Patient Comments: Sciatica - Medications

What effective OTC or prescription medications were helpful with your sciatica?

Comment from: monkeybee, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 22

I have suffered from sciatica on and off for more than 25 years, always seeming to stem from muscle inflammation. I've done chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy. I think mostly it just goes away on its own, though I find the stretching exercises prescribed by my chiropractor most helpful. Three years ago, I started practicing yoga. I have been free of sciatica the entire time. This week, however, I came down with what seemed a cold or flu bug. It started with my usual symptoms -- sensitive scalp and then sore throat, fever, body aches and pains. But then it didn't move to my sinuses like usual, but instead carried on with intense headaches and body aches. Starting yesterday, I have intense sciatic pain down both legs, starting from below my buttocks. It's not in my lower back or buttocks at all. Whereas last Friday I could sit on the floor with my legs out straight, touch my toes with my hands and touch my forehead to my knees, today just sitting on the floor with my legs out is so painful that my vision blurs. I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight. Lying in bed in any position is painful. I will try a heating pad and perhaps some padding under my back and knees, as another patient suggested. I've never had these symptoms from what I assume is a virus. Not fun.

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Comment from: Bruthabuz, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 11

Last Wednesday I went to work and that night went to bed feeling great. Thursday morning I woke up feeling a slight pain in my right leg, starting at the buttocks and extending down to the knee. It felt more like a slight sprain than anything else. The pain got progressively worse over the next two days. I started taking 1200mg of ibuprofen which made the pain tolerable, but still bad. I could barely walk, sit, stand, or lie down. I could barely drive by leaning over on my left side, only being able to use my right foot for the gas and my left foot for the brake. I could only sleep on my back with my left leg straight and my right leg bent, propped up on a pillow. Sunday morning it was so bad that I decided to go to the local urgent care walk-in (or limp-in) clinic. I told them that on a scale of 1-10 the pain was a 10. It brought tears to my eyes. They could see that I could not sit down to take the reflex test they wanted to give me. They diagnosed me with sciatica, which I've never had before, gave me a shot of a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory, and a prescription for Vicodin. On advice of a medical professional friend of mine, I took the Vicodin along with a reduced dosage (400-600mg) of ibuprofen and am using heat and ice packs alternately. This morning (Monday) the pain was still bad. I had to get out of bed by rolling over onto my stomach and swinging my legs over the edge to land on my knees, then stand up. I cannot lift my right leg more than six inches or bend over far enough to reach the floor or my feet. Putting on pants and socks is nearly impossible. I use one of those grabber pick-up tools to help. After moving around slowly for a half hour or so, I finally started to loosen up. Needless to say, I am off of work for at least two days. If I feel well enough, I am planning on going to a chiropractor and the VA clinic (two hours away) tomorrow. After that, we'll see.

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Comment from: KJM, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 24

My sciatica was cured by going to a chiropractor and having him put my hip and spine back in place so that it was not pinching my nerve any longer. After only a few treatments, I could walk without any pain. With a bit of exercise to strengthen my muscles, and with correct posture direction from my chiropractor, I have had no recurrence for the last 10 years.

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Comment from: twosunhalls, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 19

Some months ago I lifted a very light box full of recyclables for the trash pickup. No problem. Next morning I was in such pain I could not get out of bed. Ordered a pain killer and finally was able to 'carry on'. However, I am constantly aware of the nagging pain in my back (not debilitating, but annoying). It bothers me the most when I am at rest. From about 4:00 a.m. until I get up I am having to move this way and that to relieve the ache and annoying pain on both sides of my buttocks and down my legs basically stopping in my knees. As an adjunct to the legal profession for thirty-five years, I would not want to have surgery on my back. It seems the 'maybe' plus for surgery seldom outweighs the negative results.

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Comment from: yeow!!!, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 05

My pain started a day after shoveling snow off my driveway; it took about an hour. I did not feel any pain at the time. I'm a trainer, in good shape; I warmed up beforehand, and even stretched after shoveling. Despite all that, I've been in excruciating pain for about two months now. Sitting, lying, or stretching the sciatic nerve results in more aggravation. I think I've tried every medication, from muscle relaxants to pain relievers. What helps is Advil Extra Strength, 400 mg – for me, it needs to be the red ones in order to be effective. I tried the regular ones at 200 mg, took two every six hours, and that dose did nothing for me. I don't get why Advil Extra Strength are the only ones that work for me. Ibuprofen has an anti-inflammatory affect, which is essential for this type of pain. Muscle relaxants that contain ibuprofen did nothing for me – go figure! A word of warning, though, about muscle relaxants – do not consumer alcohol! Even if you took your pill, say, 12 hours ago! Otherwise, you will most likely end up in the ER. Massage did not help. I'll go see a chiropractor who specializes in sciatic alignment. I hope this helps others.

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Sciatica - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with sciatica.
Sciatica - Causes Question: What was the cause of your sciatica?
Sciatica - Symptoms Question: Please describe your sciatica pain and associated symptoms. Where did the pain start?

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