Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2009 Part 8

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: Your web site is outstanding. Needless to say after 4 lower back surgeries, I have visited a large number of pain sites and "hands down" your site is fantastic. *** Your topic regarding Piriformis just may have cured me *** I can't wait to do additional research on this topic. I have be told repeatedly that my back pain is the result of congenital issues. Your topic about Piriformis is fascinating and I am certainly going to research it and learn more about this subject/condition. You're the best! Tim Q: I am trying to find credible statistics on back surgery. I have been told that if the first back surgery doesn't work, then the chance of the second surgery not working is 95%. The person who said that couldn't tell me the source of the statistic and while I don't have any reason to question it, before I repeat it, verifying the veracity of it would be helpful. Can you help me with that? Wayne Q: I am suffering with terrible back pain. I am 65 years old. Recently my father passed away, and my mother now has stage 4 breast and vertebrae cancer. Several years ago I was diagnosed with spondylolisthes grade 2 L5 S1 I had gone for injections in my back. They helped, then I read a book by Doctor John Sarno. The Mind Body Connection. I have always been an anxious person and I have a lot of stress. My back was doing pretty good. Then we had to leave our apartment for ten days. We had a flood in our unit. I did a lot of lifting boxes, and also wheeling my mother everywhere in a wheelchair. I know I have a back condition, but I think the lifting and stress may have made it worse. My pain is on the low left side of my back, in the buttocks area. I am also in pain when I try to get into my car. My left leg really hurts. My main concern is taking care of my mother. She has no one to help he. I also notice I hear a clicking noise in that area when I walk. I would really like to hear from you, and have you ever heard of anyone else with the same symptoms? I ask you very humbly to help me. Sincerely, Geoffrey Q: Hi, I am a professional soccer player and am having back pain. I was diagnosed with DDD (degenerative disk disease) when I was younger, but the pain subsided when I worked on my core. I have been working on it ever since, but now, years later the pain is coming back. It is not too bad right now, but is there anything I can do to help get rid of this pain...I would really appreciate an honest answer. Jossimar Q: Hi,I have moderate to severe spinal stenosis with grade 1 to early grade 2 spondylolisthesis. I was on lyrica for a number of months and there has been some improvement,My neurosurgeon is considering a fusion at l5/s1.What is your opinion and are there any treatments. yours, Joan. Q: Hi, I feel I have suffered from back problems since I was a child as i went to a chiropractor when young with what i was told to be a common problem with one of my legs being slightly longer than the other - due to my spine? unsure of the all the details with this. I was in a car accident at the begging of this year and suffered whip lash however I feel like the crash awoke all my previous back problems and timed them by a million. I suffer with a really dull ache underneath and around my right shoulder blade, this effects my neck and my right arm, sometimes my arm and hand feel extremely hot like they are burning. My right rib cage feels like it struggles to expand when breathing. When sitting my right leg aches and i feel like my hip and bum are bruising. My shoulder are extremely tense and the muscles very hard - sometimes i can wake up and feel like my back has been battered and bruised - like i have done a whole day of exercise when i have only been asleep. I have been to a chiropractor who in the end basically gave up as she felt there was nothing more she could do for me, she told me my ribs kept jamming - why is this? I went to have Acupuncture, when i told him that its like the right side of my body is completely different and feels like a wreck compared to the left he didn't really believe me and told me this was very unusual, when he looked he found the right side of my body muscles definition was alot more bolder than my left? I really feel like i cant continue with the pain as it is really starting to effect me, I am a slim 22 year old girl and i just dread to think what my body will be like when im 50! Please help. Thanks Sam Q: i was having some steroids shot in my back right above the tail bone. during this procedure the doctor found a black spot the size of a thumb nail on the tip of the bone also there was a smaller one up a little further, the doctor did ask me if i ever broke my tail bone and i said no. he said don't worry about it, i think this is how you were made? my question is what does that mean? Karen Q: I was in a car accident about 10 months ago and I went through chiropractic treatment for the minor pain it gave me and the pain disappeared. But just recently within the last 2 month the pain came back, not just in the original spot, but all over. First it would come and go, and now it is constant severe pain. I went back to the chiropractor and regardless of all the wonderful help they have given me, I can find no relief. It is very hard for me to go about my daily life since I am a full time high school student. I've tried everything possible: heat, ice, NSAIDS, sitting in a hot tub, massages, and stretching. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how i can make some of the pain go away, and if i should go see a regular doctor? Jessica Q: I am a 65 yr young man who has worked hard all my life. Self employed most all that time. The last time I have worked was as a truck driver/furniture mover for 11yrs. I had to stop because of a fall of 8ft to the concrete below.I have been trying to get fixed the last 5 yrs. thru California WC. The Insurance Co. Lawyer has been fighting all efforts to get my neck fixed. I injured my neck and lower back. When I fell,I landed on my right side and felt as though I broke every bone in my body. I blacked out and awoke to someone asking if I was alright? As a furniture mover you have a tendency to work thru and with pain. But this was to much. I tried for 3 months but could not even drive,sleep or perform any of my normal duties. I cried in pain when I was alone. I just had to stop working and try to get help. I am being told by the Ins. lawyers Doctors that my lumbar pain was due to the fall, but the neck was do to the previous surgery which caused DDD. At age forty, I had a fusion of C4/C5.I had no problems after the surgery until the fall. I have had the lumbar fixed with surgery, paid by WC, I also had the neck fixed 2 months ago, paid by my Ins. and Medicare. I have had 3 surgeons say the fall caused an aggravation of the previous injury. So what I need to know is, are there any studys on long term fusions of the cervical spine that say one way or the other that I well or well not need another fix at the level above or below the first fusion. Please I need real help, for I have no lawyer, and am going to court on my own. Thank You in advance for your time and this site. Richard Q: It all started with pain in my back, could not put on pants or socks on without help. Went to my PCP, he did a MRI. Found out I had a herniated Disk in L5. Sent me to Othro Dr. He put me on pain meds and steroids for a week. It went on for a couple of months. It got better. Then I started to have hip pain. Went back to Ortho. They sent me to outpatient and gave me a shot in my hip. I believe it was cortisone. Did that 2 more times. In the mean time I was in a lot of pain, the can't sleep or rest kind. BAD! I went back last week when the last shot wore off, they lasted about 3 weeks and I felt great no pain. But when it wore off, it was back to the worst pain. I told him I really want to get to the bottom of this. So he sent me to the pain management Dr. He did blood work and a Bone scan. It has been a week and a half and I can't get any answers. I am still in pain. I called today to ask for something for the pain and to find out the results of the test. The nurse called an d said the Dr. could not give me any thing for the pain because he found no evidence that I should have any pain. I asked her if I could come in and discuss the test results and she said the Dr. does not have any openings until sometime next week. I don't understand why a Dr. could say I'm not in pain when I know better, without any kind of explanation. I am just flabbergasted to say the least. Should I go and see a Neurosurgeon? I don't know what to do. Thanks, Stephen Q: Sorry this is super long, but here's my story... I'm a 20 yr former dancer, would like to be dancing again *June 07 - Initial Injury my lower back (I had been holding another girl on my back during a dance performance when my foot slipped out from underneath me and other girl fell right on my back) my back was spasming several times an hour and I was in extreme pain, unable to get into docs for another week, because I had to dance in a 4 day camp/performance/competition and was popping my dad's left over Toradol like M&Ms and not getting much pain relief, but I did get quite loopy. Somehow we won anyways. *June 07 - Primary Care doc tells me its probably just muscles strains and gives me some muscle relaxers and naproxen (no relief) *July 07 - Tried Chiro (some relief but pain always came back later in day) *Aug 07 - MRIs and Bone Scan taken by my 1st orthopedic surgeon he says nothings wrong with me other than some strained muscles (I was barely sitting/standing) and prescribes 3 months PT, no dancing and to continue w/ naproxen. PT says I have SI joint dysfunction and my pelvis constantly slips out of alignment *Oct. 07 - I had some relief from PT, but then I started dancing again and pain got worse than before, I carried a pillow with me to school and many classes I'd have to stand up b/c I couldn't sit a whole hour, went to new orthopedic spine doc and he takes x-rays diagnoses me with spondylolysis at L5 on my right side... he prescribes meloxicam and tells my I can dance to my pain tolerance... But here's the thing, I am amazing at ignoring pain while I'm dancing (it is (or was, rather) my life). When I dance I don't have a pain limit, but as so as I stop and even more so when I crawl into bed at night my back feels awful. *Nov 07 - still going to PT (got my prescription extended) and still dancing just no running/ wt. lifting/ too much jumping (impact things) *Dec 07 to May 08 - I continue dancing mostly just walking the routines until performance/competition time in order to reduce pain... During this time I fell from a Switch Tilt Leap (aka big dance jump/leap) directly on my hip and knocked my pelvis so far out of alignment I couldn't walk and it took 3 PTs to adjust me back (of course this happened the day before we left for nationals/internationals) Not dancing wasn't an option as 66 girls were counting on me.... and I ended placing 5th on my solo internationally. *May 08 - Grade 2 ankle sprain falling from a Grande Tour Jete (aka big dance jump/leap). I blame all my falling on numbness/tingling in my right leg, because I couldn't feel my rt. foot when I landed and my whole foot inverted. couldn't use crutches b/c too painful to back so I was in a wheelchair and wore a boot for over 2 months... No dancing and back to PT *July 08 -start dancing again (re-roll ankle twice) *Aug 08 - start college as a dance and kinesiology major, at this point I'm still taking meloxicam and tylenol all the time and still in LOTS of pain and ignoring it pretty well *Oct 08 - my dance professors realize how much pain I am in, because it actually starts to affect my dancing (sharp, stabbing, mind numbing pain when I'd curve my spine or twist a certain way) and around this time Deborah Vogel (dance medicine expert) came to lecture for a week. She is a big advocate of "knowledge therapy" (she never called it that though), as well as other alternative treatments to help make us more aware of our bodies and how to prevent and heal injury (iliopsoas/iliacs release, pinkie ball muscle release, ideokinesis, craniosacral therapy, correcting alignment issues by adjusting our dance technique and focus). I met with her a few times individually, and she insisted I was just stuck in a pain cycle that I could stop on my own. I sincerely put a lot of effort in the next few months into adjusting my mindset, constantly being positive about my situation, and not ignoring my pain, but instead listening to it, and telling myself I could overcome it. I believ ed myself too, and I wanted her methods to work. I was ready to try anything. I tried every single method she gave me until the end of the semester (Dec), but my pain became worse and worse even during the week she was there. At the end of the week of her visit Deborah and my professors told me to go back to my ortho spine doc. and he says same thing he said the yr. before, so I go get another opinion from 3rd orthopedic spine surgeon who orders a CT to check the spondylolysis diagnosis b/c he says I shouldn't be having sciatica w/ spondylolysis at my pars of L5... CT Results: Spondylolysis neg., but finds 3 bulging discs (L3/L4, L4/L5, L5/L6), some narrowing of the spinal canal, and bone spurring at all Lumbar/Sacral/Iliosacral joints. Doc says if I don't dance for 6 months I will be better, and changes my meds from meloxicam to relafen *Oct 08 to Dec 08 - dance professors force me to drop almost all of my dance classes causing me to lose my scholarship, I barely finished out my semester as dance major and then transferred for the spring semester to a local community college back home *Jan 09 to Present - no dancing since last Dec. and I still have pain doing everyday activities. I still can't sit or stand longer than 2 hours or my back throbs. I can't run b/c that causes severe back pain. I'm no longer taking pain meds (stopped taking the meds after new Chiro did traction therapy w/ me for 2 months), but I really would like to start dancing again. I tried to ease back into it after 6th months, and again a in Oct., but the pain just returns. Day before Thanksgiving 2009 I went to see my newest and 4th orthopedic spine specialist, who does the newest kind of the new laser minimally invasive surgeries (only a 3mm incision). New MRIs show: L5/S1 is on its well on its way to completely collapsing, but he says I am too young to get disc replacement or spinal fusion and I should wait as long as possible, because technology gets better and better everyday. He also said that he's pretty sure that the majority of my pain is actually being cause by my bone spurs (facet arthritis) and isn't disc related at all. I am scheduled to get facet injections next week to see if those help. If so, he says I'm a good candidate for a rhizotomy, and but he said that as long as my nerves don't regenerate, that this could be a permanent fix my arthritis due to my bone spurs... I consider myself quite knowledgeable when it comes to anatomy, the spine, chronic pain, pain in general, neural sensations, back pain,as well as back conditions, treatments, and surgeries. Obviously not as knowledgeable as you, since I've only been collecting info for the last few years, but I feel that I way beyond the average person when it comes to Knowledge about above said issues. What is your opinion about all of this, and do you believe that all back problems can be solved with "knowledge"??? (I know I seem skeptical of the knowledge cure, but I feel like have tried that route already, and it did not work for me) Thankssss, JORDAN