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Help a firefighter out. Chronic soreness after lying down.

LiveAgainLLiveAgain Posts: 4
edited 07/03/2015 - 1:53 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone,

It's great to have a support group here. I'm desperately looking for an answer or advice on something if anyone can offer it.

10 months ago I herniated a disc by sneezing. I was out of work for 2.5 months. No surgery was done. Just an epidural and some time and I was better. Although my L4-L5 and L5-S1 are damaged in different ways for years now I've been able to manage to live my life and work for the most part.

The problem is here that after my last injury every time I lye down, whether it's 10 minutes or 10 hours I wake up extremely sore and cannot bend. It's worse the longer I lay down. This is a huge problem because when a call comes in at 3am and I'm sleeping I need to spring to action. After I stretch and do my core exercises (as I do daily) and start moving I get my mobility back although bending is still a bit of a problem sometimes. I've been to different doctors, had a second epidural, and now been referred to PT. I'm trying to make some time in my schedule to be able to go to PT, but before I try ANOTHER thing I would love to hear about someone who lived through this and what they have done about it.

I'm in my late 20s and just started the career of my dreams as a firefighter. I just want to be healthy again so I can retire 25 years from now in good shape.

Thanks!

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Comments

  • surgeon to see what he thinks may be going on? When was your last imaging done and when?
    Since the issues are ongoing and worsening when laying down , it may be time to see the doctor again for further evaluation, perhaps some new imaging and see what the surgeon recommends. Seeing a surgeon does not necessarily mean surgery, but they are the best at diagnosing the problems that may be causing the pain, and will recommend conservative measures to target the pain.


  • While waiting to see a specialist & get your diagnostics these are my experiences...
    I was advised that the increased back pain after being still is best controlled by doing relaxing stretches before laying down. (to be honest thats never been a noticable help for me).
    A heat pad (I use a hot water bottle) sooths me while I laydown.
    Hot Epsom salt bath before bedtime? Is that possible at the fire house? (I recommend Epsom Salts a lot. My grandmother swore by them. You have to use quite a lot, it says on the packet. Some big stores do some really nice blends with added relaxing ingredients. It could be a little bit psychosomatic for me but there's sound science behind it. They're Antiinflammatory & magnesium is good for nerve pain. ;-)
    Massaging in aromatherapy oils before I try to get out of bed can make it a bit easier if it's the muscle seizing-up. You could try using them or an OTC pain cream before you rest.

    I know they're all little things but sometimes all the little bits can add to something a bit substantial. I hope something helps a little until you can be diagnosed. Physical therapy is a good idea. I had a good one. He taught me exercises & stretches that I could do at home, that didn't agrivate my pain but tightened my core. He taught me better ways to do the daily things that hurt me. They're might be something that you're doing in your regular routine that's agrivating your problem. It took me a couple of try's to find a great physical therapist. He insisted on seeing my MRI etc results before he worked on me.

    Have you tried sleeping with strategically placed pillows? You'd need to do a bit of experimenting. Sometimes things that make me more comfortable make me really stiff & locked-up in the mornings.

    Can you really feel where the pain is with your fingers? If you push & massage hard in does it help? I've had that & the aromatherapy oils & a specialist massage therapist were good.
    If your doc thinks it could be muscle spasms, it could be worth looking into trigger point injections. I've had both kinds of shots & find that the Botox with steroids lasted longer.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • EnglishGirl said:
    While waiting to see a specialist & get your diagnostics these are my experiences...
    I was advised that the increased back pain after being still is best controlled by doing relaxing stretches before laying down. (to be honest thats never been a noticable help for me).
    A heat pad (I use a hot water bottle) sooths me while I laydown.
    Hot Epsom salt bath before bedtime? Is that possible at the fire house? (I recommend Epsom Salts a lot. My grandmother swore by them. You have to use quite a lot, it says on the packet. Some big stores do some really nice blends with added relaxing ingredients. It could be a little bit psychosomatic for me but there's sound science behind it. They're Antiinflammatory & magnesium is good for nerve pain. ;-)
    Massaging in aromatherapy oils before I try to get out of bed can make it a bit easier if it's the muscle seizing-up. You could try using them or an OTC pain cream before you rest.

    I know they're all little things but sometimes all the little bits can add to something a bit substantial. I hope something helps a little until you can be diagnosed. Physical therapy is a good idea. I had a good one. He taught me exercises & stretches that I could do at home, that didn't agrivate my pain but tightened my core. He taught me better ways to do the daily things that hurt me. They're might be something that you're doing in your regular routine that's agrivating your problem. It took me a couple of try's to find a great physical therapist. He insisted on seeing my MRI etc results before he worked on me.

    Have you tried sleeping with strategically placed pillows? You'd need to do a bit of experimenting. Sometimes things that make me more comfortable make me really stiff & locked-up in the mornings.

    Can you really feel where the pain is with your fingers? If you push & massage hard in does it help? I've had that & the aromatherapy oils & a specialist massage therapist were good.
    If your doc thinks it could be muscle spasms, it could be worth looking into trigger point injections. I've had both kinds of shots & find that the Botox with steroids lasted longer.
    Hey thanks for the reply. As far as applying heat- believe it or not that worsens it. Heat has never helped my back. Ice hasn't ever done much either, but heat definitely speeds up the soreness for me.

    I have a body pillow that I use because I am a side sleeper and when I am on my back I have a knee pillow. I bought a mattress topper that was supposed to help as well. As far as bed related remedies I've tried it all. I don't think it's the way I sleep.

    I've never tried massage therapy although now I'm curious.

    It's really interesting how hard it has been for me to find anything online about people having this issue like me. Even my doctors didn't have much to say. One PT/Chiro early on when this started suggested it was scar tissue. I just don't know what to go by. I appreciate the comments and keep them coming if anyone can offer help.

    Thanks
  • sandi123 said:
    surgeon to see what he thinks may be going on? When was your last imaging done and when?
    Since the issues are ongoing and worsening when laying down , it may be time to see the doctor again for further evaluation, perhaps some new imaging and see what the surgeon recommends. Seeing a surgeon does not necessarily mean surgery, but they are the best at diagnosing the problems that may be causing the pain, and will recommend conservative measures to target the pain.
    I had my last MRI done about 2 months ago. It showed some new damage to a disc that wasn't doing so well, but the doctor said that overall it was in stable shape and that with some PT and core strengthening I should get better. As far as pain goes I'm not in pain so I guess that is a step in the right direction, but the soreness is starting to really take a toll on me. I am going to look into a new doctor and have some fresh eyes look at it. Thanks for the advice.
  • Oh PLEASE don't let a chiropractor touch you, not with your structural damage!! That could end really badly.

    I had a specialist massage therapist. She had training & lots of experience dealing with spine related pain. She was fantastic at releasing those muscle knots that cause so much pain. I know it's not doing anything for the underlying cause. I've tried going to regular massage places & it was a waste of time after her. I found her when I was pregnant (she specialized in that too) & she knew how to treat me without ever increasing my pain or causing flares.
    Just massaging myself with aromatherapy oils really helps me to get moving. I know you don't have the luxury of saying 'Fire stop burning, I need a massage!' but rubbing in oils before you lay down could help.

    Funny about heat! We're all different. I hate ice! Only really use it after procedures to stop things flaring.

    You're in such an unusual situation because of your job. Most people can change the alarm clock, wake a little earlier & try Epsom salt baths, stretching etc but you have to jump up & go. It must be so hard for you. Ugh!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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