Pain in lower back after a crunch sound

by Nadine
(South Africa)

Slump test requires a helper to lift the leg passively

Slump test requires a helper to lift the leg passively

Hi,I'm a 40-year old female. During leg kick-back exercises, I heard a crunch on the left side of my lumbar spine.

Upon waking the next day, I couldn't and still cannot move. Today is the 2nd day. If I lay still all I can feel is the inflammation and a tense muscle pull over my hip going to my lower abdomen.

If I try any further movement with my left leg, the pain radiates down from my lumbar spine to my sacrum, that feels like it's about to break, and feel tension across my lower abdomen.

Any attempt to lift myself is futile - too painful. I can't even go to the bathroom,since I cannot stand up, but have to slide on by belly and relieve myself in a bucket, whilst leaning with my torso on the bed.

I applied heat, and just did cupping (myself, with a set I have at home).

Movement is still limited, confining me to bed.

What do I need to do first?
Do I apply heat/ ice?
Do I call the doctor, a physiotherapist or chiropractor?

Please help.

Hello Nadine,
Severe lower back pain is frightening, so don't feel all alone and wimpish; it hurts, and often the disabling effect is just as bad.

First a generalised comment; in the future keep in mind that any exercise routine should improve your health, not render you disabled and in great pain. Revisit your programme and try to decide what went wrong.
Did you warm up, are you trying to be Miss World, have you been advised on a programme to follow; I could go on.

At this stage there is no mention of leg pain which is good; however be warned, it can start at a moment's notice.

Start doing some very gentle lower back exercises lying on your bed; the rule is you may feel some discomfort, but not pain. Use alternating ice and heat on your lower back twice a day.

If you have pain on coughing or sneezing, or bearing down on the loo, then get professional help immediately. It's up to you to choose; I'm obviously biased!

The other useful test to do is called the Slump test for sciatica; use the search function at chiropractic help to find it. If you have severe lower back pain, then it's best to do something right away.

The one concern is the pain in the abdomen; that doesn't fit and if it's a big feature, then I'd start with your medical doctor.

See our slipped disc rules page.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B



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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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