PDA

View Full Version : Back Pain, anyone else? What to do?



PatCox
01-02-2010, 10:41 PM
WB people, no politics now, I need advice. I have always been pretty healthy, a few times, in the last 10 years, my 40s, I have twisted or twinged my back a little and had a little pain for a week or two, it would go away.

But about 3 weeks ago, I twisted and bent down to get something from the bottom of the fridge and felt a little "pop" in my lower back, right where the spine meets the pelvis. Nothing real bad that night, but the next morning I woke, groggy, got up, felt some pain, but figured it would work out, made my way to the bathroom and started brushing my teeth, and something like a cattle prod to my lower back made me almost fall to the ground, I made my way back to bed, and laid there keeping absolutely still, never wanting to feel that again.

I didn't go to the doc, I just tried to work through it, went a week and a half, stiff and moving gingerly, and the back pain gradually reduced, and I thought it was going to resolve, and I probably tried to be too active.

Monday before Christmas it came back, accompanuied by fierce, crippling sciatica on the leg where the pain was, I could hardly walk, and I have been like that since.

Tried calling all the orthopedists in my town, could not get an appointment before January 14. Finally went to the ER, they X-rayed, just to rule out bone damage, told me they could not diagnose disc injury, gave me some percocets, and gave me the number of a spine specialist. I cannot even try to get an appointment until Monday.

What the hell is going on? I cannot sit or drive, I can stand, but I cannot walk far. The sciatica is excruciating, my foot is numb, and every now and then, I move wrong, and there is that cattle prod again, and I cannot get an appointment with a doc. I don't like these percocets, don't do much, and I feel sick when they wear off.

Whats happening to me?

Mrleft8
01-02-2010, 10:46 PM
Yer kidding me.......Right?

Mrleft8
01-02-2010, 10:50 PM
Get a bag of frozen peas. Get a heating pad. Get used to being in pain for the rest of your life. Alternate as needed and forget the meds, they just make you think it's better and then you do more damage.

paladin
01-02-2010, 10:54 PM
Go see a damn doctor......5 years ago I was rear ended in a car accident. Stopped at an intersection, rear ended by a woman in an F350 ford truck at about 55 mph....she was fighting with kids in the front seat, I was stopped at an intersection.....she hit me, threw the Buick about 26 fee thru the air crushing it and knocking me out for 30+ ,imutyes...they had to cut the car apart to get me out....dislocated my spine in my neck/back C4,5,6, and 7....jiggled the spine, offsetting the nerve bundle......sometimes extreme pain...like right now. Tried everything, only thing I take is oxycodone, 3 a day is my limit, 5 mg each, I cut them in half and take the half every 4-5 hours as needed.....
Surgery might help...8-10 months recovery....25% chance it will help....25% chane it will be worse, 50% chance no change, same recover from all.....60-80K for the surgery....which is not the problem, the recovery time/lack of certainty ain't good.......oxycodone is cheaper and gets the job almost done. The bitch that hit me got off scot free, and she ran from the scene.....and her insurance got away...

Mrleft8
01-02-2010, 10:59 PM
Canoez has suggested a TENZ machine to me.... And a few others have agreed that it might help.... But as with everything... Moderation is the key. I want a Star Trek Tricorder dealie to just zap me back to 1979......

capt jake
01-02-2010, 10:59 PM
Get a bag of frozen peas. Get a heating pad. Get used to being in pain for the rest of your life. Alternate as needed and forget the meds, they just make you think it's better and then you do more damage.
I totally agree with that point.

Lots of possibilities as far as the injury goes. I just recoverd from an injury that sounds just like what you are experiencing. I go the x-ray from my Chiropractor, what was able to do it on the first visit. One vertebrae was slightly rotated out of alignment with me. Massage therapy (man that is AWESOME!), rest and chiropractic and I have been pain free now for about 3 days.

Finding a chiropractor that you trust and get result from can be the challenge. Same can be sadi for massage therapy. I have lucked into two of the best in the area.

I couldn't even stand up when I first injured it. As you said, the pain was horrible.

Rest, ibuprofen, and time.
Added, a tenz machine works by tensing the spasmed muscles, supposedly into submission. Even the massage therapist didn't agree with the theory of these (nor do I).

Shang
01-02-2010, 11:12 PM
The good news is that this sometimes gets better by itself... mine did.

But don't count on this... see a doctor.

High C
01-02-2010, 11:18 PM
I've been just where you are and recommend the TENZ unit for sure, ibuprofen, ice, and Physical Therapy. You may have to go through a doc to get a scrip for a therapist. A therapist can teach you exercises that coax the bulging disk back into place and provide quick relief. Sitting aggravates it, walking helps. Surgery is often unsuccessful. You'll get better!

bobbys
01-02-2010, 11:32 PM
I can barely walk then go to my chiropractor and almost dance out.

Ok well maybe not dance but walk out straight.

Till i can get there i do ice and a heating pad and alternate with advil. Advil do screws with my stomach.

Ok a wee nip helps though..

Sorry to hear of this though.

When it happens to me i notice i cant do anything..

I will say a prayer for you Pat, Believe me i know its rough.

bluedog225
01-02-2010, 11:34 PM
Agree you need to see a doctor.

After that....long term strengthening of the abdominal muscles. 5 year plan till you can suck in that gut (if applicable) and keep it sucked in 24/7 (it is possible). I had pretty bad sciatica for years. Keeping the weight down and the stomach tight (and warming up before lifting stuff) and I have not had a problem in years.

The muscle around the injury will tighten to protect the injury and perpetuate the pain; in the old days, muscle relaxants helped me get through the first few days of each episode.

Also, those chemical heat pads they sell at wallgreens keep the heat going for 12 hours or so. They can be a great help in loosening things up. Good luck.

john welsford
01-02-2010, 11:35 PM
I've been just where you are and recommend the TENZ unit for sure, ibuprofen, ice, and Physical Therapy. You may have to go through a doc to get a scrip for a therapist. A therapist can teach you exercises that coax the bulging disk back into place and provide quick relief. Sitting aggravates it, walking helps. Surgery is often unsuccessful. You'll get better!

A large part of the pain in cases like this can be the backs attempt to splint the injury by causing the muscles in the area to spasm, to go rigid to support the injury. That spasm can be extremely painful, and the muscles being already under load and full of fatigue poisons may only require a very small stress to overload and "let go" which is the cattle prod and collapse effect.

Been there done that. I broke the left side lateral processes off L1-2-3-4 20 years back, did lots of damage to nerves and muscles to add to the problem. For years had occasions when I could not sit so put all my work and computer on the office floor and worked lying down. The boss got over it eventually.

The short term cure is to relax the muscles.
Hot tub,
gentle stretching
anti inflammatory meds
hot and cold ( icepack then wheatbag)
Tens machine
physical therapist massage
swimming ( very effective long term)

Good luck with that.

John Welsford

johnw
01-02-2010, 11:38 PM
I went through an accident very similar to what happened to Chuck. Did a lot of physical therapy. What really seemed to help was walking and going to the chiropractor and getting my back cracked. I'd start with the spinal specialist, see what ideas you get there. He's best positioned to tell you how not to make it worse.

You also need to find a chair that you can sit in without a lot of pain. Sitting is one of the worst things for your back. Rocking chairs can help. Something with good lumbar support might help.

Larks
01-02-2010, 11:43 PM
Everyone seems to respond to different treatments and I haven't read all the posts here Pat, but I have suffered from back problems since I was about 18 - most likely from an accrual of football, gymnastics and motorbike related injuries. I'd tried all options of physio, chiropractic and so on but finally stumbled on acupuncture. It seems to be the only thing, other than pain killers (which I hate), that gives me relief. A few treatments usually lasts 12 months or so before I start getting sciatic pains again which signals the lead up to almost crippling back pain.

pcford
01-03-2010, 12:03 AM
I had "backache" about thirty years ago....backache is certainly not the right term...muscles ache after exertion...back pain is more like a searing hot knife in the back.

I was all bent over sideways. I made an appointment with a chiropractor. My father was sure I was going to cripple myself. He took x-rays to see if there is actual physical damage...then did manipulation. About 50% of pain was gone in one visit. Continued on...each visit took away about 50% of the pain. In a month I was fine.

I am not a believer in woo-woo alternative medicine. I went to the chiropractor because I thought that an MD would just pump me up on drugs to mask the pain. However, I now know that if you are in pain it is harder to heal. Drugs definitely have a place.

The other deal is exercise. I rarely have aches and pains now. And believe me, I ain't no spring chicken.

PeterSibley
01-03-2010, 12:09 AM
http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2442070&posted=1#post2442070

JBreeze
01-03-2010, 12:25 AM
Oooops, Peter beat me to the link in the other thread:D

What you will find is a broad range of experiences and frustrations.

I can relate two different experiences myself.....

1) Around 1980, I had the sciatica running down my right leg, and frequent instances of immobility similar to yours.....finally went to Mass General and an orthopedic resident prescribed a sort of corset-type thing that fit between the ribcage and pelvis - it sort of lifted the ribcage and apparently took some of the weight off the spine.....wore this for about 10 weeks and it seemed to do the trick, although to this day, the bottom of my right foot is somewhat numb, and anything greater than a 94 lb bag of cement is enough to bring back the sciatica. No drugs nor surgery needed.

2) 2003 - 13.5 hr surgery to fuse C4,C5,C6,C7,T1,T2,T3,T4 and T5. Problem caused by O.D. from radiation therapy in 1976. Walked out of the hospital 68 hours after surgery and haven't had a problem since. Fantastic spine surgeon!

Bottom line - serially see various doctors and therapists for at least a year before trying surgery. And go a to major teaching hospital specializing in spine surgery if you have to go....

Good luck!

ChaseKenyon
01-03-2010, 12:59 AM
Pat call me or send your number and I will call you. I smashed the discs on the top three lumbar vertabrae and the lower four thoracic verts back in 73 over seas in cold war opps. Spent 2.5 months in the ortho ward at the NATO hospital in Naples Italy. Been living with it ever since. Still taught skiing and snowboarding up till 3 years ago. (too much liability when on massive amounts of muscle relaxants and pain killers just to go on the MT).

So I have a good 36 years of experience with knock you to your knees back pain.



Bowen Tech massage therapy is about the best, it has helped folks get out of wheel chairs. the key is a good pain complex of meds. Each of us responds differently to different Drugs. example: Gabbopentin just makes me sick to my stomach but seems to help 2MT with his pain. Hydro codone works for my back but when it goes up into my shoulder and neck the only help is oxy codone. I found that the biggest help is to keep my system full of anti oxidants, cranberry extract Bee propolis vitamin D3 and Vinotrol. the last one helps the most.



Look for my PM

ChaseKenyon
01-03-2010, 01:11 AM
Oh about the tenz machine. That and a similar machine used by Chiropractors can not be used on me. Since my body has the natural equivalent of muscle building steroids all they both do is cause my muscles to bunch up and try and explode. With our native background would not be suprised if Chuck has same reaction. One of my Brothers does and both of my native cousins have same Mohawk reaction to Tenz.

htom
01-03-2010, 01:45 AM
I've had some back pain over the years, mostly from stupid lifting and accidents. Being overweight doesn't help, of course! There are exercises that helped, a little; drugs; properly fitted canes and walking. Sleeping on my side with a pillow between my knees. Doc can point at which is more appropriate, I suspect, or a good chiropractor (never been to one; some I know swear by them, others swear at them.)

chas
01-03-2010, 02:11 AM
"WB people, no politics now, I need advice"

You got all you need above. Drugs, rest, alternate heat and cold for swelling, perhaps. Start an increasing regimen of stretching and crunches until you feel better.

Secure a supply of the drugs that work for you, for when it may happen again. Raise the fridge! LOL .

Three Cedars
01-03-2010, 04:23 AM
Yeah I've had the back pain for only 7 years now. Similar to yours . You will go through stages , mine are measured in weeks and months . For me being horizontal for 9 hours a day is the best but not always possible . Everyone's experience is unique , for some drugs help a lot but I haven't gone that route . Just rest , regular activity and avoiding lifting heavy things or jumping down - anything that loads the lower back is to be avoided and avoiding lifting heavy things and when you are having an episode that can be something as light as a carton of milk or such. There are books on back injuries and treatment - avoid surgery as long as possible as it seems to be a temporary solution usually , though new disc replacement technology is being done and evaluated .

perldog007
01-03-2010, 06:58 AM
Chiropractor, bear in mind that most lower back pain is mental in origin. Mind body connection stuff, literally you are trying to carry the weight of the world. Might be a good time to learn to develop a case of the "F" its' now and again.

I found that dead lifting ( with proper from learned from a decent trainer ) mostly put an end to my lower back pain issues.

Just my 2 .....

huisjen
01-03-2010, 08:45 AM
Yoga class for a couple months.

Walking.

Abdominal Exercise.

Good Luck.

Dan

John Smith
01-03-2010, 09:10 AM
I hope this helps. I've two herniated discs in my lower back. Old injury. I went to a therapy place who had me lay on my stomach and they applied moist heat for 15 minuted. Then they had me keep my legs on the bed and push up with my arms several times, bending my lower back backwards.

This worked wonders.

I still have the herniated discs, but they rarely bother me. They don't interfere with anything and there's no pain.

Once in a while, though, I'll reach for the toilet paper, or some stupid thing where is hit some kind of angle that triggers pain.

I then get the hot water bottle out and sit with it on my lower back for a few, stand up and stretch backwards a little, and pain ususally ends in 1 - 4 days.

I remember the therapy people explaining how our lives are built around always bending forward.

It's also important to bend your knees rather than your back, and if you are working on anything, don't bend over to do so. get a chair is you need to, or put the work on a bench.

If I bend for several minutes, straigtening up is pure hell.

Canoez
01-03-2010, 09:15 AM
I'd start with the visit to the doctor. Funny thing - they've gone to school and seem to know a bit about the human body. You can do more harm than good if not careful.

The TENS machine isn't a cure-all and it's not a toy, either. Here in the US they are to be used under a doctor's advice with a prescription. There are different patterns to the TENS machine and different intensities which are intended for different types of pain/injuries. Some cause rhythmic motion of the muscles and some interrupt the neural signals that tell the brain, "ouch!". I find it works well if I've got back spasm with pain. Overuse is a common problem and reduced the effectiveness of the device.

Another thing for me is Aleve to reduce swelling in my back seems to help.

Dan and others have mentioned the other very important things. You need to work at improving both your strength and your flexibility. These are key to avoiding future pain. You need to strengthen yourself all around, not just in certain spots.

If, like me, you spend a fair amount of time at work sitting, be sure to have a review done of the chair, desk, any monitors or keyboards, and other various things at your workstation reviewed for their ergonomics. In our machine shop, it led us to discover that articulated control panels were available for our machinists and that improved lighting avoided the tendency to lean, etc.

A lot of injuries, back injuries included, can be avoided by the mantra, "THINK" before doing.

RodB
01-03-2010, 01:01 PM
Pat,

Even with an MRI looking quite bad, the symptoms are what determines the treatment. Severe nerve involvement, usually recognized by numbness and significant loss of strength and of course pain are the guiding criteria for surgery. Studies have shown that over 50% of serious back injuries get well anyway, over time.

First you need a decent examination by a Doctor, and then you go the reasonable conservative route. No matter what the nature of the injury, it only makes sense to go all the standard conservative routes and see what happens.

During the acute stage... bed rest (with large pillows under your knees or lying on your side with a large pillow between your knees), Ice massages (5 min 3-4 times a day on the painful area) and a good anti inflammatory are all standard. As the pain decreases... you can start back stretching by pulling your knees to your chest for 10 sec about 20 times three times a day (if you can tolerate it). Standard back exercises shown at most "back schools" like the "Pelvic tilt", proper stomach crunches, etc.... these are posted on many spine education sites. Twenty minutes on an elliptical machine and a few minutes in a hot whirlpool are a very good idea. I have seen two different approaches presented to patients. A) Bed rest works! Studies have shown that over 90% of people who will rest for 14 days with have dramatic improvement with severe back pain. The percentage of improvement is still very high with only 9 days of bed rest. The problem is most people will not lay around that long B) The other side of this issue is that rest (inactivity) weakens the muscles so and active convalesence is recommended. The old standard rules of Physical Therapy... movement is pain free, non-movement is stiffness and pain. Personally I have found this to be very effective. With a seriously herniated L4/5 I began physical therapy as soon as I could tolerate it (after 3 days of rest) I did 20 minutes on the elliptical, followed by back stretchs with knees to chest and then 15 minutes in the hot tub. Overall, I found this approach to get me through the next two weeks... and finally I had an Epidural steroid injection to get the inflammation "over the hump" so to speak... and to finally get well. Many times, when the healing process isn't happening, steroid injections will do the trick in a push towards recovery.

A good anti-inflammatory is immensely helpful... if they work for you and your stomach can take it. Without a Doctors prescription, Alieve is hard to beat, just take double the does recommended on the bottle... Naproxyn is the drug in Alieve, and you don't get enough of it with the recommended dose. Usually a doctors prescription would be a 500mg tablet twice a day with food. There are many anti-inflammatory meds on the market...

If conservative treatment doesn't work, the next step is usually getting an MRI, (the gold standard in back diagnosis") although the symptoms are still the controlling factor, in many cases with a bad MRI, symptoms are not that bad... and with others, the MRI can look fine, with severe symptoms.

Because back problems are complicated, when conservative treatment does not work, you want to see a competent back Doctor specialist. The many treatments for back pain from non-surgical to very intrusive... need to be employed for the right patients. Recent history has shown thousands of back fusions being performed in the USA, that have poor results and simply did not need to be done. The exact nature of a surgical treatment is so dependent on a proper diagnosis as to the exact cause of the pain. The variations of back pain procedures are numerous and so dependent on the exact cause to be successful.

If you are young and healthy, and herniate/and extrude part of a disc, the odds of a great results are very high... with a simple laminectomy/discectomy or decompression (clearing away the bone etc around the effected nerve along with partial disc removal where the herniated disc is pressing against the nerve root). Older folks with longer term degenerative discs many times are not surgical candidates.

One of the best things you can do is get educated on proper spine care in every day life. This type of information is available from many sources online and in books. Spine education centers are all over the country and basic preventative spine care is the common type of education.

Heres hoping conservative Rx will get you well.

Good luck,

RodB

jonboy
01-03-2010, 01:50 PM
Ibuprofen refloxology whiskey hanging from a trapeze and really hanging.... let your weight really hang from your hands only......

don't know what its called but this works well too... get someone taller than you , or stand,them on the first stair.... they stand behind you, you fold each arm up vertically so your elbows are pointing down... they get right up close behind you, cup your elbows in their hands and lean back, bending you backwards over their stomach and chest. they should lift you off your feet, give a firm downward jerk... the noise of realigning and clicking clacking joints is scary but you will feel instantly better...and you will be a cm taller!
Works for me any way.

David W Pratt
01-03-2010, 02:00 PM
Go to a doctor. Specifically, Dr. David Weiss at NYU Hosp. He is the orthopod to the NY Ballet and the NY Philharmonic. I went to him and got a good result. Failing that call the Jets, Giants, Nets, or a Philly team if you are in southern NJ. Ask for the name(s) their orthopedist(s). Those guys deal with people who really want to continue playing, so career ending surgery is not an option.
Good luck.

Dave Thibodeau
01-03-2010, 02:48 PM
Find an Osteopathic trained massage therapist to treat your problem

peter radclyffe
01-03-2010, 03:28 PM
buy the correct equipment & dance gently to reggae, try not to fall over
calisthenics
yoga

isla
01-03-2010, 03:50 PM
What John Smith said. I suffered from several bouts of sciatica over a ten year period. Each time I had a bad bout both my doctor and my chiropracter told me to lie on my back with my knees slightly raised. THIS DIDN'T WORK, and on each occasion I was off work for several weeks. So next time it happened I took a chance and tried something a friend recommended. You lie flat on your stomach in bed, then do a mini pushup, keeping your pelvis flat on the bed and just arch your back. Do this several times, then lie flat on your stomach, just let the small of your back relax, and try to stay in that position all night. This worked wonders for me. Now, whenever I feel a twinge I follow that routine for one night, and I have not had a back problem for many years. In fact, the last time was 1996, and that's when I tried this method.

seanz
01-03-2010, 04:08 PM
isla; your so-called 'friend' has tricked you into doing Yoga.
;):)

George Jung
01-03-2010, 04:29 PM
This, and the previous, similar thread alluded to, have been great threads, and quite educational - for me, as well. Almost all of the advice given is spot on; that alone should be quite instructive - what works for one may not work for you.

Really, your problem is two fold. Acutely, you need to get over the debilitating back pain. The radiation down your leg is troubling, and suggests an impinged nerve root ('ruptured disc') moreso than simple musculoskeletal strain and spasm, though there may be a component of that, as well. While the NSAID class (such as ibuprofen, aleve etc) can be very useful, a steroid burst/taper is commonly used by the back specialists in our region, and can be quite helpful. An epidural, later, may be an option, as well. As I recall, 90% of all back pain patients will get better with time. Back surgery is 'last resort'. Locally, I work well with our chiropracter ( he sends me patients, I reciprocate - I provide 'drugs', he does therapy) and physical therapy group. I totally agree with the comment that a home program is key for long term success; I've not read Tristans book, but will. As a long time back pain sufferer, I have to practice what I preach. The stretching/strengthening pays big dividends - and all of that is step two.

Good luck - let us know how you do.

Tristan
01-03-2010, 05:44 PM
Pat, I was where you are but it was 40 years ago. Couldn't walk more than a hundred feet for six weeks, agonizing sciatica down into right foot. Crawled to the toilet on hands and knees. It was back in the days when surgery was the standard. I chose NOT to go to a doctor. Used some aspirin, lots of rest, heat, ice, but tried to move around as much as was tolerable. The back gradually improved. Began stretching, gentle exercise, heavier exercise, aikido, resistance training, etc. I've had no problem for many years now. Managed a black belt in karate at age fifty, lots of jogging (three to seven miles), resistance weight training, yoga, etc. Almost certainly are you are NOT doomed to a life of pain. I suggest the book I always recommend (Dr. Jung refers to it above), "Healing Back Pain Naturally" by Art Brownstein, MD. , a wonderful, inspiring book by a surgeon who went through the same trauma you are experiencing, then fruitless surgery, and finally discovered a "cure" by his own efforts using mindful relaxation, basic stretching, strengthening, largely simply yoga exercises. Yes the pain is terrible, got to get that under control at least to the point you can begin to move around but I'd say don't worry if some pain lingers for a while as you cure. Get the book as soon as you can, read it, expect to take a while recovering, learn some relaxation techniques, etc. but above all, get the book and read it. E-mail me if you want encouragement and bits of my own story.

Tristan
01-03-2010, 05:50 PM
What John Smith said. I suffered from several bouts of sciatica over a ten year period. Each time I had a bad bout both my doctor and my chiropracter told me to lie on my back with my knees slightly raised. THIS DIDN'T WORK, and on each occasion I was off work for several weeks. So next time it happened I took a chance and tried something a friend recommended. You lie flat on your stomach in bed, then do a mini pushup, keeping your pelvis flat on the bed and just arch your back. Do this several times, then lie flat on your stomach, just let the small of your back relax, and try to stay in that position all night. This worked wonders for me. Now, whenever I feel a twinge I follow that routine for one night, and I have not had a back problem for many years. In fact, the last time was 1996, and that's when I tried this method.

yep, this is a form of the cobra, a standard hatha yoga movement

isla
01-03-2010, 06:56 PM
isla; your so-called 'friend' has tricked you into doing Yoga.
;):)
Doh!

seanz
01-03-2010, 07:08 PM
Doh!

Och mani padme hum?

:p

Tristan
01-03-2010, 08:00 PM
Om mani padme hum

Davy Jones
01-03-2010, 08:31 PM
I feel your pain Pat,

About fifteen years ago I was painting a semi truck cab and was on a ladder and strecthed backwards( just stretching from being in an odd position) and BAM my back went out! I spent months rolling out of bed onto my knees to try and stand up. Geez, all I did was stretch.

Chriropractors and some PT finally worked it out. I have found a combo of chiro and deep tissue massage is a great fix in real pain situations for me. I have a friend that want me to try her chiropractor that also does accupuncture to fix an on going prob I have now. I figure the body always tries to heal itself but I want it to heal with the parts in the right place.

I still think you should see your family doc to get some x-rays but get lots of opinions before anyone tries to stick a knife in your back! Jmo.

I have another friend that had back surgery and got some kind of screwed up and almost died on the table. That was two years ago and he is still out of commision.

Be careful and I hope the best for you with a positive out come!

Davy

PatCox
01-03-2010, 09:46 PM
I really appreciate these this advice and I am copying this thread and saving it.

My problem is I cannot even get to see a doctor, as I said, I finally went to the ER, they just gave me some pain meds that do next to nothing (percocet 5 mg). They gave me a name of a neurosurgeon, I am gonna try to call him tomorrow and insist I need to be seen immediately.

I can't get a doctor, I cannot drive, driving is the very worst thing, and I drive 80 minutes each way to work, I cannot go to work, and I am afraid for my livelihood, and I don't even have a diagnosis to show my employer, I am hobbled and I can't get a doc to see me. They did Xrays in the ER, and as I mentioned, it ruled out gross skeletal issues, but that was it, they just gave me a number to call, I will call tomorrow morning, miss another day, and its starting to be very depressing, the constant pain.

PatCox
01-03-2010, 09:47 PM
All I did was reach down for a carrot from the frigging fridge, its now 3 weeks of ****.

George Jung
01-03-2010, 09:56 PM
Not that it helps, but... a good friend of mine bent down to put his shoe on, after a day of skiing - felt a 'pop' - and experienced excruciating pain, radiating all the way to his foot. Damn fool (in a good way) insisted on driving home to see me (4 hours drive!). I loaded him up with the good stuff, and drove him to Sioux Falls (2.5 hours) to the ER, where my Orthopedic friends obtained an MRI, took him in for emergency surgery. He had popped a bit of bone/cartilage from a vertebrae off, impaled into his nerve root - major pain. This guy has a high pain tolerance, but he was diaphoretic when I saw him. Immediate relief after they removed the bone fragment from his nerve.

You might show this thread to your Dr. - I suspect a ruptured disc, and if it's not better after three weeks, it certainly deserves further workup. My .02.

Glen Longino
01-03-2010, 09:58 PM
All I did was reach down for a carrot from the frigging fridge, its now 3 weeks of ****.

Pat, google "back pain"!
Seriously!
You will come upon a series of simple stretching exercises that require you to sit on the edge of a bed and flex one leg against the other.
I was in serious pain when I googled and found relief.
Google is the modern prayer!:)
Best wishes to you!

Glen Longino
01-03-2010, 10:00 PM
All I did was reach down for a carrot from the frigging fridge, its now 3 weeks of ****.

Carrots are no damn good!;)

George Jung
01-03-2010, 10:08 PM
It was probably a Christian carrot, eh, Glen? :p

'I figgered!' :D

Bob Adams
01-03-2010, 10:16 PM
Good old fashioned traction worked wonders for me. As mentioned above, inversion, or hanging by your feet should do the same thing. It's miserable, been there done that.

Wayne Jeffers
01-03-2010, 10:52 PM
Pat,

There are an abundance of cures that may help someone’s back, but they are all dependent upon the nature of the problem/injury.

My wife has had disk surgery. Worked great. But she fell on black ice on the front step and hurt her back. It is not likely that you damaged a disk by bending over.

I have had problems much like yours from time to time. I’ve had good luck with massage therapy and/or with chiropractic. Chiropractic seems to have been especially effective for my sciatica.

The place for you to start is probably a chiropractor. It has been my experience that I can get an appointment in a day or two, so maybe you won’t have to wait too long to get in. If you don’t get relief, you’re not out much. And a reputable chiropractor will not mess with your back before seeing an X-ray of the area.

Best to try the simple treatments first, IMO.

Once things are straightened out, exercise can do wonders for helping to keep back problems at bay.

Wayne

Glen Longino
01-03-2010, 11:00 PM
It was probably a Christian carrot, eh, Glen? :p

'I figgered!' :D

Oh, no!
Show us yer evidence!
What do you have against Christians, George?
Got you by the short hairs, eh?:D
Prove to us it's a Christian carrot, George!
Can you do it?
No?
I figgered!:rolleyes:

George Jung
01-03-2010, 11:02 PM
I'd have to disagree, Mr. Jeffers. The 'moment of pain' may not correlate with bending over - the damage probably was cumulative over many years, completed only at that moment. The radicular nature is telling; plain x-rays won't tell the story. An MRI is needed. I suspect a chiropracter will say the same thing, perhaps will order the study. But an orthopedic or neurosurgeon may be necessary for definitive care. I'd make that appointment now (it takes time to get in) while seeing the chiropracter now.

George Jung
01-03-2010, 11:02 PM
Now yer just being silly, Glen!

Wayne Jeffers
01-03-2010, 11:30 PM
I don’t think we have much of a disagreement, George.

I said it was not likely that Pat damaged a disk by bending over. I did not say it was impossible.

Since he will have to wait a couple of weeks more to see a specialist, a chiropractor is probably a good first step. A reputable chiropractor is going to obtain the proper images before manipulating his spine.

Wayne

Tristan
01-04-2010, 07:03 AM
There are chiropractors and chiropractors. Pat might want to see a good licensed massage therapist, one who had worked extensively with back problems, or get a referral to a physical therapist before going to a chiropractor. Just my opinion based on personal experience with all three. Also, athletic trainers can be pretty good for back problems. As for MRI, neurosurgeon (or any kind of surgeon), just remember, "if your only tool is a hammer, . . ." so be careful. As has been mentioned above, most such back problems self resolve. And if someone tells you that you need surgery, do some reading re. outcome studies.

Tristan
01-04-2010, 07:35 AM
Pat, I'd suggest that you try to quit worrying about getting back to work. For the moment you need to concentrate on trying to reduce your stress level. Your body has told you that your life style is not good. Worrying about "doing stuff," is not the way to go right now. First you need to accept that you are temporarily disabled and no amount of straining and worrying will fix that. There is no quick fix, so quit stressing about it. Stress is a big component in back pain. What worked (works) for me was 1. using aspirin (coated) for at least a modicum of pain relief and antiinflamitory action, percocets as a last resort only, 2. lying on a pad on the floor, knees and lower legs up, resting on a coffee table. 3. When able, getting on stomach on floor and elevate the upper body to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, 4. Kept moving, not lying in bed forever, any position that offered even temporary relief 5. Got gentle back massages from wife and kids, used Bengay. 6. RELAX, RELAX, RELAX (as much as was possible amid the pain), watching DVD's, listening to music. Again, GET THE BOOK, WHEN ABLE, READ THE BOOK. YOU WILL GET BETTER but don't push the river, the river flows by itself!

High C
01-04-2010, 08:24 AM
There are chiropractors and chiropractors. Pat might want to see a good licensed massage therapist, one who had worked extensively with back problems, or get a referral to a physical therapist before going to a chiropractor. Just my opinion based on personal experience with all three. Also, athletic trainers can be pretty good for back problems. As for MRI, neurosurgeon (or any kind of surgeon), just remember, "if your only tool is a hammer, . . ." so be careful. As has been mentioned above, most such back problems self resolve. And if someone tells you that you need surgery, do some reading re. outcome studies.

DITTO DITTO DITTO! Surgery is a last resort, and often unsuccessful, sometimes even leading to permanent damage. Start with therapy, massage, maybe the right chiropractor. Work your way up the treatment options...don't start with the big hammer.

Wayne Jeffers
01-04-2010, 08:27 AM
. . . Bengay. . .

My massage therapist suggested something called "Tiger Balm" to help relax muscles. I was skeptical, but the stuff works far better than anything else I've ever rubbed on tight muscles.

I understand that no tigers were harmed in its manufacture. ;)

Wayne

TomF
01-04-2010, 10:46 AM
Pat,

Once upon a time (twice, actually) I had similar back troubles to what you're describing. In my case, when drugs didn't give more than temporary help, I found that about 4-5 chiropractic visits got me over the acute phase. I'm not a convert to all of chiropractic's thinking, but I found physical manipulation was truly a godsend.

And yes, exercise and flexibility after the acute phase is gone. FWIW, the studies of effective back treatment pretty much all concur that exercise is the single most effective way to treat back pain ... though patients overwhelmingly prefer to lie on their beds and pop pain and anti-spasmodics instead. Once the acute phase is over, gentle exercise will do more to get you back to full capacity than rest and meds. Much faster too.

Once you are 100% again, though, consider some weight training, rather than doing endless crunches for your "ab work." Really.

Though people touting crunches, exercise balls etc. would lead us to think otherwise, your abs' primary function isn't to flex or extend the spine ... but to go into isometric contractions which protect your spine while you lift something or bend over. Like when you take a deep breath, tense all your muscles through your midsection, and push your car out of a rut. Or, uhm, when you bend over to get a carrot.

So train your abs for the motions they're actually called on to do ... by learning to squat, deadlift, and press overhead with flawless form. Really. I'm not saying you should become a powerlifter. But regardless of your starting place, as an adult male you'll be squatting past parallel holding a #225 barbell (or more) on your shoulders within 2 months. And deadlifting somewhere near #300. That's even if you can only lift the empty bar in your first session, and go up using a modest progression.

Once you can do that, reaching down for a carrot will present no issues. I'm serious, Pat. I didn't start to do any of this stuff 'till I was 43. I'm no weightlifting monster - that's never been my goal. Functional health is my goal, and I've never felt better. The fact that I'm stronger and look better is a pleasant side-effect.

RodB
01-04-2010, 11:09 AM
Pat,


Right now, you are interested in getting well, but do not forget all the good advice here on back care.

If bedrest for several days has not resulted in significant improvement then you have no choice but to see the back specialist and get a good physical exam and an MRI. Additionally, even with serious injuries, most insurance companies require a 2nd opinion before allowing coverage of expensive treatments like surgery. Back injuries are very frustrating because of their nature.

The problem with back injuries is that a commonsense conservative approach entails time... and with the busy schedules of doctors plus how the ER system works, it just takes some time before you can get the MRI done. I have seen some folks with severe pain come into an ER and get an MRI from the get go... but that depended on circumstances, the ER Doctor, etc. These people were able to save a lot of time by just getting the MRI at the onset of the injury or pain. It doesn't happen this way very often. If the hospital ER you go to has an MRI available, then with a second visit and consistent symptoms, there is a chance they will order an MRI and refer you to a local back specialist..

With continuing pain you have no choice but to see the Doctor and get an MRI. A good physical exam by a competent specialist will also tell a lot. I'm betting the MRI will be ordered ASAP.

Its problematic that back injuries just do not have quick fixes.

The best advice is to see a specialist and be patient. Tell him about your financial concerns so that the MRI will be expedited and hopefully get you back to work sooner than later. There is a good chance that even with seeing the back specialist and getting the MRI... if an aggressive treatment is not called for, you can still have a few weeks to wait until you are well enough to work normally.

Good luck,

R

Tristan
01-06-2010, 10:43 AM
Pat, how are you doing?

PatCox
01-06-2010, 11:00 AM
Tristan, thank you for asking. Went to the neurosurgeon yesterday, he prescribed physical therapy, 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Still have a lot of pain, he said no restrictions on activity, whatever doesn't hurt too much.

B_B
01-06-2010, 01:49 PM
So train your abs for the motions they're actually called on to do ... by learning to squat, deadlift, and press overhead with flawless form. Really. I'm not saying you should become a powerlifter. But regardless of your starting place, as an adult male you'll be squatting past parallel holding a #225 barbell (or more) on your shoulders within 2 months. And deadlifting somewhere near #300. That's even if you can only lift the empty bar in your first session, and go up using a modest progression.

Once you can do that, reaching down for a carrot will present no issues. I'm serious, Pat. I didn't start to do any of this stuff 'till I was 43. I'm no weightlifting monster - that's never been my goal. Functional health is my goal, and I've never felt better. The fact that I'm stronger and look better is a pleasant side-effect.
seconded - had a friend go see a doctor about pain meds for his back problem - Doc said "you ain't got a back problem, you've got a belly problem. Won't give you pain meds until you've got six pack abs - then I'll give you whatever you want"

Popeye
01-06-2010, 02:06 PM
The 'moment of pain' may not correlate with bending over - the damage probably was cumulative over many years, completed only at that moment. yup

it's the result of thousands of tiny corrections your back muscles make all day .. when something is out of whack , the muscles get tired

strengthening abs makes sense , because this will eventually allow your back muscles to relax more and heal properly

work on doing crunches at home , or find an inclined bench at the gym and then ask the very attractive fitness dudette how to isolate upper and lower abs , right elbow left knee , left elbow right knee nails the sides

Tristan
01-06-2010, 03:22 PM
Tristan, thank you for asking. Went to the neurosurgeon yesterday, he prescribed physical therapy, 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Still have a lot of pain, he said no restrictions on activity, whatever doesn't hurt too much.

Bless you Pat, you went to a GOOD man! His advice coincides with everything I've read/experienced. I do still encourage you to get the book and read it though. All good wishes.