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Old 03-30-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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Question Back Pain Problems

It might be genetic. My father twice had to go to the hospital and be put in traction. Anyway I'm in my 40s now and since my 30s I've had some back discomfort on or off. Mostly trouble getting in or out of a car for a few days.

Then the last time it hit me for a few weeks and I was all twisted up and could hardly walk or get out or bed. Once it goes away on it's own I am fine for several months.

Now I was fine last week, and all of the sudden it comes on Monday. I woke up all twisted and I was bent to the left. I can hardly get out of bed, or turn once I am in bed. I can't bend over, I have trouble even stepping into the bathtub. Sometimes I can't even get out of bed. I have to try a few times and I put out a stepstool to lean on when getting out of bed.

What kind of doctor should I see. Do I need a prescription to get an MRI? Does anyone care to speculate what it could be?

Last edited by SFlorida; 03-30-2012 at 02:10 PM.

 
Old 03-30-2012, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Back Pain Problems

Welcome to the board!

These symptoms sound similar to the muscle spasms I have had in the past. Is your back locked in one position? That's what I'm inferring from your phrases "twisted up" and "bent to the left". I went to a doctor for an assessment: bend forward, bend backward, lean to each side. I labored up from the table, stood in a hunched manner and told him "that's it, that's all I can do." If this sounds like your symptoms, then you may be having spasms.

Muscle spasms are typically the result of the body trying to stabilize around an injury or an inherent instability. In my case, I had instability at one level of the spine and an extruded disc. I am guessing that you are also having some pain? Particularly if you try to straighten out?

I would call an orthopedic surgeon for an assessment, to determine whether you need an MRI. (You will likely need a prescription to get an MRI, but the doctor will decide whether you need an MRI.) An orthopedic surgeon who only treats spines is best for long-term continuing care, but most orthopedics can assess and treat initial injuries. By the way, don't let "surgeon" scare you. They aren't going to push you into surgery. You could also try a physiatrist, which is a doctor that focuses on restoring movement and function. If you can't get a quick appointment, a family doctor or urgent care can determine if muscle relaxants will help your situation to make you more comfortable while you wait for the appointment.

In the meantime, ice and take NSAIDs, if safe for you. You should also avoid bed rest, but it is okay to lie down periodically. In quite a few threads, teteri66 has posted a good description of how to lie down and allow your back to naturally traction. I think in yoga-speak this would be known as "corpse pose."

If you have loss of your legs, or loss of bowel or bladder control, seek medical attention immediately. This is rare, but could be a sign of cauda equina syndrome. (Again rare, not among your symptoms, but a general precaution for readers.)

 
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Re: Back Pain Problems

Thanks for the info. Bed rest is the only thing that keeps it from hurting. I can't sit without it hurting. I went over to a friends tonight for dinner and a video and when I got there it took me almost 10 minutes just to get out of the car. I had trouble getting in too, once I got in the door was too far away to close easily, and I had discomfort moving my feet from the brake to the gas pedal.

I can't even lift my legs up high enough to put my underwear on, I have to lift and dangle it on, and then several minutes later I can get the other leg in. I didn't even bother trying to put socks on. If something falls on the floor forget about it. I've had a heck of a time getting things I needed from a bottom shelf in a cupboard.

It was painful just sitting in the seat eating dinner. Then to watch the movie we had to go to the bedroom so I could lie down. My friend had some muscle relaxers and codeine pills so that helped some. Just getting up from the dinner table or bed was almost impossible, I had to use a desk chair to brace myself on, and wait a few minutes to be able to do it. Part of the problem is weakness in my left leg too. I might have to go to the ER this weekend. I have a pretty good pain tolerance and how I feel now would have had most people call for an ambulance days ago.

 
Old 03-31-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: Back Pain Problems

I wouldn't recommend using other folks' prescriptions. If you need to go to the ER, then go. Often, if you aren't suffering from a gunshot wound, you may end up sitting and waiting for hours. If you can find an urgent care near you, your wait may be shorter. If you have a general care doctor, you might call his answering service to get a prescription for yourself.

When I advised against "bed rest", I meant meals in bed, someone bringing you a bed pan, sponge baths. Resting periodically is okay, if it brings pain relief. Avoid bending, lifting, twisting, overhead reaching. Definitely time to get some medical attention. Let us know how your appointment goes.

 
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:55 PM   #5
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Re: Back Pain Problems

Thanks for the advice SweetPea.

 
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