Sharp Low Back Pain Limited to That Region

by Mary

I slipped down our limestone stairs and fell straight on the left side of my lower back region. I can't stand up and must be careful not to sneeze, blow my nose or clear my throat.

The pain is limited to this region; if I accidentally reach my left arm too high or try to stand I have the most unbearable pain I have ever felt; a #10 on a 1 to 10 scale.

I am athletic, extremely fit and healthy. It's day 4 since the fall and no signs of significant improvement. Is it muscle? Is it disc? Nerves? What do I do and how long does it take. I went to ER on the morning of the fall and I have been immobile since.

I took 3 Vicodin the day of the fall and elected to use Curamin and Turmeric for anti inflammatory plus icing every two hours. Beginning last night, I started to take extra strength Bayer; two tablets last night and two this morning along with Curamin. Nothing that allows the pain to go away altogether so that I can stand up.

ER xrays showed no fractures or breaks in my hip. Any idea what happened?

Hello Mary,
Firstly, anything from the other side of the planet from the web is at best a thumb suck; a doctor who can examine your directly is best.

Here are a few thoughts; pain when coughing and sneezing and blowing your nose, and also bearing down on the toilet, are known as Dejeurine's triad of symptoms strongly suggestive of an injured disc.

Mostly like you would also have a positive Slump test; sitting in an upright kitchen chair, have someone gently raise first one leg, and then the other parallel to the ground. Is is painful? If not, repeat with your head flexed on your chest.

Secondly, it's standard procedure that, if a fracture is suspected, and it should be in your case, then retaking the xrays after a week is recommended. The swelling opens up the crack making it visible.

Thirdly, are you looking like the leaning tower of Pisa, when viewed from behind? It's called an antalgia and comes in two forms; towards or away from the painful side.

With this kind of severe pain it's best to seek the help of someone skilled in managing lower back pain. Have you ever been to a chiropractor before? Perhaps your doctor could advise.

Meantime, continue to use the ice and start some of the gentle lower back exercises you'll find in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help; sit much less and avoid bending and the bath. Shower only.

Get the xrays from the ER and see a professional.

I hope this contributes. Let me know how you get on. Take it seriously; you don't want a lifetime of backache ahead of you. It happens after an injury like this.

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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