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Asking for advice as chronic lower back pain sufferer

So I actually just discovered these forums and after reading through a couple threads here thought I might give posting in here a shot. In January of 2015 I was in a pretty mild car accident on the highway. It was not really bad at all; no ones airbags went off and all parties walked away just fine. However, immediately after the accident I began feeling a sharp pain in what felt like the center of my back. Being quite a competitive athlete at the time, I shrugged it off for a while. After months of persistence and the pain getting worse, I saw a doctor who said there did not seem to be anything really wrong but that I should take it easy and maybe stop exercising for a while. 

Five years, more scans and doctors than I can count, and numerous medications later and the pain has persisted. Every doctor I have gone to just say that my scans look clean and that it must be something muscular but they do not give me any hint to an actual diagnosis. The pain has changed from a sharp to a more dull, throbbing ache. I have lost significant flexibilty in my back and bending in certain ways began to cause sharp pains (and still does) in the center and lower parts of my back. At times this pain can feel like a current shooting up and down my back. I did physical therapy for years to no avail. Medications only help so much, especially since I can no longer take NSAIDs due to drug interactions with my other medication. I can still function day to day, but every day consists of at least some pain and beyond work I cannot do much else. I went from doing almost 25 hours of exercise a week to barely being able to do a couple of hours. 

At this point, I have kind of just accepted that I will always have back pain and am trying my hardest to exercise through it, but I thought I might put this here in case anyone has had a similar experience or maybe knows something else I can try. I am basically looking for any insight I can get from fellow pain sufferers, because the only other voices I have heard thus far are doctors and none of them seem very helpful.

Thank you in advance :)

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Comments

  • Don't give up!  Look for treatments that might work for you, such as massage, acupuncture, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, cold laser....whatever you can afford.  Sometimes relief is found in the strangest places with the most unusual treatments.  The best thing I have done (I have 38 years of low back issues....) is gentle yoga classes to keep my core strong and keep the rest of my body moving.  All the best - I hope you find something that works for you!

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,169

    Welcome MSB1998 to the Veritas Health Forum!!

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about back pain on Spine-health that you might want to check out: Back Pain Overview: A Guide for Understanding Back Pain. The article outlines common lower back pain causessymptoms, and treatments. It’s a very comprehensive article. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.
    Sandra
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

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  • awolf22aawolf22 Posts: 2
    edited 02/27/2020 - 1:14 AM

    Hey man I completely feel your pain, especially the physiological part; I used to be an D1 athlete and an unfortunate injury led me to have back pain for the past 5 years and have seen so many different doctors with no real answers. I have gotten so out of shape because of it, and truly I miss the athletic self I once was; like being fit and working out sustains me and I don't have that at all anymore. You are not alone. 

    After a really bad episode sharp low back pain which lasted 7 months this past year, I was finally was able to take the pain away by seeing a really good physiologist who specializes in manual hands on therapy. This helped me re-program my body to activate my deep core muscles properly. 

    There are multiple deep stabilization muscles (multifidus, transverse abdominis, and the pevlic floor) which are always subconsciously firing during any body movement and are key to protecting your spine. These unfortunately switch off when people get bad back pain for some reason and your superficial strong muscles over compensate and can cause tightness; Even after your pain improves they can stay deactivated.

    From my experience, being an ex-athlete, I would always just to push myself through workouts although I was in a lot of pain trying to get healthy and in shape again, but it just worsened my problem, and the physical therapy at other places took a similar aggressive approach to strengthening and it wasn't taking the pain away at all. Doing regular workouts/core exercises doesn't really fix this problem, and you'll need a professional to re-teach you how to gain back control of these muscles. 

    Went I went to this good physiologist, and he immediately noticed that those muscles I were talking about were almost 100% atrophied and I was way overcompensating with my strong superficial muscles. After 1-2 months of doing these very small and limited movement exercises with his help and guidance, I was able to start re-firing them  subconsciously. I have been pain free for 3 months now, but still really need to build my core strength. I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to back into the shape I was without getting another bad flare up. 

    If I were you I would look into trying to find a really good physiologist center which does one on one treatment sessions who specializes in this type of stuff. Regular Physical therapist won't really cut it for this type of treatment, and it is extremely difficult to do on your own through youtube videos especially since we're ex-athletes and used to powering through any exercise. 

    I hope this helps and best of luck with your recovery. 


  • Have had low back pain since 2023-went through all the possibilities of treatment.  My back doctor told me last week I cannot get a fusion-didn't want one anyway-as my bone density numbers are too bad.  I too my stuck.  I am on a regiment of tylenol, naproxyn and one tramadol daily.  For that I have to be on drug protocol and get a urine test every 3 months.  I'm still looking for an answer too!!

  • Thank you all so much for your comments and support! It really is comforting to know there are people going through similar things. It makes me feel not so alone in it all. I will say, @awolf22, the way you described what was wrong with your back sounds extremely similar to what all my doctors thought that it could be. All of them really said there was nothing that looked wrong with my back but that my muscles were so tight that inflammation was occurring and causing the pain. This was actually somewhat confirmed since receiving steroid injections meant to decrease inflammation completely eliminated the pain (it isn't a viable treatment for me though since it only lasts 3 weeks and I am not getting 12 shots to the make every 3 weeks). Regular physical therapy didn't seem to do anything and my pain would just get worse throughout the sessions. My question is though, exactly what kind of physiologist did you find that could give you the proper exercises and treatments? I have had spinal manipulation massages done with my regular physical therapy, but I do not know if that is the same kind of "manual hands on therapy" you are talking about. Could you give me a little bit more detail about your treatment?

    Also, @TracyLynne, light core yoga does sound fun; I think I might try that. (:

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