This is my first post on this site.
I have been suffering with back pain for approximately 3 years and I am only 20 years old. Originally I encountered my problems through improper technique when working out. Since then my back has given me some problems but was actually getting substantially better, to just minimal discomfort. At the time I had an X-Ray and attended a Chiropractor. He determined I had a Buldging Disk in my lumbar region, I do not remember exact location. Never saw a doctor.
Recently I am encountering tremendous pain. About 1 1/2 weeks ago I started having this problem, again because of working out. I felt great one day, went to sleep, woke up with severe pain and limited motion. This is why I believe it not to be a herniation, if it was I would have felt extreme pain at that time correct?
I went to the Dr. and X rays were taken. She never called me back, which would have been the case she said if the X rays revealed a herniation. However, she did explain to me that I have no lower curvature to my spine. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer; both seem to be doing nothing.
My problems are: Lower Back pain and stiffness, pain on the side of my right calf (I have had this for some time it just seems elevated), limited ROM. During the day I can easily bend over to 90degrees and was my body is warmed up I can walk and stand erect freely. However, I still feel the discomfort and limited ROM. At night after classes, working out (no axial loading), and sitting down for approx 30 mins. I cannot stand up anymore. I can only stand approximately half way from bending over and being erect. Sometimes my foot gets pins and needles after sitting as well. This is the second day like this. I have been stretching and exercising to treat what myself, the Dr., and the chiro believe to be a strain.
It came on suddenly like when I strained my groin months ago, and when I strained my calves months ago.
Does anyone have any advice or similar problems? I guess I ask this because I am getting worried it is not just a strain of my lowback muscles but something more sever like a herniation...
A long first post, I know, but I am in a lot of discomfort and becoming worried...
The following user gives a hug of support to Babalooza: izzy10 (10-02-2011)
Hiya and welcome to the boards, though sorry to hear you're ailing.
First things first -- an X-ray will not show a disc herniation. In order to see soft tissue (like a disc) you need to get an MRI. The good news is that you may just have a strain but if you have been suffering for three years on and off, it might be worth getting a more definitive diagnostic test to see what's going on with your back. Once you know, you will be better informed and better able to adjust your workout so that you don't do any further damage to yourself.
Suggest putting some heat on your back to relax your muscles before your workout and icing afterwards. Also, while you're in this flare up/strain, you will probably want to limit your workouts so you don't hurt yourself further. A bulging disc isnt the end of the world, and you have your youth working in your favor. Sometimes discs that are bulging can fall back in place, but remember that if it's bulging now it's at further risk of herniation.
It sounds like you're very fit, so keep taking care of yourself and don't overdo it. Sometimes physical therapy can be very helpful -- especially to learn techniques to help preserve your back and how to properly work out and strengthen your core muscles to prevent future problems.
Feel better and post back to let us know how you're doing!
you usually do not feel the pain right off after hurting your back...it sometimes takes a day or two....or a few days longer. when i first hurt my back, i didnt even know it. i noticed slight pain the 2nd day...each day it got progressively worse....to the point to where i could NOT move to get out of bed by day 6.
it DEFINITELY sounds disc related. you describe things to the T as to what i have experienced since i first got hurt almost 2 years ago. HORRIBLE pain after sitting....not able to stand erect for quite a few minutes. You need an MRI....plain x-rays will just simply not show the true problems with disc related injuries. (mine is L5-S1 rupture).
sounds to me like your disc is pressing on your sciatic nerve....read up on it to see if it sounds like things you are experiencing. also read up on ruptured lumbar discs. there are exercises that can HURT you more than it will help you. there are certain exercises that you do for back injuries. you need to limit bending, twisting, weight limits, climbing, squatting. all of those can make it worse. until you get properly diagnosed and are under drs care for them to tell you what you should/shouldnt be doing...i would use EXTREME caution...lifting weights, and exercising....actually....i wouldnt do it at all until you know the extent of your injuries. you might just be making it worse by what you are doing.
chiropractors arent really the best....you need to see a real dr..get an MRI done...and possibly see a neurosurgeon....dont let that kind of dr scare you....a neurosurgeon can prescribe physical therapy, pain meds, injections, and then if all else fails....possible surgery. SOMETIMES, but not always....it can get better on its own..with RESTRICTIVE activity...within 6 months or less. unless its an emergency...such as you losing control of bowels or bladder....the dr will NOT talk surgery until they have tried the conservative treatments of pain meds, injections, physical therapy first. so if you go to see a neuro..and they start talking surgery right off...RUN!!! (unless you are having those severe problems that i just mentioned).
Hi, I agree with the others that you should have an MRI, especially since you've been dealing with this on & off for 3 years. X-rays cant properaly diagnose disc herniations or soft tissue injuries. I also agree you should be seeing at least a regular doc (general practicioner) to start. And until you do, you shoud probably hold off on working out because you might be doing more damage, especially if it's muscle related. And it could end up causing something chronic. It could be a herniation or some other cause of nerve compression if you are having pins & needles in your foot. Believe it or not, problems in the spine can refer all the way down into the foot & you dont necessarily need to have pain with it. Of course it could be other things, but the best way to find out is to have the MRI.
You need a complete work up done by a spinal surgeon (an orthopedic with additional training in spinal surgery) and an MRI done with possibly a CT scan.
I highly recommend that you do this because you have pain in your legs and feet and the longer you wait the more likely you can end up with permamanent nerve damage.
Thank you all for your quick and informative responses.
As of right now I have just been resting. I did not go to the gym on Friday and plan on taking at least a week off... I actually do feel better. I was able to actually stand all day and night yesterday without incredable pain. I was also able to stand straight! Some may say more take more than a week off. I will see how things go. A week for me is a lot because I have been in the gym almost 5 days a week for over 3 years straight now. I go to school for strength and conditioning and working out is one of the most important things in my life, so it is hard for me to take a break, even when I should and it is needed.
The tingling in my foot is only after sitting for long periods of time, like pins and neeedles, and goes away, but it only happens in my right...
I am going to look for orthopedics in the area and set up an appointment for as soon as possible next week.
This weekend I plan on just resting and studying and am hoping things will get better.
Thank You all for your advice and information
I finally recieved a MRI last week and recieved the results last week as well... So far I have not recieved much help from any of the doctors down here... I do not think they understand the severity of my problem, until possibly recently. I have been troubled for about a month now, and as the few proposed I have a herniated disk. Or the doctor looked at the MRI and said "eh, we'll call it a herniated disk." The disk that herniated is also degenorated, I believe that is the word. My spine is also completley void of my lordosis curve in the Lumbar region.
I was given 2 options: Surgery or Cortisone. I do not want sugery, at all. So I am getttng a cortisone injection whenever they call me. Throughout my many visits to the doctors I have not recieved any help except for the initial 6 day supply of anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. I know people who go in with caughs that recieve pain killers and me not being able to get out of bed or stand up straight gets sent away.
I have stopped all activity and am starting to feel better, but its hard for a bodybuilder to stay out the gym. I have been out for 2 weeks...It feels as if it may be subisiding a little, I can actually stand up straight after sitting and laying down! Just an initial crick and pain then generally good to go..
That long post is basically me asking if anyone has expierance with cortisone or where I should go from here?
Babalooza- I know where you are coming from. I am just a few months post-op from a T5 to L5 spinal fusion, Harrington Rod Removal, ten more rods put in, Laminectomy...the list goes on. My surgeon cut my Vicodan 5mg twice a day right as I was beginning PT. Now I went to PM, and it was pulling teeth, just to get a muscle skeletal relaxer, Topamax, and Darvocet!! They think the pain is muscle related. I'm not too sure. I think it may be scar tissue; will see. My point is that why are some people given adequate meds to cover their pain by their PM docs, and others (who are in just as much pain) are given hardly any or none??...Now I am WAYYYY behind on my PT. About the cortisone- I had one injection before my surgery, and it worked for about a month. Then, I had a second injection, and that one didn't take @ all. So, it's really up to you. Vaneerraa
I worked out from 16 years old to 26 and then again from 35 yo to 39 years old. I wish I knew then what I know now but oh well. What I can do is hopefully help my 2 children. I did not have the genetic makeup to be a bodybuilder. Both parents suffered from DDD, dad died from fusion surgery. I put muscle on easily enough that people thought I used steroids (I did not) BUT, my joints and connective tissues where not equally blessed.
My back problems have always shown up days or weeks after the motion that caused the injury,making it difficult to pinpoint the exact moment the injury took place.
I wish you all the best!
Peace and Prayers,
L5S1 microdiskectomy 10/2004
L5S1 Fusion with Laminectomy/Decompression 2/2008
babolooza,I know you dont want to hear this and im not saying give up the gym,but if you do any weightlifting and im sure you do, it can really damage your neck and back,my dr said i need exersise but when i asked him what he said whatever doesnt make your pain worsr,what does that mean? make sure you warm up your muscles and do plenty of streching before hand please be careful. I have given up the gym and doe streching and low impact stuff at home,something happens to me in the gym,I think im competetive,but no more,I wish you all the luck in the world I wish I could be of more help have a great day. marywoo
Thanks for all your advice.
I am very reluctant from giving up the gym as it really is my life. I go to school for exercise science and have completley transformed my body throught weights.
I am going to be giving the gym a little more rest then I will test the waters again.
They doctors down here are really lazy and do not really care at all about my situation I have gathered. They never set the cortisone shot appointment up for me like they said they would and when I called today for the appoinment I have to wait a month! In the mean time I have no medication to relieve the constant pain I am in.
Luckily I am flying home next week and have set up an appointment with my home doctor, hopefully something will get done then.
I know how you feel about the gym. I used to go just about every other day would do 45 min to an hour of cardio, then another hour of weight training on the machines. I was in pretty good shape. Back then the muscle soreness after working out actually felt good, you know what I mean. I suddenly started in again with what felt like a flare (of possible lupus) but I had other pains as well, especially in my legs. I was getting very fatigued, it just didnt make sense. But I didnt actually feel back pain yet. I had worked alot on my abs and back muslces, including all the machines for these areas (like the back extension where you are pushing alot of weight backward using your back, ab machines where you scrunch alot of weight and another where you pull the weight up using abs, etc...I started resting & resting. But was getting worse anyway. Finally went to a rheumy, tried some anti-inflammatories, which didnt work, then had to go on prednisone for a while. Pred made me feel better, I was able to do some more again. I think sometime after i was done with pred was when I had my first back pain. It would come & go , but unfortunately got worse over time. I ended up with alot of bony overgrowth around my spine, plus other things, which caused severe stenosis. I wonder to this day if some of exercises I was doing with the machines (back & ab ones) could have contributed to causing the bone overgrowth.
I'm glad you are able to see a doctor quicker now, let us know how it goes and take a little break & rest for now. In case something is torn or damaged, you don't want to make things worse.
I suppose this won't go over too well with most people here...but Chiropractors are REAl doctors. They have had many years of schooling also.I have been going to one off and on for several years. I have 2 herniated discs (L4/L5, L5/S1). My symptoms can be mild or non-existent to pretty severe. But my Chiro did order an MRI and he also works in conjunction with my DO with whom I get my Cortisone shots and prescribed meds when needed. My Chiro also referred me to a neurosurgeon. But my disc problems weren't advanced enough for surgery. My Chiro is now wanting me to have another MRI because of possible Sciatica. There are good Chiropractors out there. But I also know that there can be bad ones too. Just don't lump all of them into one catagory.
Welcome on board, neigbor!
I feel bad for you, you are only 20 and it's sad you have to leave in pain.
I got an impression that all your problems started from wrong doing during your excercise.
I am ex-gym pro () and can give you couple of advices. I was in a gym 4-6 times a week, some days I would spend hours and hours in there: cardio, weights, boot camp classes, spinning, yoga, meditations - you name it.
Now I am after 2 spinal fusions and can't do much at all, except walking when I can.
You can't start your cardio or any type of excercise while your muscles are not warmed up. Spend at least 10 minutes to warm them up. You can do a slow walking on treadmil or elliptical and than only you can increase intensivity.
You must take a professional trainer at least for couple of times in the beginning. He will explain to you how to do in a right way your weight training. As you probably know, your body position is extremely important when you do either free weights or weight machines. You can seriosly injure you muscles, causing sprains of the muscle tissue; injury can cause brusities of the joint and you will be out of order for a long time! And this is a very short list of problems you may get if you are doing it wrong.
Your spine is a very sensitive part of the body, please be careful. Don't take your health for granted.
Right now I think you need to see your spinal specialist. Not just Ortho DR, but Spinal Ortho. And go from there. MRI or CT is a good tests to point your problems.
And remember one golden rule: when it hurts, your body tells you something. Don't push it, stop excercise, don't do weights. You can do maybe swimming, some walking or nice yoga stretches, but let it heal.
Make sure you have a lots of protein when you excercise or when you pull muscles; protein drinks (you buy at health food store, not a sugary once; soy is good, whey protein is good. Look for a lot of protein in a scoop, but lesser calories).
Good luck to you, kido and be careful please!
I have 23 old son. Believe me it took a lots of pain, muscles pull and injures on his part and a lots of instructions on my part to finally for him realize I have a point. LOL
Have you considered doing water therapy for a couple of weeks?
I strongly recommend the pool. No swimming/floating. Get a flotation device for the midsection of your body. Go into the deep end of the pool and walk on the top of the water. It takes the pressure off the spine. Do this for a couple of weeks slowly increasing the time. I begin this therapy with the spa ahead of time for 15 minutes, do the pool walking, then go back in the spa at the end for about 15 minutes. I would begin the pool walking for 5 minutes then slowly increase once a week depending on your pain levels.
Once you get to 15 minutes of pool walking you are probably safe to start doing jumping jacks or running in the deep end of the pool. Just remember don't do anything to twist the spine such as twirling in the deep end.
Lastly, you might try doing land walking in the gym on the track or on a flat ground.
Water therapy and walking are two things that doctors recommend.
Good luck with the shots and I pray that they give you some relief.