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Help Needed Regarding Lower Back Pain

OTSOOTS Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi guys,

First time poster to the forum, and I am hoping to get some feedback on some pain I've been experiencing in the mid-to-lower back. I have not yet consulted a doctor regarding this, and I do not have any idea as to what problem I have. The following is the background to the problem:

In general, I've been experiencing mild-to-moderate pain in my mid-to-lower back on a regular basis for some time now (one year or more). The frequency variates, but generally speaking I would say it's something I have roughly once per week. I do not do manual work for a living -- I'm an attorney -- and hence this is not the source of my pain, but when I do lifting and pulling it can and does aggravate my back at times.

The pain itself is never severe, but it is fairly discomforting and it does restrict my mobility quite a bit when it strikes. It is not a sharp, piercing pain, but just a general pain that occurs in different locations of the mid-to-lower back. Sometimes the pain comes on the left, sometimes on the right, and every now in again it is in the middle. I generally take a couple of Aleves -- I took two Doans tonight -- and that will usually relieve the pain to the point to where I have no major pain and / or limitations in my range of motion, though it doesn't completely alleviate things.

Also, I should add that I have had significant weight loss in recent years. Circa 2008 I weighed roughly 360 pounds, but since then I have slimmed down considerably, and this morning I tipped the scales at 255. I need to lose another 35+ pounds, I know, and I realize that the weight is only adding further strain to my back, but interestingly enough I find that I have more frequent back pain now than I did back when I was 100+ pounds heavier. Normally I would expect the opposite to happen, but unfortunately that has not been the case.

For what it is worth, I will also add that my father has had back issues throughout his life -- I discussed this with him, and he said he has never gotten a definitive diagnosis on his back -- so I fear that it may be something genetic afflicting me. Additionally, I have also never been involved in a serious accident, nor have I sustained any injuries to the back involving blunt force trauma. Moreover, I never have any shooting pain going down my leg, so I am assuming I have no nerve / disc issues, and the curvature of my spine is normal.

Based on this, do you guys have any advice on what the problem might be? Given the recurring nature, I imagine there is some sort of underlying structural issue, and I'm trying to pinpoint the cause so I can address it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Its almost impossible to make any valid input on what you have posted.
    Have you had any medical diagnostic testing done?
    MRI, CTScan, EMG, etc
    Have you seen any doctor regarding this?

    Please remember, none of us our medical professionals here.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • As I wrote in the first sentence of my post, I have not consulted with a doctor regarding this issue, and hence there is nothing in the way of an MRI or anything of the sort. With all due respect and no offense intended, if I had consulted a doctor and / or had extensive medical testing done on my back, I would not be consulting a message board for feedback.

    In any event, I'm aware that there may be no medical professionals here and I am fully aware that any information here does not constitute medical advice, but nevertheless I was hoping for some general feedback as to possibilities based upon the symptoms that I described. If you or anyone else can do that in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.
  • The best thing I've been told was walk everyday around the block for exercise and never bend over without lifting your other leg or instead crouch down and pick something up. Think crouching tiger. Had I had known that I could've saved my back. My pain started as on and off pain also 3 months before my injury and I was taking Robax Platinum at night and sparingly through the day at work because it made me so tired. Always hold the arms of the chair or bed or couch while getting up to support your back.

    Best to see a medical Dr. first rather than go to a Chiropractor and like Ron says they may do some of these tests on you or try Physiotherapy first. If you have a strain in your muscle your Dr. may give you prescription Naproxen on a regular basis well this is what my Dr. did for me but your Dr. would make a diagnosis and prescribe if he felt necessary. You can alternate heat and ice on and off for 15-20 minutes a day 4x day as it's helpful for pain. It's great you've lost the weight and I know for me it's a lifelong struggle. Best wishes for that. 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
  • From what you have said there are a few things that come to mind that COULD trigger your back pain.

    a) Does your work involve alot of sitting? If so, are you able to get up and walk around for a few minutes every 30-60 minutes? This might help to relieve the pressure on your spine.

    b) As your dad has also had back issues, it could be genetic (I was told this could be a possibility with one of my own back issues).

    c) As silly as it might sound, losing alot of weight can increase your back pain. This happened to me also (I've lost 5 stones over the past 2 years). Basically, if you've been overweight for many years then your body tends to accommodate it and over time, gets used to a certain posture that you deal with, without any problems, quite unknowingly. If you lose weight quickly, then your body has to re-adjust and in doing so, your posture could change and therefore your core muscles might have to work differently to compensate. Does this makes sense?

    Obviously these are only my observations based on my own experiences and, of course, your circumstances could be completely different. As you've experienced back discomfort for over a year now, I can only recommend you seek professional advice so that the required tests/images can be taken that would help you to alleviate your back pain once a definitive diagnosis is known.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • What's that 'cool' smiley face doing in my post. It should have been a 'b', sorry.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • hey there,

    Sue has some good things to think bout.
    Many people suffer from lower back pain and as they age, it does tend to flare up. It doesn't mean that you have anything drastically wrong but it is important to be aware and consult a doctor.

    I agree sitting all day can put added stress on your back, especially if you don't have a good ergonomic environment. I have revised my work area to be more ergonomically suitable with a new chair, option to sit or stand, better keyboard, et. I also drink much more water so that I am forced to get up every 30-45 mins to walk around (yes, to go to the bathroom) because you really shouldn't sit for more than 1-hour at a time.

    You also want to be sure you have strong core muscles and that you use proper lifting techniques. You mentioned you are typically sore after lifting. If you aren't generally active and only occassionally lift things, I think what you are experiencing seems rather normal.

    But, like Ron said, it's tough for any one of us to say "worry" or "don't worry". You might have inflammation...especially since Advil or Alleve work.

    You might want to ask your general practioner if he can recommend an orthopedic spine doctor in your area. If this isn't possible, perhaps even your own GP can prescribe a few physical Therapy sessions so you can be assessed by a physical therpaist who will teach you how to safely lift, stretch, workout in a way to protect your back. He may even give you some helpful strengthening exercises.

    It doesn't mean you are genetically doomed if your father has back pain too. I think some crazy number like 70% of aging Americans have back pain. The question is, how much is it effecting your life and what is the underlying cause.

    Just for more info...an MRI might reveal some hints but typically they combine the MRI with your symptoms.

    My only personal advice (aside from seeing a specialist) is that it is worth keeping your core strong, taking all conservative measures, and being careful bending, twisting, lifting....for the lower back, I did everything to avoid surgery and did so quite successfully for 17+ years.
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