Low back L5 ache, clunking pop, tightness. Clicking in SI joints with a tight feeling in lumbar sacral area.

by Kayla
(Rochester, NY)

for starters i am only 24 years old and my low back pelvic pain has been mysteriously debilitating and has impacted my life in every way. it started aching after I sat in jury duty, three months ago. after a week of dealing with the constant ache, the pain went away from rest and mild low back exercises my primary care gave me. until about a month later i stupidly lifted myself up on a desk and twisted my back and heard a crack in the l1,t12 area that did not sound right at all although the actual crack itself didn't hurt, the pain started again right after and i have been dealing with this ever since to some degree. i took another week off to rest but it was a constant pain in my l5 joint area, si joint area, sacrum, radiating down to my coccyx, sometimes shooting to the t12 area again. it hurt when i walked, sat, lay down, and stood. there was no relief what so ever and no amount of muscle relaxers, anti inflammatories, chiropractic treatments, ice/hot compresses, or exercises could help. i had 2 xrays done that came up negative. good news is i dont seem to exhibit any nerve issues so there is no hand, arm, leg, or foot pain. i saw a physical therapist that seemed to think that i had some sort of lumbar posterolateral disc derangement. i went 2x and did his extension exercise for a week and a half and progressively just became worse so i stopped going. three days ago, i stumbled upon this pelvic alignment exercise to which i followed and being in a bridge position with left leg up made my right posterior iliac crest make this shifting clunk sound and almost immediately i felt relief from these aches, leading me to think that the crest was lodged over the sacral bone of some sort. i have done those alignments for a couple days now with mild low back, gluteal, core exercises to help strengthen the area. this has improved my aches and pains quite a bit so now i am able to walk, sit, stand for longer periods of time and i can lay down with relief most of the time. i am a makeup artist and bending forward has put a lot of stress on my back since this injury causing an immense sort of stiffness that i can only describe as a feeling of a corset being tight laced around my lumbar spine. this causes soreness with a lot of pops and clicks in the lumbar sacral, si joint area when standing straight up again; although i have been trying to avoid flexion of any sort. but it almost feels like there's not enough space for my lumbar vertebrae in a sense. if i tilt my pelvis down with my bottom pushing up, I can feel a grinding kind of popping sound in the s5 area although it causes me no pain, it seems to possibly contribute to that stiffness. additionally if I tilt my pelvis forward and clench my glutes this seems to temporarily stop the popping sound. for further details i was a cheerleader for a couple years in high school and my conjecture is that hypermobility might have been a factor leading up to this and i say this might be a possibility because flexibility has always been easy for me; i can push my thumb down and touch my forearm. furthermore i can also touch my palms flat to the floor with no bend in legs. since i have not been building the muscle strength that i used to have nor have i kept limber with any stretching either so maybe the chiropractic adjustments were not favorable for my condition thus causing more problems obviously i am not sure and this is only a thought. i sincerely apologize for the lengthy explanation but i wanted to be precise with my description to give you a better idea. i would appreciate any feedback and/or opinion of yours as my mental health has really taken a toll with this and i am physically, mentally, and emotionally unsure how i can continue living like this any longer. please help me

Hello Kayla,
Google downgrades my site with grammar like this; please resubmit from a computer. Sorry but I get hundreds of letters and haven't the time to do your dirty work. You have legitimate questions that need answers.

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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