Bad back??? What do you do when it "goes out"?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Beeman, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    For those that have bad backs, as I do, what do you do when it "goes out"? This time when it went out as I was getting up from a chair I basically just laid around the house until I could go to the Chiropractor. He used electric shock to relax the muscles, ice, massage and adjustments. Two days of that and i was able to go back to work and resume full function pretty quickly. Last time I used the headstrong method of just a heating pad and going right back to work with severe discomfort and prolonged agony.
    It's funny how they're never able to pinpoint exactly the cause or the cure, it's always a bulging disc, herniated disc, or pinched nerve.
    What do you do to prevent it going out again? I've done stretches and exercises since the last time it acted up , 4 yrs. ago, but it did the same thing again.
     
  2. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I both have bad backs. His is an injury he sustained over time and abuse (typical young American male, lol) and mine has several chronic problems.

    My husband was always a firm believer in chiropractors but I was frustrated that I wasn't getting any results with several tries and he was getting only temporary relief.

    We have both done lots of physical therapy but his made him worse and mine didn't help.

    Finally he had an MD order an MRI of his spine (they only did cervical & lumbar so far but need to go back and do thoracic now). You cannot diagnose bulging/herniated discs or even pinched nerves correctly without an MRI or other type scan - xrays won't do it alone. With this new info. they finally found out why he was worsened (acute prolonged sciatica was his worst trouble) by physical therapy. He tried a blunt-needle injection (not the dull-needle technique where they give you 3 shots at once because they can't get in close enough to the exact nerve root) of steroids on one side of L4. It was positive diagnostic but negative therapeutic. Next stop was a neurosurgeon. My husband was a candidate for either disc replacements or discectomy. We went the discectomy route and he is about 4 weeks into healing and doing GREAT. He WALKED OUT OF RECOVERY after just 6 hours. I was FLOORED! Anyway, they took two bulges out at L4 and L5 and found a little bone spur at L5 that they couldn't do much with. NO FUSIONS and NO IDETS but he was considering the Striker Decompression therapy before surgery. He has now sworn off chiropractors.

    For me I finally had a complete spinal MRI for other health reasons and they found a hemangioma, an annular tear, arthritis, and bulging discs. None of mine appear to be surgical at this point but I have constant pain so in an effort to sort of "calm down" the nerves and get my "water pail from overflowing anymore" I had an injection on both sides of L4. I'm about 8 days out now and not really doing any better. Not sure what my next step will be but my problem is that I have many other chronic and auto-immune disorders that they can't seem to successfully treat so it's not "just" my back.
     

  3. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My back problems have lessened since I started to work out 4 times a week on a treadmill with incline adjustment. But that doesn't answer your question. When my back goes out I found that I recover faster if I work through it rather than relax after it happens. Of course I can't do everything I would normally do and I may have to crawl to get to the car, but I keep moving. I also upgraded my matress from a 200.00 one to a 1200.00 dollar one. My back causes less problems with a firm mattress.

    Beeman quote-I've done stretches and exercises since the last time it acted up , 4 yrs. ago, but it did the same thing again.

    If you went 4 years without back problems then the exercises must have helped..You think???
     
  4. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe "going out" necessarily means a herniated disk. I've done that and it was different than normal "going out." If you don't deal with a back that is out of whack, you might end up with a herniated disk. If I hurt my back, I usually give it a week to go back to normal. If it doesn't, I go to the chiropractor. He seems to be able to feel that one or more of the bones seems to be not moving properly or in a wrong position or whatever. For me there are 3 normal trouble spots. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on what I did and how long I went before going to the cracker. Not doing my excercises and stretches, sleeping the wrong way or not getting enough sleep can also make mine worse. I'm not sure you can completely prevent ever having another problem again. If you've gone 4 yrs w/o a problem, I'd say you're doing pretty well. I usually end up at the cracker at least 2x/yr and usually 2-3 visits per episode. With my herniated disk, we did the MRI routine and then months of PT (physical torture). That didn't deal with the lower back issues so it didn't really help at all. My chiropractor taught me the excercises and stretches to get my lower back in shape and I've done much better since.
     
  5. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Just this morning I used a technique that helps me a bunch.

    I have an area (actually right where my bra hooks) that goes in and out occasionally.

    If I can catch it soon enough I save myself a week of misery.

    My trick is to grab a frozen water bottle out of the freezer and lay directly on top of it. I lay there for about 20 minutes on, 20 off and 20 on --- with the pressure of that bottle right on the sorest spot.

    The COLD helps reduce/prevent further swelling --- and the hard, roundness of the bottle puts pressure on the "buldge" ---- seemingly pushing it back into place.

    When the lower back goes out, I use a flat ice pack ---- and try to do some exercises to improve the abdominal muscles -- and try to correct the tilt of my pelvis.
     
  6. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First I do the back stretches on the floor any good back dr can teach you. Then I take aleve, alternate hot and cold packs, and most important of all, keep moving and working. In a day or so I am better--at practically no cost.
     
  7. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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  8. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    first back pain is the price we pay for living life
    and if an over the counter can relieve your pain you didn't realy hurt wait till you need some perscription narcotics just to sleep for 4 hours

    second you made it 4 years you were doing somthing right or doing nuthing at all either way
    third the best things you can do are
    A. loose the ciropracter
    B. work out and stay in shape sit ups are very good but do them on the bed they hurt less that way
    C. strech believe it or not streching makes a huge difference

    most common back pain is ciatica ( si at ik a) caused buy the bundle of nurves that leave your lumbar vertabre and go through a hole in the muscle in you but if this muscle spasams or is tight because it has shortened from not streching it causes pain and in some cases numbness of the leg

    walk for about 10 minutes at a good pace then use a table or a hand rail or something about waist high to put you foot up on and reach for the toes on that foot you will feel it strech down the back of you r leg this is good strch it out both legs

    the turn away from the rail or saw horse or table whatever and hook your foot over it bend the other knee and strech the front of your leg strech them good and do both legs

    a few situps on the bed a tie down strap around the matress helps to hook your feet under and you should be good to start the day


    my grandfather was a brick mason for 45 years and people used to like to ask him does your back ever hurt the proper responce is no
    the truth is yes nearly every day

    i am 28 at 20 i was diagnoesd with 3 fully ruptured disks an a bulge
    at 25 i had 4 full ruptures
    my father is 50 he has 2 ruptures in his neck that have been fused since 94
    he backs up trailers without ever turning his head farther than to see the right and left side mirrors because that is all the further his head moves

    this spring he had his 4 ruptured disks in his lumbar area fused with titanium rods because he had the hardened disk material break loose and float around pinching al sorts of nurves

    when to have surgery when you can't stand it any more like when parts breaqk loose or when you loose blader control

    all of the streching and exercise are good advise and the more times you hurt it the mor arthritic you become then you can tell the weather.
    man i hate low pressure fronts you just wake up stiff

    but the more pain you live through the more you can take
    so i think the suck it up and getter done approach is the best
     
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I swear by my physical therapist. I'm convinced he's the only reason we're still able to keep the sheep and keep up. I'm equally convinced the chiro was a con artist who was out to line his own pocket... but they can't all be con artists, surely they help some people?

    Anyway... first sign of something going wrong I call the PT at this point. Took a year to get everything up and running the first time. Now it takes a few appointments and remembering to do my exercises/stretches.
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    When problem is in lower back have the chiropractor do a lower back X-Ray to measure the eveness of the tops of your hipbones. Problem may be one leg is shorter that the other. This causes/contributes to curvature of the spine as the back tries to keep straight.

    I was in and out of chiropractic care for more than six years. Finally had the X-Ray done and found my left leg was about 1/4" shorter than the other (mostly deterioration of cartridge in the knee). Started wearing a lift in that shoe and, by and large, haven't been back to the Chiropractor since. (But then, losing about 20 pounds likely helped also.)
     
  11. Jeff54321

    Jeff54321 Well-Known Member

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    There is a little book titled "Treat Your Own Back" by Robin McKenzie. It helped me tremendously.
     
  12. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Prescription pain meds with prescription muscle relaxers and rest is what gets me by. I strained a muscle or two in my lower back when I was 18 and have had it "go out" on me four times since.
     
  13. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    Most folks do have one leg shorter than the other. Mine is somewhere between 1/4" and 7/8" and I wear a shoe lift for some mildly improved comfort (mostly only ntoice that I hurt a lot worse at the end of the day if I don't wear it). Also have professional orthotics in my shoes. (Boy, I'm painting quite the picture for you folks, aren't I? LOL)

    Agree with the "how to measure pain" by NEED for narcotics to sleep, etc. (although those don't help me either and I don't like taking them ever).

    Stretching and keep moving is good. The big thing that my PT said was that if you know how to lift properly (and you actually DO it properly) and you don't just lie around when your back is hurting, you will MOSTLY be ok unless you NEED surgery or some other procedure.
     
  14. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are having back pain, you need to know what is causing the pain before doing anykind of exercise. I have degenerative disk disease. Went to PT for about 6 months. Everything they did seamed to make it worse. Now they tell me to only do what I can without gravitating it. But when I do overdo, I use a TENS on it. I have had the TENS that operates on a 9v battery. I will put the TENS probes on and then lay on a thermal heating pad. After a couple days it calms it down.
     
  15. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I took a knife to a gunfight and got shot by a 22 short out of a field starter gun that a kid had drilled out the plug. When he pulled it, I turned and he shot me at the lowest part of my tail bone. It broke a corner off of my lumbar, and dislocated my hip, of course THAT could have been from my falling on my glass and rolling around like a salt shot dog, lol. Anyway, thereafter, it would always go out on occasion. Somtimes I couldnt throw a ball hard without a sizeure up in my neck throwing me to the ground. I would have to rest, after I was married, and somtimes have the wife to rub my back from doing the nasty lol. Anyway, right after it happened, the folks heard about quackapractors, and they sent me to one. it helped. He said he could cure asthma, which my folks thought was a lot of bull. I have gone every since then, regulary every 2 weeks for 4 yrs now, When ins covered the visits, I told him that the one who worked on me then said he could cure asthma, and I asked him about that. He said yes he could, but I would have to come to him every 2 weeks, for a year, and it would be gone. I did, and it is. I had it since I was 2 cause dad smoked in the house, and he had it for the same reason. I didnt smoke in the house and none of my 3 had it. He hardly ever has to do anything top me anymore, and I like it that way. He does work on my feet and ankles, but that dont do much since I have NLS.
     
  16. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    Ruby,What is a TENS?

    I suffered with back pain in 1974 and had to be off my feet for three weeks. I was still in school and didn't know if I'd be able to go back for spring semester. Asked the doc (at school) what he thought. He said if you don't have health insurance, better go back to school (the school doctor was treating me--no charge--part of fees).
    He gave me some simple exercises. I did them religiously every morning BEFORE I stepped out of bed. You know, like a cat stretches when it wakes up BEFORE doing anything. This not only stretches the muscles, but strengthens them. Once I felt better, I stopped doing them. IN another month was flat on my back again. Got pain killers, etc. then went back on exercises...felt okay and stopped them again...and was back on my back again.

    Since that time I have never missed my daily routine of exercising in bed before standing up. I have not had any problems except a few aches when I overwork, BUT I bend correctly, carry only the weight that I can do safely (for instance rarely carry a 50 pound bag of feed although I can--and since it is just me, I split it up and make two trips), and keep one foot raised if standing for any length of time.
    For many, it has to do with changing the way you do things. These things that help me are simple things that aren't very time consuming, and FAR better than being disabled and in pain.
    HOpe that has been helpful, but as others have posted, you need to know what the problem is first. Luckily, my doc diagnosed it right without any tests based on the symptoms (pain all the way down the leg, followed by tingling, then numbness in the foot).
    Ann
     
  17. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I dont use those who bend twist, fold, spindle, and mutilate me. I use one that uses a trigger mechanism thing that hardly never hurts, except when he hits my ankele bone, then it hurts like hiel
     
  18. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    Specifically what has worked for me is:

    massage therapy (which I wish I could teach my husband)
    ICE!!! (I can not stress how much it helped)
    chiropractor (I have seen the before/after MRI/xrays and witnessed the results)

    My experience is that when your bones get out of whack, the muscles have to compensate, and much of the pain comes from this. A good massage therapist can bring you relief in as quick as 2 visits. My experience is that I have more pain after the first, and significantly less after the second.

    The ice applied for 15 or 20 mins. on and then 15 or 20 mins. off will reduce swelling and encourage blood flow. I was shocked at how much this helped.

    The chiropractor will help work the bones back into place - and this takes time. But as I said, I've seen my xrays and MRI BEFORE the chiro and after - taken at a medical facility each time. And there is a huge difference for me. So much so that the doctor commented on it and told me to keep doing what I'm doing. Mine is not the back, it is the neck. 3 discs out of place. Not back to 100% and may never be - but there is a huge difference not only in the visible results, but in how I feel. I can function now without splitting, blinding headaches.

    Penny
     
  19. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Ditto here. My nurse practitioner told me about that book. My chiropractor had already taught me a number of the excercises. I also picked up "Treat Your Own Neck" by the same author. I think there is a book that has both those books under one title. The back book has a list of questions I'll post here to see if this might help anyone else:

    Are there periods in the day when you have no pain? Even ten minutes?
    Is the pain confined to areas above the knee?
    Are you generally worse when sitting for prolonged periods or on rising from the sitting position?
    Are you generally worse during or right after prolonged bending or stooping as in bed making, vacuuming, ironing or gardening?
    Are you generally worse when getting up in the morning, but improve after about half an hour?
    Are you generally worse when inactive and better when on the move?
    Are you generally better when lying face down? When testing this you may feel worse for the first few minutes after which time the pain subsides: in this case the answer to the question is yes.
    Have you had several episodes of low back pain over the past months or years?
    If you answer yes to 4 or more of the questions, the book should be able to help you. In my case, I answered yes to all of them.
     
  20. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    Not Ruby but a TENS is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation machine. It is just basically a little electronic pulsator that sends stimulii through your subcutaneous layers of skin to try to distract or override your localized pain. They are neat in theory and a lot of people like them instead of drugs. Unfortunately for me, neither these nor the drugs seem to help.