Source of back pain?

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.

Source of back pain?

Postby Matt15 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:58 am

Is there any way to find out what is causing my lower back pain? Im very frustrated and confused. Im 19 and hurt myself squatting weights about 8 months ago. Diagnosed with 3-4mm disc protrusion in L-5. I have no leg pain at all just in the lower back. All doctors, chiro, and PT did tests and said my disc seems to be in good condition, and they wonder if it could be ligaments because I didn't feel pain during their tests.

It doesn't hurt when I bend forward unless really far, can walk on tip toes and heels with no pain, heck I can run and bike with no pain sometimes.
It's just an aggravating pain that doesn't seem to go away. Did PT and Chiro, didn't seem to help. I can go a few days with only tightness and no pain. Don't lose any sleep or anything. It's hard to describe. Usually I feel a tenderness feeling in my lower back, but it can get worse into a sharper pain, or it can be a dull pain. I just don't know how to approach this, I have tried everything. I don't know whether it's torn ligament, disc pain, or whatever else.

For example I will be sitting down in class for a while, then I will feel tightness/tenderness in my lower back. I also noticed my left hamstrings are real tight. Tighter than the other side. Them it can lead to a sharper pain. Sometimes if I let all my air out to relax, and rub that area I will feel some pain. Also sometimes if I stretch my hamstrings in the morning after I release the stretch I will feel some aggravation in the lower back area.

Keep in mind the pain is in my left lower back. If I lay down flat on my back, and bring my right knee to my shoulder I will feel a little dull/tender pain. Im sorry for the long post, just frustrated and I feel Im not doing everything I can.

Anybody have any idea on what this can be and how to approach it?
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:02 pm

Postby randolph » Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:17 am

I don't have anything specific for you, Matt, but the general suggestions that follow might give you some areas to explore.

If any of us could tell you what was causing your back pain ... we'd be millionaires. Medical scientists, and entrepeneurs of every sort, are offering a wide variety of "causes" ... probably because like a lot of physical dysfunctions (cancer, autism come to mind) there is not just one probable cause. Last month's Discover mag had a great article on autism that relates to a lot of disease. Many dysfunctions (perhaps lower back disorders) don't have just one cause, but are the result of multiple genetic triggers that multiple, environmental forces fire.

So I'd be very suspicious of anyone who offers you a single, magic bullet to cure you of your particular problems. More likely, you'll find help from making a wide variety of lifestyle changes; doing more back-friendly exercises/stretches, and adapting elements from numerous, conservative treatment therapies. Basically, self-experimenting to see what works for you.

Like me, you seem to have discovered that weighted leg squats are wonderful for the legs ... but very hard on the lower back. You might want to check out the work of Dr Stuart McGill. He's done a lot of work with weight-lifters and recommends a lot of back-friendly alternatives to exercises that are hard on the back.

8 months after your initial injury ... you still might be physically healing from the injury, so anything you do, you most likely want to do GRADUALLY to prevent re-injury.

Personally, I've dropped doing the weighted leg squats; content myself with doing more interval training during my runs; do more reps of non-weighted leg squats; and do lots of stretching.

I do a lot of sitting during the day, as I am a truck driver. I occassionally get a variety of minor leg/back pains, usually after driving more that 2-3 hours without a break. So I'll stop and do some stretches (cobra, a favorite), pushups, squats, and/or leg lunges. Always seems to take care of the ache, and I'm ready for a few more hours of driving.

Whatever you discover that helps you, I hope you'll share with us here.

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