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How do I know how serious this is? It's unbearable.

How do I know how serious this pain is/when do you know if you need to see a doctor? I don't know what to compare this lower back pain to.

I'm a 30-year-old female, pretty active and in pretty good shape. I've been doing Bikram yoga once a week and an outdoor boot camp twice a week.

Today, I ran three quick miles after work, came inside and sat on the living room floor, watched the news, then went upstairs for a shower. Everything was fine but when I was done with the shower, I couldn't pick up either one of my legs to step out of the shower. I sort of fell down, and ended up crawling to my room on my hands and knees. I cried for a couple minutes, then my roommate heard me and helped me get into bed.

I took four ibuprofens and I'm sitting upright with pillows behind me and a heating pad.

I've tried four times to get out of bed, but every time I try, the pain brings tears to my eyes.

Is this a strain? A pinched nerve? A slipped disc?

What should I be doing? I really don't want to miss work tomorrow.

Any help?


  • Ice, ice & more ice! I like frozen peas..I can mold the bag to my back. Your chances of getting to work tomorrow are slim in my experience but backs can be strange things. You'll probably end-up at the doctors. :-(

    Ibuprofen & Tylenol until then.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • That sounds serious, go to the doctor or the ER.
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  • I agree with EnglishGirl and mcjimjam, your condition sounds like something is wrong. Did you go to the ER last night? You asked, How do I know this is serious?" You, yourself, said it was "unbearable" that is how you know it's serious..Unbearable pain warrants medical attention, imo. Did you do the ice, ice and more ice as English suggested? When I hurt and have to do the bed rest thing, I make an ice pack one of my best friends. I hope you are feeling better today. If you get a chance, check back in and let us know how you are and if you went to the ER what they told you.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    i may differ a bit here. you indicated you are an active person, gone through boot camp, and you had just been running, then took a shower. i can not see a disc problem coming on that quickly. to me, it sounds more of a muscle strain. those can be extremely painful and make it difficult to move. that could even make it very painful trying to get out of bed.

    i do agree ice and more ice. if this problem continues for a couple of days, i would start to see a doctor, probably your primary care physician.

    please take a look at this [url=https://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-treatment-step-step]chronic pain treatment step by step[/ur] it is sort of a guide written by one of the moderators.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I may have to recant my statement. After reading Ron's post, I was reminded of my own daughter having a situation a couple years ago, in which she pulled a muscle in her back...She was miserable for a week with it, she cried, she couldn't stand up straight, she couldn't walk w/o pain, she was propped up in bed with pillows for 2 days, she had to shower cuz she couldn't sit down in the tub, she had to miss 2 days of school, she was a mess with it. She has no clue what she did to hurt her back, she just woke up hurting. So, yes, it very well could be muscle strain, as Ron said, they can be very painful and they do heal on their own with rest and lots of ice.

    However, since then, she has had more things diagnosed with her back, such as a couple of bulged discs & osteoarthritis. I'm sure she is gonna have more problems the older she gets, she's only 24 and has had back pain off and on since she was a teen....Why can't I just have all her pain so she doesn't have to go through all this??? I don't want to see her hurting the way I do. :-(
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  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 04/29/2014 - 7:38 AM
    It does indeed sound like she may have pulled a muscle or it might be simply muscle fatigue.....if it does not ease up in a few days, then it might require a visit to her primary to see what he thinks........
  • I don't want to spend the money or vacation time, so I didn't go to a doctor or anything today. I made it into work, though driving was pretty bad. Pushing the brake pedal put tears in my eyes and it took about five minutes to get in and out of the car.

    I took ibuprofen throughout the day and alternated icing and heating as I could. I think the pain might be lessening, though walking still hurts, stairs are terrible, and going to the restroom is painful and ridiculous because it's so hard to stand up and down. I almost had to embarrassingly ask a coworker for help standing up in the restroom today.

    So if I take it easy tonight, can I try to walk a mile or two tomorrow? I feel like being too sedentary could be bad, no?

    I'm clicking on all of your suggested links now. Thank you all for the insight. This is so painful and frustrating.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 04/29/2014 - 12:08 PM
    Since the pain is still acute, I would try to rest for a few more days........while inactivity is not necessarily the best thing, when you have an acute flare up of pain, sometimes, the best thing is rest, ice and after a few days heat........when the inflammation settles down, you can try some mild stretching and begin to build back up to walking distances but I would take it easy for a few more days.......give things time to settle down. If you don't see improvement by the beginning of next week, then it might be time to consult with your primary.
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