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New to lower back pain - See a doctor??? Need advice...

lann888llann888 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:51 AM in Lower Back Pain
This is all new to me, and would some advice before I go racking up my deductible...

Today is Friday. On Wed. Night, I was vacuuming and bent over & across the vacuum to pick up a penny. When I bent over, I felt a pop in my lower back, right above my buttocks, on the left side. Within minutes, the most excrutiating pain set in, all across my lower back. It steadily got worse... hot, burning, gnawing pain. It rendered me immobile. However, lying down hurt too. On my tummy, side, back...all hurt. Within an hour, the pain started radiating down my left leg. Down the outside of my left thigh, knee, and into my calf & foot. The leg pain was the greatest on my outer thigh. Throughout Wed. Night into Thurs morning, it was nearly impossible to walk, sit, or roll over in bed. The worst part of it all, is with my extensive stomach ulcer history, I cannot take nsaids of any kind. So all I am able to take throughout this ordeal is tylenol. However, on Thurs morning, my mother gave me one of her Flector patches, which I deemed safe to use since its a transdermal nsaid...bypassing my sensitive stomach. I also tried her TENS unit for 2 hours (one hour at a time). That helped the pain greatly for at least 3 hours. I seemed to improve slightly throughout Thursday, with a setback last night (thurs night) due to bending over once too far. This morning, Friday, I awoke stiff, but in much less pain. A 4 on a scale of 1-10, as opposed to the initial 10. I am hopeful today, that perhaps this will pass on its own without the need of a doctor, but have now noticed a slight popping noise in the spot of pain, every time I take a step. Its not debilitating like before. But the popping with every step worries me.

So that's my story... would love any advice from anyone who has traveled this road. Also would love some input on this popping when I take a step.

Thanks so much,


  • Sorry to hear you hurt yourself. First of all stop bending! Instead crouch down to pick up something or lean over with one leg in the air but best to crouch remember crouching tiger. If you need to lift something crouch down to lift it and hold it close to your body. Ice ice ice is the best to do every 20 minutes or how much you can tolerate every 2-4 hours to help take down and swelling. If the pain is bad or the numbing tingling in your leg does not go away go see your Dr. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I totally agree with Charry about the ice--I use it constantly. It really helps.

    I think a doctor's visit would be wise.
  • I totally agree with Charry about the ice--I use it constantly. It really helps.

    I think a doctor's visit would be wise.
  • Since the pain is improving, be sure to avoid bending and use ice like noted above. I think you'll improve quickly.

    I think the popping is unusual and probably why sassy and charry recommended a doctor visit. Ligaments and joints can pop with movement, and probably discs can too but harder for me to imagine that. There are certain conditions that show up on plain spine films which could help explain your symptoms and possibly help you know how to proceed from here.

    It's great you have access to a TENS unit. I'm keeping mine around in case anyone else in the family might need it later. I think it should be used usually only with a doctor's advice, since some back problems are not treatable with this (say a spine infection or hemorrhage). If your symptoms are nearly gone after just a few days, the likelihood of a more serious cause (logic would say) is less. Good luck.
  • I agree with all the above, Ice is very important in relieving the pain as it helps reduce inflammation. It is recommended that you place the ice on the pain area for 10 minutes at a time, not more than that.

    It sounds like you have an issue with the joints in your back. Do you still have the pain (numbness and tingling) down your leg? is it in both legs?

    It has been a few days now? How are you feeling? Did you see a doctor, chiropractor etc?
  • Thanks everyone...

    And Nore, yes it's been a week now and I'm still experiencing the same pain. I am able to move around and walk now, but it's still there. Also the numbness and tingling is both legs now. I went to my GP yesterday... she did an xray in her office. No fractures... did some sensory tests to rule out Cauda Equina Syndrome. All clear there... thank goodness. Gave me an order to get a MRI of my lumbar spine. Then today she called to say that her radiologist reviewed my xray and noticed that I have some bones in my sacrum that aren't fused together like they should be. Diagnosis of Spina Bifida Occulta. She said it could just be a coincindence and have nothing to do with my pain, but still I'm worried. I will post my MRI results when I get them. (scheduled for 3/15) Wish me luck!
  • You are supposed to get it fully diagnosed first before going for any guesses. Because lower back pains are worst and many people are suffering now just because of their ignorance at start. They are immovable now. Get into the real problem asap.

    Also apart form medications you can go for physical therapies too. Such as Inversion therapy which has worked for lots of people in EDITED. These are very simple techniques which just reduce the stress on spinal and gives relief.

    Spam link not allowed. Removed by authority member, Cath111.
  • I am having the same issue, started two and a half weeks ago. On a scale 1-10 I experienced a 10 in pain down my leg, specifically in my shin area. My Dr put me on a nerve pain prescription as narcotic pain killers don't Do anything for the pain other than knock you out (which helps for about three hours). Today I had an MRI and found that L3 is severly herniated. I see my orthopedic/spine specialist on Monday.

    I'm curiious what did you find out from your MRI? I hope you are feeling better. The nerve pills have kicked in and have certainly given me some much needed comfort.

    Good luck
  • ... just another spammer...
  • Using ice is good. But as soon as possible please consult to doctor. he will suggest you the best.

  • Got the MRI done. Here's what it says:
    The sagittal images of the lumbar spine demonstrate normal bony alignment. There is no evidence of a lumbar pars defect. The conus is normal in size, contour and position. Note is made of a left sacral perineural cyst at S2 measuring 2.3 x 1.0 cm in diameter. This is only seen on the sagittal images since axial images didn't include this portion of the spine.
    There is mild degenerative disc disease at L5-S1 with mild loss in disc height and disc signal. This is associated with shallow posterior central disc bulging in the midline with high signal in the posterior annulus at the 6:00 position suggestive of a partial posterior annular tear. This only results in minor ventral effacement of epidural fat at L5-S1 and does not result in central canal stenosis or neural foraminal stenosis.
    The sagittal and axial images at L4-L5 demonstrate trace posterior annular disc bulging with high signal in the posterior annulus from the 5:00 to the 7:00 position consistent with a partial posterior annular tear/degeneration. This, however, is not associated with a disc herniation, abnormal disc signal, central canal stenosis or neural foraminal stenosis.
    Otherwise, essentially a normal MRI of the lumbar spine.

    1. There is mild L5-S1 degenerative disc disease as demonstrated by mild loss in disc height and disc signal. This is associated with trace posterior central disc bulging. This, however, does not result in significant central or neural foraminal encroachment and therefore is of doubtful significance in terms of lumbar radiculopathy.
    2. At L4-L5, there is minimal posterior annular degeneration as detailed above. This results in trace ventral flattening of the thecal sac without significant central canal encroachment or neural foraminal encroachment.
    3. Otherwise, essentially normal MRI of the lumbar spine.
    4. There is left-sided S2 sacral perineural cyst as detailed above which most likely represents an incidental finding.

    My pain has improved... and without all the severe burning and shooting down my leg, I'm actually able to pinpoint the origin of the pain better. It's not even on the center of my spine. It's much lower, into the left buttocks. So now I'm wondering if I should've had my sacral or pelvic area scanned too?

    My doctor hasn't called yet. I was able to get a copy of the report directly from the MRI place. I also work at a pain clinic, and one doc took a look at my MRI CD and said he noticed disc dessication on one disc. But couldn't figure out what the giant white spot was!? Well, now we know that's the cyst. Another doc at my pain clinic read the report and said it wasn't bad... had me get on the table to do a straight leg raise and such, and of course it hurt.. I showed the origin of my pain in my left buttocks and he thinks it's a SI joint problem. Only problem is this doc always says SI joint to every patient. lol! He still may right though. I'm on Flexeril and Lortab right now. The pain isn't debilitating unless I bend wrong, then I'm out for an hour at least. But I'm concerned about future problems given the MRI report, as well. Both docs showed some stretches, core exercises, and said to lose weight. Offered to do epidural injections on either lumbar or SI joint if pain continues. I'm certainly not jumping into anything too quickly. I'm only 3 weeks out on this pain... I will give it at least 2 months before I decide on anything that involves needles. ;) But I'm a little concerned about this cyst. I googled it, and of course found tons of stuff. Tarlov cyst. Most docs write it off... dont' think they cause pain. Hard to treat. Yada, yada. What if this is the cause of my pain? Anyone familiar with these cysts?

    Thanks for your time and advice.....

  • Have you tried a chiropractor? Not a quacky one but a really good knowledgeable one? Or what about accupunctor? I haven't tried accupunctor but most people swear by it with this type of pain.

    Ice always helps but you can only ice so much. Also try a lite exercise in swimming. Maybe you can loosen up the muscles so you can start to stretch out your glutes and hamstrings. Sometimes those muscle get tight and pull on the hips and lower back.

    Good luck.
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