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Tips on how you get over back pain episode/flair up????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi. I'm a new guy here. Glad I found these forums I hope I can learn and share here along with everyone here. I have gone through many posts here and I can tell there are many that are truly suffering every single day and my heart goes out to you. I hope that I can still get some advice here even if my pain is sporadic, for now at least.

I have an undiagnosed lower back problem. Still not sure what the source of my pain is after my first episode over 2 years ago and seeing many types of docs, 4 chiros, an MRI and EMG nerve test (both "normal), couple of rounds of PT.

All I know at this point is I tend to set my back pain off when I carry heavy objects at an awkward angle. This last time I was loading and unloading plants and compost into and out of my car and that did me in. This year I have set it off 3 times and I'm really down about it but staying optimistic because I know I will more or less be back to "normal" eventually.

So I'm about 1 week in, my lower back of course aches and aches and I have on and off aching pain in the lower part of my leg and some numbness in my foot (left). The pain is generally not unbearable, at it's worst sometimes I get this feeling like a butter knife is being jabbed into my back but luckily this doesn't happen very often. This time around the stabbing pain hasn't reared it's ugly head yet.

At this point I know I am going to be in various levels of pain for the next month before this settles down and I have to be extra careful about posture, activity level, and lay off any type of lifting heavy objects.

My routine in the past has been taking Aleve and lots of walking each day. Normally I run a few miles couple times a week and play racquetball but I lay off these until I know I'm better.

I was wondering if fellow sporadic back pain sufferers here had any tips they could share on what they do to nurse themselves back to some normalcy.

I would like to hold out hope that I can get over this faster than the 4-6 weeks it has taken in the past. I know my wife and son would appreciate it too.

Thanks for your time and looking forward to your wisdom!


  • have you tried icing the area or using heat, i like my wheat bag, try alternating them and see which helps best, walking is good, pacing yourself is the quickest way forward, rest, do a bit of walking or very gentle stretching and rest again,
  • when my back was like yours i used to use a back brace when i had to put strain on it. hope you can give it a rest...pete
    by the way a very minor disc problem may not show up on mri so be careful...
  • Thanks for the responses. I have not found ice or heat to help at all, sometimes I have felt worse after using one or the other. For me it seems like leaving my back alone all together seems to be the safest bet. I used to try to massage my back and that really really aggravated things!

    Pete, what kind of back brace should I look for, I am definitely up for trying that. I also think I must have some sort of disc problem, not sure what else it could be. It sounds like this could become a more severe issu if I am not careful?? So far each episode has followed the same script, same levels of pain, same duration. Maybe I should be thankful its not getting worse at least!

    Thanks again.
  • i used to use an elastic/nylon wrap that went around your waist and was held tight with velcro. its almost like a corset. then for added support i would add 3 belts on top of the brace. i think they cost about 40 dollars. the braces the guys use who work for home depot are similar
  • For myself - Physio-therapy is were I start, after a flare-up. I find they can get me in quickly, sometimes faster than the Dr. This gets me working on exercises that may improve the issue. I saw the note about ice and heat not helping. I use a wieghtlifters belt from time to time too. As Pete said, its like a corset effect.

    My sweetheart has a corset and also has sciatic pain as well. The funny thing for her, is that wearing the corset stops the sciatica in its tracks. She has no injuries to her back, just this little nagging pain.

    Cheers - C45
  • have you tried a good TENS machine ?
    acticare is the one i use and well worth a try
  • Please be very careful if you try bracing. A brace takes over for the muscles that are supposed to support everything. Using the brace too frequently allows those muscles to become weak and unable to properly support the spine.

    So it becomes a vicious cycle. You wear the brace to calm things down, but weaken the muscle that normally support. So when you remove the brace because you feel better, you reinjure yourself because the muscles were too weak to support you.

    Just my $.02

  • I rest a lot, usually on my side in the fetal position. Heat helps me. If I can get up, an extremely hot shower helps. I've even just sat on my knees in the tub and let the hot water hit my back. I also take 4 Advil.
  • I have a lot of this too, especially after doing certain activities that involve twisting.
    The only remedy that I have found is t get a chiropractic treatment, to either put the joint back into place, or to free up the sacroiliac joint.

    Once there is a problem with a joint being out of place, nothing will give relief until it is put back.
    The chiro does a simple test by looking at the lower back dimples as you raise each leg in turn.
    A locked PI joint is easy for them to see.
    I've just had mine freed up, and while still very sore it is getting better.
    Walked like a crab for a while, and so sore.
    Going back tomorrow for a follow up to make sure it is free still.
    If you are lifting any thing heavy, use your legs and DO NOT TWIST the back.
    Once damaged though you are prone to recurrences, and it gets easier to cause injury.
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