Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2010 Part 13

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: Thanks for a great site. It really is helping me to figure out what to do about long standing sciatica. Thanks! Ruthie

Q: Hello Adam! I read the information you provide on your webpage and i find it very useful. I use to play basketball for many years and i live with a chronic lower back pain for last 8 years (i'm 29 now). Pain got worse in past couple of years. And last couple weeks had been really miserable. I can't put my shoes on, can't stand straight, can't play any sports. I'm sure i have herniated disc (or couple of them), but i never had mri (money, etc...) I use to go and see a chiropractor and it didn't help much. I go to the gym a lot, i do the exercises for lower back muscles at home. I feel like it's time to change something. Maybe because the pain have never been so bad as it is now. I wanted to ask you where should i start? what worked for you? What doctors should i see (if any). What should i do to fight the lower back pain? Thanks a lot!!! Julius

Q: So do you have an answer that won't cost me money for? I'm starting my finals at my university and so not only did I get an intense neck pain today but I'm broke as well. Excuse my language and situation but I came home today and planned on taking a shower when I was all undressed but one distraction after another, I was naked for almost an hour typing stuff, eating some snacks etc...the entire time my room had been heated well. I lean back on my lazy boy and relax for a while when I started getting little neck pains. I tried to relax. Nothing. The past week I've been in a lab sitting 12+ a day staring into a giant screen and not aware of my posture always. I've also been wearing heavy jackets for warmth. Usually if i'm not dressed that way I'm in bed comfortably. Now i walk around naked for a while then I'm getting this neck pain. I believe my neck/upper back to mid back are in amazing tightness right now. It's got me hunching and unable to sit up straight. Any help sir? Achille

Q: my age is 41, i have scoliosis idiopathic, scoliosis of dorso lumber spine, and eventration of left hemidiaphragm, i have this by birth and also i have continues back pain from last five months. so i need to know that this above diagnosis has complete cure treatment. Mohd

Comment: back pain should not be ignored, it can be a serious problem. have this back pain problem because of regress sitting work and got serious help from a chiropractor. Andrip

Q: Hello Adam, I have had neck pain since a skiing accident about 5 years now. MRI results indicated that I had two slight herniated disc. I am uncertain that this is the cause of my pain. I really agree with some of your insights in your website here. I was wondering if your book on curing back pain could help me with some of my neck pain issues. Adam

Q: I have a C5-C6 central posterior disc herniation, it is said to also have tear of the annulus and abuts the spinal cord. I am in the medical field ( specialty cardiovascular diagnostics)and thus literate of medical terminology in all realms. I understand the thecal sac and it is the CSF casing to protect the spinal cord. I understand that abutment of the sac is not a cause for pain, however can impinge proper flow of the CSF, however, the abutment of a disc onto the spinal cord itself is cause for concern, most especially in the C5-C6 region where most mobility ( movement takes place) logically if a sitting MRI ( no flex and extension views) shows the disc of this region abutting the spinal cord, with flexion and extension the abutment could certainly cause compression. Medical literature suggests that impingement of the spinal cord typically won't cause myelopathic symptoms until compressed at around 30%, however if a an upright MRI with no flexion or extension views reveal abutment of the disc itself directly on the spinal cord even if no visual cord compression or signs, this could obviously be occurring intermittently while flex and extension of this highly mobile area as well as with lying flat. Which brings me to the conclusion of some of my symptoms, most particularly when laying down, while trying to sleep and hours and hours after rising that are cause for concern, such as a lack of coordination, stiff legs, numbness, high pitched ringing in the ears balance and dizzy problems and so much more. To add insult to injury I also have severe TMJ, excursion of mandible is 7mm ( normal 40 to 50mm) moderate arthritis, synovitis of the joint, carpal tunnel syndrome bilaterally, de-quiverains of the right hand region ( thumb) straightening of the cervical lordosis, blepahrospasm, possible meige syndrome, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, excessive PVC's. there is more. I am on disability and this started as a work injury and the other regions, hand ect are repetitive in nature, but have not abated for 1 year, none of this. I had 2 prior auto accidents before the work injury which I am sure contributed to the mix and left me WEAK and more easily injured, even though my job consisted of pushing a 500 lb machine to each patients bedside, while I weigh 110 as well pushing this monster over carpeted areas, which was what finally did me in. workers comp sucked ( excuse me my verbage) and that aspect is over and done with, but my medical care consisted of workers comp Physicians, enough said, but even when I got one of my own, the Doctor flat out told me they wanted no part of a workers comp legal issue and let their treatment reflect same, basically my records say nothing at all, seriously you should see those records, its laughable. my own Doctor would document nothing, no comments anywhere on any of my 10 visits! I am just in limbo, dying here unable to function when before I held two jobs and was a workaholic, now I can not sleep, function at any normal level on my own time, let alone work anywhere, I in the medical field myself an appalled by this entire nightmare! Kelley

Q: Is it possible to manage spondy grade 2 with moderate nerve root compression without surgery until all attempts have been made to manage the pain? I was officially diagnosed with spondy grade 2 (isthmic) with bilateral moderate foraminal nerve root compression - this past October 2010. It is L5 on S1 but there is herniation on the L4 as well with nerve root compression. I am currently receiving decompression treatment with the triton machine unit as well as some ab hollowing exercises. No chiropractic as I have a pars fracture. I have not had any epidurals as of this writing. I saw a well regarded spine surgeon here in NYC. He said the surgery was lifestyle choice. I said how do I know if I need it. He was kind enough to tell me that at the moment I didn't. Since then, I have been in conservative pt treatment as mentioned above. My pain is increasing and/or I am definitely living with the nocebo effect. I have been terrified and lost weight. I have lower back pain and some slight tingling which is frequent but not constant. I do not have cauda equina. It just seems like my functioning is less than what it was in October. I have only two-three more years until I can go into retirement which is the plan. I am submitting this story as a new participant. Ellen

Q: i need some decent answers. i wonder if you can help. i have grade one spondylolisthesis with minimal disc bulge on the right side, i have seen two physios two gp's and one muscular-skelto specialist. i had back pain once before this. bad muscle spasm with no damage picked up by ct. as a child, i was diagnosed with mild very mild scoliosis. recently i hurt my back for real. my right leg muscles would not work. i had this problem with my right hip over rotating, my initial physio lined me up over and over again over the last year and a half, i noticed bruising over the bottom of my back that was green after my physio visit. i went back after a two weeks and saw him for two months, last time i saw him i asked him should i get a ct because my back was not getting better. last time he was frustrated i think told me it didn't hurt and left me more mobile but sore. i left it for a while knew my hip was out. and lifted something heavy at work bit fast and then went to a chiro. i had sciatic pain this time. she order xrays and said she could help. i went twice. each time it was great then later a couple of days, agony. went to my gp for drugs, ct and mri. went to different physio who sent to muscular guy. most of my pain was muscle spasm. was given anti inflammatories that made me sick. gp said i could go back after two weeks. he said that it was something i was born with, but that i should be able to go back to work. i found a new gp, and physio with both musclarskeleto degree and normal physio. i have not been able to go back to work, standing for more than ten sucks sitting for an hour sucks and i can walk for twenty. after which my right leg goes bright red and my toes middle three tingle. my new gp says spod is degenerative. what the hell. so i need to know. what that means. i did not have fractures before this. and if fusing is the end result why wait until phase 2, if they are going to fusing in-suit'. i don't have any flexion left in my back. i have muscle atrophy, i cant lie flat on a bed. i do transverse adominus work and swim, swimming helps the most. i feel lied to and frustrated. i know need to accept the limitations, but i am 28. i also have ostopenia. old age scares the crap out of me. my grandma lives on that terrible oxycontin and does leave her house, she has had surgery. i really out want the impossible fix this. what about repairing the pars damage. without fixing. i hate the thought of grade 2. why wait till i am forty and have osteoporosis like my mum, will that effect fusion? whats the deal with stem cells i heard that some people use them to repair fractures. also i heard of an uk surgery with Indian doc, who does key whole and adds in plastics that allow ligaments over the fractures. which are s1l5, by the way. i know i should ask my doc, but i am frightened of the answer. i am from australia, so anyone know of good person to talk too. thanks. oh and yes emotionally i have dealt badly as it meant giving up lots of stuff i loved like boogie boarding and my career with young children. thanks heaps, Louise

Q: Hey yesterday morning when i got up from bed, i had a bad neck pain. i had this problem twice this month. i went to the doctor he has told me its because of sleeping position. he has given me pain killers. normally this pain is there for 3 to 4 days. what can i do to avoid this? Durgadas

Q: Hello, I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for about 2 years now. I am only 23 years old, my mother has it too, and my grandmother also has nerve problems. I have seen various doctors, and it almost seems no one knows what to do for me. I've been on every type of FMS meds, like lyrica, savella, trazadone etc. The only relief I have gotten is from kolonopin (spelling?) and that helps me sleep. And was told, once I got better sleep, my pain would get better, and it hasn't. I'm also told to get excersice, but they don't understand I can barely get out of bed, or do my job. I am on the verge of quitting my job because I am unable to get relief from this pain. On a daily basis I start off with a pain level of 6 and by the end of the day it reaches between 8 and sometimes 10. I feel like I cannot get any help, and am looking for answers. I really hope I can get answers to at least make this disease tolerable (if FMS is really what I even have). Again, I'm a very frustrated patient, and looking for advice. PLEASE HELP!!! Thank you, Brittany

Q: A few week ago I started getting a pain in the center of my upper back. I can only describe it as feeling like I was being bitten or stung. The pains are quick and gone very fast. They come at any time. I don't have to be doing anything. At first the pain always occurred in the same location on my back. Now these quick little "bites" can occur anywhere on my back, but almost always along the length of my spine. I thought it might be bad posture. I have trouble relaxing my shoulders and sometime notice soreness in the muscles between my shoulder blades which is relieved once I relax my shoulders. I worry about this biting pain because I am scheduled to have Lipo of my back next Friday. I don't want to cancel but I don't want to cause myself harm either. Do you have any thought about what could be causing this strange sensation? Thank you for your time. Carly

Comment: i was at work one night and i got this dull pain in my lower back... Long story short by the end of the night i could barely walk. Well it stayed like that for about a week. Then it went away... And now its back again and i really don't know what to do. With no insurance its kind of hard. Stepfanie

Q: My cervical spine has disc herniation at 6 and 7 and is slightly touching the D1 nerve sending shocks through my left hand. I have been advised to exercise for one month and thereafter surgery of the disc. My neck when turned left back touches and compresses the nerve sending shocks in my left armpit and a pins and needle feeling to my fingers. Will my herniated disc become ok to stop touching the nerve? please advise. Percy

Q: Hi, I just purchased your book and plan to read it ASAP. I am a 27 year old female living with back pain. It started in Dec last year, came on suddenly, and continued to get worse. The only thing I can attribute it too is a fall down the stairs I had one month prior, but felt no pain at the time. I didn't see my chiro for almost three months later, he worked on me a few times and I found some relief. But I felt I needed something more, so he sent me for prolotherapy (which I've had before with success) and I ended up having around 40 shots from the naturopath over the course of 4 months. Since then I tried laser therapy and found some improvement and acupuncture as well. The same naturopath told me to tuck my bum underneath me when I am standing (which has caused me more pain) and I've been trying to undo that practice. I work in an office and have to stand most of the day. The thing that I have found the most relief from is Bikram Yoga. It hurts at the time and for a few days after, but I always have improved range of motion. So, my question to you is, I'm a horse back rider, or was, haven't been riding since April 2010. And if I have a herniated disc and when I, eventually, have no pain, should I try riding again? (After I read your book and Dr. Sarno's of course) Have you worked with horse back riders before? I also haven't had an MRI yet, just been "diagnosed" from the symptoms described. I'm on a ten month waiting list........Thanks so much in advance, I really appreciate this and appreciate your site. :) Sherisse

Q: Hi, I would like to enquire how much would be the cost for this surgery. already consulted a doctor and done with the xray and mri, and i was told that either i go for nucleoplasty surgery or physiotherapy. I am considering this option instead. can you give me an idea around how much will it cost me? Thanks. melissa

Q: 40 yr old woman in good health....started 2 weeks ago with hip pain on my right, sometimes shooting down my leg... Now the hip pain is gone but I have severe lower back pain. I have seen a chiropractor who says this is a good sign that the inflammation is moving. Anyway...at what point do u get concerned? Could it be something serious? I'm getting scared! Lynda

Q: Hello - I am sincerely hoping you can help my husband... He is 58 & suffering from Early-Onset Parkinson's Disease, early stage 4. He has had it for 17 yrs. In this past year he has been "pulled to the right" from the waist up ... Would you possibly know what this is caused from ? Chiropractor & Pain Dr.'s haven't been successful in trying to name or treat the problem... Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated :) Thank you very much, Sandra

Q: I've been suffering from back, neck, pelvic pain along with tingling in my legs, feet, and hands (seems like a circulation problem to me). I also have muscle spasms, and urinary sexual and bowel dysfunction. Its taken over my life. Having gone through most of the basic diagnostics that doctors would put a guy through, I still have no answers as to what's wrong with me. I want to know how to rule out a psychosomatic condition that would cause me to find myself in this state. I obviously, like many, haven't thought it could be psychosomatic. I also haven't yet done all the more extensive testing that some doctors would suggest (just haven't gotten All the way through ruling out various neurological conditions/diseases, etc.) Can you please question me or help me get started in trying to rule out psychosomatic causes and/or identify if its actually a real 'non-between-the-ears' situation? Regards, Mike

Q: When my chiropractor told me that he doubts that my protruding disc T7/8 could be causing "inflammation" this long (over a year), I started to look into knowledge therapy again. I struggle in that I had several things going on which could effect the same area at the same time. My back muscles seem to have smoothed out and are only a little tense; yet I have this pulling and tugging and burning where the nerves from the disc could wrap around to the chest and abdomen, especially when sitting and standing (just below the breast line). I had gallbladder surgery at the same time the back condition was happening, plus I have a decent sized ventral hernia. My confusion is that I'm wondering if my back is healed and these are symptoms of the hernia stretching the tissue and nerves, or, even, if this is scar tissue. The massage therapist can feel a definite something just below my last rib line in my chest, and my right arm seems to un-naturally pull at my back muscles. Just knowing would help ease the symptoms, because I focus on them constantly. I'm not so keen on going back for a CAT scan, and several doctors have already acknowledged the football shaped hernia mid-gut. I have pretty much full range of motion and can touch my toes no problem, but I've been scared by doctors saying that I may never regain full use of those back muscles most effected by the disc. And is the discomfort in my abdomen left over radicular pain? Or hernia? Or scar tissue? It was a perfect storm of potential side issues. Thanks for any conjectures. Richard

Q: Dear Adam, Trust all is well at your end. I have tried forming a support group, trying to explain to them what I suffer from, however my friends and family think I am giving too much importance to some pain in my body. And I am finding reading material that is brainwashing me into believing a non-existent/negligible pain in my body. They say your mind's obsession with this crazy syndrome(which possibly cannot exist)is the causation. Even my dad whose a neurosurgeon is a non-believer and finds it ridiculous that anything like this can exist. But I know it does 'coz I suffer from REAL PAIN. It is sad - if I would have had a live (ppl. around me) support group, I am sure my condition would have improved faster. Every time the pain gets acute and I am of the verge of dithering and going back to the realm of something IS physically wrong with my body, I pick up all the PIPS and TMS reading material and go through my repressed emotion diary. The condition eases and I go back to being relieved from my state of utter mental chaos and panic. How do I make them believe? I would love instant human re-assurance, it makes me feel I am not bordering on crazy. I would like to thank you will all my heart for being in my support group. Also, I have these insane rage thoughts, never knew I really thought so badly about people or mentally felt better by writing negative stuff as retorts to them. Is it enough to write-will I free myself of these feelings just by penning them down or do I need a physical anger outlet like a punching bag or something as well? I remember I used to tear magazines in frustration, scream, bang doors when I used to have my rage fits but my dear ones started saying its insane behavior- don't react so badly, learn to stay calm. Think I stayed outwardly calm but inside my animal instinct of rage is still alive. What should I do, vent by tearing up magazines again when I go crazy angry? I mean, some ppl. break plates too, so my reaction isn't all that bad right? Repression was definitely not the way to go in hindsight....Cheers, Swatty

Q: I am actually scared to death that I could be dying or something because my whole body is in severe pain and aches always. I know they're trigger points because it is like a deep muscle knot that is radiating up through my leg.I have been told back in '07 by a Fibromyalgia specialist(he has wrote columns on the subject)that I had Fibro and have all 18 out 18 tender points that were active at the time. My question to you is why am I doing this and is it associated with my C5-C6 spinal diskectomy that I had in Feb.'06? Since all of this came on within a few short months after the surgery. It probably wasn't all of the 18 tender points at that time, it was a gradual progressive action that I don't think was recognized. I am not a doc, but I believe there is something wrong in my neck. I can take a lot of pain and this has been going on since the surgery only,in which started in my right arm with burning. At this time, I am bedridden and I know Fibro doesn't keep you in the bed,not with the amount of pain that I am experiencing. What I am going through is excruciating,agony and the worst misery because the pain is all over. I actually feel like I have been hit by a truck. I am burning where my muscles are so tight and I can feel the trigger point and I don't even have to press for the surface is so sore it can't be touched by anything. I am a driven individual and this isn't working. I used to be in such good shape and worked at a theme park as a singer/dancer for 3yrs. Until I got the surgery I only had what was called a small disc herniation(was told by 2 NS that I should have never had the surgery,that I didn't need it and it shouldn't have been done,now there is nothing that can be done @ it. That ws told to me and I felt like I would never be out of pain. That was just cruel to do to someone that is in misery. I just know that I can't do anything. I can't hold anything, walk,reach,pull, and I keep an infection even after taking antibiotics, having face blisters that are all over it and I have always been told I have porcelain skin. I am having these strong hard-hitting head pains(on my temple area) and these lumps/quarter sized whelps of some kind that feel like bruises with fluid sometimes in them. I am even have trouble just laying in bed without touching my body together(if I cross my legs for a second without thinking, I will scream out in pain) and my hair feels like it is so sore you can't touch it. My memory is failing me so badly that I can forget in 5 seconds and I forget so much. I have a place at the base of the back of my neck that I can't even touch, AT ALL..it is soo sensitive and painful(I believe this is the area in my Thoracic that the NL found a place that he said he thinks is an artifact,but I DON'T.) I just don't believe the docs realize just how much pain I am in. It is progressively getting worse. WHAT am I going to do? HELP ME, PLEASE, Karen PS I live in a state where MJ is illegal, but I have to say that it helps me more (it seems) than all the strong meds they have me on (I guess because it works right then on the pain). I take (Fentanyl 75mcg, Norco 10/325, Xanax 1mg., Neurontin 300mg- I take 3x day) and I take them as directed. I still find myself in misery. I have times where I feel I'd rather be gone for this is a living H***. Karen

Q: I am 28 years old architect who needs to sit at a computer 24/7 almost) and have recently had an MRI on my upper cervical spine which revealed c4/5 posterior annular tear. c5/6 disc protrusion and some prominence of the central canal. The central canal of the spinal cord at c1 and c/2, at t1/2 the canal measuring up to 1.5mm in size. this is unlikely to be of significance the mri report says. I also found out they have had no tests on my lower back which I was also experiencing pain. I have had 3 car accidents in my life, a guy grabbed and squeezed my neck at work (which gave me stiff neck) this neck pain and stiffness has reoccurred in the last 3 years all the time but getting much worse. I have also had a big fall on my back which I did not feel anything but a slight pain in my shoulder blade area. I have had a lot of accidents in my life and bad posture. After my MRI the specialist told me to see a physio in the last few weeks I have seen him 3 times a week. He has been performing some sliding and pushing on the joints on my upper neck(ultra sound etc) and also showing me exercise to strengthen my upper neck. In the first couple of physio treatments I have noticed a significant increase of pain in my spine and lower back. I now get tingles and cant even sit down for longer than 5 minutes (before i could sit for a long time) which is destroying me. I have seen the physio and he said it is a little more complicated than first thought and has started working on my lower back now. I am just hoping he is not making my back worse and what are your thoughts? as I have more pain now. Kind regards Jay

Q: I was operated spinal cord operation in L-3,L-4 & L-4, L-5 during the year 1999. Now I am 47 years of old. Can I jogg for 30 minutes everyday, K

Q: Hi i'm josh. i'm 15 years old and i was diagnosed with DDD about a year ago. i've been active my whole life and was in football and wrestling and now i'm so limited to what i can do and am in pain 24/7. Is there anything that can fix me or heal my back so i can continue living a normal life with out back pain?

Q: hello. I am 21 years old. I was diagnosed with Bertolotti's syndrome( most commonly known as transverse lumbar process).It is a birth anomaly where L5 is fused with S1 and in my case it is only on the left side. I used to be very active. The pain started when i had to sit down in a bus on a bumpy road. Ever since the pain gradually increased and now it has become more serious. Ive gone to doctors and lost any faith in them. The pain is severe when i stand or sit. Walking relieves the pain but only for a short while. Will the knowledge therapy work in my case? I am aspiring to pursue my higher studies in the US and this might be a hindrance.Please help! Naveen

Q: In the last two and half months I have been going thru a lot of stress. I have not been getting any sleep and stressing because of it. In the last two weeks I have started to get pain in my lower back which travels down the left side of my body from my back, to my buttock, leg,arm, and down to my feet. I have also had a burning sensation in my back. I also feel tension in my neck. It is very difficult to sleep. Can you please give me some insight to what is going on and what I might be able to do? Tim

Q: Hi I came across the silva method somewhere on your site a little while back. I did some research and it seems absolutely amazing that the mind can do some of these things. Do you believe in the silva method? Is it a scam? Is it better than Sarno's methods? Thanks, just curious, Dan

Q: Can I run or do lunges 3 days after bruising my tailbone? Tina

Q: i'm 18 years old and i'm suffering from herniated discs at L4 and L5. Could it be cured completely? What treatment should i take without having a surgery? Will i have a permanent cure? Can i behave like normal person again? Anand

Q: Hi, My name is Kat, I am a sixteen year old female I've been have random terrible back pains for almost two years now. When I was about 4 months pregnant (March, 2009) I started have a small back ache in my lower back which was normal, but it started moving into my middle back and then into my stomach. After about ten minutes it was all up my back and my chest and I could hardly breathe. I went straight to the hospital and my doctor said I probably just pinched a nerve. But over the past year and a half I still get these pains, but they are extremely random. I get them out of no where and each time I get them they keep getting worse and worse and the last time it lasted almost 4 hours. I've been to the chiropractor many times, have people rub my back, and laying on a heating pad, and even tried ice packs and it doesn't seem to do anything. My mom doesn't think it's enough to go to the hospital either. The reason I am sending this now is because I am getting this pain now while in school, it's about in my middle back and my sides and chest are starting to hurt, I was wondering if you had any ideas of how to help this so it doesn't get worse. Kat