Pain in the upper buttock with difficulty urinating

by Anita
( yorkshire England )

I have degenerative disease of the spine L3 L4.
Two days ago I bent over to put my shorts on when my lower back made a loud crack. So loud my partner heard it from the other side of the bedroom.
The pain was immediate and very intense; I could not straighten my back.
My partner helped me to the bed to lay me down, but when I lay down the bed touching my back caused even more pain.
I rested for a few hours the pain eased a little, then he tried to sit me up but again the pain was so intense I screamed. A sharp stabbing pain which seemed to go up and down my spine.
After about 6 hours we tried again and it seemed easier to sit but still had pain.
He helped me to my feet and the pain seered through my back.
He sat me on a table chair which is higher than the couch.
I took some Tramadol and after an hour or so my back eased some.
Later that night the pain began to subside a little and was more bearable.
That is until i tried to stand, the pain came back stronger than before, but this time the pain shot across from my spine in almost a straight line to the top half of my buttock and upward.
This pain was so intense i almost fell to my knees.
Every time I tried to put weight on my right leg the pain was really intense.
It was sharp seering pain but at the same time felt like something hot inside and it was stinging.
I had to be carried to bed; I couldnt walk.

Now to ease the pain I walk sideways like a crab and very slowly. It does not stop the pain. I have also found if I lean to the left this also eases the pain.
I cannot walk forward because the pain is stronger.
The pain is also more pronounced when i try to stand from sitting and vice versa.

My Gp prescribed 2mg Diazepam to be taken 4 times per day. It is now 4 days since my back cracked and the pain began and so far there is no improvement.
My Gp said to stand upright but I cant because of the pain.
It is nothing like sciatica which i also suffer with. The pain now goes from deep in my hip and across to the right side of my spine.
I cannot turn my upper body to the right as this causes more pain but i can turn to the left also i cannot raise my arms above shoulder height. The easiest way for me to walk is by leaning my top half of my body to the left and carefully move sideways; this does ease the pain slightly.
Laying down is painful on either side so i lay partly on my front but then getting up or trying to roll over causes excrutiating pain.

Also since this happened my knee has swollen; not sure if this is to do with my back.

The other problem i have noticed is that passing urine is very difficult and bowell movement has only happened once which is unusual as i normally go every morning.

Apologies Anita for the late reply. I've been on leave.

You need immediate, now, today, specialist opinion. What you are describing is what is known as a cauda equina syndrome. The nerve to your bladder and has been impinged making it difficult or impossible to urinate. Your bladder could burst causing a host of new problems; you may need to be catheterised.

It's now a week since you wrote; if you bladder is still difficult, go to a hospital today and demand to see a specialist. Tell them you can't pee and mention cauda equina; that should get any doctor hopping. From a distance it would seem to me that your GP has missed the boat.

You may have either a severe slipped disc, called a sequestration, or possibly a fracture with massive swelling. I'm astonished your GP hasn't at least called for an xray or preferably a scan.

Don't delay. Today. Let me know what happens.

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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