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Hi, If a person has severe back pain, itching in legs and gets some relief when moving, is it case of RLS or sciatica? I am trying to understand what is going on with me lately.

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Hi, I don’t know about RLS but I have had sciatica pain for three years now. And I believe that sciatica pain is constant, it doesn’t get relief easily. I believe that in sciatica moving is harder then staying still. I am taking regularly pain killers to make it possible for me to do everyday activities, but I am not sure if these medications are use in RLS too. Specially, when I'm overtired or have been inactive for a period of time nerve pain reoccurs. I don’t wake up at night, like patients with RLS do. My pain is not connected to part of the day, although my day activities interfere with severity of pain.
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About RLS -- I had a terrible time with this for years, taking hot baths every night, stretching to try to prevent it. But then I'd just wake up at night again and again. Finally a naturopath suggested I take Calcium at night and WOW! Immediate relief. Wish I'd learned of it sooner! I never have RLS now. I take 500 mg calcium morning and the same amount again at night. I'm 50 yrs old.

Just wanted to add that I have had intermittent bouts of sciatica for several years now. Had a whole year of severe low back pain that stopped my life and kept me from sleeping. Lots of drugs later, I was considering a spinal fusion (I have a spondololysthesis L5 and the vertebrae had moved forward onto the sacrum), and learned about prolotherapy. It worked! Go to www.prolonews.com to find out about it; I went to several websites and this one was the most helpful to me in making the decision to have prolotherapy. Have been completely pain-free and just needing to stretch often ever since. Wonderful! When I mention it to them, no orthopedists (including my dad) other than sports doctors and osteopaths have ever heard of prolotherapy. Anyway, it worked for me after only 4 sessions, each 1 month apart. The injections were painful, but the payoff (no pain!!) was entirely worth it. Would do it again in a heartbeat, as it gave me my life back.

As for the sciatica, I do have it now and then when I get in a hurry and throw it off. Then I get relief from it by
* having a good osteopath do an adjustment
* having myofascial release (MFR) work done -- very effective in getting the muscle spasms to release. Whew!
* and then . . . being very careful about my posture and the angle at which I pick things up -- For those of us with low back issues, it's important to NEVER bend down and reach out away from the body to pick up something, and then pull straight up from that position, Instead, move the object with a foot or tool (or reposition your body so that you're directly in front of the object you want to pick up, then pick it up (if not heavy) by using the leg muscles to help you lift it, rather than placing strain on the back. This requires vigilance and being conscious and careful about body posture and position, all the time. The injury and sciatic pain isn't worth the hurry!

Maintenance when it's out of pain: Also, the sciatica is greatly improved since I began doing no-impact exercise to strengthen my abdominal muscles (esp swimming), and have lost about 20 lbs. and gained muscle. Weight lifting on machines is risky for me, so I've given that up (also no rowing machines for me!), but lots of people can do light weights on Freemotion machines to gain muscle mass, and that helps to stay trim, which takes pressure off the back. Staying light (I'm 5'4", 130 lbs) and strong is SO helpful, best thing of all, even though it takes a lot more effort at my age (50). It was almost impossible to maintain this weight until I began the Isagenix program and gave up eating white flour and sugar. A tall order, and I still cheat now and then, but now whenever someone offers me a pastry, I think, "Is it worth having my back hurt?" That usually puts things in perspective! Hope this helps someone.
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