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Advice/Suggestions please

After about 7 years of chronic lower back pain/problems, I'm finally joining a public forum. Would love to receive advice/suggestions from anyone who has experienced the following problems or is simply knowledgeable on the subject.

I'm 30/m, 5'11" about 213 pounds.
I'm not fat, but I'm not lean either.
I'm not in good shape, nor am I really in bad shape either.

I experience chronic lower back pain. The question is never "if" it hurts, rather "how much" it hurts. Three times in my life I believe I've suffered a pinched nerve, which was bar none, the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. I really can't describe it other than screaming pain accompanied with what pretty much amounts to paralysis. When this happens I stay bed ridden for days (one time I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom for a 24 hour period). It's the slightest movement that has caused it every time too, always in the morning.

Certain things exacerbate my pain such as driving, sitting, or standing for long periods of time. Jogging doesn't hurt and lifting really doesn't either, but for some reason walking and standing do. Walking and standing are the worst.

I've been to doctors when the pain is so bad I can't really function....they usually prescribe some NSAID, which takes the edge off for a few days, but does nothing to treat the actual problem. Been to chiropractors, which also offer very temporary relief (x-rays showed a probable herniated disc....my spine is about as crooked at the bottom as Forrest Gump's)

I've decided to lose 30 pounds and get down near my military weight, when I didn't experience any of these problems. Weight loss can't hurt right? What sucks is that my exercise capability is often limited, so it makes losing weight a bit more difficult....but I WILL do it one way or the other.

Other than surgery, do you have any more suggestions for my situation? Help is greatly appreciated. I'm not going to lie, this nagging pain really puts a damper on my life and affects both my mood and my physical capabilities.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 02/20/2014 - 1:08 PM
    You will find tons of people here who know precisely how you feel. For me, my original injury left me in bed for a week in intense pain. I had just moved to the US from Europe and had no job or health insurance and I suffered through it with only one chiro consult and no medication. Not fun. After that I had additional flare ups and I know exactly what you're talking about when you say "the smallest movement" caused it. It definitely sounds like a herniated or bulging disc. Have you had an MRI? I think that's your next step as a lot of injuries to tissue can not be seen on X-ray. Ask your doctor to order one so you can at least see what your problems may be caused by.

    Other than that, I've found some of the best medicine is to stay active. Get yourself seen by a physical therapist to build up your core muscles in a safe and approved manner. You'll find that back pain and your muscle's tendency to over-protect instability in your back actually leads to loss of mobility in an around your core muscles. And your idea to lose weight will definitely ease the weight on your spine. Ask to be referred to hydrotherapy if you can and you can safely and slowly build your muscles in the safety if warm water and low gravity.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • for the response. I will definitely see what I can do to strengthen my lower back muscles and relieve some of the stress that I believe causes the pain.

    As of right now, I don't have insurance so I haven't had an MRI, but will be getting it soon and will do just that.

    Are there are stretches you know of that I can do in the morning to maybe lessen the chance of tweaking it?
  • I dont do much stretching but Focus on exercises instead. Pelvic lifts are good, as are lunges, squats and the plank. You may have to start small and work your way up to the plank. I did a lot of initial training on increasing the strength of my Multifidus muscle as well. it is a long muscle that travels nearly the entire length of the back. It stabilizes and rotates the lumbar spine. Google or YouTube "multifidus exercises."
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 02/22/2014 - 6:15 PM
    Physical therapy might be really helpful, at least to work out how you can build up your strength without hurting yourself. You could also ask your PCP about seeing a pain management doctor. Some pain clinics do PT as well as medical management.

    It doesn't sound to me like you have had very good medical care for this issue. You might try finding a new PCP, if yours isn't very helpful.

    ETA: Aqua therapy can be a great way to ease you into exercise when you're in a lot of pain. This is gentle exercise done in a warm water pool. I do it in combo with at-home exercises and it seems to be helping.
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