Sciatica :-(

July 18, 2007

Do you know what sciatica is? 3 months ago I didn’t, I would have known pain, in the leg, vaguely connected to the back, but that’s about it. Now, I can debate treatment protocols with university professors. Sciatica is a condition caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is usually caused by a problem with the disk in the low back. Although people may have low back pain at the same time, sciatica is the pain caused by the pressure on the nerve, and it runs down your leg and foot. As it’s nerve pain, it is often severe and unrelenting. I always had an image in my mind that sciatica was a condition of old people, but actually it is most common from 30-50 years old.

I had severe, incapacitating sciatica beginning 3 months ago. I started to have pain in my leg for the first time in my life in late April, and 2 weeks later I was on medical leave w incapacitating pain – couldnt walk, and neither the pain pills nor the epidural steroid injections were helping much. We kept upping the doses of everything, repeating the epidurals, but I ended up w surgery in late June. I had a clear, severe, disk herniation w fragmentation at L5S1 visible on MRI & x-ray, and all the symptoms coming in one after the other – pain, numbness, loss of strength, impaired reflexes, etc. We waited maybe 3 weeks more than I would have liked for the surgery because of my wedding – and my doc was a hero to find ways to keep me on my feet and enjoying the big day & time w my family.

The surgery was a success — I woke up w no pain in my leg at all, after weeks of living on morphine. Right now I’m recovering from the surgery, and taking it REALLY easy because the risk of recurrence is highest the 6 weeks after surgery. I am doing my daily walk and nothing more, careful about bending, twisting, sleeping positions, and no lifting above 5 lbs. More info on my sciatica on the page “My Back…”

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