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severe back pain

ravinjunkie

TRIBE Member
The problem with going to a class to address your back issues is that the class is designed without knowledge to your specific issues. Restorative can cause further issues to your back. It promotes flexability and mobility rather than stability.

I really suggest you speak to a physio who can assess then give you over to a trainer/kin or someone to design you a program based on his diagnosis. Or have the physio design you one (I don't know if you ahve benefits or the cash to pay for a physio for multiple sessions)

Are you a doctor?
 
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danielablau

TRIBE Promoter
Nope, which is why I said in a previous post to go see a professional instead of Tribe, but like every arm chair doctor I love giving my 2 cents.






That said I'm a human kinetics major, former kinesiologist, certified strength and conditioning specialist........but seriously, go see an expert.
 

agentRC4

TRIBE Member
Posterior chain is king - glute ham raises, hip thrusts help get the glutes firing again. Most people should get rid of situps and crunches and work on resisting flexion and rotation instead - dragon flags, levers, woodchops, paloff presses.

This!

Plus the anterior pelvic tilt is a big one as well. usually it is one side (dominant) than the other. You can do all the core strength and flexibility you want but if you pelvic wheel is out of balance then all the stretch and strength won't help. Balance the pelvic wheel first and you will notice your hamstrings aren't tight but have been on stretch the while time due to the anterior pelvic tilt. then you can strengthen your core in a balanced state.

People forget that your hip flexors compress your lumbar spine when they are in spasm or tight and most loe back pain is attributed in some part by tight hip flexors increasing the back pain due to compression, making the instability, bulge whatever more painful.

Oh and water, drink lots of water.

Walking backwards on a treadmill is one of the best things you can do neurologically for your body as a whole and for back pain.
 

ravinjunkie

TRIBE Member
Nope, which is why I said in a previous post to go see a professional instead of Tribe, but like every arm chair doctor I love giving my 2 cents.






That said I'm a human kinetics major, former kinesiologist, certified strength and conditioning specialist........but seriously, go see an expert.

I already went to a doctor, I will need to look for a better physio person as I have already seen one, I will go see a back specialist aboard.
 
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danielablau

TRIBE Promoter
hah, I was saying doctor in jest. You're right, most general practitioners don't know a whole lot about how to address injuries. I'm a fan of physios but I'm biased as I was in the industry. I absolutely loathe chiros.
Use the interwebz and do some research about different therapists in your area. What city do you live in? Maybe I can help you find one.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Ya dont be afraid to change it up ravinjunkie.... my first chiro gave me the basics and some shit that held me back...

Next guy was chiro/physio and a piece of shit... didn't help at all

Then had physio that TOTALLY set me straight and I was out of care for some years. Still my routine wasn't the best though.

Took a relapse in 2010 that put me with yet another physio - who actually I felt ZERO connection to - but gave me a few easy (and SAFE!) strengthening things which, when added to what I was doing before, has had me stable since.

If you dont feel its working change it up!

And i second danielablau's motion: physio > chiro
 

ravinjunkie

TRIBE Member
You have all been really lovely to take the time to reply, thank you to everyone. <3

Yes, I definitely will! I have completely neglected going back to a physio, I used to get those electrolytes pads on me for temporary relief. I've been recommended someone else, so I will definitely book with her once I come back. It is silly of me to disregard physio.
 

JamesM

TRIBE Member
I been goode! I went to soccer again last night. We won. But I'm still really krinky.

creeks, and odd spasms has me. Definitely not 100% But works.
 

lucky1

TRIBE Member
has anyone suggest a foam rollar? these things are great for dealing with muscle knots and stretching out your back. In my case my right should and back ribs get put back into place.
 
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danielablau

TRIBE Promoter
What one thinks needs to be stretch could actually be the need for strengthening to the antagonistic or synergistic muscle.

Foam rolling is great. Like all things that blow up in the media I think that the recommended frequency of use can be overstated at times.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
He's got a point to on the stretch/strengthening sides of the coin.

I was mostly just stretching, cause I didnt have a safe strengthening program for so long every time I got into it after a few weeks i'd have a set back, curtail the strengthening and end up stretching... (makes sense right? Dont do the shit that hurts you!)

Then when I figured out how to do it safely - with help of a long chain of different professionals - realized even when I'm feeling a bit out of it there are some things I could do.

So now when I'm having a bad day or a bad week, I will force myself to keep up with light strengthening. Result? Get out of the bad week a lot quicker, and sometimes end up feeling better after a 20 min stretch and 20 min strengthening than I would from a 90 min stretch session!

The main thing is getting that tailored routine that lets you do this SAFELY - cause otherwise you end up with negative incentive against strengthening when you try it and you feel worse cause you were doing it wrong!
 

NemIsis

TRIBE Member
So, first of all I'd like to thank the tribers who have messaged me and given me support. I didn't feel so alone... and wondering wtf? I'm still not ready to put the exercises you've given me into practice (Right now walking for an hour with little pain is an accomplishment), but I will when I'm ready :), A certain time of the month is agonizing and I'm in tears for days. I leave it to you to figure out why. As I'm a female, it should be pretty easy. I never had pain like this before.

No one should take back pain lightly. I was involved in an accident when I was 20.. 3 months before my wedding. A drunk driver crashed into me. Thankfully I had a seatbelt, but I was thrust forward so hard my glasses flew off my face and crashed/broke against the windshield. I wore a neck and back brace up until my wedding. After that I had relatively little issue as long as I didn't bend too long.

I worked as a caterer though and then the symptoms increased. My doctor said I had disc degenerative disease and I needed to be careful. I kept having back pain and went back to school to be a teacher (as that was my first choice). Back pain came and went and then I started to work out. I had only one issue at that time because I overdid the weights. It wasn't a spine issue (more of a muscle issue). However, knee problem kicked in and I took time off. This became years....

I let the muscles in my back go.. Suddenly after dancing at my sister's birthday I could barely walk. Spent the next day sitting with heat and thought it was better. I went to work and it got worse and worse. I've had to take a few days off due to minor back pain the last few years. I wasn't worried. I thought it would fix itself like it normally did,

Don't take it lightly.

I'm now 6 months off work. I have to say, January, February and March almost killed me. I thought I would lose it, I couldn't go anywhere. I was so incredibly depressed. Each day, waking up was painful. Everything was ice. To go to the physio I had to clean off my car, which took an hour because the pain was so much I had to take breaks, but I did it (Three times a week). In February my toes went purple (really dark purple). The sciatica was so severe in my legs that it was affecting my blood supply. I bought a second heating pad and kept my feet on it. It soon became better. I lost skin on the end of my toes but it's ok now.

Once the warm weather came I could start walking. It started with 7 minutes, because that was all I could do at first. I'm now doing 35 minutes and other stretches/exercises as well as sitting on a ball for 5 minutes three times a day (and that is not easy. Holy crap). And I ice. I ice after exercising. I ice after walking. I ice after sitting on that ball. I ice on days when it hurts so much I have to ice every 3 hours or so. Heat is also a friend too.

My plan is to be well for September. I pray this is so because I'm so stir crazy.

My MRI 2 weeks ago discovered I have 5 herniated discs and one which has ruptured. So, at least I know what is going on now. But no matter what, don't ignore your symptoms. My foot would go numb on the elliptical when I worked out (years ago). This was a symptom. See a doctor.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Wow. Heart goes out to you - i had sciatica start to mess with my feet but never got that bad!

I think you have the dubious distinction of winning this thread!

Tough to imagine now but you can build your way out of this. I think it's still going to be a long journey by the sounds of it - but there's a formula to get you better. The incremental improvement is clear in your post so you are already on your way!

I hope you have ergonomic everything at home now like bed and chairs and such?

You do the thermacare wraps? When I was deep in it I was using those heat pads with the chemical action that heat up and crystallize (you boil them to reset) - I basically had a permanent pot on the stove just for them

Now that I'm better just keep some thermacare on hand for bad days. Still have 6 life brand ice packs on rotation - lie on two of them while I read every night.
 
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NemIsis

TRIBE Member
Wow. Heart goes out to you - i had sciatica start to mess with my feet but never got that bad!

I think you have the dubious distinction of winning this thread!

Tough to imagine now but you can build your way out of this. I think it's still going to be a long journey by the sounds of it - but there's a formula to get you better. The incremental improvement is clear in your post so you are already on your way!

I hope you have ergonomic everything at home now like bed and chairs and such?

You do the thermacare wraps? When I was deep in it I was using those heat pads with the chemical action that heat up and crystallize (you boil them to reset) - I basically had a permanent pot on the stove just for them

Now that I'm better just keep some thermacare on hand for bad days. Still have 6 life brand ice packs on rotation - lie on two of them while I read every night.

Yes, I've got the ball, the chairs and I'm also using a rubber band (as one of my herniated discs is in my thoracic) to increase muscle strength in my upper body. My bed is relatively new and comfortable. I have to have the pillow, so every time I toss or turn it does cause pain. Not as much now as it did then. Before it was consistent pain that had me weeping, now it's just "OMG Ow", but because I wake up every time I toss or turn, I pretty much need 10-12 hours of sleep. On certain days it's more painful than others, but I'm so happy with the progress. There was a time when sleep was impossible without drugging myself. Now I only take T3's during that one time a month.

I'm willing to deal with a certain amount of pain and not be drooling. Although, still on Vimovo. I was on Flexeril and some crazy nerve pain drug: Apro-Pregablin (for nerve pain). Now off flexeril and A-P. Do not ever touch A-P. On the second day I was shaking all over. On the third day I tried to make something to eat. Scrambled eggs seemed easy. After the second egg, I realized I was cracking my eggs into the carton, not the bowl. I was a mess. I decided then that I'd rather be in a certain amt of pain than be this shaky mess.

Anyway, I am so much better. The fact that I can walk...and I can actually wash my face from the sink and not cry if I bend over it. 2 weeks ago my sis took me out for drinks at the local pup. It wasn't planned. It was supposed to be just a walk. She suggested and it was a wonderful time. I could sit for an hour and a half.. and have a couple of glasses of wine in glorious sunshine! Made me feel good again :)

I don't have thermacare, but that's because I'm at home and have heat pads when needed. I also have a ready supply of frozen peas. Those are the best ;p

Thanks Pratik. xo
 
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JamesM

TRIBE Member
back injuries respect you if you respect them. Me and My Mum are in the same although I think hers are definately worse.

At anyrate. For myself it's exercise and maintaining body fat ratio. If I loose that balance, so much as a cough can ruin shit for a few months.

It's how you keep conscious, and keep awareness. After your initial episode is over.

Been there too, done that where you need to crawl to the bathroom, or need to have a bed pan. Can't even sit on the john without flinging yourself onto the floor.

Current status is A OK. Still soccer twice a week, and gym on the every other day.
 

WestsideWax

TRIBE Promoter
Wow, 5 herniated discs...I can't even begin to imagine the discomfort.

Not much to add that hasn't already been said. You're online-surrounded by people who've made themselves better and managed their pain, and it sounds like you have a great group of real life friends to support as well. It's good to know people have your back.

O.k., I'll stop, now. :D
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Im pretty sure this isn't an issue for you Nemisis, you pretty much know you're f*cked for a long time.

But I'd say one of biggest issues for me was seeing my first caregiver, a chiro I could afford @ CMCC who was not yet graduated, and he was great at giving me some of my first tools. We had good rapport. But he really underestimated how long would take - I mean, I'm still managing this to the tune of 1-3 hours a day of maintenance, sometimes tad more sometimes tad less and its 13 years later!

I got really upset when I wasn't getting better as quickly as his first guess: "a few months".

I think with your issue (and holy cow is that 5 herniated PLUS one ruptured? or 5 of which one is ruptured??) its going to take quite some time - so I have bulging discs in L3-L5, no ruptures - but some degeneration/osteoarthiritic changes going on, severe sciatica in onset around 2001 and again in relapse in 2010 (sciatica was even worse that time).

So when I had my severe regression, that occurred just before my birthday November 2010. I'd say I was feeling "over the hump" by spring... but still in severe discomfort until it finally ebbed away over course of June. Went on a Europe trip in late july and did ok! So I knew I was kind of over the worst of it.

So that's like 6-7 months. You're already 6 months in and from the sounds of it I think you are still at least 6 months out from being in more stable condition - maybe longer. You are certainly - like me - looking at a lifetime of maintenance to keep out of the "danger zone". My relapse happened after about 7 years of stability - and it came after ignoring warning signs for a weekend. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Silver lining? In the relapse got a new physio - had some fine tuning to routine so that I'm stronger now than I've been in a decade. Maybe you will learn some new tricks as well!

My inversion table is awesome - its the newest tool in my toolkit and I got it a few months ago. I really dont suggest you even *attempt* to try one until you are back at work - but it helps to cut down on my time a bit and gives me some creative ways to enhance my core strength hanging upside down.

One thing I will say is that it was amazing to be able to work consistently even when I was immobilized on the floor during my late 2010 relapse: I couldn't sleep more than a few hours at a time so I'd basically be working after 2-4 hours of rest in the AM, load up the laptop and attend all my calls until early-mid afternoon, after last call catch a 2-4 hour nap - maybe pick up a bit in evening on any work I needed to catch up on. I was lucky because in spring of 2010 I had just got into a role where I could even consider working remotely at all!

Was basically able to manage my pain and be productive - which probably helped me psychologically a lot. If I remember right you are a teacher? Can't really do that remotely unless you sign to be a video teacher with some online learning company or something - so maybe think of some writing or project you can work on for fun over next little while if still on disability. Will probably go a long ways to keeping up a positive attitude when you're dealing with all the frustrations of not being able to complete simple tasks like putting on socks or using the washroom without severe discomfort.
 
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NemIsis

TRIBE Member
Thanks WestsideWax and Pratik.

A few very painful days. It's up and down (I know you guys understand). Just when I think I'm fine, I'm not. Wondering if the barometric pressure might be an issue. Rainy, cloudy days and it hurts constantly. Sunny, dry days and I can deal. But sometimes, it just is and I need to work through it.

It's 5 discs in total, one of which is ruptured. My L5-S1 is ruptured but it is progressively less severe as it moves up. Degeneration is in the lower 4 and only a slight bulge in the highest one. For now, there is no consistent pressure on the root nerve, although there was, so there has been healing. From November to February the sciatica pain was exruciating (especially in my right leg). Then moved to just pain in my calves, now just tingling/numbness and occasional pain (like this past week). Still, when I try to sleep, it's like every muscle in my calves/feet are doing a little dance. My legs are still very weak.

Has anyone else experienced skin sensitivity? It's driving me nuts. Especially right where the disc pain is and where my pants/pyjama hits. I can feel every stitch or bump. I'm tucking my shirt in (kind of helps), so now I look like Urkel. :eek: It's like the 'Princess and The Pea'.

WSW, I'm so very lucky to have the friends that I do. Many meals have been brought to me. Friends have come over for many movie nights. They get my favourite chair and I get the couch.

Last month, I expected my sis for a visit and 7 friends came over with cleaning materials (Complete surprise, and kind of embarrassing considering I haven't been able to do housework for months. My floors were awful). They cleaned my entire apartment and put up my gazebo (They know how much I love my summer room). My sis and friends organized it all. I don't know what I would do without them. Friends that couldn't make it keep visiting/texting/calling. Sometimes I have to say no because there are periods where I just need to chill. I'm so lucky to have these people in my life. They are wonderful.

Pratik, yes you're right I'm a teacher. The problem is I'm now teaching French Core, which means I don't have a classroom and have to walk to different classrooms carrying stuff around, and going upstairs. I think this made it worse. My principal is very supportive though and he's told every teacher to have shelves for me next year and he's going to try and raise money to get more texts in each class so I don't have to trudge them around. I used to have my own class, but with class sizes of 39 in grades 7-8, they needed my class and I had to start teaching à la carte. I really can't wait to go back, and hope I can make it for September. I miss my kids. I have received wonderful cards and letters though. :).

My plan is to do some more writing, and I am now able to sit for longer periods. I also promised my sis to write down our family ghost stories (pretty scary stuff and true.. Well, true according to my dad and grandmother. My students love them on Hallowe'en and my friends when we are camping).

More than anything, hearing your stories of success - all of you - has given me promise. I've been scared that I would always be an invalid.., and that this would never go away. I know now that I just need to keep doing what I'm doing, even if I have bad days. Just because I have a few bad days isn't the end of the world, and I will get better.
 
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NemIsis

TRIBE Member
So, 8 months off work. Went back half-time in September and my doctor approved me for full-time at the beginning of November.

I've only taken 2 days off in November/December as my back was acting up. Today was one of those days. I made it to work yesterday, but my back was screaming last night after cleaning the car twice,.. what with the drive to work and back. I also slipped due to a wet floor at work. I stretched all day, and there is soreness, but it is better than I thought it would be. According to my physio, I'm ready for more strength training starting next week.

Anyway, my point being is that this takes time. If you have these issues and feel depressed, I've been there. If you are feeling depressed, please feel free to message me. The greatest support is your friends. Tell them you need help. Don't try and be noble. You'll be amazed by the support you get :)

Pain can be managed. You"ll get used to it, and you start listening to your body. I know it seems strange, but you can work through the pain. Eventually you acknowledge it, but are also able to ignore it (while understanding what the signals are).

If you are reading this, and have chronic pain (of any sort),.. Big hugs, and you can get through this.:). It's been a year for me, but with the help of family and friends (and my physio who pushes me ), I'm through the worst of it.
 
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JamesM

TRIBE Member
I feel your pain Nem. Ask Praktik too. With some care, it will go away.

I had bad sciatica starting in my mid Twenties, and got really bad the past two years. Like debilitating at times.

For some reason it's gone now. But you need to knock on wood at all times.

All the best. Just keep fit, and pick up a sport makes it shake loose.

I do rec league soccer.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Luckily I can switch to WFH mode and have been last few weeks - just been super tight with these intense knots in my upper back for months, realized I had started to tighten up everywhere and it was a nightmare of hours of trying to get these undone every night.

Realized needed to kick into higher gear - had a few moments where I felt a "oh!" when doing something or other in the apartment and these were warning signs.

So kicked into WFH mode last few weeks, hot baths every day, inversioning, massage on the knots.

Putting in a ton of work so I can keep myself from falling into anything worse - I'm not in a ton of pain just feel like I'm on the precipice!

Hard work is paying off - but slowly, think it'll be new years before I'm settled down...
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Congrats nemesis on being back to work! Keep us posted on how it goes I am lucky to be in a role with a team who knows me for some years, so I have the flex to just work remote and take care of my back while working.

When my sciatica was at its worst in my 2010 relapse - was only able to sleep 4 hours at a time but I was able to work a full work week from my carpet!

I think that went a long ways towards helping me feel useful while feeling completely use-less!

So I imagine the long time off may have been a bit of a psychological challenge as well as a physical one?

While I'm thankful for my position and role that lets me have this flex to manage my back - I wonder what other roles/companies would let me WFH 2-5 days a week at my own discretion pending the ups and downs of my back?

I don't know if I'll ever achieve normal and always expect an ebb and flow around my back that will take up a significant amount of my time - I'd be interested Nemisis to hear, over the years, of how you managed a similar intermittency of back-management shit with a role that requires your physical presence...

This is a motivator for me to get stronger and I'm trying - because i feel I would be more likely to take professional risks and take new jobs if I didn't feel I'd be giving up what has been a great work situation with which to manage a chronic back condition. The stronger I am the less I'll need that kind of flexibility in an employer - but I'm wondering if I'm just consigned, at the end of the day, to a remaining lifetime of significant time dedicated to back health and all the little periods here and there where things "flare up" or get super tight...
 

Techdruid

TRIBE Member
Huge congrats to NemIsis as well. *hugs*

It took me two years to be able to fully walk again. I was in complete agony. Without a cane nor wheelchair in the 20 seconds or whatever you can walk it in public, people don't notice since you aren't aged or visibly impaired. Your body just shoots pain.

Trillium Spine Clinic has helped out a fellow breaker friend of mine, you may know! After 10 weeks recovery, better than new. Dancefloor again!!
 
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