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Kazuya

Back Pain - What To Do?

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A middle-aged relative has had back pain for over a year. It started suddenly and was very painful when it first began with a lot of sciatica pain, involuntary movement of the legs sometimes and muscle pain covering the whole back, especially in cold weather and is relieved with warmth. Sciatica reduced to almost nothing after a few months as did the involuntary leg movement. X-ray was done and nothing was found like degenerative disc disease so anti-inflammatories were prescribed. An MRI was done a few months later as the lower back pain was still there although much less than before (about 40% of what it was). MRI found no problems.

It was then decided that a visit to a chiropractor was warranted. The chiro said 4 discs in the lower back were buldging and proceeded to adjust them with some force. The next day I was told by the relative that the pain was greatly reduced, about 15% of what it initially was when the back pain started and sciatica isn't very common now.

The chiro also said the muscle pain in the whole of the back was due to the buldging discs but that it is the tight muscles in the back that are causing the discs to buldge over time. Chicken or egg comes to mind. There is also pain around the hip area which we were told are also due to tight muscles as a X-ray showed no hip damage. This hip pain is causing my relative much discomfort as she goes up or down stairs or steps or stands for a while and also makes the lower back pain worse. Gardening has been out of the question since this whole back pain issue.

What should be done next? A visit to a sports physio perhaps? :blink:

Thanks!

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I doubt it's bulging discs. Those do show up on an MRI scan- occasionally they can be missed if its a wrong angle or a slight bulge, but an MRI wouldnt miss 4!

If degeneration has categorically been ruled out in the spine, it may be degeneration in the hip. This can cause a person to change their normal "gait" without realising and has all sorts of knock on effects with backs and knees, which then effect the whole spine. Chiropractors work because they then relieve muscle issues that result.

Personally, id go back to doctor, ask for referral for hip MRI and referral to a back clinic. Most hospitals now have them, . If thats still negative, carry on with a monthly session with an osteopath or chiropractor, and excercise day in day out. Exercise is key in keeping back problems at bay as the muscles strengthen and hold all the right bits in place.

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I doubt it's bulging discs. Those do show up on an MRI scan- occasionally they can be missed if its a wrong angle or a slight bulge, but an MRI wouldnt miss 4!

If degeneration has categorically been ruled out in the spine, it may be degeneration in the hip. This can cause a person to change their normal "gait" without realising and has all sorts of knock on effects with backs and knees, which then effect the whole spine. Chiropractors work because they then relieve muscle issues that result.

Personally, id go back to doctor, ask for referral for hip MRI and referral to a back clinic. Most hospitals now have them, . If thats still negative, carry on with a monthly session with an osteopath or chiropractor, and excercise day in day out. Exercise is key in keeping back problems at bay as the muscles strengthen and hold all the right bits in place.

Cant agree more. Ive battled with back pain for more than a decade and tried every remedy under the sun. Ultimately the only thing which manages the problem effectively is a regular exercise regime which works on core muscles. This should not be combat sports of even running but gentler yoga type moves that build up muscle protection around any weaker areas.

Im not sure if this would not be ideal if the problem is more hip related though.

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Cant agree more. Ive battled with back pain for more than a decade and tried every remedy under the sun. Ultimately the only thing which manages the problem effectively is a regular exercise regime which works on core muscles. This should not be combat sports of even running but gentler yoga type moves that build up muscle protection around any weaker areas.

Im not sure if this would not be ideal if the problem is more hip related though.

+1 to this - strong core muscles seem to help a lot. Mrs Woods has had very bad, more or less constant, back pain for 15 years, ever since her car was rear-ended by a drunk driver. A good physio can work wonders, and if the muscles are getting tight so can a good masseuse ( and by good, I mean really good and aware of issues concerning massage for people with back problems. Others are likley to cause pain/damage. Part of the problem seems to be that the muscles spasm and that causes pain as they pull things in wrong directions.)

The other thing that has helped her a lot is acupuncture. We're both scientists, so very skeptical, but if it works (and it does in her case, better than just about anything else), who cares if it is a placebo effect or not?! The pain goes and her muscles don't feel anywhere as near as tight after a session and it stays like that for weeks.

Having had bad back pain myself for 6 months, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, except for a few bankers and politicians, so your relative has all my sympathy (unless they work in one of the aforementioned industries. :))

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Ultimately the only thing which manages the problem effectively is a regular exercise regime which works on core muscles. This should not be combat sports of even running but gentler yoga type moves that build up muscle protection around any weaker areas.

Agree tenfold. I have carried furniture for 25 years with my business. 15 years ago started having back problems/ sciatica. Cutting a long story short, it was specific excercises that helped and seeing a Chiropractor for a few months. I am mid fifties now, and still carry heavy furniture almost daily, with little or no problems.

One thing that is often missed and not always appreciated is that its muscles around the stomach area as well as back, that are so important for good posture and hence a stronger back.

You do not have to go into SAS training just gentle excercise every day for 20 minutes.

Its worth it !

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I have a dodgy disc, which sometimes can be painful!

It was "cured" by having a holiday walking about Scotland! Mainly from pub to pub!

Not extreme exercise by any means! Just walking about! :huh:

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I think the exercise idea could be a good one. Of all the injuries people who run a lot get - lower back pain is pretty rare. There must be some link.

Also if the issue is a lot of muscle tightness - then a trip to a very good deep tissue massage therapist could be a good way to help loosen these up - prior to starting to exercise and do lots of stretching themselves to keep supple. Yoga could also be a great way to keep supple. Thinking of giving it a go myself. Supposed to be brilliant for loosening it all up.

PS - The deep tissue massage will probably help a lot - however it may well be EXTREMELY painful the first time. We are talking tears here. Still if it helps in the long term will be worth it.

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Fortunately not suffered from it myself, two people I know did. One cured it with several visits to a chiro and the other by persisting with exercise. Last year she would walk less than a mile and have back problems for days afterwards, but she persisted and now walks three times a day and the back pain has gone.

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Fortunately not suffered from it myself, two people I know did. One cured it with several visits to a chiro and the other by persisting with exercise. Last year she would walk less than a mile and have back problems for days afterwards, but she persisted and now walks three times a day and the back pain has gone.

I know I bang on about exercise - however I really do think it is the cure for so many of the ailments people suffer today.

Anyway - off to do my first ever proper times 5 km. Bit hungover so not the best preparation. :D

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I suffer from lower back pain. It started when my job became 90% office based I never suffered during the many years I worked as a builder. I agree that exercising can improve it, although when a flare up happens for me, exercise has little affect.

I now have a properly measured office chair with full adjustability and support and, touch wood, I have not had an issue with my back since.

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I've battled back pain most of my life: first twinges came in my teens and an excruciating twice-a-day journey on the school bus. In my 20s and 30s I've had some run-ins with office managers over unsuitable furniture.

Eventually (in 1998) I gave up office work altogether. Since then I've been better: just mild twinges, which I am able to manage when they threaten me.

Things that make it worse (not in order): the wrong clothes, soft beds (mostly anything with a spring base; mattress is less important), unsuitable chairs, unsuitable office desks, anything that constrains where I can put the legs while sitting down. One of the very worst things is what office furniture suppliers call "workstations".

The two biggest helps, and what brought relief when I was working in offices and suffering badly, are cycling, and walking with a fairly large backback that was right for my back. What I gain by working from home includes the ability to change position regularly: in addition to the right desk and chair for me in the room I use as office, I can alternate it with my bed (and laptop), and the sitting room (but not laptop - not a good working posture in a sofa).

Also take care of what you wear. I don't understand why some pressure-points matter, but they clearly do (I expect an acupuncturist could explain). I gave up wearing a wristwatch after finding myself taking it off whenever I was sitting down. I insist on loose shirts, and can't wear t-shirts that put pressure on the neck (which is most of them). I can take a collar stiff enough to wear a tie, but not for too long. When buying sandals, I have to be careful where the straps go.

This blog piece has some more thoughts.

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Going to a chiropractor or an osteopath who does elements of what a chiropractor does was correct.

We have loads of muscles in the back and around the spine - google paraspinal muscles - and these tighten up partly as we get older, partly because we are hunched over computers, partly because we do not excericse them.

Over time, we do not realise that they have tighten - i.e. they shorten - and that we are living in a fair bit of pain. We adjust to the pain.

Conditions like asthma can make this worse.

The problem is is that these muscles are super powerful and as they contract they cause all sorts of pain, they can even twist and 'pull out' vertaebrae.

I was in such a situation caused mainly by a combination of working in IT, having asthma and lots of stress. Chicken and an egg situation. I had no idea who little movement I had in my back, neck and shoulders. My breathing was terrible.

I saw an osteopath and he told me that I had a couple of vertaebrae twisted. Over a period of adjustments he corrected these. I was, amazingly, suddenly aware that there was no pain in my back. I had been living with it for years.

But the correction was not enough. I had to stretch all the muscles that had tightened. This oook several months but, boy, what a difference I now have in my movement, in brearthing better and in generally feeling chilled. I can now put one hand over my head and bring up another behind my back, join them together and make a fist.

I cannot emphasise enough how.

1. Yoga is great for this.

2. There are hundreds of back stretching excercises that you can find online. I choose about 10 that I liked and just did them every day.

3. Did the silly walk. The silly walk is important. If you look at most people walking they are stiff walkers - their legs move below the waist but above the waist their bodies are stiff and immobile. This is not natural.

To walk properly, and hence to excericse the upper body and back, there needs to be a swinging or twisting or swaying movement in the back above the waist. So now when I go for walks I sway my back but alternating moving my shoulders forward and backwards alternatively in time with my stride. You can do this in big gestures or small gestures.

If you back is very tight or there is serious pain you probably only will be able to do small gestures at first but, boy, you don't have feel the muscles in your back move and open up. You get this wonderful feeling of soreness and within a few weeks the soreness goes as the flexibility comes back.

It is great to do this when wearing a small ruck-sack as you can place your fingers in the shoulder-straps and get a good movement going.

Yes, it sounds silly. Others looking at you will think you are nuts if you do big movements but sod them as you will be getting rid of muscle tightness, soreness, pain and getting back flexibility. Try it.

You will then look around at others walking stiff and realise how stupid they are.

Hope this helps.

I am not a doctor so consult a doctor and use your commonsense before listening to anything I write on the internet.

Edit:

Forgot to say, hip pain can be many things and you need to get it checked out by a GP but here are some things to consider.

1. It could be muscular re the above.

2. It could be due to one or more vertaebrae being out of alignment, twisted or worse.

3. It could be that the pelvis is out of alignment - a good osteopath or chiropractor will correct this with a simple movement.

If you pelvis or spine is out of alignment in any way then you will have all sorts of pains and illnesses elsewhere. My osteo talked me through how the spine is the information highway for the nervous systems and how if we are feeling pain 'externally' on our bodies, due to a mis-alignment of the spine, that we will also have internal pain or internal affects as a result.

4. Calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. Hip pain is often a sign of the body either now having enough calcium and hence the body is drawing it from the strongest source in the body - the hip - or because the body is not absorbing calcium properly due to not enough magnesium and vitamin D3. You will be amazed how many people with hip pain have the pain go away when they get their calcium, D3 and magnesium corrected.

People often do not put together their hip pain with the fractured hip that happens 10 years later.

There are other things that can cause hip pain so get your GP to have a look.

I am not a doctor so always consult your GP about anything medical.

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Personally, id go back to doctor, ask for referral for hip MRI and referral to a back clinic. Most hospitals now have them, . If thats still negative, carry on with a monthly session with an osteopath or chiropractor, and excercise day in day out. Exercise is key in keeping back problems at bay as the muscles strengthen and hold all the right bits in place.

+1

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Lie down and tie some weights to your feet.....traction, helps pull the vertebrate apart and can release trapped nerves.....speak to the doc. ;)

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Take the Colmans Traditional mustard bath cure (worked for the victorians but forgotten now): go to the cash and carry and buy a caterers size tin of Colmans English Mustard powder. Add 2 heaped tablespoons to a hot bathful of water, mix in well then soak for half an hour.

The mustard warmth soaks though into the pores and warms and heals back pain.

Also acts as an anti-fungal and kills many skin bacteria (don't get any in your eyes or into open wounds :o ).

Report back if it works! It works for me, I was told about it by a guy who works for Colmans in Norwich, apparently all the staff do it.

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Take the Colmans Traditional mustard bath cure (worked for the victorians but forgotten now): go to the cash and carry and buy a caterers size tin of Colmans English Mustard powder. Add 2 heaped tablespoons to a hot bathful of water, mix in well then soak for half an hour.

The mustard warmth soaks though into the pores and warms and heals back pain.

Also acts as an anti-fungal and kills many skin bacteria (don't get any in your eyes or into open wounds :o ).

Report back if it works! It works for me, I was told about it by a guy who works for Colmans in Norwich, apparently all the staff do it.

I have suffered from sciatica type pain and back pain over a number of years.eexercise certainly seems to help. I also use Devil's Claw, which is a herb available im most health shops and pharmacies. It's a natural anti inflammatory and I prefer it to pharmaceutical drugs Seems to help.

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Lie down and tie some weights to your feet.....traction, helps pull the vertebrate apart and can release trapped nerves.....speak to the doc. ;)

A friend had one of those devices where you strap your feet into bars and then you tilt yourself upside down. He had a bad back for ages, then saw one of these really cheap on sale on amazon, bought, hung upside down and within a few minutes his back pain was cured - either a trapped nerve or a misalignment or both.

Not sure how the hanging weights over the bed from your feet helps???????

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Take the Colmans Traditional mustard bath cure (worked for the victorians but forgotten now): go to the cash and carry and buy a caterers size tin of Colmans English Mustard powder. Add 2 heaped tablespoons to a hot bathful of water, mix in well then soak for half an hour.

The mustard warmth soaks though into the pores and warms and heals back pain.

Also acts as an anti-fungal and kills many skin bacteria (don't get any in your eyes or into open wounds :o ).

Report back if it works! It works for me, I was told about it by a guy who works for Colmans in Norwich, apparently all the staff do it.

You can buy beladonna plasters in Boots - the chemist has them behind the counter, about the size of an A5 envelope. Stick them on your back for a few days and the beladonna is absorbed by the body. You have to have a long soak in the bath to remove them.

My Mum used to use them a lot but, sadly too late, I now realise that our family has some kind of Vitamin D3 / gluten thing going on and that my Mum was probably highly deficient in D3 most of her life.

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I have suffered with a bad back since the age of 14 - when I had surgery to remove a prolapsed disc (commonly called a slipped disc). It's not a common procedure for an adolescent to undergo so I got lots of specialist help. I'm now 36 and have had 6 further episodes of crippling back pain (eg. requiring strong medication and bed rest)

The things I have found to help are. Forget the bed rest, do as much walking around as you can when you can. Flopping on a bed will not help you get better quicker. Also buy a decent mattress - mine is a solid lump of memory foam - cost about £1500 - result a good nights sleep and waking up without twinges. Not a bad return on investment considering I spend a third of my life lying on it (assuming 8 hrs a night which is not always possible)

I also have a back inverter or back swing - clamp the feet in and tip yourself upside down and wait for gravity to work its magic. I can actually feel the spine and discs popping and clicking into place - again not cheap but keeps me mobile.

Anecdotal and not qualified advice but I was told aged 14 that I would more than likely be in a wheel chair by the time I was 40. Have spent 3 hrs today chopping logs for the winter (with an axe) and the rest of the time laying slabs for the patio.

I guess part of it is mental atitude though. When my back goes twang the only option available is Diazepam and Tramadol and I absolutely hate the way they make me feel so I work bloody hard to make sure I avoid that as much as possible.

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