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Protruding spine, upper back pain, weak legs

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Here's a bit of history:
I'm a 20 year-old female who began having back pain at around 17.
A couple years back I began to notice that I often had visible bruises and soreness on the surface of my back running down my spine. I realized this was due to sitting against hard seat backs in class and laying on a wooden dance studio floor to do stretches. My spine protrudes quite a bit from my back when I am standing straight, and especially when I bend over. I am not underweight. I also began to notice that I had abnormally low flexibility in my legs, despite the amount of time I spent stretching and exercising for my dance classes. For example, when I lay flat on my back I can only raise my legs about 45 degrees from the floor when aiming for 90 degrees. Trying to pull them higher makes my spine curve against the ground so far that I tip over to one side or the other. I went to my doctor when I began experiencing deeper back pain in my mid to upper back. She took x-rays and sent me to a physiotherapist who told me I had minor scoliosis. I went weekly for a couple of months to do back-strengthening exercises and eventually the pain went away. I still do core-strengthening exercises at home, but lately the pain in my back has been really bad. I work in the performing arts and it is necessary for me to be very physical and flexible on a daily to weekly basis.

Here is what's bothering me right now:
- Deep and superficial back pain
- Sections of my spine jut out and sink in unevenly causing my spine to constantly grind against hard surfaces like the floor and chair backs
- Bruised spots sometimes appear on my lower-mid back
- Weakness and lack of flexibility in legs (but no leg pain)
- Sitting down I often get numbness on the right side of my butt and my right leg. I feel like I'm sitting on a part of my body unevenly and can't find comfort after sitting for about half an hour.
- I sometimes experience cramping in my hips
- Head and neck aches

I am considering seeing a chiropractor, but my schedule is very difficult. Any advice at all will be much appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time. Smile
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replied March 15th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Jennifer,

Sorry to read about your back pain. And your being in the performing arts makes it doubly difficult I'm sure.

I too have back pain, and for me wood chairs are an absolute NO NO. I use a formed cushion which helps me some.

I'm glad you have had x-rays taken. That is a first step.

Jennifer, I would highly recommend that you seek the advice of a neurologist/spinal surgeon. They are the most knowledgeable about back issues. You really do need to get their advice before things get much worse as I'm concerned that to wait will lessen the chances that you can continue with your love of the performing arts.

Do seek out the best neurologist/spinal surgeon that you can find in your area. Talk to people and find out which spinal specialist (and that is with an MD after their name) they have high regard for, and which ones they do not like. If you have a professional sports team in your area call up their office and find out which spinal surgeon they use for their players. Call up your local hospital and ask the person which spinal doctor they would go to if they had back problems.

Then call the doctot who is the highest on your list and make an appointment. Next, call the doctor who is No. 2 on your list and make an appointment with that doctor. It is always good to get a second opinion.

Jennifer, please see a neurologist/spinal surgeon without delay. I'm very concerned that perhaps all your movements in the performing arts may be making things worse.

Your body is trying to tell you that something is not right. Listen to what your body is telling you. AND remember, your body comes first, so don't delay.

I hope all goes well for you. Please do let us know how things go for you.

Take care.

RichT
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replied March 16th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Jennifer
Rich T is so right. You back is nothing to fool around with. The spine is a very sensitive thing as we get older it degenerates even more. Our bone struture gets less and less streangh. One fall could do you in. I too plead with you to see a neurologist at the least. I just had back surgery with an over 55% frature in my L-1 with a compression to T-12. The surgery was very un-invasive but, the pain I went though before it was unbearable. I also have to bulging disc's at L-3 and 4 and L-5 is sitting on a nerve.
I too take a small pillow (like a small sofa pillow) every where I go. As Rich T said, hard back chairs are a NO NO. Take care of you back Jennifer, it's the only one you have.

Hugs
~Carrie~
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replied March 16th, 2008
I friend of mine says that yoga can help over time. Does this seem far-fetched? He's been doing yoga for a couple years and it's helped his scoliosis.
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Users who thank jennifer_k for this post: Tacie 

replied March 16th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
jennifer_k
I can believe that. Due to the fact your posture during yoga is back straight and legs and knees bent. Perfect posture. I can see over years where this would help. I also practice yoga and have found my pain even after my surgery was not half as bad. Poor posture is the worst common demoninator in back problems. Now that I have had my back surgery ( two weeks ago, I find that I am constintly aware of my posture. Sitting and standing. With my meds I have no clue how I wind up after I fall asleep though. Confused

So, try it and it just may help. I also have scoliosis in my thorasic spine plus now two buldging disc's to look out for.
Be good to your back.

~Carrie~
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replied March 26th, 2009
FINALLY!!
I have these EXACT same symptoms. I have been looking all over the internet for anything that talks about a protruding spine or bruises on the back, but this is the first I've found that actually describes what I am going through.


I've gone to PT, which only helped relieve my symptoms temporarily. I did yoga once and actually got rug burn because my spine was digging into the ground at such an angle. It was awful. My back pain and protruding spine are on my mind about constantly, every single day. I can't stand for more than ten minutes without feeling as if I'm going to fall over due to lack of balance. I can't sit in a chair without realizing that I am incredibly hunched over and tense. It's making it hard to have any self-confidence.


Jenny, please let me know if you find anything that helps. I am desperate. Thank you!!!
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replied July 4th, 2009
same bruised and jutting spine symptoms
Hi Jennifer and Tacie, I too, am experiencing the same symptoms.
I have bruises on my lower back as the bones are jutting out and pressing against seats. When I do crunches, I need a thick mat, if not, I would end up with bruises and back pain later. I am a regular athlete but unfortunately I am underweight. I was diagnose with carpal tunnel syndrome this year and I had my x-rays taken of my spine at the same time. My spine x-rays came out fine.
I am a 26 year old female. I am not sure if I should do a bone density test as I am worried I might be osteoporosis-prone due to my weight.

Best Regards.
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replied September 17th, 2009
Protruding Spine
Hi Girls, I am also experiencing the same symptoms and it is so good the here that I am not the only one. I am 28 and I have been dealing with it for years. When I was a teenager I went to the doctors and they said my eleventh vertabrae was cracked and that basically it would heal on it's own. How this happened? I have no idea. I ended up going again and they ended up telling I had a protruding spine and that basically I would be hunch back when I got older. That doesn't settle well with someone. I have been trying so hard to stand up straight and try to correct it but it's hard. I have headaches and my neck constantly hurts and when I try standing up straight for a few minutes it becomes painful. I am not over weight. I would love to be able to stand up straight and not be exhausted by it. I am embarassed by my posture and by my spine so please if you find anything out let me know.

Thank you
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replied October 22nd, 2009
Back problems and avoiding surgery
I would see a "good" Chiropractor first and then perhaps a physical therapist who deals in back issues, then perhaps the advice of a neurologist/spinal surgeon (after the Chiropractor). A spinal surgeon makes a money performing spinal surgery and this would be the LAST RESORT. Often times surgery can be avoided and therefore I'd see the Chiropractor first but make sure it's not one of these Chiropractors that spends 2 minutes with you and then schedules you for 20 more sessions of 2 minutes... I see one that spends no less than 30 minutes and REALLY gets the job done. additionally a bone-health supliment like Nikken's Osteodenx (kind of a bone-vitamin - really good stuff) can be helpful for general bone health. I may sound like [removed by admin]... I'm certainly not against surgery but only as a last resort (in my opinion).
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replied February 5th, 2010
I don't have a salary, so surgery is not an option for me. Seeing a chiropractor also seems impossible at this point as I just started paying back my student loans and I can't afford it. Lately I have been getting headaches every day and I can't sit down on the subway without one of my legs going completely numb. I am so sick and tired of it. Yoga isn't helping me because I can't get into the sitting or forward-bending positions. Is there anything that anyone can recommend that I do on my own? I want to learn more about spinal decompression.
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replied February 5th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
here you are a hard working person who needs help diagnosing your spinal problems.
i hope there is some sort of health plan that will pass and enable you to see a spine specialist without missing your student loan payments.
i will pm some physical therapy exercises that may help you. ....pete
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replied February 5th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
however it does sound like it could be serious so for the sake of your body you may want to make diagnosing your spine a number one priority.
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replied June 18th, 2012
I know it's been years since you've posted your concerns and I hope you have figured it all out and are doing better now.
It all sounds too familiar to myself. Have you ever researched Anykylosing Spondylitis (I know, Anky...what??) It's an auto-immune arthritic disease that primarily affects the spine but can also cause issues with other joints throughout the body. I'm 35 also with a protruding spine, (mostly thoracic area)& all the same pain you've mentioned. I was a dancer up until my early 20's when the pain worsened and forced me to stop. Spondylitis is one of the most under diagnosed diseases of the spine out there, especially in woman. I was diagnosed with everything under the sun until I saw a rheumatologist who confirmed I had AS. I'm not trying to freak anyone out here by any means but it couldn't hurt to check out the signs & symptoms just incase it's something more than scoliosis? Hallmark features are SI joint/hip pain (which is where it starts & low back pain for 3 or more consecutive months & symptoms begin anywhere between the ages of 17-35. You can learn more about it at www.spondylitis.org Hope you are all doing well!
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replied June 18th, 2012
Experienced User
It is not time to do exercises and / or any stretching techniques. I do not recommend it not seeing a physiotherapist not a chiro. What you have, is also known a fybrimialgia. At least, it is what doctors call it but what it really is, it is the fact that you have multiple pinched and dislocated nerves in your back and maybe other areas. I know as I have been a Healer for more than 14 years. All those nerves need to be reset soonest.
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