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Severe sciatica - can’t stand

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ajm222, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member


    I’d been suffering from sciatic pain for about eight months. A couple of weeks ago it worsened. And then in the last 36 hours or so I’ve basically been on my back. I can’t take more than a few steps before I fall over in pain. Debilitating pain in the butt and legs. Tried to go to doctor but couldn’t make it to the car. They gave me a script for tramadol and a steroid (Medrol dosepak). Just started and hoping it does enough that I can actually move. Seems now that I may have herniated a disc or something. Very worried about permanent disability. Everything I read suggests that eventually it should heal enough that I can move again, but it could take weeks. And then could become a chronic issue.

    I used to think most pain, and almost all back pain, was likely TMS. Then this happened and I have to admit I totally doubt that now. I do understand that TMS can create and perpetuate pain in a number of crazy ways. But this is so real, so intense and so debilitating that I have to believe it’s directly related to a very real physical thing. Yet I can’t recall anything happening that set this off 8 months ago, or exacerbated it a couple of days ago.

    They are trying to schedule an MRI but at the moment I won’t even be able to get there for it. I know they’ll likely find something (they already found mild spondylolisthesis on a CT scan that I got for something unrelated a year ago), but I’m told there are people with herniated discs that don’t even have pain.

    Just don’t know what to do. And don’t know what to expect. Anyone here ever have the kind of back pain that literally was so severe you couldn’t do more than adjust yourself in bed?

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is true. There have been several studies showing that many people with herniated discs in fact don't have pain. Dr. Sarno refers to one of those. In my own experience 20 years ago, I had lower back pain bad enough that I slept on the floor in what they call in yoga a child's pose, kneeling forward and resting my head on the pillow. I was told to never sleep on my side, never cross my legs, never sit up in bed and to never lift any weight in front of me. I do all those things now, and many more, including running, backpacking and doing advanced core exercises. Yes, pain can be that bad and still be psychological. Read success stories to see for yourself. Best of luck beating your pain!
    ajm222 likes this.
  3. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thank you for the response. It’s just so crazy that I’m in so much pain that I literally can’t get up. Pain is one thing, blinding and debilitating pain is another. It’s just so real. When I take a step I just completely buckle.
  4. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    and thanks also for the link to the success stories. that's helpful.
  5. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Hello, I am very sorry for your pain. Yes, you should be checked out and make sure you don't have a tumor or something going on, but herniated disc is incidental, like grey hairs, we can get them but they don't hurt.

    I'm having a flare up of sciatica, which I haven't experienced before, but I will come back to that. When covid first hit my radar I started having low back pain and it was like a few waves of escalation and calming down. Usually I can talk my brain out of it in minutes, but not this time. Still, I wasn't worried about it, kind of natural under the circumstances. So, about 6 weeks into the pain I was unloading groceries and I felt a bag was too heavy for my back. Then I grabbed the bag with a kind of violent attitude and said, my back isn't hurt! Instantly! The pain was gone!! I was reminded of how weird TMS can be.

    Now we come to the sciatica. Somehow it has really come to stay and isn't consistent in the symptoms, but it is consistent in not going away. Now I have had it for about 6 weeks and yes it is sometimes agony! I didn't injure myself and you asked about it being so severe you can't do more than adjust yourself in bed, and I thought wow, I really struggle with adjustment in bed! I have pain, burning, weakness, tingling, cramping...ugh!!! But I'm not worried it is structural. Too much is going on emotionally for me to even wonder. But my leg, butt and hip sure hurt! The problem isn't the nerve, it is the emotional upheaval and stress. My leg is perfectly healthy even though it isn't working right now.

    So what do we do? Well, I'm journaling and I ordered Nicole Sachs book to help me with that. I'm reading The Mind body Prescription and Claire Weekes Hope and Help For Your Nerves. Also going back to some of the structured educational program and Alan Gordon's too. Watching videos on YouTube etc. Back to my beginning from years ago.

    The most important thing is that you can have excruciating pain from TMS. Dr. Sarno said he didn't know of anything more painful than the worst pain from TMS, but he also said that people still recovered.

    Read baseball's story and his posts, he is a great example of sciatic recovery.

    TG957 likes this.
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's right. In the past 3 months, I have been having pretty bad muscle cramps and occasional pains in various locations. Many people seem to report TMS flare-ups since COVID started.
  7. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thanks again. May consider the ER if no improvement in another day or so. Maybe they can do an MRI sooner to rule out something serious. At the moment I can’t even go to the bathroom which is going to be a problem. I did have a CT scan about a year or less before this all hit which showed some spondylolisthesis but no tumor.
  8. Dave81

    Dave81 New Member

    Hi ajm222,
    Sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I am new to TMS, I found about it around March this year, after flare up number 5 or 6 of my Sciatica odyssey, according to the MRI caused by disc herniations.
    I am still recovering from this one and posted here about it.
    The previous times I had pain as bad as you, pins and needles and burning sensation. I was not able to stand or walk and the last time I was not finding any comfort in bed! Going to toilet was a nightmare. All previous times I recovered completely, from the last time until this episode I had like 7 years period with a bit of back pain sometimes during winter, I suppose what doctor Sarno called "programing".
    I’m sure every time was TMS, as went back every time there was something emotional and the more the anger and the stress the worse the simptoms.
    Please see the links below, they are research on disc herniation and pain:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464797/ (Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11413431/ (The Longitudinal Assessment of Imaging and Disability of the Back (LAIDBack) Study: Baseline Data - PubMed)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19770614/ (Prevalence of Degenerative Imaging Findings in Lumbar Magnetic Resonance Imaging Among Young Adults - PubMed)
    I tried finding the names of couple of strong man that recovered and returned to compete, but couldn't. I will try again later. One of them ruptured (blew) 2-3 discs.
    Friendly advice stay away from the horror stories, reading those are not helping you at all, actually the opposite they harming you. Filling your head with very bad thoughts.
    I understand it's very painful, but try to move, couple of steps every hour, the longer you stay in bed the worse it becomes.
    I am not a religious person and I don't remember where I heard this from, but it is one of my favourites "God only gives you what you can handle, no more, no less".
    The second one is from Jon Kabat-zinn "If you are breathing, it's very likely that there is more right with you than wrong, regardless of your current state or what you are facing".
    Get better soon and keep us updated with your state.
    ajm222 likes this.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dave, awesome post! I loved the references to the studies, thank you for the info!
  10. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thanks, Dave! My GP called with his thoughts on my MRI (will also consult with neurosurgeon next week). Said it looks like my previously diagnosed spondylolisthesis had advanced another 4mm, likely narrowing the space for the nerve resulting in the pain I’m having on the left side, which is where the most movement appears to be happening. Structurally this does make perfect sense. He said aggressive PT could help. Hoping neurosurgeon doesn’t say get surgery asap to avoid nerve damage.

    Anyway, not sure if that all could still mean TMS. There appears to be a very clear clinical finding that explains this. And yet I know many here would say it could totally be TMS.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @ajm222 , why don't you consult with the TMS doctors listed here on the TMSWiki: https://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Find_a_TMS_Doctor_or_Therapist (Find a TMS Doctor or Therapist) ? I had my medical records and tests reviewed by Dr. Geitzen and he assured me that my condition was TMS, and he was right! I didn't agree to steroid injections, opioids , surgeries etc. that were unanimously recommended by my GP, surgeon and neurologist. I am now fully recovered.
    ajm222 likes this.
  12. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    That’s very encouraging. Thanks for the link. I’ll definitely do that. Sent another email to Dr. Schubiner as well, who has always been kind enough to respond even though I‘ve never really been a patient.
    Lizzy likes this.
  13. Dave81

    Dave81 New Member

    Hi ajm222,
    Hope you are feeling better!

    I hope your appointment with the neurosurgeon goes well and you are told that you don't need surgery. Even if you are told that you need surgery, please don't go into it with only one opinion, take a second and third if possible and if you feel like it. I have respect for all medical personal, but they are human too and do mistakes.

    I searched for the strongmen I was mentioning earlier, could not find exactly what I said, but I will have another look.
    Anyway have a look at this interview only where he talks about his disc herniation, I think it will be inspiring for you even though your medical condition is different.
    https://www.strength-oldschool.com/blogs/news/strongman-derek-poundstone-interview (Strongman Derek Poundstone Interview)

    I am no doctor, but if you are experiencing pins and needles, burning sensation and I dare say pain, I don't think you should worry about nerve damage, as I mentioned in the previous post I recovered completely from them, again I am not a doctor.

    One more thing, you are saying that you can't recall anything to set it off, I'm assuming you're talking about mental thing. Someone in the forum was saying that it should not be exactly in line. From my personal experience it doesn't have to be necessary a bad thing, with me this time was a very happy event, we got our first house. However this was the very last thing too, but I am sure it is what topped it off.
    Also 8 months of pain, worrying and suffering are enough to make any condition worse and take their toll on anyone.

    Hope you get better soon. Keep us updated.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
    ajm222 likes this.
  14. IndiMarshall

    IndiMarshall Well known member

  15. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thanks again, all. I especially love the idea of healing by simply loving yourself. I constantly obsess about my past and all my issues and emotions and stuff, and feel I’m pretty in touch with the things that plague me. So the idea of simply letting those things go and telling myself I’m ok and I’m good is appealing. I’m sure by journaling I could go deeper with my issues, and that would probably have some value. But I’ve wondered if it was even necessary.
    Anyway, I’ll keep plugging on. Still sore but more functional now.

    I spent several years in major hypochondriac mode, with all kinds of issues that came and went (with no definitive diagnoses), oddly enough during a period of time I also lost a ton of weight and started exercising and getting healthier. Eventually the hypochondria lessened but that also was around the time I got the hernia and the hernia surgery, which I still have issues with. I think after two years of obsessing about that, perhaps my body and brain then decided I needed a different distraction and used my back. Ultimately I need to try and better move past all of this and find a way to stop obsessing about my health and try and live my life more.
  16. IndiMarshall

    IndiMarshall Well known member

    What kind of Hernia is this ? Inguinal hernia ? I recovered from surgery. I went in late for one till it got worse and paying a price for this. Only now getting better. Time heals everything.
  17. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    yes, inguinal hernia, repaired robotically with mesh. Had soreness and pain for a couple years, which is mostly gone now. Left with some tightness and discomfort but not too bad. Had considered mesh removal with an expert surgeon but having trouble committing to that. Worried there’s a chance it may make things worse. But also not thrilled with the sensations I’ve been left with. Wondering if they’re related to the back pain as I’m worried I’m walking and holding myself differently.
  18. Hannah7

    Hannah7 New Member

    Did this go away?

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