I suffered a compression injury from mountain biking. About a month after injuring my back, I began to experience what I later learned was sciatica. It initially affected both legs, and now 4 months later, it is still affecting my right leg.
The first doctor I saw wasn't very reactive. I had a spinal x-ray, which was “normal”.
After suffering from horrible cramps, pain, and burning in my legs, the rehabilitation doctor at my physical therapy facility finally ordered an MRI and did an EMG. The MRI showed an extrusion at L5-S1, which accounted for the sciatica symptoms.
Interestingly, the first doctor I saw didn't diagnose sciatica, despite having classic symptoms of it. He told me my muscles were tight. As an athlete, I can tell the difference between muscle tightness and something else.
Fast forward to now, I found a neurologist whose approach I get along with. That's the most important thing in the battle against sciatica.
While I refuse to take a lot of medications, I am taking a small amount of Lyrica and anti-inflammatories on occasion. I've also been getting acupuncture treatments, which haven't provided much relief to date.
The doctor also asked that I get a neurosurgical consultation to ensure that conservative treatment was still indicated. The neurosurgeon said I don't need surgery, but should consider it for quality of life.
I now have to decide how much longer I want to wait to see if the sciatica improves.
That's where I am at right now. I've managed to keep exercising through this all, which has been helping me maintain my sanity.
I've opted not to have a steroid injection, as I've been cautioned against it at this point. I've also been told that chiropractic manipulation could worsen the sciatica.
Be cautious of advice given to you by family and friends. Also, find a doctor you can relate to, even if you have to try a few. - Kimberly
I posted back in February about the delayed diagnosis of sciatica and my search for a doctor I could relate to. This post is an update.
Shortly after that post, I discovered a postural exercise program called the Egoscue Method. Over the past 4 months, it has changed my life. My day-to-day functioning improved within one week of starting the exercises.
As the weeks went on, it continued to improve to the point where I'm almost back to my baseline level of exercise with mild sciatic pain on rare occasions. It requires you to be motivated to do the exercises twice per day. I strongly encourage people to research it or similar techniques as an effective way of managing pain.