Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2009 Part 10

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: I had lower back surgery L3 thru s1 were fusioned 3 levels. During the surgery between L4-5 my spinal cord was punctured. The Doctor told us he had to repair the damage which took 2 1/2 hrs before completing the fusions. My question is, what damage was done? I am worst off than I was before the surgery. The Doctors wont answer any of my questions. Thank you, William

Q: I am suffering from back pain for last 8-10 yrs. Pain in lower back awakens me early in the morning with a max duration of 5 hrs sleep. It disappears after 1-2 Hrs and no pain in the Day. I have gastric trouble sometimes. many treatments (Spondilitis (Lumber & Cervical) do not cure sleep disorder. Is the pain due to fibromyalgia? Vijay

Q: How long do upper back spasms last? I have had mine for almost 2 weeks. When should i get worried? Thank you, Janet

Q: I work out with weights and do cardio alot. I have noticed when I run or jump I get like a bee stinging feeling below my arm pit almost where my lat muscle ties in. It does not bother me only when jumping running, if I hold the fat or my chest when running it does not bother me either. I hope someone can help me with this. 29 yrs old male. Eric

Q: Hi Sensei, Just wondering if you can help me. I had my back pain in September and neck pain in November. After 3 months of worry and pain, the MRI shown the back is normal, nothing wrong with it. However, my neck pain is still off and on. But the my main concern is right now I have a lot of pain in my feet, palms and shoulder (flares up at times). I'm not sure what I have, but scare that these will get worse. Is this neuropathic or is this psychosomatic? Is knowledge therapy a cure for me? Charlie

Q: Dear Sir, My Name is Hashir and I am from India, I have lower back pain last 3 years. In my work i have to sit for long time but it was started before when i was a student. Now I am 28 years old married before 3 months, last year i had some treatment in Ayurvedic at India, Kerala. it's different types of massages with oils from nature. I have some release for few months, but it start now again and they said that it was a disc prolapse L3 L5, what i can do to cure my back pain? please help me, is exercise will work? if so what exercise i have to do? now the pain some times goes down to my right thigh and leg, please give me your valuable advice. Thanking you. Best regards, Hashir

Q: had D&C as exploration of uterine cancer prior to hysterectomy. a few days after D&C was walking with friends. took several steps and felt calf muscle pull followed by pain in hips and lower back. learned that there were problems that could later lead to cancer from D&C. hysterectomy was a week later. on day of hysterectomy, decided to have the ovaries and tubes removed as well because of concern about cancer later. immediately noticed that the pain in calf, leg, hips, and lower back were worse. now walked with limp, could barely climb stairs, could not stand for long. bending, reaching, or twisting caused shooting pains. explained to surgeon, who prescribed mri. mri diagnosed arthritis, degenerative disease, slight bulging disc, slight bone spur. (note: had injured back years earlier. had sporadic episodes of extreme back pain and stiffness, but no sciatica.) now was experiencing sciatica, tingling, and shooting pains in left leg, hips, and buttock. am left-hand ed. explained to primary care doctor, who prescribed chiropractor and physical therapy. went for two months with no success. did learn, however, that there is an extremely sensitive spot on lower buttock, near hip. chiropractor could apply little or no pressure without causing pain. for pain was taking tylenol 800 and vicodin. also used ice and/or heat. found that heat worked best. with no success after two months was sent to pain management group for epidurals. taken off vicodin for pain and put on avinza (morphine in gel caps) and gabapentin (neurontin) for 24 hour relief of pain. after 4 months, pain is still severe. goes to extreme if i run out of morphine before pharmacist can order new batch, since narcotics are not kept in stock. also accompanied by expected withdrawal symptoms after more than two days. this has happened only once(lol). have had three epidurals with increasing pain instead of relief after each shot. last shot was so painful, began using rollator to walk or sit in public places. only comfortable position is laying on side away from injured side. spend most of day in bed. when using computer as now and having to sit in bed, find that pain is extreme, but want your advice, so keep shifting position. almost finished with story. after epidurals failed, pain meds were increased (60 mgs avinza, 100 mgs gabapentin. also add tylenol pm when pain increases after activity out of doors (food shopping and running errands). if sleep on wrong side, also take extra strength tylenol. scheduled to see neurosurgeon in two weeks for discussion of surgery. will get second opinion, but think i have no choice. pain management team does not recommend laser surgery and insurance will not pay. am i possibly psychosomatic? why no relief? also need to note that i am on meds for a severe depressive disorder (xanax, wellbutrin, lexapro). also take atacand for high blood pressure (am taking less of blood pressure meds because of gastric bypass surgery about 5 years ago. lost 115 pounds, gained back thirty. still should have lost another 100 pounds). also suffer from seasonal affective disorder. thank you for any advice you can give. Discouraged

Q: I am 17 and I have been living with extreme lower back and hip pain for the past year. I injured my back while lifting for football when I was 14 and that resulted in the spondylolisthesis that I have right now. I lived with that for two years with basically no problems. I hurt my back again when I was lifting this past february and my back hasn't been the same since. i learned that the extent of my injuries this time was a herniated disc and the same spondylolisthesis that I've always had. I had to sit out of football for three months to rest my back because I was told that it would be healed by then. When I returned to practice my back pain was still as severe and hasn't gotten any better since. I've been to almost ten doctors and about eight million of those jokes that they call chiropractors and I'm still in excruciating pain. I would do anything for my back pain to stop. If you can help me in any way, please contact me as son as possible. Thanks, Rob

Q: Hi. i have suffered arthritis in lower facet joints for the last 4 years my mri scan says lower f1&2. i take 2 x 200mg tramadol a day , 3 x 300mg gabapentin and 50mg amatryptline a day , is there any other medication i can take to try and lead a normal life again? i am a 6ft builder and have lost over 3.5 stone in weight. William

Q: My story is that of recurring lower back injury. I am not sure why but every few years I get lower back pain that takes weeks to heal. It is always something different that seems to cause it. The latest came several days after snow shoveling when I got up off the couch after playing guitar caused an intense spasms in my lower back put me out of commission for several days. O got off the couch in a typical way but man that hurt so bad. A prior and similar injury cam about 5 years ago when I was working on the hot water heater when I moved under a short crawl space and the same spams in the same area (lower left back) caused intense spasms. This took several weeks to heal! Wat causes these injuries? What can I do to prevent these? And when they do occur what can I do beside take it easy for a few days in bed? John

Q: Hello, I'm experiencing sever pain on or about my right shoulder blade. It's causing my right arm to throb, and sometimes go numb. I went to the doctors, she prescribed flexeril and naproxen. Neither of which are doing a dam thing. I'm putting moist heat on it and still no relief. What can I do? I can't sleep, sit for long periods of time, lay on either side in bed, let alone laying on my back. I don't know what to do. Please reply. Thank you, Bob

Q: Back pains from an arteries conditions due to an accident long ago. Looking for a type of chair for long seating. Can you suggest one? Joe

Comment: I started with back pain since 2003&4 probably, the thing it it starts so slow you don't even realize. I still have it, I hope it goes away sensei!!!!!!! I am a man who has experienced important stuff, eg: I have been lost for three days with hardly any food an some brown water to drink in the middle of a jungle type forest, and found my way out. So, as sensei adam rostocki (actually I'm a tae-kwon-do black belt (Dan I), I know I'm not a cry baby. But this back pain has been tremendously tough on me. I have been doing psycho/therapy for two years, and I believe it's getting better. I have to be honest, I couldn't help crying reading all that was written since I feel the same goddam way!!! Everything, step by step, i have a few degenerative discs, i think i have been told i have ddd. Yet I'm pretty sure my problem is psychological. Have been having important issues with my family and with my career. Love disappointments. Everything!! But still, I have the will to fight it. Hope your story gives me the strength. I have never confronted something so mentally and physically demanding. I was top student at my class. But this is far something terrifying! Very difficult to resolve. But having read your webpage, really helps me, i rrrrealy mean it. Look forward for the day I stop thinking about my back! Martin

Q: Hey Sensei Adam, I'm 20 years old in the active army, i build bridge and such lift heavy pieces to them and well back in July i started getting major lower back pains to the point it was making my right leg go numb. the pain was on my lower left side, they put me on crutches for a while then had me on a profile limiting me to what i could and couldn't do, which was really nothing because of the pain, i had a x-ray and MRI done, showed i had a herniated disc in my lower left and mid right side i did some physical therapist it really didn't seem to help. they stuck me on tramadol 50mg for pain and piroxicam 20mg caps. i stayed on profile till the beginning of December, came off profile and my Sgt told me to jump into B running group. which was about a 4 mile run. i couldn't even complete it. i was in so much pain trying to push my self to get back to are field. i had people help me back to the field an into someones car they took me to the hospital bc i could barley walk like it was before. now they stuck me on tramadol 50mg,piroxicam 20mg caps and now muscle relaxers called methocarbamol 500mg bc my back was so tense trying to get it to i guess loosen up. with it being so cold its makes really hurt so i try not to go out into it. they said they want me to go back in and talk to my doctor about seeing a off post consultant(off post doctor) its got me worried because Ive talked to my doctor about maybe trying to get surgery done or get med-boarded from the army because i cant do my job like i want... its really affecting me mentally and physically no i haven't gained weight Ive stayed the same but its that pride of being able to do my job for my country, i cant do it with my back how it is. what would u recommend? trying to get surgery? staying how i am? getting med-boarded from the army? i know its a lot to ask lol what would u recommend i do with my back? Nicolas

Q: Really think this site is amazing...thank you for your dedication. Here are my MRI results would value your OPINION It is very long but here is some Findings: There is mild reversal of the normal cervical lordosis centered at the C5 level. Normal vertebral heights. Chronic Modic endplate degenerative changes at C5-C6 and c6 C7 are seen. Marrow signal is unremarkable. C5/C6 Moderate size right paracentral disc protrusion/osteophyte complex is present. Indentation of the ventral thecal sac that abuts, but does not deform the ventral of the cerv. cord. Uncinate spurring on right moderately narrows the right neural foramen moderat compression of the exiting right C6 ner root sleeve. Left neural foramen is patent. C6C7-Uncinate spurring is present on left moderately to severely narrowing the left neural foramen compressing exutubg keft C7 nerve root sleeve. C7T1 Minimal central disc bulge. Patent central canal and neural foramina. Impression: Multilevel cervical spondylosis. Left sided C7 nerve root impingement to to uncoveretebral joint spurring a C6C7. I have had horrible lower neck/upper back pain with complete numbness in left hand for approx 9 weeks that led to an MRI. I have been prescribed the mirage of pain meds which I cannot tolerate. An epidural is scheduled. Any and all assistance so appreciated. Cindy

Comment: Long story short, I am 20 years old and have been training martial arts since i was 8. In the last couple of years I started adding intense strength and conditioning into my training schedule training up to 10 times a week. A bad dead lift one day left my lower back in pain.. I put it down to muscle soreness. Since then, 8 months ago, It has never quite came good, although i continued my intense training having had many injuries before this. Enough was enough and i had a ct scan ordered and found 2 disc bulges in the lumber spine, one of which pressing on the nerve root. I am skeptical of surgery, but the one thing i do believe in is core strength. Every day now i do core exercises to help keep my spine stable. It has provided some relief, I may feel almost fine one week then all of a sudden, back to normal.

I am a big believer in positive thinking and visualization, but this hasn't seemed to work either. My training was my life and since I haven't quite been the same person. I need to be rid of this, to continue my life. - James

Q: Hello, I suffered a trampoline injury at 13 yrs old. I never told anyone because I was afraid at the time. I had fever in my back on the right lower side for about 2 weeks. It hurt forever after that and still today. I had x-rays 2mths ago and the Dr. only asked when the accident happened. That was all he said. I am 40yrs old. Since Thursday suddenly I have constant sore pain in my lower pelvic and lower back area. It is much different from the usual pain that With tylenol I get relief during my periods when needed. This pain did not change at all from tylenol, warm bath or heat treatment. It hurts when I breath, it feels that it is from my spine inside my body not the skin side. In my pelvis spine area. Turning, lifting, sitting, hurts, standing still is ok laying flat I can find some relief. I have no fever anywhere and I did not hurt myself recently.If feels like something is around me inside. I have 5 children all born natural and since my 2nd I have numbness in both arms and hands while sleeping or doing tedious tasks, like sewing, eating, writing etc... I did alot of bicycling too in my youth and young adult. Trish

Q: I am actually seeing Dr. Sarno in a few weeks and will ask him this same question, but in the meantime: I understand that the mind causes physical pain by depriving parts of the body with oxygen. In my case herniated discs where the disc is pressing a nerve. If my treatment is successful and the physical pain gets relief, is the "cure" that the oxygen goes back to the disc, whereas it can actually heal itself and take pressure off the nerve? Or does the pain not correlate with the nerve pressure? i look forward to your response. Once I am at the end of my journey I will submit my story to you, I am not there yet though. Rob

Q: Hi think I broke my tail bone sledding. My mom has even said so and looked at my but. Should my mom take me to the ER Department? Jackson

Q: i am now 21 years old and have had a size DD since i was in the 7th grade. i am not a small girl but not to big either.. but due to the fact that i have large breasts i have back pains. especially in my lower back, if i am working all day and come home to lie down i can not touch my lower back to the floor if i do i have problems breathing for some time. at night i go to roll over on my side and my back cracks the whole way up and down. and now i'm worried that my back problems will only get worse because my mom has been diagnosed with degeneration of the disks, her disks are fused together, osteoporosis,and arthritis, and now fibromyalgia. some if not all of these are/can be passed down and that really worries me. can anyone give me any ideas on what to do bout my situation/ help relieve the pain i get in my back and at times shoulders? Charity

Q: Hello, I read in your "upper back pain" section, that you got upper back/scapular pain from martial arts. I practice martial arts, and have been in alot of fights. Once i get a job with health insurance, I plan to see a chiropractor. do you recommend it. what do you think of them? Randy

Q: Dear Sir, Can you please explain how pain and spasm are delayed up to 48 hours from a back strain or sprain. Further can a disk bulge be attributed to a back strain from heavy lifting. Personally been diagnosed spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 and I would like to link the disk bulge and the diagnosis.Thank you in advance, Jeff

Q: I have been having back pain (severe at times) for the past 1.5 yrs since falling and sustaining a compression fracture of t4 with depression of the superior endplate. I had never had a back problem prior to this fall. Nothing I have tried has worked to help this back pain and my Dr. says it should be healed so it is muscular pain. She even says I probably didn't even have a compression fracture even though the xray showed it and now my most recent one shows mild old compression of t4 (unchanged since last xray-when I fell) and tiny osteophytes are now seen. I was wondering if I could send you my reports (xray, bone scan, mri) as well as details of my pain and what has occurred as I have never seen a specialist, never had a CT scan, did not wear a back brace and nothing is being looked into diagnosis wise even though my pain will not go away and is actually worse now. Sometimes it hurts to breathe and I can barely walk at times...but they all say it is just muscular witho ut even examining me. I am in Canada and need a referral from my Doctor to see a specialist but she will not give me one, saying that it is healed by now so it must just be muscular. It is a long story so I won't ramble on now but could you please let me know if I can send you my info to see if you have any ideas about what could be causing all of this pain. Thank You, Jodi

Q: hi my name is jessica. i have major lower pack problems, i have a lump on the back of my neck that my doctor claims to be a fat lump.. however i know that's its not i am over weight but it is hard it is a part of my spine. at the base of my spine where my tail bone should be there is nothing there is a big dip in place of it. i wonder if there is anything i can do for it.. i am thinking of breast reduction i know that that has a big effect on things for the lower back area but would it even help if my spine is like this?

Q: hi friends, i am 49 years old. the neuro after seeing my mri, told me that i am nerve compression in the neck region. but i am not having any neck pain..but having problems like tingling, burning sensation on the right side arm to knee. friends can anyone suggest treatments for nerve compression..pls mail me. Leni

Q: Why do Doctor's ask if I've had any change in bowel or bladder problems after back (L3 L4 L5) surgery? I struggle with IBS most of the time and don't know what they are looking for. I have back chronic pain and it is worse since the surgery. Please advise me on what kind of questions I should be asking the doctors? Thank You, Etta

Q: Would you mind telling me which of Dr. Sarnos book's (besides "Healing Back Pain") you consider to have the most content related to "how to" unearth one's repressed issues? It has also been of concern to me that he attributes ulcers to stress, when for a number of years it's been known that most are caused by helicobacter pylori. I'm wanting to "believe", but this oversight concerns me. Thanks, Sandy

Q: Dear Adam, I am 26 years old and am experiencing chronic lower back pain and sometimes neck pain for over one year (the pain is rather located vertically in lower back and sometimes it moves to buttocks and occasionally tights) - on and off. I have tried many physios (also dry needling, manual therapy, McKenzie method- extensions) but it does not give any tangible results. I had a MRI done but it did not show anything. The physios told that this is probably due to tension in muscles/joints. First of all, I thought that it was caused by the bad posture at work while sitting at the desk for many hours but now when I read a few things on your website - I am wondering if it is not psychological pain.. I had lots of stress last year. This pain is destroying my life and I am so young :( I would like to kindly for your help in bringing my life to normal. Sincerely, Sylwia

Q: I found your website after my dr's nurse called me today of the results to my MRI of the back of my upper neck and mid-section of my back. She said that I have degenerative disc disease and explained about the cushions around my vertebra.. My story is that I was in a car accident this past month. I was rear ended after I dropped my son off at school while I was stopped at a red light. Since the accident, Ive had severe pain associated with whiplash. Im on two muscle relaxers and pain pills and nothing is seeming to help.

At the hospital, when they did x-rays after the accident, I was told that I have arthritis in my back. I didn't know that either. I am still trying to figure out if arthritis and degenerative disc disease are one in the same. Also, I have not only whiplash, but a lower back sprain as well from the accident and am experiencing much more pain there than any place else. Ive had off and on again severe pain with my lower back for years.

I go in to see my doctor Dec. 14th (Monday) and I want to ask her to please have my lower back scanned with an MRI as well. Your website is very good and Im glad that I came across it. My friends and family are already telling me that I should look into disability because not only of the degenerative disc disease in my upper neck and back, but because of my lower back as well. I wanted to ask also if this condition is something that I should consider disability over. Standing for long periods of time wrecks havoc on my lower back before the accident, let alone with it.... And my job as a dog groomer is very physical at times with large dogs, so my dr has told me not to return to work for some time now. Also, would you happen to have any good questions that I could ask my dr when I go to see her? Ive got a good handful at the moment, but Im open for suggestions. Thank you so much for reading my email. Hope to hear from you soon! Meichelle

Q: Hi Mr. Rostocki, Do you know a care provider specialized in Cox technic? Thank you, Jose

Q: Hi There! My name is Tom, and i am writing to you with hopes of getting a better idea of my issues. First let me start by going back to june of 2002. I got a new job that involved an extensive amount of driving daily, about 200 miles per day of city driving, in a 5 speed car. With that said i started to notice a lot of lower back and hip pain. The job required me to go to customers homes, about 10 to 15 a day, which required me to constantly get in and out of my vehicle all day. I am a somewhat big guy i wouldn't say obese but fairly big, 6ft 2in 260lbs.

After about 4 yrs doing this job my back pain started to go to my legs, to the point that when i sat longer then 1 hr my right thigh would go completely numb with shooting pain from my lower spine. 4 years later 2006 my leg pain was so bad i acquired a limp and alot of weakness, tingling, severe burning. And i also had a pilanital cyst removed in oct of 2007 that i got from constant driving in that sitting position, at least i think so. Well since the cyst was removed my life has been hell to say the least, with all my other back and leg issues to top it off.

about 1 yr after the pilanital cyst was removed i had 2 mri's 1 cat scan, did physical therapy, traction therapy, tried every muscle relaxer, vicoden, neorotin, nortriptyline, selective nerve root injection, daily streches, and so on. I had a micro back surgery on L4 and L5 to try and relieve the nerve, so the doctor says. and since the surgery my right leg is numb and extremely painful all the time, worse then before the surgery.

well in the end i was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and possibly meralgia paresthetica. I ended up having to leave my job and haven't been able to work since july of 2008 and I cant seem to get any relief or any decent professional help.

Can you recommend a treatment or doc in the Madison, Wisconsin area to help me get back to a enjoyable life for me and my family? Tom

Q: My wife, age 74, has age degenerative joint disease and she is in acute pain emanating from her cervical facet 1/2. She has had rhyzotomy on her 3/4, 5/6 facets. Our doctor says rhyzotomy is too dangerous to perform on the facet 1/2. We would like to know if this is a universally held opinion or just his conservative approach. We mean no disrespect to him. Her condition is too severe to ignore. The possible treatment offered by him is nerve stimulation. Do you agree that rhyzotomy should not be performed on facet 1/2? We thank you for any information you can provide. Bud

Q: I am experiencing a horrible muscle pain and pressure like a fit on my left side that wont release. It is constant. MRI is ok , Xray don't show much , blood work ok. Using Ativan and muscle relaxants that make me very sick. Tried myofacial release, magnesium, calms, I need help can you recommend? Thanks, esperanza

Q: Hello Need some advice. I have just been diagnosed with 2 degenerative discs L4 and L5/S1 with an annular tear at L5/S1 and also mild osteoarthritis of the facet joints aorund that area and only 31yrs old! Anyhow it all does seem to be calming down since August when it first happened, I just have the odd bit of sciatic and muscle spasm and dull ache in lower back at times which I can to an extent control with pain killers and walking. The main problem I have is pain in my buttocks when I am sitting down, I have had an MRI and my coccyx area is all ok, so I think it must be something to do with the muscles as some days are better than others however when is bad its bad I have to get up every 15 mins. I would like some advice on this as to perhaps what is causing it and how I can stop it as if this would go then I would feel so much better. Ankhelitza

Q: Hi would welcome your advice. Two years ago bent down to lift my ski boots and put them away for the season. My back gave way. I was diagnoised with a buldge disk L5. Have little pain now if any from the disk. However during the injury period I was compensating for injury (lifting the right sholder higher than the left) which has resulted in regular muscle pain on one side.. Physiotherpist has says it is the muscle. Have done regular exersise but do find that this muscle will seem to have a mind of its own and begin to get tight. Have to say I only need have a slight twinge in the muscle and it seems to send a message to my head to react to tighten even more! I hope this make sence, I feel I am fighting mind over a body! Graham

Q: I've been experiencing moving back pain the last couple of days. It's on the left side of my back and started just below my shoulder blade and then kept going lower & lower. This happened gradually over a period of some hours. It feels like an ache. Any idea what would cause that? Thank you. Dee