The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Medical Needs and First Aid => Topic started by: Cooper on January 11, 2013, 09:43:24 AM

Title: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Cooper on January 11, 2013, 09:43:24 AM
Hi, I am 19 years old and am having back issues due to two bulged discs.  For a while I never paid it much attention because it didn't really slow me down and I always figured it would eventually heal.  Now, almost two years in, I have realized I need to try to do something about it.  Taking care of it is tough, because I live an active life working on a farm and sometime you just can't avoid strenuous labor.  Right now I see a chiropractor, but I am wondering if anyone had other suggestions for what has helped them.  Seeing as this is a very active community, I am sure there are many others dealing with this same issue.

Thanks,
Cooper
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: DCAL on January 11, 2013, 02:56:40 PM
Well, as a Licensed Massage Therapist, I have a bit of a biased opinion but, chiropractic care combined with massage therapy is the ultimate combination for spinal/muscle care.  Now, of course I'm not talking about a 'fluff and buff' massage.  A truly therapeutic, probably deep tissue, probably somewhat painful (although not necessarily), massage after an adjustment will most likely provide you with significant relief.  The ABMP (Associated Massage and Bodywork Practitioners) and AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) websites provide links to be able to find qualified practitioners near you.  Look for Deep tissue massage, sports massage, myofacial release practitioners.

http://www.abmp.com/home/#tab_public

http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/index.html

Unfortunately insurance may not cover it so if you need to be able to bill insurance a good physical therapist could be helpful as well.

Hope this helps!   :)
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: livinitup0 on January 11, 2013, 03:10:10 PM
Ive always wondered if 50 years ago if there were nearly as many people with back problems as there are now. Youd think with working manual labor you'd have a strong back... i dunno... mine is starting to act up too but i have a desk job and dont workout nearly as much (or ever anymore) as I should.  Ive looked into massage therapy and chiropractors but the prices to go to one on a regular basis is completely out of the question... I have no idea how any normal person could afford one if insurance doesnt cover it considering they want you to go like once a week.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Cooper on January 13, 2013, 05:59:58 AM
I think people that are smart about physical labor usually have strong backs, but it really only takes one awkward or overly heavy object to completely skrew you up.  My problem was that I sat in school all day and then went and worked on the farm without any warm up.  It's so idiotic now that I think about it. But I was 17 and honestly never thought it was possible to chronically damage myself.  The chiropracter has really helped, but he is extremely expensive and I don't know how much longer I can go for that reason.  I am looking into more long term solutions such as maybe a combination of herbal remedies (Western Botanical) and something like yoga (although I would prefer not to).  My feeling is that the chiropracter can give me as many adjustment as he wants but an unhealthy, overworked body will just revert back to its same issues.  I hope that if I can keep the inflammation down and balance, strengthen, and stretch my muscles, I may have a chance at some long term relief.       
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Perfesser on January 13, 2013, 10:39:11 AM
Try experimenting how you sleep. When I had a sore back I found sleeping on the love seat (head up, legs up) helped a lot.
Hammock?
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: cheryl1 on January 13, 2013, 10:50:46 AM
Ibuprofen-scheduled every 6 hours, not just when you feel pain
Rest-no lifting over a gallon of milk
gentle, gentle stretches
Heat and Ice

Give it a couple of weeks, if no improvement then see a doctor.

If you start having ANY numbness or tingles anywhere on your body, or problems going to the bathroom, see a doctor ASAP.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Cooper on January 13, 2013, 07:07:57 PM
Thanks for the suggestions cheryl and perfesser!  I hope to take some time off to relax and let it heal.  Unfortunately it is hard to do when a growing farm business is depending on you...  In your experiences of back pain, was it more muscle spasms or bulged discs?  I have heard some people say that bulged discs can't be healed.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Alan Georges on January 13, 2013, 08:03:25 PM
I have some low back pain too, and my nurse sister-in-law put me onto the book "Pain Free."  Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pain+free&sprefix=pain+free%2Caps%2C177
It's sort of a DIY physical therapy guide.  For $10, it's way cheaper than any doctor visit, and it's helped me with all kinds of arm-shoulder-tendon problems.

The exercise from the book that helps my back the most (and again, this is low back pain, may not apply to you) is to (1) sit up straight on a chair, (2) stick a big pillow between my knees, and (3) squeeze the pillow hard 15 times.  Do this two or three times over the course of the day.  If I don't have a pillow handy, I just make fists and use those instead.  It actually makes my back/hips go *pop* about as well as any chiropractor ever did, and it gives me a lot of relief.  YMMV, but I hope this helps.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: hebert on February 16, 2013, 02:30:59 PM
Yoga is great with the right instructor/style. Pull ups and hanging from a pull up bar have helped me a great deal.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: ChrisFox on February 16, 2013, 09:29:35 PM
I saw a Ted talk about posture and got the lady's book. Seems to be working for me so far.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1luKAS_Xcg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1luKAS_Xcg)

http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Pain-Free-Back-Solutions-Shoulder/dp/0979303605 (http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Pain-Free-Back-Solutions-Shoulder/dp/0979303605)
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Tyronedeblanco on February 16, 2013, 10:21:39 PM
Stretching a LOT, Ab / core work as permissable, and a GREAT chiropracter.  I love my chiropracter and would rather go see him over any doctor any day.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: DebinMass on February 17, 2013, 08:02:51 AM
You have my empathy, back pain is the worse.  Several years ago I spent 2 months lying on the floor with disk problems, although I still know I have something going on in my spine, I am 98% strong and healthy.   What finally got me up and going was combination of a chiropractor, massage, core strengthening and an inversion table. 

The inversion table was an amazing thing, on day 1, inverting for about 2 minutes,  it was awkward and a little scary, on day 2 I felt relief, but the end of the week I was inverting a couple of times a day for about 5 minutes each time and I was about 70% recovered.

When my back acts up, I get a massage and hang upside down; it may sound odd, but it stopped my pain.

One final comment, try to keep your body and core strong and your weight down.  A body in motion stays in motion

Feel Better - Deb
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: TimSuggs on April 23, 2013, 10:56:53 PM
Try experimenting how you sleep. When I had a sore back I found sleeping on the love seat (head up, legs up) helped a lot.
Hammock?

Sleeping in my recliner all but solved my back issues.  Not always "comfortable" and you can run into other issues with too, but cured my back pain for the most part.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Shrekfingers on April 24, 2013, 09:43:48 AM
In January was plowing snow in my JD tractor, was scooting across the parking lot and hit a raised drain cover I forgot was there. Tractor stopped.. I didn't. I hit the windshield with my head and I now have severe shoulder, back and neck pain. I went to the Chiropractor and got adjusted and ultrasound.
I have since discovered the TENS units, they stimulate the muscles with low voltage between two pads. Combined with heating pad it has been a life saver for me,  pain basically goes away for longer periods after a TENS treatment. Well worth the 65.00.

http://www.otcwholesale.com/koalaty-ems7500kit.html

Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: endurance on April 24, 2013, 11:52:18 AM
I haven't always been the most kind to my back.  When I was in my early 20s I had a bigger ego than my body could cash, so I'd try to one up coworkers twice my size by carrying two  80 pound bags of concrete while they carried one (I weighed 155 at the time).  As I got into my mid-30s I learned that those days didn't come without a price that I'd be paying for years.  However, I completely agree with DCAL regarding the value of massage therapy.  Strained muscles lead to inflammation which leads to impinged circulation to the disc which leads to the disc becoming dehydrated which ultimately leads to degenerative disc disorder.  Massage has become a twice a month treatment I can't live without.  I might be able to make it 3-4 weeks occasionally, but usually I'm in so much pain that I'm losing productivity at work and my sleep is suffering.  A good massage to me is like hitting Control-Alt-Delete and resetting everything.  Those muscles in spasm relax and the inflammation cycle is broken.

Also, IMHO, using heat on your back when it is inflamed is like putting gasoline on a forest fire.  ICE, ICE, ICE, until the inflammation is under control, then, with your practitioner's approval, maybe some heat.  Using heat in the first 72 hours of an injury is an invitation to disaster.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Sonny on April 24, 2013, 09:21:51 PM
I guess I am the "after" picture for this scenario.  Had a car accident, year of chiropractic, tens units, stretches, weight training all ended up with me in the ER plugged into a morphine drip because I couldn't walk.  Spinal surgery left me with a permanently numb leg, but mostly pain free. After the surgery the neurosurgeon gave me the news, no physical therapy for me, his prescription was to walk for an hour and a half every day.  I am now 5 years after surgery and have shed 40 lbs and have not stopped moving since.  If life gets in the way and I cannot walk or hike for a couple of days, the pain starts to creep back. It is a pretty good motivator.  I'll admit, I really like morphine ;D , but the pain sucked and I'm not going back there if I have anything to say about it.


Keep on moving until you can't, then find a great surgeon if your discs are impinging on your spinal cord.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: moblet on April 24, 2013, 11:17:22 PM
I am looking into more long term solutions such as maybe a combination of herbal remedies (Western Botanical) and something like yoga (although I would prefer not to).  My feeling is that the chiropracter can give me as many adjustment as he wants but an unhealthy, overworked body will just revert back to its same issues.
Your best chance for a fundamental long-term solution from manual structural intervention is osteopathy, preferably cranial osteopathy. It has the same roots as chiropractic, but the branches of the evolutionary tree diverged about 110 years ago; while chiropractic stayed focused on specific macro-level vertebral misalignment (i.e. subluxations), osteopathy pursued the body's entire structural system and developed a deep understanding of trauma along the way. A key difference in how they typically treat is that when observing the same misalignment a chiropractor will simply pop it back into place, whereas an osteopath will go looking for the imbalance that sustains the misalignment, and try to correct that instead. A key difference for the patient is that if it keeps popping back out of place they will be returning to chiropractor for acute care every week for the rest of their lives, whereas osteopathy can normally settle a problem down within say six visits and then it's just maintenance treatment after that. I have no idea how much difference they could make in your case since we don't know what's in play with your injury, but if they can't facilitate fundamental improvement they're likely to tell you so and unlikely to try to talk you into coming back to waste their time and your money.

I have suffered from fairly serious but subtle structural problems that have required long-term osteopathic treatment, so not everyone is lucky enough to get healed quickly, although most of us in that boat have significant systemic problems rather than a local injury. In my case cranial osteopaths are the only structural practitioners able to even recognise my problem, let alone treat it. I wasted a bit of money on chiropractors early on while they kept merrily popping things back into place without ever changing anything.

Finding the right kind of practitioner in the US can be a bit tricky since you have "osteopathic MD's" who don't do full-on manual medicine. Your best bet is starting with the Cranial Academy (http://www.cranialacademy.com/) website; don't get too hung up about the spiel about the cranium, just know that the osteopaths who do cranial osteopathy are the most highly skilled.

Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: ag2 on April 24, 2013, 11:25:45 PM
Chances are good that all of us have had 10 different experiences and will provide 10 different recommendations.

Here is mine:
Strengthen your core.  I have a lower back disc that is flat.  I need surgery.  As long as I am doing proper crunches and keep a relatively flat stomach (avoid growing a pot belly) I can manage life without too much pain.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Cedar on April 25, 2013, 04:11:07 AM
Ive always wondered if 50 years ago if there were nearly as many people with back problems as there are now.

Probably the same or more. You saw alot more people hunched and with canes I think. I do not nearly see as many people with canes now.

Cedar
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Cedar on April 25, 2013, 04:40:03 AM
6-7 years ago I fell off a horse and landed extremely wrong. After being misdiagnosed for 60 days, I eventually found out I had taken #8, 9, 10 and 11 ribs off my spine and fractured the corresponding proximals. They had initially Xrayed me too high by half an inch or so. They eventually re-Xrayed me with a full back screen, 8 views. I had never broken anything before and the doctors were telling me I was a wimp and just had soft tissue trauma, so I believed them. In the meantime before I was correctly diagnosed, I TRIED to continue to do farm chores until my friends ended up caring for me and threatened to duct tape me to a chair. I am glad they did..

I breathed oddly for 2 years after that. I could only breathe shallow and then after about every 10 breaths or so took one long 'staggered and unsteady' deep breath. My left side back from my shoulder to mid back was visibly swollen through a sweatshirt and was always swollen and inflamed. If I pushed the limits for 2 years, it would get even more swollen and inflamed. Took me 5 months to walk without shuffling. I had to quit my job as a veterinary technician. I was on disability for 2 years.

What saved me was years of farm labor. I had muscle memory, I had a good core and I am stubborn. I still hurt like a ___________!!!!

What works for me for back pain is to try to lean as little as possible and find my limitations. Push to my limitation and know I may regret it later however. BALANCE! Like I can pack a 50 pound feed sack well balanced on my shoulder and one under my opposite arm just fine as the load is balanced, but leaning over a sink to do dishes will put me in dire pain in 4 minutes or less. To this day I cannot sit up and type. I actually lay almost completely down and type on my computer. Often on my side.

I cannot just get up from the floor anymore (I have a 3 year old, so I am on the floor alot), I have to move to my hands and knees and get up that way, so I have learned to compensate. I cannot carry my daughter in my arms, as that tends to fall into the catagory of leaning, but I can put her in an Ergo pack and with her sitting over my hips, I can do a 10+ mile hike with her. I literally garden from the seat of my pants, as I have to sit in the dirt to plant or weed, skootching along. You will have to come to a mutual agreement with you and your back and see what works for you.

Get a huge yoga ball (they make 2 sizes) and use that to sit on. When you are not sitting on it, lay upside down on it as far as you can go without falling over and watch a movie upside down for awhile. This will stretch your back out making gravity work for you. I try to avoid using drugs as much as possible, but when I have to use something, I take a Tylenol in conjuntion with an Advil. Generally I only take them when I have pushed well beyond the limits. I also take a FREEKING hot shower and stretch in the shower after the water has been running over my neck and back for a bit. I have also taken a board, put it at a 45 degree angle and hung out upside down that way too. Gravity also helps with this.

Swim.

When I was/am seriously hurting, I will also lay on the floor and put my legs up on a chair so that it makes my back eventually flatten out. Sometimes when I start, I have a 3 inch gap at the small of my back. After a bit my back relaxes and it flattens out. I will also lay on the floor with my knees up and my feet flat on the floor, grab a broomstick in both hands and twist. This helps relax your back too. They had me do this 3x a day when I was in PT.

Swim.

I used to do yoga before my injury. I was talking to a yoga instructor and she told me to NOT do it for a bit longer. Get trigger point massage therapy if you can. Did I mention swimming?

Like right now I am up typing this at 3 am as I overdid it last evening with farm chores (and pushing 500 pound hogs) and I am hurting a bit and did not want to wake my honey up by tossing and turning. Laying on the couch currently typing as put a new angle on my back and I am in 80% less pain without drugs. So if you are hurting, change what you are doing.

HOT SPRINGS! I like to hang out in them for like ohhhhhhhhh.. 7 hours, but I rarely get to do that. But if you do not have a hot spring handy, I also had a clawfoot tub, use essential oils like Birch EO and Peppermint in the water to help the muscles, hanging out there watching a movie or talking to 3-4 friends I have not talked to for a bit.

Get good shoes. Wear double socks.

Good luck and I hope you find what helps you to relieve some or all of your back pain.

Cedar
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Koldsteel on April 25, 2013, 07:13:21 AM
I have heard some very good advice here. But I'm going to be the bad guy. If your discs are bulging into your spinal canal, it may take surgery to correct. All the therapy in the world will not fix a posteriorly displaced disc. I'm not a surgical advocate but this type of surgery is what we do every day. Just make sure you know exactly what your dealing with (may take an MRI). Then move forward educated on your problem. Ill keep you in my prayers for a quick, non-surgical recovery.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: SusanG on April 25, 2013, 01:53:52 PM
A few years ago, I developed really severe neck and shoulder pain which was diagnosed as being caused by two disks in my neck being out of place (sorry can't remember which ones).  I was advised to try physical therapy first with surgery as a last resort.  The physical therapist used what he called the McKenzie method (named after the originator, Robin McKenzie) - a deceptively gentle exercise done frequently throughout the day.  To my great surprise after a couple of weeks the pain was gone.  Now when I feel a twinge I do the exercise a few times.  There is a similar therapy for back pain.  I just checked Amazon and there is a book on the method called Treat Your Own Back, by Robin McKenzie.  (http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Own-Back-802-9/dp/0987650408/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366919371&sr=8-1&keywords=mckenzie+method - $8.23)  If I had back pain I'd definitely give that a try.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Ken325 on April 25, 2013, 07:20:18 PM
Great advice already, but I have to offer mine as well.  I used to work in a hospital and leaning over patients is very bad for your back.

Don't re-injure your back!  Always use good form when lifting.  Don't ever lean over without putting one hand down on something to support yourself and take the weight off your back.  It only takes seconds to blow your back if it has been injured previously.  Another thing that was surprising to me, but it is very bad for your back, is bucket seats.  Sitting with my back at a bad angle is very bad for me and doing this while hitting bumps in a car is going to cause a problem. I had to sell my mustang and buy a truck with upright seating before my back would heal.  I now drive a small car for good gas mileage and I have one of these in the seat to change the angle that I sit at.  It works well. http://www.amazon.com/Large-Medium-FIRM-Wellness-Seat-Cushion/dp/B008GPR888/ref=pd_sim_hpc_3 (http://www.amazon.com/Large-Medium-FIRM-Wellness-Seat-Cushion/dp/B008GPR888/ref=pd_sim_hpc_3)

A lifting belt can help with short term pain but don't use it to do something stupid. http://www.amazon.com/Valeo-Competition-Classic-6-Inch-Lifting/dp/B0032CJSU6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_1 (http://www.amazon.com/Valeo-Competition-Classic-6-Inch-Lifting/dp/B0032CJSU6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_1)

Naproxen is a lot stronger than Ibuprofen if your looking for pain relief, but be careful.  The stuff is very bad for your stomach, so always take it with food. In my experience it will make the pain worse for about 10 hours then the inflammation will go down and you will feel a lot better.  The over the counter version of naproxen is Aleve, and I take more than recommended on the bottle when using the OTC Aleve.  Watch your stomach, but you will get better results that last longer with naproxen.  Another alternative, if your doctor will proscribe it is muscle relaxers.  Lots of problem with these but they work.  Steroids are another option with lots of bad side-effects.  Avoid this if you can.  If you have shooting pain or numbness in your legs you may be doing something to your spine and it is time to go see a doctor.  You may need surgery.  I had horrible problems when I was 24 but now I feel great most of the time.  I can re-injure my back easily, but if I am careful, I can go years without a problem.

Another thing to remember is everyones back is different.  Or, more precisely, your back injury is in a different place.  Some people have problems sitting and some standing.  I went to a physical therapist and got a lot of good advice.  Things like getting rid of sloped seats and the bucket seats in my car. You might want to go see someone if the above advice doesn't help you.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: joeinwv on April 25, 2013, 08:41:19 PM
If you have a legitimate back injury you need to be working with a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) as opposed to an MD - probably also an Orthopedist. Until you have a real medical diagnosis of what is physically wrong with your back, you can't determine a course of treatment.

Get some real medical advice, work with a skilled physical therapist - preferably one with a background in sports medicine and rehab. Hopefully, you don't need surgery.

While I might end up working with a chiro and a CMT, it is not where I would start.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: FreeLancer on April 26, 2013, 01:03:44 AM
I am now 5 years after surgery and have shed 40 lbs and have not stopped moving since.  If life gets in the way and I cannot walk or hike for a couple of days, the pain starts to creep back. It is a pretty good motivator.  I'll admit, I really like morphine ;D , but the pain sucked and I'm not going back there if I have anything to say about it.

Keep on moving until you can't, then find a great surgeon if your discs are impinging on your spinal cord.

I wholeheartedly agree.  I'm always amazed at the number of patients with horrible lumbar disc disease, both with and without surgery, who are able to function at normal levels, with minimal to no pain, simply by sticking with a regular walking routine and being mindful of their body mechanics.  As soon as they slack off, they pay big time.

Sometimes surgery is the only treatment, but I'll have to be soiling myself, or dragging both legs behind me on the floor for 6 months, before I'd opt for going under the knife.  Time and exercise can work wonders and I'm thoroughly convinced that a daily walking program is the miracle cure for nearly everything that ails us. 
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: fred.greek on April 26, 2013, 10:22:07 AM

With three bad discs, I would add to the above that I’ve found an “inversion table” helps.  Essentially it holds your ankles clamped and has you lay at an angle, head down feet up.

The book mentioned above, Treat Your Own Back, appears to be available free to review online at:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/13227677/treatyourownbackmckenzie

Scribd also has a number of other books on back pain.

(I REALLY like use of the TENS unit.)

Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: endurance on April 26, 2013, 01:02:47 PM
With three bad discs, I would add to the above that I’ve found an “inversion table” helps.  Essentially it holds your ankles clamped and has you lay at an angle, head down feet up.
...
I have a friend with an inversion table and he swears by it, too.  They're cheap as chips on Craigslist, so don't buy new.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: tacticalzigzag on June 05, 2013, 04:16:36 PM
I have almost constant lower back pain, and rarely an upper back spasm that puts me on the ground. Along with all of the other suggestions already made one thing that I have added to my daily routine for a couple of years now is using Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, specifically the peppermint kind when I shower in the morning. There is something about the peppermint that just makes me feel better and less stiff in the mornings. As far as "preps" go this stuff is amazing, I use it for almost everything, Shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, toothpaste, laundry detergent, normal house cleaning. It seems kind of expensive but my "Bathroom" bottle (I usually get the 32oz size) will last me for 4 or 5 months.
http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Bronners-Magic-Soaps-Pure-Castile/dp/B00120VWJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370469751&sr=8-1&keywords=Dr+Bronners

Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: soccer grannie on June 05, 2013, 06:48:10 PM
Any of you dealing with or have had back pain read this thread?
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=43550.new;topicseen#new

I'm miserable. See my doc in the morning. We'll see what he has to say. Pain 24/7 & being out of commission, ain't my thing.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: pokeshell on June 05, 2013, 08:34:32 PM
I got into a fatal head on car accident in 1998, 2 months after  graduating from a great university. I was in great shape. worked out several times a week, lifted weights, and competitively kickboxed. So light injury was common, but I was and am very in tune with my body.  I broke a few bones, bruised everything, dislocated my wrist, broke my wrist. I spent months going to chiro, massage, orthopedic, and  neurosurgeons. They patched my up pretty good. I almost had my wrist fused because after 2 years it was still popping out when I would get up from the floor. I had 9 disks that were pushing out one way or another, 2 that still leak.

I have at least 5 bad disks, 2 that leak. They can operate on the 3 in my neck, but the ones in my mid back would require fusing from the heart\organ side due to how far out they push.  I suffer from migraines. 

I have a great  massage chair. I go get massages. I have a real tempurpedic bed. But the greatest thing is ICE. Never heat, it feels good, but causing swelling, making the next day worse. ICE.
 Had a bad day, go get a massage and then ICE and drink lots of water.

Chiro can help, for me I have had damage done too many times. But, I am a pretty extream case.  If it comes down to 1 thin, it is clay ICE packs. I have 3 "huge" clay filled ice packs that cover my entire back 16x40 I believe. Plus several smaller ones. When my back is flaring up, I just go to bed and sleep on it.

ICE.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Byno on June 16, 2013, 03:40:47 AM
Just gunna add my two cents. im gunna try to make it short. Ive had chronic lower back pain for the past 3 years. started when i was in the Marine Corps from haulin around all that weight (full combat loads, sea bag drags, log runs, etc.) I was told by the VA that it was all in my head, or stress, or PTSD, or my hypothyroidism, or because i was an alcoholic, etc. etc. i went to the emergency room half a dozen times in less than a year because i would wake up in tears and unable to move at all. after i stopped drinking i found out that one of the benefits was that my spasms went away. i still had alot of pain though. started getting massages. that would only work for the first two days after each one and then the pain was right back. i finally went to see a physical therapist. ive been doing two different exercises and they seem to ease the pain a lot and i have increased my flexibility significantly. finally my best friend is a lumbar support tool which i like to call a rolled up towel. every seat i sit in, including in my truck, i use a small rolled up towel in the small of my back and it gives me instant relief. i am still taking vicodin but it is only on days that i have had a hard night at work and cant move the next day. im hoping soon that i will not have to take it at all. and im hoping the physical therapy works out in the end and i wont have to get an MRI. but anyway that rolled up towel works wonders. they sell lumbar support things on amazon and brookstone but a towel does the same thing and for free.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: cheryl1 on June 16, 2013, 07:18:30 PM
You have that much pain and have never had an MRI?  :o
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Stachys on June 16, 2013, 08:17:04 PM
Since you asked for an herbal treatment for your disc problem, I'll share one that I've had success with while treating friend of mine with a similar issue.
I learned it from Jim Mcdonald.  The link to his website is here...http://www.herbcraft.org/seedsstems.html
The formula is under the Solomon's Seal link. Also check out the 'herbs for back pain' link.
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best.

Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Samuel Fairlane on June 16, 2013, 09:25:39 PM
Plus one on the ICE. I got rearended Tuesday. I took a ice bath and had instant relief.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Byno on June 16, 2013, 09:35:23 PM
cheryl they never gave me an MRI because the VA sucks and kept on making excuses on why my back hurt. they did an x-ray but didnt find anything so they said i was making it up or it was in my head bla bla bla. they didnt even offer to send me to physical therapy they just wanted to shove pills down my throat. at 21 years old i was taking 7 different medications and some i was taking 2 or three times a day. including a narcotic. and 2 anti-depressants. i got fed up with it. started having suicidal thoughts which i never ever ever had in the past even with my PTSD at its peak right after my deployment from Marjah, Afghanistan. i completely stopped all my medication without my doctors opinion and felt better within a day or two. (aside from being in physical pain) i finally went to a civilian doctor a couple months ago because i dont want to get addicted to vicodin considering i finally rid myself from my addiction to alcohol. ive been alcohol free for a year and 2 months now. i have friends that are addicted to vicodin and it is not pretty. i dont want that. so i only take it on my worst days. anyway... my new doctor said that if the PT works then they wont do an MRI (which are 46% inaccurate anyway) but if it doesnt work then they will go ahead and do one. so far its working and i feel like im 19 again.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: cheryl1 on June 17, 2013, 12:44:27 PM
Congrats on being sober:) the VA not ever doing an MRI does surprise me though. My dad had back pain and the MRI showed the problem, he had outpatient surgery, and is fine now. He's a vet but doesn't go to the VA because he gets better care elsewhere
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Samuel Fairlane on June 17, 2013, 01:15:39 PM
Another plus one for the va being worse than useless. It took me six months to get an mri after I came home with two fractured vertebrae.  I have been getting injections at a spine clinic. I heard that the va is now doing injections so I asked if I could get the injections at the va. They told me that they could not start with the injections. I would have to start all over with PT and jump thru a bunch of hoops, try a bunch of drugs, before they could give me injections. Of course They were quick to offer me some drugs, with no strings. This why I want to pull my hair out when I hear people talk about how awesome government run health care will be!!
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: ttubravesrock on June 17, 2013, 07:14:21 PM
Here's my take.

1. Lose weight. Obviously, your back will be strained less if it carries less.
2. Stretch/Yoga. Gain strength by stretching and yoga instead of lifting. The bulk of back injuries are caused by a lack of core strength. Increase your core strength to match your leg strength and you will not even try to lift things improperly anymore.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Byno on June 18, 2013, 04:23:19 AM
thanks cheryl! i definitely feel healthier bein sober but i do miss it hahaha.

I hate going to the VA. no one knows what the heck is going on half the time. and really all they want to do is medicate people. they dont want to find the actual problem they just want to cover up the pain. and they talk to everyone like children.... or an old deaf person... yes most of us have hearing problems but you dont have to treat me like a naive child. i know what hurts... for the most part i know what the heck is wrong with me. tell me what i need to do heal the pain, not what i can take to make it feel better.

sorry for the rant. anyway. these are all great suggestions. i like the yoga comment. some of the stretches i do remind me of and probably are yoga positions/stretches... i need to pull out my P90X and start doing the yoga disk again haha.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: soccer grannie on June 19, 2013, 05:59:36 PM
As far as VA medical care, we've had both good and bad experiences but mostly good. The primary care physician, DH was assigned to, is as good or better than any pcp I've dealt with. We've had no problems with the VA cardiologist. The staff for the pcp & cardiologist have always been great to work with, along with the social worker and pharmacist at the local VA clinic. It was a totally different story at the urology clinic because you see a different medical resident (intern) each time. Now he sees a private urologist and we keep the VA pcp updated on any meds or procedures done outside the VA.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Ken325 on June 20, 2013, 07:06:12 PM
I used to work at the VA and it bothers me when I hear stories about bad care and abuse, but I know that it is true.  You have a lot of great people working at VA hospitals. The ones that are teaching hospitals have some of the top doctors who are professors at the medical schools.  The problem is it is very hard to fire a federal employee.  So, you get an incompetent or lazy nurse who plays cards all night and her patient is stone cold dead in the morning when the next nurse arrives.  Someone tries to write up the nurse, and then the union get involved.  The end result is the bad nurse is moved to an easier job or promoted to management to keep them from harming people.  I have seen this happen.  This could easily be fixed if you could remove bad employees. 
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Fyrediver on June 20, 2013, 07:35:11 PM
I think all the advice here has been pretty good!  However, results may vary.  I was in a car accident 2 months ago and have been going through some of the same stuff others have been through:  whiplash, ribs separated from vertebra, severe back pain, constant headaches, muscle spasms, etc.

One thing to consider:  choose your medical providers carefully.  YOU are the boss not them.  This goes for your doctors, your massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor etc.  Make sure they know they are working for you and not the other way around.  Be willing to fire one of them and move on if you don't like how you're being treated.

I do EVERYTHING listed in previous posts but I'll add this: Heat before exercise & stretching or a really thorough sweaty warm up--preferably on an elliptical machine.  The elliptical really loosens up the lumbar region!  Swimming is another really good exercise that loosens up the low back.  Ice after working out or when inflamed. 

One caution on using an inversion table:  take it easy and go slow.  For every minute spent declined you should spend a minute level BEFORE you go right side up!  If you pop up from inverted to vertical you can easily pinch pieces of tissue & nerves between the vertebra when they "slam" back together.  You should start only slightly inverted and build up your tolerance to fully inverted.  I've known many people who caused major muscle spasms by going inverted too soon and then swung right side up and couldn't walk.  Got a great deal on my inversion table from one of those people!
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: janinec on July 02, 2013, 04:20:29 AM
From a herbalist point of view a ginger or turmeric fomentation will bring you wonderful relief. Take two quarts of water, put it in a pot, bring to boil and add an ounce of ginger or turmeric. Boil for around half an hour so you reduce the liquid by half. Then strain and put a tea towel into the liquid. It will be hot! Let it cool enough to be hot but not burning. Then wring it out and lay down, have some one place it on your back and then a towel, then a heat pack on that towel and then another towel on the heat pack. It will bring immediate and wonderful relief. You could also try another herb called cramp bark,  both as a fomentation and as a tincture. Herbs used in combination with manipulative therapies are a great combination.
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: thekneepainguru on August 12, 2013, 07:50:03 AM
I'm new to the forum and this post is several months old however I'd like to share my perspective.

Back pain/bulging discs in the back is a result of excess tension in the body which makes the disc bulge. Chiropractic is valuable and helpful in certain cases however the underlying cause of the tension pattern many times is not addressed. Think of the spine like a tent pole with tight ropes on it. The pole will bend in the direction of the tightest rope. We can push that pole straight however whenever we let the tension off the pole it will bend in the direction of the tightest rope again. This is why conventional chiropractic will need you to return several times/week over long period of time to correct an issue.

The fundamental cause is tension in the nervous system (aka tight ropes on the tent pole). If we begin to address the tension in the ropes the tent pole will straighten itself on its own. Your body knows how to heal itself. It just needs the conditions created for it to be able to do so...

I approach it in 3 steps:
1.) Mindset - beliefs we have create fear, doubts, and concerns about the body's ability to heal
2.) Setting up the conditions so the body can heal (Clean water, good food/paleo, and proper breathing/Systema) addresses the tension built up in the body and prevents it from healing
3.) Comfort - Training the body to understand what comfort is moves it from a Sympathetic (fight or flight) state to a Parasympathetic (rest & relaxed) state which is optimal for the body to heal and recover...

There are other steps after this however this is the foundation and must be met first in order to setup the optimal conditions for the body to heal...

Let me know if you have any questions...

 
Title: Re: Dealing with/ Recovering from Back Pain
Post by: Samuel Fairlane on August 12, 2013, 08:19:12 PM
I have found that proper thoracic extension has helped my back pain. I have been doing lightweight front and goblet squats. All most all of our daily activities round our back and shoulders causing musculature imbalance.  And now for my most extreme and controversial advice adopt a diet as written in Leviticus Unclean animals store toxins differently than true ruminants. I have been eating only clean since January and my joints feel awesome.