First of all I'd like to say thanks to the mods and all the members in here who contribute to this forum...it truly is an excellent resource.
Secondly, I've been using the search function and will continue to do so in an effort to try and find people with problems similar to mine, however, I haven't found anything that specifically relates to my issue, so hopefully there are some "compadres" out there. Meanwhile I'll keep looking. Anyway, here goes:
Competetive athlete since I was a kid in swimming and tennis.
First started back problems at 20 or so- was lifting something very heavy and felt a tear or rip. Back locked up for a few days to a week, and then I felt fine and it pretty much went back to normal after a few days.
Later on started having issues more frequently- back would "pull" and seize up where one muscle on one side would pull me out of whack, to the point where I'd be twisted for a few days and pretty much totally out of commission. Once again, being an athlete we tend to ignore pain or just fight through it, and I did this for a long time. Needless to say, I did very little in the way of preventative maintenance because, well, no one wants to to core exercises as we all know; we'll just attribute it to a torn muscle and suck it up, and then slowly go back to our old routine. So this pattern continued for many years until now.
A few years ago, I had some chiropractic work done, and the chiropractor confirmed that I had disk degeneration and that I was out of alignment. More recently, I had another x-ray which confirmed that the disk has degenerated a lot, but the orhtopedic surgeon did some tests and gave me some exercises and basically said surgery is a last resort for people who are having debilitating pain and/or can't walk, or their quality of life is really negatively affected.
Anyway, fast-forward to now, and I've been pretty much able to manage my back to the point where I can recognize when I'm about to have a bout of pain or when my muscles are getting tight, so thankfully I haven't been in a situation that has put me out of commission for days at a time.
However, now I get these intermittent spasms in my lower back, to the point where they jolt me like an electric shock and I have to "take a knee". I then wait about 10 seconds or so and it goes away, and then I can resume walking or whatever. Usually when this starts happening I'm pretty good at anticipating it and I'll just take it easy for awhile. So in general I can move around pretty well, and walking and working out I generally don't have a problem, but then out of the blue I'll get this jolt, and it's starting to have a profound psychological effect on me. The jolts have been happening for years, but now they seem to happen more frequently. I've read a few things about possible symptoms, from annular tearing which can lead to nerve fiber-ingrowth, to pressure on the nerve or fluid on the nerve causing the pain reaction. One other possiblity is that it is stress-related. And lately it does seem to happen in close proximity to stress-inducing events, so maybe there is something to that...although that could also be a little bit of subjective validation on my part.
So does anyone else have experience with this? Everything I've read about acute pain seems to be different than what I'm experiencing, because I do not have intense pain for weeks or even days at a time. I have flashes of a spasm for a few seconds and then nothing afterwards. Maybe some muscle tightness but no lingering pain. Thanks for reading this and hope to hear from some you out there.
Note: I have been slowly trying to get back into doing the exercises and looking into the possiblity of yoga, but generally speaking I've always been pretty bad about doing the maintenance work. But part of that is just me being disillusioned, and not believing that anything will help, thus I tend to give up something after a few days if my back doesn't improve, even though I know it should be something that I do for life. I guess there's so much info and so many specialists out there that I'm suffering from paralysis by analysis (to use a horrible pun).