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Question
Posted by: Kiera | 2007/08/25

Sciatic pain ruining my life!

I had a baby about 22 months ago. I was an "older" mom and had her at 38. About 5 months after the birth, i developed pain in my lower back, with shooting pain down my right leg. I coped with it for about 6 weeks and it went away.

4 months ago, my back pain started again, this time with the shooting pain down my left leg - every time i took a step, it felt like a knife stabbing into my leg/groin/bum and back. It was extremely debilitating and i had to take 2 weeks off work. It started getting better about 3 weeks ago - i was walking almost normally and was off the painkillers and anti-inflammatories, then my elder daughter went into hospital and i was doing a lot of walking up and down the hospital every day - the pain came back, worse than before.

It's so bad now that it hurts to stand, sit or even lie down. I CANNOT take more time off work, so i hobble along, grabbing hold of whatever i can to stand up (at home i use a crutch). I take about 3 Myprodols or Veltex tablets a day so my brain is pretty fuzzy half the time. Yesterday i bought some Nat Mur Tissue Salts in the hope that these will provide some small relief. I can't even pick up my little baby, which kills me and i'm just so incredibly frustrated right now!

When the pain started, i saw a GP and an acupuncturist - neither of which helped. I saw a Chiropractor who didn't help either. In fact, since seeing the chiropractor, i can feel the bones in my lower back grating together which i never had before. I went for x-rays - nothing seemed to be wrong with my bones, and i tried physio - the only thing that did seem to help. I also saw a specialist who wanted me to go for an MRI - i, however, couldn't afford this procedure and the Government hospital wouldn't do it for me either, even though i had been referred by a specialist.

The Physio told me that it could have been caused from the pregnancy. As i am lactose intolerant, i have very little calcium intake and as i have a kidney stone, i have been told by a urologist not to take calcium supplements! Are there any herbal or homeopathic remedies to take to build up bone strength?

I now do physio exercises every night, apply heat pads and an electrical pulse machine to my back. All of this relieves the pain somewhat, but is not taking it away. I'm trying to fight this with all that i have, and all i really want is to be healthy again.

Do i have any alternatives to the above? Is there ANYTHING else i could be doing or taking to make this better? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


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Our expert says:
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Dear Kiera,

I am sorry to hear that you are suffering so badly from your back and leg problem. There are a number of causes of the symptoms that you are getting and for effective treatment, it is essential that the specific cause is identified. One thing that is certain is that your condition is not being caused by an intrinsic bone problem and it is extrenmely unlikely that calcium supplementation would have any effect upon your symptoms. It is also important to remember that you can obtain adequate calcium from you diet by including things such as meat, green leafy vegetables, nuts and pulses etc.

If you can tell me which area you are based in then I may be able to suggest an appropriate practitioner to provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Also, I would suggest that you stop using heat pads and swap this form of therapy to alternate heat and cold packs. Heat can feel very nice in the short term and provide some immediate pain relief from the muscle spasms but will often exacerbate the inflammatory component of the problem in the medium term. Try applying a hot pack to your lower back for 2-3 minutes then an ice pack for 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the heat again and then finish with an ice pack.

I hope that this helps.

Best wishes,

Dr. Gary Riley

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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