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Confused Once Again...Anyone have this happen? Long winded..advise

jsirabellajjsirabella Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello Fellow Spineys,

Asking advice here if you folks have had similar experiences.

Last week in my store that connects to the warehouse I had a major pipe biurst underneath that basically lifted the floor and spread sand and water everywhere. We had about a foot of water before the firemen were able to shut it down. I had no choice but to help clean up a bit. The next day it was one of the worst Mondays ever on the pain level. I finally got tired and called my doctor and asked for an appointment. The next few days was easing up a bit on the pain level.

I had been taking two aleeve in the morning and 2 50mg tabs of diclofenic during the day. Also took a soma a couple nights as the charlie horses were waking me up and kicking in since the Monday. Saturday as I am driving to the warehouse again the pain kicks in at the level of Monday. Than I have to go to a convention and was able to finish the day but not sure why it kicked up. Now prior to this I had decided to stop some exercising so Sunday morning I said let me go back to the gym and back to little to no meds and more exercising and stop doing so many lower back exercises which I do everyday religiously.

I took 1 advil Sunday morning, went to gym, drove to the convention and felt fine. Today also same routine and feel better than I have in months. Ofcourse I see the doctor today and I tell him some of the story and he says it is time for a discogram as we are pretty sure it is the L4-L5 but if we are going to do an IDET we need to do it anyway. Also we have a program here where we are taking collagen and shooting it in the disc and it is a blind test so you may or may not get it. We have had of 11 patients, 2 report a 50% reduction in pain. No bad side effects as your own collagen.

I took my wife this time as honestly maybe it is a guy thing but I never able to really explain the pain level. He is a great doctor and explains the collagen program, the IDET option and why a fusion would not be an option as just too much good bone there. He explains how it is just basically a stubborn pimple and he has seen many like this that just will not go away in a 5 year period. I ask and he explains that if you wait about 4-5 years it will probably just go away, about a 30% chance.

I just do not understand why yesterday and today I feel so much better? Why is there no rhyme or reason...the only thing I see different

1) Less Meds which makes no sense

2) I stopped drinking this energy drink. Has anyone notice energy drinks can bring up the pain levels?

3) I took hot epsom salt baths after my workouts which really just seem amazing in the morning.

4) Stopped the lower back exercises like getting on all 4s and extending the legs and arms.

5) Not using as much ice. Has anyone seen that too much ice is bad. I have had times where I will just keep that ice pack on for what seems like hours as I forget it.

6) Been holding in my stomach through out the day on/off and notice that I feel better as I do it in my hips especially.

There must be something!! I can not believe it can be so random. Something I am doing or eating...just something.

I need a bit of my wife to push me and the reason I brought her there was to convince me to do the discogram or if he wanted the IDET done right away. Also with this collagen program I need to wait another 8 weeks after it to report back the pain levels so the IDET will be done not for 2-3 months after the discogram.

Now I wonder if I continue to feel like this should I even do the discogram...also how long will it lay me up for. He insisted that it depends on who does it as he does not keep injecting dye. He says the area is very sensitive but he will only inject just enough to feel it. Only 3 discs he will do...L3/L4 (control disc) and the L4/L5 and the L5/S1.

The discogram will finally give me a definitive diagnosis which is a relief in and of itself. Also can I just live with this pain for 3 more years and give the waiting game a try. If I was retired and my daughter was gone and taking care of herself I probably would but doubt cam do that now as my family and business need me working more than full time.

But I am still a bit annoyed and confused that you can not control the pain level by your actions. I mean if my arm hurts, you stop moving your arm and take care of it and you can heal. This seems to have no pattern or rhyme or reason.




  • It seems all doctors just go by your pain level. It is basically the same question everytime you start. How is your pain level (How do you feel?).

    But lets say my pain level is 0. Am I healed? The structural damage can still be there and you start to live like before and it can just come back even stronger. Shouldnt there be more than just the pain level here.

    A bit more science involved?

  • I have no idea why pain has no rhyme or reason. Wish I did I would stop doing the things that make it worse. I think the 1-10 scale varies with the doctor. My PM doctor asks for a level but then does a comprehensive movement thing where he judges the pain levels. He has called me on things that I say don't bother me, they do but not enough to make me complain, he can tell by how I hold a foot or lean slightly to one side. My ortho doesn't even ask he just starts with looking at how I'm sitting (bad days are very evident, lean to left with no pressure on right side). I guess I've been lucky to have 2 doctors that don't put a lot of faith in the pain scale. In my original appointment I discussed with my PM I'm not very good at verbalizing my pain and I'm not comfortable scaling it so maybe that is why they take care not to go by the scale.

    I suggest if you feel better not doing the back exercises, don't do them. I also enjoy soaking in the tub, don't know if it helps but hey I like it and I'm relaxing, which in itself probably helps. One last thing about the energy drinks, some of them increase blood circulation and can cause water retention. Water retention could possibly cause extra swelling and more pain. With me they just cause increased heart rate and a big headache.
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  • I know I am not the doctor or have the knowledge of Lala or Gweenie but I would think the doctor based upon MRIs and experience would tell me ... these movements are good for you...these movements are bad for you. I suggest that you do these type of exercises...but nothing.

    When I ask him these questions, he explain in my condition there is no set answer. But the more you can do the better chance you have of healing faster. In the end though once you get past a year of staying with pain the options become smaller. Either live with it and hope in 3-4 years it goes away or do the discography and than the IDET if the discography is positive.

    I am really dreading the discography but at this point I really believe it is a necessary evil. I am tired of the guess work and according to him this is the definitive test. But at the same time as many have said, if you have a discography what purpose will it serve.

    I believe in my case it will finally give me a definitive answer (which I think actually is an obvious answer) and a prelude to the IDET. Also a small chance of success with this new procedure of inserting your own collagen into the disc.

    I think the time has come to take these steps and stop thinking, dreading and posting.

  • The energy drink popped off the page for me. My husband has had surgery on both knees. A few years back he was working in NYC and decided to get a smoothie while waiting for a train in Penn station. Of course he figured he'd be healthy and have them add the suppliment stuff to it.

    WELL talk about pain. Within an hour or so of drinking this he was crippled. I mean on the couch almost crying in pain. He blamed it on boots, floors at work and even walking to train. Thought we were going to the orthopedist the next day. Then in about two days he felt fine again.

    It took a few times of this happening for him to realize that something in that smoothie causes this pain. Hasn't happened with anything else so far. He even tested it with the same results every time.

    Now footwear can also cause pain especially if it is old and worn. He recently threw out some old summer boots because he was a little sore after wearing them for a few days.

    I would suggest keeping a written log of your activity, food, clothing and then pains for a week or more. Then see if anything stands out. If it does go back and test what looks suspicious.

    Also try a good PT to direct exercise. And I stress GOOD. It may take a few places to find the one you like. They can help you strengthen the abs and learn better posture. Traditional back exercises are not always good when you have damage.

    If you are having intermittant pain you may be able to find non interventional methods to keep you pain free. Good Luck and keep posting.
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