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Chronic Low Back/Glute Pain

joshy96jjoshy96 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have had a hard time trying to sort this out, and hoping someone might have some idea of what I can do. I hurt my back running back when I was 23 - I'm now 30. It wasn't serious at the time, and back pain turned to low back, (upper) glute pain and hip pain. I find it really easy to strain the muscles - too much exercise, too much sitting, or just sitting in the wrong chair, etc. And I find I'm in agony. Ive seen physios, sports medicine doctors and back specialists, massage therapists,osteopaths, acupuncturists, and chiropractors. But I cant figure out how to treat this,and they don't know whats wrong - all the x-ray s and bone scans have been negative. Does anyone have any ideas what I can do? As a student Ive been able to manage, but I'm about to start working full time and very long hours and I'm lost on what to do. Every time I see a new person, they start with optimism about solving my problem, and then end up being like 'ah, u have a tough problem, sorry.'

What I'm looking for is to figure out what is wrong, and to find some kind of treatment that someone has maybe tried that was effective, or even just some ways of managing the pain. I was prescribed a strong and addictive pain killer and I try not to use it but its the only thing that really works.


  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,360
    Welcome to Spine Health.
    I'm sorry for your long standing problem. Also for the fact you're having no luck finding any answers. I know how frustrated you must be. I don't have any suggestions for you but I'm sure someone will come along soon who can help you. I just wanted to welcome you.
    Good luck,
  • Would you mind providing a bit more information? What type of injury did you have that started all this off? Did you ever have a diagnosis? Have you had a MRI? Do you still run?

    What specifically are your symptoms?
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  • hi joshy and welcome
    i had tried alot of things yrs ago and did everything then had l4,l5 fusion and that was in 06 i was really good till last june...and now i dont' work..
    thru all my docs and scans the first one yrs ago detected my disc problems was a flex-xray where you bend forward and arch back..
    befor that the ct or mri had missed prob.
    my spinal doc this time i have 2 along with great neuro and rheumo..he has done bone scan all the ct mri and just last wk a myelogram..they shoot dye into spine and shows alot missed in mri's and bone scans..
    but test was easy but i was in the small percent had spinal headache,so went to hospital for blood patch..
    tried injections facet and esi nothing is helping me and recent test show few things, that i wont get surgery for..
    i have found that yrs ago when treating a small stiff neck i have neck problems also ..so my leg issues now can be cause by cervial also..
    but for you have tried alot of diff things ,i have go thru alot of docs and i fired alot of them..
    once they write me script and not search for problem ..they are gone
    i also have fibromyalgia,,its very difficult to drive but i've been dragging myself to pool and swim..water is great for spine issues..
    its very frustating when docs just send us off with pills or another specialist..
    i hope you keep searching for the right doc for you..
    no xrays are perfect were as in my case mri's miss things..
    i wish you luck and hope you can find some doc to help you ..i kept looking and found a doc said it may take awhile but we will get some answers and he never mention pain pills...
    keep us post and welcome,,sorry i'm a rabbler
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • sorry for the lack of detail, here it is:

    i hurt myself running, nothing serious, just hurt one dayand then got worse - it started with just a low back ache/soreness, and then it really became more glute pain,and then the hips too. i dont have radiating pain. the pain is really achey-sore-shooting pain in my upper buttoch, and its often accopmanied by low back and hips.

    i have not been diagnosed with anything - not sciatica, anything. nobody relaly knows what to do. i did also have a cortisone shot once, it kinda helped but nothign significant.

    i dont run anymore. i do exercise regularly - eliptical, bike and walking on a treadmill. i also do weights, and ive been working on making my core strong, which has helped, but only to a degree.

    i dont think i had an mri, just an x ray and a bone scan. should i have mris done? i guess i never thouhgt about it because nobdy said it would help, and i alraedy had those xrays.

    are there any treatments or possible diagnoses that i should ask the doctor to consider? ive seen sevearl and they all seem to take the view that there's nothing wrong because the scans didnt show anything, so that's that. in fact, i find it kind of annoying that eachtime i see a doctor, they appear interested at the beginning and then kind of act bored of my case by the second or third visit.
  • What I was thinking is that it could be a dysfunction of some sort of the psoas muscle. The psoas is the only muscle that has an attachment right near the lower back but also wraps around kind of through the "hip" area, into the pelvis. I'm going to PM you an article that you can read to see if anything rings a bell.

    Another possibility that I can think of would be a slight problem with a lower lumbar disc. There could be a slight tear that hasn't really blossomed into anything yet. It would not show up on X-ray. You would need a MRI and even then, if small enough, it might not show up.

    But I think more likely is some sort of muscle dysfunction. I was referred by my spine surgeon to a guy that primarily works with ultra athletes -- iron man, 100 mile runners, that long-distance type activities. He has made me very aware of how important it is to keep the muscles and soft tissue in balance and alignment. I now know how something like having pronation can cause wear and tear on spinal discs, etc.

    Since you've tried most of the medical establishment, maybe you could find a PT or some sort of sports massage therapist who specializes in orthopedic cases, works on trigger points, and does "bodywork" for want of a better term.

    Be very careful that while you are working to develop the "core," you are not creating imbalances between the front and back side of your body.

    Another thing you could try is something I do several times each day just to realignment myself, and give the discs a chance to unload.

    Lie flat on the floor, being sure your body is in a straight line...on back, knees bent with feet flat on the floor, a little bit apart. Your arms should be close to your sides, with palms facing up toward the ceiling. Relax and breathe from the belly, slowly and deeply. Just relax and stay in this position for about 5 minutes, no longer.

    This is a natural form of traction that helps your body relax and fall into a natural position. If any muscles are "guarding" an area of the spine, they should be able to let go while you are lying on the floor. If we have a sore area, it is natural to compensate for it. This often results in the side opposite the sore area getting tight and contracted...and we do this without realizing it is happening.

    Try doing this traction exercise for a week or two and see if it helps.

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  • I had much of the same pain you are describing and it turned out to be a ruptured disk at L4L5, although I was experiencing severe leg pain as well as the glute/hip discomfort.

    Mine was diagnosed with an MRI and I had a microdiscectomy done in January 2008 which has been a complete success.

    My original injury was done in childbirth and I had severe pain for 6 months before it was treated, I know its pretty different to your situation but I would give the MRI a shot as it might be able to explain what's wrong.

    Hope you get some answers soon, it sounds like you are trying all the right things.

    Take care

  • I would think at this point an MRI is a very good idea. With such a long history I would think it is definitely warranted. The MRI should show any major disc problems (which is definitely a diagnostic possibility).

    What I'm thinking is that you may have some type of sacroiliac joint dysfunction or piriformis syndrome, or possibly a combination of the two. SI joint dysfunction will not show up on any imaging studies, but is a relatively simple diagnosis to make by a qualified spine physician. They can check the movement of these joints as well as assess any rotation in your pelvis that could be causing muscle strains/imbalances. The piriformis is a muscle that tends to be hyperactive, especially in runners. It attaches to the sacrum and can contribute to faulty SI joint mechanics. You might do a little research and see if either of these conditions match what you are going through, and also ask your doctor if either of these are a possible differential diagnosis for you.

    A final recommendation is to consult with a physiatrist. They are rehabilitative medicine specialists that are usually good at diagnosing musculoskeletal problems. If it would be possible for you to make an appointment with a board certified physiatrist I would think it would be well worth it. Best of luck and keep us posted.
  • thanks all for the imput! clearly there is alot i dont know.

    one thing - re the si joint disfunction adn piriformis syndrome, it was something that was considered and ruled out.

    i am considering whether it is this disk problem u speak of, and will definitely make an effort to have an mri done to look into it. i never realized that an mri would really be that much more revleaing, especially since no doctor ever brought it up. im going to see my gp next week and talk to him about the stuff you all mentioned. thanks again!!
  • Sharon GavinSSharon Gavin Posts: 2
    edited 12/29/2015 - 9:43 PM
    Have had many back surgeries/fusions/pain procedures. Last three lumbar levels are fused now, but during the first fusion in 2000, woke from surgery with severe rt. pain across rt. hip and buttocks that has never eased and has now gotten so bad I can barely walk. Was told repeatedly to deal with it until 2013 when I had hip and pelvic MRIs. I have pretty severe Gluteus minimus and medius tears,, as well as a psoas tear, all made worse for lack of early intervention. Also had a hip labral tear repaired in 2013 but a surgeon who said gluteal tears were too extensive for him to handle. Apparently there's a doctor [edit] at the Hospital for [edit] that has a technique to repair bad gluteal tears. who is reviewing my films now. I also have very bad SI joints, especially on the rt. that may have contributed to the tearing of my gluts and small tears throughout my rt. thigh muscles. Told by my local ortho iin NJ who does I+IFuse, on the SIs that I need the right then the left one done, but I'm uncertain how that surgery will impact the tears, so I'm holding off for a response from Dr.[edit] first. These remote evals have taken forever, it seems. Have a bad uneven knee and a scoliosis like cant forward when walking that I try to correct from the pain and bad body mechanics over time that PT didn't correct. Can't even begin to look at that until the tears and SI issues are addressed. Hoping my story helps you pinpoint your problem. I'd start with the hip and pelvic MRIs, though. and maybe a lumbar spine one If you haven't had a recent one of those as well. Need a specialized sports medicine doc to fix glut tears, and they are a rare breed, it would seem. God bless and good luck. You're far too young to be in such pain.

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