lower lumbar clicks and cricks when I turn or carry weight, now sciatica symptoms

by Gardenan

I have had cricking and clicking in my lower back for several years. No pain, just that I know it isn't right and I am trying to fix it before it gets worse. I carry a 5 gallon bucket of water and it goes click as I walk. Have had no problem touching hands to toes, very limber and active farm life. I am 60 yr female. Went to several chiropractors; one said it was just like a hinged door the spine wears out and no suggestions. Another said no problem, at least it was limber.

In past year I did have a fall from a horse and landed totally flat and evenly on my back, didnt break anything only sore and was okay in a week or so. Fractured a right rib and that healed alright.

But was puzzled by stiff pelvic and buttock muscles as I usually bend from waist as knees are stiff and have cricked when I bend them since a kid. Chiropractor said sciatica and just pressed on either side of back of knee and opposite side hip as a 1 minute treatment. I said I could do that myself. Didn't realized the back could be causing sciatica which I have only had 3 months or so. Massage of acupressure points in hands and feet help.

Tried your exercises to test for sciatica, no pain, just a little stiff.

I have sat at the computer in the evenings for 10 years for 2 to 4 hours with very poor hunched posture. Am currently doing Egoscue exercises, as the curve seems to have left my lower back so I lay totally flat on back which I had thought was the goal when I was younger and could place two hands under the lumbar curve. Now I read too flat is bad too!

I do carry heavy things like 50 pound sacks of feed, tho not far as I am not a big sturdy person, I weigh about 115, 5'7". I do my own research and take a lot of vitamins, came across your site while looking up B1 for nerve trouble. I like your site and will take more time to read it in detail later, as it has so many possible causes of problems to be considered. But am interested what you would say just from these notes.
Thanks! I wish you could recommend a good chiropractor, I live in a rural area and don't get to or plan to go to big cities. The best ones I have found were very old men, but I moved out of state from one and the other retired.

Hello Mrs Gardenan,
Sciatica is a pain radiating down the leg from a pinched sciatic nerve in the lower back or pelvis. Nothing that you say above sounds like a sciatica, especially if the test you did was the Slump test. That would provoke pain in your leg.

I too don't get too excited about lumbar clicks, or any other joints for that matter, if there is no pain. And until the fall off the horse I gather you had no pain. Up until that point what you describe above sounds pretty normal.

But since the fall off the horse you can no longer bend normally, right? Stiffness in the pelvis and lower back, but still no mention of pain down the distribution of the sciatic nerve.

If there was enough force to break a rib, then there was enough force to do something in your lower back or pelvis to cause that stiffness that prevents you bending. Only a careful and thorough examination will tell exactly where the problem is, and what to do.
The one minute treatment didn't help I gather which doesn't surprise me. Did you also have a one minute examination? For a suspected sciatica at least the reflexes, skin sensation, muscle strength and sciatic stretch tests should have been done.
Those Egoscue exercises are great, just remember that you are not trying to get into the Olympic team! Take it slowly, and listen to your body.

Touching the toes isn't helpful by the way. Rather lie on your back and pull the knees to the chest. Safer.

The only way to find a good chiropractor is word of mouth. Talk to your friends and family, and your family doctor.

And for a bit avoid lifting 50 pounds sacks!

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Feb 05, 2014
Vit B1 helps my back
by: Gardenan

Dear Dr Barrie,
Thank you for answering so very quickly. I wish you were my local Chiropractor! I am glad that you don't think I really have sciatica, probably just a stiff lower back in the whole area.

Actually I didn't break the rib from the horse fall, I actually seemed to be very accident prone last fall and 3 times tripped and fell backwards, I stepped on a log and it broke under my feet and I fell hitting my tailbone and the last I was cutting small trees on a hill and tripped and fell back onto a sharp 1" stump that jabbed me right in the ribs.

I am writing back also to mention that I had been looking up nutritional info related to sciatica and it mentioned Thiamine or Vit B1 as helping. I just took some along with regular Multi B tablets for the past two days, and I am amazed, it has helped make my pelvic and lower back less stiff and sore! The body does try its best to heal itself, but sometimes it can't unless it gets some extra nutrition!

I look forward to buying and reading a couple of your books, I hope that they can be saved and printed to paper, because I don't have any fancy book reader gadgets?

Thank you again Dr. Barrie, I am recommending your site to my friends as it is the most comprehensive with helpful information, I have seen and I also like your sense of humor!

Hello again Abby,

I can get by a whole week with compliments like that! Don't be so surprised about the power of vitamins. Without them you would die. Literally. But do try to get them from your food and look on the stuff in bottle as an occasional supplement. Living on a farm you should be able to do that.

Look too to the lower back exercises you will find in the navigation bar at chiropractic help. Do them every morning before getting out of bed. They take less than two minutes. They work for a stiff back.

Three accidents is enough for the time being! Indeed, just take things a little slower, and focus on what you're doing. Especially if you have an axe or chainsaw in your hand, right? Live in the moment.

Bernard Preston is back on line. You can get Frog in my Throat and Bats in my Belfry there. Paper editions. But Stones in my Clog is only available as an ebook.

You will one day buy an ereader, just as you broke down and bought a digital camera. So, why not now? Many books are either free or much cheaper. The Kindle paperlight is the easiest on the eyes. I love mine. My books once you've paid the postage will be a quarter of the price.

Have a good weekend.

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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