At one point I traded:
• (worn) spring mattress for a platform futon, and
• (worn) office chair for a backless kneeling chair
Lower back improved rapidly after that, still not sure which to credit
My better half has pretty nasty, off-and-on pain in her lower back, and has probably since we've known each other. It's right in the spot where back becomes butt, and sometimes it can get pretty intense. Last time she saw an (er) doctor about it, they found nothing wrong. We're going to try a different doctor as soon as we can, however.
Has anyone here done anything to alleviate any similar pain issues? I suspect this will go the route of surgery (goodbye financial stability), but any little bit helps.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease at the ripe old age of 32 after having pretty debilitating pain for several months over my left SI joint. Physio, active release and chiropractic did litte to help and massage only helped alleviate the pain temporarily...for a few hours at most. What made the biggest difference was shitcanning my office chair and standing while I work, all day, every day (unless I'm in someone else's workplace where it isn't an option). I made the decision and went full out, figuring the discomfort of standing all day was minor compared to what I'd been dealing with. By day three the pain was significantly reduced and by the end of the first full week I had most of my mobility back.
In my case the pain is from lower back muscles (why only on the left, no idea) tightening up to protect the affected discs, or so I was told. It still bothers me from time to time, like today because I had a crap sleep last night and have been couch surfing more than usual, but stretching, foam rolling, the occasional deep tissue massage and standing more than not keep me mostly pain free. Pain relief rubs sometimes help and keeping up on my magnesium supps makes a difference as far as loosening up all my muscles, not just the ones in my back (that's a whole other issue...). She may find some relief from epsom salts baths too, if that hasn't already been tried.
Edit: magnesium oil applied directly to the sore spot may help as well - sometimes it helps me, sometimes not.
I also plan to start weight training soon to see if strengthening my posterior chain has a positive effect...I can't see how it won't.
Last edited by lemontwisst; 01-29-2015 at 10:06 PM.
A few years ago I decided to try eating purely 'Primal' (even though I ate reasonably well before) - less than two weeks later I had no lower back pain (and haven't to this day and no anti-inflammatories or other meds used ).
I've always been active and I reasonable general condition, but now make a conscious effort to walk regularly, do gym and yoga (in which I learned to effortlessly do headstands and handstands - with no pain or discomfort ).
This is my experience - as they say "YMMV".
Last edited by EatMoveSleep; 01-30-2015 at 05:25 AM.
Chairs … and how people use them. There's a reason why back pain (particularly in the lower back) is so common with us but absent in some other societies.
When you sit, you sit (or should sit) on the ischial tuberosities (called in German the sitz bones). These are little protuberances on the pelvis, almost you could say designed for sitting. They really work pretty well. However, if a seat slopes a little backwards -- I do mean the seat, not the backrest here -- then they can kind of roll round and this rotates the whole pelvis backwards. People can also end up sitting not on the ischial tuberosities but on the end of the spine -- the coccyx.
Now when the pelvis is rotated like this is puts absolutely tremendous strain on the vertebrae in the lower back. That's the origin of the pain. You can take pain killers or anti-inflammatories, but when you've got a mechanical problem at the root of it all you're doing is masking the problem.
A wedge cushion that makes the seat slope forward instead of back can help. Compare the girl on the left (using the cushion) with the girl on the right:
The girl on the right is taking terrible pressure on her lower back. And this is why kids rock chairs onto the front feet or sit on a leg -- these are unconscious strategies for relieving the pressure.
In point of fact, most office chairs are adjustable so that the seat can slope forwards. Health and safety legislation in most countries ensures properly adjustable chairs in the workplace. School chairs are not … because I suppose anything does for kids. That's why I made that post, although whether I was able to raise any interest in the petition I don't know.
I suggest you listen to the man who started to petition talking on this online recording. It's Richard Brennan. It's a very interesting and illuminating talk. Brennan himself had such bad lower back pain that surgeons wished to fuse three of his vertebrae. At the time he was a driving instructor. Now car seats are very badly designed. Plus, as an instructor, you have to twist and turn a lot. Brennan never had the operation, and he's fine now. Here he is:
Body Learning: The Alexander Technique
This will be the problem. You could get her a wedge cushion. A more comprehensive solution is Alexander Technique lessons, so that someone can learn to become more aware of what they do and "use themselves" well even when furniture and situations are not ideal. A major study for the British NHS found that AT was the most effective treatment for back pain well ahead of other modalities that were tried, including physical therapy and an exercise programme.
I'm not sure from your post what types of therapies she had tried already but I bet that it is many.
What I would suggest is to find a therapist who specializes in muscle relaxing exercises. One that make you focus on one group of muscles and relax them... It worked great for me.
Also go visit a podiatric... issues in the lower back can because by issues in the length of your legs. if one is a little longer then the other it throws your whole body off balance... or maybe her feet needs to be supported differently... supporting soles might be the sollution
My story, My thought....
It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!
MEversberg: I'm a big believer in doing easy stuff first, so give Lewis' input a hard look. I missed his referenced post, the title didn't seem pertinent as I'm not a resident of UK so didn't read it.
About 15 yrs ago I was on the path to back surgery, different symptoms from your wife, but treading the same path towards surgery. I chose to visit a chiropractor, the guy I saw works with several HS athletic teams and had previously worked on my sons with great success. I figured it was a long shot, but what they heck. He said he thought he could help, and he did. Over a period of time the adjustments he did, and the exercises he prescribed really improved my back. Not just how it felt, but xrays of my spine show it to be in much better shape today than it was then (straighter, better aligned.) I also adopted different approaches for my posture (check out Esther Gokhale) and think that helped a lot also. I've also adopted a standing desk for most of my PC time.
As a result of my family's experience, I'm a huge fan of chiropractic care. If I were you, I'd ask around and get some recommendations on a good one in your area/. It is certainly worth trying before you head off to major surgery. The cost, physical trauma, and extended recovery times associated with surgery make it the least preferable route in my mind.
The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.
My issue with that same exact region is being prone to spasm if I don't watch the volume of work I put on it. This is following a car crash and one historically stupid workout when things weren't 100% yet.
In my case, and I'm not saying it's her's, but managing inflammation and doing the ol' high volume of easy activity (walking, casual stretching) is the best route, and if I suspect I'm even close to an acute episode of spasm then ice, ice, ice and chiro, chiro, chiro. Maybe a NSAID just to be sure.
A good and proper lumbar flexion machine is good too, but even that I use sparingly.
But I wouldn't call it "pain" on a day-to-day basis. When I'm good, I'm good.
I have ruled out bulging discs and other crap spine related. This is just some compromised muscle which acts flaky if I'm reckless with it.
Just my own experience.
Last edited by Eich; 01-30-2015 at 06:31 AM.
There are so many things that could cause this. I wouldn't immediately think surgery without investigating further.
I would say, see a chiropractor and get their assessment.
Make sure she is not sleeping on her stomach.
Current interests - Starting Strength (reading it very slowly)
Alright, I've linked this on to her and will make sure she reads it. I have been wondering if it was related to her sitting on the region improperly, as I've caught myself doing that. I'll check her desk chair to see if I can find an adjustment to bring the front down. Failing that, wedge.
In lieu of standing, how about kneeling at the desk (on some kind of pad)? Her desk isn't going to be operable for any length of time standing, and a new one's probably not in the budget right away.
I'm 100% skeptical about Chiros; that was a synonym for quackery even a few years ago. There's a place near here that does massage, however, so I'll see if that helps her at all, at least.
Nameless, what's wrong about sleeping on her stomach?