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Can anyone explain my symptoms?



  • I would go with what gweenie17 similar to me posted but wait till after you have your esi...the esi has a pretty much a-bomb effect so should produce some comfort for sure. Than try and slow down and do some simpler exercises and let the body heal.

    Obviously the running/cycling is not helping you overall and just masking an underlying issue.

    Does your doctor have any course of action after the ESI? I understand why he would be perplexed by the running but like someone else posted I had in the past been able to "work through it" atleast that is what I used to call it. It does not mean though it is working.

    Have you noticed any difference in your running/cycling? Can you run faster or longer which each run/ride? I noticed over time that my ability went down over time.


    On a side note the doctor's scale of 5/5 is really not all that much and given your current activity level I am pretty sure you would be pretty high on the spectrum. Unfortunately my experience has been unless you come with crutches or a cane, the doctor will tend to believe you are not that bad. Till I came in with the cane did he send me for an esi otherwise do more PT and meds were the answer. I understand your frustration with your doctor lack of concern but given what he sees you are so much better than most of the others out there with these type of issues...
  • haglandc said:
    When I first injured my lower back L5-S1, I found that exercise was the best and only pain relief I could get. About 15 minutes into running, cycling or speed walking, I would get an endorphin boost that would provide me the only temporary pain relief I could get. Within a few minutes of stopping the exercise the pain would return. A good Pain Management doc was the one to point that out and understand what was occurring.

    I still find this to be the case no matter where and how much I hurt. Some of us have a good capability to produce natural endorphin release, whereas others don't. Also taking narcotic pain medications over a period of time will suppress the body's ability to produce endorphins, hence exercise while medicated with narcotics won't produce the same effect. Once the narcotics are removed the body can return to producing natural endorphin release.

    That's my experience.

    I wondered if it was endorphin related. If so, it's a shame I can't bottle them :)
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  • I would say the running and cycling is definitely helping me 'over all' - it just has no bearing on my back. I don't do a great deal of running - I'm not very good at it, but I'm loving cycling. I don't want to quit exercising but I will if the Doctor thinks it will help my back to sort itself out. As well as all the cardio work (which I'm doing for weight loss and general fitness - not as a tool to try and fix my back), I'm also doing lots of stretching and core stability exercises.

    My ability to run or cycle has never been hindered by my back, so my ability is getting better, as I do more of it, as you would expect.
  • You kind of sound like me several months ago but the one thing I have learned here is that no two cases are ever the same. In the end if your doc does not tell you what is wrong than for sure your body will. Meaning that if the running/cycling are making things worse than eventually you will no longer be able to cycle/run. But if the cycling/running are a form of therapy than your back will get better.

    I think it is hard for everyone to see them as separate issues including your doctors so something will have to give eventually and show the real culprit.

  • I don't really feel like the exercise is either hurting me or providing any therapy. The fact that I can run is just a bonus. Means I can play football etc. I don't for a second imagine it's helping me. Nor do I need to run to provide relief. I'm really only in any sort of pain when standing up. The issue is more what I can and can't do in my day to day life, rather than being in constant unmanageable pain.
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  • Been told today that if I get some relief from bending forwards this pretty much rules out a herniated disc as that would intensify the pain, not relieve it.

    Does that sound right? If it's the case, this epidural is going to be a complete waste of time.
  • I do not think you can rule out anything at this point. But I was thinking of your story while in the gym and wondering does anything give you relief, hot baths, ice packs and meds. Also when you are in pain is it just a general pain or in any area of the legs. I would think your doctor would try to get to more of the specifics.

  • You know what the NHS is like. If diagnosis isn't immediately apparent, they get bored and move you from pillar to post. And you end up seeing a different person every time. I think I need to spend some money and see a good osteopath and get another opinion.

    I use voltarol tablets and gel which give some relief but nothing major. Deep Heat also gives some relief, although it's hard to guage how much and how much is placebo. It gets worse throughout the day and a night in bed helps it settle down again. The urge is to stretch forward which seems to loosen things up a bit.

    I never get any kind of sharp pain, it's always a progressive aching and tightening. Likewise, no doctor has ever been able to re-create the pain by applying direct pressure to anywhere. It simply comes on from standing up. I had to take my son for an operation this morning and had to do a fair bit of standing, taking him to theatre etc, so today has been pretty bad. After sitting down, now I am in no pain, but I feel where it's coming from if I move about and stretch. It seems to stem from the area just a few inches above the base of my spine, about an inch or two from centre.
  • After I made that last post, seeing as I was off work today, I phoned around and got an appointment with an osteopath. I'm so dubious about the NHS's latest line of enquiry that I thought I'd get another opinion.

    After a thorough exam and listening to all my sympoms and experiences, she thinks it's my Lumbosacro joint that's the problem, not the SI joint which was an earlier diagnosis.

    She gave me a good massage and pushed and pulled me in all directions and told me to use hot and cold compresses until I see her next, as well as giving me a couple of new stretches to get to the muscles in this region. She also told me to work on strengthening my side abs as these will pull my pelvis into the correct position and take the strain off my lower back.

    I'm gonna swallow the cost and go with her advice and continue to see her weekly in the weeks leading up to this epidural and see what happens.

    She said the full range of running would stretch these muscles out so explains the mystery of pain standing but no pain running. Anybody know anything about the LS joint?
  • Kevin, I also get varying symptoms which have baffled physios because they contradicted each other.
    An x-ray showed spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra) L4/L5. Then, 6 months later, an MRI showed that I had stenosis caused by the spondylolisthesis and bulging/protruding discs which were also degenerated. At the level of the slip, the disc is almost worn away and bone on bone.

    I now think that my contradicting symptoms are due to the different problems I have. Sometimes bending forward causes pain - due to disc problems.
    Other times bending forward helps. I have sciatica which is caused both by my spinal canal being compressed (stenosis) and also my L5 nerve root is being squashed by the spondylolisthesis.

    I just couldn't understand why standing and slow walking (especially shopping) are soooo painful quite quickly (5 to 10 minutes), while if I walk briskly, I can walk for about 30-40 minutes without pain, and it even seems to help get rid of pain. I asked a surgeon and he said that when I walk briskly, I engage my muscles which support my spine and stabilize it, where as slow walking the muscles relax and don't support it properly.

    I have also been doing lots of core stability exercises to strengthen my muscles, and I have definately improved a lot on how I was at the beginning of the year. I have also been visiting a Chiropractor (over 50 sessions!)

    I do hope that you manage to get some relief. It sounds like exercising is helping, or at least not doing any harm. Let us know how you get on.
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