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Slipped disc, Sciatica Back Pain

Updated on October 2, 2010

A Slipped Disk and Back Pain In My Life

For some people the pain from sciatica can be infrequent and irritating with the potential to get worse. This is not the case for my husband. His pain was quite sever with pain and later numbness radiating from the lower back all the way down into his toes. My husband was diagnosed as a young man with arthritis in his spine.

A few years ago he woke in the middle of the night screaming in horrific pain. He was barely able to speak through the pain and my first thought was to get all the different pain killers in the house and give him some of each. The pain he was in was scary for me and I can't imagine how bad it was for him so we called the emergency services. They suggested that my idea of taking several different medications was ok, basically it was ok for me to drug my husband! It took several hours for an ambulance to show up and by then he was so drugged that he had fallen asleep. When he woke up his leg was completely numb with no strength, and that was a relief. The paramedics advised us that since he was now numb it would be a wasted journey to go to the hospital and that they could advise our doctors clinic to send round a doctor for a home visit.

We went down the medical rout and my husband was recommended to a physical therapist who gave him exercises and said that his options were surgery or pain management with pain pills and exercise. The surgery looked dangerous to us and we went for the pain management and back exercises instead.

We both have enjoyed rock climbing and found that it seemed to be helping, taking some of the pressure off of the nerve. The numbness and discomfort never went completely away but did improve enough that the pain pills were not often needed.

At the start of summer my husband had a real turn for the worse. He woke up one morning with the same pain he experienced before running down the other leg. The nerve bundle for that side of his body is now also suffering from the damage of his spinal arthritis.

When I asked him if I should call the doctor for a home visit or if I should call for an ambulance he was not interested in going down that road again and felt it would be a waste of time. He felt he could use the pills already prescribed at full prescription without a doctor telling him to.

He did however have an idea that was new and something we had not tried yet. When he was going for all the appointments with the doctors one of the things they did was put him in a MRI which had magnetic pulses he could feel in his back. He remembered it had actually felt somewhat better with those pulses.

A number of years ago I bought a Abdominal Toning System Belt to help me lose some weight. My husband remembered that belt and wanted to try it on his back. I fetched it for him and had the phone in hand just in case it was a bad idea, I wasn't exactly confident that it would help. Within a few minutes my husband was sighing with relief saying that it was really helping. He wore that belt all day! I actually teased him the next day that he was going to end up with a 6 pack belly on his back! He laughed and said that it wasn't sore like muscles get with loads of exercise and that there wasn't really any side effect experienced with this intense usage of this belt.

It has been about 4 months now and his rate of recovery from this episode has been satisfying for both of us. He has stopped having to take his pills more then once a day and on good days not at all. He came into the bedroom the other day and stood on his tip toes for me showing off how much strength he has gained back. We have managed to go through quite a few batteries but this seems a small price to see him recovering so well.

I am no doctor or medical authority and do not wish to be giving medical advice. I share this with you because I think some may decide for themselves that there is some scientific reasoning that would support why this has worked for us and want to explore it themselves. 

What is Sciatica?

Basically sciatica pain is a symptom off an underlying problem. Sciatica literally means that the patient has pain down the leg due to compression on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest single nerve in the human body. At its largest point it is as big around as a thumb. The nerve starts in the lower spine and nerve roots exit the spinal chord and extend all the way down the back of the leg to the toes.

Sciatica is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a slipped disk or pinched nerve. Something such as degenerative disc disease may also irritate the nerve root and cause sciatica. Other conditions that mimic sciatica include piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sciatic pain may also be felt if the nerve is being mechanically compressed, including spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis or arthritis in the spine.


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    • fosamaxblogger profile image

      fosamaxblogger 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this story. I will forward this article to my Aunt who are currently in the same situation.

    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 7 years ago from London UK

      JTrempe - I gotta say that here in the UK, the nhs offers very little treatment options, surgery or pills. My faith in the medical system has understandably been knocked. Hubby had the right side go, from the base of the spine down into his foot, then the left side went, he has both feet numb now. I would love to have him try something else, like a sports injury physical therapist but the NHS does not cover it for him here. It is incredibly frustrating!

    • JTrempe profile image

      JTrempe 7 years ago from CA, USA

      As a physical therapist (in the US) I can say that your story is sad, but hopefully not typical. 'Pain pills' and quick surgery is not a common course for acute care treatment of a spinal condition, even with significant nerve symptoms.

      For treatment recommendations for disc issues you can learn more by visiting

      ~JTrempe PT, ATC

    • BEAUTYBABE profile image


      Hi Kristen, I totally empathise with your husband, he would have been in such severe pain as this is not a nice thing to get, any kind of pressure on nerves can cause immense pain to the sufferers of it, I know because I am one also.

      I read this hub with much interest as I am a sufferer of Severe Degenerative Disc Disease, which is actually a symptom of MSA. I have already had two operations on my neck for spinal cord compression. I was to have had a third in March this year. However, I had a TIA, which is a little stroke, prior to going to theatre. It was actually witnessed by my neurosurgeon, who had come to see me before I went down to surgery. He said if he had not seen me like it not able to respond to him, he would have taken me to theatre and because they found when they did a scan after I hd the TIA, I would probably have had a massive stroke, which I would be come back from. I could not believe how close I came. Now, he is worried if he does do surgery to fix the problems I still have, I could have a stroke, and he thinks the risks far outweigh the benefits at this stage. I have to wear narcotic patches, four, on my legs every day because my pain has become so severe now that ordinary over the counter painkillers won't even touch it. I hate that I have to wear these, but the other choice is far worse to even contemplate. I do hope your husband is making better progress now and that he continues to do so. I would love to fan you. I have recently joined and have tried my hand at hubbing, I am not a writer but a professional singer, or was until my illness forced me off the stage, this is when I went looking for something to fill in my day. I found hubpages and have been having fun on the website writing a few hubs, 25 in fact,3 poems. Not bad for a non writer. Anyway, I would like to be your fan, God Bless you and your husband and thanks for letting others know just how bad this affliction can get. Tell him I will keep him in my prayers. God Bless BB

    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 8 years ago from London UK

      Earnestshub thanks for the comment, luckily this second bout of nerve damage seems to have gotten to a manageable point more quickly then before. I am glad to see that since those meds make me nervous. Finding alternatives to pain medications should save his liver and kidneys to much damage from med chemicals. I do find it amazing that my belly toner belt helped so much, we have even seen commercials of late for pads that do the same job for back pain but are more expensive. We may well have a look at buying one soon as my belt is getting very used!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I have had this pain for 35 years 24/7 and have to use psychology, a pain clinic and exercise to stay on my feet ever since, I find gentle exersize useful, but pain management was well handled by the psych work and pain clinic.

      I still have the pain, but I can live with it a lot better these days. :) I wish your husband well.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 8 years ago from UK

      I had this happen to me on a holiday from hell, when I slipped down some marble steps. Sounds great advice here as the problem can come and go.

    • profile image

      Jen 8 years ago

      My hubby had the same thing happen yesterday and it was so bad I had to call 911. Anytime he gets up his whole leg gets numb. He had this before when we had insurance and went through physical therapy years ago and the one thing that did help was exercise and this thing they put on his back that had electrical pulses going through it. I guess it's time to buy one of those that you have. It's really hard feeling so helpless when they are in so much pain.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      That's horrible that your husband had to undergo this. What a terrible way to wake up! One of the worst things to wake up to is a leg cramp (it's always the calf). I hope your husband progresses, by the way.