Hi to all the sufferers out there. I have found you whilst 'researching' my own particular problem on the 'wonderful' internet.
It has indeed been very distressing to read some of the many, many "Tales of Pain" from people of all walks of life. It seems that pain is part of the survival of all species and that one is indeed lucky if one can live a life without it. Like you, I have had a little, but not nearly as much as others. It seems that inflammation/pain is part of the healing process, if you are lucky.
So I damaged my spine L5 when I was about 10 years old and now I am 67. Luckily, from the age of 12 I took up boxing and with it stomach and other exercises. From about 16 onwards I started to get some pain - back and later, sciatica - which steadily increased through the years
I thought I could have "the problem fixed", but instead the practitioner advised me to increase stomach exercises. This I did as well as visit chiropractors and physios. Keeping my spine 'aligned' was the way to go and I Included an exercise derived from where a chiropractor may place a large pillow against your chest and give you a 'bear hug'. I replicated this (in the shower whilst muscles warm) by holding my stomach in and with my hands clasped behind me under my bum, pulling my shoulders forward about 30 reps daily, besides the usual exercises.
In 2007 I had a MRI, but was told surgery may not be successful and nothing was done. The other day I heard that there were some medical advances so I had another MRI a week ago. The scan showed that my L5 has now fused to my sacrum, but there problems now at L4/L5 and also higher up. I believe that I may obtain some relief may be obtained by a Rhizotomy and that a fusion for L4/L5 would have some risks. So I will be having the Rhizotomy sometime soon.
In the meantime I am able to be quite active, walking 5+ km (3.1+ miles) and even 'slow tennis', but sitting is the real killer, especially since I am still working actively 40+ hours per week. Both legs/feet pretty painful and low back-ache with sometimes spasms referring to back muscles. Fortunately, my wife knows well how to treat these with Arnica oil.
I note from this site some mention of DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide). I have used this since about 1965 when I had tendonitis. At that time a practitioner gave me a bottle of DMSO which he had received as a sample from a drug company. It was DMSO or some weeks of plaster, he said. Well, the tendonitis was 'cured' in 3 days and after that I kept the empty bottle for future reference. Years later I read all I could about it on the internet and it seems that the FDA has approved same for 2 uses. It seems that it is not on the market because a.) There is no patent allowing funds for clinical trials b.) It is dangerous to use.
I successfully used DMSO for Rotator Cuff Syndrome and other inflammation.
It is a solvent from the wood/paper industry and quite cheap to make badly, it seems. The problem is that anything on your skin will absorb into your body. Thus a pure product is needed. Once applied, you can taste it in your mouth in a few minutes. It seems to stop inflammation only and is very effective. A solution of 65% is recommended. Locally, I have been able to purchase Vet grade at 90% which I have diluted to 65% with distilled water (USD10 for 100ml). A side effect is that if you have too much DMSO, your skin hardens like bark and you begin to smell like a tree (joke!). I haven't had any side effects, but of course one uses this at one's own risk. Check out the internet. Using it is a bit 'slow' as one must leave it on ones skin until absorbed. This is the downside of its use. N.B N.B.!! Take great care in using it/storing it with plastic as it melts some plastics which will then be absorbed into you. As mentioned, only works for inflammatory pain. Hope this helps someone. :-)