Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2008 Part 4

This Q&A section is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Any medical condition should be referred to a qualified medical professional. The Q&A is now closed for new submissions.

Q: Why should I try your solution? I'm 44 years old, that 9 months ago (11/07) injured my back doing what I love to do, officiating basketball. In 12/07 I had an X-Ray (results negative) and an MRI which states the following: Annular disc buge and bilateral facet arthrosis at L5-S1 with mild non compressive bilateral foraminal narrowing. Small focal 3x9 mm left paramedian disc protrusion, annular tear and facet arthrosis deforming dural sac with mild mass effect on descending roots and left foraminal narrowing. Central annular tear and mild annular bulge deforming dural sac with mild left foraminal narrowing at L3-4. 2x8 mm lef paramedian disc protrusion and annular tear at L2-3. After 6 injections, last one a radio frequency neublalation (sp?) injection. I'm frustrated beyond belief that I might not be able to officiate basketball again. Missing the 2nd half of this past season was almost worse than death itself for me. And my current doc says their isn't anything that he can do other than surgery, which he isn't recommending or an IDET treatment which he doesn't recommend because of the only 50 or 60% success ratio. Sell me, inform me, make me want to buy your book!!! I want a "normal" active life again. I don't want to have surgery or take drugs the rest of my life! I just don't understand why I'm not better after 9 months of Physical Therapy and Injections. For me, a physical fit 44 year old person, this inactivity is KILLING me!!!! Sell me and help me!!!! John

Q: I have upper back pain. I have a had half my thyroid removed and since then suffered many problems. I have gained weight. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and get migraines. I have B12 and Iron deficiency. I am fatigued and am in pain in between my shoulder blades and my muscles feel swollen and I hurt all over. I have crunching in my shoulder area and have pain in my knees and hip. I also have a soreness in my middle area of my spine when I press it. I'm not sure what condition I have and need some help and advice. Louise

Q: Hi,My mom she is suffering from severe lower back pain from past 2 yrs often. and now currently she is suffering from it where she is unable to stand and sit. this pain occurs suddenly with no symptoms of back pain. so can u please help me immediately with this regard so that my mom get relief soon. Regards, sarika

Q: My palm and under part of my feet sweat. My fingers shake, could you let me know the problem and if it is curable. Kumar

Q: i too have suffered from chronic neck and shoulder pain , i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia / i have tried osteopaths, chiropractors ,physios , acupuncture you name it to no avail ~~~ i still have neck and head aches . then it just goes away for a time only to return in the night without warning . i get relief by lying down with a cold pack on my cervical neck area and another on my forehead . blood tests have been normal ,some days i just am so tired with it all. have you got any suggestions or ideas ? thanx, Dyan

Q: please, I am a student of physiotherapy, my brother has spondylolisthesis and both my brother and me suffer from back pain, because we also have larger lumbar lordosis. as to be close to this topic, I chose it also as a topic for my students work. but I am embarrassed, because I have no other idea how to do the therapy of larger lumbar lordosis than exercise and stretching. please, can you help me with any other methods, that can be used to decrease the large l.l.? thank you. darina

Q: Do you know of any psychotherapists in the Manchester, Vt. area who are familiar with both yours and Dr. Sarno's work on TMS. Larry

Q: I have just found your site and after reading your own story I am in tears..... I am 25 years old and I seem to be afflicted with this chronic case of back pain, leg pain and constant burning and tingling in my extremities... My main passion is bellydance and I teach and perform however my back keeps spasming and matter how much massage, physio, energy healing, core stabilizing work, strengthening and flexibility work I do, it just seems to continue...I have had this for at least 3 years now...I do have two small bulges that are slightly protruding but not seeming to cause much interference however that was years ago and today I experience the same pain! What got me from your story, was that as an athlete yourself, you seem to be able to do extraordinary things in your passion however afterwards can not even seem to touch your toes...exactly my I am body rolling and shimmying with so much ease and fluidity and then hours later I am as stiff as anything...but every time I dance it just seems to brought me so much joy to know that you are also a fitness/sporty person as I don't want to give up my passion and I need assurance that this can be healed and worked with...I feel so lost, so so so lost and scared for my well as extremely depressed at having this at 25 years of age when other girls are out there dancing their hearts away and here I am held a prisoner by my body... I am receiving counseling as well...and I guess I need more support, more assurance that it will leave my life one of these days....if there is anything you can offer me, please do....I ask for help.... Nancy

Q: I have chronic (very) complex sciatic problems and i am recovering from a "bad spell", but experiencing problems walking up even gentle inclines/slopes. This is the first time I have had this problem. Any idea why and what I can do about it? Paul

Q: Hi, First of all thank you so much for this website. I was feeling very alone, isolated, and left in the dark with my back pain until I came across this site. I am a 31 year old woman. Twelve years ago I had a serious fall that resulted in fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae. I recovered from the accident and led a VERY active life. I was involved in running and swimming. I attended the gym 5-6 times a week. I lifted weights and I took pilates class. I rarely experienced any kind of back pain. Then 8 months ago was stopped at a traffic light and someone ran into the back of my car. Ever since I have had regular back pain that has really changed my lifestyle. I can no longer run as the impact results in pain a few hours later. My activity level had dropped significantly. I get pains all over my middle to low back. I also experience pain in my buttock at times and down my leg. This had affected my professional life too. I am a graduate student and I can no longer sit and read or write for long periods. There are no new fractures. I have been for MRIs and the doctors can't seem to see beyond my old injury which is very evident. They say that one vertebrae is at 45% of what it should be but I never experienced prolonged or severe back pain before the car accident. Now all I have in my head is that I have a degenerated spine and it can't be fixed. They also sent me for an EMG that showed some minor nerve damage at the top of the right buttock. They sent me for physio, which helped. I have no real loss of flexibility. I can easily bend over and touch my toes. My hamstring is still lose. I have some hip flexor clicking but no real pain.The worst thing is I feel beyond repair. The just leave me with no real hope. My partner and I had planned on having kids in the next year or two but now I'm worried that the extra pregnancy weight will be too much for my back to handle. This pain and what it has done to me and my lifestyle and my personality has even affected my relationship. I feel at my wits end about what to do to make things better. I cant afford expensive treatments and surgery is out of the question for now, not that its an attractive option anyway. I really need some hope. If I could just have hope that it won't necessarily always be this way I could probably cope. I just don't want to feel as though I'm permanently broken. Every time I start to feel better I feel I end up back where I started. I feel doctors don't listen to me, they just see me as the injury I sustained at 19 years old. Can anybody help? Relate? Empathize? I really need something to hold onto. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Helen

Q: If a child has had his tailbone removed (cancer), are there any resulting physical limitations e.g., involvement in sports, distance to walk....? Thank you. Linda

Q: I am a 47 year old female. I have been overweight my entire life.....back pain was unreal and 2 years ago I had falling spells because my legs would give out....I was hospitalized and an MRI was done on my spine. Cervical spine had bone spurs...Lumbar back had 2 bulges. I went to a Nuerologist in Dallas and was told that I needed to lose weight before anything could be done and it was due to my weight for 46 years. Well I had gastric bypass in November 2007 and I have lost 130 lbs. I am a average weight now and the pain in the middle of my back in horrible. A MRI of the Thoaric spine was done last week and the results were Left paramidline t6-t7 disk protrusion appears m,ore prominent due to progressing mass effect/flattening of the left anterior aspect of the cord at this level resulting in at least mild left paramidline spinal stenosis and at least mild left t6-t7 neural foraminal encroachment. I am having injections in the back every two weeks but the pain is thighs are having stabbing pains and my bottom is killing me. It hurts to sit, stand, or lay. I am taking Dialuidid several times a day to no releif. I have had physical therapy also. My question is I am 5"6' and weight 155....what can be done at this point. I am desperate. Terry

COMMENT: I lifted boxes and twisted and caused two herniated disks and suffered for two years with terrible sciatica pain in my leg. When I got to the point that I could no longer bear the pain (constant visits to the emergency room in agony), I went to a recommended neurosurgeon. Actually, I went to two to get a second opinion. They both referred me to an ortheopedic surgeon because I had scoliosis and the prognosis did not look good. I finally gave in and had surgery. They put a 12" rod in my back. That was two months ago. I suffer from constant pain now after the surgery and hope it will soon get better. I don't sleep much at night because of the pain. Feels like stabbing in the back and shoots down my legs. This is even after the surgery. I take darvecets and ibuprofen, but to no avail. I am afraid to take too many pain killers so I suffer until I fall asleep exhausted. What makes it even more difficult is am back to work trying to make this all work...thanks for listening.. if there are any solutions, please let me know. Sheryl

Q: I am a nursing assistant and back in 2002 i injured my back. i dislocated my L3 and my L4. every since i have been in dealing with the pain. I don't want to get surgery but it to the point that i might not have a choice. I have lost weight thinking that would help and it did not. when the weather gets bad or a storm is coming in I hurt. Is there any thing else that i can do to make the pain go away with out having to do surgery? I am only 27 years old and i feel like I 97 years old. Heidi

Q: I am 64 years old. Through the years I have suffered with Low back pain. I was told I had Spondylolisthesis grade 2. I am an only child, and I have always lived at home. Recently, after suffering with ocular pemphigoid, my dad passed away. My mother now has cancer in her breast and in her back. I have always been a stressed person, and I think with so much going on, my back pain has come back. All I did the other day was to put on my one of my socks. I heard a click, then I had terrible pain in my lower back. I have been taking Ultram for the pain. I do think. anxiety and stress can contribute to this. I have always had a loe selfesteem of myself, and I worry about everything. Do you think this could be the cause of my pain? I ask you very humbly to help me. Thank You, Geoffrey

Q: see if you can figure this one out...seems the doctors around here can only scratch their heads. my husband is 38 years old. 14 months ago he injured his back while lifting an 80lb. steel flat bar. (he only weighs 110 lbs. himself). he said he picked the end of it up about a foot high and felt as well as heard 3 pops or snaps in his lower back. at that time he lowered the bar back to the floor and tried to stand up straight as he felt a tightness in his lower back. he couldn't stand all the way up so he tried to lean foward and he said that pain shot through his whole body. he said he remembers saying "oh Lord what have i done?" although there was instant severe pain all of his symptoms did not show up all at one time and he is getting worse and worse. in 14 months time he has gone from a young healthy man with no problems to someone who uses a walker or wheel chair most all the time. there is constant chronic pain in his lower back, buttocks, left leg (at first the pain was in the right leg but one day the pain shifted to the left leg in aqua therapy), now he has pain in his wrists and numbness and tingling in his right hand, his vision is blurring and i fear he is catching pneumonia as he has trouble clearing his lungs and his chest hurts sometimes.pain keeps him awake.he may sleep 3 hours a night and catnap through the day.he is badly depressed.(so am i.)he has drop foot and sometimes has to pick his leg up with his hand in order to move it. his feet and ankles swell up like balloons.he also says it feels like something close to his sacral area is scratching the inside of his back. he desperatly needs a good doctor but workers comp. keeps sending him to doctors that don't seem to know anymore than i do (i study almost 24/7 just trying to get my happy husband back).he is my best friend. emgs,mris,came back negative except for 3 cysts at s-1,s-2 area. doctors all believe that cysts are not causing pain because they're not close enough or big enough. he hurts in his sacrum/coccyx area. they didn't even take the mri any lower than L-5. the doctors have not even looked at his back. they just play with his feet (even though he can pinpoint the pain in his sacral area) and say there's no nerve damage and no herniated disc so theres nothing i can do. (they all agree something is wrong they just don't know what it is). please help me figure this out as i am writing this letter to you in tears of desperation. i tell you the truth; we can not go on like this much longer. neither of us can. if anyone has any ideas whats going on please let me know. thank you for your time,angie

Q: Had pain in upper back for two years, had xray the report said "the bony alignment is within normal limits. there is evidence of degenerative changes with some minor joint space narrowing and osteophyte formation at c6/c7 and c7/t1. no vertebral collapse. No facal destructive bony abnormality. that in 04/09/07. this week I have had a MRI scan and it shows a grey area or some swelling. what could is be I am age 50. the pain is in the back and down the left arm. Sandra

Comment: I hurt my back as a child around 9 or 10 it has nothing to do with my disc. I hurt my back by lifting heavy things and lifting friends And I still have that low back pain. I didn't fall and hurt my back. my doctor said I have no muscle in my back I'm weak. But he said my spine is straight. I don't need surgery. I have to do back exercises. Sabrina

Q: I have suffered back pain most of my life. Started at 15 and Now 36. My condition started with neck and back cracking to Sacrum twisting in order to get the obvious relief that comes from cracking. It has now become almost uncontrollable and has symptoms of dietary, Psychological and physical. I have consulted hundreds of doctors, chiropractors, allergy tests, MRI, xray's blood samples etc etc and there has never been a conclusive answer provided. I have spent the last 13 years traveling the world with my job and been exposed to tens of thousands of more people that an ordinary person in a fixed home would be exposed to and yet I have found only one other person with the same disorder I have. In summary I Crack constantly to relieve all my joints, muscles. People look at me and consider turrets as a cause. I believe however that my condition stems from an Enzyme problem, It seems that certain things do aggravate it. One is alcohol and another I am beginning to consider is dehydration although I drink more than enough liquids. Bread may play a factor however I have tried cutting wheat from my diet with no effect. Surgery is not an option as I am a firm believer that Enzymes are the root of my problem and a drug will solve my condition. I am a fit health male with no history or other issues of concern. Can you give me any advice as what may be the cause, how to investigate this, what type of doctor can best help me. HELP!!!! Tony

Q: your site has me totally confused. you make it seem as though no one should ever get surgery, people rarely have real back issues, and its all a big conspiracy between doctors. i don' think this is true at all. my neurosurgeon is awesome. my primary care waited a year to do an MRI when i was in and out of the office for severe lower back pain to the point where i couldn't even stand up, and terrible pain down my right leg. finally she did an mri and they found a VERY obvious herniated L4-L5 disc. its completely black on the films. she said it was a very broad herniation, which it obviously was. before i saw the neurosurgeon, i tried physical therapy for a few months, then i tried chiro 3x a week for a couple months, i tried cortisone injections, and that made it worse. my neurosurgeon did a microdiscectomy may 1, and it's been an interesting road since then. the second day after surgery the pain was so bad in my leg i literally laid in bed and cried for hours. they prescribed valium on top of my percocet, and steroids. then it got totally fine for a few weeks. it felt awesome. but over time it's gotten really bad again. she said it's degenerative disc disease and the disc is very dry. she put me on neurontin and i start aquatic physical therapy monday. she said to give it 3 months at LEAST and if nothing works, we can talk about the fusion, which she specializes in. that, and brain surgery. she is very conservative. i am 22, i have a 5 year old autistic son, and this back/leg pain is totally hindering my life. i've been out of work for a year, i can't bend over the tub to bathe my son without feeling paralyzed and my entire back feeling like HELL when i stand up. i can't even clean my entire house because by the time i'm done, i'm walking with a 45 degree angle and i have to walk quickly to my bed and lay down. i've been on percocet for 3 months now. all this pain i'm experiencing is WHILE on the narcotics. if i don't take them, i can't even take a 10 minute shower without pain shooting up and down my leg. i can't live on narcotics, and i cannot live the rest of my life, at 22, like this. so your site has seriously discouraged me and while i don't believe everything it says, i'm kind of unnerved over the fact that you make it seem as though people should live their lives like this and surgery is a terrible idea, and that the back issues might be phantom. i trust my neurosurgeon, but i also do a LOT of research. this is the first page i have come across like this & i am interested to hear what you have to say on my situation. what YOU would recommend i do. i don't mean this in an offensive way at all. i am currently PMSing so maybe its not the best time to be writing emails to other people, lol. but i have a lot to think about in the next couple months and i'd like all the information and opinions i can get. so if you could let me know, that'd be great. thanks. Laura

Q: I am 41 years old. Is that the typical age to be diagnosed with spinal arthritis? What is the common age? Mischelle

Q: I dont know what to do. i have had back pain for about five years after an injury in softball. my chiropractor told me then that i have arthritis in my spine. i was only 24. now, im 29, and injured it again, i broke my L5 vertebrae, and now i have constant pressure in my low back, almost like i shrunk or i cant stand up straight. he also told me i have a slight case of scoliosis in my lumbar section. the worst pain though is the muscle cramping in my mid back(more to the sides, not centered in the back) and my hips. what should i do? continue to go to the chiropractor or see my regular doctor? Nicky

Q: when i turn side to side, stand sit or lay I get shooting pains in my lower back. Tilting my head forward feels like I have a river of lava running down the left side of my spine. Sitting or laying in certain positions relieve the pain. I am starting to worry. I have no pain in my butt or legs, Any help or advice would be great, Larry

Comment: I just wanted to thank you for all your work and let you know I am praying for you everyday. Your book was a life saver for me and I tried everything before to cure my lower back pain. I am back to work and feeling great after only 3 weeks. I was disabled for 12 years with this pain and I truly feel as if you have given me a miracle! God bless, Mercy

Q: Hi I was injured at work earlier this year and the MRI showed an annular tear at L5,S1. Nothing that has been done so far has helped. I have had therapy twice that actually made it worse meds don't really offer much help, and they put me on a traction table that hurt like crazy, it was so bad it hurt to take breath. My question is is there anything else that I can do or am I stuck with this. I forgot to tell you I have pain in my right leg and sometimes it feels like I have a cramp but my muscles aren't tight. Rich

Reply: they suspect chemical radiculitis, I am not positive but I think there may be more to it because sometimes when I try to stand up straight I get a sudden urge to urinate and when I bend over again the urge goes away.Thanks again, Rich

Q: i have three slipping neck discs. I believe my first feel of upper spinal burn feel was 2004 but my doctor said then its a muscle spasm due to a very small 'fat-bag' near that area! I am a dancer. i kept my stretching exercises to relief pain. until this year i started getting headaches can't stand u still more than few minutes, and cant sit for long periods as well. in motion and stretched lying back the pain is much less and better controlled. I have seen my MRI and I don't believe they are very very bad although it might be getting serious. My questions are: Is it possible that my discs get relocated in their places without surgery? what should i do exactly to make this happen? It is very important for me to dance swim and be active and sportive. it is very important for me to get things back in their proper places. Maria

Q: I do not have back pain. I have aging spine skeletal deformity/disc/nerve pathology which causes stiffness and poor balance and falls. I am so afraid of a laminectomy and other such awful operations, but have been told I could end up paralyzed. Is there a way out of operations? Wendy


Q: I'm a long time low back pain sufferer who has recently embraced the TMS diagnosis after reading Sarno's book and a great deal of on-line literature. I fit the profile perfectly and my symptoms do as well. I've searched and searched on-line for a doctor in Toronto or even Ontario who treats TMS and/or a support group etc. Do you happen to know of resources in Canada that can help me? Clinics, support groups, doctors? Thanks, Tina

Q: I have been suffering with back pain all my adult at 59 I'm at a point where I have to do something serious. I haven't worked in 15 days. I been the the Veterans doctor and I have been taking hydro codeine 5/500 for about 3 weeks and its not helping. I cant use the pee or have normal bowl movement...and pain so severe I'm in tears most of the there anything you can tell me that will help? I'm almost at the point where I rather be dead than to be in this much pain. I've been back to the VA hospital many times and all they will do is double up the meds. Richard

Q: I was involved in a MVA, (rear end collision) on the 21 Sept 2007. I was stopped and the vehicle behind me ran into me, she was going 40 to 50 Km/hr. All I remember was the sound and my head slamming back into the headrest, and then forward again. At the time, I thought woo, I am ok and was concerned for the other driver. In the town where I was, the police do not attend an accident scene unless an ambulance is required or the vehicles are not drivable. So once we exchanged info, we both drove to the police station to file an accident report. By that time I was starting to get a headache, still thought I would be ok. After completing the paper work, I decide to go and pick up the item that I had planned to do, when the accident happened. On the way there, the headache was getting worse, and something strange happened with my vision, it was like someone had put dark blue lenses over my eyes and the whole world looked blue. This lasted for about 3-4 minutes and then went away. Over the next few weeks I would get blue spots in my vision but it eventually cleared up. My problems are, constant headache (mainly on the left side but also on the right at times), jaw pain and earaches (which I feel are muscle related), right shoulder and upper arm pain, burning sensations in the left shoulder, upper left arm, left side of neck, I have lost some sensation in my left baby and ring fingers. I also have had a terrible problem with muscle spasms in my back and they travel around my ribcage to my sides. At times I also have like an electrical buzzing sensation and a scratchy type pain (like someone is dragging a pin down my back), both of these sensations radiate from my neck down over my left shoulder blade, if I sit upright or stand to long (more that 10 min). I am at my wits end. I have tried massage therapy, physical therapy, Intra Muscular Stimulation, and medication. They cannot do trigger point injections as there are so many trigger points and it would be fruitless. So now the soft tissue injury specialist has put me on an antidepressant called Cymbalta, it is supposed to help with nerve pain. I cannot take painkillers as I have a strong reaction or sensitivity to morphine, codeine and gravol as well as a few other meds. I also build up immunity to most meds if I take them more that three of four days in a row. Is there anything you can suggest, prior to the accident I was diagnosed with a bulging disk in my neck and had some loss of sensation at certain parts in my left arm but nothing that caused me any notable distress. I also have DDD in the lumbar and lumbar facet disease. My lumbar problems where not made worse by the accident. I was completely up front with my insurance co. about my pre-existing injuries. I live in Canada; my insurance co. pays for all my medical treatment that is not covered by public health care. I have not contacted a lawyer to date and have no plans to do so if my insurer treats me fairly, which they have done so far. Do you have any suggestion re any techniques or medical treatment so that I can get my life back? Thank You P.S. it is now July 3 almost a year and I have had enough. Jeany

Q: hi,i am a sugar{diabetes}patient& blood pressure for last 30 yrs,now i am experiencing lumber pain what medicines or therapy,exercise i should there any precaution i need to take? plz tell me how to get over it..i am a judge and have to sit continuously for 6-7 hrs..can it lead to paralysis? Can yoga be helpful in that? Monika


Q: I don't know what I have in my lower back, but whatever it is, I've had it for at least 2 years. I went to the doctor recently because it's been happening more frequently and to a much higher degree of pain. The doctor gave me an MRI and said that he saw nothing accept one spot where a nerve was close to something or something was close to a nerve, but should not be giving me any pain or problem. I said to him that by any chance is this in my lower left side of my back right about here (pointing to the spot of pain)? He said yes but nothing on the MRI would cause my pain including that nerve he was talking about. So I asked him what I have and he said that I must just have a sprained lower back that possibly never healed. He said I should take physical therapy for 3 weeks with drugs and that should take care of it. So anyway,I looked up on the web what they would do in physical therapy for my back and designed a program on my own. This included many slow stretching movements for about 30 minutes 3x per week, just like they were going to have me be doing. It's been 2 weeks and my back has been feeling much looser until yesterday when I got my recurring "zinger" in that spot. I can describe it like someone stabbing you in the lower back with a thin bladed knife or being shot with a taiser gun or something. It always happens when I twist slightly to the right and down. It makes me freeze in pain and then I have to slowly raise up. Then the pain slowly subsides but only if I avoid that exact angle again. I've had this for a couple years now, but until only recently has it been occurring more often with a higher degree of pain and longer recovery time. What in the world do you think I might have and how can i cure it if you know. Thank you very much. Alan

Q: Off and on throughout my 74 years on this earth I have experienced sudden lower back pain which seems to correct itself within one or two days. Usually the cure in my case was the expelling of gas would relieve the situation. I recently, June 20th,finished some work which required stooping and reaching for items on shelving when I began to experience pain just above the lower back. I was able to move about carefully but unlike the past experiences (May of 2006) even with the dispelling of a great deal of gas I was unable to get back to normal. I discovered a chiropractor who employs a Pain Neutralization Technique and thought it would be worthwhile to check it out.Last Thursday, the 26th, I has this person do his technique. Unfortunately, it did not cure anything, in fact the pain was 10 times worse. The epi-center of the pain was near my left kidney area and like a lightning bolt shot thru the muscle to my right side and across my stomach muscles. I usually yelped load for an instant until I was able to regain my poser. No amount of gas release helped the situation. I am not sure by my description whether you can offer any help. I have an appointment with my primary care doctor tomorrow but don't expect much from him. I am marginally improved today but that's not saying much. Can you supply any help in understanding how I might get my back to calm down? Just as I put the finishing touches on this email I got another severe jolt. Norm

Comment: Adam, Have just bought your book and read it all the way through. Very thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It makes sense. Thank you.I'm a physical educator earning my living running corporate health seminars. I run a fitness program called the CrookBack Clinic. I'm putting the finishing touches on an ebook about fixing up crook backs (lower back pain) and remembered that Louise Hay said that a painful lower back represented fear around money issues. My back got better by taking responsibility and doing a whole series of exercises. The fact that I didn't have the money for any therapy was probably a good thing - I had to do something to myself. I went to America for my daughter's wedding and along the way went to the Egoscue Clinic in San Diego. (I live in Canberra Australia.) I got some new exercises to and started doing them every night in front of TV, in 8 weeks I was better. So this evening I started to add another chapter on the causes of back pain and went looking for more stuff about the esoteric causes of back pain and came across your book, which was worth every bit of $9.00.As I write it occurs to me that as well as psycho-somatic there is another pathway, somato-psychic. I learned this from Will Schultz and the Esalen movement. The theory goes that if you work on the body, you will also experience changes in the mind. Adam, your exhortation for people to become physically active may well stimulate this effect though, (because they start to feel better) it may divert their attention from doing what you suggest - that is dredging deep into the inner recesses of the mind. My exercises may well do this. I rubbish the effect of therapy that is largely palliative - the crunch, the rub down, the ray lamp and the electric shock as methods for getting yourself back into good shape. I say that it's a big ask expecting to get better by having someone do something to you; sooner or later you have to do something to yourself. As soon as people take some responsibility for their body, they also take some responsibility for what's going on in their mind. Just taking responsibility to put the therapy to one side and do something for themself may have an important effect on the subconscious. How deep the therapy goes, I'm not sure, but you stimulate me to think more about it. I read somewhere that the mind working on the mind is a disaster. It's hard to think yourself out of depression. On the other hand starting exercising and taking control, firstly through the physical and the pathway is created through to the mind.The most popular approach to depression or insomnia, or diabetes, or high blood pressure is to take a pill and completely absolve oneself of responsibility and hand it over to Smerck, Fizzer and Roach. The chances of getting better are remote. I imaging that there is a double effect in operation by working on the physical as well as dredging into the mental as you recommend. I'm going to do this work for myself. As I read your article I started to think of some of my own sadness, regrets, failures, fears. My obsession with physical activity my be pushing these fears etc down, and not letting them bubble up where I can see them. I've never thought about that, but looking back on my life that could be the case. Sports loving kid, phys ed teacher, and regular fitness trainer throughout my life. It could be the great sublimination. Maybe other things might do it, hobbies, art, music, church - all great distractors which stop us from dredging down past the Bullsh down to our real essence. It makes a strong case for recreational activities being important to mental health - but as subliminators.I imaging that if I were a Tibetan monk, I'd meditate long and often and get down deeper that way. My life (as I write)seems to have been a life of avoidance - busyness, fitness, work ... In fact it must take a great deal of psychic energy to keep pushing this subconscious stuff down, so it doesn't bubble up and consume us. It would be too painful for most people. They'd go nuts and end up in a surgery and a pharmacy. You can either distract yourself from confronting yourself, you can put up barriers or you can put up with physical pain. So the notion of pain distracting us is a novel and plausible explanation. I like it and am grateful to you for the suggestion.I've been tearing a calf muscle for years - fear of steeping forward into the future! I'm going to think more about it and see what happens. Physical educators (I started my professional career as a PhysEd teacher) have always considered that they they were doing was educating people through the physical - that it wasn't just about game skills and sport - something cognitive was going on at the same time - something developed character, something that stimulated the autonomic nervous system, something that kept people healthy. They never had a good understanding why this was happening.As our society has become more and more sedentary we've experienced an exponential growth in physical complaints and mental complaints - like depression. Maybe my obsession - to the point of becoming my profession - with physical activity masked the psychological issues, kept them 'under ground' as it were; heaven forbid that I would stop exercising and let the mind takes over; all sorts of stuff would bubble up to the surface. That which doesn't quite get to the surface may manifest itself as physical pain. So, I'm just thinking aloud here, but want to thank you for stimulating my thinking. Regards and best wishes. John

Q: Your website is excellent and very useful..Could you please help cousin had a fall on Jan 18th 2008 she took a CT scan and was diagnosed with oblique undisplaced fracture of the 5th sacral vertebra above the sacro coccygeal junction.The doctors now say there is a tilt 50 degrees and it may not be possible to have a normal delivery. The pain is gradually reducing we consider it around 4 presently with 10 being the highest .Is it normal to take so long to heal? She is advised rest by all doctors and nothing else except for vitamin supplements Any suggestions please will it heal 100%??? everyone is very worried about this could you please advise??? Carlton

Q: I am a 19 year old who is having nerve problems down my left arm and hand. My ring finger shoots awful pain if I rub it on the inside and no one can figure out what is going on. It is so frustrating. Recently, my left side has started hurting at about the place where my ovary is. Do you know of anything it could be? Kristen

Q: In 1989 I fell on my butt and I hurt my back. I didn't realize how badly it was, I just knew it hurt. I walked into the hospital. Well, after X-Rays were done it was found out that I had broke my back. Not only broke it, but it was a compression fracture at L1. L1 just was not there anymore. I was transported to Thomas Jefferson to have a fusion done. I had a T12 L2 fusion done and was sent home about 2 weeks later. I was supposed follow up with the doctors, but I never did. The man I was with was a jerk and, well, you don't need to hear about him. So anyway here we are in 2008 and I now have a lot of pain from my back surgery. I still have the rods and screws back there, but the top screw is broke, (I found that out in 2008 when I had X-Rays done after I left the jerk). I have also found out that I have arthritis in my back and also scoliosis, it's an 's' curve type. I don't know if it was caused by the fusion or not. I've been on so many medications and pain killers and nothing really works. I have so many different doctors. I have my primary, a pain management, a rheumatologist, and a neurologist. Oh yeah I also have a mental health counselor to help me see things straight. I don't know if things will get better, I hope they will. I had one orthopedic doctor that was going to operate and take the hardware out and re-do the old surgery, but his neurosurgeon didn't take my insurance. One doctor says the pain is from the broke screw, one says the arthritis, I don't know. I just keep going from doctor to doctor. I just got a new rheumatologist so I'll see how he works out. Anyway that's my story. I guess my surgery was a success considering that I lived a full life and had 3 children since the surgery and the pain just started about 4 years ago. so feel free to write back or whatever.Donna

Q: I'm an acupuncturist and I treat back pain all the time. I find it works a lot better than aspirin. Keep in mind that a lot of success depends on the technique of the individual practitioner. This is unfortunately also why it's hard to pin down and effect (pardon the pun) in a study. I appreciate a good study and I want to see proof as much as anyone. I understand that patients who come to me are self-selected. But as far as pure placebo? Too many patients come to me thoroughly NOT expecting it to work, having been through a gamut of unsuccessful treatments and it works anyway. Why should the placebo effect suddenly kick in for my particular modality? And in the case of someone who is actively skeptical? Here is another point to consider: sometimes I won't get a result until I change the protocol and select different points, or even one point. And the wammo! dramatic success. This is clearly not placebo at work because the patient has no knowledge or input and would have no reason to react one way or the other to a different point location on, say, treatment number six. Furthermore, it is also the case in western medicine that there is variability in outcome based on the skill of the surgeon. People are well advised to research a surgeon before undergoing, say, spinal fusion, or even a rhizotomy. There is talent as well as training in all medicine. William

Q: i have just returned from my doctors and he has informed me that the pain i have in my legs is not sciatica but i have arthritis in my spine , he has told me what to do but i am worried as i know that arthritis can end up making you crippled so i don't know what to d. Yvonne

Q: I have a 22 mm (2.2cm) herniation at L-5 with migration caused by medical malpractice. The disk gel material has been pushed out down the back of the spine. It got better over a year then 3 weeks ago it regressed to hell. My question is ONCE THE GEL MATERIAL PUSHES OUT DOES IT EVER REGENERATE AND COME BACK? I've been to 5 quacks and not 1 of them could answer this question. Thanks. -Michael

COMMENT: In 2002, I started noticing a tingle at the junction of my back and buttocks on the right side of my body. It stayed constant in this state for around six months. Then, one day, I felt a pain that I had never felt before...the tingling that I felt became a knife wedged in between my back and buttocks. My girlfriend at the time urged me to go and see her chiropractor, so I relented and we saw her. She took an x-ray of my back and determined that it was out of alignment, so eight weeks and $300 later, my back pain was so unbearable that I could not sit or stand for any considerable amount of time. I had to lay down wherever I was, be it at work or at school. I finally went to see my doctor, and he tried muscle relaxers, as well as steroid shots, which proved ineffective. I was then referred to a D.O. who looked at my MRI and advised me of surgery. I asked him about non-invasive techniques, and he said that those options weren't viable due to the size of the herniation (12 mm), and that I probably would have been a better candidate if I hadn't had the 'adjustments' that the chiropractor had administered. So, I went in for surgery, which was about 2 weeks after seeing the doctor, had my discectomy (minimally invasive), and was out of the hospital around 9 the next morning. I felt great, and was back in class that same day I left the hospital. Then, the physical therapy; I had been debilitated so long that I had a bad case of atrophy in my right leg. Six weeks of physical therapy, and I was back to normal. I had been enjoying a back pain-free life until about two weeks ago, when I re-injured myself helping a friend move and a heavy object's box fell apart and left me hurting again...Mike

Q: Dear Sir, I am suffering with 2 herniated discs in my neck at 6 and 7 as scan shows since long time age, and I have every day back pain and headache.please can you advise me? is there any permanent solution? or that needs an operation? Mohamad

Q: My wife has had rather nasty back pain on off for years, but it has always been temporary. She has always attributed it to an accident she had on the farm as a child in which a hay wagon rolled over her. This January things changed. She developed a terrible lower back pain that didn't go away. For weeks she had spasms that had her writhing on the floor. She went to a chiropractor (her standard treatment in the past) but that didn't work. Then she went to a massage therapist for weeks but that didn't seem to affect things either. She's been gradually getting better but it's improving so slowly, it could be the end of the year or even longer before she feels substantially better. She has always maintained her health well, always walked vigorously for exercise, is in good shape (not overweight) and really is the last person in the world to deserve this. It's now summer and she's becoming depressed that she can't do more than walk once around the block without getting into pain.

I myself formerly suffered from minor lower back pains occasionally (quarterly or so) and was getting to the point where every year I'd have a painful freeze-up episode that would take several visits to the chiropractor to solve. Then I started swimming regularly (about 5 years ago) and have not had a single incident of either minor or major back pain since. I have recommended swimming avidly to my wife but she refuses because she hates to be in the water. She tried swimming for one month several years ago to try to help a more minor situation, but it didn't help and so she's convinced that this would just be an aggravation for her. But this really bothers me because if it would work for her as well as it did for me, it would cost only $20 a month and she would be totally pain free at no risk.

I don't know where to turn. Chiropractors recommend chiropractic. Massage therapists recommend massage. The guys with the back-stretching machines recommend a $5000 12-week back stretch. The guys with the turn-you-upside-down machines recommend being upside down. Surgeons recommend surgery. I have found nothing but a bunch of vested interests, both locally and on the web. Your site is the only place where I've found a person with apparently nothing to gain recommending a cheap/free therapy that I know is effective at least in my own case, but unfortunately I can't force her to use that. I need to either find an objective practitioner (not someone vested in one particular type of cure), preferably someone who understands non-surgical solutions, or I need to find a way to get my wife to swim (a swimming-as-therapy support group?). Can you help me? David

Q: I am a 48 yr old female farmer. 5ft.120lbs,and only slightly overweight. Severe back pain and muscle spasms that radiate up my back began last fall with periodic fever at night. As I work the pain decreased only to return at night. Worst in the morning. Several months later fever is gone as are muscle spasms but I get little sleep from pain. What can I do, and what is it? Is it ok to continue lifting heavy loads? My G.P. who didn't examine me said everyone gets this and don't worry about it. I'm not worried, just in pain and tired. Andrea

Q: Can an emotional event in your life cause sciatica? Beth

Q: I have been training for golf ,for hopefully going pro. i practice every day and about a month ago my back started to hurt i thought it was a pulled muscle i gave it 3 days to heal when i went back to golf it didn't really hurt later it didn't at all hurt .but soon it started hurting again like a pulled muscle did it not heal completely or do i need to stretch my back more often. or is my swing causing it to re-injure i am only 15 i feel like i should not be having back issues but i am 6'4 tall and my flexibility isn't the greatest i also started to do weight training to strengthen my back with light weights what should i do and not do. Trent

Q: Hi. For the past 10 years or so I have had an extremely painful pinpoint area in my lower left back. It only strikes me when I bend or twist to that exact point, which I can locate with my finger tip. This pain is like being shot with a taiser gun or a muscle spasm which feels like it's tying itself into a knot, but can go away within minutes or can stay for days with pain such as a bad sunburn. Over the past 10 years or so it only gives me problems if I ever hit that exact position, but usually goes away within minutes if I get out of that position. I have been working out with no problems, lifting weights and aerobics until now. It seems that now, besides this area, I have developed a constant mild general pins and needles pain which is more noticeable while sitting. And on top of that I seem to get other pains in other areas of my back for no reason, like the day after a lifting weights workout when you're sore and also a pain in my ribs. Plus I have a very stiff and painful bottom of my spin which I can feel as I bend straight down as far as I can go. I got my back checked and they took an MRI. The doctor said everything looks normal with the slight exception of something pretty close to a nerve, which,"shouldn't be causing me any problems at all". So I asked him what is causing all this pain and he said I have a sprain and I should go for physical therapy. Well there's no way I just have a sprain which has lasted for 10 years, so I don't know what it is. I have recently tried self physical therapy (recommended lower back stretches) which has made my back more flexible until yesterday when I must've hit that specific angle in my lower left back, which has been tender for the past 3 days. Is there any possible advice you might have for me, since I have no idea what is wrong? Thx. Alan

Q: March of 2007 I has a severe fall.My chest hit a large cement flower pot and I was taken to the hospital where it was found I was bleeding internally and they had to remove my spleen. A few months later my back started to bother me and on June 2nd 2008 I had to have back surgery. Now this was supposed to be for a flattened disc they found but instead they removed a cyst found on my spine. Could all these new problems have anything to do with my accident in March of 2007? and why did the cyst not show up in the MRI. Sincerely, Dolores.

Q: I was dealing with constant back + leg pain for over 4 years. While working in heavy construction it became unbearable. I couldn't take medications to ease the pain because of the nature of my work. I had many tests prior to surgery. discogram which i do not recommend for anyone! I laminotomy,diskectomy,+foramintomy performed. They sent me home hours after the surgery. I was surprised to say the least , but with Ins CO'S the way they are it did not shock me. i FELT RELIEF as soon as I woke up .I do feel much relief after 2 mos. I pushed myself to the limit with walking + physical exercise. I am very concerned about returning to heavy construction + risking the wellness that i have welcomed. I did get laid off from my job . Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I'm just not sure if I SHOULD CONTINUE IN MY LINE OF WORK. Rob

Q: hi, my name is Rumi. a week back i had the worst pain ever, starting from my lower back, hips, butt thighs till my knees. i had to go to the hospital in emergency at 2:00 AM and i got 2 pain killer injections which finally relieved the pain. i had UTI due to which the doctor thought i might have some kidney problem and got my urine tested but the tests were clear. i had to take some antibiotics... the pain didn't come back but i keep experiencing similar pain every now and then but its not as severe as that one but i am scared it will repeat. what is it? is it sciatica or stones in the kidney? please help, Rumi

Q: I am glad I found this web site, and wish I had found it earlier because it provides a lot of information. However, upon reading some of the articles, I feel that you think most back and spine pain is psychological in origin. I have a very serious physical cause for my spinal problems (degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, etc.), and permanent disabling nerve damage as a result. The diagnosis was related to nearly every bone in my neck. Without the surgery I had, I would be in a wheelchair, probably paralyzed from the neck down. Without pain pills and muscle relaxants, I'm in agony.But the only part of me that's been closely studied with X-Rays, MRI's and a CT scan is my neck. My back pain may or may not be related to my neck problems, but I don't think it's psychological. I do know, however, that my pain gets worse when I'm tired, tense, upset, or angry. In that respect, there is definitely a component of my pain that is psychological.However, I would be careful about trying to convince people their problems are all in their mind. My symptoms were so bizarre and so extensive that for a long time doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me, and I often thought I was imagining some of those symptoms. The symptoms ranged from sharp sudden pain in various parts of my body to muscle spasms, twitches, tics, shaking hands, headaches, facial pain, numbness in my arms and legs, stiffness, incontinence, etc. Thinking some of this was my imagination caused me to delay treatment because I didn't realize I had such a serious medical problem. By the time I saw a neurosurgeon about my neck, I was on the verge of paralysis, barely able to use my arms or my right leg, and in horrible pain. The most severe of my symptoms came on very suddenly after a long period in which the symptoms crept up on me gradually. The surgeon basically treated me as an emergency patient, scheduling an operating room the minute he saw my MRI results.My neck problems involved all the bones of my neck except C2-C3. Because my spinal cord was already severely compressed, a minor slip-and-fall accident could have resulted in complete paralysis or even death.If people reading your website have a serious physical problem like mine, yet you convince them the pain is psychological, they may delay treatment like I did and end up with the permanent nerve damage and chronic pain that I now have, or worse yet end up paralyzed or dead. I hope that somewhere on your web site you tell people about danger signs to look for that should cause them to forget about mind over matter and get help through surgery. For example, incontinence is a big red flag and if you've got exaggerated reflexes (when the doctor taps your knee, for instance), it indicates spinal cord damage. Sharon

Q: Hello, I had a 3 level spinal fusion when I was 39. I have 2 cages ,8 skews and 2 rods. I have terrible arthritis and have had it since my twenties. Needless to say, the older I get the more pain I am in. I am fused completely. My bone graft always hurts. My left leg is numb with pins and needles all the time. I now am having muscle tremors. I hate to complain but I am in so much pain. Now, my low back is on fire which goes to the hip error and down my left leg. Some days my left leg is 3 times bigger than my right. My left foot is always swollen and I have pins and needles in it 24/7. Now, I am noting numbness. I go back to the spine doctor tomorrow. Could not see him only his PA. Is there any hope for me to get back to normal. I am now 45 and life is getting to hard for me. Thanks in advance for listening to me.Have a wonderful night. Ann

Q: when is it in my chair,i have pulling of nerves or a short stress in muscle on lower left back just above hip.its frequently comes four to five times a day.i have also left ankle front side bit painful when i lift my both related to each other.what might be cause,please help me out, imthiyaz

Q: I had a hard fall at work 2 months ago and hurt my back bad. Went to ER and they did an x-ray and said it was tissue damage? After 2 months of being in extreme pain and going to physio and extensive rehab they thought I was able to star work. Well I tried it and the first day at work with very limited duties, I was unable to do them and went to my Doctor right after work. He took x-rays and I have 2 fractured disks L1 and L4. don't know why the ER missed this. What are my best options now for recovery? randi

Q: My husband has had 2 back surgeries The last one he had a fusion and 2 pins inserted in his lower back. that was 4 years ago and he is still having as much pain if not more than before the surgery. Is there anything that can be done to help him? I would like to see him without pain and to be able to get through the day without pain medication. Thank you, Louise

Q: sir age 48,diabetic,obese 100 kg,mild cardiac ;lumber inform appropriate treatment and pain killer which can not increase diabetes and cardiac problem P.Kumar

Q: Hi friend I'm fortunate that i found your site.Since last 10 months i had been suffering from back pain.I saw qualified doctors who suggested me for various tests like X-Ray,U.S.G but found nothing so important to get panic.Then i showed to a doc. who tell me to go for MRI,the result obtained from MRI writes "Small posterocentral disc protrusion L2/3 I.V disc leading to thecal sac indentation".I'm under treatment of that doctor and seems to be better but, sometimes whenever i play or do rigorous work the pain in lower back increases a lot.Doctor suggest me some back care and exercise which I'm doing regularly........Can i be completely recover what is your suggestion regarding MRI..what should i do to start playing again..I'm very nervous please help me......My back is still paining....Is there be anything serious. waseem

Q: Since one year, I have back pain only at one particular spot I am not able to move back /stretch my right hand. Several tests like chest X-ray, Scanning whole abdomen, blood and urine tests etc., are normal. But sometimes, i will get uncontrollable back pain at that time i take painkillers, it will reduce to some extent, but not completely. Again i will get my pain.I took homeopathy treatment and allopathic treatment. But no use. They are not able to get conclusions. I have one small kid 21/2 yr old. After delivery i got back pain. Is that related in any way.......If I lie down and relax to a certain extent I get relief. Again pain comes back. Please suggest me. Waiting for your reply. Regards, gayathri

Q: I had a discectomy in may and the doctor said he had to put a pin in my back Why? this my 3rd back surgery, Elizabeth

Q: Hello my name is Kristin and I am 15 yrs old. I have written to you before in regards to my scolioses. My top curve is 30 degrees. (At least the last time I went to the dr) anyway I have been doing lots of pt and it has helped with the pain some even if hands on stuff only works for a day to relive stiffness etc. I'm writing because lately I have had some trouble breathing. Ive read only severe curves cause this but I was wondering because my curve is high in my spine it preses on one of my lungs or compressing it or something. Either that if its because of my bad hunched posture. I'm pretty sure it's because of my back because this hasn't happened before. Any suggestions or comments would greatly appreciated! Thank you, sincerely,Kristin

Q: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I'm so glad I found your site! "They" i.e. doctors, were moving me to the old folks home with their scary diagnosis. They got it all wrong! I have sciatica type symptoms which I have had on and off since my 30's. My last attack left me with numbness in my left leg. I got an MRI and an EMG. The EMG has somehow left me with twitching in the leg. When the doctor saw the test results she jumped on the degenerative disk disease as a diagnosis. I was never to run (I've been running for 30 yrs) or bike again in my life. I was essentially now an old lady who would have to be very careful if I wanted to keep walking. She chose to listen only to the symptoms that fit her diagnosis and ignored the rest. I don't know what's wrong, but it's not back pain, rather it is the hip and left leg. I've had x-rays and there's nothing wrong with the hip itself. I have no solution at this time, but I want to thank you for putting up this site it really helped me to put the DDD diagnosis in perspective. Luhren

Q: To start out with I have had lower back pain for most of my life. I was seeing a chiropractor in the 8th grade which I think made the pains worse. At the age of 20 I went to see another one. He took x-rays of my back and told me several problems he found..examples... disc out of line most of the way down my spine, tail bone too low ( and I can really tell that one a lot of times just sitting down). But I was able to live with most of that pain. A little over a year ago I injured my back while working. I was trying to throw something too heavy up and twisted wrong when I did. I felt an instant pain in the thoracic region of my back. X-rays really didn't show anything. The MRI showed a few bulging disc. I went through PT and pain pills and anti imflammatories. None of which helped. Since it was an accident at work workers comp was handling my medical care. After frustrations of being pulled around with nothing done I had settled with them. The last doctor that I had seen gave me permanent restrictions of not being able to lift over 10 pounds again. The pain is getting worse and I don't know what to do. I don't have insurance to go see a doctor. It starts right next to my spine and goes under my right shoulder blade. To touch it brings me to tears even just the pillow on my bed hurts it. The first doctor told me it was just in my head it shouldn't be that tender to touch. Any ideas of what could be going on and how to get relief? They told me they couldn't do surgery because of where the disc were bulging at. But I have to do something. This pain is really interfering with my life. The lower back pain is even getting worse. If I lay on my stomach to sleep at night when I wake the next morning my back is locked up and I cant move for a while without screaming out in pain. I am only 31 years old I have too much of my life to live like this. Nicole

Q: Subsequent to a foraminotomy on C7/T1 (7/10/07) I have had severe/constant muscle spasms in the rhomboid/levator muscles - right adjacent to where the surgery was done. I have seen many different practitioners over the past eleven months in an effort to get the muscle spasm to release. They have not been successful and(frustratingly) have suggested a range of reasons for the spasms and suggested different reasons and modalities, all to no avail. It is my considered opinion that the muscles went into spasm from being cut on and have not released to date. Do you know of or have you heard of any treatment that my help me out of this mess? I appreciate your attention to this. Mike

Q: Hello, I have a few herniated discs in my neck and in my lower back. To be more specific, I have 3 herniated and 3 bulging in my neck. and two in my lower back. Despite how bad that sounds, I really don't suffer from any major pain and stay away from exercises in the gym that generally bother my neck (ex shoulder presses..I usually go really light when it comes to that particular exercise). I can tell from my mri that I have DDD because of the color of my disc's in my neck that go from light grey to black in my cervical spine. I guess my question is, Is there any way to stop the further degeneration of my discs. What sort of supplements should I be taking for disc's (supplement wise) I appreciate your feed back. Kalvin

Q: What did you do to get rid of the pain? My family started having some stressful times and my pain began. Everytime I even talk about the issue or think about it the pain starts. No pain medicine works, Linda

Q: Can you help? I had a discectomy in 1991 and have had a couple of occassions afterwards when I had very severe bouts of pain but nothing really in the last 3 years. I now have a very high pain threshold. My question is - I was involved in a road traffic accident 5 weeks ago & it caused me very bad pain in my back. My docotor (GP) said it could be torn scar tissue. I also have pain when I urinate & feel as though I need to visit the toilet alot throughout the day & night. I feel if I wait I would wet myself. Is this normal & how long is it likely to last? Thanks, Tracey

Q: I have a herniated disc at L5-S1 and am in quite a lot of pain.I purchased an Inversion Table and ever since I started to fully invert the pain has gotten worse.Could I be irritating the injury somehow and should I stop using the table.Thanks Bruce

Q: I'm a 42 year old female, with normal BMI and I walk 3 miles 5-6 times a week. For the last 5 months I have had intermittent lower right back/buttock pain. The pain is in the buttock area occurs on occasion while sitting for long periods and is dull. When walking I occasionally get a stabbing pain which radiates down my right thigh in the front (not back) and stops at the knee. The pain is always first felt near my SI joint. My doctor ordered X-rays and the preliminary findings reported to me was "Loss of normal lumbar curvature - no disc space narrowing". Would this be the cause of my pain? What causes a loss of curvature? Can this be corrected? Sue

Q: I am a 52 year old female. Early this morning I experienced sudden excruiting pain between my shoulders and a severe burning, similar to heartburn, in my chest. I felt as if I were going to faint. The pain left abruptly after about 5 minutes and I could here swooshing noise in my ears. That abruptly stopped also. Could it be my heart? Deborah

Q: I've read much on your site and still don't know what you offer. Is it a book, product or just a forum? I am in great pain, have bulging discs in the lumbar region, have had back trouble for years and would heal quickly an back to 100% in a short time. This time is different, more debilitating, persistant, and painful for 6 weeks now with no end in site. I will be starting PT today. What can you offer me? Glen

Q: I have been diagnosed with spondylosis,lumbar sacral spine l3-4,l5,s1,DDD, doctor suggested a spinal cord stimulator.I've already had injections and the nerve burnt from my left leg to my brain to no avail.he has me on vicodin,norco,peracet and flexeril which i don't like operation is not a choice after hearing the extent of recovery and the odds of it being satisfactory. any suggestions would be appreciated for i am in extreme pain. Tom

Q: Hi I am a vet affairs disability, with what i think is Lumber spinal stenosis.Ive be diagnosed with lower lumber disc disease as well as Thoracic spondylosis. My problem is ,is that my Dr continues to avoid treatment for this.Ive 5 steroid injections in my lower back in 07,but this has not made any difference.I have pain down to my right ankle,from my lower back,with pins and needles.This has got considerable worse in the last 15 months.Iam 43 yrs of age,2 boys 11 and 14.I really need to go to a Dr that is going to treat me and not send me off to numerous other Drs,just to spread the Vet Affairs payments around.I am desperate and very depressed,which is what my Dr seems to be concerned with than trying to fix or at least alleviate my pain.Can you help me please? I live in nsw around an 1 hour north of Sydney,easy travel by train or car thanks again. Kerrie

Q: My pain in the right side of the back started few days after having a sharp pain in my right abdominal area. Now i started doing the back excercises did give me a temporary relief but as soon as i stopped doing excercises it came back. Nothing comes up in ultra sound and Xray and my doctor is not sugesting anything further? And thats bothering me its been 6 months. I can work out, can play cricket, golf nothing changes its a mild pain. Any possible reason what may cause this pain? how can i work towards getting it fixed? Robbie

Q: Hello, Four years ago at the age of 24 I was diagnosed with Grade 1 Mild Spondylothesis at the L5 to S1 vertebrae. After some physical therapy I did great, until now. For the last two months my back has started to bother me again. I went to my primary physician to have another x-ray done to see if my condition is getting worse The x-ray report stated that I had a 6 centimeter (2.36 inch) slip at the L5 to S1. I asked my physician if I was still at a grade 1 or if my slip has worsened. He said he did not understand how the grades worked and how to convert the centimeters into percentage. Can you please let me know what grade a 6 centimeter slip is and with Spondylothesis is it normal to have pain flare ups from time to time? Also, is it common for the slipped to worsen over time? Any help would be appreciated. Brandy

Q: hi, my name is Rachel. I have read 3 of the books on TMS that you have highlighted on your website, so thanks for this information. However, i am still suffering pain on my left lower back, buttock and back of left leg. I have had this problem for over 5 months now, and have been to several physical therapists and no one has helped stop the pain. I believe it is psychosomatic, and the pain has became less frequent, but when i try to get back into my running i still get pain in my left lower back area. It is frustrating and i feel in total despair and i very depressed as a result. Please could you let me know of any possible way of getting over this problem. Can there be anything else wrong with me, and will it go away? Rachel

Q: hi,my name is Stacey, i`m 16,and my doctor tells me i have pinched nerve. my symptoms are back pain(severe) that is accompanied by head aches,i`m also finding that i often become dizzy very easily, and sometimes for no reason what so this really all because of a pinched nerve?if so is there any possible(preferably non-surgical) treatments i can get for it in or around newfoundland?i just want the pain and dizziness to stop! Stacey

Q: Hi, My son had an accident at the age of 7, which he suffered fractures to his L1-L4. On discharge of hospital he had healed well and i have had NO problems since then, He is now 12. Are his bones even more tender where he has to be EXTRA careful in any activities he choses? thank you Susan

Q: Hi, I am 42 and had a micodiscectomy and partial laminectomy on left side of L5-S1 in May 07 stemming from an accident which ruptured 2 discs. I felt great for about a week after surgery (I did have rest and therapy before considering this procedure) then all my symptoms came back, some are worse. I had another MRI this past April which states I have failed back surgery which my surgeon had thought. The new Mri also says I have abnormal T1 and T2 hypo signal intensity changes on left side of the lamina, asymmetrical thickening of nerve root at this level, hypo sig. intensity at L5-S1 compromising the left side of the spinal formina and lesion around the lamina. I have also have muscle atrophy in the entire left leg, last measurement of loss was 1and half inches in both thigh and calf. My lower back (skin) looks dark bruised and Have discoloration all across the back and about 8 inches wide Blotchy looking. I am in pain management but they are telling me there is nothing else that can be done, I have pain across the hips and lower back and left. leg which is constant moderate to severe depending on what and how much I do. I take pecocet10 for the pain but it works only to make it bearable, Do I have any choices left or is he correct that it will continue to get worse and finally paralysis? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Thank you sincerely Ward

Q: Hi I really appreciate what you're doing on your site. What a great help you're providing us back pain sufferers, for that I thank you! I've had 2 episodes of severe lower back pain (I'm going through a really bad one right now) so acute I couldn't even stand up in the first stage. The pain is located on the right lower back and gets worse when I walk or stand up from bed in the morning. Doctors say the damage is in the muscle, and it certainly feels tense. I took some muscle relaxants and anti inflammatory drugs but after 2 weeks I'm still very limited to do any physical work and the pain is still there. Can you give me some advise on how to handle it and recover? Thanks again and God bless. Camilo.

Q: I have upper back and shoulder pain that feels like a lot of pins are sticking me.No ointments seem to help.Can you tell me what this pain is and what's causing it,please ? Thank you very much.I also took Aleve and it didn't help either. Carmen

Q: Hello, I hurt my back a month ago lifting someone. I took PT for two weeks and every time that they tried to increase exercises it would increasingly get worse, so they would have to back off every time and then they put me on some table to do some back extensions which was an electric table and every time my back would be in that down ward motion it would really hurt my low back and I would start to get sharp shooting pains down my left leg. Now it has been over a week since I last went to therapy and since then I have had an MRI. The findings were on L4-L5 There is narrowing to the left with a mild eccentric disc bulge and findings of fluid on the Left facet joint. On L3-L4 there is an eccentric disc bulge to the Left with underlying broad based bulging of the disc minimally deforms the thecal sac. Mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing to the left and greater to the right. Could you please tell me what this means and do you think with the findings that this is on a nerve? Thank you. Julie

Q: hi, I'm a 19 yr.old woman who just recently started having chronic back and neck pain, along with headaches. the doctors told me i had chronic migraine headaches. but thats a little of the pain. i feel the pain is more from my back and my neck. it never stops popping for more than 5 minuets at a time. my neck and back has been popping, or making noises when i just breathe every few minuets. i don't move to make it pop or put any pressure. this has been going on for now 3 months and no one has been able to help me. so i started my own research. i do have a VERY ABNORMAL tailbone. but the doctors never did anything for me. they say ill be alright. but my whole life i never could sit for more than a hour. never could sit straight-always on my buttocks.and never have layed on my back. its always on my side or stomach, and that don't even help with the pain. I'm in so much pain, even just sitting at this computer. and im desperate for answers. please help me. Jacqueline

COMMENT: I got severe lower backache a month ago. After I got the pain I lifted some weight and sciatic nerve got pulled, numbness below the knee and tingling sensation. After a month bed rest, the numbness and nerve pulling come down. Now when I sit, there is much inconvenience or I do not know is that pain in the spinal cord. Veeresh

Q: To whom it may concern, I live in Malta and 27years old. I've had back pain for the last 4years.... everyday of my life. I went to physiotherapists, surgeons, specialists and all kind of professional people but nobody seems to know what is my problem. For the last three weeks the pain has also increased. I couldn't go to work, i couldn't take a shower properly, i couldn't bend and wear my socks..... i couldn't do nothing. After my doctor gave me coltramyl and other pills. now i can take a shower (but not my feet)but cant do anything else. Now i have finished the pills and still in pain.I'm taking 2-4 distalgesic painkillers everyday to reduce a little bit the pain. Its true that i am overweight and that is part of the problem. I'm on a diet and i'm losing weight. But sometimes I'm not sure if the extra weight is the problem because I'm in pain when I'm sit down ,when i have to stand up or when I'm in bed and in all three cases my weight is not on my body. On the other hand I'm not in pain when i walk. I cannot understand but I'm near a depression because I'm only 27 and i cannot do anything and I'm still in great pain..... pain that you cannot imagine. I already did an MRI and found only that there is not so much space between the last two discs and they told me that it should not result all the pain that I'm feeling. I went to all the best specialists in Malta but no positive result. :( Please please help me. Waiting for your reply. Thanks for your time reading my email. Anne Marie

Q: I have an "s" shaped spine that is giving me a lot of pain through the rib and back area. Also have a pinched nerve and bone spurs. Can you help me? Shirley

Q: How do I find the best doctor to perform surgery on my back if it is needed? Bruce

Q: i am 38- and when i was 19 i broke my back- L5? and and 26 had a hernia,i have back pain a lot,right now i have spasms going on- since fri- its tue,i pulled something- i think. so i use a heating pad-ice pack doans- back pills flexerol- from dr tiger balm- like ben gay and i take long hot baths,but it only seems to help for a little while- please if you have any suggestions let me know- thanks-and your site is so bookmarked John

Q: I am 77 yrs old, had physical therapy and a MRI. The Dr. determined that Spinal Fusion was the only way to go for slipped discs and Degenerative arthritis and narrowing of the spinal column in the lumbar section.Had the surgery on Aug.7,2007. Used narcotic oxycontin. Stopped taking them and went on over the counter pills.Sometimes they help and sometimes not.I have wound up with Lordosis or Sway back condition.Have tried to walk upright, but it hurts too much.Can I ever get back to the normal upright position without hurting 0r without taking pills. Can exercises fix this problem?How many pages is the Pdf that you offer? Frances

Q: Hi,My problem is not so much back pain as other symptoms. Earlier this year, something happened to me which caused neck problems and problems in my shoulders and upper arms - down to the elbows. I went to a MD twice. He gave me muscle relaxers but they did no good. I self medicated by using Ibuprofen, muscle rubs, pain patches, etc. For 3 months, I could hardly move my arms. It got really worse at nighttime. I could not sleep without taking PM capsules. I have gotten better but still not cured. I was unable to do any upper body exercises during that time and I have lost all muscle tone and strength in my upper body. I don't know what happened to me but the only thing that I did out of the ordinary was to buy and use a few times, one of those rotating stools called a 'Red'. You sit on the stool, hold to side handles and rotate your body. It was supposed to slim down the waistline. I don't know if I got whiplash or have a pinched muscle. The doctor did not help me at all. He did threaten to do an MRI but being under insured, I could not afford it. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Thank you. Best regards, BJ