Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2010 Part 12

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.

Comment: Thanks for a great site. I am also a martial artist in the UK. Timmo

Q: Hello. I am a 15 year old female and I'm in gymnastics. I have had the right lower back muscle ( the one that runs along the side) very tight for about 3 years now. It is so bad that if I stand completely straight forward, and try to twist to the right, it only twists about 20 degrees. This pain is very intense, and of today, it is extremely tight. Is there anything that I can do to make it better? Kayla

Q: Could there be permanent damage to my chronic foot pain, which I have suffered since 1996, if it has been recently discovered that the origin is L 4 & 5 in my back. The nerves have been pinch off for years, and the disc bulging, and prior to the therapy I did not have any back pain, but now I am in agony. Karin

Q: I am 22 and broke my neck a month ago (10/08/2010). I was sleepwalk (yes, I swear!) and fell down my basement stairs. I completely broke my neck and had to under intensive surgery. I am a little fuzzy on the details but know that they have fused some of my discs together and there are plates and screws. I believe the 3rd disc was the one most affected. I am still in my neck brace but have been told to slowly wing myself out of it and not to sleep in it. I am sure I will have life long problems with my neck. What are some of the best things I can do to regain muscle in my neck. The ligaments in my neck were torn so I barely have enough strength to even hold my own head up. I start therapy in 2 weeks but would love to get a head start and I am very open to outside ideas/exercises/advice. Thanks so much! Kaylee

Q: My fiance was recently in an awful vehicle accident, where his vehicle rolled off a 30 foot cliff flipping several times end over end. He broke his back in 8 places, 3 of which are in his neck. Also broke his sternum horizontally across. He was hoping to get some idea from someone else with a broken neck and back about the kind of pain they too suffered. He had surgery where they fused a bone chip from his hip into his c456&7 in his neck. But his c2 is also one of the broken vertebrae. What kind of recovery road can we expect and how long will his pain be so excruciating and unbearable? Erin

Q: I had my l5 disc broken after falling on the ice. My back surgery was about 18 months ago. They put 3 titatium rods and cage with hardware in. He sent me to a pain management dr that discovered my tailbone was broke and healed at a 90 degree outward angle..I continue to tell my dr about the extreme pain I'm in and still haven't given me any answers to making it better..What do I do and where do I go from here?? Rachel

Q: I fell straight down on my coccyx about ten years ago, when a so called 'friend' pulled a chair from beneath me, causing me to land on a tile floor. I am almost twenty one years old now. I've had reoccurring pain in my tail bone ever since. I now know that i should have been sent for an for an x-ray. At the moment I am in so much pain that I just had to look it up. I am loosing sleep due to discomfort, being distracted while driving, and am very uncomfortable when sitting in class. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow, but thought I should still share my story and ask for your advice. Thank you for your time. -Melissa

Q: i was in a car accident in august of this year. i was in the passenger seat of the vehicle and a car ran a red light and crashed into the passenger seat. we saw it happening but couldn't do anything about it. our car flipped. the doctors concluded that i had whiplash, and two shoulder strains. i went to the chiropractor 3x a week for over a month. my upper and lower back continue to hurt, along with my neck. do you have any advice to give me about how i could cope / get better? do you think this pain will ever go away? Shannon

Q: i have lower back pain. The pain mostly goes from abdomen to calf muscle. i have done MRI scan. According to scan, i have protruding disc which is mildly compressing my back nerve. is operation only treatment or please advise on treatment. Peer

Q: Can u please decipher this report for me : 5th lumbar bilaterally completely sacralised. Lumbar lordosis is exaggerated disc space at l4/sacralised l5 is reduced. muscular spasm disc narrowing L4/L5. I have a lower back pain since one month. Cant even sit properly. I am on medication but still the pain is lingering. Doctor has advised medicine and exercises. Can u please explain what exactly is this condition and how to recover fast. Thx, Taruna

Q: Hi Adam, Thank you very much for your excellent resource. It is helping me stay on track with my TMS symptoms. I have realized that my foot drag when walking and running is caused by this syndrome. I do believe I originally had a running injury 25 years ago that healed but I have compensated my gait over the years and adapted to faulty running mechanics where I still muscle guard. I talk to myself regularly but just can't seem to overcome my foot drop however hard I yell at myself that it is in my head. I know it is because I have had glimpses of near normal gait from time to time. Do you have any idea of what would work and allow me to run unimpeded again! Thanks, Sue.

Q: Hi This my MRI report. kindly inform me what is the possible treatment for this or only exercise will be enough for this. Technique:Sagittal T1 W1. Axial T2WI and limbs. Findings: Preserved alignment of the cervical spine. Degenerate disc disease noted at C5 C6 and C6-C7 level manifested as reduced height and loss of the signal intensity on TWI. At C5- C6 Disc level, small posterior central and left paracentral disc herniation causing indentation on the ventral CSF space. At the C6-C7 disc level mile diffuse poserior disc bulge. Mild degenerative cervical spondylosis with smal anterior and posterior osteophyte formation. Normal dimension of the spinal canal. No alternation in the signal intensity of the cervical spinal cord. Mantained height of the cervical vertebral bodies and intact craniocervial junction. COMMENT: C5- C6 Degenerative disc disease,posterior central and left paracentral small disc herniation. C6- C7 Degenerative disc disease and mild diffuse posterior disc bulge. Noman

Q: I have had back pain for the last ten years brought on by vacuuming, sweeping, and bending when cleaning. I had fallen on my tail bone when I was about 25, and hit by a car in 2000, when walking across the parking lot at the PO. Xrays showed arthritis. Then in Nov. of 2009 I had such pain in my lower back, hip, leg all the way down into my foot. Dr. said Sciatica, just take the meds. and take it easy. Now in Oct. 2010 it has hit me again. This time xays and an MRI reveals two ruptured discs, and several degenerated disc. Dr. recommends injection and if that does not work surgery. Heard about Decompression Therapy, heard good things. Can anyone add anything else before I start therapy on Monday. Linda

Q: What you said made a lot of sense. Around three months ago I suffered a panic attack due to a lot of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle full of alcohol, drugs and abusing caffeine because of the lack of sleep I was getting. After that I continued to have panic attacks. I decided to drop down on alcohol, give up coffee, and only smoke as it calms me down. Now the panic attacks have stopped but I've become to realize my back is extremely tense, even my doctor noticed that for a 17 year old (which I am) my back is totally hard and the muscles aren't relaxed at all. I often get pains there, and my back often cracks when I stretch or just get up. Since I've been quite anxious and stressed lately (with panic attacks and all) do you think it's quite likely that it's due to the stress that's causing my muscles to react this way? Another theory is, that since I was in a car crash three years ago which felt a lot of my muscles torn and ribs fractured that now the pain of that accident is just acting up again since my back suffered quite a lot from that. Rave

Comment: i have had back pain for nearly 9 years every day. it is hard. i went through all the procedures and it took 5 years before i had an op. i have scoliosis and i had a slipped disc, spinal stenosis, worn discs. i have had a spinal fusion to stop the curve from getting worse, but it hasn't stopped the pain. i have had 7 injections at once which didn't help with the pain. it gets me down some times but i keep working and doing things that i can. i cant stand for more than a couple of mins on the spot. i get so much pain, but i do what i can. i have had to change my life but i just try not to do too much but some times i still do and pay for it. after i work to take my mind off the pain it helps a bit i'm glad. i kept pushing things with the consultants. i can walk a little bit quicker but that's about it, it is hard to know what to do. they might have something to help me one day. you have to think positive and live your life the best you can. Sharon

Q: Hi Sensei, I was hoping you could give me some feedback and answer a few questions about my spinal problems as you seem to know your stuff. I have found it impossible to get good advice regarding this and hope you can help. I had a spinal fusion to L5 and S1 back in 1988 when I was 13. This was the result of a roller skating accident (I think!) at age 11 in which I hit my coccyx on the pavement. I don't remember having back pain then, but sciatica developed and became more and more severe over the next few years until I couldn't stand without being in a lot of pain. So eventually my parents got me to a specialist who recommended spinal fusion as I had a fractured vertebrae. I wanted the pain to go away so badly, I just agreed willingly and my parents were in no state to get more information and try to find other ways to treat it. I realize now that there would almost certainly have been other ways to treat it, and I still feel very angry with the surgeon who operated on me for not pointing us in a different direction. Wow, what a bastard eh!! So here I am age 37, still suffering, mostly with my lumbar spine/ sacrum and my neck, but my whole spine is under strain daily and I have been on a mission to heal myself I mean in general...emotionally, spiritually, all of it as it's all linked. I do yoga, and somedays, like today I am amazed at what my spine is capable of doing despite the fusion and I have learned to trust in the wisdom of my body and push as far as is humanly possible without injuring myself. I'm strong. But I am very aware of that region underneath all the scar tissue that just feels like it cannot move...dead...and I cannot reach up to my full potential even though my full potential feels as though it's possible to reach if that makes any sense?!! I've been told that no, it cannot move, that area of my spine, because it's fused together... but is it possible to get it moving? Or what about the vertebrae immediately above and below the fused ones...can I get them moving?? Is there any way to reverse what was done to me? Have you heard of people being free of back pain after a spinal fusion? I just don't get it...I need to dance like I did when I was 10, I need to use the full capacity of my spine! Aaaaargh!! I probably sound as though I haven't accepted what happened, but that's not it. I believe in miracles, they happen all the time, the mind is the one causing all the problems! I think maybe if I could just believe in my spine again...believe that it is capable of being slowly enticed back to it's previous flexibility. What I do realize see, is that the majority of my spinal pain is due to all the trauma held in it.. it was attacked by a lunatic with a knife...and now suffers post-traumatic shock for the spine! It is this that ails me most. Not the warped anatomy itself (!) but the belief that it is not safe. What do you think as a fellow back sufferer?

So do you have any inspiring stories for me about people recovering well from spinal fusions? I was very flexible before, I'd like to know if I could be again. And would you be able to tell me exactly what the procedure was that they probably would have used at that time...I want to know exactly what my spine 'looks' like. I asked the doctors but my records have been lost (unbelievable!!). I would be very grateful if you would communicate some of your thoughts (if any?) on these things and try to answer my questions. Warm wishes to you and thank you for the website! Griselda

Q: I have suffered from hip problems all my life being told that i had irritable hip then just growing pains. At the age of 13 i stopped swimming which i enjoyed and couldn't do any sports at all. I have alot of pain while walking long distances, up hills or standing for a long time in my back, hips, and knees. The pain seems to be getting worse in my lower back down the outsides of my legs. I have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis, however i am having great pain throughout my back to a point where i am in tears. I have a instinct feeling that there is something else wrong as i am only 18 years old and can not do what normal 18 year olds do. No treatment has worked for me, i have seen 3 physiotherapists and 10 specialists and no one can give me a the proper treatment i need. I do hope that there comes a day where i can get some treatment and not feel any pain while doing the things i do. I do want to ask that is there any possible treatment you can suggest or exercise movements i can do while i'm in work? Kirsty

Q: About 7 years ago, I injured my back moving something heavy. My lower back went into spasms. I could hardly walk. Since that time, my back has "gone out" about six more times. I went to a chiropractor the first few times and have gone to physical therapy after that. The last time my back has gone out has been the worst. I finally got an MRI and found that I had a bulged disc at L5 and S1 - it is bulged directly inward into the spine. I also have a small tear in something, but I don't recall the name of it. I also have moderate to severe degeneration. The difference this time was the healing process. I am now six months into the injury and still experiencing pain. The odd thing is that my lower back doesn't hurt. I hurt in my buttocks, hips, and tailbone. My piriformis muscle is always tightening and causing pain. Occasionally, I will get tingling/numbness in my right foot, but that is rare. The rest of my spine is in great shape according to the MRI. Any thoughts on why this time I am still having the pain in the buttocks, hips, and tailbone. Whether sitting or standing, everything starts to ache after a period of time. Jeff

Q: I am a 50 year old man, I have had a bulging L4 disc along with degenerative disc disease. I have sciatica from my right lower back to the top of my right foot.2 years ago I slipped and fell on my right hip. The pain has gotten much worse,now frequently my back pain and hip along with the sciatica, has shot from my hip to my back and down my leg. I have been going to the Y doing low impact water wading for my physical therapy for my weight. how long will this hip pain persist. I had it x/rayed nothing broke, my right lower flank also hurt for a year till it finally eased off. How long should it take for these shooting pains coming from my hip to go away? Duane

Q: Dear Sensei Adam, From an MRI on L5-S1 the diagnosis states: "Very large central/left extrusion (12mm), much larger since the prior scan [2 years ago when it was 'large left paracentral/lateral-recess extrusion: 7mm in thickness and extending 10mm caudally']. It severely compromises the lumbosacral spinal canal. Mild-moderate narrowing foramina bilaterally." For the last two weeks, I have constant pain down the back of my left leg (from my glutes) to my foot, with part of the underside of my foot being numb from my little toe, the joint there and a further inch of that side of my outer foot. 2 weeks ago the numbness was on the underside but more centralized around the joints of my 3-5th toes (not the toes themselves). The initial back pain occurred 6 weeks ago without the leg pain, which presented itself about 4 weeks ago). Supposed to see a physical medicine specialist(injections) (don't want to go that route) and a surgeon (am adamant about no surgery) but I'm also going to see a neurologist. From my own research and confirmed by your most informative website, decompression seems a very valid course of treatment that might help cure the source (which seems to be the L5-S1 herniation). Chiropractic helped last time but am not convinced it 'fixed' the source...obviously not. Does this sound in any way familiar in your experience? Or things you've come across? It's horrible not being able to walk much, let alone run or coach without pain. Any advice would be so much appreciated...continuing to research before deciding on a course of treatment. Regards, Fiona

Q: I recently started to jump rope for exercise. Three days ago when I completed my last jump, I felt pain in my lower back. Since then, I can barely move without pain. I wonder did this compress my spine which has resulted in a pinched nerve? I just hope it's not a disc issue since I don't have medical insurance. Thank you. Patricia

Comment: I've visited your site on/off since my back problems started last year. I just found the page of updates from Feb 2009. Especially interesting was your mentioning of your T-disc herniations. I have T-7/8 herniation, which was found my MRI. It was interesting to read that you are not suffering pain from these, referred or otherwise. I've been living in hell with this, because nobody knows what to do with mid-back problems. Your page on TMS has led me to explore that as a possibility, for a whole host of reasons to long to bore you with. I'm reading the books and have an appointment with Dr. John Strack. Thanks for your site. It has helped me alot. Richard

Q: i have a hemivertebrae at t-10, fusion of t8 - t12 and acute spondylitis which is congenital... i have put up with the pain with various types of medication of which u would be aware of,narcotics,analgesics and sleepers and valium, all of which i am so over after 13-14 years..i am attempting pain mgt. soon however not too concerned as the bloke in charge apparently does a good job. however pain killers are always indicated to be the option out for his directive. can u give me some positive feedback as what to do. thanks DEAN

Q: This pass Sat. I fell and hit a wooden kiddie table (which did not give way)and landed on my spine and back area, I have a scratch across my spine that is about 5in. long. My main concern is where I hit my back and if I could have a severe injury I don't know about. I have constant pain in that area and sometimes it shoots pain down in my rt. glute. I can't bend over or kneel down without moaning and groaning and stopping in my tracks. What injuries could I have and what is the best place to go to if you do not have insurance and little money to pay for the visit. I am scared that if I don't get an xray now, I will pay for it in the future. Please help, I am scared. Leslie

Q: I've had three levels < c 4-5, 5-6, and 6-7 > cerv. fusions, three times... the last one in 1996. I haven't had these sx's very long. They numbness began about 8 months ago and is progressing, rapidly. Just can't see my regular dr as he has since passed. Before I sought a new physician, wondered if it was something that I should expect.I have new numbness of my hand/wrist/spreading now from my index and thumb to my middle and ring fingers and sometimes feels as if I have a tight band wrapped around my wrist??? Cindy

Q: Sir goodmorning! Myself chandramol, i am 20 years old i have back pain from 5 years. M.R.I. is normal. Plz solve this problem.

Q: first mri january 2010: Congenital spondylolysis of l4 and retro of l3 on l4 and l5 on s1. Also a chronically broken off facet joint. Mri Oct 20: spondylylolysis and spondlylolisthesis asymmetric l3-l4 and l5-s1. also disc protrusion narrowing the neural foraminal canal with stenosis. Grade I anterolisthisis. Would you constitute this as an unstable back. I have been through 2 12 week PT sessions and the back spasms just wont quit. I also have pain in both legs and some incontinence. And yes I have seen a neurosurgeon. He said my back was stable but he has not seen the second MRI. He just sent me back to my GP and my GP sent me for the 2nd MRI. What do you think. By the way I am 29 years old. Hugh

Q: hi on August 4th i had a horse rear up fall over back wards and land on me. i am 35yrs old normally fit and well. i broke l2 l3 L4 l5, eight ribs and a punctured lung; three operations total 17hrs of surgery two plates 12 screws and a bone graft; currently in a body corset for three months, i have learned to walk, but i have a terrible heat sensation in my left foot reduced sensation in my right foot cannot bend towards the body,and big toe numbness; just wondered if normal and will sensation return; and also wondered if after such an injury people return to normal activities i would like to ride again, look forward to hearing from you, ps medication codeine paracetomol lyrica ramipril and ferrous tablets five times a day. olivia

Q: Sir, I would like to find out what treatments are out there. I do not want a hip replacement and to get rid of bone spus. I have spurs in my hip and at L-5. Is there a cure for either of these using Prolotherapy? What will naturally dissolve bone spurs. What rebuilds cartilage? Thanks, Mike

Q: Hi All, When i was studying in college in 2nd year dip in e&c i got slip while getting down in stair case. Because of which i suffered a slip disc for a year. I got recovered from that slip disc. But still i have a problem in my lower back. I use to get frequent pain in my lower back. If anybody has the solution for this in them please do let me know. I don't want to go to hospital. I want that to get cure in home through home medicine. Regards,Nanjunda

Q: My back was broken in a car wreck three years ago, after reading on this web site no wonder I have a hard time getting help for pain. The long days and sleepless nights are hell. Pain is my life, but getting a doctor to help is a joke, They are more worried about Feds and getting in trouble than, me or my life, sucks! Rickey

Q: MY MOM....70yrs old just had back surgery about a month ago...she continues to complain of excruciating pain in her lower back.she had a (cyst/arthritic growth?) removed and they put a cage around her spine(more to this later) for now though...her movements are very fluid and seems to move fine,but the pain has her down and she is very very active normally.... (i'm wondering if the cage is causing her problems), my sister was there and the doc didn't bring this cage up until she was out of the I wonder ...was this cage a necessity? or something the surgeon wanted to add (whether precautionary or for monetary gain) she/we have been calling doctor continually for a couple weeks and they kept putting us off(not making appointment,re-fill of prescript that due to a previous injury of my own,(know that the pain meds aren't strong enough) shes seems to be in real pain......are the cages always such good things cause i'm thinking that this is the cause of all her or most of her discomfort at this time Steve


Q: hello my back problem first started 4 years ago. what happens is when i start running after about 5 mins i get this awful pain that comes on all of a sudden but it only happens when i just do running on its own football rugby anything. soon as start running like on the road it happens, i have had it for 4 years now and it getting worse, i'm only 18 and it is physically stopping me from running, i have to stop where it hurts so much took tablets doesn't seem to work been to physio hasn't helped, didn't know if you or anyone could help thanks, Josh