After a month or so of lower back problems culminating last weak in excrutiating pain down the back of one leg and a numb foot, I have been told I have sciatica.

I don't know anything about it - other than that my leg is weak and my foot is still numb a week later. Can anyone offer any information/advice?

Bath Half has obviously gone out the window as walking is an effort at the moment and I really want to be doing what ever I can to get it mended - I start a fantastic new job in a month and want to be fit and raring to go, also desperate to get out running again after 6 weeks off!


  • having sciatica is one thing - it's the cause that needs curing not the symptom!!

    were you told what's causing it??
  • Apparently it is a prolapsed disc and the treatment for that seems to be doing nothing until it gets better!
    I was wondering whether there was anything that would relieve sciatica symptoms or generally improve the situation.

    Very frustrating doing nothing!!!!
  • ah - the good old prolapsed disc. well, rest will help cure some of the problem but undoubtedly the sciatica will come back when you start exercising's a bit of a vicious circle. the prolapse presses on the sciatic nerve causing the symptoms you see.

    afaik - prolapsed discs can retreat back to some state of normality but never go away. the best cure maybe surgery. my missus had a L3/4 prolapse (amongst the most common) and decided to get it operated on - 5+ years on she is doing 2 Ironman tris this year. she gets some residual back pain but that's inevitable to an extent after surgery but it's given here a cure. the downside of the surgery is the recovery period - she came back too early and completely wrecked her back muscles and ligaments (she was rowing at the time) so she was out for nearly a year.

    if you don't want surgery - try looking at improving your core stability as that will help improve your posture and back strength which may help. Pilates and similar is good for this.
  • Thanks!
    Would really like to avoid surgery if possible!
    Bit depressing to here that it will come back with exercise again but am coming round to the idea of it being a slow healing process!
    Definately need to look at pilates or something similar.
  • hoggle-it shouldnt come back if you really work on that core

    personally, i do see surgery as a last resort
  • Hi,

    I have unable to run for one year now,due to sciatica in BOTH legs.As you know the pain can be unbearable.I personaly found physio helped greatly with relieving the symptons however didn't get to the root of the problem and the pain came back gradually.I have now signed up to do pilates course which a lot of people recommend.

    The thing to remember is that it can get better as I do get good days and Im sure you do!

    Anyway good luck and chin up.

    I also found personally chiropractice a total waste of time and money!

  • I have sciatica (glad you've all spelled it for me!!!) on my left side.

    Only causes me pain when sitting down, mostly driving. The stangest thing is the warm sensation I get down my leg from it - driving along & suddenly it goes all warm!!!!

    Had physio a few months ago for & stretching out my lower back generally helps a lot. I've now started to go back to the gym a couple of times a week to work on upper body muscles - hopefully core strength will help it improve. I plan to return to Dr to get proper diagnosis.
  • Nigel... this is Trinity, you mailed me. I tried to reply but it bounced back.

    Sorry to hear that you have been suffering for so long... I get the impression that you have explored some options but with not too much success. If it's been going on for such a long time then it sounds to me like the problem is deeper within your lumbar spine. You might want to try and find a good sports masseur who can get deep into the problem area.

    This is what I said in my email reply anyway:

    Hi Nige

    I've only just picked up your email message...It's not a daft question at all, and yes you can add the essential oils to a bath. Although for sciatica it would be best to add them to a base oil as suggested, and massage in as deep as you can to the buttock area of the sciatica affected side after a warm bath so the essential oil properties can penetrate the area where they are most needed.

  • Thanks for all your advice.
    The pain seems to be improving slowly - much better than it was at first! I am more worried about the weakness in my leg and numbness in my foot! I guess time and patience (something I'm not very good at!) are whats needed. Will try physio though.
  • Hiya,

    If you want to read a bit about sciatica, there's a useful page here: with some basic information. It can be due to prolapsed disk, but in some cases can be brought on by muscle tightness - particularly piriformis.

    Pilates can be very helpful for these kinds of problems and is becoming more popular, but make sure you inform your instructor before you start of your problems, so that they can adapt any progressions to your needs. Also make sure that they are a registered instructor!

    Hope that is of some help!
  • Sorry, forgot to make the link clicky! Here
  • Hi, been there, seen it done it had the op!

    Some people had very good results with physio, there are two main camps of thought and they are compared here: Williams vs. Mckensie

    I ended up with pain in both legs and a feeling like I'd walked for miles first time every day. I had over 40 months of physio including ultrasound, hydrotherapy, exercises, manipulation, etc. I even had two epidural injections to reduce inflammation as the MRI scans showed small disc bulges at s1-l5, l5-l4 and l4-l3 none of which were (offically) big enough to cause the symptoms! That batch of 3 discs are the most frequent ones to be damaged and are also often damaged through normal wear and tear during life.

    I tried a couple of alternative therapies for pain relief, TeNS which was very good and acupuncture which good for short term pain relief but didn't last long. The Chinese therapist said after about 6 sessions that he thought I was going to need surgery.

    Eventually the second visit to neurosurgeon he decided to try surgery. I had a microdiscectomy on L5-L4 and was on my feet just less than 3 hours later. Returned to work about 4 weeks later. I've had a bit of pain since then but the op cleared the worst of the problems, and that was 9 years ago.

    Try physio first but if you need an op try a neurosurgeon rather than an orthopaedic as orthopaedic ops tend to be based around fusion ops which often last for a while before the disc above the op deteriorates.

  • deffo neuro rather than ortho
  • Petal's orthopod did a microdiscectomy rather than a fusion as he reckoned they give a better long term picture - you just need to find the right surgeon.........

    think he described it as removing "crab meat" from the disc.........
  • Oh Blimey! Now I am depressed!!
    I have an injured sciatic nerve as opposed to sciatica, diagnosed by a physio!
    I'm doing physio prescribed exercises but have also been considering pilates!
  • I was initially kind of hoping that it would clear up quite quickly - but have realised that this is not going to be the case!
    However I think that it is not perhaps as severe as some of the others on here.

    The osteopath seems to be helping, just playing the waiting game now!
    Worried about putting on weight as I am now doing no exercise and replacing my highs from running with chocolate highs (something I normally never do!).

    Nice to hear from others in similar situations - hope things continue to improve for you!

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