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Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

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Old 10-09-2007, 09:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
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sealover HB Usersealover HB User
Question Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

I would like to know how my lower back pain can switch from one side to the other:

I have been experiencing chronic lower back pain for over a year now. The pain is located in my lower back in the sacroliliac area on either the right side or left side into the buttock. The pain typically doesn't travel down my legs. I used to only have the pain when sitting, but now I have the pain even when standing or walking. I have gone to my doctor three times to ask him to examine me, and he never looked at my back, rather, he brushed me off. I obviously have to look for a new primary care doc, because it's rediculous to go to a doc and have a problem ignored. I've been taking Aleve or Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, but those drugs do not touch the pain. I apply warm compresses throughout the day and also apply either Bengay or IcyHot creams, but I still suffer from the pain.

When I wake up in the morning, the pain starts, but it is only located on one side near the buttock...either on the right or left side. The pain is never on both sides at once. So one day I can have pain for the entire day on my right side with no pain on the left, then the next day I can wake up and have pain for the entire day on my left side and so on. I can never predict which side the pain will be on when I wake up.

How can pain switch from one side of the body to the other? I am absolutely confused about this that one day I have pain on the left, then the next day the pain is on the right but not on the left. If you have any information to explain the possible reasons for this, I will be very interested in learning more. Also, what could be done for my back pain? Should I have any specific tests done?

Thank you very much for any info or advice.

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Old 10-10-2007, 06:58 AM   #2
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zeroman HB User
Re: Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

my back pain would switch from side to side from one leg to another also. I asked the surgeon about that and he said sure, it can do that. in my case it was a matter of which way the vertibrae between my two bad discs would shift and which nerves it would annoy. basically it would "wobble" and mess with one sides nerves one way and the other side another way.

you need an mri to find out whats going on. find another doc for sure.
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!

Old 10-10-2007, 06:56 PM   #3
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CaliGirl HB UserCaliGirl HB UserCaliGirl HB UserCaliGirl HB UserCaliGirl HB User
Re: Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

I suffer from bilateral SI joint pain (which is what you are describing) and sometimes the pain is on both sides, sometimes the pain jumps from one side to the other from one day to the next and, at other times, the pain will stay on one side for a prolonged period of time. I would recommend an appt with a pain-management specialist. At a minimum, you need to confirm the diagnosis, you might need some x-rays like an MRI and you need some stronger pain relief. This doctor could also refer you to get started with a physical therapy program for SI pain and also discuss with you other treatment options. Best of luck to you. Lisa.

Old 10-10-2007, 10:12 PM   #4
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aether4 HB User
Re: Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

I'm surprised your doctor didn't even consider x-rays.

Sorry to tell you this, but the NSAIDS really won't get rid of the pain completely. If there is inflammation in your SI joints all they do is help some with that, which may take the edge off the pain.

If you want to speed up getting a diagnoses, tell your regular doctor to order the x-rays and/or mri and take those + the radiologist reports to an orthopedic spine specialist.

As for the pain shifting, it could be SI related or even something in your lower back. Mine does shift some but is primarily on my right and the damage there is very visible on x-ray. I've had one orthopedic surgeon tell me I'd have to live with it and that he couldn't help me, and two other doctors actually give me medication and few options - especially if a sacroiliitis flare up leaves me bed bound again. I currently take two 500mg Naproxen a day, muscle relaxers (more for neck and back), and ultram as needed. It takes the edge off, but there's still a dull pain.
Stretching and getting up and moving around does help, so don't let it keep you down as that can actually make you feel worse.

Good luck with the doctor search and getting this sorted out so you can at least get a bit of relief.

Old 10-11-2007, 12:42 PM   #5
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carol632 HB User
Re: Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

I agree with the other posters; I would add that it's a good idea to see a spine specialist and get a firm diagnosis first.

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Old 10-18-2007, 08:15 AM   #6
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CrippleCreek777 HB User
Re: Lower back pain (sacroliliac?): location of pain shifts from left to right sides.

I had L 4 5 fusion in June and made it to the 4th month with main problem the one you have. Thought it was brusing from the brace I wore but it wasn't. PT lady told me its the sacroliliac that is out of line so she adjusts it and also go to cracker that uses impact not twisting you like a pretzel whcih speeded up need for surgery in the first place.

Pain is worse on right side and after a month and three PT's and 4 slight adjustments I had no pain on the left and no numbness and right was feeling a lot better. Also did the exercises PT lady had me do.

That lasted two days and then I went out picking up 50 pound pieces of wood for the splitter. To say the least mad at myself. Whats another month of pain after 5 years of it? I do want X rays now though. I marked this place to check on again. Good luck.

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