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Accute Lower Back Pain!!

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  • Accute Lower Back Pain!!

    Just took a very good friend of mine "who happens to work in my office as well" to the ER this morning. This young man is a prime example of a top notch athelete in his teen years, but less active at 28. He still plays hard i.e. snowboarding, motorcycles and coaches both basketball and football. So, needless to say he is very active. No, he is not a member of the primal lifestyle and still lives in the day dream of CW. However, I have to say he is still very strong and does not appear to have any excessive amounts of fat on his body.

    Snowboarding was the culprit - accute lower back pain is the injury. Does he have a history of lower back problems "Yes". I guess he can be placed in the chronic catagory if one calls throwing out your back once a year CHRONIC. Does he exercise "No", just plays. Treatments involve, ice, anti inflammatory medications and the chiropractor. Hmmmmm....that brings me the next peice of information. He experienced a medium impact fall on the Mountain Sunday and had his CHIROPRACTOR adjust him yesterday afternoon. All was well last night, with ice and heat treatments before bed. It appeared that he felt great this morning when he woke up. It appears that all he did to trigger this problem was step out of his truck this morning leading him to severe pain.

    Sorry for the length, but in my 15 years of playing sports and being a moderate active human being I have never seen a man in this much pain. He passed out twice in the car from the overwhelming pain and when we got the ER he was screaming his face purple. This is a young 28 year old male with four kids who does stay moderately active. My concern - simply is this....what can we do in order to avoid these types of injury's and if keeping our core firm and strong is not enough at what point do we have to throw in the towel? Is surgery an option? Does anyone else out there have similar experiences to share? I know there is, because lower back pain is a very very common injury. Let me hear it!! Thanks.
    Erik C.

  • #2
    depends upon what his problem is, but i would also add in yoga.

    i deal with a lot of clients who have back issues. one of my clients had a severe slipped and compressed disc. her left leg had dropped and she was dragging it around. she had chronic pain. it affected every part of her life. her doctor said she had no more options: either yoga or surgery. we did yoga one-on-one three times a week for 8 weeks, then she did two lessons and one class a week for 8 weeks, then one lesson and two classes a week for 8 weeks (practicing at home for 30 minutes each day). now, she takes yoga classes three days a week.

    after the 6th month, just when she was to transition to 3 classes per week, she hiked the himalayas. she was in peak condition. no need for surgery, spine realigned, vertebrae back in line, and the jelly between them just fine. her doctor began sending clients to me.

    i also deal with post-operative clients who have had joint replacements and/or back surgeries.

    a lot of the problem is not actually with the core, though that is part of it. it's tight hips and hamstrings. those 'pull down" on the lower back muscles, inihibiting range of motion and lower back flexibility. then, any tiny tweak and *bam* severe injury. i've seen it happen to fit and unfit people alike.

    and i've seen yoga create a situation where people go from chronic back pain to no back pain.

    but when they stop practicing, it's back to back pain. so, it's about keeping up with it.

    i suggest an experienced iyengar and astanga teacher.


    • #3
      Don't EVER do situp exercises. Very hard on the spine & you are guaranteed to give yourself lower back pain.



      • #4
        I had (have?) a bulging disk in my back. The disk presses on the nerves, causing a level of pain that immobilizes me. The first time it built up chronically, I got to the point where I was quite sure the pain was due to metastatic cancer in my bones. I became quite irrational. That first bout was fixed by physical therapy, learning to do the right stretches, and TENS treatments.

        It's grumbled occasionally since, but about a year ago, I bent down to get something out of the dishwasher and it kicked in so abruptly and excruciatingly that I dropped to the floor and had to remain face down on the floor for 30 minutes before I felt like I could breath again.

        What has helped me most over the years is just the knowledge that I need to get the disk away from the nerve. So doing back stretches (cobra stretch, for example). Once it's horribly bad, strapping my TENS unit to my back is the only thing that allows me to function. I wore it to a theater once--felt like I was wired with explosives!!!!

        I would want to ask for 2nd and 3rd opinions if anyone suggested back surgery. My understanding is that many back surgeries are either untested or studies find them no more effective than physical therapy.

        Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
        Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


        • #5
          In November, I was doing some yoga and simply stretching by sitting on the floor and reaching for my toes to stretch my hamstrings. POP! I felt it instantly, and I could barely get up. It took about two weeks before I could walk normally, and another 4 weeks before the pain really subsided. I had an MRI and Xrays. The xrays show I have a sacralized L5, which basically means my L5 and S1 vertebrae are fused as a congenital condition since birth. According to my doctor 10% of people have that. My MRI showed some general bulging, but nothing significant. This pain has happened before a few times over the last 15-20 years, but to a lesser degree. The back is a funny area. I work my core, I lift weights for strengthening using good form and my bodyweight is well within the acceptable range for my height. I think things happen with the back that just cannot be prevented. I squatted and deadlifted on a routine basis, up to 250 pounds, never having any problems or pain. However, a simple routine stretch and I was wrecked for a month. There's just no sense to it.


          • #6
            I highly recommend the book "Healing Back Pain" by John E. Sarno M.D.


            • #7
              I agree with DanC:

              I have experience that befoe and it is the worst pain i have ever felt. It's 100x worst then a charlie horse. I was only 20 at the time and I had to get an ambulance to come and get me. And ever since then it recurrs ever so often, not as bad, but I'd have a hard time standing up or getting up or sleeping. I had it pretty bad a couple months ago, then I read "Healing Back Pain" the book suggested by DanC. And the pain went away and hasn't come back. Now I have all these lower back pain stuff, like the belts, the Klass Vaki body support, lower back pain supports....but now I don't need it. The book made a switch go off in my head and it worked for me.


              • #8
                i'll have to check that out. might flesh out my teaching process.


                • #9
                  Being active does not mean that one is immune to these back issues. Avoiding back problems is a combination of strength, flexibility, posture and common sense.

                  Athletes are as susceptible to these problems as non-athletes. Sometimes more so because of the training load and lack of attention to an injury managment programme.
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                  • #10


                    • #11
                      Love yoga.

                      Tight hams, hips and lack of mobility in hips and t-spine are generally the problems.
                      Foam rolling helps too.


                      • #12
                        Do some research into sacroiliac joint syndrome...some therapists think this is the source of as much as 85% of back, hip, leg pain. I am seeing a physical therapist who suspects this is the source of my lower back pain, hip pain and bursitis. Cross fingers, we just started treatment yesterday.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DanC View Post
                          I highly recommend the book "Healing Back Pain" by John E. Sarno M.D.
                          I second that...this book costs about 10 bucks and took me from being in bed for a month with crippling low back pain to my normal activities in a matter of days...amazing stuff...very simple...but quite literally will test your ability to buck conventional wisdom regarding low back issues (and any chronic pain issue for that matter).

                          Following what dr. Sarno teaches was the best thing I have ever done, regarding my personal health, in my life.
                          Last edited by specialrider; 01-22-2011, 08:35 AM. Reason: spelling correction


                          • #14
                            Great feedback from everyone!! Thanks for the information and sharing of personal experiences.

                            The outcome: Prognosis was grim and the diagnosis was even worse. Two blown disc's in his lower back and several other bulging "at risk" disc's coupled with that. Surgery was last Friday, recovery is six months to a year depending on his committment. I have not had any clear discussions with him concerning his pain, recovery etc. At this point he is sedated fairly heavily with pain killers. I will give it several weeks before we start to discuss was his plans are to recover and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

                            I went snowboarding on Sunday (using his nearly new K2 at his request) and decided to just take it easy and enjoy the view. I feel like I drive just as hard as he does and I have no desire to end up in his place.
                            Last edited by Erik C.; 01-24-2011, 02:30 PM.
                            Erik C.


                            • #15
                              my 2c worth - i have two "bulging" discs in my lower back which cause me intermitttent and variable pain with different triggers.. heres what works
                              1. yoga and pilates ie strengthen the core
                              2. acupuncture...
                              when its really severe a remedial physio helps
                              chiro emptied my pockets !