Sciatica Questions and Answers

This Q&A section is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Any medical condition should be referred to a qualified medical professional.

The following are selected posts from the now defunct sciatica BBS. They are included here to illustrate the huge scope of back and leg symptoms throughout the world and provide readers with some real life experiences endured by other sciatica patients. Understanding the problems other patients have with their diagnosed conditions will help you to better communicate with your own doctor. If you would like to share your own sciatic nerve story, you can still do so on the Interactive Forum.

You can find the answers to common questions on the sciatica FAQ page.

Comment: Wow. In the amount of time it took me to navigate from your page here to your FB page to read some of your back story until I wound up on Dr. Sarno's page - I kid you not the excruciating pain in my left buttocks was all but a minor twinge. After the 20/20 video it was completely gone. Is this possible!?!? I've already shared your site & all the aforementioned w/my FB friends and put a hold on Dr. Sarno's book at the library. They don't have yours so that will be Kindled (fingers crossed) or purchased at B&N tomorrow. Seriously. Wow. - Deanna (sitting cross legged on the bed typing this) Deanna

Q: I had minor surgery last year on a far lateral herniated disc. I had to have it as I couldn't walk or sit. The pain radiated mostly down my left leg, foot and toe. I lost my job as a result of time lost.I have been fine since the surgery, walking working even jogging a little. However, right now my symptoms are coming back and although not as bad I am terrified I will become disabled again. HELP!! Paula

Q: Hi I have extreme pain in my upper buttock/lower back that shoots down my leg. I can't even walk because of the pain. It's been getting worse and worse. I had an xray done and everything came back negative. What could it be? Ive had this problem for close to 3months. Armando

Q: Thanks so much for the advice and the info! My back already feels much better. I am convinced that 99 percent of my "pain" is as you have mentioned psychosomatic. I've been through some stressful situations for the past 6mos and I think that this has much to do with my lower back issues. I originally did injure my back but I think that the majority of my pain is actually connected to my own mind. I am an MRI technologist and I think that my subconscious has messed with the fact that I see numerous patients' l-spines daily with bulging discs. I do have some very slight bulging l3-4 and l4-5 but nothing serious at all. Thanks again for all of your help. I'll be ordering Healing Back Pain tonight. Sincerely, Jim

Q: i have bilateral sciatica it started off with hip and leg pain on my left side . went to a surgeon had mri and surgeon said i needed surgery for herniated disc for L4 and L5 disc .had the surgery .first week had a little improvement then after that it got worst every week now i have bilateral sciatica that i didn't have before the surgery .it is six weeks after surgery had new mri and surgery doctor said i might need now to have a spinal fusion original mri report said i also had at L4 L5 moderate central canal and severe left neural foraminal and lateral recess stenosis the surgeon didn't take care of at surgery please give advice, Harold

Q: I appreciate your info. I was fine last week no problems. On Friday I got a touch of a bug (going around) And strained my legs. On Sat. I woke up with a pain down my left leg. As Sat progressed I began having pain in my lower back butt area and down both legs. When I bend over from the waist it is excruciating. Now I cannot not lie down without terrible pain even standing and sitting. I can not get comfortable. A hot bath helps for a while then it returns not always as bad. It seems worse at times and it is horrifying. Do you think this is sciatica? It came out of the blue.Thanks. D

Q: Hello Sensei,I have been reading you for sometime now. My question is if someone has sciatica that is caused by oxygen deprivation from an injury and thus is not psychosomatic, how do you treat this? You seem to say on your site that spinal decompression and less invasive surgeries work for other physically induced sciatica but what about this sort of problem? Stephen

Q: Hi, I worked as a cashier for almost 20 years of heavy bending and lifting. On 9-22-10 I went to the emergency room in severe back pain and the tests were started to see what was wrong. I had Cat Scans and MRI's and done the MRI showed all of my disc's were almost gone and not supporting my spine properly. I opted for the back fusion to be done L1-L5 and S1-S2 were completed on 10-1-10 after almost 8 hours of surgery. I spent another 4 weeks in Rehab and completed 2 months of Phsysical Training on 12-31-10. I have been walking and doing at home exercises and try not to bend, lift or twist nad my husband helps me shower and put my clothes on. It's been 5 months now since my surgery and I now have burning waist and buttocks pain coming back to me. I felt this pain before my back surgery? I just got a steroid shot in my back on 3-17-11! Can you help solve my burning wiast/buttocks pain? Maryann

Q: Hello, I just started to do therapy with a Chiropractor after 3 months of severe sciatica and getting an Mri asap.My ? Do you agree with this approach. Ty, Greg

Q: my son 25 years old is suffering from slip disc and sciatica for the last 2 years. kindly advice treatment. Kuldeep

Q: Dealing with bilateral sciatica. Just had baby. Also dealing with chronic plantar fascittis, achilles tendonitis and shin splints... all worsened by sciatica. Trying to get MRI. been to chiros, phyio, rmts, accupuncture,.. any ideas. Thanks, Heather

Q: If I can do it, will riding a bike cause more damage and pain or might it be good for my sciatic pain which is in my left leg and buttocks. Anne

Q: I still have severe pain in my right knee and my hip, the pain still shoots down my leg on both the outside and inside of the leg but only from the knee on the inside where it was swollen. Question: What do you think is wrong behind my knee? I can hardly walk on it and it's been almost 7 months now since my physical therapy. Should I get it x-rayed right away or wait 9 weeks to see a doctor? Stephanie

Q: sir, my mom have sciatica pain from last one year ago. plz suggest me treatment for my mom and u suggest me a doctor in India. regards. thanks. reply as soon as possible, sunny

Q: Hi, So I've had lower lumbar pain for over 2 years now, sometimes free of it, but susceptible to flare-ups. In October I got a wicked case of sciatica, which worsened at the first of the 2 months now of not being able to walk much. I can ride a bike. I am a dancer, and have not been able to dance due to the pain. I am a very emotionally aware person. I've read some of Sarno's book. I'm curious about your work, but not fully on board. I'm not fully on board an MRI either. I am scheduled for one tomorrow. Is it worth having? Thanks, Kimi

Q: It all started around five years ago as an irritating tingling feeling in my left leg the pain is shooting down my leg, I was unable to walk properly after that and it felt like something was crushing my hips whenever I tried to. I went to see the doctor and he put me on with some pain killer, it never worked, should I go for the surgery and also please help me understand this need to be done in India city Hyderabad, Ahmed

Q: I had a very bad attack of sciatica about 8 months ago the pain has gone but the numbness never i still have numbness from my toes to my bottom is this normal. the doctor said it could take up to six months to clear. Bay

Q: Hi!! I had back surgery in April 2009---a laminectomy and a discectomy at l4/5. after the surgery, it took 5 months of physical therapy for me to be able to walk without pain. the muscles and nerves were so messed up---i couldn't even do 1 squat at my first visit. i have gotten stronger, but my problem has remained in my buttocks (they had to do deep tissue work on my piriformis after surgery because it was so tight). The nerve craziness in my glutes drives me crazy and my glutes get so tight that it is painful to sit or rise at times or stand straight. my buttocks and hips constantly hurt. Any advice? Sherry

Q: Hi-I have suffered debilitating back problems for 20 years and am only 39... I am just now noticing that pain increases the minute I have any stress... I have been a stay at home mom for 10 yrs and feel my self esteem is gone... where do I start with mental treatment? Steffany

Q: I have nerve pain in inner sides of thighs from buttocks, inner thighs, inner sides of knees and upto the end of inner side of leg. My last three spine X-ray shows that padding is less than half.Same is in the upper side of spines-3,4,5,6 show very little space. I had frozen shoulder problem for both sides, numbness and tingling in hands and legs. I do regular yoga and pranayam. Not all asanas. Please help me. Thanks. With love, Mridula

Q: hi! i'm 31 years old got sciatica 4 months ago. i'm so tired of drinking my muscle relaxant. paracetamol and arcoxia, though it did help me a lot. my question is,will i have this sciatica forever? i mean i will not really go if it will not have a permanent solution like operation? I'M SO DEPRESSED Beryl

Q: I have been suffering with sciatic pain AND low back muscle spasms for almost 4 years now and its EVERYDAY, ALL DAY, NON-STOP, NEVER A MOMENT BREAK FROM THE PAIN. I take Advil several times a day just to get on with my day... and by 4:00 in the morning my pain is so severe (because I hadn't had the Advil for a few hours) that it wakes me and is unbearable! My pain starts from a hard pain in my lower back and incredible pain down both my legs to my feet - worse on my right side from hip to foot. I have had physio therapy; aggressive deep tissue (muscle manipulation therapy; decompression with that big DRX machine; deep tissue massage therapy; have had 3 x-rays which showed a normal spine. tried all the exercises; tried pretending the pain wasn't there; prayer --- ALL OF IT ---went to see an old man in his home this morning who learned muscle manipulation therapy back in the war days - out of desperation ...... NOTHING WORKED. NOTHING!!Now I just ordered and downloaded Cure Back Pain Forever book... Flipped through it, but Sensei Rostocki... how is this going to help me... as I mentioned I've tried to spend the last 4 years pretending the pain is NOT there. I understand the deep rooted anger; anxiety; etc issues theory but life is life, I'm a wife; mother of 2 young adults out on their own trying to figure out life; run the financial end of a family business, etc.... I can't give up all those things I AM in order to release these issues. So please help me out a little here, what can you tell me to understand this a little better? PLEASE HELP!!!

Q: I'm using both your and John Sarno's book and am maybe one third of the way to opening up my feelings to my mind (one great big thunder cloud but nearly out of sight behind me). But it seems to me that the ischemic pain reaction could also be read as my self telling me there is something wrong with my handling/dealing with my feelings (mostly anger, I think, but also other poetic sensitivities). Drawing my attention in an odd kind of way (perhaps no other way of getting the message through) to what I need. Does this fit with your experience of other sufferers? Michael

Q: I have drop foot, nerve tingling in my foot and leg, Walking is difficult, and sleeping very difficult. I have just had a severe bout of sciatica, in bed for 2 weeks. I need some help please. Carole

Q: I first started getting sciatica symptoms 3 yrs ago.I am a 54 year old male.I had an MRI 8 months ago.Partial sacralization of L5 on right. Grade 1 spondylisthesis of L4 on L5 related to degenerated disc disease and marked degenerated changes in the facet joints.Marked stenosis of the lateral recesses with abutment and likely compression of traversing nerves in the lateral recesses. Marked right forminal stenosis and moderate left forminal stenosis. Abutment of the right exiting nerve by endplate osteophytes and bulging disc and compression of this nerve can not be ruled out. Spondylolytic changes L3 L4 level with encroachment of the canal and lateral recesses. There is abutment of the traversing nerves in the lateral recesses and the compression of these nerves can not be ruled out. 3 months ago i started physio.The morning after my first visit which was the assessment (all kinds of different movements)I woke up and never felt so much pain in my life.Within minutes my left leg and foot went completely numb. To this day the top right side of my foot and left side of my leg is numb 24/7. Is it possible I won't get complete feeling back.My condition seems to be 10 times worse since my physio assessment. I continued going to therapy for about 20 sessions but doesn't seem to be doing much. I have an appt. with a surgeon but not until Sept. 20.I would appreciate any suggestions you have.DO you think I would benefit from chiropractic adjustment. Very frustrated. Thank you Ron

Q: Kindly tell me if there is sciatic pain related to cancer or some other things also are the symptoms of cancer. Syed

Q: I have a ruptured disk L4 L5 extreme pain at first for a day then numbness in both legs for the past 4 months. I'm trying to recover from complex PTSD and wondering is the problems from my back are related? Amberin

Q: Hi Sensei Adam Rostocki, A few weeks ago I hurt my lower back. I'm not sure what I did to it exactly, although, I did go to the gym that morning.I had pain on the right hand side radiating down my right leg. The next day I went to the doctor who said I had sciatica and prescribed me some painkillers. After about a week it seemed to come right but still some niggling pain in the lower back right hand side. I resumed my usual gym work out. Just today I went to a sports rehab consultant at the gym and he gave me some exercises. Two of which I think put strain on my lower back and now I think may have hurt me again. I told the consultant I had sciatic pain a couple of weeks earlier but it seemed ok now. But he still made me do squats while holding a single dumbbell vertically with both hand: 10kgs, three sets of eight. Then the other exercise was bent over dumbbell rows : this was done by bending both knees and having one hand on a low bench and the other holding a 10kg dumbbell doing bent over rows. I didn't feel the back pain at the time only pulled hamstrings but I feel the pain this afternoon! I'm tall and skinny : 6 foot 2 inches and 68kg. I also have scoliosis. All of this information the sports rehab consultant knew. Should he have given me these exercises? Can I trust these so called professionals? What do I do now? Daniel

Q: Hi, I had a myelogram to determine the cause of lower back pain that radiates down my left leg. Unfortunately I received CSF leak and had 2 blood patches. It has been 2 months and I am having terrible sciatic nerve pain down my left leg that is worse than ever before. I can't walk at times and am having trouble sleeping. Advil and Aleve both temporarily alleviate the pain. Does that mean this condition will likely go away over time or is this something that may be permanent? Ryan

Q: Experienced severe back pain at work on March 31,2009. After months of Physio, accupuncture, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and nerve medication, the pain increased significantly. In this time the pain radiated down my left leg into my foot. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being most severe, the pain was a 20. I was finally sent for an MRI on August 18,2009. The results showed a large herniated disc at the L5-S1 level and also moderate central canal stenosis at this level. There is also a slight bulge at the L4-L5 level.After more hassles and runarounds, I finally had surgery on February 24,2010. After the surgery my pain decreased considerably. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being most severe, the pain was at a 6. The numbness in my left foot was still present.Started back to work on May 25,2010 on modified duties. Pain in the lower left back and left leg increased as I started doing more physical duties at work and home.I had another MRI done on October 23,2010. The doctors have told me there is some scar tissue and a couple weak spots. They cannot tell me why I am still having the pain. I was given Percecets and anti-inflammatories to get me over the "rough patches". I have been experiencing severe muscle spasms in my left calf which come on while I am sleeping. Throughout the day I have cramping in my lower left leg with numbness and pins and needles feeling in my left foot. I have an aching pain from the top of my leg down to my foot and the pain increases as I do more sitting, walking or standing throughout the day. The pain has been getting worse as my hours have increased from 4 hour shifts to 6 hour shifts. I am now taking nerve pills since I am having trouble dealing with everyday life and not knowing what is happening. Any advice or insight you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Diane

Comment: Thanks for this site, it is fantastic. Best ever! Johan

Q: In 2006 I was training for a fitness show and I injured my left leg while sitting in the center splits and rolling into the left splits. I heard horrible cracking noises but all of my MRIs and xrays showed nothing abnormal. I went on a tour of Dr's Chiros, epi's,PT and nothing helped. I finally stopped working out totally and now it only hurts when I sit for longer than 30m. The pain radiates in the left hip, groin, hamstring, sacrum area, its never the same. My PT says it might be a labral tear of the hip from the injury? Hylan

Q: About 2 months ago I had a terrible cough and at one point was coughing so much I felt something in the SI area pop. After that every time I coughed I felt a twinge down my right butt and sometimes radiated to the back of my leg. I rested a little and returned to half of the exercise accustomed to. I am very active and exercise daily. Am very frustrated have been going to the Chiro but just not resolving sometimes have a little relief but the wrong move gives me a jolt. The worst is bending down to touch my toes in forward bend (also very active yoga participant) in sun salutations and when I come back up I feel a jolt right below my right butt where the hamstring attaches. What is bothering me the most is this constant knot in my right calf it hurts to walk? Had a massage and the therapist thought it could possibly be a tear in the hamstring. Would this cause a jolt when bending forward and then standing up?? Or the pain in my calf?? Want to resolve to regain my previous level of activity??? Help??? C

Q: Hello, I have a VERY numb right foot in result of a recent very painful sciatica episode... since the pain was not related to a physical cause should that numbness disappear completely? in how long? Thanks! Didi

Q: i was diagnosed with L/S strain with radiculopathy, i have sciatica pain but for some reason my lower back quite stop hurting but i still have sciatica pain. i barely can walk, physician say there is no rupture or leak in the disc it is just a little pressed but do i have any chance to get back to my life. i living in hell since i am a very active person, so what is causing the radiculopathy? thanks. i love this page. Carlos

Q: So the past week, i have had this almost unbearable pain in my upper thigh. It's is very sharp and feels like a nerve. It's effect certain things i do. I can't stretch my bake any more and i can't stretch the left leg. It also spikes when i cough, sneeze or even sometimes run. Fortunately this is all it effects, but it's driving me insane. Please let me know what's going on and what i can possibly do to fix this. Thank you very much. Your site seemed like it may help. Take care. Nick

Q: Hello. I have been suffering for many years with severe back buttocks, leg, feet pain, numbness, tingling symptoms. Not one Dr. can request the right MRI for this, it is always just lumbar. Which shows a good bit but not the true problem. Is there a certain Mri for this? Linda

Q: Bilateral Sciatica was mild and present for 10 years starting around the age of 35. Now at 47 and after a Total Left Knee Replacement, I have bilateral sciatica with several left buttock pain. Feet always feel ice cold. MRI and Cat Scan are normal of the low back. Nothing helps. Sitting is a killer. Chiropractic, Traction, Left Piriformis treatment and injections, TENS. I have started taking Neurontin which takes the edge off. I am leery that I had a nerve injury from the left sciatic nerve block they gave me for the left knee surgery. I am at a loss. Mike

Q: Hello, I first started noticing sciatica type discomfort about 7 months ago. I began noticing an annoying pain at the top of my left buttock. (I add, I was working very physically on a house remodel at the time.). I finally went to a doctor and had xrays and nerve tests done. The xrays indicated arthritis in the spine. I have not yet had a professional evaluation. I have put it off, imagining I may be able to cure with time and exercise and good diet. But the discomfort persists. Usually I am fine in the AM but was the day wears on the pain comes on: in the top of buttock--over to the left hip joint--done the left side of the left leg --and to the side of the left ankle. I am going to start Pilates training. My problem is that I came to Brazil and to get my professional analysis, I have to go back to the States. Question: what is my best course of action? Thanks, Tim

Comment: i have pain in my leg, sometimes is left side. but since this week, it becomes my right and the left is okay. it start from buttocks down to my leg. I feel better when walking. Peter

Q: Hello! For the last 8 months I have been getting pain in my left. It's been on and off until this last week. The pain has been constant! I only find comfort when I lay down. I had an emergency MRI scan due for this morning only to sit in the waiting room for an hour and then be told the machine had broken down! I have been told they suspect a prolapsed disc which is causing sciatica. I'm taking 14 pills a day to try and ease the pain, but nothing seems to help! Could this clear up on it's own? I have no pain what so ever in my back. Just my left leg, mainly the calve! Any suggestions or advice? Mark

Q: hello, i've been having tension headaches for the past 5 years. now its been a 3 months i've been having leg pain, weak legs and a lot of pain between my shoulder blades and headaches every mourning. doctors did all kinds of test and have no idea. does it sound like i'm going through the same thing as you ?? Mathieu

Q: Hello, My problems with lower back started about 5 months ago. I was getting mild back pain for some time. MRI scan revealed herniated disk at L5S1. It was a surprise, since I was doing hard sports (fitness,swimming,dancing) for more than 10 years and yoga for two last years. After some time I have got terrible pain attack, which was successfully treated with drugs. Then I went through physiotheraphy, started to perform stretching exercises. Sometimes pain was very mild, or none at all. After 3 months I got another terrible attack, sciatica this time, with pain in my leg and buttocks. Now I'm trying to treat it with drugs too. Also I'm studying your book and book by Dr. Sarno. One question still remains open for me. In both pain attack cases doctors is trying to find triggers, which started them. According to their theory pinched nerve itself can not cause pain. Some other trigger is needed to cause inflammation process and pain. And they suggest either injury (lifting heavy weight etc.) or cold. Since injury is not suitable (I was careful enough all the time), the main reason for pain and inflammation is cold. Doctors say, that probably I got cold and inflammation started. Is it possible, that pinched nerve is somehow more sensitive for cold and may get inflammation easily? Or maybe muscles, which are near this nerve, are very sensitive, tense and irritated, so they can easily get inflammation? I can hardly remember if I really got cold before my pain attacks. So this inflammation theory is still mystery to me. Gytis

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