Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

Sciatica cause unknown...help!

Posted In: Muscle conditions 12 Replies
  • Posted By: PsyaticaBites
  • January 31, 2007
  • 08:00 PM

About six months ago I began to feel pain behind my legs after sitting for long periods of time in my car or office. My relatively new (1 1/2 yrs.) requires far more driving and computer time than previous positions. It has progressed to continuous bilateral (slightly more in the right leg) pain in my buttocks, behind my thighs, all around my knees, and down the sides of my calves. Since I have had continuing low back (lumbar) pain due to two high speed introductions to the ground resulting in a burst fracture of my L1 vertebra, my othopedic doctor asumed it would be due to a disc infringement or stenosis in the lumbar spine. Two MRI scans indicated no involvement at all. I was then referred to a neurologist who conducted two EMG tests (needlesfrom L4 to my feet on both sides) and a blood test. I really had to talk myself into the second one; this friggin test bites it. The neurologist (who also conducted the tests) explained the results which were that my nerves are irritated and that my serum aldolase was 9.3. (unremarkable in and of itself). I knew that six months ago! He didn't know why, but offered to arrange a spinal tap as the next test. He wasn't offering it in a way that indicated any confidence in it diagnosing the cause of my sciatic pain, but rather in a way that said (well if you want to try something else we can check your spinal fluid). He admitted that he was somewhat at a loss as to what was causing the pain. I'm hesitant to have a needle stuck into my spinal canal if it doesn't have much chance to diagnose my pain. I've also googled sciatica extensively and found no cases of conducting a spinal tap to diagnose it. So, I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. I know that the EMG test indicated irritated nerves from my lubar roots to my knees, and that I have something called elevated aldolase, but this doesn't give my MD's enough to offer a reasonable diagnosis. They just throw out suggestions that perhaps a cortisone injection or a tap in my spinal cord will get some results. I'm not big on shotgunning a therapy without knowing the root cause nor do I want to blindly submit myself to painful, intrusive tests without a good reason to conduct them.

I have a least as much faith in some muscle and connective tissue syndromes as the symptoms descibed matched mine more closely than disc related sciatica. I'm beginning to think that I spend far too much time on my kiester and it's causing this nerve irritation.

Thoughts anyone?

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12 Replies:

  • There are medical accupuncturists. I would try that if I were you. It wouldn't hurt and it might help.:eek: My husband went to one for pain in his neck and it really relieved it. His doctor teaches medicine at a hospital and does the accupuncture in the afternoon.I asked him why he got into it, and he said he observed someone with ghost pain from an amputated leg who had suffered for years and after having the accupuncture, did not feel pain. It finally rid him of it.:)
    geneswife 2 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 08:07 PM
    • 0
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  • I had sciatica from an unknown injury and had surgery. They replaced the L5 S1 with two titanium cages and let me go home. I read your post and the only true thing I can tell you is BUY A TRUCK. When I drive for extended periods of time in a vehicle that is not a truck my pain is unbearable. I think that the angle of your legs to your hips and back are far better for sciatica than in a car. Pick-up truck seats are built better and not angled as much as car seats. I know you may think this sounds stupid but I have actually driven 1390 miles in a twenty six hour period and had very little noticeable pain from my sciatica. I have driven my daughters vehicles, and both my sisters vehicles and even being a passenger in them will put me in pain after only a half hour. A pick up seat with adjustable lumbar support will make a big difference for you if you have to drive.
    tcrystaldreams6 2 Replies
    • February 10, 2007
    • 04:29 AM
    • 0
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  • Sacroiliac joint subluxation. It is unknown for doctors but very common reason for back pains and sciatica. Here few experiences.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 12, 2007
    • 09:25 PM
    • 0
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  • Sacroiliac joint subluxation. It is unknown reason for doctors but very common reason for back pains and sciatica. Here few experiences.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 12, 2007
    • 09:26 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Maybe the Sacroiliac joint!! I have Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, and many more lumbar back problems The poster who said to buy a truck is right on abt keeping the hips higher than the knees!!! I bought a small Blazer and what a difference, than trying to get in and out of a low car!!! Hardly a pain when in it or after riding in it. I can't ride in cars. Be careful when sitting on sofas, pile pillows to sit on to keep the hips raised up. You might want to get the donut pillows for the car and house where ou sit the most. They help alot. Also its better to lay down rather than sit, as sitting compresses the spine and causes more pain.Get good thick soled shoes too, the concrete floors & paved parking lots will kill you. You can't sit for long periods, you will have to get up and move around. If you are a woman who carries a purse, unload some of the weight and use a hand bag, not a shoulder one ....Those new heated pain patches help, too. Have you been tested for Lyme disease, that can affect aot of things too. Hope you find relief soon.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 17, 2007
    • 00:46 PM
    • 0
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  • I had a few bouts with horrible sciatica pain ending 3 years ago when I went into physical therapy. I continued working out there (many physical therapy gyms have wellness programs). I have not had a problem since. The only nonsurgical fix for back pain is core strength. I'm 46, but alot of my workout buddies are in their 60's and 70's. I even see people in their 80's improve tremendously with excercise. Keep moving!!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 17, 2007
    • 05:28 PM
    • 0
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  • I cannot begin what i am reading right now.... I'm a bit speechless because it's as if that blog was posted by myself. I to have experianced almost the same thing, but haven't had any sort of spine test done. I've had this problem for about 12 weeks. I have no pain in my back, but i am in so much pain. I cannot bare any weight on my right knee. My thigh muscle it completely narrow. I have numbness in my leg from below my knee to the tips of my toes. I'm now seeing an On Orthopedic physician and for some reason he seems to think i have torn my ligiment. I'm on crutches for 2 weeks. Does it help??? NO. Not only that , but i've had an x-ray and MRI both done on my knee, and they show nothing. Yeah, the doc didn't say anything about the MRI. I'm at a loss.Should i mention Sciatica? I just want my life to go back to normal. I'm only 28.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 20, 2008
    • 09:31 PM
    • 0
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  • IME acupuncture is the very best treatment for sciatica because it reaches the sciatic nerve and stops the pain. Please try this form of medicine. www.acufinder.com or www.nccaom.org for more info and to find a qualified acupuncturist. BTW, Medical acupuncturists are not as well trained unless they took the full TCM training and NCCAOM board exams. Acupuncture works! Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies
    • August 21, 2008
    • 02:30 AM
    • 0
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  • I had sciatica myself and it is very hard pain. A very good advice that helped alot was to get a massage. Also you have to be careful as it CAN make sciatica pain even worse. Always consult a doctor. Also i can recommend this great website about sciatic nerve problems
    diseman 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi, I am a physical therapist. Unfortunately the doctors appear to be relying very heavily on your MRI test as to whether you have a disc involvement. I would say that your symptoms very much sound like a disc. The problem is that the MRI is done with you lying down in a neutral position. Your symptoms, however, are aggravated after prolonged sitting (classic for disc pain). Just because the MRI didn't show the disc was impinging on the nerve root while you are lying down does not mean it doesn't move against the nerve when you are sitting. This is one of the classic limitations of some of the tests we have. If you were my patient, I would start you with the classic extension based exercise program. You can learn more about the disc and follow the links to the exercise program here: http://www.joint-pain-solutions.com/bulging-disc.html I would also have you really watch your posture. Sit with a small rolled up towel behind your back. Also, because you have a young child I would really try to minimize your bending and lifting. This is a classic aggravator. Finally, start applying ice (no heat!) to your lower back, 10 minutes at a time a few times a day. This will minimize any local inflammation. I have treated thousands of people with your type of sicatica symptoms with good results if you follow the recommendations on a consistent basis. Good luck. ~JTremepe PT, ATC
    JTrempe 101 Replies Flag this Response
  • About six months ago I began to feel pain behind my legs after sitting for long periods of time in my car or office. My relatively new (1 1/2 yrs.) requires far more driving and computer time than previous positions. It has progressed to continuous bilateral (slightly more in the right leg) pain in my buttocks, behind my thighs, all around my knees, and down the sides of my calves. Since I have had continuing low back (lumbar) pain due to two high speed introductions to the ground resulting in a burst fracture of my L1 vertebra, my othopedic doctor asumed it would be due to a disc infringement or stenosis in the lumbar spine. Two MRI scans indicated no involvement at all. I was then referred to a neurologist who conducted two EMG tests (needlesfrom L4 to my feet on both sides) and a blood test. I really had to talk myself into the second one; this friggin test bites it. The neurologist (who also conducted the tests) explained the results which were that my nerves are irritated and that my serum aldolase was 9.3. (unremarkable in and of itself). I knew that six months ago! He didn't know why, but offered to arrange a spinal tap as the next test. He wasn't offering it in a way that indicated any confidence in it diagnosing the cause of my sciatic pain, but rather in a way that said (well if you want to try something else we can check your spinal fluid). He admitted that he was somewhat at a loss as to what was causing the pain. I'm hesitant to have a needle stuck into my spinal canal if it doesn't have much chance to diagnose my pain. I've also googled sciatica extensively and found no cases of conducting a spinal tap to diagnose it. So, I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. I know that the EMG test indicated irritated nerves from my lubar roots to my knees, and that I have something called elevated aldolase, but this doesn't give my MD's enough to offer a reasonable diagnosis. They just throw out suggestions that perhaps a cortisone injection or a tap in my spinal cord will get some results. I'm not big on shotgunning a therapy without knowing the root cause nor do I want to blindly submit myself to painful, intrusive tests without a good reason to conduct them. I have a least as much faith in some muscle and connective tissue syndromes as the symptoms descibed matched mine more closely than disc related sciatica. I'm beginning to think that I spend far too much time on my kiester and it's causing this nerve irritation. Thoughts anyone? Hi, I would recommend seeing a physiotherapist for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. I also tend to agree with JTrempe - your symptoms certainly could be due to a bulging disc despite your MRI results. Check out the following links for detailed information on sciatica and lumbar disc bulges: SciaticaLumbar Disc Bulges Hope that helps and good luck, PhysioAdvisorwww.PhysioAdvisor.com
    PhysioAdvisor 93 Replies Flag this Response
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  • There are many different ways to treat Sciatica as you can see from the above posts. I think there are so many ways because there are so many different things that can cause Sciatica and that's why you need to see a health professional to know what type of treatment is going to work for you.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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