I had at that time, and this was when I was on OxyContin! Yes, I was stranded on OxyContin! The primary had no idea that it is NOT a good idea to have a person go off OxyContin cold turkey! (a long horror story of withdrawls and pure h*** on earth) I would try acupuncture, but my Medicaid and Medicare won't cover any of it, and I can't afford it. I am only on governmental disability checks (Social Security and SSI). I can't afford the $50 or more per visit. I can hardly afford the natural stuff I have now. (I go to the food bank for a lot of my food.) And, with all this pain, there is no way that I can right now attend college classes or work. Chronic sciatica is VERY painful. Sometimes I must walk with a cane because I can't put much weight on my left leg. Rarely do I use the crutches that I keep in my apartment, but I have them on hand in case I need them. I am very eager to be done with all this. Twenty some-odd years is long enough.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 07
WOW! I just read all of your responses and I am really sorry any human has to go through all that. And here I am with my little bit of pain and sometimes feeling sorry for myself. I pray the PT is helping. I have a herniated disk and see a dr at the pain clinie later in the week and hope to start PT myself. ANY hard chair is uncomfortable! I have not been to church either. God knows what is in your heart, pray (even a popcorn prayer counts) when ever. Good luck and God bless.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
20 Aug 07
I hear ya. I MIGHT be going to a church or synagogue if all the seats were Lazy Boy recliners complete with heat and vibrating massage. NO back should have to put up with hard-wood pews or straight-back chairs, not even normal backs! They're not exactly ergonomic! LOL! I'm very glad that at least I don't have a herniated disc. Mine is just a soft-tissue injury. I hope you do get started on PT soon, and I hope it works out well for you. Please keep me posted.
1 person likes this
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
23 Aug 07
Next Thursday will be the last session that Medicare will cover of physical therapy, and then I am stranded, and trying to find a personal trainer who has experience and expertise in back injuries, or else going back to the physical therapy clinic self-paying. It's $50 for a half-hour session. I just talked it over with my mother. It looks like we might be able to work something out so that I can keep going once a week. I am terrified about possibly re-injuring my back or losing some or all of the tremendous progress I have made. I'm not exactly a trained physical therapist. Good news, though! I am finally allowed to return to swimming! It's 4 laps a day, followed by 15 minutes of water walking. And, I am to keep up my regular walking as long as it's not up-hill. The therapist said it will be a long time until I will be able to run at all. She said that once I am at that stage, she has an easy running plan to start out with. I will let you folks at MyLot know what's going on, and any replies I get from the local YMCA's personal-trainer department. My therapist told me today it's actually eaiser and less painful to deal with a fracture than a sprain. After having had so many sprains, some of them really bad (like my severely sprained back), I wholeheartedly agree. More later. I am in a hurry to get going yet again.
@RosieS57 (889)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I have chronic sciatica. I have spndylolisthesis at L5-S1. I've had a goodly number of lumbar MRI's. matched in number and cost only bty the cervical ones I've had. In non-med. speak, I have slippage of the last lumbar bone over the fisrst sacroiliac bone. I have something called Connective tissue Disease and my bones won't stay where they are meant to. What I'm not seeing from you is the only thing that has helped me. I've never had ESEs( Epidural Steroid Injections) because the inflammation is not localized, it is general. ESEs help about half of the people who get them and they help for a few months. Then you have to get 'em again. After acouple of sets of these they stop and you're back to where you are now. That's the downside....it's not a solution but a temp. fix. I'm not seeing anything there for helping nerve pain. Nerve pain is awful and I've had it for years. Even tho' I am on Neurontin for nerve pain I still have pain radiating down my legs and down the sides from the spinal nerves being compressed. The difference is going from a pain rated at 9 to pain rated at 3. See if they won't give you something specifically for nerve pain and in large enuff dosage to actually knock it down. It needs to be rather LARGE dosing. Yes, the side effects at first are very nasty...but they reduce and you get used to them at their milder state after a few months. AND you also get vastly improved pain management. AND it's a lifetime solution -- you won't get hooked and you won't have to come off the med. except for pregnancy.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I am so sorry for all you have had to endure. Wow! That is quite a lot there! Yikes! I wish that ESESs could help you. I am very sorry that they can't. I was actually on Neurontin for a while at the pain clinic before they kicked me out due to not enough re-imbersement. The Neurontin, even at the highest dose they could give me, did absolutely nothing whatsoever for the pain. The primary I have is not a pain-management specialist. I might have to find another pain-management specialist if need be, but if it is like it was before, a pain clinic per se might be out of the question. Right now, my doc and I are waiting until we get the results from Monday's MRI, and then will go from there. I'm looking at the possibility of taking ESEs only temporarily while I am undergoing exercise, a vegetarian diet (to lose a lot of the weight that is causing even more pressure on my nerves), and physical therapy. At least, I hope that will be feasible.