View Full Version : My back - an update (anybody have serious back issues - not herniated disc?)


MellyFishButt
03-07-13, 11:59 AM
So for the last few months, I have had back issues that have worsened over time. I get burning pain near my kidneys (urine test clean), and then it moved down to a stabbing lumbar pain when sitting and standing, then daily sciatica, then a numb *** and tender tailbone, and now my left hip feels like it's almost out of socket. My muscle twitches have also been worse. They started out as just tiny twitches all over my body and were unnoticed to the naked eye and they have advanced to actually moving my body. They wake me up when I am trying to fall asleep and are noticable throughout the day. It's been a *******' nightmare!

I just had a clean MRI yesterday and my doc now thinks its muscloskeletal. I have physical therapy on Friday and an appt with a pain specialist who works with cancer pain and back issues. I was referred to him because my PCP is not comfortable prescribing narcotics to me long terms, especially since we can't seem to figure out the cause. I am hoping that the pain doc knows enough about back issues to SOLVE this or at least send me to a neurologist/orthopedist, I don't want to take pain meds for the rest of my life. The 'fun' of pain pills is gooooooone, but they're the only thing that cuts the edge off the pain.

I am now taking naproxen during the day (even though it makes me very sleepy), with vicoprofen, and then at night I am taking 10mg of valium because I keep reading online that they're off labeled prescribed as a muscle relaxer and I have them around for breakthrough anxiety. I am sleeping with a body pillow and being cognizant of how I set my head against my pillow when sleeping. Since the valium isn't helping (two days in a row, I have woken up with immediate sciatica), I am going to call my doc and ask for a true muscle relaxer. I also take nightly super hot scalding baths before bed and will be taking a heating pad to work with me. I have been really cautious about 'working my core' to help my back issues until I got the results from the MRI (if it was a bulging disc, I couldn't have screwed myself).

I first thought it was the adderall (twitching) or vitamins (kidney) but I have moved the timing of everything that I take and it's still pretty constant. I can't seem to find a connection to anything I am taking. My doc told me to take pedialyte for the twitching, thinking that I am drinking too much water, and it hasn't helped - they're getting worse.

I have done a crap ton of research and I can't find anything that I have ALL of the symptoms. The major ones that I am close to are spinal stenosis (but was unconfirmed in the MRI), disc prolapse (also unconfirmed in MRI), piriformus syndrome (this is the one that seems most current today, but I think it turned into this, since my back pain started way higher on my body and the hip/sacrum pain started recently) or sacroiliac joint issues. The problem with the last two is that the MRI only went as low as my lumbar, and didn't cover my ***/hip where is the most current pain/issues. I also don't recall any injury that I have sustained, BUT, I was on vics for my root canal and might not have noticed.

Oh! And my doc doesn't want to prescribe me pain meds after next week (even though advil doesn't do $^%*, truly), and said I should get as many massages as it takes to be pain free - which isn't covered by my insurance. I scoured Groupon and Living social and bought every cheap massage I could get but getting massages before I go to work is going to be tough to get, I'm sure. I have also not done any ice therapy because I have seen a lot of conflicting reports that it can make it worse.


Has anybody experienced a progressive back issue with my symptoms, or know anybody who has? Advice? Or is there a medication besides what I am taking that has helped you or a loved one immensely??

:confused:

Amtram
03-07-13, 12:19 PM
I had back issues for years, bad enough that I would have to have other people pick me up, help me in and out of chairs, that kind of thing. Nothing serious showed up in X-Rays or MRIs, either - at least nothing they could address medically. Physical therapy was the answer. I had to go through a couple of courses of it, but once I had developed the supportive muscles, all I need to do is keep up with these pretty gentle exercises to keep the pain away.

It's worked pretty well with my shoulder, too, even though that's clearly arthritic. I'm limited in my shoulder mobility, but the horrible pain is gone. Give PTs a chance!

AnythingBacon
03-07-13, 12:30 PM
I have something similar, but not quite the same.

When I was 17 I fractured my skull and displaced a vertebrae in my lower back. It was more like a temporary dislocation, but no damage to the structure or nerves. It is still slightly, and I mean very slightly, out of place even after all this time. Not enough to make a physical impact or require surgery... Yet.

Early on I tried a chiropractor and massages. I felt worse after getting my back popped then I did before. Massages helped, but were very short term solutions. What happens to me is that if I upset the muscles in my lower back and they inflame, it causes them to impact the nerve. When this happens my hip and sciatica make movement very difficult. Even sitting or laying down I'll get muscle spasms and almost everything becomes painful and difficult.

I am able to manage it by doing several back related stretches every few days.

I am not a qualified doctor or therapist, so this is not a recommendation, but more an option to discuss with a professional but...

The stretch that saved my life: I lay face down flat on the floor with my arms to my sides. If you can't, splay them out a bit for support, but try to eventually get them to your sides. Hard surfaces work the best. I bend my knees up to a 90 degree angle. Keeping my ankles together, and my hips flat to the floor, using gravity only, I allow my legs to slowly lower to either the right or the left then repeat to the other side. I do this about 2 to 4 times for each direction.

It is important to only go until you feel the stretch, do not push it beyond a comfortable stretch. Initially, this may only be a few inches or less. You will never get to the floor, don't try.

It took me doing this daily for about a week, but as soon as it started releasing the muscle from the nerve I felt so much better. My pain went from constant to just every once in a while.

I don't know if it will help you at all, but it did wonders for me. Back pain is no small matter, and regardless I hope you are able to find a way through it.

Good Luck!

Dizfriz
03-07-13, 12:51 PM
Not the same, but I can empathize because I too have major back issues.

I have pretty much no disk left between my last two vertebra. The bones rub and scrape resulting in a lot of pain. The one redeeming feature is that I can sit down and the pain will go away in a bit.

My biggest problem is that as the day goes on and if I try to do more, the pain gets greater and I have to stop. Surgery is not an option with this so I have to concentrate on being a survivor and not a victim of this.

In one way I am lucky, there is no nerve damage and I can do anything I wish as long as I can stand the pain. Therein lies the rub, so to speak.

A related thought,

Back issues are among the hidden disabilities. People often cannot see how much you are hurting and and often cannot understand how much you are disabled with this. It is a problem I guess most of us with hidden disabilities have.

Keep working with it. i have been dealing with this for over 20 years and it can be survived and does not stop a worthwhile life from happening.

Dizfriz

MellyFishButt
03-07-13, 01:18 PM
Thanks so much for the responses!

Ya, walking used to help up until a couple of days ago. I have PT at 8 and then I was going to hit a massage immediately after.

Question: would it help if I took a muscle relaxer before the massage? Also, should I stay away from pain pills before PT?

I apparently have to go all day without pain meds for my pain consult on Monday at 330. So not looking forward to that and will likely take the day off so that I can just lay in bed. So boring.

Lunacie
03-07-13, 01:58 PM
Very similar to what you describe. I spent a lot of time and money seeing
chiropractors, which didn't help any.

I wondered at different times whether it's a result of having FibroMyalgia,
or problems with my digestive tract and gas pressure. Stress certainly
made it worse, so does being overweight.

I think taking the hormone Vitamin D-3 has been helpful, but it does come
back at times.

MellyFishButt
03-07-13, 02:39 PM
I am super scared of chiro. I usually (80%) here negative things.

MellyFishButt
03-07-13, 02:40 PM
Very similar to what you describe. I spent a lot of time and money seeing
chiropractors, which didn't help any.

I wondered at different times whether it's a result of having FibroMyalgia,
or problems with my digestive tract and gas pressure. Stress certainly
made it worse, so does being overweight.

I think taking the hormone Vitamin D-3 has been helpful, but it does come
back at times.

What are your other Fibro symptoms?

Lunacie
03-07-13, 03:05 PM
It's been awhile since I've had a major flare-up, but lets see:

Morning stiffness - more than an hour to move without stiffness

Irritable/overactive bowel and bladder - intermittent bowel, consistent bladder issues

Headaches - Migraines are in my DNA but mine are different than my dad's

Numbness of arms/hands or legs/feet. Nothing like waking up in the morning
and feeling like someone else has their arm lying across your body when you
know you sleep alone. :eyebrow: But it's your own arm.

Temperature sensitivity - extreme heat and cold make me want to sleep, just sleep

Fatigue - some days I find I can't keep my eyes open, so I take a nap

Pain - feels like a bruise, very tender, especially over the hip bones and
shoulder bones. Also muscle knots - worse with stress.

Weakness of grip - I think I have a good hold on something but drop it

Dizziness at times - especially when I first lay down - sometimes my balance
walking is wonky


Some things could be ADHD or Fibro . . . sensitivity to light and noises and
smells, foggy-brain, restless legs in bed, difficulty falling asleep and staying
asleep, depression

MellyFishButt
03-07-13, 04:45 PM
Can I kvetch for a hot second? So my PCP keeps telling me to take naproxen around the clock (max is 1000mg per day), and all it does is make me tired. I am sitting her at work ready to just crawl under my desk with my heating pad and take a nap. ZZZzzzzzz.

Lunacie
03-07-13, 05:07 PM
Yeah, pain makes me want to just sleep, add any meds and it's a sure thing.

Have you considered trying accupuncture? Or accupressure?

If so, find someone who really knows what they're doing. Otherwise, in my
experience, it's just a waste of money. When I finally went to the clinic
attached to the college of Chinese medicine, the treatment really helped
with the daily headache that nothing else had helped in over a year.

MellyFishButt
03-11-13, 03:12 PM
I have an acupuncture appt on the 18th, excited for it!

I have my pain consult today. My husband is insisting on going which is really irritating me, and I am not sure why.

slouchpotato
03-11-13, 08:54 PM
I had severe back pain, lumbar, strong pain killers didn't touch it, I found Dr Stuart Mcgill a back specialist, David Burton? and Gray Cook FMS, all on amazn these helped, and the physio! pilates too! tho pilates can make some back issues worse! depending on the problem.

Obviously depending on your issue, they may or not be helpful, from my experience of the pain, i hope you find help soon.

sarahsweets
03-12-13, 06:45 AM
Can I kvetch for a hot second? So my PCP keeps telling me to take naproxen around the clock (max is 1000mg per day), and all it does is make me tired. I am sitting her at work ready to just crawl under my desk with my heating pad and take a nap. ZZZzzzzzz.

I am really surprised that an NSAID would make you tired. Are you sure its not your stimulant does? Or perhaps the vicodin? If your stimulant dose itsnt high enough or even too high this can make you very fatigued.

Lunacie
03-12-13, 08:13 AM
I am really surprised that an NSAID would make you tired. Are you sure its not your stimulant does? Or perhaps the vicodin? If your stimulant dose itsnt high enough or even too high this can make you very fatigued.

Looking back to when I had chronic pain, I think I was just worn out from
the pain, trying to take care of a family and a house while in pain, not
sleeping well because of pain. When I took OTC meds, they would ease the
pain and relax me just enough for the fatigue to take over and I'd have to
take a nap.

MellyFishButt
03-12-13, 08:55 AM
I am really surprised that an NSAID would make you tired. Are you sure its not your stimulant does? Or perhaps the vicodin? If your stimulant dose itsnt high enough or even too high this can make you very fatigued.

It's just naproxen. It effects 5% if people this way. I am one of the 5%. Meh.

So I went to my pain doctor yesterday. He said that I basically overstrained part of my back and then my brain freaked out, put my whole body in high alert and somehow my Sacrum and SI joints joined the party and they're now twisted around nerves. (This area hurts way more than my back and it goes into my hips). Lots of PT, deep tissue, acupuncture and a butrans patch for the next couple of months. I pick up the patch today. Hopefully it works!

I did see my MRI finally. There are some slight bulges and I will need to be really careful with my back or they'll soon become herniated/prolapsed. Awesome.

MellyFishButt
03-12-13, 12:33 PM
Saw PT and she still thinks its disc issues because every 'disc exercise' she gives me totally works and it should work only if my disc is out of whack. So my PCP thinks its anxiety and I should take muscle relaxers and no Valium, my PT says its disc issues and gives me tools to correct it, and my pain management doctor says 'I don't care what it is: take this and keep doing PT'. Hilarious!

The cool thing that the PT told me was that if i am proactive and do my exercises to keep the disc IN PLACE for a full week, enough collagen will pack it in and I won't have any long term issues. Phew!

deadmau5
03-12-13, 12:37 PM
If youre looking for a good muscle relaxer try carisoprodol(soma)

MellyFishButt
03-12-13, 02:02 PM
Not a fan of them in general. I think that I should continue taking them for the muscle spasm that I get at the thoracic level, for sure. Ill look I to soma. I don't remember it giving me that blurry hungover feeling...

Oh! I forgot about the scariest part: the muscle twitches. I guess the brain gets 'addicted' to the pain signals and when they're stopped suddenly, the neurons send out honing messages trying to find the pain again. Or something. Basically it's a neurochemical version of Marco Polo.

MellyFishButt
04-03-13, 12:51 AM
So I was put on a Butrans patch and given Nucynta for breakthrough pain, and this is my last patch before the doctor. I have to tell him its not enough, and not looking forward to that talk: I have used up almost all of my breakthrough med a week early. But I did tell him after the first week that it wasn't enough so hopefully he wrote that in my chart last time.

I tried to do an excitement today and went without Nucynta. I only took two yesterday and just relaxed. It doesn't our someone through withdrawal like a normal opioid so this has been possible. Man, what a difference it makes! I had to start chomping on Advil again and just before I laid down for bed (where I am now) I had to take a Nucynta. The pain just got to be too much and I had taken all of my other 'tools' that I have: anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers.

Oh well, off to bed. Thanks if you read any of this. :)

Blanched Dubois
05-02-13, 10:22 AM
upper back pain and muscular pain around stenosis with the time to find right add/ptsd meds is no life

if u do pain meds you go thru same difficult time to get 'right' while life keeps coming at ya

i'm now a total mess with less anxiety and now depression/agitated low level anger

i'm not a saint - been patient for too long...my mistake and can't get out of house without more suffering

someone tell me something good about my body being as much of a mess as my head surrounded by a big mess i can't get to cus i can't focus

that's just what is