Ideas about this back pain?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I have bursitis pretty much everywhere - both shoulders, hips, SI joints, etc. Tendonitis and tenosynovitis, too. But my lower back is really a big problem. Not just at the SI joints, but horizontally along my entire lower back and then my legs get weak - feel as if they are going to buckle, and have at times - and I get shooting pains.

    I've had lower back issues as long as I can remember - even as a child. I always knew I couldn't have a job where I had to stand for long periods of time. When I would be standing, I would either lean against something or rock back and forth like you do when holding a baby. Before 6 or 7 years ago, it was bothersome and annoying, but not incapacitating. It's been incapacitating for a while now - at times worse than others. It burns and hurts immensely. It hurts at a level 3-5 doing nothing, and if I try to do something - like dishes, or laundry, or standing for more than a couple of minutes, or literally anything - I can barely stand it. Vicodin doesn't touch it at all. Within 2 minutes, I'm sweating from the pain. Within 5, I can barely stand it. But, things need to be done. The carpets don't clean themselves, you know.

    I've had x-rays and a lumbar MRI - negative. I've been tested for Ankylosing Spondylitis (negative). But no one can tell me what causes this pain, and no one knows what to do for it.

    I *had* to clean the carpet tonight - puppy, house training, lots of accidents. I was sweating, leaning against the walls or tables, swearing, trying to breathe through it, and in excruciating pain - definite 10 on the pain scale. Just loading the dishwasher does it, but of course cleaning the carpet is worse - it takes a lot longer and there is a lot more back and forth movement. After resting, the pain does lessen, but it takes days for it to go back to my normal 3-5 doing nothing after doing anything - even grocery shopping.

    I'm pretty sick of it. I'm also annoyed. I find it hard to believe that they can't figure out what is causing this kind of pain. I can't tell if it's muscle or nerve or skeletal or what. Obviously, it's not skeletal as the x-rays and MRI didn't pick anything up. I've been leery of going to a chiropractor because no one knows what the cause is and I'm afraid of doing more damage, but since no one is doing anything about it I don't feel like I have any other options left. I've been to a spine specialist, too....2009 or 2010, maybe. He didn't have any ideas either. I've seen rheumatologists and I see a neuro. EMG showed no nerve damage in that area. Steroid injections in my SI joints no longer work. The first one took that pain completely away. Subsequent ones, not so much and now, not at all.

    I know the inflammation is amped up all over my body right now, and my back is at its more intense phase (it always hurts, but it isn't always this bad). I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas on what it could be or who I should see. 'Cause it's really gotten old, ya know? (I also take Celebrex 200mg every day and I only take Vicodin when I absolutely have to. Before I started on the carpet, I took a Vicodin 30 minutes in advance and a second half way into it. It could have been a sugar pill for all it did.)
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Horizontal pain... and you're certain your kidneys aren't involved? Or fibroids? Does an NSAID like Relafin offer any relief?
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm not certain of anything. Kidney function is always fine on blood tests, but I've had dozens of kidney infections over the years, and on the rare occasion I drink, I get flank pain. Don't think it's fibroids.

    Celebrex is in the NSAID family, but nothing touches this. Except ice, and I sleep on a heated mattress pad.
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I guess I need to make some kind of sling for the ice pack and a way to fashion it so it stays in place while I'm doing the heavier, longer duration stuff.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    What about those patches?
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    The lidocaine patches? I haven't thought about them for years. Medicaid wouldn't pay for them, but Medicare might. I'll talk to my doctor about it. The only problem is it runs from hip to hip along my lower back. I don't think they make them that long. ;)
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Maybe I'll just suck it up and do another round of steroids. Bleck.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've had issues with lower back pain since I was a kid too. And I can't do that stand in one place for long either........literally kills me. (and was doing so when I was 16, it's one reason I have to keep moving when working)

    No clue what it is. I've never been diagnosed with back issues.......and I've had plenty of xrays so if there was something wrong I'm sure they'd have spotted it by now. I'm thinking posture related. (or at least that isn't helping) I don't have horrible posture or anything, but I do tend to keep my abdominal muscles relaxed.......and guess where I hold water first? And if I'm holding water, the back pain is ballistic. If I'm carrying extra weight, same story.

    So while exercising now........I make a conscious effort to pull in my stomach muscles when working out and when walking around or standing. Oddly, it helps. No clue why but it does. Doesn't get rid of all of it, but I can last longer in a standing position without moving. My sis told me to try it, I thought she was nuts.....but she always had the same issue and in the military the first thing they make you do is pull in your gut. And that's how she discovered it helps.

    Might not take it away, but it couldn't hurt to try to see if it helps some. I'm noticing a difference, and she swears at some point that conscious decision becomes automatic.......still waiting for that part. lol
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My mom always said that a strong stomach supports a weak back. I've been holding in my stomach since I was a teenager and didn't have a tummy to hold in. It's habit now - I do it all the time. Don't even think about it. It didn't help then either. LOL!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Have you used a TENS unit for pain management? They have the OTC patches too (solon pas???) my neighbor swears by those and I might try them. I also use a brace at times....not routine so my muscles dont get weak but to do a job like carpets or long standing times... yeah, that might be worth some extra protection/support.

    I am so sorry you have this constant. I have chronic pain and am blessed that most of the time I do get relief from medications (ultram, which sounds like it would not touch your level of pain). Just can put such a cloud over everything to have constant pain. I hope you can find some new ideas and get some relief.

    What about going to a chronic pain management clinic... a legitimate one (big hospitals around where we live have them, with some good alternative therapies etc.)

    Let us know how it is going... or at least come here to vent about it. This is no small matter.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, darn. Like I said, doesn't take it all away, just helps. Hmm......maybe once the body becomes accustomed to it, it no longer helps much.

    I used to get it severely during that time of the month, I mean agony. But I chalked it up to the fluid retention thing. That's one reason I was grateful for menopause. At least I don't have to deal with the once a month thing anymore.

    It is one of the reasons I want this darn extra weight off. It makes it worse because I pretty much only gain in the belly area. When I lost the weight before I noticed a huge difference too......but sadly it didn't get rid of it either, just wasn't as horrible as with the weight on.

    Working at both the hospital and retail........I've run into a lot of women who have the same issue though. So it's not just us.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Don't give up and keep on checking in with the doctors.
    However, I can tell you that my husband had heavy duty back pain and was able to get it under control doing the following:
    1. Taking glucosamine/chondroitin tablets (sp???)
    2. Taking a gentle walk every morning
    3. Switching to Clarke shoes
    4. Dealing more appropriately with anger and frustration...just letting a lot of "stuff" go
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I was thinking more of the OTC patches, but if you can convince your insurance to cover something better, go for it. A TENS unit might well be useful, too.
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    TENS annoys the **** out of me. It makes me itch - same kind of feeling that a hot tub with the jets on gives me.

    Walking causes pain. When difficult child was 11, we were walking (chasing a dog that got out, actually) and it got so bad I dropped to my knees on the sidewalk in November drizzle and asked her if she thought she could bring the car to me - it was idling in the driveway. It was that bad. Of course, she didn't and I'm glad she didn't, but I was desperate.

    I wear Dansko shoes year round. They are the only shoes that don't cause more pain and they do help a bit.

    I'm not meaning to shoot down everyone's ideas and I appreciate them. It's just that I've tried those things.
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Endometriosis? Long shot, but that's what I was trying to think of earlier. The interior adhesions can cause the kind of pain you talk about, I've known a girl with it and her symptoms weren't classic either. Would those scans have picked up kidney stones that didn't pass? Might be too big to pass?

    ETA: Since you mention shoes as a factor, have you have your tendons and ligaments checked?
  16. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I do have endometriosis, and am on medication for it. I had a lapraoscopy in 2000. The medication is doing its thing. And - bonus - I don't have periods. :)

    I wouldn't be surprised if there were tendon and/or ligament issues. Besides the bursitis, tendonitis and tenosynovitis (which is inflammation of or around a tendon or ligament - brain isn't working) that I have pretty much everywhere, I have plantar fasciitis and mild achilles tendonitis that comes and goes. Those are both in the feet. I also have small fiber neuropathy. My body is a lemon. Today, my right SI joint is agony. So, I'm wondering if what I'm feeling in my lower back is referred pain from my SI joints.

    I think I'm just going to try a chiropractor and see what happens. It really can't be much worse than this. I could stand to lose a little weight, too. I'm sure that would help.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Flutterby, a good chiro should be able to diagnosis correctly and shouldn't just crack away with-o seeing your xray reports and taking your history. A good chiro should also be able to palpate the area and know if your kidneys are an issue. Not to mention, ask the right questions in your history about fever, urination, etc.

    I'm all for ice, in the meantime!

    Yes, the endometriosis could be affecting your back. Big Time.

    It sounds like you have so much inflammation, you have something else going on there. You're going to think this is weird, but I would cut out red meat, processed meat such as hot dogs and sausage, wheat, and trans fats. Add green tea and vit C. You can do an online search for other inflammatory and anti-inflammatory items.

    Also, even though the xray didn't really "show" anything, if a chiro takes more xrays, s/he is going to look for different things than a family practice dr or surgeon would look for. For example, if there is a decreased disc space between the vertebra, which could be genetic (which I have) it could cause a lot of pain, and you just have to be really careful forever. And do stretches twice a day. (eg lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest.)

    A surgeon will look to see if the disk is protruding and if so, how much. (I'm guessing it's not because s/he would have said something and depending upon the severity of the protrusion, recommended PT or surgery.)

    Have you tried massage?
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As you know I have DDD and I have the same symptoms as you with the severe lower back symptoms. Simply cannot stand for long or bend over. Me vacuum or sweep? Not in this life time! I refuse. I can barely walk through a grocery store unless I am in an electric cart. I may make a short trip in for just an isle or two if I am just getting a few things and I am feeling fairly good that day.

    Nothing really makes it better except the basic steroid injections I can get every 3 months on either side of my spine about 4 fingers up and to the side of the spine at a 45 degree angle. They are a small needle with lidocaine and steroid.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Let us know how you're doing, Flutterby.:doctor: