Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.


Postby mom22guys » Sat May 13, 2006 5:06 pm

Hello Everyone,

I'm not sure if I should be posting on this particular forum or the one for Sciatica and Leg Pain since I am having back pain and leg pain. I have had back problems for many years and have been to the chiropractor and family physician in the past. The chirpopractor told me 16 years ago I had a vertebra out of alignment, but the family doc told me 6 years ago I was just having muscle spasms. He prescribed Advil, Flexeril, and Precoset. The family doc did not x-ray my back, but the chiro. did.

I have not had any major problems in almost 6 years - - just the occasional bad back day. This new episode happened almost 6 weeks ago with a muscle spasm while I was fixing breakfast and it went downhill pretty fast from that point. I wasn't even moving or twisting at the time but standing perfectly still flipping pancakes. Must have been some pretty big pancakes Huh?

I was unable to get in bed, get out of bed, get up out of a chair, get back into the chair after I finally got out of it, or walk the dozen or so steps needed to the bathroom without the pain being excruciating. The pain went down my right hip and into my right outer thigh. At times my left outer thigh felt tingly and numb down to my knee.

I came across this website while searching for permanent answers for my back problems, and I downloaded Pain Management and Rebuilding Your Back almost 3 weeks ago. I am tired of living this life and treating my back like a Fabrege egg - - I want a complete recovery and the opportunity to enjoy physical activity again. I have managed to gain 55 lbs. over the last 16 years due to my inactivity and fear of hurting my back again.

I have been doing the basic exercies faithfully anywhere from 4-6 times per day. At first I alternated the ice and heat as instructed, but decided the ice felt better so I skipped the heat. I tried the modified cobra, but wasn't sure which way to push my hip - - right for the numbness in my left thigh, or left for the pain in my right hip or thigh, so I decided to do it unmodified. I don't know if that was the correct decision or not.

So come this Wednesday I will have been doing the basic exercises for 3 weeks. I had to sleep in the recliner until this past Sunday night when I was able to finally sleep in my bed for the first time in weeks. Mornings are still pretty bad, but I am able to carefully get myself out of the bed without assistance. I'm still having pain in my right hip and outer thigh, but it's more in the hip now and a little toward the groin area of my right leg. The tingling and numbness in my left thigh doesn't seem to be as bad either.

But it takes 3-4 hours each day of icing my back and doing the exercies every couple of hours before I can move comfortably. Today it took most of the day before I could move comfortably. I guess that is better than where I was a few weeks ago when I couldn't even walk down the hall to my own kitchen.

I'm not sure if I am suffering from pain or soreness - - -it just plain hurts and sometimes it aches when I'm sitting. Am I making normal progress? I have never had a back episode that lasted this long before and I am so anxious to feel better and be able to just work with my flowers in this beautiful spring sunshine.

Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I should also perhaps add in addition to the basic exercies, for the last week I have also been doing the butterfly and the stretch for the piriformis muscle. The last one really seems to help stretch my back out where the pain is in my right hip.

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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 4:29 pm

Postby Ann » Mon May 15, 2006 2:03 pm

Hi mom22guys,

Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you're doing everything right, but I can't help wondering if you've been to a doctor recently about this latest back pain episode? You mentioned seeing one 6 years ago, but it might be a good idea to go again just to be safe.

By the way, forget the pain meds. The doctor only prescribes them to make you comfortable, but they usually do more harm than good IMHO.

Read the many posts here in this forum especially those by randolph for some good insights into what you're going through. Your progress seems normal for sciatica, so hang in there and don't get discouraged.

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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:02 pm
Location: York, PA

Postby randolph » Mon May 15, 2006 4:19 pm

Hi mom22guys!

Welcome! Glad you found your way here and especially glad you're making some good, initial progress with RYB! The hardest weeks are the first few weeks ... and it sounds VERY good that you are improving ... even if it's slower than you'd wish!

Ditto on Ann's obsrvation about your GP. I'd want to make sure it really is "just muscle spasms". And if you have the resources, it's helpful (but not absolutely necessary) to have a better-than-guessing idea of what's going on in the lumbar section of your back (your sciatica symptoms sound suspiciously like lower lumbar nerve irritation). But if you can't get an MRI ... not to worry. They're not 100% accurate, anyway, and are perhaps best used if just to double-check what a good GP or orthopedic surgeon can find out in an office visit. The bottom line seems to be: as long as you continue to improve with physical therapy, even very slowly, you're on the right track.

Glad you weren't hurt by the DC who found your nonexistent subluxations (vertebra "out of alignment"). You might want to see the home page resource links to chirobase.org and chirotalk.proboards3.com to help find a competent DC and how to spot those you want to stay away from.

I guess you discovered like many of us that "babying" your back doesn't work: not only do you gain unneeded weight from the lack of activity :( , but you set yourself for getting hurt just flipping a pancake (even a dollar-sized one could do it!) :cry: Thankfully, Dean seems to be onto something with RYB: rebuild the back thru stretching and strengthening exercises and really protect your back.

I gave up the heat early on, too; ice worked best for me, too ... although a hot bath is still a great way to start and end the day!

I share Ann's opinion: based on your experimenting with the cobra, it sounds like you've got a good handle on doing the exercises correctly: cautiously discovering what works for you. Dean gave a lot of good tips on stretching in his responses to "el".

As for whether it's pain or soreness. Perhaps your lack of activity the last 16 years, babying your back, may have your muscles so tight that the gentle stretching you're doing is causing soreness the next day ... though I'd be inclined to think at this early stage it's probably the sciatic pain in your hip and leg that will be stopping you long before you can do enough to cause soreness the next day. My personal gauge on whether I'm sore from yesterday's exercise or not: I'm always tight when I begin the exercises in the morning ... and if I'm still tight and "not into" the exercises after 10 or 15 minutes of easy stretching and deep breathing ... then I'm sore (gotta be honest with yourself though ... no fair wimping out!)

Hope this helps! Randolph
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Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:05 pm
Location: Wilkesboro NC

4 week update

Postby mom22guys » Fri May 26, 2006 12:55 pm


Thank you for your reponses, Ann & Randolph. No, I have not been to the doc with this particular episode since this has been an ongoing thing for the past 16 years. I have been to the doctor in the past, and it's always been the same thing - - you're having muscle spasms - - take 4 Ibuprophen for inflammation, percosets for pain and flexeril for the spasms. You'll be better in a few days. It has been a little better than 5 years since I had an episode this bad, and nearly a year since I went to the doc.

I am doing the exercises about 3x per day now. I have added in some decompression exercieses over the last week. The intermittant numbness in my left outer thigh is almost gone, and the right hip and outer thigh is much better. The mornings are still the worst when I first get up. But after doing the exercises and icing a few times I am ready for the day, and at times during the afternoon and evenings, I don't even know I have a back. This has been the best week so far.

I am walking 1/2 mile per day now and I even worked in my flowers yesterday for a short time. I am definitely seeing improvement, but I just wish it would be "more quick-like."

I am still having problems picking things up off the floor, squatting, stooping, and bending, so I am keeping those activities to a bare minimum. My back becomes easily fatigued, so it is probably time to start adding some of the easier strengthening exercises.

Will keep you posted.
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 4:29 pm

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