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Stiff Lumber Spine

Jenny1234JJenny1234 Posts: 1
edited 11/09/2015 - 8:31 PM in Lower Back Pain
I am a new poster! Wanting some advice.
Since May my whole back has been painful and stiff from lower neck down to lumber spine. My upper neck is fine and has full range of movement. I initially hurt my back lifting some heavy wheel barrows repeatedly one weekend. I had suffered lower back pain the previous year which got better in a few days. I have a active job involving standing and bending/lifting of animals and my hobby is horses- riding and stable duties so again a lot of lifting.
Initially I carried on after the injury as it was mainly mid to lower back with what felt like a bruised and painful vertebra mid back at T-L joint area, which eased with anti inflammatorys and rest. Then it spread to my upper back/neck and shoulders all stiff and painful. difficult to bend and no improvement with rest or mild activity. I took time off work and took painkillers from Dr, went to physio and tried a osteopath again which did not help with the back pain but eased the muscle tension a bit. Now I am back at work part time (not lifting) but my whole back is very stiff and inflexible. I get pain in base of my neck, mid upper back, mid back and lower level lumber spine.
I had a whole spine MRI (private) which did not show much the Dr was worried about:
- mild bulge disk L4/L5 and L5/S1, mild degeneration of end plate L4-S1 and normal upper lumber vertebra.
- mild osteophytes cervical all levels
-Thorax mild DDD in mid thoracic area, No nerve compression (so Neurologist and GP happy)
All this I was told can be normal for someone in mid 30's.
I have had blood tests for neurological and inflammatory conditions which were all clear.
I am concerned about the pain!, lack of mobility in spine and what to do next. I currently take painkiller and still go to physio but they think I should stop going as it not improving.
The main thing I can not understand is why is my spine so stiff, the worst place is lower cervical/ thoracic level and mid /lower thoracic level, then upper lumber area, in these areas there seems to be no flexibility in vertebral joints and my spine feels like it is fused. These areas also appeared 'normal on MRI'. There was mention of facet joints been inflamed but would this not show on MRI?
I do try to do the lower back exercises taught by physio but I always feel stiff afterwards and stretching does not really happen due to limited mobility in spine. I go to pilates which I can do but with limited flexibility. There is a move where you restack your spine 1 vertebra at a time but mine is so stiff I feel like it only hinges in limited places. I can bend over but bending back is stiff and side bending hurts although I have normal range of movement according to my doctor!??
Is there a way to free up the 'stuck spine' , PT did gentle mobilisation which did not work. Obviously I will not have my spine cracked by osteopath and just have gentle massage of muscles.
I am just confused about the injury and MRI findings not fitting with the physical signs and struggling to find a solution.

There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site. Therefore everything you read is based on the personal experiences and/or research done by the individual member. Comments should never be taken as pure medical facts. You need to discuss this with your doctor. They are the only ones that can provide you with detailed information about you, the patient.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 11/09/2015 - 8:31 PM
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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