Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2008 Part 2

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: Dear Sensei Adam Rostocki. I want to thank you. I have been suffering from back pain for several years and I am only 27. I feel your inspiration, motivation and knowledge has helped me realize that I can beat this! I am so thankful for you and your site. Thank you again! Deanna

Q: I am only 22 years old and have been experiencing back pain for the last couple years, however it's become agonizing for the last year. I worked in the oilfield as a pipefitter and assume I did not practice proper lifting techniques. It was a very physical job, and lifting was lifting weight that was MUCH to heavy. I figured this was the cause to my sore back and it would just go away after time off. I have been away from that kind of work for 6 months now, and taken up a desk job. However, the desk job seems to be taking a larger toll on my back then the previous job. The question I have for you is how safe is it to be cracking oneselves back. I usually have to stand up every half hour - to an hour and crack my back. I put my hands behind my back about 4 inches under my shoulder blades and push into with my thumbs. It cracks and relieves so much pain, but temporarily. At night I lay flat on my back, I will stretch by crossing my left leg over my right and move my weight to one side (but try and keep my back flat), this will stretch and crack my lower back. I will then cross my right leg over my left and do the same. Does this have a negative effect long term on my back, or is this ok to do??? Thank you, Ryan

Q: Back in 2000, while playing tennis, I hurt my back while going for a shot ( kind of twisted my back). It was quite painful. I had X-ray and did not find anything. I went to Physiotherapy for 12 weeks and was fine. Actually I recovered completely and started playing tennis again. But next year, while warming up for tennis one day, right out of blue, I feel pain in my lower back same place I had hurt myself and 2 days I was completely out. Could not move, walk. Since then, I have been having this problem at least once a year where I will be out for 2 days with this pain. Dr feels it is muscular as x-ray looks normal. Do you have any i/p. My job does not help as I have to sit for whole day on chair in computers. Appreciate your help in this, Mahesh

Q: my left side tailbone feels bruised and i cant sit on it this is on going 4 4 months its like a bruise not quit at the tip but on the side just above the bottom of my tail bone its like a bruise that doesn't go away ! do u think this will go away ? Angel

Q: I was in a car accident a few months ago. I was at a complete stop and was rear-ended by a big pick up truck. I've had x-rays and chiropractic treatment. I just had a full back MRI and don't quite understand why the ortho dr. is saying this doesn't show why I am in so much lower and middle back pain as well as spasms and shoulder and neck tightness. Can you please explain to me, in layman's terms, the findings and impression sections of my MRI report? They are as follows: Finding Section: The cerebellar tonsils are normally positioned. No intramedullary lesions are identified in the cervical cord. Straightening of the cervical spine consistent with muscle spasm is noted. At the C3-C4 level, a slight posterior disc bulge is noted without effacement of the cord or exiting nerve roots. At the C5-C6 level a posterior disc protrusion and bilateral posterolateral osteophytes slight efface the anterior aspect of the cord and abut the C6 nerve roots. At the C6-c7 level a small posterior disc bulge and bilateral posterolateral osteophytes without effacement of the exiting nerve roots. At the T1-T2 level there is a small subcentimeter ovoid lessions of low T1 and high T2 signal in the neural formania bilaterally most likely representing perineural cysts.Impression Section: Normal cervical cord. A C3-C4 disc bulge. At the C5-C6 level a posterior disc protrusion and billateral posterolateral osteophytes slight efface the anterior aspect of the cord and about the C6 nerve roots. At the C6-C7 level a small posterior disc bulge and billateral posterolateral osteophytes without effacement of the exiting nerve roots. At the T1-T2 level, there are small subcentimeter ovoid lesions in the neural formania bilaterally most likely representing perinerual cysts. Findings Section: No intramedullary lesions are identified in the thoracic cord. There is no evidence of disc herniation or significant bulging of the thoracic spine. No fractures are identified.Impressions Section: Normal thoracic cord. No evidence of disc herniation or significant bulging at any level. No evidence of fracture. Small perineural cysts identified in the T1-T2 neural formania bilaterally. Findings Section:The conus medullaris is identified at the L1 level. Normal signal is noted from the vertebral bodies and from the intervertebral discs. Ther eis no eveidence of fracture. No paraspinal mass is identified. A 4mm meningeal cust is identifed posterior to the sacrum at the S2 level. At the L5-S1 level a small slightly asymmetric posterior disc bugle more promient to the left is identifed without effacement of th eS1 nerve roots. Bilateral facet joint hypertrohpy is identified. Ther eis no evidence of disc herniation or significant bulging at any other level.Impression Section: At the L5-S1 level a small slightly asymmetric posterior disc bulge more promient to the left is identified without effaqcement of the S1 nerve roots. Bilateral facet joint hypertrophy is identified. Thanks so much in advance. Laurie

Q: Hi, my name is Faris, i have fallen on my back (thoracic area) during a Ninjutsu martial art training before 5-6 days and i feel pain on/in my spine thoracic area when i pull up my chest (when i try to get a good posture). I cannot identify the exact position of my pain and i do not feel pain on touch. After the fall i have felt minor headache in the back of my head daily, especially during sex.I hope to get more informations from you about my problem and a diagnosis, Faris

Q: i don't have back pain but i hope you can still help me. i have pinched nerves all in my leg. from my buttocks to my foot. at least thats what the chiropractor said. i have been in severe pain since October. it kinks in my cheek and down my leg like spasms. i can barely walk i am in constant pain. i hardly sleep at night. i have dished out over 400.00 to chiropractors and 200'00 for prescription. i am no better. any suggestions. i am tired of this pain thank you Betty

Q: sorry such a mess I am a 43 year old female with 3 children living in Il I have had this problem since i hurt my back when I was 19 or so doing Landscaping in GA I had back surgery in FL in 99 a disectomy l5-S1 area then I had my daughter in 2000 then a son in 2002 so my back again has been messed up since then about in 2004 my neck started bothering me bad. Ive been on vicoden for years and alot of other stuff nothing seems to help me.... I've been to dr after dr and they all keep giving me i don't know. My last MRI HERE IN April and Nov of 07 ok here goes sorry so long ok readings say==FINDINGS...MRI LUMBAR SPINE MINIMAL RETROLISTHESIS OF l5 ON S1 OF APPROXIMATELY 2-3 MM WITH DEGENERATIVE ENDPLATE CHANGES AND DISC space narrowing. The remaining vertebral bodies are normal in height and alignment. The remaining disc spaces are preserved.The distal cord and conus are normal in size and signal with no evidence of enhancement. The conus terminates at L1.There is retrolisthesis at L5-S1 with post diskectomy changes involving the left lamina. There is a diffuse disc bulge with small left paracentral protrusion with minimal enhancement. This may represent postoperative change; however, a small disc protrusion cannot be completely excluded. There is mild effacement of the subarachnoid space with minimal impression upon the thecal sac. There is mild bilateral neural forainal stenosis. IMPRESSION: Small left paracentral protrusion at L5-S1 WITH MINIMAL CONTRAST ENHANCEMENT may represent postoperative change; however, a subtle disc protrusion cannot be completely excluded. mild deformity of the thecal sac, but no significant spinal canal stenosis. there is mild bilateral neural foraminal stenosis...LOWER BACK...NECK;;;;;; Straightening of the normal cervical lordosis. Moderate disc space narrowing at c5-c6 with a slight focal kyphosis at this level as well as anterior and posterior osteophytosis. c5-c6 there is a broad-based diffuse disc osteophyte complex wich causes mild effacement of the ventral thecal sac and mild right neural foraminal stenosis secondary to uncovertebral hypertrophy. Mild c5-c6 central canal stenosis and mild right neural foraminal stenosis secondary to uncovertebral hypertrophy and disc osteophyte complex..I know alot I'm sorry along with that my hips and thighs been burning alot know one knows what that is left leg and left arm numb alot can you please help me or some advice. Thank You..Lisa

Q: I have a herniated disk and 2 bulging disks -- all lower back. I've been suffering for 7 mos. with pain in the left left and lower back. No numbness, no tingling, but pain meds and anti-inflammatories haven't worked (Indocin and Neurontin), nor have yoga, acupuncture, massage, reiki, meetings with pain management doctors or orthopedists. I've had 10 weeks of p.t., too. Reputable practice, but still, nothing. It's chronic, soreness, aching. Heat and ice help temporarily, but that's it. I am so frustrated! Ideas? I'm told a neurologist wouldn't be helpful. Laurie

Q: My MRI and back problem progressed from mild everything in 2003 to a simple left sided stenosis in 2007 with a pending band aid out patient procedure to the latest MRI in 2008 with a severe central canal stenosis at L4-L5 secondary to a 6.0 mm anterolisthesis, diffuse intervertebral disc bulge facet arthrosis and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. It is that 6.00 mm slipped vertebra? that I am concerned about. I did not get to the surgeon post MRI as he is sick at the moment. So I have no one to explain it all to me.I am sure that outpatient surgery is now gone with the wind in favor of laminectomy and fusion. What is your take on this? The MRI showed problems on nearly every vertebra from S1-L5 as high as the MRI went to bulging in T11-T12 Vicki

Q: I never really had back problems other than occasional muscle spasms between my shoulders, until about three years ago when I was in an accident. While waiting at a red light, a car failed to stop behind me, hitting my rear at about 30-45 mph. Of course it hurt, but I figured it was the "normal" wreck pain and would eventually go away. I was wrong. I had to go to a chiropractor for my back days after the accident because of the pain. One of my vertebrae in my lumbar was tilted which is why I had pain. After months of treatment with the chiropractor, I was released because nothing was improving. They suggested physical therapy, so I went, and again after a couple months, I was discharged because my mobility and flexibility had gotten worse. By that point I lost hope. I did go to one more chiropractor who helped with my migraines, but only gave very temporary relief for any back pain. About two years later my pain throughout my hips and lumber got almost unbearable, so another xray was taken by a chiropractor I began working for when I could barely walk one morning. The x-ray showed an entire curve in my spine and a gap in one of lowest vertebrae, characterized as spina bifida occulata. I am not sure what I am supposed to do to help in the pain, but no matter what it seems like it won't go away. I can't sit or stand for long periods of time, I can't sit straight at all, I can't bend over far, or lift much of anything. What am I supposed to do to try and live a normal life? Tracie

Q: What do you suggest that I do to ease my severe back pain? Michael

Q: Hi I am having a lot of back pain and don't know where to begin to get some pain relief. could you please help me. thank you Jennifer

Comment: sir i have had spinal fusion 20 yrs ago which was very successful recently in last 2 yrs i was diagnosed with stenosis over that period i suffered a lot of pain my surgeon in edinburgh recommended spinal fusion with instrumentation which i had done seven weeks ago i feel good pain has gone i feel this operation has been very successful my recovery i feel is better than my first operation i am 72 year old male hope this will help if you need any information in future please ask Denis

Q: I have had back issues since childhood, and when the pain got so severe when I was 45 years of age, I finally went and saw a neurosurgeon. Long story short, I ended up a diagnosis of deteriorated disks, bulging disks, etc. I had back fusion where they say they removed one disk, and fused two together. Since that time I have had a multitude of problems. My feet hurt so bad that just having anything brush them is very painful. I was put on large doses of Lortab, and it did take care of the feet issue as well as assist in helping the lower back pain that I still have. They have done nerve conduction studies, MRIs, and a few other things and say they cannot find a connection to anything related to the surgery despite the fact that I never had these problems until I had the fusion (the feet pain). Now they want to remove the hardware in my back just to see if it will make a difference, although they say nothing shows that the hardware is the issue. I took a job in a new state, but made sure I kept that doctor so I could receive pain medication. It was becoming difficult to do this from a long distance so I visited an MD here to ask for pain medication also. This obviously looks like pain medication/doctor shopping and I was feeling terrible about this - all for the sake of making sure I could get pain medication for which I need, but am obviously addicted to as well. Now, I have started having severe pain in my right buttock which shoots down my leg to my knee and is extremely painful. I decided I would get rid of the current sources for pain medication, and go to a pain clinic. I went to the clinic, and at first was very impressed with the care it looked like I was going to get. They changed my medication, had me go for new x-rays, MRI, and also recommended epidural blocks. I did all of these things within a 2 to 3 week period of time. After a lot of begging to see the doctor because I didn't feel that I was receiving enough medication (probably because of the large doses of Lortab I've been taking since 2004). Originally the pain center gave me a prescription for 1 60mg Avinza a day, 2 Lyrica per day, and they did give me 60 lower dose hydrocodone for break-though issues. I got in and asked him if I could add one 30 mg Avinza in the evening, because I had tried and been taking 2 of the 60mgs Avinza (one in the morning, one in the evening) and I thought it was too much. I do not feel like the Lyrica is helping at all, but I kept taking it. He gave me a new prescription for 60mgs Avinza for morning use and 30 mgs for evening. This is medication that has never been prescribed for me before, and I really thought I was finally getting pain relief at last. My insurance company did not want to fill the 60mgs because it was too early (since I had been taking 2 a day instead of 1). This is when my problems began. I made call after call for a 2 week period of time trying to get my doctor, or his assistant, to contact the insurance company and explain that he had increased my dosage just so they would fill the new prescriptions. I was getting desperate and no response from his office. I kept telling them that I was out of the 60mgs and now taking 3 of the 30 mgs in order to be on the dose that he prescribed for me. I never got resolution to the problem. Finally, enough time lapsed and my insurance was ready to fill the 60 prescription he had given me over 2 1/2 weeks before. Unfortunately, I was now out of the 30 mgs since taking 3 only lasted 10 days. Again - a week of phone calls to try to fix this to no avail. That's when I did the "dirty deed". I knew I was going to be out of medication, so I had 1 refill on my former doctor's bottle, and out of desperation and worry, I filled it. When I called back to the pain clinic doctor, of course what they told me was that they knew about the other refill (I didn't try to hide it, same insurance, same pharmacy). They said they dropped me from their clinic as a result. I begged for an opportunity to talk to the doctor about this, and was denied. I finally sent a registered letter to him explaining that I was going to be totally out of medication, and that I filled this refill out of desperation. I was "fessing up", and begged to allow me to see him, agreeing to urinalysis, records, pharmacy checks or anything else that would show him that I have no desire to doctor shop or anything like that. Truly I just want one doctor who is responsive to my needs, and would never let me get in to the situation I was in. I have been suffering from severe depression over the last week over this because I don't know if this information about being dropped from a clinic goes out to the world or what it does, and whether I can see another doctor or my same MD about getting help. I am a professional woman in a very sensitive position in the Government, and now I am feeling like a criminal. Are there others out there that have anything like this story? What do you recommend? Should I try another pain clinic and just confess to all of this, or will that be a wasted effort. I am feeling like I'm paralyzed over this situation. I feel embarrassed, guilty, depressed and everything else. Please give me advise. I must address this pain issue, and despite the fact that the clinic told me they believe me, understand, all that, when I went to my first appointment (and I confessed to everything I've told you here), I feel like I've been lied to. They say that other than bulging disks, I don't show anything in the MRI/Xrays. The epidural didn't help. They will not let me talk to the doctor I don't know what to do, and I am really down. I know inside I am a good person with a big back pain issue (and now severe leg pain). I made a mistake I guess (however if I hadn't done what I did I'd be in a world of hurt right now). I'm just worn out and don't know what to do next. Terry

Q: Hi,I am 42 years old and for the past 2 and a half years I have experienced severe lower back pain and heaviness and pain in my legs. It started one day at work I was a material handler at my factory for seven years and pretty active. One day I was doing my job and I got very tired and my legs felt like led weight and I sat down on my break and could hardly get back up from there I started having radiating pain in my pouter left leg and it would wake me up at night with a shock feeling in my leg and I would roll over. Then it went into my right leg and right buttock and felt like a stabbing pain . I have been to doctor after doctor with no results. I had mri, cat scan, nerve testing on legs radio frequency surgery, physical therapy, injection and no relief. I have no diagnosis so this is all I can tell you, other when I am on my feet for an eight hour day standing in the same place when I get home I have to lay down with my knees up to get any relief and I normally can't sleep at night and I am unable to get up in the morning due to pain and fatigue. Tammy

Q: Last July, I fell out of a hammock onto the tip of my shoulder. It bruised a little and hurt like I had jammed it. Within a couple of weeks it was better. Now, four weeks ago I was doing some overhead arm stretches with some 3lb weights. I heard a sound in my right shoulder, but didn't think much of it. That night I was in pain like I had never experienced before. No sleep at all for the first four days and nights. The following week I went to a chiro. He took x-rays and said I had a sprained shoulder. This is effecting c-5,c-6,c-7,c-8. The upper part of my neck is a 40 yr.old and the bottom part of my neck is like a 90 yr. old. I'm 60. I had 3 electric current & ultrasound treatments. I hurt so bad after the last treatment that I couldn't drive, so they gave me an ice gel pack and I haven't been back. I am still is so much pain that the pain pills don't touch it. (Hydrocodone)It's going on 4 weeks. The tip of my shoulder is so sore to touch and the pain goes down my right arm and it has a burning sensation. I also have the same sensation in my shoulder and shoulder blade area. I'm doing a couple of neck/shoulder strengthening exercises. I'm not getting hardly any relief. What should I do? I can't take this pain much longer. I'm most comfortable propped up in bed. The weight of my head hurts my neck & shoulder. Thank you for your time, Judy

Q: Hello, I have been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, but I have take h2 blockers and antacids but nothing seems to work. The doctors have given up on me. Can u help me. Antonella

Q: i bought Dr. Brady's book and have felt good (no leg pain for 3 weeks)...I have been working out hard...Not running, but 1hr of cardio 2x per day. After today i felt the pain again. Did you have relapses and what did you do. I had back surgery in 88 no disc damage (synovial cyst removal off sciatic nerve which took 18 more months to heal for no more calf pain)....MRI on re-injury in 2004 came back normal.....I am perfectionist/people pleaser as well...In the meantime I have been so enthused and have been getting back into shape. After this relapse I need to get back in the saddle but have doubts that crept in my mind that it may be the shortened psoas and so on, because i have not felt pain there in a month and i started with weights and next day felt it. should i be stretching those muscles out as well. thanks, Paul

Q: Any comments or advise is appreciated. Does physical therapy help in this senario in any way? I have my first specialist appointment scheduled after 10 days I was told about this situation but this has been there for a month.I am so frustrated that they are making wait for 10days,but I am taking precautions like not lifting heavy weight/sleeping in best position possible and pretty much not taking stress.But pretty much driving,working 8 hours.Is it alright? Little history of my this situation.I got up with stiff neck one morning and then after lifting a baby from left side I pretty much starting to get these acute pains in my left arm once in a while with stiff neck and dull pain in my left arm ... I was given pain killer but it didn't work and i got so impatience and by the time I got to meet my primary physician I went to chiropractor and right after first visit...I didn't get these acute pain but there was a dull pain and very uncomfortable feeling even after visiting chiro for 4 visit.Now I have through MRI and waiting to meet specialist.Problem description by my primary physician:C5-6: By far this is the most severely affected level where a left posterior paracentral disc herniation extends into the left subarticular recess and extends 3 mm down the posterior vertebral body margin. This results in severe left foraminal narrowing. No significant right foraminal narrowing is noted. Mild left lateral recess narrowing is demonstrated. C6-7: There is an asymmetric uncovertebral joint and posterior articular facet degenerative change, resulting in mild left foraminal narrowing with no central canal or right foraminal narrowing. - Sorabh


Q: I am a 61 year old, very active, physically fit, woman (45 minutes at the gym every day - weight bearing and cardio exercise, as well as golf, skiing, etc.) About 3 1/2 weeks ago I got a strange pain in my hip flexor which moved to both legs and then suddenly to neck,shoulders and arms (I tend to be tense in my upper body anyway, but can consciously control it) with pain at night or when I am immobile for any length of time. (And sometimes low grade fever) I used to start my day at 5:00 a.m. but it takes me almost 3 hours in the a.m. to get mobile. I heard about you and your books. I am going to check them out at the library, but my medical doctor has diagnosed me w/Polymyalgia Rheumatica (no treatment yet) after considerable blood work, etc. Any suggestions? Paula

Q: Dear Sensei, as of yet, I have only just stumbled over your website. I bought Dr John Sarno's books and was googleing around regarding back pain. While reading that cramps might be due to lack of oxygen, I started wondering if it might be the opposite. I am not a doctor, but suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis, migraine and of course, back pain. In relation to my asthma and allergies, I have come across Dr Buteyko's methods. His main point is, that people who tend to hyperventilate constantly do suffer from sinusitis, asthma etc. as the relevant muscles cramp up. Read up on Dr Buteyko here to see what I mean: It is just a hunch but I wouldn't be surprised if this could be the reason for back pain, too. Especially, as it seems to affect the group of people who do also suffer from allergies, migraines, sinusitis etc. Might be, these people all suffer from suppressed anger/anxiety/low self esteem and narcissism. I know the more I hyperventilate, the less air I get (as all my mucuous muscles cramp up inside), the more I breathe, the less air I get (as those muscles cramp up even more). If I can break this circle, slow down my breathing, miraculously, my sinuses open up, my lungs open up. I guess, this is why Yoga is beneficiary and all types of meditation, as they slow down breathing... Must check this out for back pain, too. Once the mind relaxes (with Knowledge Therapy), I do bet, breathing goes back to normal, too. Obviously. Well, that was just a thought regarding one part of the "mechanics" of back pain (Quote from the Wikipedia article: "In particular, Professor Buteyko claimed that the blood of asthmatics contained too little carbon dioxide" - instead of lack of oxygen).Kind regards, Bee

Q: Dear Sir: I am experiencing right lower back pain, severe which has now caused my right inner thigh to become numb. Not my whole right thigh just the inner part (the groin area). The right outer part of the thigh is tender to touch. No weakness in legs at all. But the pain is severe. Ibuprofen and Vicodin help. I have also noticed that at times when I lay down, on the left side, it seems that I have a sensation that something is inside my right groin area. This started out as pain and discomfort radiating into the right testicle and has progressed to this severe back pain. Two cat scans with and without contrast have showed no kidney stone (none in ureter or bladder). As to what caused this could have been I was lifting something I shouldn't have been lifting. But, actually, I don't remember having pain at that particular time. If this is due to a herniated disc, will it eventually get better? Could this be due to a hernia pressing on a nerve? Other pathology? Thanks for your time. I know it is difficult to make a DX via e-mail. I guess the next step is to have MRI's done. What do you think? Richard

COMMENT: As sure as I'm sitting here,and as far back as I can remember,I've always had a reason for my financial distress and difficulties.In the tenth grade when I was only about only working part time and felt a snap or great noise in my body resonating all the way up to my neck as if I had fell off a cliff and landed on a fifteen foot long toothpick.Snap!It hurt so much I walked away from the scene of the occurance grasping at the left side an area around my waist,and I said,"yeah I,m alright!Now lets go out and get moving!)It was our job(my co-worker and I)to get the floor full of merchandise out so the day people(full timers)could just get shifting from the palletts to the shelves in the department discount store we could go after ten o'clock in the morning.Little did I know at the time I would later find that was the stupidest thing any one could do to themselves by making out like a motorized heavy-duty get'r done piece of equipment,now I'm twenty some years of age older and know only intervention of a miraculous kind is finally going to have me back like supposed to be.But,might be some where there's a plan of financial and fortitude awareness that even I can have,only if I had the Dr.'s intervention to fix what broke that day I stuck the thorn in my side. Now I've had several specialists,and many chiropractors give me their premonition or deposition analysis of what is to be my outcome,and I feel that it is like the company man once said way back when I wore a younger man's clothes pertaining to my future,the note said,"if it is to be,it is up to me".And it is,and God says so,too. Alan

Q: in may 2005 i had a spinal fusion, L5/S1, and on june 2005 i had another to enlarge my nerve portholes? dr said that my sciatic nerve was damaged and my spinal cord was pinched. anyways, they gave me multiple narcotics. after 2 years, they took me off of them. i have been on neurontin 300mg 3x a day. they do not relieve the pain. i often have to use tylenol 3's; they just dull the pain. the nasids do not work. now i read that neurontin was not marketed for this use. the side effects are awful. i have mental fuzziness, short term memory loss, extreme anger, dizziness, i am extremely tired, low bp (for me)112/72, i extreme neck/back pain/sciatica pain. i have started falling and tingling in my fingertips, extreme leg cramping in my right leg. i have been turned loose without health coverage. i am afraid of the neurontin, what should i do? Vallie

Q: Since Nov of 2004 I have had a neck pain that causes a right shoulder blade and right bicep area of "nerve" pain when I turn my head. Also the nerve pain shoots up the right side of my cheek, goes across my forehead area, and will get so bad it will blur my vision. The nerve pain shoots down my right arm also. I have had 3 opinions and many tests. Most don't believe the pain can go "up" into my face and head, but agree it can go down. I can literally draw a "path" that the nerve pain goes. A Chiropractic Neurologist said I "could" get nerve pain up the face. Also now my bicep area feels like a shredded muscle, but then it just turns off. Now my other arm (left side) my pinky went completely numb and has stayed that way. My MRI showed some narrowing of the spinal canal, possible encroachment. Any opinions at all would be greatly appreciate as this has affected my work. Thanks Terry

Q: Hi i'm from Montreal wnd in the last 4yrs have had 3 back surgeries for L5S1 right the last surgery was done with a fusion by the front stomach,,since the surgery my pain has gotten worse,and now Im also experiencing severe pain on the left side which is keeping me in bed..i've also just had an MRI which indicated another minor hernia on the left side maybe this is why i'm in so much doctor seems to think he can longer do anything for me and that i should live with the pain and try and find myself another job!!!Please can you advise me in anyway what or whom should follow up with me cause my doctor as mentioned just keeps prescribing pills that really only numb my head and not the pain. thank you, Louise

Q: My husband slipped and fell at work. He sustained back, right hip, and right knee injuries. If the surgeon says that he needs right L5-S1 foraminotomy does that procedure itself say that his condition was there prior to the fall? Is the fall what has triggered the excruciating pain he is in? Is DDD on occupational disease or can it be caused by certain physical jobs? Thank you... Steffanie

Q: I have severe pain on left side of my back which goes around to my abdomen. It hurts when I sit, strain or bend. My question is can a ruptured disk also cause pain in the abdomen? Chris

Q: Hello, I'm sorry if this seems sort of rude, but i came across your story while researching the use and effectiveness of exercise in the treatment of low back pain and was very interested in your story. I'm a second year medical student in Cardiff, United Kingdom, and am due to give a presentation about my findings. Would it be possible to tell some of your experiences and opinions, particularly relating to whether you found physiotherpy helpful? I will completely understand if you'd rather not, but if you could get back to me with any opinions i would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time. Philippa

Q: 18 yrs. ago my brother fell in a meat cooler and cracked a disc in his lower back. about 2 yrs after they believed that he was in pain, found the cracks and fused his disc. the day after surgery the nurses dropped him but said nothing and broke the fusion. Couple years later had 2nd surgery to refuse with hardware. 2yrs later hardware was taken out. None of the fusions held. Last MRI in 2005 shows severe degeneration and arthritis of these discs. It looks like they are in pieces. All these years of severe pain has him at the point where suicide is his only relief! Question: Is there any new procedure that may help after all the years? Can you recommend any Links to check out Thank You, Linda

Q: My wife is suffering from back pain since last two days. Some times it became stomach pain and some times transferred to back. Also she is vomiting if takes any thing. She also feel very cold and pain starts. Its almost shivering. Pls. suggest what kind of pain it is? Vivekanand

Q: hi ya i'm 15 years of age and had a sport accident quite a while back i was on the astro turf and i fell awkwardly where by back bent back, it started to get better but hasn't fully healed and doesn't seem to be getting any better it has been longer than 12 weeks i usually get aches after sport but also just randomly, when i bend by back- back also hurts, the ache is in the middle lower area of my back, for my work experience i did lift heavy objects which wasn't good so not sure if that could have anything to do with it.please could you advise me of what to do ?.. could you also tell me the most probability of what i have done. thanks Kind Regards Amit

Q: I guess this would be more of a question. I have always had chronic pain in my back usually in the lower back and associated with more of a muscle strain of some sort. However, over the past year I have been getting myofascial pain in the form of very tight and painful muscle knots in and around my scapulas. I have done everything from change diet, acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy to rid myself of these. All of these seem to only be a temporary solution. As you may know and understand even one day with out the constant pain is sometimes worth it. The thing that worries me now is about two months ago I woke up with a pain in my back that I can only really describe as someone having a very tight grip around my spine if that was possible. At this time it started in my very upper back area almost between my shoulders. Since this time it has gradually gotten lower. Now almost seems like it is coming from my middle back all the way up. It is also getting very difficult to turn my head with out feeling very tight. This goes for side to side movement as well as straight down. Over the past week I have had very tight muscle cramps in my outer and inner chest. The best way to describe this is almost like going thru a very heavy chest workout without actually going thru the workout. This morning along with these pains I had a very heavy dull feeling in my chest like it was harder to breath and my balance was off. These pains come and go as the day goes on sometimes they are worse then others. There really hasn't been a time in the recent months that I can really remember not having any pain at all. The thing that worries me the most is having both the back and chest pains at the same time. These can play funny tricks with your mind and you almost always start thinking the very worst is happening. Any advice or direction in this is extremely helpful or if you know of someone who has gone through this before that would be great as well. Thank you for your time in helping me. Nathan

Q: I had a minor shoulder/neck strain about 10 months ago. The extreme pain/weakness/stiffness is diminished,(lifting my arm) but has not gone away. My question is, how can you tell the difference between a pinched nerve, or early arthritis attacking the site of previous injury? (I am early middle aged) The doctor noted the movement of my arm/neck/shoulder was jerky and stiff and the sounds were unusual, but did nothing for it, and said just give it time.The pain is not as much as a concern as possible permanent nerve damage, and arm weakness,that could be treated. What should I do next? Anna

Q: hi there, i have a herniated disc at L5 S1 which has been proving problems over last ten years.I avoided surgery 6 years ago because it came right, but presently having problems 24/7 with sciatic pain over the top of the foot for 2 months now (like a tight band over top of the foot)which is affecting my walking and mobility to a stage where i avoid these activities. NO relief no matter what i do and is accompanied by soreness in lower lumbar region.Up to now i've had the usual sciatic pain down the leg or thigh which has gone away with rest over time, but not the present foot problem.any suggestions because i think that its time to consider surgery again.thanks mark

Q: what have you heard about radio frequency ablation, as used for lower back pain.the long term effects of searing nerves that regulate pain in the back. i am 29 and suffer daily. Dustin

Q: I have been suffering a little back pain of late. It is especially evident when i take deep breaths or turn my body while keeping my hips stationary. I have tried acupuncture pads and Ibuprofen 5% gel on the affected area with no results. I am starting to worry that the problem may be inside my body (perhaps a cyst on a lung (internest has alot to blame for the panic!) or something else internal). Any advice would be gratefully received! Thanks. Paul

Q: What should i do i m having disc slip in spine at lumber L1 - L2. my age is 20. i had disc slip 2 months ago. please suggest what to Do ? i was having intense and intolerable pain for first month. now pain has reduced to large extent. but still i m having lots of problem, sometimes the pain increases, even when i move my neck sometimes it pains in my leg. i consulted lots of doctors and that was my mistake, as i didn't sticked to one. now i don't no what to do. doctor has advised me some exercises, i m doing them regularly. but the problem is , it pains a bit even when i walk. i also wanna ask is there any danger if i travel by bus to my college. doctors told me not to ride bike, no three-wheelers. Seeking help. suggest me the ways to tackle the situation. will i ever be able come back to my normal activities ? Do small jerks would make the situation worse ? Thanking you , Paramjeet

Q: I am a 28 yr old male. I injured my lower back playing racket ball about 4 weeks ago. Immediately after the injury, I started getting primary care from a chiropractor. He said that I had twisted my lumbo-sacral joint. He also said that I had undergone some past injury about 8-10 yrs ago looking at the x-ray images. However, I never experienced any low back pain except for a couple of time when I stressed myself out. Anyways, coming back to my treatment, for 3 weeks the treatment seem to have worked and I thought I was becoming normal but since last week the pain suddenly increased and this time with some burning. It has been going up and down since then. I'm not exactly sure what is going on but I feel the pain/nerve tingling/pull near the left sacro-illiac joint. Can you pls. suggest / help? I would like to get over my pain and remain pain-free for the rest of my life. Would appreciate any advise. Thanks much. Regards, Shekhar

Q: Who are you? Are you a physician? I am an orthopaedic surgeon and spinal surgeon who gave up the idea of spinal fusion about 15 years ago when after immense time, study and experience I found it unreasonable and then a completely fraudulent procedure to relieve back pain. I also found most medical treatments for back pain useless and often fraudulent. With that I do know that surgery is SOMETIMES indicated. but of course the operative word is "sometimes" I have found the only consistent improvement after surgery comes after COMPLETE disc nucleus removal; not PARTIAL. Fusion is of course worthless and borders on criminality. With those things in mind I am not a popular person with other surgeons. But I can live with myself. I have much to say and educate about this "industry". If interested call me and let me know who you are. Also within the context of most of these entities who have the ANSWER for back pain there is a lot that is merely hype. Let me know. Gerald

Q: I have a herniated disc at L4/L5. I am scheduled for surgery this Friday at 2:30 pm. Initially I had pain, but it went way over a period of a couple months. I only have stiffness in the morning for about an hour, but no pain. I still have some weakness in my left leg and foot drop. Some numbness in the bottom of my foot and on the outside of my leg. Numbness is almost imperceptible at this time. Sometimes I can walk without weakness for a few yards, and then weakness does gradually come back. Foot drop has improved but still exists. I had some chiropractic treatments but discontinued that and bought an inversion table which I use 3 times a day. I seem to be slowly improving day by day, but I don't want the foot drop to become a permanent thing. I do not want to have surgery if at all possible. At least I think I should wait a while longer. What is your advice? David

Q: I am a 58 year old female with several back issues. I was born with scoliosis which does not give me any pain. I was in two auto accidents and have a herniated disc. I also have some degenerate disc disease. Add to this an inherited spinal stenosis which I've had two steroid shots for five years ago. For the most part I don't have alot of pain (I have a high pain tolerance)especially when (I keep my weight down. But I limit what I do which is frustrating. I want to rollerblade with my nine year old as well as do other activities but I'm too cautious. My question is will spinal decompression work for me?? I saw a commercial about regarding it on tv and was excited that this may be an answer. Thank you. Bonnie

Q: I injured my back/neck 6 weeks ago and had terrible pain down my left arm combined with my 2 small fingers tingling. Because of the severe pain, my doc had a MRI done which showed 3 herniated disks c6/c7/t1. the top one is herniated, touching nothing. The next is herniated touching a nerve root and the third, herniated and touching the spinal cord. Also he diagnosed spinal stenosis same place. Since then most of my pain has disappeared but the fingers and bottom part of my left hand are still numb and tingly. The neurosurgeon wants to do a fusion asap w/both bone and metal plates. I want a less aggressive approach and am in PT for 4 weeks. I am male, 60 years old, good health overall (overweight though) and have never even had a back pain before this. My questions are; 1) how much time do I have in making a decision about surgery before permanent nerve damage is done? 2) do disks heal themselves or must I have surgery and 3) what happens to the material that comes from a ruptured disk and hits a nerve or spinal cord. Is it there forever until surgery or will it tend to be reabsorbed by the body tissues? 4) About how long does it normally take for the 'numb tingly' feeling to go away? I am sorry this is so long but this is my first experience with this type problem and the DR response kind of scared me into thinking surgery was the only fix and even he called it "tricky in there". Thanks alot for any response. Bob

Q: 3 days ago , I got up in the morning and noticed I had pain in my left hip. Today, I had to leave work early because the pain was so intense, I wanted to shoot myself!!! The pain is debilitating! It is hard to get out of bed, in and out of the car, get dressed. Also, my hip is very sore when you go to touch it! I am going to ER tomorrow (Saturday). PLEASE HELP! Les

Q: i have had sciatic pain for about 5 years. about 5 months ago the pain became so bad i could no longer walk. my left leg had gone numb and i couldn't move out of the fetal position at all. and yet still had constant acute pain. every breath would even hurt.about a month ago i had a NRB. within days i was walking again and about 60% better. alot less pain as well. the dr. decided to do a second NRB to hopefully get me to 100% but the second injection actually made me worse. i am beginning to think the problem is different than what they suspect...and the pain has now traveled to the right side as well. i am totally desperate and feel hopeless. any advice would be much appreciated.thanks alot Paul

Q: My wife is 29 years old, suffering from low back pain since last 1 year. After X-ray of L.S. Spine,the report are as following, " There is some loss of normal lumbar lordosis". My wife give breast feeding of my child. Now plz give me suggestion what should I do for treatment purposes. Many thanks Parvez

Q: I am a 21 year old single mother of a 3 year old boy, I was recently helping my girlfriend move and I fell down her stairs, I knew I would have back pain, but now I have this sharp pain in between my shoulder blades, and it doesn't help that I fell again on my way to work, is this just back pain or could it be something worse? Nikki

Q: Hi there, Approximately 3 weeks ago i stopped at an intersection at a red light when i was hit from behind by a drunk driver. My car then smashed into the truck infront of me. I had very bad back pain and went to the hospital. at the hospital they took some x-rays and found that i have Spondylolisthesis. The doctor told me that one of the "disks" has moved and that this is an impossible thing to prove if this was caused by the car accident. Do you know how i could prove that ? I never had any back problems and have had previous x-rays taken but at that time they did not see that i have spondylolisthesis. What should I do? Daniela

Q: i had xrays done and they say and it said degenerative changes throughout cervical spine and foraminal narrowing.My lumbar said degenerative changes L5-s1 and particularly T11-12. I can not stand long without my low back hurting I have to sit down. What is my next step you would advise me to do? Kim

Q: Hi, My name is Joe and I'm 19 years old. I've had back pain for about the past 4 years and it doesn't go away. It bothers me more when i do physical activities like play basketball or racketball. After that my lower back will kill me. Mainly in right side. Sometimes my whole back will hurt too, like the middle and upper part of my back. It always feels like I have to crack my back. Do you know any reasons for this pain, mainly why i have harsh back pain in my lower right back.

Q: I am 44 and I having pain in between my hip and sacroiliac for about 2 weeks now. It feels like a deep tissue or some kind of muscle ache that wakes me up in the middle of the night, sit for more than 10 minutes and drive for a very long time. It is affecting my job and everything else in my life. I went to the chiropractor and had an adjustment but it did not work. I have been resting it and babying it - what else can I do? How long can this pain last? I would rather not go to the doctor but I am getting nervous. Annie

Q: Thank you for your website. I've just spent the last two hours scaring the sh@! out of myself looking at medical sites for sciatica online. Then I stumbled upon yours. I have had bad pain in my left buttock area that radiated down my leg for a couple of months. It escalated to severe and then debilitating pain for a couple of weeks. My chiropractor did not believe their was any spinal compression or any other spinal issue, no xray was done. When I had the debilitating pain I went to a Dr. for drugs and she gave me a mega dose anti-inflammatory shot. This basically took all my pain away in two days. I am left with numbness in my left foot and weakness in my calf. I was just reading all this horribleness and concluded that I absolutely must have a pinched nerve caused by something equally horrible and I would have irreversible nerve damage. I've calmed down a bit after looking at your site. I'm hoping that the wretched pain does not come back, I am concerned about this numb left. I am surprised to have this symptom without any or minimal pain. If I do have pain it is in my buttock, leg not in my low back. Any insights would be greatly appreciated!! I think it is so wonderful the work you are doing towards guiding people in discovering the non-medical causes of their pain, you're so right on with that, of course:)I'm working on that part too!! I'm a bit stressed, I have two young children and our finances are a mess plus typical American life bulls%@!, excuse me. I'm distracted by my fear right now in finding the emotional root so any words you might have for me that might quell that fear would be so welcome. Thank you very much, Katherine

Q: Sensei, I am 31 yrs old and practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu several times a week. Recently I began having neck pain, got an MRI and two doctors (Family Practice and Orthopedist) said I have herniated disc compressing my spine. My neurosurgeon said that I don't have a herniation and my cervical spine looks normal for a person my age. After taking 2 months off from jiu jitsu, I went back to training and my neck got stronger- no more "shocks" from sudden movement, headaches severe pain. I still get pain due to overuse or too much impact during training.A few weeks ago I got a pain in the middle of my back around the top of my shoulders. The area is painful to the touch and feels like a bubble or liquid under my skin. I can see no visible signs of an injury. I feel pain while lying on my back or bridging onto my shoulders, picking up objects, & shrugging my shoulders. The pain seems similar to the pain I felt with my neck and subsides with rest but comes quickly back with activity. The pain began after I started doing core muscle workouts (stretching, yoga, pilates, and physioball) to help me avoid more injuries. I also do exercises for my neck, traps,and back to help protect and stabilize my tender cervical spine. Any ideas as to what may be wrong? Thanks. Jason

Q: I almost 40 and had back surgery 2 and 1/2 years ago to remove a herniation which left me with no left leg reflexes and pain that didn't resolve from physical therapy, steroids, or epidural injections. After the surgery I got better and went on with my life. However, now 3 weeks before my wedding day I am unable to walk, bend and sleeping is a problem. I have grinding pain, which radiates down my leg. I had an MRI and just received the first of my scheduled three epidural injections. I have another small disc bulge at L5- S1, which is where my first surgery was,and now i have scar tissue which has wrapped around some nerves. Do you think the injections will work? Bobbi

Q: I am staying in Dubai and working in a company. i am facing a back pain continuously for a last 2 years, I want to meet a doctor for my back pain problem, kindly send me the hospital details in Dubai.regards, Murugan

Q: i have back neck and shoulder problem for 7 years.the doctor sent to me mr special x ray and they got for places small disc problem is back neck and shoulder pain and too much prolapsed did not touch my nerve root.but steel sometimes i can not relax my hand b/s of question is is that effective chiropractor.p/s i need ur comment. Dejene

COMMENT: Currently I am sitting up on my bed wasting away from my back pain fear and minor ankle break 4-1/2 years ago at the age of 63-1/2. Imagine what damage occurs to the body of a 63-year-old who sits up in bed so long. My first back episode occurred at age 24 and was horrifying. I've used the term "gridlock" to refer to my episodic pain since that first episode. About 12 years later I had another gridlock episode. It was just after my divorce and purchase of my first home for me and my beloved adopted daughter, who was 8 at the time. It was horrible, but I recovered and barely gave it another thought. It was at that time that I picked up a book by Sarno. I loved his book (this was the mid-seventies), and felt he was writing about ME! I had no other physical problems, was very athletic (avid tennis player with no problems at all in terms of my back), had a great job, and a reasonably decent relationship with my ex husband. And, of course, the love and devotion I felt for my daughter and only child. Then, a few more years later I had another episode, exactly like the previous two wherein no specific physical event had occurred to blame for the problem. At about 42, as my daughter started becoming somewhat rebellious and my ex began having serious problems with his second marriage, I starting having episodes at least annually and sometimes every 10 months or so. I was plagued with fear and began reading more of Sarno (he'd written one or two additional books on the same theme but with updated insights). My daughter's life concerned me more and more and I was completely alone in terms of intimate relationships or a support system of any kind. I felt that my daughter wasn't in any serious trouble (no drugs or alcohol abuse that I could see; no promiscuous behaviors that I knew about, etc.). She did seem very preoccupied and sad, which plagued me 24/7 and I felt that I was unable to provide the more ideal kind of life I wanted for her with siblings, extended family, etc. It just didn't exist and I couldn't change that fact. Her father was then on his third (and last) marriage, and I had to constantly try to soften the blows that all that confusion and inevitable back and forth did to her and her sense of belonging and being first in his life. She "ran away" from home twice during about an 18-month period. It seemed that both instances were triggered my something that happened between her and her Dad (and probably his wife, too). It was terrifying for me. (Oh, yes, I am an extremely responsible person and parent, always tried to do the right thing, make the smartest decisions, etc.). During this time (my mid-forties) I still played tennis, exercised most every day, and took very good care of myself. (I became a vegetarian at 36, and felt that I was maximizing my health in so doing, but I'm not so sure about that now.) My daughter graduated from high school. She had no plans for college. I had no idea what was going to happen to her and her future. It was very stressful. Then during the early morning hours while she had been away for 3 nights at a new friends house,I awoke to pounding at my front door. The ensuing scene was what every parent prays they'll never experience: my lovely daughter was dead. She was the only fatality in a drunk driving crash. That was August 5, 1986. After that came many more gridlock episodes. Dozens of trips to chiropractors, acupuncturists, cranial-sacral therapists, etc., etc. Unbearable physical and emotional pain. But life had to go on, working and basically existing beyond that. Then a series of professional calamities (being removed from a managerial position I'd had for 8 years in a contract reorganization, being laid off 5 years later at the age of 55, my mother's sudden death, and never obtaining another full-time job) ratched up the level of stress for me. I've tried over the years to find a good psychotherapist, to no avail. At least the one or two I tried were worthless. The "average" medical practice I've been through (and I've seen many come and go) are virtually worthless. And I say that regretfully and with much consideration for the entire profession. It's truly a shame how doctors are being duped by the entire "health" care system, as we euphemistically call it in this country. I'm now just over 68, have serious bowel issues, ache all over from the total absence of movement except what is required to take care of myself (food prep, hygiene, etc.) when my caregivers aren't here, and saddled with the horrifying reality off daily use of Celebrex, acetaminophen, and Soma. Supposedly low doses of all, but nevertheless probable addiction to all. I won a Social Security disability claim at around 63. So I guess one could say that I'm disabled! I'm looking into seeing a Naturopath, primarily for help migrating from meds to natural remedies, if possible. I don't have any idea how successful that endeavor will be because it's getting harder and harder for me to go out to see doctors of any kind and I'm typically disappointed in them after so many years of incompetence. I'm afraid that this could be it for me, and it's very disturbing.I apologize for this rant. I'm sure it sounds very whiny and ungrateful. But it's all truthful and pathetic.- Julie


Q: I was just wondering concerning my back pain. I have had pain for almost 2 years now and have been through physical therapy, nothing works and they are not able to determine my pain. I had got into a quading accident and i have a horrible shoulder and i don't know if that has to do with my back hurting. But i am young and i cant do certain things that i should be able to do because every little thing hurts, doing dishes cleaning sleeping incorrectly. So my question is what do you think my pain is? Is it just muscle pain or is it my actually back. I feel like its my muscles because its sore and really tender and also feels like its pulling or stretching. Thank you. Andrea

Q: twenty years ago when i was 40, i was hit by the side view mirror of a car while standing in front of my house. while i didn't think i had incurred any long lasting pain at the time, i turned to get out of my car 3 years ago (at age 57)and have had terrible back problems ever since. my spinal doc says that i have facet degeneration from arthritis but it is exactly where i was hit 20 years ago. i also have a herniated disc at the same place (l-5). i have had steroid injections, physical therapy (moderately successful), aqua therapy (not helpful), and strength building exercises (very helpful). but even with much help from these various entities, i still have debilitating back pain that keeps me from doing a lot of the things i'd still like to do (like cross country ski, play tennis, even walk long distances). would spinal decompression help me or would i be wasting my time and money? thank you for any advice you can give me. Saraj

Q: I fell out of a tree when I was thirteen, broke my tailbone, my parents weren't people that took you to a doctor so I suffered with if for weeks really hurt when I walked or someone slapped me on the behind, my sisters made fun of me when I cried. I didn't know I had broken my tail bone till I got pregnant at 17 then my doctor told me I had broken my tailbone, and that was probably when it was done. I was also involved in two bad car accidents. I have had trouble with my neck all my life, it would often hurt real bad and cause me to have bad throbbing headaches, couldn't turn my head, go to a doctor and they would just give me pain pills, when they wore off it all started up again, so I started going to chiropractors went to them for years. But then my right leg started hurting real bad up into my hip when I walked every day was really painful. Went tho the doctor and got exrays, he said there was nothing there so kept going to chiropractors but they weren't helping, finally talked to one chiropractor on line and he said it sounded like a sciatica nerve, and that xrays wouldn't show that it needed a MRI. It was hurting real bad one day when I was walking bent down to put my child's shoes on and the pain stopped, thought that was weird so every time it start hurting I would squat down a little bit. After three or four days of this the pain in my leg went away completely after about six months of real bad pain. It was such a relief, so I practiced the squatting on a regular basis. But it never did get rid of the pain in my hip completely, it was back and forth it would go away for a while then come back hurt to sit driving a car, sit or lay anyplace, sometimes real light sometimes unbearable. Then I started having other symptoms, raw pain in my lower back, stiffness and soreness all over on certain days. I would wake up in the middle of the night with both hands really hurting and throbbing down to the wrist at the same time. My toes would get real sensitive at night, hurt tingle get numb. So decided I better go to the doctor asked one doctor about my toes she said it was my borderline diabetes even though I have always kept my sugar under control and even her test showed my sugar hadn't been high over the last six months. She sent me to the doctor to have a test done for nerve damage and he said I had it. That I should have more test done to see what caused it went back to that doctor and she said it was caused my the bordering diabetes didn't recommend anymore test. So went back to my old doctor told him what she said and he says "No, that wouldn't cause that your sugar has never been that high, I had my physical and blood test through him every year. So he xrayed me again. He said " it looked like I had a little arthritis in my neck, I reminded him of all my symptoms and he sent me to get an MRI but only on the neck. His nurse called me and said she was sitting me up for therapy for my neck. I said what about the rest of the symptoms and she said our xrays didn't show anything wrong with your back, I said there is something wrong with my back and i know it because I cant sleep at night for my back, shoulders and hip hurting so she said well we know you have a sciatica problem (don't know how she decided that when the exrays hadn't shown anything) so we'll have the therapist to work on that too! Went to the therapist and she man you have a conglomerate of symptoms. I don't feel right about working on your back for the sciatica nerve when they haven't done an MRI on it you need to go back and demand an MRI on it, so I did, and it showed that the canal where my spine is was filled with calcium and the doctor set me up to see a neurosurgeon. I am doing therapy now and waiting for my app with the neurosurgeon. They are having me to do eleven exercises three times a day, and come to therapy twice a week and put me on traction. I cant tell if it is doing me any good or not sometimes I think it is then sometimes it all kicks back in. Some people say that i should have the surgery done as soon as possible before it gets worse and some say I shouldn't have it done that it doesn't do any good, I am in doubts about what to do. Any ideas anyone? thank you so much Nicky

Q: I am 35 yrs old, I have always been athletic and have worked hard since I was 15. I also wore a back brace when I was 12 because of scoliosis. I have always had a sore lower back but around aug. sometime I was having a lot of neck pain and lower back pain. Went to the family dr, they took a neck x-ray and prescribed vicoden, flexirl and PT. My neck seemed to get better and I have a lay down traction unit I use when it really bothers me. However, the low back pain has gotten worse. Dr. referred me to the pain clinic. I told them it gets worse through out the day and about 3 hrs of working I have to take the pain meds. It is very painful in the lower back, it feels like someone is stabbing steel rods through my hips and the back of my butt and thighs are tender to the touch. I had one injection in the L4 and L5 about 3 weeks ago and felt great for about 2 days. I just went for my 2nd injection out a series of 3 yesterday and 2 hrs of being home the pain was horrible. I had to stay home from work today because of the pain, I can hardly bend over. I didn't call the office, cuz it says you can have an increase in pain the first 24-48 hrs. All they have done is taken an x-ray, talk to me for a few minutes and starting putting needles in me. Should I be asking for an MRI? What should I be asking the Dr. Please help. Brenda

Q: I noticed my pain in High School. I had told my parents over and over I thought there could be something wrong with my back. I had my routine sports physical and they never found anything. So, I went on with my life and dealt with the pain. I finally went to my family Doctor about 5 years ago and he sent me to a physical therapist. They determined I had a malformation in my spine and had me do therapy at home. It did help manage the pain some as I would stand on my feet all day at work. So, I went on with my life and dealt with the pain. I am now 36 years old and have 3 children now. It seems like my pain is much worse.So, I decided to go to a chiropractor. My initial visit was very disturbing as the Dr. went over the x-ray with me. I have what is called hypolordosis. He said it was a severe case but very unusual. I did not have the usual swayback with my upper spine, just the lower lumbar dipped in severely. My upper spine is very strong with no pain but the lower spine is just horrific. I have been with this particular Chiropractor for 4 months now. It has helped a little with the pain but if I don't go the recommended twice a week sessions, im in so much pain. My occupation doesn't allow me to sit down much . So, I go on with my life and deal with the pain. I need to know if there is a possibility surgery could correct this. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to live my life with out the pain and discomfort. If anyone knows about my particular case , please respond back. I would greatly appreciate it. Angie

Q: I recently fell off the back of a delivery truck, approximately 5 feet, I landed on my back and hit my head on the concrete, When I got to the hospital I was in extreme pain and ER techs said that my back had locked up,After given every scan was told I had fractured L2,L3,L4 but it was the "wings" as they described, Its now been almost a month and Im on percocet, oxycodone, oxycodon, robaxin, and arthrotec. Im "OK" with the meds but I still hurt without them. I have a hard time walking, and standing without a walker, everything from the waist down hurts. anyway My job consists of lifting 50 to 90 pound boxes of meat all day, The drs say I'm gonna heal in time but Im not getting better, they say the fractures are all that they can see on the tests, but I think there is more wrong. Is it possible that things are wrong that they cant see on the scans? and What long term affects do you see for my returning to work? Bobby

Q: I am 42 years of age and injured my back backpacking while in the military. I have had 2 MRI's and both have a conclusion of : 1. Dominant findings are shallow protrusion at the L4-5 and LS-S1; at the LS-S1, there is also a small annular tear 2. Mild multilevel facet anthropathy with varying degrees of capsulosynovial inflammation; no pathologic enhancements is seen. What does does this mean? I will see the Neurologist tomorrow to see if I will need surgery. The pain I have radiates from the left side of my hip and buttocks and down to my left leg. I feel pain and numbness at times. My left leg is also weaker than the right. The Neurologist did a motor nerve conduction test and reports that I have chronic and active left L5 radiculopathy.. What does this all mean? I was taking steroid pills, muscle relaxer pills and hydrocodeine for pain..I did not like the feeling and dependence of these pills...Would surgery help? Joe

Q: i'm 53 and have had 4 back surgeries. my last 2 were feb 2007 and dec 2007. in feb 2 fusions were done going through my side and back. i continued to have stabbing pain in my left foot. after many test my neurosurgeon said the lower fusion didn't take and needed to be repaired. i agreed but even that afternoon in my hospital room i told my surgeon that my foot was still stinging. he said lets wait 3 months. he removed 2 screws and maybe he irritated the nerve root. its been almost 3 months and i'm doing terrible. im taking pain meds which help some and neurotin which i don't know if its helping or not. i see my surgeon next monday with xray of back. i CAN NOT live like this the rest of my life. i don't know what the solution is but any help would be appreciated. the pain seems to be worse at night. i've looked into the pain pump and also rhizotomy. thank you from a desperate and depressed man. depressed only from the constant pain in foot. i told my wife who is a RN that if my dr said that after 4-5 more surgeries the pain would go away i would not hesitate doing it. i know that hes not going to say that but i would go through the pain of more to relieve this chronic pain. Ronald

Q: I have old back injury from peeves heavy lifting jobs, I've been take Ibuprofen 800mg twice a day and it's been working fine for 10 years now, So on January of this year 2008 I started going to gym and working out on weights due to being overweight and being diabetic. it's been my 2nd month exercising and I was working on one of the exercise called "Shrug" on the Smith machine, I usually do this exercise with two dumbbells but because I was going to do the Dead-lift right after and I thought it would be best to do them both on the Smith Machine, Anyway, after the 2nd set on exercise Shrug, I felt a sharp pain on my back, I stop give a few minutes rest and tried once more but I was unable to finish my set due to the back pain and the following day I'm in pain and taking more Ibuprofen 3 times a day or 4 times day to kil the pain but, it's not all that bad and I think it's an old injury that just coming back to hunt me from doing the exercise wrong. My question to you; Should I do all my exercise on the machine? to prevent further injury on my back or just rest for a few weeks, I'm afraid if I rest I won't go back to exercising. I don't want to stop the work out program but I know I have to take easier now, I'm just wondering if it's safe on the machines then free weights? Richard

Q: I want to tell you that I was so fortunate to hit upon your site yesterday. Through your site, I linked to another site where I read an interview of Dr Sarno. His words were so profound that my lower back pain, which was so severe for more than 10 days that I could not stand straight, was gone in a matter of minutes. The reason was that I was cured in my mind and it was my mind which was creating the pain. Can I ever thank you enough for what you have done for me? My best wishes to you! Anil

Q: Hey its kevin again, i don't remember if you remember me but i asked you a couple weeks ago about my back and what the doctor said when he told i "slipped discs in my back". Turns out i went to the ortho and told exactly what you told me. You CANT see disc slipped with an xray. And that my back was fine and i can go back doing muay thai and now i have my first fight comin up in march. Thanks for your help. I was supposed to go to physical Therapy but i didn't follow up on that mostly cause a lot of the places didn't take my insurance and not enough time do to it 4 times a week. But i feel much better and sort of angry at the medical field for lying to me keeping me from my sport for 4 weeks. Thanks again, kevin

Q: Hey, thanks for the blog. Question: a couple of nights ago, I woke up with what felt like a lump halfway down my esophagus. Then for the last two days, everytime I eat and swallow, my back hurts just inside my right shoulder blade towards my spine. Kinda feels like someone is pressing their finger on my back. Any ideas of what is causing this? Thanks, Jim

Q: Dear Sensei Adam Rostocki,I recently had an MRI which confirmed that I have more than one degen. disc, and that I also have a "large left foraminal disc herniation at L1-L2 producing left foraminal stenosis and impingement upon the existing left L1 nerve root." I am in constant pain, as narcotic drugs were not an option I wanted to continue with. I am strongly considering spinal decompression, with surgery as my last option. I am unable to return to work in this condition, and I am the sole wage earner. My insurance company does not cover spinal decomp., and this procedure will cost nearly $4,000. If my home equity loan does not go through, I will not be able to afford it at all. I am very much looking forward to your comments on these matters. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely, Carol

Q: Hi, im 19 years old and i suffer from upper back pain and neck pain. I injured my self from performing an exercise called "The power cleans" Its basically tossing the weight up reaching ur shoulder's and then catching it with with your arm snapping forward. I felt this weird pinch on my upper middle spine. It didn't hurt until i got back home and it started to hurt all over my neck, upper back and shoulder blades. I went to a chiropractor to get my back massage and she told me i tore my muscle. After that i took two weeks off from exercising and my back felt alot better. But then i went back from exercising and my pain started to come back, its so painful that i wake up in the middle of the night. My question is, could this prevent me from ever exercising the same way that i used to, and should i exercise to make my upper muscle stronger Alex

Comment: I was trying for long time different exercises and drugs to relief my LOW BACK PAIN and finally I found solution - I started to sleep every night in EMBRYO POSITION and now pain disappeared

Q: I injured my back approximately 6 years ago. I went back packing and one week after returning I started suffering with lower back pain. I went to the doctors who recommended rest...which I now understand to possibly be the worst advice. Following this I had some physiotherapy treatment which seemed to ease the pain. And episodes were rarely long. I then spent 4 years in university, my pain bothered me rarely during this time. It seemed more problematic around exam time when I was extremely stressed. But would always respond reasonably well to treatment (acupuncture or manipulation) However since returning home from university it has become chronic. I have visited the doctor several times. They have diagnosed me with a muscualr weakness which is the general opinion from alternative therapy. I started yoga classes a year and a half ago, which have improved my posture immensely. However I still experience pain. Not always crippling and quite often eased during yoga relaxation. However a niggle persists which is driving me to distraction. I am 24 and have suffered for 6 years I want to be enjoying my youth not fearing that I will end up in agony for the rest of my life. I have had an x-ray which showed no signs of skeletal damage, or arthritis. I have been reading your thoughts on physiological effects on back pain and wonder if this could contribute to my continuing pain. I have a lot of factors in my life that make me extremely unhappy such as home life and my career (or lack there of) but have always wondered if it was my pain making me unhappy and not these. My question is could this be contributing to my continuing pain, as I have been told there really should be no reason for it to persist as it does! and if it is stress and yoga seems to lesson it only slightly, is there anything else I can do to help the situation??? I want to enjoy my life! Tara

Q: In 2005 I had a total hip replacement which was a little more complicated than your average one in that I had a congenital malformation of the socket to begin with. For 1 1/2 years following surgery I never experienced any pain. It was wonderful! Suddenly I began having excruciating pain that radiate from the lower part of my back near the hip into the thigh and groin. I've had x-rays, CT and MRI scans and electromyography which shows the pain coming from my back. it okay to have spinal decompression if you have an artificial hip joint? Judy

Q: I'm very surprised I'm even writing this to you. I am off work but still here on the computer reaching out again to someone who I pray might be able to help. I'm 23 yrs old living in Fl. and have been dealing with back pain for the past 3 yrs. I used to be a very physically fit person that boxed and worked out very frequently. I slowly started feeling something going wrong with my back during my workouts, and stopped boxing immediately. Shortly after the signs I was doing upright rows at the gym, then Snap, I feel this powerful pull in my trap/upper back. I have a friend thats like a physical therapist/massage and he tried to adjust the pull to no avail. He shared an office with a Chiropractor and recommended adjustments. The Dr. said I had a lot of scar tissue in my upper back and need adjustments in my lower..Long story short, No PROGRESS and a NEW WORLD of LOWER BACK Pain..I have never really witnessed serious injuries before other then some breaks, and these pains were far worse.Next step was another Chiropractor that was closer by that relates to sports injuries(my Dad had also seen him). X-Ray showed bulging discs and trauma to neck area and a curved tail to my spine and the bottom..Some adjustments and stretches(and hundreds of $$$$$) later, and again no progress. Now I have this burning in my left trap and two very sore spots on both traps, bulging discs in the mid, and a very chronic lower back pain that never goes away. I'm actually very tired right now and in pain, so I'm going to cut this email short, but needless to say I tried the Laser Spine Institute, stretches, muscle relaxers, prescribed steroids, exercise, but still every waking day I'm in a lot of pain. I have been stripped of things that made me very happy..Life has slowly pained it's way into depression..So I don't know what this email does, but I pray someone reads it and cares enough to help..Thank You Sal

Q: is there a spinal decompression treatment in Canada, more specifically in Saskatchewan? Laurie

Q: I originally hurt my back in college in 1984. I was in tremendous physical shape and was playing football when I felt a pop. Next day tremendous back pain and right calf pain. Sounds like a disc. Well i went to chiropractors, orthos, neuros and had all the tests. MRI's, EMG's, Mylograms, epidurals and nerve blocks. Heel lifts, PT for 3 years. After 21 doctors i was exhausted. My last doctor noticed 1 calf was smaller and ordered an MRI which showed a shadow. He opened me and removed an anterior synovial cyst that was against the sciatic nerve. It was a 3 hour operation and I was in pain for another year. i feared doing everything. i went from being a tough guy to a wimp. I was all messed up. eventually i read a book by dr. sarno and after being convinced by my neuro that my spine was normal I worked out hard for a year. the back pain disappeared and never returned until 3 years ago.I was removing large stumps and twisting and throwing them. I then felt the pop. Next day i had the calf pain (which i feared tremendously) and then it went away only to return the next day. I went for an MRI which came back negative but the pain persisted. Let me preface to say I am not in good shape. Former power athlete with large chest, thighs and glutes. Was diagnosed from Chek Practitioner with an imbalance. Tight psoas (stomach and groin pain).....tight quads...tilted forward pelvis......tight gluteus medius/minimus with trigger points......tight mutlifidus.....weak TVA's.......and overweight 30 pounds.....In a 30 day period I have about 7 good days and 23 bad ones. This is better than before but it is wearing me out. One part of me says it is the weight and imbalances (which i did lose 40 pounds and felt better......a 3 on 1-10 pain scale)...but was still tight.....The other part says i have TMS......I am angry and keep alot inside....and expect alot from myself. I have not been working since this is always on my mind. Any tips would be appreciated, Paul

Q: I am 36 and fell on my back at work on a tile floor, pain and bruising on lower back and shoulders. Had a MRI done because pain wouldn't go away. So my question is from a bad back fall can you get facet hypertrophy at L4, L5 & L5, S1. Marie

Q: Hi I am from Canada and notice you recommend alot of MRI's.I'm pretty sure to get an MRI up here you need to be on alot of strong medications to get the medical system to pay for it.I have recently read Sarno's book and it is hard for me to see what tensions and anger issues I would be having.Does your book provide an easier way to understand the workings of the mind and how to get rid of psychosomatic low back pain? Currently I am trying Prolotherapy as the Naturapath thinks I have a damaged ligament causing my LBP.I read everything I could find on Prolotherapy and test studies and it looks promising but if it is Psychosomatic pain it may not help.Also do you recommend Q Ray bracelets as they are supposed to help people feel better about themselves?Thanks in Advance,Bruce

Q: This is a question and my back pain story. I was rear ended in 04. I didn't really have any lower back pain but a few weeks later I started having severe burning, tingling, gnawing pain in my buttocks and right rectal area after a bowel movement. The skin on my buttocks would become sensitive on my buttocks and I would rub it trying to relieve the pain, till I rubbed the skin raw, and had a line of sores down my buttocks. I was misdiagnosed 3 times, till I had an MRI showing Severe S-1 facet joint trauma. Is it unusual to have the anal pain symptoms from the facet joint trauma? The doctors have said they've never seen anything like it. I also have a cyst in that area. Ali

Q: I was told there is nothing that the medical community can do for me with my back. I was injured in a near fatal car crash - Multiple Rollover accident Involving a white tail stagg deer while traveling at Montana Freeway Speeds as at that time we did not have speed limits till shortly after my accident some three years ago. My speed was at 75mph as it was at the end of November and it was terribly slick in spots due to freezing rain. I hit and lost control which I fought to regain control but it was way too late as I was rolling and there was nothing I could do about it. I was seatbelted in thankfully but I was also warding off equipment, tools, and computer monitors that were rolling with me as I do computer repair work. The Van I was driving when it came to rest upside down. I tried to get out of the seatbelts that held me but had too push myself deeply into the seat to get out from them to release the pressure holding me into them. Which shortly I had to kick out the windshield so I could escape the vehicle. As I was inside a vehicle that was on fire as I was dumping fuel all over the place. Bluntly I had to get out or burn to death. For the past 3 years I have had nothing but back pain and all the physical therapy, chiropractic care has not helped in the least. The VA Medical says they cannot do surgery to reattach the torn ligaments that support L3 L4 L5 and S1 of my spine. Yes back pain is a real pain and I pray others never go thru what I have. Sincerely, Lucky

Q: My back and leg is hurting, do you know why, and if I have a sickness.I didn't fall lately and it started when I was cooking. Imraninsia

Q: I am 28 years old and work almost 10/12 hours in office sitting in front of my lap top. I had a lower back pain 6 months ago and doctors had given tablets and ointment for 15 days, it got cured. But from the past 2 months it has again come back, though its not very severe but I want to cure it in the beginning itself. It will be more when i get up in the morning, I don't feel like getting up. Pls advise me what should i do?? Sunil

Q: hi my name is matt, On nov. 7, 2007 i had an accident at work (I am a landscaping manager) where i stepped in a deep covered hole while jogging back to my truck. It made me twist violently towards the left and fall. Immediately ifelt severe lower back pain with radiating pain to my left leg and foot. After a month of the dr. saying it was a severe strain of my lower back he ordered and mri of the L-spine and it showed a broad based disc bulge at L4-L5 and a prominent leftward disc bulge at L5-S1 with effacement of the thecal sac and severe neuroforamenal stenosis. by the end of dec i was sent to the er because i was experiencing bowel trouble (deduced asphincter)& neuro deficit. since then i have had constant severe pain with pins and needles and shaping shooting pain in left leg and buttocks. I have tried physical therapy and medicine i had to stop the pt because of the pain. I have taken three prednisone tapers since the accident as well as pain meds. I recently went to see a neurosurgeon saw his pa for initial consult and he ordered another mri this time of the T-spine ane L-spine and a surgical consult. Now my question is are these signs to have spinal surgery and if so what kind? also why do i need an mri of the T-spine when my upper back isn't bothering me at all? Finally are the neurological signs normal with this type of injury? Thankyou in advance.

Q: Hi, I'm 48, had some discomfort in upper back following a small rear end vehicle accident. I went to Physical Therapy and during my treatment my PT did some pulling movements of my head and about the 3 pull i felt a sharp electrical sensation that traveled from my midupper back to the end of my spine and with in a short amount of time i began to have a light cramping in my lower back that radiated out into both hips simalar to ministral cramps that continued for several days. I continously applied heat and continued working as much as i could and the pain continued to worsen. MY job requires some lifting and requires my backstrength, I have a house cleaning buissines. After about 6 or 7 days I was awakened around 3:00am with this horrible pounding in my back, I got up out of bed to try to stretch my back and i felt several pops in my spine which was the worst pain i've ever experienced. I had an MRI done 2 days befor the severe pounding that woke me up.My questions are #1 Is it normal to have the type of pain that i had from Physical Therapy? #2 Could the pops i felt in my back be disk that ruptured? #3 Could using my back continuously and costantly appling heat to the injury have caused the disk that were bulged to actually rupture? This happened 2 years ago and everytime the weather turns very cold i become almost crippeled with pain that is in my midupper back and lower back that travels down my arm into my fingers and radiates from my hips down my left leg into several of my toes. And i started going to a chiropractor 2 days ago and i'm wondering if i should continue with him or what you would recomend? I'm in constant pain. Thanks for your input. ~Pat~

Q: dear sir, I am 39 year old male. I have been diagnosted with tarlov cyst resently.Now when i sneeze i feel bad pain inside my bottox behinde my testicle more to left this pain because of the cyst? I feel pain on my bottox (left side) always and it is like numbless or burning and some times comes to my leg down and sometimes not. Fred

Q: Hi there! My boyfriend was just diagnosed with DDD and he is only 31. He has been in a lot of pain on and off for a few years and it seems especially bad when he comes back from working on the farm or driving truck. He has been going to a chiropractor and massage therapist and it seems to help manage some of his symptoms. Also he tries to stay active by playing hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer although he can't run very hard as his back pain increases. What can he do to either manage or reverse his DDD? What have you done to help with your case of DDD? Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks. Best Regards, Lucille

Q: I have two bulging discs in my lower back and have a lot of pain. My husband and I want to start a family but are afraid that my back problem could affect my or the babies health. Should this be a concern? THank you. Leticia

Q: I was rearended in two car accidents back in 1991 when I was pregnant with my daughter. I also had an epideral. Since then I have not been able to stand for more than fifteen minutes, when my lower back starts hurting. I had a deep tissue massage, the person that gave me the massage said I probably have a pinched nerve, since the car accidents happened while I was pregnant, and my hips were not in their normal position. Any suggestions? Patricia

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