Patient Comments: Sciatica - Medications

Question:

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

Comment from: TimT, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I had L5-S1 fused years ago, and was told I should never have sciatic issues. I am on a 10-pound weight lift restriction (spine is not in good shape) which I exceeded nearly 5 months ago. Spine folks told me I pulled, strained, and tore the muscle adjacent to L4. I was advised to have back massage. Now I have full blown sciatica from left lumbar region to the left ankle and looking for relief.

Comment from: Wanna be pain free, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

Actually nothing helps with my sciatica! I'm 42 years old and my sciatic pain started when I was around 32. They started trying all different types of medicines. First they started off with Tylenol 3 (helped but for 1 hour) then hydrocodone (helped for 2 hours), and pain came back stronger. Then they tried gabapentin but I had bad side effects so I stopped. Now I'm on tramadol which still only masks the pain, also I take a muscle relaxer, and sometimes it works, sometimes not. I try heating pads as well as icy hot. This pain is debilitating!

Comment from: Sioux, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I had sciatica and the only thing that helped me was muscle relaxers and Norco till it got better, and then ibuprofen. I had very bad pain for 2 weeks, and weeks later I still get strong pain in my buttock. This is the second time I've gotten it. I found out 4 years later you can get it back. The worst pain I believe is from sciatica.

Comment from: Patient_sciatica, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

I take Brexin once a day for weeks till the sciatica pain subsides, Methycobal thrice a day for two months, Syngab twice a day for a month, and Nuberol Forte thrice a day for first week, then twice a day for second and once a day in the third week, eventually stopping as the pain subsides.

Comment from: Julie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I have had lower back pain off and on for years. I have been on disability since 2007 due to chronic low back pain. I have been told I have sciatica due to a herniated disc. The pain just recently started to interrupt my sleep too much that I began physical therapy again and was prescribed Vicodin. I already take 3 other medicines for pain, in addition a muscle relaxer and a couple of others for headaches and allergies. I'm starting to feel as though I have a small pharmacy going. I've been told that I will always have the chronic pain, but depending on what I do as far as activity it will vary as to the severity. This time I was cleaning with the help of home care and was not stretching my legs as often as I should have, so the pain radiated into my hips and occasionally down into my knees. I'm not even 50 yet and this is really awful. I just dread getting older as I have always been fairly active until 2007 when the low back pain put a halt to my active lifestyle. Now, I just do what I can and I do fine with the physical therapy exercises for a couple months and then they seem to go off the grid for some reason.

Comment from: Alice, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I have had back pain on and off for the last 2 or 3years but, 5 weeks ago I was diagnosed with sciatica as the pain in my back went through to my groin and down my right leg. The pain is horrendous. It has now shifted to the bottom of my spine right across the bottom of my back and into both buttocks. When I try to stand the pain flashes through and causes my knees to jerk almost causing me to fall and I can’t straighten up. I have been on gabapentin for the pain and meloxicam as a relaxant but nothing helps.

Comment from: JJ, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I have disc problems and fusions, so I have experienced very bad sciatica. Here is my best suggestion, make a traction device. I used a gallon milk jug, a 5 gallon bucket to hold and a 2 x 4 with a hole and a rope. Keep weight light. Lay back in a reclining chair, use a heating pad, and let the weight pull your legs. Last time it took 2 weeks on and off but steadily improved. Only way I could sleep at all. Ibuprofen does help also but you shouldn’t take too much. Hope this helps, it is a very painful condition.

Comment from: Liz, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I had severe pain the length of my left leg. It got painful enough I finally went to the doctor, who diagnosed sciatica and prescribed Tylenol. I got treatments from my physical therapist and my acupuncturist and they both helped a lot. I've continued those treatments and it is definitely improving and I have days when it seems almost cured. Yesterday I helped a friend move, and now know enough to avoid lifting. The pain from lifting yesterday is greatly diminished by just being inactive today, after Tylenol. I did find that Arnica gel helps relieve the pain and now there are homeopathic Arnica pellets that seem to relieve the pain a bit. I had this for months, but it is getting better. I am helped by physical therapist's stretching exercises (gently), an occasional acupuncture treatment, Arnica gel and pellets, and an occasional pain pill. My pain was as bad as any and all of the descriptions from other patients. There is hope.

SLIDESHOW

Sciatica Symptoms, Causes, Treatments See Slideshow
Comment from: mandry, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 02

I am taking Aleve and ibuprofen for sciatica, but it is not doing very good as time goes on. So I think that I might try something stronger. Because, some days it takes me an hour just to get out of bed. Needless to say, it is a real pain in the back and butt!

Comment from: indrajit, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 09

I suffer from sciatic pains for quite long. And it is homeopathy which cures it every time; and hot water bag and gels like Voveran help me to pass through.

Comment from: Inconstantpain, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I take Oramorph and diazepam at night to try and help me sleep along with 900mg of gabapentin. This helps most days but doesn’t work on the really bad days.

Comment from: robert g, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 08

I have had sciatic pain on and off for a couple years. It usually strikes first thing in the morning when I get up and walk. The muscles tighten up around the nerve and I get hit with an extremely painful jolt down my right leg which makes walking impossible. I massage my piriformis muscle, walk slowly and do some stretching and kneading of the muscles and within twenty minutes or so, the extreme pain fades out to a soreness. Last winter my sciatic pain was so bad, I could not walk, just crawl. This is some of the worst pain I have ever experienced. I have had physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and some regular medical advice but so far no surgery or shots - not sure what lies ahead!

Comment from: Lewie, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 18

First of all, I don't know of any OTC medications which I've found helpful for this condition. I have sciatica where it only hurts a lot in certain positions. I cannot lie on my back, the pain is just phenomenal. Certain other positions cause this tremendous pain to present it. What I wanted to say is that several weeks ago, I suffered a seizure. I do research into any health issue I have found that two medications mentioned in these stories, tramadol which reduces the threshold for a seizure and flexural contributed heavily to my seizure.

Comment from: aracara, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I hurt my back about three months ago and have been seeing a chiropractor three times a week. It has gotten much worse now my sciatic nerve is aggravated. I can barely move. Walking is impossible. It feels like the worst cramp imaginable in my hamstring; unfortunately, it never lets up. I'm starting physical therapy next week, but I am definitely dreading spending another weekend like this.

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.

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.

QUESTION

Nearly everyone has low back pain at some time during their life. See Answer
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.

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.

Comment from: Piercs23, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 15

I just got into the shower and when I wiped my area a blood clot came out. It's not time for my period yet.

Comment from: nibbo, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 22

I have suffered with really bad sciatica for 20 years; took me 17 years of asking for MRI scan to get one. The doctor gives me tramadol 100 mg, slow release amitriptyline, and naproxen paracetamol, nothing at all helps me but they won’t give me pain killing injection.

Comment from: Mahali, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I have had sciatica in my left leg for two months. At the very beginning, I did not know what was going on. I couldn't walk at times. Sitting was a problem too. I couldn't sleep well either. The pain of it! It was only when I was sent for MRI scan that it was diagnosed. Acupuncture and pain killers gave no relief for me. I felt a lot better after injections. I still feel a bit of pain when waking up in the morning or sitting for so long. I do a lot walking and stretching. I have seen positive results since.

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.

Comment from: monat405, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 25

The most awful pain I have experienced including childbirth. Went to bed with burning of vagina and rectum and awakened with difficulty walking and pain. During day pain increased, walking more difficult. Visited the ER and was diagnosed with sciatica. Given numerous narcotics for pain, prednisone, Lodine and other medications with some relief. Not currently insured RN who needs to work and be able to lift. Are there any alternative treatments that I may be able to afford?

Comment from: yo-e, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

I am 28 years old. Four years ago, I was in a car accident that broke my pelvis. I was hospitalized for two months. I was unable to walk for more than six months. I was pregnant at the time and little by little, the pain started to go away. I was pain-free for about a year. Now I'm pregnant again. I'm at 19 weeks and a terrible back and leg pain has started. I was unable to walk or move -- even coughing hurt my back. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with sciatica. They sent me home on a muscle relaxer and an ibuprofen (800 mg). It helps a little, but I'm still in pain. I'm looking into a laser treatment, but since I currently don't have medical insurance or a way of paying out-of-pocket, it makes it difficult. I need my life back. I have three small girls who need me. I must say, this is by far the worst pain I've ever been in.

Comment from: lckf, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

I've had sciatica for 5 or 6 years, but only some of that time was it very painful. Aleve and Celebrex help quite a bit, as does icing my lower back.

IMAGES

Sciatica See a medical illustration of the sciatica plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Comment from: Lenaltd, 55-64 Female Published: April 04

I was amazed. Excedrin back and body worked wonders for me. Two pills a day did for me.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 02

I am now 62 years old. I have had this pain for 20 years now. I was supposed to have back surgery and turned it down. I take ibuprofen. It helps a little. When I sit a while, I’m stiff and can't move, but I keep trying to move. Persistence and pain tolerance helps.

Comment from: Pippy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I am on my second serious episode of lower back trouble. Years ago I had a laminectomy L4-5. Months ago, I developed sciatica. Long story short. I have L-3 to S1 bulging discs. Stenosis L3. Moderate scar tissue surrounding L5 nerve root. I have major sciatica! I have been on nucynta for 4 months, and mobic. A sinus infection let me try Ibuprofen 800mg. Big difference. Then a friend told me to ask for neurontin 300mg. My dr. prescribed it, and I am happy to say that WOW! I can go about 6 hours pain free, using neurontin and ibuprofen. I have not taken nucynta for over a week. I am so grateful as I have to work on my feet for 9 hrs a day, and I want to wait as long as possible for surgery.

Comment from: lechezz, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

COBROXIN from CVS or order online. One day in desperation from my sciatic back pain, I went to my drug store looking for "something" different from the Ibuprofen and Vicocdin I had been taking that were not really working. I found the Cobroxin, brought it home and was afraid to take it (it is diluted cobra venom) finally I got enough nerve to take it, (Spray under tongue.) Within two days I went from using a cane to lifting my granddaughters highchair high in the air and twisting my back at the same time. I was able to stop taking the Vicodin. While the Cobroxin has been a huge help, one other thing I did is start getting Acupuncture treatments. Between the two my back pain is almost nonexistent.

Comment from: wolfe1661, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 24

After several weeks of activity in my profession, I awoke one morning to an ache in my lower backside that became more irritated as the day progressed. Eventually it became more painful the next day as I could not walk, sit, or lay down without some form of severe hip, buttock, and/or leg pain. After a visit the to the ER the second evening I was diagnosed with sciatica and prescribed prednisone (anti-inflammatory corticosteroid) and Oxycodone for pain management. Pain relief was somewhat immediate after leaving the ER into the next day. Now after 5 days the medications prescribed were exhausted, and I've relied on at least 5-8 Advil (ibuprofen) per day to MANAGE the pain and performing stretching exercises while being bedridden for the entire duration (8-12 days so far).

Comment from: tinkerblu, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

First time I had a sciatic attack was three years ago which left me unable to even walk - the pain radiated from lower right back around front of right leg into my knee. The pain was overwhelming. It lasted for 3 months. I have trying to be very careful not to do things to aggravate my back but it is happening again. Pain meds are not even working - not sure who to go to see now - ortho or neuro and I know I do not want surgery.

Comment from: sleepy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

I have found that nothing OTC really helps. I'm generally okay during the day if I can get plenty of walking into my day but can't sleep at night and if I do fall asleep, I awake with terrible pain after a few hours. I have found that sleeping in a recliner helps a lot; I can get up in the morning without too much pain. If I take a Xanax 0.25mg before bed, I have a better night. Rx pain meds like vicodin don't touch the pain. This is a nasty condition worsened by being sleep-deprived.

Comment from: Kadidlehopper, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

I have suffered from sciatic nerve pain for a few years now. What works well for me is A.R.T. Active Release Technique. I go to a registerd massage therapist for this treatment. I go about once every three months.

Comment from: Mrs. Wright, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 20

I've just been diagnosed with Sciatica, and the pain is so unbearable. I've never experience pain like this before in my life, and I have a high tolerance for pain. I think it's worse than contractions! My physician prescribed Tramadol, Flexeril, Baclofen and Naproxen 500mg. I also tried a heating pad and the soothing full cushion massager by Dr. Scholl's with soothing heat. These remedies help me for about a week before I feel any severe pain.

Comment from: stef, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I don't have my rx in front of me but its call cymbalta and it has worked wonders. I have had this problem for about 3 years and I am now prego and won't be able to continue my rx in till the baby is born. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm sure ill end up on bed rest.

Comment from: MsJewell, 65-74 Female Published: March 11

The best pain killer for this awful condition is, as I found, Robaxacet for the back X-tra strength. It goes by Robaxin in the States.

Comment from: Madison's mom, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I am 30 years old and pregnant with my fourth child but my first girl. I am 27 weeks pregnant and I have Sciatica. I've been in severe pain for a week or more. I can't take any pain medications--only Tylenol. I am also a high risk patient. The only thing that eased my pain was hot baths 2 or 3 times a day. Then I also bought a heat pad an within hours I felt a big relief. I could actually move around and walk without crying or falling. My baby girl is laying on my spine causing it to lay against my Sciatica nerve. That is what caused my pain. The pain seems so severe in the night than in the day. I think the cold air aggravates mine.

Comment from: ghstwicca, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 18

I have been in pain for months now, and to the ER twice, and still in horrible pain, I’m doing my best to keep working but it’s a challenge, it hurts to sit, stand, and don't even think about bending over. The doctors have so far tried- Hydrocodon, Ibuprofen 800, and Naproxen 500mg. It’s getting to the point where I can’t sleep because of the pain.

Comment from: cuqui, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 07

When I stand up I feel tingling, pins and needles, on my foot and tightness in my calf. I also get pain in my buttock, but not so much in my thigh. I have been experiencing this pain for about 3 weeks now.

Comment from: kayla2007, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

My pain started out as a sever stiffness in my lower back. I couldn't bend over or sleep on my right side because it was so bad. That went away after a week or so, but then I started getting a sharp, burning back from my lower buttocks are on my right side all the way down to my knee, and I wasn't sure what it was. I thought it might have been a torn muscle. Every time I stretch or move my leg in a certain way, the pain gets really bad. I can barely lift it above a 45 degree angle. And so far, I haven't been able to find anything that helps. I've tried everything from ibuprofen it vicodin.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 01

I am 67 year old female. I have had back pain for 20 years. After 2 back surgeries I am no better and the pain from the sciatic nerve is bad. My problem is that I have gained 50 pounds in 6 years and now no one will discuss surgery. Loose 100 pounds and maybe. I am on a variety of meds. From anti-inflammatory to codeine and nothing really helps. More pain more weight gain from not being active.

Comment from: suni, 45-54 Female Published: January 31

One night I woke up at 4 in the morning to a very intense pain on the back of my thigh. I could not sleep after that and any side tossing or turning brought no relief. In the morning the doctor was called he gave some anti inflammatory medicines and vitamins but still I have no relief today is the 4th day and I am suffering.

Comment from: Jacob, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

I was in Toluca, Mexico working for a car company. I was bending over connecting a laptop under the vehicles dashboard. After about 4000 vehicles and miles of walking I began to feel pain in my inner left hip. Within a few hours the pain spread into my buttocks down the back of my thigh behind my knee and down my calf. I got to the hotel and was crying in bed for my mommy. No position could alleviate this constant Charlie horse type of pain. Some Mexican doctors gave me shots of vitamins, analgesics, muscle relaxers, and anti inflammatory drugs. I thought I’d rather be dead than in this pain. I fell asleep finally and woke 6 hours later the pain had gone from a 10 to about a 4. Now there was a tingling numbing pain from my knee to my toes. It has been 6 days now and I feel tingling numbness down my left knee to my toes. I can't stand on my left tippy toes. I'm going to pray to god and start stretching and being more cautious about how I treat my body from now on.

Comment from: One, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 11

I find relief with Ibuprofen since it's an anti-inflammatory, ice (bag of frozen food or soft ice pack is best) and stretching exercises a physical therapist taught me. Treat your back like glass for few days when in the acute stage, no bending from waist without bending your knees. If you're driving a lot, take breaks and do some stretches. If you sit at a desk all day, get a pillow to support your back, lower your chair so that you don't have to bend down to your desk.

Comment from: Des, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 10

I have had sciatica for 9 months now. Originally I was given codydramol and naproxen (prescription only) from the GP, and this worked for a while. In December my pain became far more severe and I am currently off work as I can hardly move. Since this happened, I have been given naproxen, tramadol, morphine and diazepam and these drugs are helping to relieve the pain a lot. I have an MRI scan in a few days time and I am hoping that they can then decide the best way for my management.

Comment from: Jomanka, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I suffered with chronic pain due to sciatica for 19 months. The pain was severe and 24/7. I was prescribed many strong painkillers; none of which worked. My GP then prescribed Amitryptiline; an anti-depressant. Within a week, I was totally pain free. It worked for me and with no side effects. My GP explained that I was holding the memory of the chronic pain and that this drug was given to amputees who could still feel pain in limbs that were no longer there.

Comment from: Juls, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

I have not found any OTC medication to relieve my sciatica pain. A slight relief was noticed with 800mg of Ibuprophen but not for long. Prescription drugs such as pain killers or valium have helped to take the edge off for a few hours at a time. Heat and massage feel good but do little to take away the pain for any long lengths of time. Better posture and always wearing a bra has helped take the pressure off somewhat.

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