I'm new to the forum. From what I've read many of you have quite sever conditions compared to mine (at least so far), but I do now definitionally have chronic lower back pain and I am hoping that some of you might have some suggestions for me.
Essentially, I suffer from a lumbar strain that is persistent. I have had a stiff back now for 4.5 months and have spent a lot on physiotherapists and chiropractors and no-one has really been able to help.
It started two years ago when, after I attended a yoga class, I was carrying shopping and felt something go in my lower back on the left. My back spasmed and the muscled seized up. I saw a phyio who did some trigger point release on my L5, which essentially fixed it. He said that I had a muscle weakness at my L5, right at the base of my spine, and suggested that I strengthen my core. In the following year and a half I strained it 3 more times when in the gym doing squats and deadlifts. Each time he was able to do the trigger release and I was fine again. I worked on my core strength with a personal trainer and I was pain free and able to go to the gym for 6 months. Then after one workout I strained my back while touching my toes, my lower back seized up and I haven't been able to get relief since. I went to the physio maybe 12 times, and each time I felt a little better after the session, but it seized up again over the next couple of days. I had a similar experience with the chiropractor. I then went to a sports physio, who said that my problem wasn't a muscle weakness, but the fact that several vertebrae which had little mobility - this was passing on all the work to the L5 joint. He helped with the mobility by pressing on the spine - which once worked and once made it worse - and gave me some stretches. Essentially, he said that I need to get those joints moving again, and gave me some hip movements and swiss ball stretches that could help. I have been doing that for a week and a half, and have noticed little change. After my session with him yesterday it is as stiff as it ever has been. Fortunately at least, he is not fleecing me, and suggested that I come back in a month if necessary. He said that the back is used to being stiff and so reverts back to its stiff state after treatment and the only way to fix that is to keep up the mobility work to get it used to it.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I might do? Do I just continue doing the stretches over a longer period of time, and hope that that works?
I appreciate your time in reading this post and any suggestions you might have.
Just to quickly answer your question about the stretches. If they are not doing you any harm, then by all means keep doing them, but make sure they are gentle and do not over do the stretches. Always stop at the point just prior to pain being triggered.
I say this, because all of us who suffer chronic pain need to exercise and stretch, to keep our mobility and to assist in reducing pain, especially joint pain.
As for whether or not you are seeing the right people, well that is debatable.
It sounds to me like it is time for you to see a pain specialist, or even attend a pain clinic. If you haven't done either of those, then ask your GP to refer you to a 'multidisciplinary' pain clinic at a public hospital. They have a pain specialist, a specialist physio and a clinical psych. They are all trained in world's best practice therapies and information on how to self manage chronic pain. They can assist you to reduce any medication you are on, or help you take the right medication. They will teach you the exercises you need to do to keep your spine supple and as free for movement as you can get. They will have a good look at your situation, then create a plan to help you self manage your pain and your spinal condition.
These are the best, but they have a lengthy waiting list unfortunately.
Just remember one thing. Once we badly injure our spines, we are rarely cured. It is almost always an injury for life and it is highly likely that there will be people who do suffer this injury, end up with chronic pain. However, you can live with it and live a full life. It will take quite a bit of work, lots of determination, and a good honest outlook. You have to accept your situation and don't stress about it. You can handle more pain than you think and just because you have pain, doesn't mean you are hurting yourself or suffering from a fatal condition. The pain clinic will explain all that to you.
First and foremost, you need to educate yourself. This way you will learn a bit more about what is going on with you and that you do have some control over it. You may however, suffer the pain for the rest of your life, but it will depend on your outlook and what help you get, as to whether or not that pain causes you to become disabled, or you keep yourself moving regardless of the pain.
Take care and keep posting and reading.
I wish the ring (this Chronic Pain) had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. (Frodo Baggins)
So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to us. (Gandalf the Grey)
Hi Attila be careful not to overdo anything but of course keep up exercise, Two other possibilities could be swimming as it rolls the lower back gently with low impact while exercising and also tai Chi. There is no doubt that tai Chi will help with core strength again in a very gradual low impact way. If your legs are strong which tai Chi definitely aids then your lumbar will be supported well. Tai Chi also does get blood flowing and energy but in a more subtle way and sometimes with a deeper effect. All the best take care,christopher
Keep looking forward , the sun is still shining behind the clouds.
I am new to this formum, but definately not new to chronic pain, and will not reiterate what has already been said. They are wise words.
Pain Clinics are useful, and although you might be hesitant, they have long waiting lists. I suggest you ask your generall practitioner to put you on the waiting list as it could be several years before you are seen, by which time you can make the decision whether or not your want the appointment. Make some phoee calls, receptionists who will be vague and you will need to push them, but you may find big differences in wait times. There is no harm in being on a waiting list. It does not commit you to anything. It does not make you 'weak,' or 'negative.' It opens doors and gives you options.
Have you had a medical workup of bloods, x-rays and possibly a CT or other things the general lpractitioner may want to access. There might be an underling problem worth investigating or eliminating.
A Pain Management Specialist in private practice is expensive, but once again, it might be worth a referal for an opinion, or to go on yet another waiting list. Do your homework. Although pain specialists, they specialise in different sorts of pain and have different fees. Medicare only covers a minuer amount of their fees.
I have gone through the physio and chiro and other non-medical models with limited longevity as I was found after much persistance and invetigation to have an underling diagnosis, but for years I was told to stretch, it was "muscular." I find fish oil, and evening primrose oil of no harm except financial.
Always try to keep a positive attitude, and after investigtion, you may find strengthing your core through exercise is all that is required, but be careful, it is easy to overdo, particularly if you take any form of pain relief, or alternative/herbal/over the counter medications, creams or lotions, as you will not feel the STOP warnings. The addage of "no pain, no gain" is something to forget. If you feel your pain is getting worse, STOP what you are doing and revise your approach.
Be kink to yourself, and be aware injuries are easier to reinjure than to repain. Patience and time is required, as are alternatives and options.
Once I could laugh with everyone
Once I could see the good to me
Holding the world inside
Now the world is grey to me
Nobody can see you gotta believe it
Oh oh the night comes down
And I get afraid of losing my way
Oh oh the night comes down
And it’s dark again
“The Night Comes Down” Queen
I actually had a quick and very unexpected turnaround with my back pain. After suffering with this for around 5 months, my partner and I went away for a week. Day by day my back pain subsided, and after four days of sleeping on another bed my back pain went away altogether. I really can't believe that I didn't think - or that my physios and chiros didn't think - that it might have been my bed.
I have put a microfoam overlay on top of my mattress and my back pain has gone away entirely. The bed may have been the cause, or it may have inhibited a quicker recovery, but either way it has made a huge difference.