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Lower Back and Spasms

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
edited 10/16/2013 - 10:07 AM in Lower Back Pain
Opened on behalf of JonnieSconnie The original thread was closed down because of forum violators, not the OP

Hello, I am a 50 yr old male.

Sorry for this lengthy post. Thank you for reading.

Since my early 20s I occassionally have issues with back pain that randomly turns into a spasm. The pain is in my lower back and always seeming to originate near the muscles where the top of my pelvic bones and spine come together. Spasms occur during moments of slight bending (reaching low for something, bending to hit a golf shot, etc). Once in spasm I'm hurting for weeks. I've seen a handful of general practitioners in the last 25 years who have all sent me to physical therapists. Each therapist has varying techniques on what to do and why I continue to have these spasms. Over the years I've been told to strengthen my core (which was a common therapy), stretch the muscles in my back, strengthen the back muscles, stretch my glutes. etc.

Now that I'm older the back pain is more frequent and for about the last 6 months or more I have pain nearly every day. Sitting is the only thing that brings relief. Sleeping and standing have become a nightmare. As long as I'm moving it seems to be OK. However I have plantar fascitiis (for the last 7 years or so) and being on my feet a lot becomes painful so I tend to sit down a lot.

Last fall I had another bad spasm and thus saw a therapist for about 3 months. After that I took about 3 months off from doing the exercises once it started to feel better but 6 months ago the daily pain returned and so I started back on my regiment. 3 weeks ago my back spasmed again. It is disheartening to do these exercises only to continue to have every day pain and then a spasm.

I have a clicking in my lower back when I try to do the therapy exercises that I have to be cautious of so as not to have whatever is moving in there move. Supposedly that is what is irritating my back. The therapist said what I'm feeling when I feel that click/pop is
a disc slipping, thus causing the nerves around there to become irritated. I move the wrong way, the disc slips and the body goes into spasm to protect the spine.

There is no pain shooting to other parts of my body. Nothing down my legs or buttocks. So I'm lucky in that respect. But I am still at a loss on how to truly make my back get better. Therapy helps a little.

I am overweight (5'7", 205 pounds) and could stand to lose around 25-30 pounds to be an ideal weight. But I doubt that is going to help stop the spasms. I would get them even when I was carrying a better weight. Seeing I've been doing therapy on and off for over 25 years I have a 6 pack abdomen under all that weight.

I haven't had my back X-rayed in over 20 years and I've never had an MRI done on my back.

The last therapist said the tendons get weaker and stretched out as we age. Although I've had this problem since I was still fairly young. His advice is to strengthen my core even more.

I'm wondering what direction should I take to find more help for my problem?

Should I see a back specialist instead of just general practioners and physical therapists?
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


  • JonnieSconnieJJonnieSconnie Posts: 5
    edited 10/16/2013 - 10:08 AM
    'll state this again. I've had back problems and plantar problems when I was in better shape (168 pounds). I've had the back problem since I was in my early 20s. My issues certainly aren't helped by my weight but I won't get much better after I lose a few pounds.

    As far as the BMI scale .. that thing is a crock. This is a scale used for everyone regardless of gender or body type. I know guys 5'7" that have a lean body (little muscle) and for them BMI may be a proper scale. I AM NOT lean. I have a muscular build and my optimal weight is probably around 175. At 175 BMI still lists me in the overweight category.

    Even at 205 I have people that tell me I don't look that overweight. I am not carrying all of it in my midsection. I have a large chest, arms and legs where the weight I carry is evenly distributed. Ahk, why am I arguing this moot point.

    Is there anyone out there who has issues with this slippage issue and subsequent back spasms?

    My current regiment given to my by physical therapists isn't rectifying the issue. I know it will never be 100% but what they're suggesting doesn't appear to be working at all. My back continues to get worse.
  • You may want to look into to seeing a Physiatrist/Rehabilitation Physician
    The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together after injury or disease – without surgery. If they can not help you they will refer you to a surgeron.


    Hope this helps and you can find some answers.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
  • That was a great suggestion from Mama-Shue
    Jonnie, i am praying that you will get help and relief from your pain very soon.
    We are compassionate and caring people here on this forum and we truly offer our support and sincere concern for you.
    God bless
  • Helen3Helen3 Posts: 205
    edited 10/16/2013 - 1:51 PM
    Get MRI...see what they say.
  • Helen3 is correct in stating that a MRI should be performed and a physiatrist will be able to order one along with x-rays and any other tests that are needed. In my experience most insurance companies want you to try every non-invasive aspect first before surgery is even considered and a physiatrist can do that for you. And the insurance company doesn't freak out about cost because they aren't surgeon. As stated in the link above, they can help with treatment up till a surgeon is needed.

    I personally saw one and they did everything they could to help me avoid having surgery. I didn't want to undergo surgery but in the end my body still needed it. There are many people that benefit from seeing a physiatrist the problem is not very many people have ever heard of them. Hope my experience can help you figure out what to do.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
  • I would definately suggest seeing a physiatrist at a spine surgeon's office. I know , around me, many surgeons have them as their NPs of a sort, ,meaning that they see the patient first- and if needed they send them on to the surgeon for a consult .
    I adore mine, he has been by my side all through my spine journey, and honestly, I most likely wouldn't be where I am if not for him.
    He ordered tests when I needed them, reviewed findings with me, treated me, sent me for anything that he felt would help and he's kept me on my feet all during these last 7 years.......
  • Try acupuncture but also have MRI.
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