lower back pain and muscle spasm after lifting

by Sean

Lower back pain and muscle spasm after lifting, second time in two months.

As a gigging musician i lift Pa speakers and guitar amps in and out of my vehicle regularly. I'm 45 male and of good general fitness.

I came off stage after first set and noticed i was lopsided. My back felt like it had seized up and my left lower side felt like it was pulling me over to the left and slightly back. A few days later while trying to tie a lace i felt a sudden excruciating pain across my lower back and i was laid up a few days. Light exercise and painkillers helped me through. I was very concerned but the doctor just said take Ibuprofen.

I managed to get through it and back to normality but felt a discomfort for a few weeks including what felt like bone on bone movements in lower back. Anyway a couple months later and my back is once again twisted after a gig. Should I have an xray? Is it likely a slipped disc? I just need peace of mind that its just muscular and can be treated with excercise. I think an xray would help alleviate my worry.

Many thanks Sean.

Hello Sean,
Before serious things happen in the body, usually it starts to talk to you, warning you something is on the way.

Your bod is talking to you! That twisted posture you take on is called an "ant-algia". Meaning leaning away from (or sometimes towards) the pain. Was your pain left? Then you had a what in techie jargon is called a Postero Medial Disk herniation ...

It's okay to take ibuprofen for a few days, but the research shows that it actually impedes healing, so certainly don't take regularly.

Sean, this is a serious business. After two or three episodes of this leaning tower of Pisa stuff, the nerve is likely to be affected, and then it goes down the leg. Believe me, the pain in the leg is much worse than what you experienced in the back.

Read about the sequence of events that are likely to happen unless you take evasive action. Slipped disc symptoms

I would suggest three important things:

1. Accept that when you are moving heavy speakers, and such things, you need help. Get someone to take the other side.

2. Start doing some lower back exercises every single morning before getting out of bed. On your bed. Like brushing your teeth, whether you have pain or not. Disciplined.

3. If it happens again, see someone who knows about backs. Someone local. In fact, start looking now, so that when it happens, and it probably will, you'll know who to contact. As always, ask friends and family for a recommendation. Avoid your doctor's pills if you can possibly help it.
Anti inflammatory drugs ...

You can't see a slipped disc on X-rays. If you're in the Bob Dylan league, get an MRI! They're expensive, but unlike X-rays don't potentially cause harm to the body. They aren't ionising radiation. Nevertheless, X-rays often do yield useful information. The practitioner you consult will advise you. Obviously I would suggest you see a chiropractor! But do you homework before letting anyone touch your back.

Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Dr B

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Nov 19, 2013
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the info Dr B. The sciatic pain from my right buttock down my leg did raise its ugly head and you're right about the pain being worse. It hasn't let up now for weeks.

I saw a private physio who decided she would give me excruciatingly painful deep tissue massage but that only left me bruised and feeling no better. I finally got into seeing a different physio through my doctor and its a much more gentle process.

The pain seems to have concentrated around my hip joint now, sitting down for any length of time seizes it up again and leaves me in pain again. So hoping this is going to alleviate soon, i need my life back. Thanks again.

PS I'm stopping the Ibuprofen, i've heard too many negative issues surrounding its use.

Regards, S.

[Hello Sean,
I'm biased toward chiropractic obviously. This is stuff we treat on a daily basis, but each case is unique and different and, if it's right down the leg, difficult.

You should at least now have an X-ray, or better still an MR scan.

Recommend massage only done whilst you are lying on your side, or cushion under the pelvis, buttocks up in the air.

Good luck.

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 have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is 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 is 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 pain-free. 

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 is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has 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 stroll 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; he has a short leg.

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. X-rays 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 few months 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 is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year 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 could not 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 should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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