I have been having trouble with LBP since last summer. It was on and off through the past 10 years but nothing like it has been lately. I would like to reach out to the knowledgeable members here and see if anyone has these same symptoms or have any idea what I could be fighting.
My pain is muscular - all in my lower back around the SI joints and my sacrum. It aches really bad in the morning when I wake up and then sometimes will subside after an hour or so to a dull ache. My worst time is when I stand for longer periods of time. Like anything longer than 20 minutes. Shopping is bad just to give and example, as it standing and cooking. I eventually have to push my tailbone back and/or push my pelvis forward and then sit to get it to release. Afterwards it will tighten up and go into spasm.
I don't have any nerve-type symptoms. I had sciatica while pregnant a few years ago so I remember what that shooting, hot nerve pain feels like. I don't have anything regular that shoots into my buttocks or legs, either. Every once in a while if I move a certain way I'll get that but I'm talking like once in a blue moon. I just have that horrible nagging, cramping pain in my lower back.
I also notice that it can flare up pretty bad during my monthly cycle. My last one was awful and I spent the week sleeping on the floor with my legs propped up to try and get some rest.
Anyone have anything similar? LBP without shooting nerve pain? I am getting ready to go back to my family doctor as I feel just awful lately.
I just am at wits end, you know? I want my life back or at least manageable pain and maybe a few pain-free days here and there.
Hi, of course I cant diagnose you & there are many possibilities as to what might be causing your spasms and pain. However, if you've been dealing with it mildly for 10 years and now it seems to be getting worse, you really should see a doctor. They will probably do x-rays and it would probably be a good idea to have an MRI if you can. X-rays show the bones & joints but not soft tissue problems, the MRI is better for that. I had an x-ray first, which didnt show much except for mild scoliosis and mild degeneration. The xray did not explain at all the extent of my spine problems. I started suddenly getting low back pain (what I now know are spasms) in early '03 while walking or standing for too long. It would also go across the area where my low back meets my buttocks and in my buttocks area. At first it would come & go and was annoying. I didnt mention it to any doc until at least a year later. It was getting more frequent and I also was starting to have trouble going out shopping & such. I had the x-ray in '04, which didnt show much. My rheumy had me try this & that (some different anti-inflammatories, lidocaine patches, lidocaine shots) and some of it worked at first. But by early '05 I got so bad I could no longer walk more than 20 to 30 feet, couldnt stand, couldnt lay flat anymore. My spasms were getting worse and more widespread; I ended up not being able to walk upright, I was bent over almost 90 degrees. I finally had an MRI and it found I had several disc herniations (one torn), a few disc bulges, all from DDD, spondylosis, and severe central canal lumbar stenosis (due to bony overgrowth and thickening & buckling of a ligament in the spine). I can tell you if you have stenosis, you will not be able to bend backwards at all & your pain is usually relieved by bending forward. If you bend back, do you get any worsening of your pain or spasms?
I'm not saying you have any of this, but it sounds to me like something might be going on that is getting worse over time. It could be degenerative disc disease, or facet arthritis, spondylosis, an inflammatory disease (like AS or RA), or a slew of other things. It's possible it might not even be back related. I really urge you to see your doctor about since you've been dealing with it for so long. Also, make sure you tell the doc exactly when it hurts, try to show where it hurts; let him know what makes it worse or better; how long it's been going on, etc...Keep us posted and feel free to vent or ask any other questions you might have. Everyone on here is full of advice, knowlegdge, and great support!
Thanks so much for the reply Baybreeze. I should add that I did finally go see my family doctor in November about all of this. He put me on ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer. The ibuprofen did nothing for the pain and the muscle relaxer knocked me out to the point where I can't function on it. So in January he switched me to vicodin for pain when needed (breakthrough I guess). I still take the ibu every other day or so and the vicodin I take on days when I have therapy or when I have a bad flare up. I use ice and/.or heat when needed and sometimes use ben-gay or biofreeze. I also started PT right away in November where they have been working on my lower back with stretches. massages, stim, heat/ice and having me work on ab strength.
I guess I do need to go back to my family doctor. He told me next steps would be x-ray and/or MRI to try and see what is going on. Maybe I am having a hard time accepting that this may be the onset of something longer term than just pulled muscles. I have a sister with back issues - hers is sciatic, though (she has 2 ruptured discs)- and I know how she suffers with it. Gah. I don't know. I'm rambling. I just wondered with the absence of nerve symptoms or buttock pain what in the world this could be. But I guess not all disc issues present with nerve symptoms.
Anyway - thanks for listening. If anyone else has any feedback or a similar situation, I would love to hear it.
Hi Josey.. you were right, not all discs problems involve nerve pain at all.
You shouldn't put off going back to the MD at this point. It sounds like PT isnt offering you the relief you seek right now (doesnt mean it wont at some point though). It's time for an MRI of your lower spine to see what might be going on. You need to find out what is triggering those spasms.
The unknown is scary, and knowing will remove your fears so you can go forward in trying to be well. You are hurting, so why suffer more when you can try and discover and treat the source.
I dont know what kind of muscle relaxers he prescribed for you but there are some that make us more goofy than others. I have taken many that make me sleepy but dont really loosen me up. I get great benefit from a "light" muscle relaxer called Skelaxin. For many, it's not strong enough, but it works great for me. I can take this and keep working at my job which requires great focus. You need ask your doctor to work with you to regulate your meds so that you can stay on top of your pain and function better. What works great for one just offers nothing for another.
I hope that you get some much needed relief. Keep us posted.
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
Hi and welcome. I agree if you have been dealing with this for 10 years you are way over due for an MRI and complete work up on your spine. It is better to know exactly what is going on so that you don't end up doing something to further injure yourself or cause permament damage.
Good luck and please let us know how the MRI goes. I will be praying for you.