Physical illness and mental health

I’ve suffered on and off with sciatica for about 2 years now.  I’ve been given various medications with little success at relieving the very painful symptoms.

The last bout of sciatica started about a week ago.  I have pain in my lower back, my hip, my buttock and down into my thigh.  I also have weakness in my left leg, which has given way a couple of times.  At it’s worse I am unable to walk, and sitting, standing, even lying down all hurt.

I spent most of Saturday in bed as I was unable to move a great deal.  I was brought hot wheat bags, a TENS machine, ibuprofen and cream cakes.

None of them alleviated the pain (although I can highly recommend Marks & Spencers strawberry tarts!!).

Being in constant pain is really starting to take it’s toll.  It’s wearing me out, and I can’t even begin to explain the guilt of having had to take time off work as a result.  I feel useless, as I can’t do the normal every day things I usually do, and in turn, that is making me feel pretty low.

Yesterday I went to see the doctor, who diagnosed a slipped disc as the cause of the sciatica, and prescribed gabapentin.  At a later date it’s likely that I’ll have to have a steroid injection in my spine as I’ve been suffering from this for so long.  No problem.

I’ve been prescribed gabapentin for this before, but I never took them as I was wary of the fact that a drug used for epilepsy had been recommended – basically I wasn’t sure what it did, and I wasn’t sure I wanted something messing with my brain.

So here I am, with my gabapentin again, and I’ve done the worst thing anyone with anxiety can do – I read the enclosed leaflet.

Of course, I assume I’ll experience ALL of the side effects.  Even the extremely rare ones.

I know what the medication is for, and how it works, but I have the terror of possible side effects.

I’m currently sat here looking at the pack of tablets, working myself up to taking the first one.  Can I do it?  Should I do it? Can I just live with the pain and immobility cause by a slipped disc?!