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Sciatic nerve - anyone ever experienced this??

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've had a problem going on on my left side that has been getting progressively worse and worse. It's now at the point where I'm finally getting a little wigged out about it and was told by a tech nurse where I work that it may be sciatic nerve. I'm planning on looking up a neurologist and making an appointment but was just curious if anyone has ever experienced one before and what they tend to do to take care of it? Also, if you know about them, does this sound like that's what it is?

Here's what I'm experiencing:

It used to only happen when I would run, then when I would walk very fast, now it's happening when I pick up the pace of my walk even a little bit!
All of the way from my left knee, up through my back and down my left arm will become numb for a minute or so. It's really wigging me out!!

Any help?
post #2 of 22
That may not be sciatic nerve problems. Those usually run from the hip area, all the way down to your ankle or top of the foot. It does not involve the arm.
There is a condition called piriformis syndrome that has many of the same symptoms of sciatica, but only goes to the knee area, not all the way to the foot. It comes from contraction or straining of the piriformis, the biggest and deepest of the glute, (butt) muscles. It can often be helped by massage or in severe cases, a chiropractor.
It hurts like mad, but is not nearly as serious a sciatic nerve issue. If you can find some good, gentle stretches for that area, which is kind of hard to get to, that can help a lot. Lying on your back and pulling one knee at the time gently toward your chest is one tht comes to mind.
I am a massage therapist, and in school we worked on several students with that problem, and massage seemed to help them. Good old fashioned epsom salt soaks can also be helpful. I hope you feel better.
post #3 of 22
I used to work with a woman that had it and what she had doesn't sound like the same thing. The tingling and pain only went down her leg and didn't involve her arm. Walking didn't bring on the symtoms either. Hers eventually started getting better on it's own though the underlying problem which for her was degenerative disc disease was still there.
post #4 of 22
When I'm retaining a lot of water (basicly once a month) I'll get pain from my rear end about 1/2 way down the back of my leg, but never up into my arm.
post #5 of 22
I had sciatica but it went from my hip down to my feet...awful pain that only went away when I lost weight. Actually it was the thing that first motivated me to lose weight.
post #6 of 22
Yeah, I don't think that's you sciatic nerve, I have problems with mine and when it flares up it feels like my butt hurts and it actually makes it almost impossible to walk without excrutiating pain running thru my thigh and hip, makes me wanna cry....or puke
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
Yeah, I don't think that's you sciatic nerve, I have problems with mine and when it flares up it feels like my butt hurts and it actually makes it almost impossible to walk without excrutiating pain running thru my thigh and hip, makes me wanna cry....or puke



If I were you, I would see a neurologist about this, as it does not sound like it is related to the sciatic nerve at all. If it were, you'd be having severe pain, not numbness.
post #8 of 22
From what you described, it doesn't sound like the sciatic nerve problem, I have a damaged sciatic nerve along w/DDD and it is constant pain in the back, through the hip, thigh and all the way down to the tip of my toes. But never involves the arm.

I would definitely be calling for an appointment!!
post #9 of 22
You should go see a chiropractor. Just make sure they don't do any "neck manipulation" because while rare, it could lead to a stroke. However, I go to a chiropractor and he's been successful in getting rid of tingling in my fingers, headaches due to my neck/shoulder, back pain, and even sciatic nerve pain.
post #10 of 22
Hmmmm, my mom has sciatic nerve problems, and it doesn't sound the same. Like someone else said, I think that is mostly in the hip area. I could be wrong though.

Get it checked out and keep us posted.

I hope its nothing serious
post #11 of 22
Get an mri and referral to a specialist. Do not go to a chiropractor. You have no idea what is causing your pain, so you most certainly do not want anyone trying to 'adjust' anything in your spine. Without a doctors permission it can actually be dangerous (such as mine, the fusing/arthritis and the bulging disc would cause problems).

You could try asking on another forum, such as the back problem section on healthboards. It's a busy section so someone should answer your question pretty quickly.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much guys. I appreciate all of the feedback. I'm about to go look someone up right now.

I'll admit that I tend to ignore pains and problems until they eithergo away or get really serious. I was a dancer for much of my life and then became a group exercise instructor so I'm thinking whatever this is may have been caused by physical activity.

Thanks again for the advice and the vibes!! I'll let you guys know what's going on once I get it figured out.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Get an mri and referral to a specialist. Do not go to a chiropractor. You have no idea what is causing your pain, so you most certainly do not want anyone trying to 'adjust' anything in your spine. Without a doctors permission it can actually be dangerous (such as mine, the fusing/arthritis and the bulging disc would cause problems).

You could try asking on another forum, such as the back problem section on healthboards. It's a busy section so someone should answer your question pretty quickly.
A chiropractor is a doctor and they know more about your bones and spine and nervous system than your family doctor does. In fact they are ranked way up there near neurologists in their knowlege of the nervous system. You're lucky if your general family doctor knows 1/10th of that.

Also, you don't just walk in and get treated. They take full Xrays and assess you, and you would be surprised what can be diagnosed from an Xray, a physical and verbal assessment. That's how medicine works.... most doctors look at your chart of "complaint" and have a predetermined idea of what is wrong with you before they even see you.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
A chiropractor is a doctor and they know more about your bones and spine and nervous system than your family doctor does. In fact they are ranked way up there near neurologists in their knowlege of the nervous system. You're lucky if your general family doctor knows 1/10th of that.

Also, you don't just walk in and get treated. They take full Xrays and assess you, and you would be surprised what can be diagnosed from an Xray, a physical and verbal assessment. That's how medicine works.... most doctors look at your chart of "complaint" and have a predetermined idea of what is wrong with you before they even see you.
I have had sciatic pain so severe that I could not put any weight on my left leg. What the OP has described does not resemble symptoms of sciatica in any fashion. If it did, a chiropractor would be my best advice.

However, what the OP describes sounds to be a neurological issue, and the OP should see be seen by a neurologist FIRST, before going holistic.

Chiropractors are great, but they are not true physicians - I am friends with one and I have a great one. They will tell you the same.

My acupuncturist has a phenomenal knowledge of human physiology, but before I went to her to cure my Belle's Palsy, I saw my physician AND a neurologist.

The OP should go to the appropriate medical professionals to get a REAL diagnosis. Then and only then can a rational, educated choice for treatment be made.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
A chiropractor is a doctor and they know more about your bones and spine and nervous system than your family doctor does. In fact they are ranked way up there near neurologists in their knowlege of the nervous system. You're lucky if your general family doctor knows 1/10th of that.

Also, you don't just walk in and get treated. They take full Xrays and assess you, and you would be surprised what can be diagnosed from an Xray, a physical and verbal assessment. That's how medicine works.... most doctors look at your chart of "complaint" and have a predetermined idea of what is wrong with you before they even see you.
All right, explain this incident then. November 1992, my mother lost control the car, it flipped and rolled 3 times. My father went to the ER to get his head stitched up, but no one was x-rayed there.
They decided to go to a chiropractor to treat the whiplash (rather stupid), no x-rays were done on them and a week later when they dragged me in there I was never x-rayed or asked any questions. Had I been asked, they would have know my neck was feeling fine by then.
I was only 9 at the time and the chiropractor was incredibly rough with me, I vividly remember screaming out in pain when he jerked my neck to the right.
To this day my neck is in constant spasms, it is curved in the wrong direction because of them. Luckily I've learned to live with it and mostly ignore the headaches.

Does that sound like a doctor you should trust? I sure as heck will never step foot into a quack chiros office again. Can you blame me for being bias?
By the way, the chiro is still practicing...
post #16 of 22
I'm sorry that you had a bad experience, but that is no reason to lump everyone into the same category. Physicians kill people every single day from "mistakes", you don't stop going to a doctor period, because of it.

I'm an RN and I totally trust and endorse chiropractors. Sorry if you don't agree with my view. But we are all entitled to our own opinions, so long as that is all it is. It would be a shame to prevent someone from seeking the treatment they need due to our biases now wouldn't it?

I'm sorry you have problems with your neck, but you are mearly speculating as to the cause and placing blame on the chiropractor.

Like an MD, a DC does refer to specialists if they feel it's something more serious than compressed nerves. And, chiropractic medicine is not "holistic" in nature. Holistic medicine is completely different.
post #17 of 22
Oh, do I know about sciatica! I've had 2 major attacks of it, as recently as a year ago. However, the sciatic nerve runs from the middle of your back, down the side of each leg. It doesn't affect your arms (perhaps you have a pinched nerve instead?). It's agony. The sciatic nerve is th elongest and thickest nerve in your body; about the thickness of an extension cord. When that baby hurts, it HURTS. OTC painkillers don't help (in my case). Most folks get the pain "only" down to the knee; it can hurt all the way down to your ankles, AND on both sides at once (never had that, thank God).

Believe it or not, I've found that yoga really helps. Cat pose, cobra pose, downward dog pose, and the bridge pose really help alleviate pain, and strengthen the abdomen and lower back areas. I highly recommend them if you ever get sciatica (and I hope you never do!).
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I'm sorry that you had a bad experience, but that is no reason to lump everyone into the same category. Physicians kill people every single day from "mistakes", you don't stop going to a doctor period, because of it.

I'm an RN and I totally trust and endorse chiropractors. Sorry if you don't agree with my view. But we are all entitled to our own opinions, so long as that is all it is. It would be a shame to prevent someone from seeking the treatment they need due to our biases now wouldn't it?

I'm sorry you have problems with your neck, but you are mearly speculating as to the cause and placing blame on the chiropractor.
I know I shouldn't lump them all together, and that actually the responsibility for what happened lies in my parents negligence (chiro visit was free, when a doc visit would have cost a lot ) and not the chiropractor's. However that doesn't change my mind that x-rays, ct, and mri's should be done first. There are a lot of nerves in the back and neck so it's better to know the real problem first.
When the doctors can't or won't do anything more, then alternatives should be sought.

Most of the people I know, who likely should go to a doctor but have taken the cheaper way out, have never once had a chiropractor stop and refer them to a doctor. And the ones around here usually do not do x-rays first. But that could be because decent and intelligent chiros usually move to areas where they can make more money.

And you're right, I can't prove that the chiropractor was too rough with me. I will, however, discuss this subject when I see my spine specialist on the 15th to get his view on it.
.
post #19 of 22
The sciatic nerves originate at the sacral plexus of the spinal cord (approximately level L4 to S3) and run through the middle of each buttock and down along the back of the leg. It divides into the tibial and common peroneal nerves, usually just above the back of the knee. Injury to the sciatic nerve can cause pain, tingling, numbness or weakness anywhere along the course of the sciatic, tibial or common peroneal nerves. There would not be any sympotms anywhere above the very lowest portion of the spine, and certainly not in the arm. Your best bet would be to have your family physician check you out thoroughly and possibly refer you to a neurologist. It sounds to me like there is more going on than meets the eye. Good luck!
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to let everyone know that I went on my insurance companies web site and found a local neurologist. They were closed by the time I was out of work and got a chance to call them but I left a message and am hopeful that they will call me back on Monday.

Luckily since I have a PPO I can skip the referral from a general practitioner and go straight to the neurologist, which is what I feel like I need to do.

Thanks again guys. You've been really helpful. I'm looking forward to figuring out what's going on!!!
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Get an mri and referral to a specialist. Do not go to a chiropractor. You have no idea what is causing your pain, so you most certainly do not want anyone trying to 'adjust' anything in your spine. Without a doctors permission it can actually be dangerous (such as mine, the fusing/arthritis and the bulging disc would cause problems).

You could try asking on another forum, such as the back problem section on healthboards. It's a busy section so someone should answer your question pretty quickly.
I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience w/ a chiropractor, Strange-wings. But they are not ALL bad. I've been going to one for years, and they've always helped me - but I've had good ones. My first chiropractor WAS a quack, though, so I quit going to him. There are good ones and bad ones: you just have to find the right one.

Regarding the sciatic nerve, I suffer from that too. It starts from about the middle of my back, and goes down my leg into my feet, along w/ the numbness & tingly/cold feeling. But I have a chronic back condition which continues to deteriorate: the sciatic nerve pain was relieved for awhile after I had back surgery, but now it's come back. I have degenerative disc disease, and will always have back problems. The only thing that relieves the pain for me is Vicodin - and even then, I still have flare-ups in which even the Vicodin sometimes doesn't help..

I think you may have a pinched nerve in your neck, Katspixiedust. I also have occasional flare-ups like what you're describing, and it's about as painful & annoying as the back sciatic nerve pain. I would suggest seeing a neurologist, who can recommend an MRI. I think the MRI is about the best test that can be taken when it comes to nerve pain and/or back problems.

Good luck!

~KK~
post #22 of 22
The first thing I'd say to do is have an MRI of both lumbar and cervical spine. However if both of these are clear I would say your problem is due mainly to posture which can cause a huge amount of stiffness and impingement unless ideal (I have never come across a person with what is considered to be 'good' posture). Even though it may seem strange to have an abnormal sensation in both upper and lower limbs, it can often be due to muscle imbalance, joint stiffness and ultimately nerve impingement. Especially if you work at a desk job.

Regarding the Chiro debate, I don't know if there is different training in the States but not a single GP in this country would recommend going to one. All they seem to do is 'manipulate' joints so that a cracking noise is made (caused by gas forming within the joint when space is created therefore it is not a 'crack' of the joint). Correct me if I'm wrong but I will never attend one as I would rather attend a physician who views the body as a whole and doesn't assume the problem is solely bone/joint related.
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