aching lower back: Hi dear friends. I wonder if... - PMRGCAuk


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aching lower back

sewingscissors profile image

Hi dear friends.

I wonder if anyone can advise me. I am waiting to see a Rheumatologist next month, but have already been diagnosed with PMR and taking Prednisolone currently at 10mgs daily. My main problem is a very badly aching lower back after only a very few minutes of doing a standing task and as soon as I sit down, it goes off, but I feel really tired. Is this all part of this jolly disease and I would welcome any suggestions. Thanks so much.

10 Replies
DorsetLady profile image
DorsetLadyPMRGCAuk volunteer

Fatigue most certainly is….and see you asked same question 5 months ago. You got good advice on how to deal with fatigue.

Have thing improved since then, stayed the same, or got worse.

If first scenario, then what did you do to help, if second or third, then you probably need medical advice.

PMRpro profile image

The low back aching is not necessarily directly due to PMR itself but is a common effect of piriformis syndrome or myofascial pain syndrome more generally and both are pretty common alongside PMR. They lead to the back muscles you use in standing upright getting tight and going into spasm. I get physio and therapeutic massage which keeps mine at bay and in non-Covid times there was the pain clinic who also did a good job.

If you look on the internet you will find some simple exercises to relieve piriformis syndrome and greater trochateric pain syndrome which are both applicable here.

I find walking, even a short walk, helps with lower back pain

herdysheep profile image
herdysheep in reply to Janstr

Likewise, along with massage and the exercises, but standing is still very limited.

Yes, but mine in unrelated...and I’ve been MRI’d and it’s quite separate! Look at the response from Dorset Lady, she asks some good questions! Sounds like you haven’t asked a gp fir advice yet...if it’s very bad why wait a month to see a rheumy? Could, like mine, be unrelated, or like PMR Pro’s...related! But none of us can tell about your case, really, we aren’t doctors & a bad lower back pain can be many different things, I’m finding out!

MrsNails profile image
MrsNailsPMRGCAuk volunteer

I have that - & if l lean against a radiator for example it makes me move away pdq as it’s very sore to the touch. I have to make sure l have adequately padded slippers or flip flops on in the kitchen as the floor is tiled & hard floors seem to make it worse. I tend to lean on a bar stool to take the pressure off if l’m doing much in the kitchen…..

But as you say as soon as you sit down - it goes. I keep meaning to mention it to my Consultant but it tends to drop off my list!

Mention it to your Dr as an X-ray may throw some light on it….


Thank you MrsNails and everyone else who has replied to my post with helpful advice. Getting a face to face app with my doctor is not easy, but I do have telephone apps every now and again, mostly Prednisolone related. She has been trying to get me a Rheumatology app for months and I eventually decided to go private and even then there was a 2 month waiting list! But at last it’s coming up in early October. I do value all the advice from this excellent forum. Thank you all. Best wishes Sewing Scissors.

MrsNails profile image
MrsNailsPMRGCAuk volunteer in reply to sewingscissors

It maybe useful if you could get an X-ray so you had the result before you see the Consultant - Good Luck & let us know how you get on with your Appointment.

I have the stiff lower back and my left leg gives way. Can only walk with a shuffle! It is very painful. Pain goes away when I sit. Rheumatology nurse said to take ibuprofen but it didn't work. Going back to tramadol. Only started two weeks into tapering to 10mg. Now at week 8 of 8. Started pred in April on 40 mg a day. Due to go down to 9mg for 8 weeks next week.

Yes, I have certainly experienced this - at one point I could hardly stand at all and walk very little. The pain I felt was across my lower back and particularly in the dimples.

My consultant quickly ruled out my PMR as being the cause of the pain. As I also have inflammatory arthritis and Sjogren's, he wanted to be sure that this was not another autoimmune issue, so he quickly sent my for an xray. That showed quite severe degeneration of the discs in the area, with no sign of arthritic changes. That was a relief.

My inflammatory markers had been creeping up, in spite of the prednisolone and arthritis medication I was taking. Also, through examination of the affected areas, he thought that the PMR was probably at a stage where it was time to come off the pred. I agreed with him about that, because I have had some side affects from it. So it was decided that he would change my biologic injection from etanercept (injected 1 per week) to adalimumab (injected 1 per fortnight), in an attempt to reduce the inflammation. I was not expecting much effect, however, within a month, the back pain was less and since then (a year now) I have found tapering the pred so much easier. I am now on 1.5 mg, tapering very slowly.

Several visits to my osteopath/physio also helped greatly. He does acupuncture too, which helps me enormously, with pain relief. I now have some difficulty with standing, but it is nothing like as painful as it was, so I am happy.

So to summarise, my back pain was almost certainly caused by the degeneration in my spine and lockdown preventing me from seeing my osteopath made the situation so bad that I was seriously considering a wheelchair. High levels of inflammation in my system was probably contributing to the pain too, even though the spine issue was not necessarily arthritic. Small spinal manipulation, massage and acupuncture helped with both the pain and movement and the adalimumab reduced the inflammation almost overnight. I am now fully mobile, but avoid standing as much as possible.

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