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I am exhausted.. someone please help

justin0885xjjustin0885x Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello guys,

I have been experiencing lower back pain for almost a year and half now. I was lifting 15 pounds of dumbles for triceps when I felt a sudden jolt in my leg. Two weeks later I am crippled, I cannot sit.The pain increases with increasing duration of sitting and mild during walking or laying.

I have been to physio for over 4 months, had acupuncture, 2 trigger point, 3 epidural, chiropractor care, two EMGs, 3 MRIs, and complete lower back x-rays.After all this and the diagnoses has been largely unknown. X-rays showed minor backward L4 displacement while MRI shows congenital stenosis. The symptoms, however, rules out stenosis.

My symptoms lies in deep para spinal muscles area right near the rear vertebrae displacement at L4. It seems that pulling my body apart helps to "open" that area and relieve me out of symptoms for short time (pull my front side of body upward while back side downward while lying on floor). As i let go the pulling, I get pulsating feelings in that area with increasing speed while it "closes" and start producing pain. It feels that area has a very soft moisturized piece or sometime i feel like a wound type of pain. I tried telling to my doc and they don't listen. They told me it was from S1 nerve and gave me epidural which made no difference.

I am very tired now, out of job, out of my medical school, hands hurt from everyday back massage, exhausted of using TENS, EMG, magnesium water and heat therapy, magnesium and calcium tablets, and exercising.

Everyday I spent atleast 6-7 hours working on my back to make it better, yet no avail, my hands are beginning to hurt and I can no longer sustain it. Totally exhausted and hopeless. Please, if anyone there can help, I would be dearly thankful to you.


  • anyone with advise pleaseee
  • Justin said:

    Everyday I spent atleast 6-7 hours working on my back to make it better, yet no avail, my hands are beginning to hurt and I can no longer sustain it. Totally exhausted and hopeless. Please, if anyone there can help, I would be dearly thankful to you.

    First off, welcome to Spine Health!!! There is a search box at the top of the web page that might help you out as you await for members to reply. I quoted your last as doing 6-7 hours a day working your back?!? That right there seems excessive on even a healthy back! Just my opinion there. Too much of a good thing.....

    I see you've had a lot of testing done. Have you seen a Neurologist or Orthopedist trained in spinal issues? Another description being "Fellowship" trained? If you haven't, you might consider doing so, this way a pair of eyes that work spine issues as their primary job might be of help.

    You said the images didn't show anything outstanding as to what is going on. What did the NVC/EMG show? I hope you do find out what gives you relief soon. Myself I would probably back down (no pun intended) on the physical activity, and rest. Just a few days, to see if you see improvement. Some issues physical is great, but nerves don't like being irritated. Please let us know what you find out. Again, Welcome to the site!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thank you so much for the reply Brenda and for the warmth welcoming. I am sorry to read your spine problem. It seems your in far more pain than I am.

    I haven't seen a orthopedic or a fellowship trained doctor. I did,however, saw two neurologists. In one of the EMG, it showed all my nerves were fine, several month later due to excessive muscle spasms and traction I believe, I had S1 radiculpathy. I was given 2 epidural which proved to be totally ineffective.

    A month after the ineffective epidural, I spent 20 days of bed rest while doing maximum bed rest, massage, muscle relaxant, and heat pad. It took me nearly 13 days to break most of the spasms and my legs became fine. Now i am back to my original problem which created spasms in the first place. It is some painful spot behind my para spinal muscle that just wont leave, not even with 60 mg of oral prednisone or any medicine. Only physical pull or push seems to "open" it.

    Regarding the 6-7 hours working on my back. By that, I meant I do two repetition, in the morning and before i go to bed, hot salt water bath, oil massage, 20 min of heat pad, 20 min of EMG, 30 min of TENS, back stretching and strengthening exercises 40 min. These activities seems to prevent the muscle spasms, but as soon as i sit, near the L4 left side, i feel severe pain sometimes radiating toward my stomach followed by muscle spasms. Please let me know if its still too much. I am just trying to hasten the process, i just wish i could go back to my school :(

    Thanks in advance for your kind responses! and I will definately check up with ortho and fellowship doc.
  • You're very Welcome Justin! You'll find that most around this site are absolutely wonderful and caring people! :)

    I can't of course recommend for you how to treat your pain issues, I can however 'show' you what I do if that will help? I was advised by my PT a long time ago not to do EMS/TENS more than 3 days a week, but that was post surgical. Non surgery like you are, it might be different. Remember, one stimulates the muscles, and the other the nerves. I have issues with my paraspinal nerves as well, but the L2/3 nerve root area.

    I place my electrodes between them and 'inline' with the pain towards my butt. L2/3 goes to the outer hip, outer part of the butt and wraps around the front of the thighs to the knees. Since that is the more tender area, I use it there for only 10 minutes. I then put the electrodes on the outer lower part of my hips and then 3/4 down the front of my thigh. My unit is a dual unit, so I mix 20 min TENS, take a break for 30 minutes or so, then do 20 mins of EMS. Remember, depending on how much you ramp it up, and or have your pulse rate, you can give those areas one heck of a treatment or really overwork a muscle. I've learned the SCS is a whole different animal in so far as usage - hoping I don't get to that point. :)

    As far as massaging goes, I do just gentle smoothing and rubbing - no kneading dough here! (G) Gentle stretches are good, but you got me thinking...another reason to see a Neurologist or Orthopedist that is trained in the spine - the paraspinal muscle could be irritated/swollen and once you stop stretching, it is causing stress and as such pain? Dunno, just thinking out of the box a little. Heat as you know (I think you were *in* medical school?) allows for more blood flow, where as cold restricts it and allows for reduction of swelling or inflammation? I don't see any ice in your activities. Have you tried ice?

    Other options to look at? Again, just me talking here. Since you don't have herniations or alignment issues, have you looked into Chiropractor treatment? Do you have access to a warm pool? I've found just 'walking' around in chest high water gives me great exercise, and my spine 'decompresses' a bit as the water gives me boyency. Do a search on the Internet for 'Aqua therapy exercises', and something there might be of help. Again, all of this is me a fellow spiney talking, not a medical type. :)

    Epidural's never worked for me either. Please let me know if anything above helps. Also too, please for sure keep us posted on how the Neuro or Ortho goes. Talk again soon. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I had the same initial reaction as Brenda regarding your daily regimen. Of course you know your body better than anyone. However, when I was prescribed PT (several times over the years) the max would be 3 times a week. As Brenda suggested,maybe reduce the amount of times per week and see if that helps.

    Wish I could be more helpful. Keep us posted on your progress.

  • Hi there Justin! I just wanted to take a second to assure you that you are by far not alone and that you have come to the best site on the whole web for people like us. I have read your post and the comments that follow and as I dont believe I can offer anything further at this point, I will do some research and get back to you if I am able to find anything of use. I am 4 weeks out of my second lower back surgery and not able to get around much yet, so as a means of spending time, I like to see if I can find info for others. Hang in there...
    2 low back fusions. 1 neck fusion. Lots of therapy, injections, and so on.
  • Thank you to all of your for the motivating comments. Experience is invaluable and I am sure from your long collective experiences, your much more knowledgeable in this matter than me. I will definitely cut the workup on my back by half and hopefully it may yield better results. I mean it is no harm to try something new so why not :) and it will also let my painful hands to heal from everyday massages.

    while you guys make me feel so much better, the doctors seems to discourge me all the time. They seems so unwilling to help or maybe its just me precieveing this way as i am not finding cure.

    I went to my PM doc today. I asked him to see the spot under my skin and see if there was something he could do. He said he can feel the tight muscle (spasms) on one side, but nothing he could do. He said just go to your PT. I asked him to check the spot or maybe make a incision and see whats in there or check my MRIs to see what might be in that area since the problem has been lingering for almost 2 yrs now. He said he knew what he was doing and its just muscle spasm, but reluctant on finding what might be causing it.

    I went with full enthusiasm hoping to find some help, but he did absouletly nothing for me, not even did something simple as reviewing the MRI. I am just glad I didnt put all the eggs in one bucket. I am seeing 3 doctors regularly and asking each one for help. The other two, a neurologist and cornell hospital doc, are always there for help and have expectionally sympathtic and carive attitude.

    I am putting the dots togather and Brendas comments, I believe, have taken me a step closer. I think the mositurized tissue that i had been feeling "opening" with pressure and "clossing" as I let go the pressure are swollen spasmic muscle tissue. I had always been thinking what could it be.. an organ, but if organ why does it spasms like that, always felt it near the vertebrae and clapssing on the vertebrae. Simple anatomy tells me there is no organ there. So i checked the MRI for possible blood vessel problem, both the aorta and vena cava seemed unremarkable. I just couldn;t think what might that piece possibley be that clappses but in no way felt like a muscle. Now with Bredas' new insight I think it could possibly be a very swollen ("moisturzied feelings") piece of muscle located near the spinaous process where my pain is. I believe, since I had been sitting long hours, 10-14 hrs while in my school, it may have impeded the muscles from ever getting a chance to heal up while causing a chain event with recruitig nearbly muscles to go into spasms also.

    You guys are much more experienced with this than i am, Therefore, I kindly ask you my friends and would really appriciate for an advise and see if my ideas make any sense. If this might be the cause, I might just get botox injection on that spot.

    Thank you guys!! Thanks alot.
  • This one comment caught my eye:

    X-rays showed minor backward L4 displacement

    Did they do flexion/extension x-rays, i.e., take x-rays with you bending forward and backward? These are done to look for spondylolisthesis, a vertebrae slips over the top of the vertebrae below. Search here for more info on this. I had horrible spasms and had this diagnosis. It usually requires a fusion to stabilize the spine again.

    Best wishes,

  • Glad to be able to help or give ideas that can help. :) The experiences you will see here are "medical" based on hard knocks of 'being there, doing that' type of lives. Most of us have been 'pushed' off by doctors, or told it was in our heads, or 'that' it's not that bad etc. As I've learned from working in law enforcement, a case (be it law or medical etc.) is BEST known by the subject of that case most times!

    What I mean is *we* the patient are very much in tune with out bodies, and as such try to express that to our doctors. The doctors (they are like the jury to give you a picture) listen, but only record like 60% of what you tell them! They then formulate what they believe they've heard and go from there. When they do that, we get frustrated and try once again to "give him the picture"... Or, we say this, but they believe that (hear that). Same for reports, they respect the colleagues who read and interpret reports, and as such when *we* see something different on our images, we get blown off many times...some doctors do look at the images however (My NS is like that) and make their own opinions, and use the reports as further guidance. The only thing I can suggest, as many of us have done, is you have to be your own "best" patient advocate and keep looking for answers.

    I am glad to hear you are going to back down on some of your 'daily' activities. As I mentioned, a 'good' back might fuss at you with what all you are doing! :) ICE, heat, pools, resting, gentle stretching, a little TENS/EMS, warm baths, gentle rubbing....:) Now just try and get with a spinal specialist to give you a true evaluation. :) Please let us know if any of this was of help in the interim. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Justin,

    Just to clarify. What I was getting at with all the moisture and heat, was the muscle *if* that is what is being irritated (paraspinal), constant heat could continue the inflammation issues. Adding ice was to give the swelling a chance to go down, which of course changes the dynamics of how that muscle group is being affected by your spine and other muscles, and hopefully giving your pain a bit of a break. I didn't mention vessels or organs. Waaaayyyy above my pay grade there! Humm.. and now retired, that pay grade is lower! (G)

    Think of it like a black eye. Heat lets the blood run through to heal and give nutrients, and then we pop some ice on it to get the bruise to go down by now restricting blood flow and taking down the swelling - using that analogy with your back a bit. I am so hoping it is a muscle that has been the culprit, so figuring this might be of help. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • marirlpn said:
    This one comment caught my eye:

    X-rays showed minor backward L4 displacement

    Did they do flexion/extension x-rays, i.e., take x-rays with you bending forward and backward? These are done to look for spondylolisthesis, a vertebrae slips over the top of the vertebrae below. Search here for more info on this. I had horrible spasms and had this diagnosis. It usually requires a fusion to stabilize the spine again.

    Best wishes,


    Hi Marianne,

    Thanks for the reply. I did have complete back x-rays, however I showed it to two docs and they both ruled out muscle spasms due to rear displacement. One said it was minor and anyone could have this yet not notice.
    I think it might be that.. or something else in there yet to be found.

    My diagnose is complicated for several reasons.
    One day I was in the hospital working and there was a patient that arrived with unknown disease. Like other curious students, I took a peak and started talking to their family members. Fourteen days later I was sick in the hospital of unknown problem.

    107.5 fever for 25 days. After countless failed exams, including spinal tap and bone marrow biopsy.. i was put on a heavy dose of steroids. I was already very weak and the steroid must've weakened my body more. Two weeks later i was carrying 3 coke can boxes and i felt a jolt in between my big toe and the next toe finger. I was on such a heavy steroid dose I put the boxes down and kept moving like nothing had happen. Even if it had.. I would not have noticed with 120mg of steroid lol. Then ten days later I cannot sit.. the pain increased while my sitting decreased... and now down to 1 hour a day at most 1 hour that with couple of intervals.

    My career killed me.. I just hate my life now. :(
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