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    Old 02-20-2004, 07:11 AM   #1
    robste's Avatar
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    Question Lower Back Question For All

    I've had lower back problems off and on for about three years now. What caused it, who really knows? At the time, I was moving, and although I didn't lift any boxes, I shoved heavy boxes across the floor, so I probably originally injured myself then.

    I went thru the routine of going to the dr. and getting muscle relaxers, pain killers, etc., taking both for two weeks, etc.

    The pain then went away....until about six months later, when the same pain came back. Again, went thru the same routine with meds, etc. This time, the dr. sent me for an MRI, which didn't really show anything, and my x-rays were fine.

    Ever since then, about every 4 or 5 months, I seem to wind up with the same problem. My dr. told me that my back and abdominal muscles are probably really weak, and that's why I keep re-injuring myself.

    Well, about 1-1/2 years ago, upon waking up in the morning, I woke up in extreme pain, couldn't even walk because of horrible muscle spasms in my lower's the worst pain I've ever had in my life! My husband somehow got me to the emergency room, where the dr. gave me a shot, told me to go home, take more pain killers, etc., give it a few days, and if the pain hasn't gone away to go see my dr.

    The pain did not go, yet another trip to the dr. He put me on more meds., literally told me to stay home from work for 1 month. I had another MRI, which, this time showed a bulging disc in my lower back.

    After 1 month of taking it easy, and then going back to work fulltime, I began physical therapy. I went to physical therapy 3 times a week for a month, then the second month, went twice a week. The p/t helped me tremendously!

    After two months of p/t, I was instructed to keep doing my stretching exercises twice a day at home, then begin slowly exercising...well, we all know how that usually goes...I wound up slacking off.

    Needless to say, before I knew it, I was in pain again...not horrendous like when I had the bulging disk though.

    Anyway, I can't remember the last time I was practically pain free. After the last episode, and after getting a big lecture from my dr. about the importance of stretching twice a day and exercising (my dr. said for the rest of my life, or I'll have lower back problems and pain), I decided to really buckle down and do it.

    I've been stretching twice a day, and I bought a Total Gym about a week ago, and have started to use that for strengthing.

    Sorry this post is so long! Anyway, my question to anyone and everyone here, is: Has anyone experienced a similar lower back problem & alleviated it & had long term success by stretching & exercise (and physical therapy if needed) ????? (I, and my drs., do not believe in surgery in my situation)

    Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks, Robin

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    Old 02-20-2004, 09:56 AM   #2
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    Thumbs up Re: Lower Back Question For All

    Sounds like you have been very disciplined and that is great. I am not sure old you are but my back problems started pretty young -- early 20's -- after my first pregnancy --- I carried my son very low. However, after delivery I got back into very good physical shape, road my bike regularly --- yet I would still go through these really strange back episodes (very similar to what you describe), where I would be in so much pain that I could barely walk. I would basically through the same therepy and you describe -- medication and exercises, I even went to a chiropractor for a while. I was relatively pain free until age 30 and then I started having back problems with the pregnancy of my twins. After I lost the baby weight, the problems were intermittent once again...physically I was in pretty good shape. But most of the time I would have difficulty pinpointing an injury. I would just wake up some mornings with back spasms, excruciating pain and barely able to walk. With back problems I am just afraid there aren't any easy answers. I ended up having back surgery in 1999 (microdisctomy) for a herniated disc. Now, after 4 years of being relatively pain free, I have a collapsed disc, DDD and OA of the spine. In your case it sounds like you are doing all you can do to avoid surgery ... so I certainly hope that is the case for you. (From a surgical viewpoint -- not that I am a huge proponent of surgery) I can't believe the relief I experienced after my microdiscectomy in '99. Prior to surgery, I could barely walk the nerve damage had gotten so bad. It sounds like exercise and stretches are really helping you ... so I hope that continues to be the case. Sounds like you are doing a great job keeping your condition under control!

    Last edited by Mart7; 02-20-2004 at 08:45 PM.

    Old 02-20-2004, 12:07 PM   #3
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    Re: Lower Back Question For All

    Hi Robin,

    I still live with pain daily...but on a scale of 3 or less generally. When I continue doing my stretching and PT exercises at home on a daily pain levels can actually be even less on a daily basis. I noticed when I completely stopped my stretching and PT workouts during the holidays....oh my gosh. What a HUGE difference. Back pain coming back wicked-like. So I started up my stretching and home PT again and am feeling much better as each day goes by.

    I think stretching and (gentle) workouts at home are key to continued success. I am now post 2 years surgery. I hope this helps.

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