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New to Forum and Seeking Advice/Encouragement

Hello, this is my first post on what looks to be a great website.

Last summer (one year ago) I was squatting without a spotter. I for some reason pushed myself to do more weight then I usually do. I finished the set with no problems, but definitely had to struggle on my way up. I must have broken form or rounded out my back at some point however, because the next day my back was in lots of pain. I could still move fine and had complete mobility, but it hurt the whole day no matter what.

I stopped lifting for awhile and the pain eventually went away. However, I stupidly did not take any treatment measures and got involved in other physical activities way too soon. I could still feel the pain a little, it was more a annoying ache whenever I was active. Once I went back to college I started lifting again but only working on arms. One day I played basketball and had really bad back pain again after the game. I consequently have laid off of any serious physical activity and the pain always goes away. The only time it comes back is when I am sitting at a chair for a long time.

This summer I started physical therapy to improve my strength but it has made it far worse. I also again stupidly went to hard in a soccer game hurt it again from that. I got an MRI and x-ray and both of them show no problems.

I am seeing a sports medicine doctor in a few days for a more specialized approach and am taking prescribed naproxen. Obviously I did not treat my original back injury with enough respect. I now realize the attitude and duration it will take to heal.

My question is, is there anything else I should be doing? The doctor said it should have healed by now but my theory is that I never let my back strain (my guess as to what it is) fully recover and have probably strained it again a couple times. I believe that it will take months, months, and months now to fully heal combined with major lifestyle changes.

Is there a chance that I will never be able to play sports again without pain? Should I see a chronic pain management professional as well? Has anyone ever suffered common injuries and have any advice? The big thing is that the pain only comes back with physical activity.

Thank you kindly for any comments/advice you may have to offer. I am ready to treat my back with the care it requires now.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 07/15/2014 - 8:32 PM
  • thanks for the links. I've read around on the site a lot and looking to have more of a dialogue.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 07/16/2014 - 7:01 AM
    It makes a huge difference in whether or not you are seeing the correct doctor as far as diagnosis, and treatment options.
    As to whether or not, you can play sports, we can't answer that for you, and perhaps the only one who can, is a spine surgeon , who can review the MRI with you and confirm that there is nothing seriously wrong with your spine.
    As far as seeing a pain management doctor goes, until you know what exactly is wrong, or what treatment needs to be done, it really wouldn't be all that helpful at this stage.

  • I seen an orthopedic doctor and a physical therapist. The orthopedic doctor had me get an x-ray and MRI. He went over the results with me and basically said that he found nothing. I am now going to see a sports medicine MD who specializes in lower back injuries/pain. The orthopedic doctor said that he can do nothing else for me and that I need to see an "internist". The sports medicine doctor says he is technically an internist and can run more tests on me.

    I am going to start yoga, stretching everyday, and taking Naproxen (prescribed by orthopedic doctor). Does anyone think there should be any other sort of professional I should be seeing. This injury has really made me depressed because I can't workout, lift, or be active in anyway. Been like that for about a year now and I'm only 20.
  • also known as a physiatrist might be a good option. Their speciality is physical medicine and rehab, so getting you back to your best functioning level......and helping to determine what might be causing the pain you are having. It is possible that it might simply be a muscular problem or pull and that it will take time to heal.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 07/20/2014 - 1:28 PM
    What does the pain feel like? Is it confined to your back or does it radiate? Is the flare after sports similar to the pain you experience when you sit for too long? Does it go away once you stand & move around if you've been sitting?

    How many sessions of physical therapy did you have? Did you notice which exercises made it worse or did the pain come-on after the appointments?

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm just hoping that your answers might shed a little light on this. It must be very frustrating when diagnostic tests don't show anything that could explain your pain. Sometimes it can take a frustratingly long time to get to the bottom of these things. You're doing the right thing taking a proactive approach. Don't give-up, you're young. Take care of your spine you're going to need it for a long time ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • funster1ffunster1 Posts: 4
    edited 07/20/2014 - 2:57 PM
    Like Englishgirl said, you are still young enough to be able to get to the bottom of it. But it can be a drawn out process finding the right help.

    I had an acute back injury waterskiing 8 years ago that left me with a chronic back pain.

    Doctors and a surgeon have been helpful in 'diagnosing' the disc bulge, but medication and surgery was not the path I wanted to go down (their only suggestions).
    There are many people who will 'treat' a disc bulge. I have had treatment from physical therapists, chiro's, massage, personal trainers etc which have all been good, but temporary. So I took it upon myself to work it out.

    For me it was a combination of factors that was weakening my back. Too much sitting (even though I am quite active and in reasonable physical condition, this was still a huge factor), diet/nutrition, and not training/exercising correctly. I found the exercises I had been shown were all too focused on core strength. While this is very important I was not strengthening the spinal extensors (back muscles) and this was a big part of the imbalance that was causing my weak back.

    It is a work in progress as they say, but the main key for me has been exercise and getting the balance right.
    Just walking for a half hour every day has also been a huge benefit. After all, it is our most natural movement.
    Lumbar disc bulge
    Torn Rotator Cuff
  • I hope that you find some luck with your regime of stretching, yoga and taking naproxen.

    I am also a young guy dealing with a back injury from sport (badminton). However my symptoms are a bit different from yours - I can exercise with no pain, and in fact exercise usually helps my pain the short term. I am unable to sit for longer than about 10 minutes without intense pain that will last for 24 hours or more, however. Also, I am in chronic low level pain in my RHS lower back regardless of whether I'm sitting or not.

    Similar results from the MRI - nothing major found. Have had facet joint and SI joint injections to no effect. Physiotherapy has had pretty much no effect; the exercise and stretch programmes they recommend don't seem to do anything long term.

    Currently I'm finding the taking NSAIDs is very helpful. I recommend keeping up with that for at least as long as the doctor prescribed, don't miss any days even if you're feeling in no pain.

    Good luck with your treatment man.
  • Really appreciate all the posts and comments from everybody.

    In response to EnglishGirl, the pain is like a sharp pain and uncomfortable feeling usually confined to the lower/middle middle back. It does not radiate much at all (never down the legs or butt). The pain I get from sitting for awhile is very similar to the pain I get when exercising. Usually though, when I go to hard playing some sport, the pain and discomfort will last for much longer (3-4 days) then if I just sit for too long.

    Is it possible to fix a bad back just from stretching and yoga when the cause can be attributed to a certain injury? I feel like it wouldn't help much because there must be some sort of structural damage done.

    Thanks for the suggestion to see a physiotherapist, I'll look into that. My appointment with the sports medicine doctor is tomorrow morning and I am anxiously awaiting what he will have to say. I'll post something about how it goes afterwards. I really appreciate all the comments, I really need to get to the bottom of this.
  • You can fix your back, absolutely.
    The trick is to stop doing the things that are aggravating, and this might mean taking it easy on the sports for a while, usually 6-8 weeks. Each time you aggravate your back you could be doing more damage and making it worse. Like any injury, it needs time to rest and heal. Most cases of back pain will get better even if you do nothing.

    My understanding is that muscles don't just get tight for no reason, it is often your bodies attempt to stabilise or strengthen a weak area. So stretching tight muscles, while temporarily relieving, might not have a long term benefit.

    The same with taking anti-inflams, inflammation is how the body heals damaged tissue, why would you want to interfere with the body repairing itself? I believe that if you can get by without them, and I agree there are times when you might need them, but you are better off not medicating.

    Yoga is excellent and will strengthen and increase flexibility. You might also try Mackenzie exercises.
    Lumbar disc bulge
    Torn Rotator Cuff
  • How did your appointment with the sports medicine doctor go? Did he arrive at a diagnosis?

    Your condition certainly seems like a painful inconvenience (since you cant exercise too much nor sit too much). Like Sandi said, a physiatrist might be a really good option for you to both figure out what's going on and exactly how you can treat the pain at least. Hope to hear from you soon.
  • thank you for the update, funster. I sent you a pm regarding your comment.

    The sports medicine doctor asked me a bunch of questions and examined by back. He noticed that I am very unflexible (have been my whole life), especially in my hamstrings. He suggested that I go back to PT and do more of a stretching regiment than strength building one. Could this be why it has taken my back so long to recover?

    I know that I have been stupid and reaggravtaed this injury multiple times. I am laying off of any strenuous physical activity for as long as it takes now (been about 3 weeks). I've started icing and heating my back each day also which seems to help. I've also started doing lots of stretching on my own (like 3 times a day).

    I've noticed that the pain is more the middle of my back in one location and hurts when I try to touch my toes several times. The one thing that bothers me is that I went to PT for the first time again to start the stretching program and now (day after) my back hurts the most it has this whole week. I am concerned that there is something they are having me do which is causing more damage then necessary. Could it be the leg lifts on the machine that are causing this? I wish my PT was more open to discussing my pain and modifying my program, he seems to just ignore me and rush me through the exercises without any serious regard for what I'm saying.
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