Many of you with back pain have most likely scoured the internet for ways to relieve your pain, possible reasons for your pain and maybe you’ve found a bunch of solutions you can do right at home. It’s true that while the experts will be able to give the specific diagnosis (usually) for your back issues, often the search for relief continues after you leave the doctor’s office.
In my 3rd Back Pain Article, I wanted to talk to someone who is an expert on back pain. My mom. She is not unlike many of you who suffer day in and day out with some form of real chronic pain. On her recent visit this past week, I sat down and asked her a few questions about what she’s doing to deal with the ongoing saga of her lower back pain.
Degenerative Disc Disease in lower back – near tailbone.
Also has signs of arthritis and spinal stenosis in her back.
Osteoporosis as well in her cervical spine.
What the Doctors Told Her:
Take medications prescribed.
Go To A Specialist.
What the Specialist Said:
Surgery was probably the course to take – this would entail removing bone pressing on nerves.
Take these medications.
Do these exercises/stretches.
Come back in 14 days.
*The experience at this office was less than positive for my mom. She has an appointment with a new person tomorrow. So we’ll see how that goes.
*Keep in mind that this is what my mom chose to do for herself. Nothing in this article is a replacement for seeing your own doctor and getting your own diagnosis. If you do any of the exercises listed in this article, you do them at your own risk.
The Story in a Nutshell
*It’s very summarized but you’ll get a basic picture of what’s going on:
Last October (ish), my mom fell at work and hurt her elbow. She suffered for more than a full year without seeing a doctor or trying to find out what was wrong. Sitting was painful, laying down was painful, working was painful. Finally, she started a series of tests with her General Doctor and then with a more specialized spine center. This is when they diagnosed her with the conditions I’ve listed above.
My mom decided to try the medications and do the exercises. At the beginning walking wasn’t an option yet — it hurt too much. Now, she’s added that back into her routine. My mom was not interested in doing surgery at all – so decided to find another specialist who could give her more information and additional options for pain management.
Q & A
Instead of having her rehash the last year of pain, I decided to ask her questions that I thought might be important for other people suffering with lower back pain. Even though everyone’s condition is slightly different, it’s always good to know other people’s experience.
Q: What exercises given to you by you physician have been the most beneficial?
A: Cat helps the most, even though I don’t feel coordinated when I do it.
Q: What is your favorite exercise prescribed by the physician?
A: Laying On Back, Stretching Knee to Chest. 1 leg is straight. Bring 1 knee gently in toward chest.
Q: What movements cause you the most pain — even if it happens later as a result of a type of movement?
A: Twisting & Reaching (mostly to above her head, but sometimes will cause pain to twist and reach below her waist) This is even without holding anything – just the act of reaching is uncomfortable.
Q: Since you spends the majority of your day on your feet, what do you do on a typical day to manage your pain and get through it with the least amount of strain?
1. Takes Motrin every 4 hours.
2. Stretches in the morning before work and in the evening after work.
3. Does lower back stretch where you sit in a chair, open legs to side and let hands reach to floor (as often as she can while at work)
4. Takes walks during all breaks during the day
5. Takes her time during the day – paces herself.
6. Tries to not get worked up about random issues at work – the stress of work often makes her back hurt more than reaching/twisting.
7. Pays attention to her body.
8. Limits reaching & picking up things out of her reach
Q: What advice does she have for others dealing with chronic/daily pain?
1. Figure it out for yourself
2. See a doctor but get ready to be a part of your own treatment. Meds don’t always work the way doctors expect and you need to be aware of this. Also, understand the issues with back surgery and that many people continue to have problems after. That said, your condition can also improve after surgery.
3. Find ways to change how you do everyday activities.
4. Drink More Water – try to eat as healthy as possible.
It seems pretty simple, but she has done a lot of experimenting to find the things that work for her. She gave the anti-inflammatory medicines a chance. She even took Prednisone – with side effects that she did not like at all. She was even taking a muscle relaxant called Flexeril for awhile. She didn’t feel any relief from these medications and only suffered side effects.
Looking forward, my mom is seeing a new doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, they will give her some additional options, maybe even suggest some physical therapy to help her do the exercises correctly.
If you have any questions or advice based on your personal experience, please email me directly or comment below!
Also, check out these other recent back pain posts:
Last Word: Take Charge of your health. You have to the push the doctors to help you sometimes. Don’t take no for an answer. Be open to new solutions that don’t involve surgery.