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Unbearable Pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Lower Back Pain

I am 46 years old. I have had some low back pain from time to time and have experienced sciatica off and on over the last 20 years.

What I am experiencing now does not feel like sciatica. It is really just in my back and it is absolutely the most intense pain I can recall having felt in my life and I have given birth twice.

I don't remember doing anything to cause this. Last Monday and Tuesday I worked on refinishing a dresser. On Monday, I did a normal amount of bending, but did not stand with my back bent for any extended period. On Tuesday morning I gave blood. Much later in the day I worked on the dresser again. I did spend some time bent over using an electric sander. Maybe bending for a few minutes, standing for a few minutes alternating over an hour or hour and a half. I am healthy and have never had any problems, so I didn't think doing something like that would cause any problems.

I woke up for just a moment on Wednesday night with a little low back pain; but, I went right back to sleep. I woke up on Thursday morning with bad pain. Every step I took hurt. Sometimes when I took a step I would get a stabbing pain in my low back. Throughout the day the pain became worse and I had trouble sitting for extended periods. I took a vicodin before bed and slept well. On Friday morning I woke up to considerably less pain; but, by the time I left for work at about nine, I was hurting badly. I headed home at one because I couldn't stand sitting in my desk chair and couldn't concentrate because all I could think about was the pain. I laid down when I got home and took vicodin. When I woke up on Saturday I had no pain. Again, as the day wore on I began to hurt a little. By about two the pain was full blown. Yesterday (Sunday), same thing. I woke up with absolutely no pain. By lunchtime I was having trouble sitting comfortably. As the day progressed the pain became so bad it nearly brought me to tears. I laid down at about 5:30, went to bed at about ten and woke up with just a bit of pain this morning. So, laying down seems to help considerably.

I know that lower back pain usually passes without medical intervention and I really don't want to be a complainer; but, the intensity of the pain concerns me. This just can't be some muscle strain. Can it? Maybe I am just a big baby. That is easy for me to say at 9:30 in the morning, when the pain is just irritating. By late afternoon, though, I think I will be in so much pain again that I will be close to tears.

Nothing is comfortable. When I sit it hurts, so I stand. After I have stood for a few minutes it hurts and I just want to sit again. As I said, laying down definitely helps. Not right away, but after I have been prone for a while. Once the pain is full blown I can't bend. Every motion hurts. The area has not been tender to the touch, although it seems to be starting to feel that way this morning. The pain is now in my upper back just a little and in my thighs. That feels like muscle strain. I think that is from the way I have been carrying myself over the past few days. I am probably putting strain on the rest of my body.

Can pain this intense be just regular low back strain? I can certainly keep taking pain killers and laying down when it gets bad for a few weeks if it is going to go away, as everyone says back strain does. It just hurts so bad. Is that normal?

Thanks for reading.


  • Sorry you are finding yourself in this predicament. You ask lots of good questions which are all difficult to answer!

    Sometimes back pain that is of a muscular nature can be very intense. You might want to look through the following article:

    Maybe with the 4th coming up, you will have an opportunity to rest more than usual?? I guess if I were you, I would give it a bit more time before consulting with your doctor. It could be that a disk has herniated (which can also be healed by conservative treatments) or there could be some other mechanical reason for your pain. Try taking it easy for a week or two and see what happens. You can try gentle, mild stretches and walking for exercise. Ice the area several times each day to see if that provides any pain relief.

    I always find it helpful to lie on the floor to give my disks a chance to unload. One good posture is to lie flat on the floor with your hips snugged up to the edge of the couch or a chair, arms out to the side close to the body with palms facing up. Bend legs at the knee and rest calves and feet on the seat of the couch and breathe deeply and slowly for several minutes, up to 10 minutes if it feels OK. This is my "go to" position whenever my back starts to ache. It helps to realign the back and spine and opens up the disk space a bit.

    Till you find out what is causing your pain, be gentle with your back. Use good body mechanics and posture. Do not sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your back, put a pillow underneath your knees to protect the natural curve of the spine.

    Do not bend, twist or reach up overhead, and do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Avoid riding over bumpy streets, or in or on anything that will vibrate the spine. (you know...jet skies, roller coasters, roads with potholes, etc.) Drink lots of water. And try not to tense up over things.

    If it takes awhile to get in to see your doctor, you might want to go ahead and make an appointment, just in case things don't resolve on their own. You can always cancel!

    Good luck to you. Hope you are feeling better soon.

    xx Gwennie
  • You are on right site for people that can relate to your pain and have my sympathy. The hyperlink suggested by Gwennie will give you realistic hope that probablility of invasive surgury is low.

    As a suggestion be more conservative then suggested on video as you have been in pain more than a week now. See your doctor who can examine you and give you advice, order tests and provide referrals. Suggest you push for tests (do not know your insurance coverage etc) so you know what is wrong. Even if you get over this then if there is an underlying cause you need to know it. Knowledge empowers (hopefully doesn't frighten) and resuts will will be a relief or may guide physical Therapist if you need a special exercise or management routine to hopefully avoid repeating what you are going through now.

    The reason suggested straight to doctor is current personal experience. I went through a month with managable pain and then suddenly flared up to the worst I have ever experienced (Herniated disk pressing on nerve root so on OxyContin) and still there. Prehaps if rested and managed pain earlier would not be in current situation.

    Listen to your body, take care, if need sympathy you have it, and if need someone to listen am here (cannot do much else at moment but expect in different time zone) Best wishes >:D< >:D< .
  • I would suggest to you to see your Dr. I had the same type of thing, and not to scare you, because symptoms can be the sdame with different injuries, but I had three torn discs and it took the Drs 2 1/2 years to find it. I had two discs with complete annular tears and one with just tears. They caused me alot of pain, and I had to lay down most of the time or it hurt. It hurt to standk walk, sit etc. So please get checked out before you have permanent nerve damage like I do. Better safe than sorry, and there are alot of conservative treatments also. Gppd Luck and PM me if you have any specific ?.
  • I found the web page on the variability of symptoms and causes http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-back-pain-symptoms-and-treatment-options
    which answers one of your questions. I again suggest you see a doctor and get properly diagnosed. If you are properly diagnised it may impact your treatment along with the quality and speed of recovery.

    Best wishes and hope you are feeling better each day
    Terry >:D<
  • Hello Gina! One of the first signs that my back was just not right came when I was bent over a blackjack, roulette, and craps table as a dealer. Long term bending can definitely be an irritant to current back problems, but I can't say if bending was your catalyst or your cause.

    Listen to your body, and do what it tells you. Only you can tell if the pain is severe enough or if you feel it's just not "right" and warrants a doctors visit.

    I hope you feel better soon, and keep us posted!

  • Welcome to Spine-Health! :) Sorry to hear you're suffering but that's the reason most of us find this site in the first place, I guess.

    I agree with what Kat has said about you being the one who has to make the judgment call about when to see your doctor. What you describe sounds to me like muscle spasms which get worse as the day progresses, but I'm not a doctor and even if I was I wouldn't be able to give advice without having examined you. We can give you empathy, moral support and lots of hugs, though! >:D<

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • sorry about your pain ,and welcome to the bad back club! have you seen your doctor about running some test? its sound like you have some damaged to your spine and maybe require surgery.meanwhile have you tried a good TENS ? i can recommend the acticare unit .{also you and ice pack}
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