View Full Version : sciatica post-op?

03-05-2011, 03:17 PM
Hey all!

Overall I'm doing really well, almost 10 weeks post op. I'm almost completely off the hydrocodone, I'm only taking it before I go to bed.

However, I struggling with feeling frustrated because I can't sit up now as well as I could earlier in my recovery. The sciatic pain starts almost the moment I sit up. If I lay down or walk it doesn't hurt, it hurts only when sitting. My surgeon did warn me the surgery would probably irritate my L2-3 nerve root, and when I called to tell them I was having trouble with it they prescribed lyrica. Unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover it because there is no generic, and I don't want to shell out $200.00 for something that may not help.

The hydrocodone doesn't seem to help the nerve pain at all, so my questions are:

If you had sciatica post-op:
1. how long did it last
2. did lyrica help if you took it?

It is so frustrating because if my leg wasn't bugging me, I would have NO pain at all. And I really would love to be able to sit up for more than 10-20 minutes at a time. I either lay down flat or walk, sitting is just painful. =( I really want to be able to drive! I am thankful at least one of my legs is better. I had sciatica in BOTH legs pre-op, and my right leg is now %100 pain free (but my right leg pain was more recent, whereas my left leg has had problems for years). It does seem better in the sense that pre-op it just hurt no matter what position I was in, and now it only hurts when I sit up, but GRRRR I just wish I could sit up!

I know recovery is LONG, just trying to get some idea of what I'm facing for the nerve pain, and if I should go ahead and get the lyrica (which did NOT help by the way, pre-op when I took it over 2 years ago. I haven't taken it recently, so seeing as how the nerve is no longer compressed, it may work now? I don't know.)

thanks for your input!

03-05-2011, 04:14 PM

I can imagine your frustration. Hopefully, this is just a temporary thing.

After my initial scoliosis surgeries, I had sciatica for awhile whenever I sat for any length of time. It did eventually go away.

Also, while Lyrica is supposed to be great, as you mentioned, most insurance companies won't pay for it. Did your surgeon's office suggest you try neurontin? That's the most commonly prescribed drug for nerve pain.


03-05-2011, 10:29 PM
Thanks for your response! I haven't been perscribed neurotin before, but if it works like lyrica and there is a generic i'm willing to try it. I'll call on monday for sure. Did you take it post op, and did it help? I hate to start taking another pain killer, esp since i'm almost off all the other stuff, but not being able to go out or sit up is really starting to get to me. Does it have all the same side effects (ie constipation, bloating)? Thanks again for your help. It helps so much to know others have gone through what you'te going through and are doing well!

03-05-2011, 11:01 PM
I think the generic for neurontin is gabapentin. I've taken it without much success (only tried it for a month and don't know if the dosage was right - mine was VERY low), but have a friend that swears by it. Maybe I didn't give it enough time. It's not a painkiller as in an analgesic, but acts on the nerves in a different way. It was originally developed as an anti-seizure medication, so I've been told. It's worth asking your doctor about, especially if other's like Linda in your same situation have found relief. I speak as one who has not had surgery, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

Here's a link I found from the NIH.

03-06-2011, 12:31 PM
they prescribed lyrica. Unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover it because there is no generic, and I don't want to shell out $200.00 for something that may not help.

Hi there,

My Sciatica nerve problems were pre-surpery but very severe so I feel for you with the pain you are experiencing. I had a lot of post surgery nerve issue (not sciatica) but they prescribed Nuerontin. It took awhile to get the dose right and I ended up being on the highest does possible but it worked well. I had one doc switch me from the Neurontin to Lyrica which didn't work for me either. The only thing it did do was make me gain 5 pounds right out o the gate....one side-effect that I was told I wouldn't experiece. They also tried me on Elavil(?) and that did nothing for the pain and made me gain weight as well. I have problems with the top of my rods irritating the muscles and as a result the nerves are constanly firing off. I'm pretty lean and my rods stick out....not sure if you have that but even leaning back against hard chairs irritates the area. It fees like a bolt of electricity spreading. Did they ever try you on Celebrex, this won't help with nerve pain but will help reduce swelling and perhaps in the end will help with the nerve pain. I had some people question the Celebrex usage because they said it would slow down healing but I fused relatively fast compared to some. My doc had me on Celebre post op and it's definitely the one med they haven't tried taking away. Three days off Celebrex and I can hardly move at all. Ask about Neurontin.....hope this helped a little. Hang in there! Everyone recovers at such different rates, your body is going to choose it's own program :)

Karen Ocker
03-06-2011, 02:31 PM
I have had sciatica at times immediately post-op and rarely over the years. The sciatic nerves runs through each buttock so sitting or laying on that part of the buttock can induce sciatica. Leg stretches can also induce sciatica if the legs have not been stretched to that extent in a long time. I have had experience with both, as well as in the healing period. I was helped by walking and a linament such as Heet. I also used my TENS machine which got rid of it in 2 days.

To avoid hitting the sciatic nerve nurses are taught injection in the area close to the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. In children the thigh is used. An injection in the sciatic nerve is painful.

When I had nerve pain post op my pain doc gave me Neurontin(gabapentin). He started me on a very low dose and gradually increased it up to 3600mgm a day. It really helped. He told me it's the type of drug that is increased gradually and decreased gradually. Of course I was closely monitored with weekly visits and e-mail.

03-08-2011, 05:48 PM
Just wanted to say THANK you to everyone who commented and for suggesting Neurontin. Since there is a generic my insurance covered it, went from $200 to $8! I have been on it two days now and I can already feel a difference in my sitting pain level. It does make me a little dizzy, but it's not too bad, and it doesn't seem to make me sick like the hydrocodone or oxycodone.

I'm really excited because nerve pain meds NEVER worked for me pre-op at all. I think my nerve is finally going to be able to heal now that everything in my spine is in the place it was supposed to be. Hopefully I won't need the Neurontin for very long, but it's nice to have something that gives relief and allow me to be a little more active.

Thanks again, you are all so wonderful.

03-08-2011, 06:03 PM
Excellent, excellent news!!!!!

03-10-2011, 01:03 PM
So glad you are getting relief! I know when I started on Neurontin it only took about 2 days to notice a difference and oh boy what a difference it was! See posting is always a good thing, you never know what infomation you will gain :O)