Recurring low back pain

Approximately 3 years ago I hurt my back, I'm still not quite sure how. I just sat down one day and couldn't get up. I had noticed for a while before that I wasn't able to lay on my front anymore as it was making me ache, the doctor seems to think this may have been a warning sign. Anyway I ended up having to take some time off work because of it. I've now had approximately 5 occurrences of it. I seem to get better for a couple of months then it goes again. A couple of times I've actually felt my back 'go' and it's usually down to the simplest motion. I take Gabapentin (2x300mg per day) for the sciatica that seems to accompany it. I was referred for an xray for suspected scoliosis but the doctor was advised that they don't do xrays for that anymore, I have pushed for a scan but just seem to get brushed off. Annoyed by that as someone I know went to the other doctors in town even though not registered with them and was referred immediately.

This time around I felt the back twinge, but didn't have immediate pain, I carried on went to work for the day (work in a stock room so lifting is the norm), it was till that night I was in agony again. I've now been off work more that 7 weeks. I've seen the occupational health doctor who is going to make some recommendations to work (believe them happening when I see it). Anyway I'm due to go back to work next week, however over last weekend I seem to have had a relapse, only thing I can think I did was bending over cleaning the floor or carrying some fairly heavy shopping (I was feeling much better). I now have pain around my lower spine which also feels very tender to touch (it's never felt as tender before). The sciatica is a sod all down the side of my thigh, feeling like I have cramp in my calf and just achy round my ankle. I tried to explain to my family that I also feel like my backside is on fire when I sit (like carpet burn!) My main problem is walking any distance I get pain right across the top of my buttocks and into my hips, I can't seem to walk for more than 10-15 minutes without getting it, I just feel like I need to sit down. Sitting at the computer desk is a pain too, can old sit in the chair for appros 10 minutes before my hips hurt.

Apologies for the long post thought it would give some background. My question really is, has anyone else has experienced 'a relapse' or similar pain, and can recommend anything to help. I'm taking Co-Dydramol for the pain as I can't take tramadol/co-codamol and they make me really sick. I also cannot take ibuprofen as I'm taking lanzaparole (to counteract the gabapentin side effects...all good fun). Have had physio in past which didn't really help.

It's looking like another trip to the docs. I don't think my work will like it.

17 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Keep pushing for one Dan but I continually get fobbed off with 'there are so many people suffering from back pain'. If I could afford to go private for a scan I would.

  • I can relate to a few of your symptoms. I have a bulging disc in my lower back and can relate to the burning pain you describe. I agree with other replies you need to get your gp to refer for mri. If they cant do it direct then via neuro-surgery. I found this a helpful route.

    All the best. I hope you get some answers soon. X

  • Treatment for lower back pain depends upon the patient's history and the type and severity of pain. The vast majority of lower back pain cases get better within six weeks without surgery, and lower back pain exercises are almost always part of a treatment plan. If pain persists or worsens, more involved diagnostic and surgical procedures may be recommended. For the mean time, taking up natural health supplements can help you lessen the pain. Look up the benefits of deer velvet. I would recommend Kingly Velvet.

  • You don't say how old you are. However your symptoms sound like you might have oesteoarthrits in your lower spine that is getting inflamed. You do need to push for an xray if it doesn't clear up and if it does I would say its very important for you to learn how to look after your back. Pilates is great

  • Hi, it would be useful to know your age as it sounds to me like you have Ankylosing Spondylitis.If you are between 20-35 I would say that AS is almost certainly your problem.If your gp will not send you for a scan, ask him to do a blood test.AS can be picked up by a gene in your blood.If it is AS, it's vital you are referred for treatment asap as the longer you leave it, the worse the damage will get.You say you suffer relapses, but with AS, you get flare ups.There is a lot on line about AS, it's an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself and then over compensates by laying new bone down in your spinal joints.These eventually seize and your spine will become very stiff and painful.It took 12 years for me to get a diagnoses by which time my spine was completely rigid.If it is found early, there is good treatment available.You'll have to inject yourself every week, but that should keep it in check.Go right now and demand a blood test.Good luck

  • Hi I'm 41, the doctor seems to think it's muscle related, I do have slight scoliosis or as the doc put it 'your back's a bit wonky'. That's all I've ever been told.

  • Hi there

    In 1992 I woke up one Monday morning virtually unable to move my legs and with severe pain on my lower back radiating out to both hips and down the legs. I had done a bit of a silly thing that weekend leaning over a car bonnet helping to locate the engine mountings as two guys lowered the engine on a scaffold pole, I was not taking any of the weight, just nudging it in the right direction, to locate on the bolts. No problem at the time but the next morning, Oh boy did I regret doing it. My GP at the time came out and said in a quite blase manner that it was probably linked to my horse riding accident. I then said which one? I rode from the age of 4 - 25. After a few minutes we established that it was the accident I had in 1979 caused by a car.

    What I was unaware of that morning was that an x-ray which had been done in the late 80's via my previous GP (I had moved towns) had shown that I had Spondylolisthesis L 4/5, S1. I was not told anything about this at the time, the GP then called it Lumbago!

    Spondylolisthesis is where the vertebrae are damaged, in my case due to hitting the ground at a gallop after the horse was scared by the car, and actually move slightly, putting pressure on the spinal nerves that come from each vertebrae. You can also bee born with the beginning of the condition which can then get worse as you age.

    I have never had it quite so severely as on that morning, thankfully, though I have refrained since from helping move car engines! However, I have to be careful with lifting items and bending down, as I like yourself, can hear/feel my back 'go'. On two occasions, tripping over paving slabs or off curbs triggered it, I did not actually fall but the wrench to my back as I tried to stop myself was enough to do it. I also, like you, have problems sitting and walking. An MRI scan shows this problem up best, though apparently it can be seen to a certain extent, on an X-ray.

    see website nhs.uk/conditions/spondylol...

    regards

    Susan

  • Please, please, please get pushy with gp. You need at least an Cray and preferably scans which might not be conclusive but which will indicate what the symptoms are suggestive of. You obviously have sciatica but the origins should be investigated. Perhaps you are too much of a trooper and keep going, don't like bothering people? Trust me, I used to be like that for years and have ended up losing my career and disabled. Go back to gp and keep in touch with occupational health, from what others have written on HU, they do seem proactive.

    Next time you have a relapse, ask the surgery for a home visit from gp and see how quickly he rethinks the situation ;-)

  • I did have a friend who suffered incredibly she pretended to slip on the kitchen floor, she called an ambulance told them she hurt her back and got xrays and a scan from that. I really don't think I could be that naughty though I have too much of a conscience!

  • I have to smile at your friend, but like you, I was too tolerant for years :(

    Only ever tell the truth but if you are bad, imagine that it was your child and you might get more perspective on how to treat yourself (says she who never has called the gp out for herself Lol)

  • Hello. You are the expert on your body and it is telling you that something is wrong. I have back and hip problems but my GP is fantastic. If it were me, I would insist on having an X Ray. That may show up any problems with the joints. I would also ask for an MRI scan which will give a much clearer picture for the joints and soft tissue. A blood test would help to see what levels of inflammation are present. Once you have a diagnosis, the GP and you can make a plan as to what happens next - Physio, accupuncture, referral to Specialist etc. I find that Osteopathy works for me. My osteopath can also refer for scans without the need to see a GP so this is also a route that you may wish to consider. There are lots of things that you can do. You are in control and trust your instincts. Good luck!

  • My Doctors in Llangollen and the Hospital in Wrexham proudly announced that "We don't 'do' backs" when I went in for my back pain, ten years plus now, eight unemployed living off the wife.

  • I'm having to go back to see the doctor probably Monday if I can get in (we have this strange appointments system at my docs). I'm going to ask again, I'm also open to trying acupuncture etc. Physio has done nothing in the past except make me feel worse the next day and there's also an 18 week wait for it here anyway so chances are by the time I get there I would be feeling OK again. I've got to that I'll try anything stage as as well as work it also ruins 'normal' life too, I don't drive so as a rule walk everywhere but dare not go too far, going out to cinema etc. is a no no as I can't sit for more than 20 mins without having to get up. I was booked on a trip to the west end a while back, I could have stuck the show but the 3hr bus journey was a big no no so had to give that up.

    I am however going to take up swimming as I think that may well help strengthen 'my core' without too much impact, I think it may be a good thing.

    Really I'm just annoyed that the person I know who walked into the other doctors in town got a scan offered straight away. There's me limping along cause I feel like I can't bend and she walks around incredibly normally for someone with 'hideous' (as she put it) sciatica.

  • This could be a muscular problem. An Alexander Teacher can hopefully help on preventing recurrences.

    You only need a tight muscle in the wrong place and pressure is applied to the root nerves located in and near the spine. The result pain and discomfort.

    When the tight muscle in the wrong place relaxes the pain and discomfort goes.

    The NICE guidelines allows you up to 12 chiropractor sessions. You need to google for the latest guidelines and present them to your GP.

    it would help if you started to pay attention to your posture. What is good posture? That is a question that an Alexander Teacher can answer better than me if you see one.

    A good instruction on looking at posture is found in the book "Meditation - A Way of Awakening (2011)". The book is a free download.

    cittaviveka.org/index.php/t...

    Posture information is found on the following Pages

    Sitting Meditation 21

    Standing Meditation31

    Walking Meditation37

    Hope this helps

  • Hi

    this is not good with spine problem, looks like hips bursitis also.

    " Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as lansoprazole may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This effect has occurred mostly in people who have taken the medication long term or at high doses, and in those who are age 50 and older. It is not clear whether lansoprazole is the actual cause of an increased risk of fracture. Before you take lansoprazole , tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mineral density). "

  • Just an update, laying here in pain as back is bad again. Although I have flexibility the pain around lower back and hips is horrible and I have never had the soreness around the muscle like this before. Also been getting really stiff thighs (the right one mainly).

    Best of it is had a report through from the occupational health management company I went too a see a couple of weeks ago saying I should aim to return to work this week. They saw me when I was feeling much better than I am now. I pretty much agree with everything in the rest of their report as it's consistent to the point I saw them and offers me a phased return, although it does say I can lift 10-15kg hitch I'm not happy with. Now going to have to see what my GP says Monday. I guess the operative word is that it says I should 'aim' to return not 'should'. I had planned to anyway before the relapse.

    My last fit note ran out a week ago and I took some holiday I was owed thinking I would be OK by next week. In someway it still makes you feel pressured. As I mentioned somewhere before the GP said he would like me to be pretty much 100% before returning so I have feeling I might be signed off again. The plus side is that the report has said that they think I would benefit from physio and to ask GP again if he would refer me, so I may get something from that. I will have to speak my HR advisor at work (she deals with occupational health) maybe if I tell her that I've spoken to My GP about the report and physio it will show that I am trying my best to get back to normal and work. I'm worried they will say I have to come back before doc says. I'm not really sure what happens in these cases. My work colleague sings my HR advisors praises saying she was wonderful when she was off for quite a while so hopefully things will be ok. My immediate manager has also stated that he would prefer back 'a fully fit' me rather that a half fit who may have to go off sick for even longer if I do more damage.

    I'm also unsure about some puffiness I've noticed around my waist/hips which seems to come and go. I'm not sure whether to mention this.

    Apologies for oober long post! Can anyone think of something I should ask GP about/to check for that I haven't already?

  • hope it helps some one step at a time... Tens unit & heat therapy helps a lot even Epsom salt baths are wonderful unlike leg lifts & bike best for lower back along with new mattress no pain no gain so with every slump second think of posture soon to be habit & good morning exercise which is simply both hands on both hips standing carefully bending backwards like back bend not to strain but slightly pull hold 10 seconds do 3 times day achances are we forget to bend knees slightly picking up small heavy things while most do have some scoli then to top it off with weak lower back muscles is really a perfect recipe for pinched nerves slipped herniated disc so too bad ibuprofen 1400mg or naproxen is out of Q & pain increases if you don't which is permanant Chiropractic alignment can be worthwhile considering surgery

You may also like...