I was 16 years old when I first experienced chronic lumbar back pain. It was horrifically painful and caused me to seek treatment from both a chiropractor and an orthopedic surgeon.
I was diagnosed with a scoliosis and muscle imbalances. I started a treatment program of spinal adjustments and hoped that the symptoms would go away. Unfortunately, they never did. Instead, the pain began a slow but steady battle for control of my life.
I suffered with acute episodes of lower back muscle pain, as well as general chronic lumbar back pain for several years. I functioned normally most of the time, but there were other times when my back would go out. I found it difficult to predict when I would feel good and when back ache would once again flare up and limit my activity.
I was in my early twenties when the pain condition changed. One day, I felt a sudden sharp and burning pain in my lower back and buttocks. This pain was far and above any other I had experienced before. I took an MRI test and the doctor told me that I had 2 herniated discs in my lower back. My L4/L5 and L5/S1 discs were bulging and I was told I now had advanced degenerative disc disease in my lower back, as well.
I was devastated.
I continued treatment with both orthopedic doctors and various chiropractors. I was recommended as a good candidate for spinal surgery, but resisted the idea unless it became unavoidable. I received spinal manipulations and physical therapy. I was instructed to do special exercises for chronic lumbar back pain. I explored acupuncture, spinal decompression and reiki therapy. I tried electrotherapy and heat and ice therapy, as well. Somehow, my back pain continued.
It was several years later, in my early thirties, that my worst pain experience occurred. I suffered an episode of back spasm so severe that I was admitted to the hospital. The pain was so intense that I was willing to do anything to be free of it. The doctors tried every type of drug to stop the muscles from contracting violently. One doctor even commented how he had never seen such an acute case of lumbar back pain in his entire career. He must have been 65 years old.
The following essays reflect my own struggles with chronic lumbar symptoms, as well as addressing subjects that affect all patients:
A back pain episode describes an acute occurrence of pain that is often recurrent in nature.
Back pain trigger points can cause pain or be exploited to relieve pain.
Looking for expert back pain help? You have come to the right place.
Back pain insomnia can prevent patients from getting the rest they need and deserve. Learn more about the relationship between chronic pain and sleeplessness.
While there is no single universal back pain solution, there are methods that can reduce symptoms in most patients.
Back pain suffering is a subject we all know too much about already.
Causes of back pain might surprise you. Some pain is caused by less obvious factors and contributors.
Coping with back pain is not as good as curing it. However, coping is better than being defeated by chronic symptoms.
Working with back pain is a challenge that faces most of us each day of our lives.
Back pain anxiety often comes from fears for our future and how pain will affect us.
Back pain home remedies can be just as effectual as professional care in some respects.
Back pain facts must be fully understood by every patient with long lasting symptoms.
Back pain prohibitions describe activity avoidances that can be just a functionally limiting as the pain itself.
Spinal aging is normal and expected. It is rarely the source of chronic pain.
Back pain patients provide us tremendous inspiration to research and educate. We live to help others and back pain sufferers need lots of help!
Although some readers do not always agree with the viewpoints presented in our countless back pain articles, it is vital to share every perspective on care, since we never know how a given essay will help particular patients. In essence, we must provide a complete and uncensored look at the back pain industry even if each topic is not universally applicable to all readers.
Back pain forums offer some degree of support for chronic pain patients, but can also mire them down into worse expressions of pain.
Do you suffer from a painful back or neck? The Cure Back Pain Network was created with you in mind!
Back pain clinical studies offer patients the chance to try revolutionary treatments before they are available to the general public.
Unexplained back pain is very common, but is often incorrectly diagnosed as coming from some coincidental structural irregularity.
Emergency room visits are usually fruitless for back pain. Learn why the ER might be one of the worst places to go when back pain flares up.
Headbanging might be partially to blame for my own back pain. We cover the interesting topic of back injury from headbanging from a clinical perspective.
I did recover and was amazed that in a couple of weeks my back was normal again. It made no sense to me or my doctors what had happened to cause the horrible pain or why it had calmed down just as quickly as it started. I was told that I should move forward with back surgery, or at least consider epidural injections for back pain. The only other solution offered to me was a cocktail of various pain relief medicines, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers. I was not interested in any of these treatments, unless it became my only option.
For the first time, I was beginning to question everything I had been told about my chronic lumbar back pain.
I am a fitness professional. I teach martial arts and have also worked as a personal trainer. I have trained in Traditional Oriental Medicine and anatomy for many years, in association with my martial arts interests. I have accomplished much in my training, earning 4 black belts of various Dan (degree) ranking, in 4 distinct martial art styles. I had the ability to do incredible things with my body during training, but sometimes I could not bend to put my shoes on.
It just did not make any sense.
I began to do huge amounts of research on every conceivable topic related to back pain. I learned as much as possible about the problems that were affecting my poor degenerated spine. I learned about all the conditions that I had and many that I did not have, as well. I learned about the back pain treatment options and what each was designed to do.
It did not take me too long to realize that everything I had been told was not 100% factual.
The fact is that there is an epidemic of back pain in general, and specifically, chronic lumbar back pain. Back pain is the second leading cause for a visit to a doctor, ranking closely behind common respiratory infections. It is also the most common reason why people will miss a day of work. It is rare that I can go a full week without seeing the devastating effects of back pain on a person’s life.
The medical community has put up a valiant effort to help people find relief from back pain. The combination of medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, Reiki practitioners, orthotic manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have joined forces in an ever expanding crusade against back pain.
I do not think that medicine has taken back pain lightly. I do feel that there has been a huge emphasis placed on the
treatment of back pain, rather than finding a true cure.
Back pain treatment has become a multi billion dollar a year industry. Think of the economic consequences if a true cure for back pain was discovered:
I was one of the lucky few who enjoyed some relief using purely alternative medicine for back pain.
I am not under any medical care, simply biyearly neurological
monitoring. I do not rely on any medicines or treatments. I enjoyed
many years of being completely pain free until age and injury caught up
I am certainly not knocking any healthcare provider who spends their life trying to help others manage their back pain. However, I am clearly stating my opinion that real cures for back pain can exist for 99% of patients.
The research work of a few incredible medical professionals has proven that back ache can be cured in many patients, if they can achieve a correct diagnosis and find an appropriate method of care. I owe my life and my countless thanks to the doctors who showed me the way to help relieve my own chronic lumbar back pain, even if a permanent cure eluded me in the long run.
The mission of this website is simple. I want to provide simple, easy to understand information on various back pain treatment options. I do not receive compensation from drug companies from recommending their products. I do not make my living by involving patients in the seemingly endless variety of back pain relief treatments. I do have a huge amount of passion for this topic and I want to help you find the information which may be able to cure your back pain, as others have helped me.
Pass it forward.
In my day job as an insurance investigator, I have had the opportunity to see inside the back pain industry. It is my most sincere wish to help you to help yourself. I want you to be pain free. If I can help do this for just one of you, than my work will be worthwhile.
Sincerely, Sensei Adam Rostocki
I recently underwent MRI/MRA testing for an unexplained disconcerting condition in my head. The test covered the brain and the cervical spine. While the doctor could not explain the vertigo type symptoms I was having, he did discover that I have 6 herniated discs in my neck.
That’s right, every one of the cervical discs is herniated.
C2/C3, C3/C4, C4/C5, C5/C6, C6/C7 and C7/T1. The MRI even shows considerable spinal stenosis and cord displacement from two of the herniations.
Latest MRI of thoracic spine shows 4 more herniated discs at T1/T2, T2/T3. T3/T4 and T4/T5. This was discovered quite by accident when testing for an unrelated condition.
This brings my herniated disc total up to 12, which is more than half my spinal levels. There was also a suspected spinal syrinx in the lower middle thoracic region, but the neurosurgeon did not seem overly concerned with it, so I will try to put it out of my head.
I always wondered the long-term effects of full contact martial arts, but now I am my own proof.
Well, things have been tough all around and I continue to have some aches, pain and other symptoms. It seems the spinal syrinx scare has turned out to be something more innocent, thankfully. However, I am still reported to have some central and peripheral neurological concerns of unspecific origin.
I am fortunate to know the great effects of stress on the body and feel this has kept me well grounded despite some really hard times. This terrible economy has devastated so many of us and my personal casualties began in 2008 with the loss of my job and have continued to include the widespread sufferings so virtually universal at this point.
Regardless, despite not being in perfect health, I feel lucky for my blessings and have remained in great shape, despite an aging body full of far too many injuries from all those years of training, teaching and competing.
If I had it all to do over again, I might change a few things when it come to the abuses I inflicted on my body through my beloved martial arts. I think now I am at a middle ground of recognizing the damage done to my spine physically, yet understanding the symptoms are mostly temporary and psychologically motivated by stress of all types: conscious, subconscious and unconscious.
Luckily, most of you have not put your bodies through the torture I have, or we would all be in real trouble. The point of this update is just to reconnect with those of you who care and offer my continuing empathy for all manner of hardships you are currently experiencing.
Hang in there all and I will try to do the same.
In the meantime, check out a new article which truly answers the question,
"What is back pain?"
My neck issues have certainly settled down. I make sure not to spin my head quickly or place too much of a burden on my neck muscles. This has helped tremendously.
The lower back and sciatica also seem better, but this is a day by day judgment. I still have some acute periods and lots of bad days. I try not to worry or do anything different on these days.
I have suffered recent flare-ups of an unknown problem in my left elbow and forearm. I have lots of damage to the elbow joint from martial arts injuries, so I do not worry much about it and simply take it easy when the pain is terrible.
I am swimming at least 4 to 5 times a week and this has been my personal savior. My body looks great, feels great and the back pain responds best to this amazing and holistic therapy. As I write throughout the site, I highly recommend investigating swimming for a variety of health problems.
I continue to avoid sitting, as much as possible, and this has helped greatly with all my health concerns. Working standing-up is no fun, but it beats the agony of a seated posture and burns extra calories also; so it is a dual blessing for a fitness enthusiast, like me.
I hope that all of you are faring better, but unfortunately, I know this is not the case, from your many letters. I will continue to work, until we all find that elusive cure! In the meantime, check out my latest back pain tips.