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Sciatic Pain
updated: Feb 02, 2013, 3:38 PM

I'm looking for recommendations, or referrals, on how best to treat sciatic pain. I've had it about 6 months. I started doing PT but it's making it worse, not better. Maybe that is part of the journey?

Places People Are Talking About:

David YangMacy ChiropracticPacific Pain Physicians

What People Are Saying:

 COMMENT 370301 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:02 PM

This is a really hard yet very common condition to treat. I don't think PT helped me other than to learn certain unique stretches. The best thing for me was stretching several times a day and taking an anti-inflammatory which for me was generic Ibuproven. It did go away after about 3 months. Don't let anyone talk you into surgery for it as that is very hit and miss and could definitely make the situation much worse, imo.
Good luck


 COMMENT 370309P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:15 PM

I have heard that Vitamin B-12 (found mostly in meats, but also available as supplements) is helpful. Have not tried it, but a friend thought it helps.


 COMMENT 370310 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:17 PM

Heat and Ice. I also use a Shiatsu Pillow w/heat. After using the pillow I use an ice pack. Try to do that at least 4 times a day. Also walking helps.
Good Luck to you, that is a miserable pain to have.


 COMMENT 370311P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:19 PM

I'm over 50 and I've had it a few times. Each one took a few months to go away. Six months sounds like a Dr. visit.


 COMMENT 370313P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:23 PM

I have "piriformis syndrome," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piriformis_syndrome) which has similar symptoms. I'm useless when it hits. Physical therapists cure me in one visit; I just don't keep up on my exercises, but have not been affected in years. They gave me the specific exercises to cure me.

I can't say enough good about PT's. There's at least one thread on Edhat. It may hurt, but seems you need a different physical therapist.

Yeah, Edhat search is very weird. Here's some links:


Referrals, scroll down, PTs are on the right.


 COMMENT 370314 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:24 PM

OP here. I should add that I also go to a chiro, but it doesn't seem to help. I also have an Ortho Dr. but he just gives me pain meds. So, I'm looking for suggestions of what has worked for others.


 COMMENT 370315 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:25 PM

Medical cannabis is excellent for this sort of neuropathic pain. Before the naysayers latch on to troll, research it. Take a look at the research done at UC Davis and Pacific Med Center in SF and Univ of Colorado.

Much safer than opiates and pharma meds such as motril or alleve. Scientific fact.


 COMMENT 370320P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:38 PM

My daughter had/has sciatica - it seems to come and go. Her PT recommended a TENS machine. She swears by it. Check for them online. They are not very expensive.


 COMMENT 370323 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:41 PM

Pacific Pain Physicians are the best.


 COMMENT 370327P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:50 PM

313 here again. Funny, my right foot turned in at a very early age and my problem is on the right (found that as a factor in the Wiki article I cited.)

OP, find a good PT! I can recommend Sheryl (she used to work at physical Rehab Institute) & Hans at Sansum Hitchcock PT, and many others there; and THE BEST, Michael at Sansum Patterson PT. He's a supervisor, so if not happy, go straight to him. Also check out Human Performance Center http://www.hpcsb.com/

Core muscle strengthening is for real, good stuff. You have to stretch, also, to relive the tightness, whatever the cause.

Surgery seem to be wholly contraindicated for any sciatica.
Do lots of research, OP, and try to figure out the real diagnosis. It takes tons of work to be a patient advocate. A bit less work to get better, if not cured.

Good luck, hope you feel better soon!


 COMMENT 370329P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 04:53 PM

Your ortho dr. gave you pain meds & did not refer you to PT?!!


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 05:12 PM

I had it badly at age 29 in connection with a slipped disc. Stretching exercise (lie on back, hug knees to chest for a few hours, etc) were effective but what really solved it was when my doctor gave me a big shot of cortisone right in the nerve. After a week or so it was completely gone. I agree about NO surgery.


 COMMENT 370353 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 06:27 PM

I don't think any doctor is going to rush you into surgery. However you can benefit from a doctor exam to better diagnose the problem. After a doctor exam he could refer you to a physical therapist. Only after the referral will your insurance cover PT. You may only need ibuprofen or you may need to go through a couple different treatment approaches to find what works. No one approach works for everybody.


 COMMENT 370360 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 07:04 PM

I agree, you've got to find the reason for the pain.

I had it too, chiro made it worse. Turns out I had a ruptured disc. Happy that I had surgery, things are much better.


 COMMENT 370367 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 07:21 PM

Had it when I was pregnant- my midwife suggested I lay on my back with my feet up on the bed/couch while squeezing a book between my knees. Seemed to help.


 COMMENT 370369P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 07:25 PM

I would HIGHLY recommend Macy Chiropractic. I had a similar situation years ago and was very wary of chiropractic, but they came highly recommended, and they fixed me. They use the 'activator method' which is very gentle ... You could google it, and I was amazed at my recovery. If it doesn't help you, it won't hurt you. It's worth a try. Good luck, and I'm sorry for your pain.


 COMMENT 370370 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 07:26 PM

My husband herniated 2 discs.he was athletiic you could see them bulging before the MRI .we had NEVER heard a good story about surgery and almost all doctors recommended pain killers . Sciatic pain is a SYMPTON caused by inflammation , he finally crawled to a chiropractor who in collaboration whith a deep tissue masseur ,and many hours dedicated to stretching and proper diet (for inflammation) ,this prossess took months but, he was out of pain. This was 10 years ago, as long as he goes to get adjusted regularly and STRETCHES everyday,he is pain free......but a little lax or over doing it and not stretching can lock him up.. I believe strongly that realigning his body has saved him from the irreparable damage done by back surgery. I have benefitted greatly from my chiropractic experience .......it has change my life....I recommend Aaron Austin channel island chiropractic. Tell him Justine sent you.


 COMMENT 370380 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 07:56 PM

Go to a dr/Chiro that can do the Active Release Technique (ART). Dr Izzy Lira did it for me and it helped tremendously. But it took about 6 weeks to go away. Good luck!


 COMMENT 370391P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-02 10:07 PM

wash cloth in the micro, 30 sec until hot. lie on it till cool. then ice pack. repeat. stretch. advil.


 COMMENT 370411 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 06:42 AM

Can those with successful stretch routines post a link to the exercises?


 EZ2 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 07:06 AM

I get an epidural 4x a year and that solves the problem.I do not wast surgery


 COMMENT 370416 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 07:10 AM

An MRI scan found a cyst in my back pressing on the sciatic nerve. Once the cyst was surgically removed, no more sciatica. Heat, ice, acupuncture, PT, cortisone did no good and couldn't have done anything for the cyst.


 COMMENT 370423 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 07:44 AM

Another vote for find a different PT. I had sciatica from a disc that kept me from running and went to several PTs and chiropractors, tried deep tissue, stretching, epidural, everything. A program of Active Release Technique (ART) and strengthening was the only thing that worked. Still pain-free and running 8 years later.


 COMMENT 370428 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 07:58 AM

I had sciatic pain for over 20 years, it would come and go, and long as I rested it would subside within a month. The last time I had it, it wouldn't go away no matter what I did, rest, ice, heat, PT made it worse, and my symptoms continued to worsen, pain though the hip, down the leg to the ankle, felt like someone was stabbing me all the time. I was only able to lay in bed for an hour at a time, finally I lost function in my leg, and decided to have an MRI. I had a herniated disc that was pinching a nerve. I decided to have surgery, and it was the best decision I ever made. Nerve pain is nothing to live with if you don't have to. It was outpatient surgery, and when I woke up, I wanted to dance. It was awesome to be able to walk pain free. Dr. Thomas Jones changed the quality of my life, and I am so very thankful to/for him.


 COMMENT 370432 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 08:12 AM

regular swimming. i tired everything, nothing helped until i started swimming.


 COMMENT 370437 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 08:20 AM

There are many ways to approach this painful condition; the one that worked for me did not involve doctors or medication, rather I spent some time with a teacher and learned Alexander Technique. OK, there might have been some physical therapy in there, too, but Alexander Technique will help you overcome years of bad habits that probably contributed to your problem, and to learn a new way of using your body that will keep it from recurring. Non-invasive, no medications, non-mystical, spend a couple hours a week with a teacher (one on one is best) and learn a very grounded, practical way to be pain free! Do the research, find a teacher or a class and supplement with many of the suggestions offered by others on this thread.


 COMMENT 370446 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 09:03 AM

Ibuprofin 600/800 Mgs a day with food, ice and gentle stretching and exercise. Takes a while. Even after that and a TON of alternative therapies, surgery by Dr. Tom Jones was the best fix


 COMMENT 370453P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 09:32 AM

ACUPUNCTURE! It has saved me and my sanity. I have avoided surgery and have been fairly pain free for years because of acupuncture. There are many fine acupuncturists in town. Please try it.


 COMMENT 370454 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 09:45 AM

Try a chiropractor that uses decompression to relieve the pressure on the disc that is most likely causing recurring sciatica. It worked for me and kept me from more invasive procedures recommended by an orthopedic surgeon.


 COMMENT 370455 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 09:47 AM

I agree about acupuncture. David Yang in Goleta helped me enormously.


 COMMENT 370461 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 10:10 AM

I was in similar condition. Dr. told me I needed immediate back surgery. Fortunately, someone recommended I read a book called "Healing Back Pain" by John Sarno. I went out and read it that night and it changed my life. I highly recommend reading it.


 COMMENT 370493 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 01:48 PM

I was in bed for about 2 months with sciatic pain. Tried all kinds of treatments and the only thing that really helped was acupuncture.


 COMMENT 370497 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 02:08 PM

Dr ryu


 COMMENT 370528P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 04:35 PM

Go work with Richard at the Iyengar Yoga Studio of Santa Barbara Yoga Studio on DeLaVina atreet. Helped me AND my husband with our sciatica! It's all about making space down there between the vertebrae. The sciatic nerve is being squeezed or pinched and it is agony. Iyengar yoga really went after that area and made the space needed. Now i know what to do if I get another flare- up, but it's almost been a year with no pain. Check out IYSSB - don't be intimidated cos it is yoga! There are men and women there of all ages. The English woman who runs it is so friendly and you will feel taken care of. Promise!


 COMMENT 370558 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 07:08 PM

Get in the pool and do the breast stroke and the frog kick (not the scissors kick). I had sciatica during two pregnancies and I swear by this!


 PJG agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-03 09:41 PM

Did you have an MRI? My husband thought he had sciatica but turned out to be cancerous tumors pressing on his spine. Thank goodness they found it in time. Take care.



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