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Lumbar Spasms Diagnosis

kalaniwavokkalaniwavo Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
Alright, so let me start by saying I just joined this forum in hopes of finding support and exactly what may be wrong with me. Any information would be very much appreciated!

Here's my story. 3 months ago I was completely 100% healthy. I'm a surfer and skydiver and have been excercising and stretching regularly for most of my adult life. I'm 29 yrs old and have never had a back injury or issue other than minor aches with my back.

One day I bent over to pick up a small screw and had the most excruciating pain in my lower back. It was as if someone stabbed me in the spine (very specific as it was just below my pantline) and also an extremely painful muscle spasm on both sides of my lower back. I was stuck in pain. Since that day I've had to stop surfing, skydiving, riding my bike, etc.. Any activity which requires my lower back to flex will result in an incapacitating spasm and extreme pain.

I've been going to physical therapy for 8 weeks now and went on a round of prednisone for 15 days(60mg) about a month and half ago. It relieved the pain but immediately when I started stepping down the dose the pain came back. Its progressively gotten worse over these 3 months to the point that I have trouble walking, sitting down and standing up and have had trouble sleeping at night.

I had an MRI about a week ago and the doctors were very surprised when I had no disc injuries and only a minor bulge in my L4-L5 with no nerve compression.... Basically the doctors said they don't know where the pain is coming from. and I really have no ideo what to do now.

One other thing that may be unusual is I have a hard time standing up straight. my back is extremely arched so that my butt sticks out and I'm kind of bent over and sometimes off the one side.

What do you guys think? Could I have a problem in my hips or sacrum cocyx area? To tell you the truth I'm pretty scrared about this whole thing.. its been 3 months and has only gotten worse and my life, including my job, revolves around the outdoors and being physically active. I've been jumping thru the hoops to recover to no avail.... plaese any information would be greatly appreciated!



  • Welcome to Spine Health!

    My first thought when reading this was, how did your doctor rule out the disc as the problem since there was an abnormality at L4/5 on the MRI? I guess I'm just curious because your symptoms are classic for discs (as I'm sure the doctors told you, and you've probably gathered from reading online). The MRI showed a bulging disc, so I'm a little confused why the doctors are telling you there is no disc injury. There are nerves in the wall of the disc itself so even if the nerve roots aren't compressed the disc can cause localized back pain. Don't let the word "minor" lead you to believe that something small can't cause excruciating pain- the size of the abnormality does not necessarily correlate to the amount of pain it can cause.

    If I were you, I would definitely press to find out if this could be coming from the L4-5 bulge they saw on the MRI before looking for an alternate explanation. You may need to take the film for a second opinion even. If so, it usually just takes time for these things to heal. In the meantime though, if they can diagnose it as the disc, then they can hopefully offer you some options for pain control while you give it time to heal (physical therapy which you are doing, epidurals, etc...). The good news is you are *very* early into this, so I wouldn't panic yet.

    Best of luck, and welcome to Spine Health!

  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Just to add another point of view, I was also having severe back pain and also pain in my hips that radiated down the back of both legs. My MRI showed only a disc bulge at L4/5, but the problem for me was severe stenosis and facet inflamation with the lubrication gone on the facets, causing bone on bone. I also had sponylolisthesis. My TLIF was to fix those problems and my surgeon didn't even touch my disc, thinking that without the pressure it would heal itself.

    So I'm just saying that in the lumbar spine, there can be many things that can cause pain besides having a bad disc.

    I'd suggest finding a spine specialist, preferably a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, either ortho or neuro, but one that only works on the spine. In any case, I'd be getting more opinions. Some members have had to have 3 or more opinions from different spine doctors/surgeons to find the one that actually sees what problems you're having.

    For the record, nobody here can or is even allowed to diagnose others or read MRIs. We aren't doctors and can only offer help through our own personal experiences and opinions.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • I have had similar pain, and it has been from the pelvic joints locking up. Usually on one side, then it spreads across the back.
    Can be very sharp if I've overdone it and the muscles are tight.
    I know now when it has gone and go to the chiro straight away before it gets bad.
    It is a very common problem, and a good physio or any chiropractor can put it back into place very easily.
    After that is done, have a remedial massage to get the muscles settled down.
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