When the lower back gives out.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    *wincing in pain while hunched over the iMac's keyboard*

    From time to time, usually once or twice a year, my lower back malfunctions. In 1972, I was in a serious traffic accident, when a 16-year-old girl who had just received her driver's license made a u-turn in front of me while I was riding my just-paid-off Honda CB750K2.

    For the next two years I was out of commission. I was lucky to keep my right leg. As it was, I lost length in that leg due to a series of operations (and lots of removed bone). I didn't respond well to a built-up heel, and opted to wear regular shoes. The doctors said that doing so would catch up with me eventually.

    Which is true.

    If I lift a heavy object incorrectly, there will be hell to pay. Or if I walk in such a fashion as to put too much stress on my right leg, the muscles in my lower back will communicate clearly the error of my ways and I will suffer for the better part of a week.

    Or I can even sleep in an awkward manner and wake up in spectacular pain. And that, apparently, is what I did two nights ago.

    One time, when calling my physician in agony, asking if there were anything he could do, he responded by saying yes, I could come into the office and he could tell me in person that I pulled a muscle. Maybe he might even prescribe a pain killer for my effort.

    Whatever.

    So here I am again, in agony. Getting out of a chair is a production fraught with searing pain. My legs are numb much of the time. And all I can do is ride this mess out.

    I can't brush my cat. Sitting in my rocking chair is okay for a while, but pain eventually sets in. And screening DVDs is a chore. Sleep seems like the only respite.

    Basically, today I am a shut-in. I can't even make a beer run. Tylenol Extra-Strength is all I have.

    Help ... me ... this ... is ... agony. Sing me a lullaby. Or point me to sweet relief.

    Gotta go.
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  3. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Wow! I didn't know you have an iMac!

    ------------------------------------------

    Do you also have a chiropractor? Mine is great, and he’s worked wonders for my back injuries. Thanks to him, I’ve become a productive member of society instead of a writhing mass of pain.

    I don’t know if you feel about chiropractors the same way my HMO does (i.e., they’re not real doctors), but there are some good ones out there, I believe.
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Actually iMacs have certain ergonometric shortcomings. Try a PC with the Microsoft "Natural" keyboard - your arms will feel much better after you get the hang of the bent keyboard.
     
  5. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    So here I am again, in agony. Getting out of a chair is a production fraught with searing pain. My legs are numb much of the time. And all I can do is ride this mess out.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    These particular problems don't sound like they would be due to any pulled muscles. It sounds more like a pinched nerve or disc problems. Maybe you should actually make an appointment with your specialist and get a check-up. If your regular specialist doesn't provide a satisfactory explanation, get a new one.
     
  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Do you think a Tempurpedic bed would help? I've got one, and it's pretty nice. However, I never experienced a back injury nearly as bad as yours though.
     
  7. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I too suffer from lower back pain about once a year, I have had MRI's and they have never been able to tell me what causes it, but I am out of service for 2 to 3 weeks with horrible pain and I am not able to stand up straight, i lean sidways when this happens, I end up sleeping in a recliner for awhile until it goes away, the floor works also, untill it is time to get up from the floor
     
  8. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

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    What a wonderful club we are in. I have about the same problem as you Jack...but without the car accident. Now, for the first time ever, my left leg started hurting along with my lower back. Went to see a chiropractor yesterday. I don't know if he will be able to help but the medicine my doctor has given me over the years just doesn't cut it anymore. Just came back from the store with a new reusable ice pack. Toes have stopped feeling numb and my leg is feeling better so I guess I will be over this one soon.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jack,

    Cant really diagnose over the internet, and I'm not qualified anyway, but I feel for ya. Another poster last June got a response from Henry Carmona, whose wife at her medical facility suggesed a case of Lumbar Strain. FWIW here is her recommended stretch-type regimen, if it can apply.

    METHODS

    bill
     
  10. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    Frank, sounds like you pinched a nerve. You may want to have the doctor check that out. Could be serious.
     
  11. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Jack, I feel for you. I am a veteran of the spinal wars. At the ripe old age of 24, I had lower back surgery. Parts of my legs and feet are permanently numb. Get pain in back and legs. It's no fun.

    I don't mean to alarm you, but if you have numbness in your legs, it is more than a "pulled muscle." There is some kind of nerve compression going on there—disk material, swelling—there are many possibilities. If this continues, it would be best for you to see a doctor. The numbness could become permanent.

    Also, as tempting as it might be to remain prone, make sure you move around. Gentle stretching and little walks will keep your muscles loose. Just don't do anything that makes the pain worse!

    I just wrote the copy for a Spine Hospital web site. Lots of good info there for conservative treatment:
    Spine Hospital

    Good luck.
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    sorry to hear that, especially with the CB750 [​IMG]
     
  13. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    Jack I don't have advice, but I'm sorry to hear what you're going through. If I weren't 1500 miles from you, I'd make a beer run for you.
     
  14. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I feel for ya buddy.... been there and done that and all I can do is offer some info that has helped me from time to time.
    I lost two disc in my 20's due to a fall and was unlucky enough that they were accross from each other but at an angle.... L3 and L4. Mine were removed back when nothing was reinserted to take up the space so I sometimes have a problem from picking up heavy objects which compresses my spine and can cause me days of "a catch" and pain. Being 53 now, I have learned and try to manage my activities so I do not cause myself further stress in the back than necessary. Being in the building trades for the past 12 years, I found it important to keep good muscle tone and "loosened" up. For that occasional problem I use the hot and cold therapy. Hot pad to speed the bodies own healing and cold packs to reduce swelling and pain. Yes I use these two repetitively with 20-30 minutes between the rotation. This has been my main "go to" mainly since I simply refuse to take painkillers that really only work on your head!!!
    Last year, I had a bad fall which dislocated my hip and the HOT/COLD therapy again has been my go-to and has been the main reason I can successfully still get up daily and go about my appointed tasks.
    The HOT/COLD therapy certainly is a non=invasive treatment that works on most any pain or injury and I suffered for several years before a friend advised me about it. As mentioned above, tha tis all I do now for any pain or injury. Just remember, 30 minutes heat, 30 minute coast, 30 minute ice pack, 30 minute coast. Repeat as necessary.
     
  15. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I have injured my back. I had bulging disc in the lumbar region. The following year I had herniated discs. Oain...pain like I've never felt in my life. I learned I was prone to lumbar disc injuries. Everyone is different, however, there are specific things that most people can do to minimize their lumbar pain. Back injuries are often caused by lifting, however, one of the worst things for your back is sitting. I DO NOT SIT ANYMORE at the computer. Sure I sit when I drive my car, I sit to eat meals, I sit when I go out with friends and sometimes I sit here and there, but in general, at the computer, I kneel. It works. I could type volumes but siffice to say, sitting flattens the curve in your lumbar spine, pushing the discs back against the nerves. Painful. That is what causes sciatic pain, such as the numbness and pain in the leg. If you are in extreme pain, you may be experiencing a bulged disc or worse, a herniated disc. An orthopedic doctor can diagnose with reasonable accuracy. I do not like Chiropractors.

    My Advice is to see an orthopedic surgeon for physiotherapy referal. Do not get surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Buy the Back Book.

    Do back exercises like press-ups where you lie on your stomach and press yourself up. You lie flat on your stomach and keeping your hips on the ground, you press your arms against the ground and slowly curl yourself up, like a lazy bent push-up. Keep your hips on the ground.

    Do the one where you are on your hands and knees and you extend your left arm out in front of you and extend your right leg out behind you. Alternate, then extending your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you.

    Also, later, do all the exercises that the physiotherapist tells you about. You'll learn to manage your back.

    The most important thing is do the following:

    1) Get proper physiotherapy
    2) Do the exercises
    3) Learn how to treat your back..bending your knees..strengthening your abdominals etc
    4) Sit ass little as possible.

    Just get a pillow and kneel in front of your PC [​IMG]

    If you have a bulge or herniation there is nothing much you can do except what the physiotherapist says, since it will take a long time for the injury to heal.

    Good luck [​IMG]
     
  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the kind words, everybody. Today, the ol' back is very tender, but it's easier to get out of a chair. But getting out of bed was a process of rolling over to the edge and making contact with the floor in increments. I used the arm of my rocking chair for support.

    And this may very well be a pinched nerve. The numbness in my legs is not as pronounced today.

    Pamela (good to see you back, by the way!), I have no choice but to get out of the house today. I am going to attempt to walk to a store just a block from my house. The beer-supply situation is becoming critical. Yet I must also carry a heavy carton of cat litter too. Concerned.

    And, Philip, that CB750K2 was one fine bike (mine was metal-flake brown—almost black). After I won a lawsuit against the person who hit me, I bought a 1975 Kawasaki Z-1B 903 (dark maroon and bloody fast) and even paid off my parents' house.

    When the lower back gives out, all one can focus on is how bad he or she feels. For the past three days, the center of my universe has been my damn back.

    What about soaking for a long time in the tub? It made me feel a little better yesterday, though getting out of the tub was scary. The pain returned with a vengeance during the evening, though.
     
  17. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Do not sit. Lie on your stomach on your bed and read, listen to music or watch TV lying on your side.

    Try not to sit and see if that helps.
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    boy, this thread makes you realize how prevalent back pain is. i also have a tweaky back.

    every so often, usually after strenuous activity, my lower back will tighten up. stretching before and after sometimes helps. however, every once in a while (maybe twice a year) my back absolutely locks up! i can't walk, can't move and it hurts to do anything. it's times like that that i realize just how important your back is.

    usually when this happens, i try to stretch and lay flat. however, i agree that some movement is actually a good idea.

    jack, all the good advice has been given so all i'll say is good luck, i can empathize, and i hope your back eases up on ya! [​IMG]
     
  19. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    i had intense back pain. doctor said it was muscular. sent me to therapy. didn't help. picked up my daughter one day and pop! turns out i had a bulging disk and picking her up made the disc herniate. the pain was incredible but surprisingly, the next day I was pain free. the herniation relieved all pressure. BUT, thats when the firey pain in my leg started - and the numbness. i went to a neurosurgeon. he wanted to operate. i said no. i slept on my side for months and stayed off the couch. get a good armchair. the pain in my leg is gone. no pain in my back. only slight numbness remains.

    moral - don't let them tell you its just muscular. GET AN MRI. avoid surgery if possible. avoid pushing and pulling (mowing the grass, pushing a shopping cart is the WORST!)

    good luck dude.

    by the way, the flat panel imac is great ergonomically. the monitor swivels to precisely where you need it.
     
  20. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    That firey pain you felt was the material that is supposed to be inside your disc. It escaped when you herniated the disc and just rams itself against the nerves. Ouch its un-believably painful. I had a CAT scan and an MRI. Together it was clear that I had a herniated disc. I am much better now. The more I exercise and workout my body and abs the better I am..but..I still can hurt my back sitting. I can lift things and shovel the driveway, but too much sitting is bad.
     

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