I have read a lot about back problems in recent months trying to understand what exactly happened in my case, but each and everyone problem that I read about was one of its kind. That is why I will kindly as you guys to review my case and possibly offer some suggestions/clues.
Back in November '11 I was picking a rather big box (not so much very heavy) off the ground and something just burst - like a small balloon right at the side of my spine. The bursting itself, as far as I recall, was not particularly painful as it was weird and scary. Only then the pain set in and it turned out that I was not able to stand on my feet again - mind that I was picking the box from my knees bent! Somehow I crawled back to my car, made a call for somebody to come and get me, and 'sat' there waiting. When they finally got me home, since I refused to be taken to the ER, I was carried because whatever power I had had in my legs was already gone, plus the pain was really giving me hard time. After they laid me down on the floor of my house, I stayed there for the next three days - I could not stand or sit up.
Fast forward to the future - ever since I got back walking again I have had an array of different sensations anywhere from my pelvis, buttock, leg to the spine itself. Initially I was just not able to stand for longer than 30/40 minutes; I had to lie down and relax for at least 10 min. and then I was ready to go back to standing again. This sensation of weakness was even worse than pain which at that time was minimum. Then I started experiencing pain in my pelvis, almost parallel to the area where the burst occurred. I also experienced an occasional tingling sensation in my entire leg. All these sensations were located at the side of the burst.
Of course i saw doctors about my problems - my physician, initially, and then at the end of September I met with a neurologist. He said that it is a herniated disk that almost healed and said that I just needed some more rest. Of course he prescribed me a bunch of pills of different sort that were to help with the healing process.
One week before I visited the neurologist most of the symptoms in leg and my buttock subsided. However, a pain in my vertebrae appeared - something I had not had before. The doctor was not able to explain this nor he gave any indications as to what my be the cause.
Today I still feel the pain in my vertebrae - I can hardly touch this place. It worries me even more so since it hurts when I do certain things: when I open the doors, when I shake my hands, etc. Yestarday I tried to do a pull-up (heard that is a good exercise for spine issues) and it turned out that I cannot! It feels like something squeezes my vertebrae from both sides. It is a very sharp pain. Good news is that it is not a constant pain.
If anyone have had any experience with something similar, please offer me some explanation. I still cannot function normally and I worry a lot, llike most of you here.
I should add that pretty much from the outset I have been following McKenzie's guidelines. I think they have helped me a lot.
Thank you for responding to my message tetonteri66.
I did not have neither. The only test that my physician ordered was X-rays and some blood tests. I know now that X-ray are of almost no value in the diagnosis of back problems.
The neurologist performed certain tests on me, including the straight-leg raising test - as indicated before, I met with this doctor almost three months after the event. I recall him say that the Lasegue test was 90%, but I sure do not know what he meant by that. Probably 100% would mean that there is no problem at all. Anyway, had I met him earleir it sure would have been much worse.
When it comes to MRI, my family doctor cannot give me a referral for one, and the neurologist did not want to. I, on the other hand, cannot afford to pay for it with my own cash - it is worth half my month's pay. CT scan is much cheaper (still, I would have to pay for it myself), but since I am currently working on my immunity, it might compromise the entire process. Obviously the spine thing does not help it either.
I do not know which vertebrae is affected, but If that is any description, it is at the bullybutton level, more or less.
Last edited by allveryfine; 03-10-2012 at 12:11 PM.
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Re: Lower-back problem. Looking for some answers.
I have a couple of tips with respect to what is safe and what is not. First, so long as it does not cause pain, walking is considered to be the best exercise for back injuries. You may also consider using an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle. If you have access to a pool, you could walk in the pool, as well. With any type of activity, start with 10 minutes per day of that activity, then increase by ten percent per week. This means that in week two, you would be walking 11 minutes. It starts slowly, but builds quickly.
The second thing is that if you request a new neuro and MRI now, you are 6 months away from a potential answer. If you wait 6 months, then the process will take a year. I know it's frustrating to wait, but you will need to press the system to give you answers. It is important not just for your current recovery, but your overall health, to know what is going on.
Finally, ice is almost always the best pain relief and can be most helpful for inflammation. Make sure that it is not directly against your skin, and fifteen minutes per hour.
Do you have one of Robin McKenzie's books? You could follow the exercises recommended in there, if that's what you were doing previously without it causing more pain. Otherwise you could look online for herniated disc exercises. What I usually do is look at a number of different sites. You will find that there will be certain exercises that are common to all (and most of them are based on McKenzie's work). Look for websites that do not offer commercial products. Look for websites from some of the major medical clinics in the US, such as the Mayo or Cleveland Clinic. Also some of the hospitals that have big spine programs also have websites that have extensive information on recovery from various surgeries, including exercises. You can look for exercises for "lower back pain" which will be general exercises to build up the muscles of the back and core.
Did I already give you my little natural traction exercise? It is very helpful when you are walking and your back starts to feel weak. All you do is lie on the floor in a straight line with your knees bent, feet flat on floor. Be sure your pelvis is in a neutral position. Place your arms close to your sides with the palms facing up to the ceiling. Position your head with the chin very slightly tipped down toward the chest. (the idea is to lay as much of your spinal cord on the floor as possible, but not in an exaggerated way). Now all you do is relax and breathe deeply and slowly from the belly..so your stomach goes up and down.
You don't have to stay here long -- just several minutes....It allows the discs to unload and if you have any muscles that are guarding the injured area, it allows them to relax and let go a bit.
I have been known to do this in airports; I have gone into a dressing room at a department store when I just couldn't take it any more! It refreshes me enough that I could walk awhile longer.
I still do it, usually upon walking and again before bed, but if I start feeling pain or any stress in my lumbar spine, I get down on the floor and stretch out for a bit.
There is a good Chinese product you can use to rub on the outside of the skin for temporary relief. It is a weird product. It looks like soy sauce, but it doesn't stain your clothes. The name is Zheng gu shui . It is not expensive, so you might want to give it a try. I use it for arthritis pain in my thumbs and have been known to put it on an achy hip, etc.
I really don't know what to tell you regarding what is causing your pain. Since we don't know what happened to begin with, (although it sounds like a disc rupturing) it is hard to guess what is going on now. I would just keep doing the McKenzie exercises, walk at a reasonable speed and stride (do not take long strides as it will pull in the buttocks), use ice for pain, drink lots of water. DO you have access to a pool so you could walk in the water? That can be very therapeutic....
I'll keep thinking about your situation. Maybe something will pop into my head!