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Real Patient: Sciatica


When I noticed the, that I had a orthopedic injury back in, oh, I’d say 2010, I was very active and I did a lot modeling and just fun stuff. Just to try and pass time. And I noticed that I had some back pain. But I figured that I just needed to stretch more. So I got more active and did more gym workouts and more low back exercises.
By the time I PCS-ed to my next base is when I noticed that the pain was more constant. Work was very difficult because I’m a medical technician. It takes a lot of energy to make sure that you are well to take care of patients. So to be able to walk all day, to be in surgery assisting a surgeon, was not always a easy task. Then I decided maybe I should get seen about it. And that was probably seven, eight months into my new base.
And once I got the care at the new base, they said, well let’s try you for physical therapy. I did the low back physical therapy. And I did some hip physical therapy. Did some pelvic physical therapy exercises and nothing seemed to help.
I spoke with one of the nurses and told her where my pain was radiating to. And she said, “Well how far down do you feel the pain?” I said, “It’s lower back, all the way down to my foot.” She said, “Well, that sounds more like sciatica.” And I said, “All the way to my foot?” And she said, “Of course. Let me press on your piriformis muscle, which is in your deep glutes, to see if maybe, how that, how you react to that.”
Once she pressed on the muscle, I jumped off the table. So she decided, she said, “I think I’ll relay the information to the doctor.” And the doctor came in and he said, “That’s not really common. It’s not a common thing for a woman of your age.” And at the time I was 32. And he said that’s usually a older woman symptom. And so it’s not very common.
He said, “Let’s try and inject the actual muscle to see if it gives you some relief.” And for the first time in almost three years was when I received relief. I said, I walked out and I was in tears and I kissed everybody in pain management to tell them how pleased I was with the care. So I went back a month later and they did some trigger point injections around that muscle.
And they referred me over to orthopedics. And at the time orthopedics said, “Well we don’t treat that. That’s a muscular thing.” And the orthopedic surgeon here at Eglin decided, let’s go ahead and take care of that. And I said, “Are you sure?” He said, “I’m the only surgeon that does it for a woman of your age.” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said most doctors don’t do it on women that are under the age of 40.
After the surgery I realized that the surgery had worked within the first month. So within weeks after the actual surgery, I noticed, I said, I don’t feel the pain all the way down to my foot. It does stop behind my leg but that was from a different nerve that was injured along with the sciatic nerve. But I, 100 percent happy that I got the surgery.
I noticed the ah-ha moment when I was after my surgery. When I said I can get in and I can drive and I can move and walk. I can do squats. I can do it all. Finally, it was breathtaking.
It was a, a faith-based moment, and I could finally say thank you for keeping me positive. For being able to still be a role model to others that are going through or had some type of pain and thought that there was no way out. To say, but you can and to be able to say, and I did it.
Depression is something that I have noticed that all people deal with when you’re dealing with pain that comes and there is no definitive answer as to why it’s there or when it will leave. Depression comes on many levels. And with it there can be lots of consequences that come along with it. If I hadn’t got the surgery, I think my life would have been at a different place. I would have been mentally at a different place. Usually they say well then you have to go to mental health to make sure that you’re mentally, you are able to deal with the choice of if it doesn’t change and how it may affect your life negatively.
I may have been outside of the military. I may have been just a civilian by now because I was unable to do my job. So, I know that negatively it would have made an impact. And to still try and stay positive, even after three years of noticing the pain, to finally have someone to say let me press on this muscle to see if that’s where it is, it was just something out of the ordinary. And I know that if that nurse, that one nurse, wouldn’t have said let me just try this out, it probably wouldn’t have been as great of an outcome as it was.