My back

My back

This is a discussion on My back within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I went to my new doctor Wednesday to talk to him about my back problems, and see if there was anything we could start doing ...

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    My back

    I went to my new doctor Wednesday to talk to him about my back problems, and see if there was anything we could start doing about it all. He set me up with an appointment for an MRI to see exactly what is going on in there, but thought we 'should'(/could) try what he says a lot of orthopedists try on patients; he gave me a prescription for Prednisone. It DID make me rather moody the first couple days, but that's mellowed out nicely since Friday. But, it has helped a lot. It hasn't quite gotten me to 'good' or 'healed', but definitely to 'better'.

    I'm taking my last two pills tonight and tomorrow morning, and I can already feel the difference; going back to where I was before I started taking the prescription. So, it helps, but now I'm going back to where I was before, with my MRI on Friday. I'm really hoping that it won't require any surgery to fix my problem.

    I know it really doesn't have much of anything to do with anyone here, and I hope I haven't wasted too much of your time, I just kinda needed to get that out there because I'm worried about my back. And, all ANYONE will say is that 'it's going to be all right, we'll get it taken care of'. Makes me kinda sick to hear it so much.
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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Have you tried a neurologist, or a rheumatologist?
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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    Have you tried a neurologist, or a rheumatologist?
    Neurologist will come with/after the MRI. Haven't put any thought into a rheumatologist because I know it's a 'nerve' problem, not so much a joint/bone problem.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    How old are you?
    Is this pain caused by a injury/ accident?
    What is your occupation? Is this pain caused by your job?

    All these questions need to be addressed before a course of treatment is started. Don't ask me how I know.
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    Prednisone isn't something you want to take for very long.....bad side effects.
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    experience comes from bad decisions"

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    I lost L4-L5 at the early age of 28 years old. I can tell you what has helped me, that was to lose as much weight as you can, exercise, and adjust your lifestyle to lower the use of your back. Stay off the drugs if possible, stay off the surgery if possible, and be careful all the time.

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21bubba View Post
    How old are you?
    Is this pain caused by a injury/ accident?
    What is your occupation? Is this pain caused by your job?

    All these questions need to be addressed before a course of treatment is started. Don't ask me how I know.
    I'm 23. I HAVE pulled muscles and tendons, and muscles and ligaments, and I have the same problem as my grandfather where my spine narrows a little too much as it gets lower. I work in an automotive shop (Pep Boys), and the pain wasn't brought on by my job, but it is made worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by SPIN1963 View Post
    I lost L4-L5 at the early age of 28 years old. I can tell you what has helped me, that was to lose as much weight as you can, exercise, and adjust your lifestyle to lower the use of your back. Stay off the drugs if possible, stay off the surgery if possible, and be careful all the time.
    My wife (she was still my girlfriend at the time) had L4-L5 fused, and hasn't had any problems since. In the past year I have lost at least 40 pounds, and the pain has only gotten worse.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Backs are funny things, except they sometimes hurt like hell and keep you from standing up.

    Usually, there really isn't much of anything wrong or much of anything special to be done.

    Here's what helped me tremendously, and keep in mind that one time I was wheeled out of the building where I worked, belly down, on top of a garbage can.

    Lots of cushioning under the heels and soles of my shoes.

    Regularly doing exercise which strengthens the muscles. Of course you can do these mostly only when you are feeling better.

    I've had some benefit by some sessions with a physical therapist, but mostly you can look up back exercises on the net and do them yourself after the MRI shows nothing particularly out of whack.

    Keep in mind that people are built funny. Lots of pain and inability to move does not equate to lots of stuff being seriously amiss inside. And the opposite is true too. A person can be very ill with little or no pain or debility.

    Stick with your present doc and let him or her refer you to specialists after s/he has reviewed the MRI results. Otherwise, you risk going to the wrong type of specialist or submitting to the wrong type of surgery.

    Good luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolvingMag View Post
    I'm 23. I HAVE pulled muscles and tendons, and muscles and ligaments, and I have the same problem as my grandfather where my spine narrows a little too much as it gets lower. I work in an automotive shop (Pep Boys), and the pain wasn't brought on by my job, but it is made worse.
    23 is a REALLY young to start having back problems... I know... I'm right there with you.

    My problems started when I was 23 and sprang from my first pregnancy with my son which I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about.

    Without knowing you or what you're being diagnosed with, etc, I can only relate my own story. I don't even know where your pain is located? Upper? Lower? Middle?

    After nearly a year of increasing pain I started with a chiropractor who adjusted me and said there was barely a vertebrae that was IN place in my back. After a couple of weeks of chiropractor care and a continuation of seeing the same issues over and over again (including LOTS of nerve pinching in my lower back causing shooting pain down my legs). The chiropractor suggested I start doing Yoga.

    I thought it was kind of hokey but willing to try anything to get some LASTING relief (not just the day or two after my chiro visits).

    Yoga is VERY much about spinal alignment, balance, functional strength, flexibility and listening to your body vs trying to push through any kind of burn or pain. I started learning that imbalance in the flexibility of the front of my body vs the back (particularly my pelvic region) was pulling on muscles and tendons in my back and pulling things out of place. We Americans spend a LOT of time bending forward and over things and carrying weight in front of us and almost none of us counter that with backbends. As I worked on balancing out that flexibility and strengthening my core I started seeing a HUGE improvement.

    I also started seeing a sports medicine doctor who took some x-rays and prescribed physical therapy for three months. She wanted to do an MRI but I never did that. When I started my physical therapy, to my amazement, EVERYTHING the therapist was having me to do was what I was already doing in Yoga (just named different) in addition to a little strength training. I quit the physical therapy (it wasn't as challenging as the Yoga..lol) and continued to see improvement.

    Within a year my spine was pain free and even if I did have momentary discomfort I knew the Yoga poses I could do to remedy the problem.

    I'm pregnant again and this pregnancy (as far as spinal health) feels a lot better than my previous and while I still do some prenatal Yoga I'm excited to get back to doing it on a regular basis again.

    Some things can't be cured so easily, for sure. My sister is going in for back surgery in a couple of weeks because of an acute problem that is causing nerve damage. She has tried steroid injections and physical therapy and it's just to the point now where she needs a doctor to step in. But if just a couple of hours a week of twisting yourself into a pretzel can help (if not cure) then why not give it a try?

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Backs are funny things, except they sometimes hurt like hell and keep you from standing up.

    Usually, there really isn't much of anything wrong or much of anything special to be done.

    Here's what helped me tremendously, and keep in mind that one time I was wheeled out of the building where I worked, belly down, on top of a garbage can.

    Lots of cushioning under the heels and soles of my shoes.

    Regularly doing exercise which strengthens the muscles. Of course you can do these mostly only when you are feeling better.

    I've had some benefit by some sessions with a physical therapist, but mostly you can look up back exercises on the net and do them yourself after the MRI shows nothing particularly out of whack.

    Keep in mind that people are built funny. Lots of pain and inability to move does not equate to lots of stuff being seriously amiss inside. And the opposite is true too. A person can be very ill with little or no pain or debility.

    Stick with your present doc and let him or her refer you to specialists after s/he has reviewed the MRI results. Otherwise, you risk going to the wrong type of specialist or submitting to the wrong type of surgery.

    Good luck.
    I wouldn't be anywhere near as concerned as I am if I hadn't started having a numb/tingling feeling in my legs after standing for more than just a few minutes at a time. This problem started just a couple months ago, and I only felt it at the end of the day, so I put it off as just being tired/sore. But, it's definitely more serious than that now.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    Lima, if I thought it would help, I would be more than willing to try. The problem I'm having is lower back. The only issue I have with trying yoga is that I don't think I can bend that much- I have trouble really getting to my boots to tie them. And I'm a little scared to make it worse.

    If I could afford to, I would stop working in the shop at Pep Boys, but I can't because of money. And, the other positions in the store are just as bad about standing and having to be constantly moving. So, unfortunately, I'm just 'making do' with what I have until the doctor can tell me more about what's going on. I'm really hoping that he says it's just a slipped disk that can be fixed without surgery.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolvingMag View Post
    Lima, if I thought it would help, I would be more than willing to try. The problem I'm having is lower back. The only issue I have with trying yoga is that I don't think I can bend that much- I have trouble really getting to my boots to tie them. And I'm a little scared to make it worse.
    That is a COMMON misconception about people who start Yoga for the first time. My mother STILL won't try it because she says, "I could never do that." .. and "doing that" is not the point of Yoga.. it's just doing what you CAN do and striving to improve. A lot of people think you need to go into Yoga with some sort of amazing flexibility and/or strength.. that is very much NOT the case. Of course, all you see in the pictures are the advanced practitioners but those are examples of where you MAY be able to end up if you do Yoga... not where you start.

    I couldn't touch my toes when I started or do the simplest of back bends. I couldn't even lay flat on the floor without pain in my back so my instructor would have me put my knees up instead. There were 65 y/os in my class who could do much more than I could. But the relief I got was worth it. Especially the relief from the shooting pain down my legs.

    And any good instructor will guide you to listen to your body and to NEVER go beyond your own limits. There are variations to everything. If you feel discomfort or pain they will give you an easier variation to try.

    I would recommend trying one class (a lot of Yoga studios have Intro to Yoga days for people who've never done it before) and seeing how you like it. Go a little early, tell the instructor about your issues and fears (like the fear of making things worse) that you've never done Yoga before and he/she will likely pay close attention to you to make sure you are in good alignment and make variations for you if they see you are struggling or if you indicate you are in pain.

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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    My back problems started in the military when I was 20. I was driving a ration truck three days a week and re-stocking dining hall food stores in a truck that was too low for me to stand up straight - I'm 6'3" and the truck stopped at 6'0". So I was hauling cases of food, and 60 to 80 lb boxes of frozen meats, in and out of the truck slightly bent over. Messed my back up considerably.

    I was prescribed several meds at first, but just couldn't keep taking them -- I didn't like the way the drugs would make me feel, particularly the Parafon Forte, so I stopped and just learned how to excercise and take care of my back. I still have flare-ups from time to time, but can tell you that if you want to try and get your back into a natural state of being, that can take a workout and not cause you too much pain, then I would honestly consider yoga. Daily yoga keeps it in shape, and for the times it does act up there are movements that help get me back into shape rather quickly, usually no more than a day or so.
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    I lived with chronic back pain for years before figuring out a solution. It was so bad that I'd sometimes just pass out from the pain.

    These days, I find that I can usually keep myself out of the emergency room by working abs. Strong abs go a long way to taking stress off your lower back.

    Prednisone is scary stuff to me. It suppresses your immune system. My main issues are muscle spasms that contort the vertebrae and then pinch nerves, which causes me to contort in pain, which exacerbates the muscle spasms. Celebrex has been a miracle drug for me, in that it reduces the swelling, which stops the pain, which breaks the cycle so that things can recover.

    I'd consider prednisone a tactical solution, but you need a strategic plan. I trust my doctors, but I verify them with my own research. They may be highly educated, but often don't have any better trouble-shooting skills than those of us in the engineering fields. My parents both have cancer, so I research stuff constantly. More than once I've come up with suggestions that they decide were better than their original plan. The internet has a wealth of information for you to study up on your specific issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolvingMag View Post
    I wouldn't be anywhere near as concerned as I am if I hadn't started having a numb/tingling feeling in my legs after standing for more than just a few minutes at a time. This problem started just a couple months ago, and I only felt it at the end of the day, so I put it off as just being tired/sore. But, it's definitely more serious than that now.
    Well your doc is doing the right things. That numb tingling feeling can be anything from a serious mechanical issue to temporary swelling of muscles and tendons from injury. It can also be unrelated to your back and a different set of issues. This is why you need to stick with a primary care doc and let that doc guide you instead of guessing and running around to specialists.

    I once attended a talk given by a lady who at the time was prez of the AMA. She had been assigned a talk topic, but talked about what she wanted to talk about instead. That was, the reasons to have a primary care doc.

    SHe basically said, if you have back pain and go to an orthopedic surgeon you'll get orthopedic surgery. If you have back pain and go to a kidney specialist, he'll find something wrong with your kidneys. If you have back pain and go to a gastroenterologist he will find digestive issues. If you have back pain and go to a neurologist you'll have neurological issues. You get the point. She stated that it was imperative to start with and stay with a primary doc so you don't end up going off in wrong directions and getting inappropriate care.

    Right now it sounds like your doc has you on an appropriate course. Predisone to reduce swelling which is probably causing you the problem; an MRI to investigate if something more is going on.

    Good luck.
    Rock and Glock likes this.
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