I have had back pain since August of this year. I am 23 years old, 151 pounds, and no other health problems. In August I started walking on my treadmill and had been for about a week when the lower back pain started. I was only hurting in my lower back and had been for a week when my boyfriend, Clint, suggested I try a chiropractor. I had never been to one before and decided to give it a try. I picked one out of the phone book and made an appointment. At the first appt, he gave me an assessment and determined that my pelvis was out of alignment slightly but I had no other structural issues. He said he didn't really think that was the cause of my lower back pain and that it could have been a combination of things. He said that most people need about 6 or 7 sessions to get better. After that session, I started hurting again as soon as I got home and a friend of mine told me that it was normal to hurt a little after the first couple of sessions because the muscles aren't use to it. I didn't understand that fully but ok. Since I had been going to him, the middle of my back was hurting. It had hurt everyday and didn't stop after a couple of sessions. That is when I started to doubt the chiro because I thought a person wasn't supposed to hurt worse and in new areas after starting treatment. After the seventh session, Clint told me to try another chiro so I made an appt with a chiro that was recommended to me. After the first adjustment and assessment, he said that the first chiro may have over adjusted me but he couldn't say for sure. I was still in a lot of pain after a few sessions with him so he suggested that I see a medical physician to get an anti-inflammatory and continue the sessions with him. I found a physician and he prescribed a steroid, an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxer (which I can't take because I have a full load of classes and need my wits, not drowsiness). He suggested, but not ordered, that I consider not going back to the chiro. I have heard of the "silent feud" between medical doctors and chiropractic doctors, though I don't know if that was the case here. I ceased and started the physician's treatment. He had also taken an X-ray, which showed no abnormalities, and checked my mobility and range of motion to determine I had no problems with my disks. My pain had not gone away by the next appt with the physician so he suggested that I try physical therapy. I made the appt for a week and a half later (delayed because of school). About two or three days before my appt. my back had stopped hurting. I didn't know what happened but decided to go to therapy anyways because I wanted to make sure the pain didn't come back and to see if I could find out why it had hurt in the first place. The other three were unable to tell me so I figured the therapist might be able to. The first week of therapy was pain free. In the second week, my lower back started to hurt again. It was more of a tightness and discomfort than pain. In the third week, my middle back started to hurt when I was in classes (sitting down). At the end of the third week, my therapist reassessed and wanted to try a method called traction. He said that it usually helps people with back pain. It has so far hurt worse than before it was used. Started to hurt Friday (first day of use) the 31st (Halloween). Saturday and Sunday mornings were awful. I was in so much pain, I couldn't sleep, sit, stand, or lay down. Every position was painful. The pain decreased a little during the day but was still bad. I don't know if I pulled a muscle during the traction or what even causes my pain. I am tired of it hurting but am more tired and fed up with not knowing why. All of the doctors couldn't tell me why and I know that pain doesn't happen for no reasons. I have been asked about stress levels, shoes, posture, sleep, etc. and no questions brought any concern to the doctors and gave me no answers. I appreciate the doctors that have tried to help me and I know they are very well educated. I am just frustrated and currently in pain. I have taken my first muscle relaxer tonight and it must not have kicked in yet. Basically, I would appreciate any insight, suggestions, or advice. I am tired of spending so much money and just want an idea of what may be going on. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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replied November 3rd, 2008
Experienced User
It seems like the physical therapy was the most effective form of treatment with exercises in the first week. I'd suggest that you concentrate on strengthening your abdominal muscles to prevent back pain --- I had pain in my back and neck for years until I started yoga and got stronger from the center of my body. This is such a gentle exercise that it can be catered to your needs...just make sure that your teacher is well experienced with back pain.

Otherwise, you might want to talk to an orthopedist who might recommend an MRI to identify muscle and tissue problems. From a diagnostic perspective, you need more information before treatment options can be planned.
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replied November 10th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Sounds like you are in need of an evaluation from a spine specialist. Either an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spines, or a neurosurgeon that specializes in spines only.

Without an MRI to determine what is and isn't going on with your spine, it is difficult to treat you with physical therapy or any other treatment.

You have to many pieces of the puzzle missing as to what is wrong and how to treat it.

Good luck

Fran
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replied November 11th, 2008
A student with Back Pain
This is a common problem (I think) for people who spend a lot of time studying or doing a lot of desk work. The physical therapy worked. And chiro didn't but one of them said your hips are out of alignment. Here is what I think I know about your situation:

Understand this first. sitting for long periods of time will cause your Hamstrings to shorten (your hamstrings connect to your different areas in your pelvis). This will cause a cascading effect in that your back muscles will be pulled on. This will move your pelvis out of neutral position. Your quadraceps (thigh muscles) will lengthen and become stronger due to shorter hamstrings. As a result of any of the previous, your stomach muscles will contract. Any difference in strength in your quads, hamstrings, abs or back muscles will pull on your pelvis causing it to move out of "neutral" position. I know this because I have similar problems. I talked to my massage therapist and Chiropractor that is what they told me.

To remedy the situation you need to stretch. This is sometimes difficult. Do the following AND most importantly keep your back FLAT while doing this, don't hunch over:
Sit on the floor, in a butterfly position, feet touching, don't cross your legs, back flat.
Then extend one leg, keep your back flat and straighten your leg. Can you do this with your leg and back at a 90 degree angle? If not then try to do so but don't hurt yourself, please.
Repeat with the other leg.

Can you sit at a 90 degree angle (your legs stretched out and your back flat?) Buy a yoga strap to assist you if you want just don't push to hard or you may do more harm than good.

As a side note can I add you as a friend and give you a url where you can ask me any question you want?

Hope this helps,
MrBurton

P.S. Do buy an ice pack as this will help with the soreness. I use mine when I go to sleep. Avoid heat as this will only increase inflamation. For some reason people tell you to use heat then always finish with cold.
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replied November 16th, 2008
Get a Diagnosis before you get treated
I have searched these sites for years. Husband neck issues, low back, etc. Been through it all. However, diagnosis is first. Don't go to a surgeon or a Chiropractor right now. The first Chiro probably made it worse and referred you on so you can't sue him (just guessing, but too many hands in the mix). A neruosurgeon does surgery. You need an MRI which disects your back to find issues that Xrays cannot detect. After your MRI, get a copy on a CD and make an appointment with a Neurologist and have an EMG done. The MRI will give the Dr Skeletal, Muscular, an abnormalties to look at and the EMG can be done in the Neurologist's office which detects any nerve damage. Once you have done these tests, your neurologist may refer you on for treatment. He diagnosis the issues and sends you to another treating physician, but he will figure out your problem better than anyone. He will probably tell you that you do not need to followup with him/her, but I would suggest doing so. Call the Diplomate American Board of Physhiatry and Neurology. If you are in pain, you will most likely be prescribed an antidepressent. As pain gets worse, you get depressed and can't keep your mind on things other than the pain. If you take it at night before bed, you should be fine. It shouldn't fuzzy your mind for school. My husband takes Celexa. He's taken all the mind altering bad drugs and weened himself off. Drugs are not the answer, but try to avoid the depression while you are getting better. Good Luck
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replied November 18th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
First off, forget the chiropractor, per experience with people I personally know, they have only made the spinal pain and issues worse, in not only pain but created worse problems with the spine, including disc problems.

You need to see a spine specialist and get an evaluation as to what is causing your pain. You will probably be sent for an MRI to determine what is going on with your spine and what course of treatment would be best for you.

Most spine surgeons will want an MRI done before an EMG. An EMG is usually done to provide additional information about nerve issues, when it is not completely evident on the MRI. But an EMG alone can not provide a spine surgeon with enough information to make a complete diagnosis and evaluation.

You should not continue with the traction at PT. It can be helpful to some and make others worse.

It does sound like that a basic core muscle strengthening would be helpful, but most helpful would be a proper diagnosis so that you get the proper treatment.

Fran
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