Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2010 Part 1

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: Hi, I have lost my curvature of the spine. Can this be restored? I have the back pain problem since 15 yrs. Is it too late for any cure. Regards, Ninad

Q: Hello - I have visited your site a number of times - always coming back to it after feeling dismissed by a dr. I am not sure if you can help me either, but I figured I would put an email into you. I am a 26yr old female and for the past 4 years I have had some very strange pain issues. It began in in my back and right side abdomen - but after some tests (colonoscopy, endoscopy and abdomen CT), pain seemed to go away, but about two years ago it returned, and my lower back, tail bone area, along with my right abdominal side, and ribs all hurt at different times, with a general feeling of pressure, tightness and discomfort. Since then, I have had various tests including CT scans (Abdomen and pelvis), MRI of back, Ultrasound of abdomen and transvaginal ultrasound of pelvis. All have come back normal (thank God), though I am told I probably have IBS and seem to have two slightly slipped discs which I am told will not cause this discomfort. I am at my wits end, the Dr. that I am seeing now wants to put me on anti-anxiety meds, though I am very anxious from what may be causing this pain/discomfort, I am also cautious to start this medication - as I want to find the cause, not treat the symptoms! I think my Dr is fed up with me too, which in itself is disconcerting. Could this be TMS? I am located in NYC and very tempted to call Dr. Sarno's office. I am so scared as what could be causing this and just want it all to go away. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks! Erin

Q: please translate this in english for me L3/4 mild bilateral facet arthritis and mild disc bulge. L4/5 status post laminectomy this is considerable enhancement around the ventral sac. left side of the thecal sac extending out into the left foramen. There is still some blunting of the thecal sac on the left. No recurrent disc herniation is seen There is some continued enhancement of the left lateral aspect of the disc as it extends into the left foramen. L5/S1 Disc degenration There is moderate enhancement around the ventral thecal sac and the S1 nerve roots bilaterally. Thecal sac is decompressed No disc herniation Moderate bilateral facet arthritis with mild bilateral foraminal stenosis. Paula

Q: My husband has 2 herniated discs in his neck and he recently started working in an office. Due to sitting at his desk for long periods of time and looking down at his computer he is experiencing severe neck pain and headaches. Is there anything he can do to aleave this? Thank you, Jodi

Q: I've had back pain for over one year now. I'm only 19 yrs old and there was no injury to cause my pain. I've had scans, X-rays, MRI, web ultrasounds on my ovaries! They can not find a problem. I've had lower back pain non stop. I've tried acupuncture, physics, one on one Pilates with a physio and I can't get relief. I've had cortisone injections in my facet joints and even my sacrum. The sacrum injection seemed to help a minute amount but I'm still in so much pain. I have stiffness in my lower back too. I've tried everything and it's ruining my life.. My friends and family have just accepted it that I'm going to have to live with it. I'm almost suicidal because the pain affects me so much... I really need relief. Any help would be appreciated! Brooke

Q: I noticed on your page Psychosomatic Pain Expressions ( you say that Fibromyalgia is life threatening, it is not. I was diagnosed with it many years ago and recovered through TMS methods. This may have been a mistake, just wanted to let you know. Kathryn

Q: Sir, my wife ( Age -30 years) is recently got diagnosed with slip Disc problem. The L4-L5 disc got herniated also. I have MRI report also available but i am not getting option how to attach it here. I am situated in India. I have consulted one orthopedic surgeon here and they are strongly recommending for surgery. They are also telling that pressing of nerve root may cause many problems. My wife feels pain at a pin point in the back and pain radiates in the left leg. But the is bearable. We are not willingful to go for surgery at all. Requesting your suggestion. Ashish

Q: Sir, I am forty six years old. I have been running for the past 32 years. I was training with heavy weights for the past five years. I am presently training for the half marathon scheduled for January 2011.Last year the orthopedic surgeon informed me that I am suffering from osteoarthritis after I complained of severe knee ache. About a month I was bedridden with slipped disc in the lower back. While recovering from it I also got severe upper back pain due to Cervical Spondylosis. The doctor has informed me that I must not run or train with weights ever again or I will be in serious trouble. I don't want to give up running. Please help. Thank you, Shomik

Q: I am a female, 37 years old. I had back pain for almost 6 years, finally and after the pain took a drastic turn, did MRI on 2008, and 2009 the doctor found that I have 2 herniated discs in L4 & L5, C6 & C7 with pinch nerve. My right leg is different than the left and I have a problem with my right knee, it snaps (cracks) I can not sit for too long or stand for too long, I am in pain 24/7 I can not sleep,non of the medications helped ease the pain. Last week I started injection epidural, but I still have pain. I do feel pain in both elbows, numbness through my hands and the last three fingers gets worse during sleep. I have seen 4 specialists, neurosurgeon, rheumotologist with no answer as to when or how to manage my pain. If you can help or direct me on how to handle my pain, or what other things are available for me I would really appreciate it. Thanks, Samira

Q: My TMS went away (and I started dealing with anxiety and fears on the fly instead of squirreling them away) about 8 years ago as a result of my reading--and re-reading--"Mind Over Back Pain", which was loaned to me by a friend who read it and re-read it and cured herself in the same way Dr. Sarno recommends. I've read and re-read Dr. Sarno's other books, and I loan them to other friends. Now, the 75 year-old mom (who loves to walk) of a very close friend is experiencing what seems (to me) to be TMS (deep pain in the buttocks, shooting pain down the legs, inconclusive x-rays that show some disk degeneration, etc.). But she's in the Los Angeles area, 14 hours away and is much more likely to see a doctor than read your book. Do you have a list of doctors in Southern California who are conversant in and sympathetic with a TMS disorder and mind-body medicine in general? If so, I will be very grateful if you would please send me the list or refer me to the link. Thankfully and Hopefully, Larry

Q: Had cervical fusion,from the front July 1,2010. I'm 3.5 mths postop, had no feeling in my thumb, Crazy left arm pain. NOW I have feeling back and the arm pain has lighten. NEW PAIN...SEVERE BETWEEN MY SHOULDERS PRESSURE AND MY NECK VERY RESTRICTED RANGE OF MOTION. IS THIS THE DOMINO EFFECT? Ernest

Q: I had laminectomy + discectomy 15yrs ago had a bad relapse about 7yrs ago, 7wks in hospital 6 month recovery. may 2009 tripped over a hoover cable, disc prolapse all at l4 l5 area. had surgery because I could not move without going into spasm had to lie down constantly. Wallace implant inserted then disc started to crumble. in august 2009 had more surgery implant removed pieces of disc taken away had a few spinal injections and lots of other small nerve problems. Pain started to get worse again had more surgery in June 2010. crumbling disc again. MRI showed this quite clearly. Now more severe pain sciatic nerve in left leg going into spasm when on feet for short periods of time and numb right foot going into the toes so more surgery booked for a couple of weeks time. I just do not understand what is going on. I thought you could easily remove a disc causing these problems. surgeon says it is very rare for this to happen but how much surgery can be done and what happens if all of the disc crumbles away and no more is left. is this dangerous or what. don't think I can take much more. Theresa

Comment: Hi, Ive had acute back pain for the past 18 months on waking every morning. Sometimes it occurs as early as 5am. Its on the right hand side of my back. Ive been diagnosed with Osteopenia and went for a dexa scan this week, am now awaiting the results of this. The doctor says my back pain must be muscles, so far hes given me pain killers that do not work. Its agony. Bearwallow

Comment: I have ha back problems for almost 5 years buy feels like 10! I have a left sided herniation L4/5. Found out I have a slightly discerned L4 vertebra. It is rotated out of position about 10 degrees. I also have slight spina bifida at L5. The two points never fused to create the Spinas Process. They formed criss crossed thus giving my lower back a flat spot. My lumbar is curved properly but the spinas process of L5 caused the flat spot. I have worked in the Spine field for over 7 years - Ironically! So as soon as I started to have symptoms I knew what was going on. I have had really bad days and ok days. I do wake up every day with some level of pain. I have been able to manage this lately through exercise, massage therapy and cortisone injections. Before this treatment I would have flare ups that landed me in the ER twice. Since I lost 30lbs I have greatly reduced the load on my lumbar spine. I have maintained my disc height - verified at each cortisone shot. I know there is really no good surgery out there. And there is a bad rule of thumb used by Orthos and Neuros : Back pain only = Fusion and Back and Leg pain = Minimal discectomy. I have localized lower back pain. No sciatic symptoms whatsoever. I have had 2 Orthos say that I am a perfect candidate for a T-LIFF. Trans lateral fusion. I told them absolutely not. I would only fuse if something was broken and I had a hard time walking. The discectomy route is not any better. They burn away all the nucleus and then leave a hole behind that you end up re-herniating from. Never mind the disc height loss that follows. It's all ugly. My previous company (Intrinsic Therapeutics) developed a device that can seal the defect and stop recurring herniations. They are attempting to start clinical trials in the US. They have a great number of patients doing great in Europe. I just started working at another spine company in Cambridge Ma. We have developed an implantable device to help Spinal Cord Injury. Our site is We will be starting a US clinical trial soon. I will work in the spine field for as long as I can and this company is the best chance for people paralyzed by a traumatic incident to the spinal cord. Thank you for reaching out genuinely to help people dealing with chronic back pain! People like you are few and far between! God bless! Phil

Q: Great site. I heard about spinal decompression product for sale online and in theory it sounds like a product that should work. Do you have any knowledge about it. Ethan

Q: hi there my dad is experiencing severe back pain on the left side he consulted a doctor but got recovery they did say that it could be a pinched nerve or strain also a skin irritation. but he is pain for the past 3 months now and we can't get a cure. he had x-rays done but all clear. on his back there feels like a knot there and it is a bit swollen. please can you tell me what we do or use to get rid of this pain. Thanks, Chantal

Q: I was diagnosed with L4 disc bulge and c4-c6 herniated discs. I feel a little pain still in the lower back and pain in the neck. Is it possible for me to heal this completely before I go to boot camp in 1 year? Trevor

Q: I cannot stand for long or sit . Body becomes stiff , movement /streching makes it better. I think my problem is both due to bad posture and emotional reasons. I wish to know more about the " knowledge therapy " & Chiropractic therapy. please advise. KARANBIR

Comment: Fantastic job on this site. Just wanting to say thanks, Bill

Q: I am suffering from back pain for the past 1.5 years. At present iam feeling my left leg thigh are burning sensation. Please let me know how to reduce, what type of food and exercise i need to follow? Thanks in advance! regards, sasi

Q: Since my arms/hands were aching including a sharp pain at the back of my neck (left side), I decided to get an X-ray done. The report thus reads as follows "There is narrowing of the disc spaces at C5/C6 and C6/C7 with osteopathic changes at these levels. No other bony abnormality. Impression: Disc degeneration at C5/C6 and C6/C7. This being so, how do i treat this....please help because I can't sleep at nights as it hurts when I have to turn to my sides. Annie

Q: there's a 45 year old male with pain in my lower back for over a year. he feel the back pain especially when he bend over to pick something up. he also have tingling in my legs. is this a strained muscle or peripheral neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease or degenerative disc disease? Deepali

Q: Hello.... I've read two of Dr. Sarno's back pain books and intellectually I know that i fit in the guidelines of someone that has repressed anger/rage and I deeply sense that my chronic daily back pain is due to tension, deriving from my underlying tension about anger. After reading the books I have not found a way to release my back tension.. and therefore I am in daily severe pain. I am paradoxically a yoga teacher and stress-reduction facilitator. I have been meditating for years and yet I cannot find the through line to my anger.. and more importantly how to let go of my tension. I don't make tons of money, am a single parent etc.. etc.. but am willing to do what I have to to find a cure for myself. Do you have any suggestions about a course of action? Thank you so much for any consideration in this matter. my deepest acknowledgment goes to you and the work you do. Mark

Comment: The Story is not about me, it is about my mother. She has had psychosomatic pain for 22 years, I'm currently 23. Pain goes from her legs, right behind the knee-caps, up to her lower back, L4 L5 region. From a series of issues leaving her home, mother & family behind when she was married and her move to the US. Her pain, from what my dad tells me, began right after she left her home country. She had an overly deep attachment to her mother, her mother passed away 10 years ago from this date, creating a deep sense of loss within my mother and bring about depression... or at least that is what drs have labeled her to have. she is on very low doses of antidepressants, she for the longest time didn't admit to having depression and just recently, a year ago, came to the term and actually admitted her depression. living in the east coast made her pain worse because of weather conditions but she had a few friends and had the possibility of being social. After the many complaints and her mother-in-law moving in for 6 months she became a lot worse. my father decided to move to California, where we are living currently, she became immediately better. then after a month or two the pain came back again. now she went to see a pain specialist she has been on some pain medication non-opit and she was ok but had thoughts of suicide and depression became worse since her medication made her sleepy. My mother is 52 yrs-young and she is post menopause but does not admit it. so hot flashes occur and she blames it on the pills now she's off them and she is much worse. i don't know if she is still taking her antidepressant medication but she says she does. she is still in pain and she blames my father for all of it and she will not come to terms with her problem. I don't know if you can help but i am desperate to find any type of solution or new thought to help her come out of this. she doesn't trust psychologist or doctors or anyone so its hard for her to open up. she is completely isolating herself from society so she has met very few people in CA and this makes matters worse we can't get her to go out and meet new people and I won't forever be in her life... but at this moment my sisters and i see no other option we want to see her get better we love her and can not bear to see her in such a low mental state. - D

Q: I have been suffering from severe back problems. I recently had an MRI done and the findings was L4-L5 There is a small posterior central disk protrusion which causes a minor extradural indentation on the anterior surface of the thecal sac centrally. There is a mild symmetric facet joint overgrown. Also L5-S1 There is moderate sized posterior left paracentral disk protrusion which obliquely flattens the anterior surface of the thecal sac asymmetrically to the left midline. I was wondering if this problem could be a result of my major weight loss. I have lost over 200 lbs however my breast are very large would a breast reduction help to release the pain that I am currently having? Stormie

Q: Dear Adam, I have been practicing ki-aikido for a few years, and I am totally passionate about it. I have just undergone a micro-discectomy on my L5 disc. My symptoms of sciatica are lessening after 6 weeks of core stability exercises etc, but I still have a little pain in my left leg, which seems to get worse in the evening. I get a small amount of lower back ache once or twice a week, and the muscle underneath my surgical entry wound, is still a little swollen and tender. Will I be able to return to practicing aikido again, and, if so, when would be a good time to return. Will I still be able to do backward breakfalls and forward rolls as an uke? Thank you for your help... Charlie

Q: I agree with the psychological deal, one reason is because i do work out, exercise and use heat, but was wondering if "water" help create more oxygen in the body because maybe i'm not getting enough of that either. thanks. Wanda

Q: Found the web site informative as I have started down the road of countless doctors and various tests - to no avail. I am curious to what you are suggesting as your web page is information overload. I realize that there is no obvious one solution but I am looking for anything I can do to stop the pain in lower back. As a owner of my own business rest is not a option. I will continue to search the web site and try the suggestions that I find that pertain to current problem. I have a problem with L-4 - L-5 and muscle spasms and have problems with any relief. Doug

Q: how soon after back surgery can i go up and down my stairs? Cynthia

Q: How can I find documents to provide information that shows a link to an injury in 1972 to the back issues I have today? Victor

Q: I am SYAM, my age is 23 years, i am suffering from back pain for the last one year. i have taken mri scan report, and the impression of mri scan report is "diffuse the annular bulging of l4/l5 and l5/s1 intervertebral discs with compression on thecal sac and bilateral neural recess narrowing" last time i have taken physiotherapy treatment that time i got some pain relief but again pain started. can you tell me the permanent solution for this back pain. recently blood test and urine test also taken in that ASO TITRE is positive is found. Lot of people are telling that there is no complete treatment for this. can you tell me the complete treatment for this disc bulging. thanking you sir.

Q: Hello sir my name is satish am 22 years old am suffering with back pain, when ill jump back pain is start. Give me any suggestions. With regards, SATISH

Q: Hi i was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 19 months ago. I have pain from my waist right up but i have alot more pain in my back. I have tried everything and nothing works. Ive been given physio several times and i still get no relief. I have had countless medication and nothing helps. My back is the worse pain. It is so bad i just do not know what to do anymore. In bed now i find that i am very sore throughout the night. This is more of a recent thing but it has gradually gotten worse. Help me please. Shelly

Q: Hi! I had back pain since teenager but did not pay to much attention because most of the time I was working physically hard. That was the case until April 2009 when the pain did not disappear after resting. My back pain did not start after a particular event and progress gradually. I had a MRI in September 2009 and after that the pain spread in my right buttock and back of the leg (thigh and calf). Of course they told me that the pain is caused by a herniated disc. My MRI report sounds as follows (can't send you the original because is not in English): lumbar scoliosis, vertebral degenerative modifications in L3, L4 and L5, two 6-7mm hemangioma in L1 and L4 (I know that they are benign tumors), DDD in last two lumbar and first sacral, central herniated disc at L3/L4 and central and lateral herniated disc at L4/L5 that compress the right root of L5 nerve and in my doctor's view is the most significant. After usual treatments like heat, ice, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants and a lot of physiotherapy my pain decrease, with another few days acute attack around New Year and after that almost disappear until May 2010 when started again and progress daily until 3 weeks ago, around 10th of September, after my holiday when I had the most painful experience in my life with first few days immobilized in bed. Now it is a little bit better, after I have downloaded and read your book and Dr. Sarno's 2nd book. I still have a lot of pain in my lower back, back of my right leg(buttock thigh and calf) and sometimes, and this is new, in my left buttock and front of both thighs. I have found a lot of answers about my chest, shoulder and arm pain, my stomach problems and headaches because of these books and I realized how perfectly logical are your and Dr. Sarno's explanations. Still, because I am a vet and I have been 'trained' to believe the classic information about herniated discs, back pain and others, sometimes some doubts came to my mind unfortunately . So,can you give me, please, your opinion about my MRI and some advice how to beat those doubts? I think that what you are doing with your book, site and everything is amazing and you are a wonderful person. Thank you for everything! Vas

Q: Hi, I did give you a story before but there was not question - it was just background. I have had a double fusion from L4-S1 and after the second op it was a success. I need to work and work from 9-5.30. I am not pain free but recently I have some terrible flare ups. I do suffer from stress but am exhausted from working full time. Part time jobs are v hard to come by. The pains are unbearable and then settle down. I do not know what to do about my job. I am married and it has caused stress and our incomes have dropped. Please advise. Michele

Q: I still have on and off pain in legs and sensations in feet, after two small bulges l4/L5 and L5/s1. I have read all about Sarno and followed all his recommendations, but it still persists, not acute just enough to irritate me and remind me its there and i'm at its mercy so to speak. what do you suggest. Martine

Q: I did something to my lower back 2 weeks ago. I ended up in the emergency room at 3:00 that morning. The doctor diagnosed me with a pinched nerve in my lower back; however he did nothing to confirm this diagnosis. He simply gave me lortab and moved on about his night. I went to my primary physician 4 days later. I told him the pain was not as significant as it was when it first occurred, but it was still bothering me.He, too, did nothing but prescribe pain medication without even trying to see what was really going on. Last night it flared back up and feels as bad as it did 2 weeks ago. I can't stand, sit, lay down, squat, or lift anything. I have been trying stretching my back with exercises 2 times a day. Can you please suggest something that will help this? I feel like I cannot take much more of this. Pamela

Q: my mum has had degenerative disc disorder for a while now and she is in pain all the time, she has tried a lot of things to help the pain but nothing has worked in the long term. DDD has occurred in her lower and upper back (neck area) which has trapped nerves and sends shooting pains down her right arm and left leg, her back has also stopped her from having a good nights sleep, she falls asleep around 10pm and but because of the pain she wakes up at 4am then has to get out of bed around 6am when my 4 year-old sister wakes up, she also feels depressed and it upsets her when I worry about her. She takes a variety of pain relief which only takes the edge off the pain. I'm very worried about her well being and it limits her to what she can do, she can drive but sitting down for too long hurts her back. She had an operation last year on her lower back were they shaved off some of the bone from two of her vertebrae to stop the spongy bit from pushing against them. If there is anything you can suggest i would be very grateful. How can this be cured or helped ?? anything would be great. thank you. Josie

Q: i have vertebral osteophytes. i can't stand or sit without any support. i have severe pain in dorsal region from 2yrs. when i have pain then it goes overnight and so long and with rest it slows down. WHAT CAN I DO TO RELIEF THIS BACK PAIN? MY AGE IS 40. I have one CAESARIAN case and one forecep delivery. Veena

Q: hi i am 30 years old female...last year in february i fell in the bathroom since then got this herniated disc problem of the neck...mine has become chronic i dunno y....doctors say its not much then y do i get this pain....if i work in the kitchen or lift heavy things it gets worst..i've tried physiotherapy...chiropractor...nothing seems to be helping....this has made me very unhappy in u have a solution. tabassum

Q: Hi, Nice site. Please allow a min of your time to maybe help me. I had a rotator cuff surgery. Prior to the surgery a complete neuro testing was performed by a neuro doctor rendering a clean and perfect result.Hence giving the "green light" for rotator surgery. after the nerve block wore off (3-4) days i was in so much pain tears were in my eyes, i addressed my pain to the surgeon and showed him the new black and blue and swelling and he dismissed me from his care. Now and not surprised a couple of doctors in the same area are telling me that i have foraminal stenosis. Why did i just get this after surgery? and why was nerve damage recorded after my surgery by the same neuro doctor that did the same test before surgery? Please see if you can shed some light on these claims of placing the blame on "Foraminal Stenosis" I wish i could email you a pic of my shoulder ...your jaw would drop to the ground from the amount of atrophy and it is still progressing 6 mo after surgery.thanks, john

Q: My discomfort started about 4 weeks ago. I had a bit of discomfort in my right breast. I went for a mammo, ultrasound and finally an MRI. All came back "clear". During the time I was waiting for my MRI. I started to get a tingling, numbing and burning feeling in my mid to upper back. I had a CT scan on my head and a lung x ray that also came back clear. I am just waiting for a CT on my spine and lungs. I discomfort I feeling in my back is not painful, but very annoying. I get if for sometimes 10 hrs a day. I am so scared that it is something serious. I have even had numbing in the 2nd and 3rd toe on both left and right foot.It is driving me crazy. Another note I started training with a trainer about 3.5 months ago. I am hoping that it's just an exercise injury. It's just this discomfort is so foreign to me. Any answers ??? Suzanne

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