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Back to Back Trouble. The Back Pain Support Thread.

(999 Posts)
Matildathecat Mon 02-Jun-14 18:08:11

This is a support thread for people with back pain (that does not even cover the description of hell that back pain causes). It's for all types of back pain, for long term posters with chronic pain (including those on the upwards journey to recover), short term advice through tough acute episodes and all the in betweens.

We moan, winge, share successes, guide each other and hand hold through the maize of a million medical routes and options, treatments, investigations. We internet shop as a form of pain relief, drink wine, take strong painkillers, eat cake and we go through lots of heat packs!

We don't always have the answers but we do have a lot to say about it all smile

Here are the links to our previous threads:

And some other useful links and info:

We have done the hard work for you and learned about effective drug combining. Using NSAIDs, a stomach protector, paracetamol with or without codeine (it enhances the codeine), nerve pain meds such as gabapentin and/or amytriptiline can all be more effective than simply taking huge doses of opiates. Of course most people won't need all of this but for severe prolonged back injuries this is helpful to know.

Heat, gentle exercise, TENs, medication patches, diazepam and accupuncture, we've tried them all.

So if you are suffering come and join us, were a social lot. smile

ExCinnamon Mon 02-Jun-14 18:16:19

Oh, a back support thread!

I've been diagnosed with disc prolapse L4&L5, have been off work for a week and a bit before half term.
Now back to work and in more pain sad

i'm seeing an osteopath who has performed a miracle in those past 4 weeks but now I'm scared I won't be able to work. I don't get paid when I don't go.

I'm doing my exercises, I go swimming almost daily (front crawl and back stroke only).

Currently not on meds, as I cannot drive on Co-codamol/Tramadol, am allergic to nsaids.

Moan over.

QueenChrysalis Mon 02-Jun-14 19:15:16

Hello Cinamon

I'm in the L4/5 camp too. Did you get an MRI? Something like 90% of disc herniations get better with physio and waiting - apparently the body can reabsorb it. This happened to me at 16 but I didn't have a scan so dont know which disc and how big it was. It took a few months to get better. If you are in the 10% who doesn't get better then it's good to find out the hoops you need to go through like physio - ask your GP and keep them up to date with progress. GPs don't always like osteopathy although the only thing with some proof it works on is lower back pain. It's been hard to get things moving with the NHS so took two years to get an MRI. If you are private it will be much easier.

You could try lower strength cocodamol or just take it for nights. Amiltriptiline is good for nerve pain at night and gabapentine for days but makes my head fuzzy so maybe not advisable. Hot showers and heat packs may help and massage if you get muscle.spasm - diazepam also helpful if you can tolerate it.

QueenChrysalis Mon 02-Jun-14 19:17:24

Oh and you'll build a tolerance to codeine in terms of feeling woozy, still helps the pain but safe to drive etc.

Maiziemonkey Mon 02-Jun-14 20:44:45

I can definitely second the fact that codeine effects do often disipate after a while. it's diff for everyone, and i dnt know the timescale. I have been taking codeinon on and off since 2008 and now I don't get much fuzzynes unless taking over 30mg. when taking every day your body adapts alot quicker. I used to work as a chef and just take all day it as i went to keep me going, there were several others at work that had back probs and were prescribed it for the pain. What strength are you taking at the mo? that is a bummer you cannot have any nsaids. have you asked the doc about gabapentin? it may be an optin, i don't know

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 20:49:00

Aw Shucks blush matilda you used my opener from last time as some of our opening post! Good post though, not just mine wink

cinnamon hello, welcome, sorry you need to be here, but do grab a pillow or 10 and get comfy. Can you give a little background to the prolapse, when did it first 'happen', what treatment have you had for it? Did it start a couple of weeks ago or was that the last bad patch?

If you are in the midst of a 'flare-up' you should probably consider reducing the swimming. Exercise is absolutely a brilliant thing to keep core strength and fitness at optimum, but you must temper that with rest, particularly in acute phases. What do you for work? Do you have adjustments in place? just over a week off work with acute disc pain is not much time to recover from it, but of course I am aware that time off work is not that simple for many people.

Are you using heat to help with the pain? Lots of us on this thread (you will see it fill up quickly!) use heat as a source of comfort - stick on heat pads, gel packs, hot water bottles, wheat bags.

Agree with queen that low level codeine might work for you at night time/evening when you don't have to drive. Are you taking paracetamol max doses every day without fail? If not, make sure you do that, as daft as it sounds, paracetamol is actually an amazing pain reliever for chronic pain if taken regularly.

Matildathecat Mon 02-Jun-14 20:51:35

Cinnamon hi, sorry you had to join us but welcome. As before have you had an mri and what kind of pain are you getting?

If I had my time again I would be resting as much as possible. Rest, potter, rest. Very gentle swimming is fine (I swim with a float between my legs which reduces nerve irritation). Sitting is a big no and frankly if you can possibly take time off work then do. If it's your first episode and you are improving then it's like a golden ticket.

Good luck. Keep posting.

Matildathecat Mon 02-Jun-14 20:56:37

Oh, and by the way I, too was an L4/5 injury. Seems a sadly common one to go.

Maiziemonkey Mon 02-Jun-14 21:02:58

I have a bagpuss wheatbag now- looks a bit sad as he revolves around in the microwave but it deff beats the hottie hands down- and it's a good excuse to give it a cuddle too wink my little dd steals him off me too !

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:04:59

ok. I am going to post a memememe post. Apologies in advance for my what is likely going to be a lengthy post.

Fuck. My back has gone. the 'symptoms' of it going, as I have had before were there this morning, flu feeling in my spine. flu feeling in my hands, not much though, paid no attention to it. Took 100mg of SR tramadol plus the usual and got on with the day at work, pain was bearable but needed to be careful with walking. Drove the car to get DH, and almost had to stop as the position of sitting made my right foot start to go numb, like when my disc had gone before surgery. I shifted about and sensation returned enough to drive.

Collected DH from work. (More about that later) and back pain increasing slowly, with a few locked moments which took a few seconds to get back to normal, so muscles were starting to spasm. Sat down to eat dinner, having taken 45mg of codeine. Then got up, flu pain and locked pain, followed by nausea, increasing, increasing, then threw up all my dinner, through my nose and everything (sorry for that tmi). I thought it was the codeine, not eaten first, but I had something to eat earlier so not completely empty stomach, and I am used to codeine and have never thrown up on it before, and even when I have felt sick on it in the early days, it was a woozy sick, not this, which is the usual pattern of sickness before a huge flare-up.

So, threw up, followed by shooting pains down my leg and more muscle spasms. BAMM. My lovely days of bearable pain have gone. I hope to goodness not a full lapse, but I suspect it might be as now I have a headache and have nerve pain in my arms and back like I have done with huge flareups in the past.

So. To DH. I collected him from work. He walked gingerly to the car, got in and said 'i've done my back in'. shock no! you can't have! I said grin but he has. So, get home, I try really hard to not talk about me, as don't want it to look like I am stealing the show, and fuss him a bit as he looks after me well when i'm sick, gave him some diazepam (4mg), codeine, napraxen, hot water bottle and DS ran around getting him a pillow, duvet over him, the works! He has gone out now, usual Monday night blokes night in, but a friend had to drive as he can't drive! Fuck! He said he had a twinge when he got out of the shower this morning, and it's slowly been building in pain since and at work it became quite bad. I really hope he is ok, that would suck big time if he has screwed his back! He has had back pain before, for a few days once or twice in the last few years, horrible, debilitating pain but gone after a few days, I hope they have not been signs of things slowly getting worse in his spine. We would make a right pair!

And. Finally. DD has a very solid bloated belly. She has some low down pain that is causing her some bother, and she is a little hot to touch. She is next to me not able to sleep in her own bed. She has only had one wee today at school, and used her bowels she said, very solid poo. She says she has drunk plenty of fluids, but I made sure she drank some more. She had another poo, really hard so I think (hope) she is constipated rather than something more serious. She had this one year really badly when she didn't poo over christmas period for over a week, and from that time I still have some paediatric movicol so I have given her a sachet of it. But, it's the slight temperature that concerns me a little, with the stomach pain. I will keep an eye.

So, there. It's all happening here! Least I had a good run, and the kitchen is clean grin

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:07:37

shock blush I just re-read that, shocking writing! I mixed my tenses up, that is so bad!

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:08:35

matilda love the summer nails btw grin

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 02-Jun-14 21:15:02


Ortho is not very positive about the findings; said he expected to see inflammation of the SI joints and 'eating away' of the facets as well as maybe some disk changes. sad He said it's unlikely that they can do anything except carry on my RA treatment, keep up the physio and shift some pounds. He was lovely and not negative in a mean way, he sugarcoated it quite kindly but it's the reality of my condition. I had a little cry in the car on the way home. blush

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:20:55

candy yey for the scan date! Boo to the potential outcome. I hope it's not as negative as the ortho said sad have some wine and some cake and a <hug> I am not at all bothered about it being Unmunsnetty, they will have to kick me out kicking and screaming for breaching that rule grin How are you physically feeling at the moment? Bearable? Struggling? Do you have support around, I can't remember, sorry.

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:21:20

wow there were a lot of smileys there.

Toughasoldboots Mon 02-Jun-14 21:27:21

Blimey pavlov, that doesn't sound good, what's the plan now.
Like the nails matilda , I wish I had slim fingers, mine are short and stubby. I pm'd you, did you get it? Did it go okay?

I have exelled myself today with Internet shopping, some of it necessary, some absolutely not. Dh politely requested I 'reign it in' for a couple of weeks.

Hello to everyone else, hope the pain is bearable today.

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:39:47

tough not 'seen' you on here for a little while, are you doing ok?

My plan is, erm, not sure! I just got to crack on I guess. DH is not at work until tomorrow afternoon, so he has a chance to rest a bit without the children around. I have to work whatever happens, as we have our first team meeting in our new 'organisation' as my employers have now officially ceased to exist in their old form and as of today I am now a civil servant. We have been given the equivalent of the three line whip and my new boss (yey I got a new one) is the woman in my team who also had a bad back and so if she can haul her ass in, I got to do it, even if I turn up and go home again.

I feel nauseous so don't think it's a good idea to take any diazepam. Not really as I think it will make it worse, but I only have 3 x 2mg left so don't want to through them up grin

It's definitely 'gone'. The pain is down the back of my calves (calves? Calfs?) and into my feet, and back is hurting even laying almost flat (propped up with some pillows).

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 21:41:51

what did you buy btw tough? I have an internet shop arriving tomorrow from ikea. Thank goodness the car passed it MOT today having only needed £150 worth of work plus two new tyres (not essential but DH thought it best to do them now rather than wait), so £250 in total. I had 'planned' for £500 worth, and so that leaves me with £250 to pay for the Ikea shop grin

QueenChrysalis Mon 02-Jun-14 21:54:08

Oh no Pavlov. Going to see the GP or does that just feel hopeless? But a taxi to A&E if you get alarming symptoms, better safe than sorry - I saw a pic while googling images of the retro thingy you might have, really doesn't look good. Driving is awful, the seats are in a terrible position, even being a passenger. Fingers crossed for a swift recovery for your DH and DD. I threw up a couple of times taking codeine, second time I was used to taking it but not loads like now, I was pregnant both times too. But it's pretty strong so maybe it was just that and nothing else.

Whoop to the scan Candy - it may not be so bad, well I hope not.

Tough - enjoy the new purchases. I'm so tempted to update my wardrobe for summer and DD1s. But the rubbish weather isn't justifying new stuff.

I'm so sore tonight but got through without drugs until evening. Although no codeine = lots of toilet trips. Physio tomo and massage. Both kids in nursery yay! Plumber coming too sad expensive day. And the therapist called to do a review and recommends going private which is £50 a week but he thinks it is about investing in myself, which is true. NHS offers 16 weeks only and normally it takes a year is two to be 'cured'. Plus if I go private I can start now and it's local, well if my old therapist has a slot for me. Although it's not that enjoyable and takes up an evening. She won't be surprised to see me back and to know CBT didn't work. I did start the phone call explaining how my back is making me most depressed and anxious, it feels very all consuming and it's hard to give myself to anything else. Hopefully the physio will help with the worrying, being proactive always makes me a bit more positive.

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 22:08:50

queen the thing with the nausea and sickness is that i have historically had flu like symptoms and a bout of vomiting immediately prior to a huge relapse, on quite a few occasions. I had once upon a time felt it may be linked to gunk being discharged from the disc site, as prior to surgery I had an annular tear in the disc, or my body reacting to a huge dose of inflammatory chemicals or something as the flu type pain seems to be nerve pain. It has also been suggested here that maybe it is something like inflammatory arthritis of some kind, perhaps ankylosing spondylitis and is masked by the vertebral slip/retrolesthesis, but that was poopoo'd by the GP. I think, with the foot numbness etc it has to be linked to the disc somehow, to it causing some chemical shit to 'poison' me for a short while and then cause inflammation, something like that makes sense, but the GP and other hcp look at me like I am on another planet. I don't think it was the codeine, as I have regularly taken up to 60mg with nothing like this, I have once felt like I might be sick due to taking a high dose on an empty stomach, properly empty due to having an op that day to have my nose straightened (broken in the same accident when I had my likely back injury) and I had only taken it for a few days, and even then I was not sick. Since then I have taken it regularly, with and without food, never puked.

I will definitely keep an eye out for the cauda equina symptoms, bowels and bladder are fine, saddle area fine, apart from fucking hurting as my whole back feels on fire. Balls. It's not what I need. I need lovely reduced pain like I had last week!

And thanks for get well vibes for my DH and DD.

The retrolesthesis is apparently not significantly slipped, but it appears to not need to be to cause huge pain.

PavlovtheCat Mon 02-Jun-14 22:11:27

And all my GP will do is give me more diazepam, and I can get that tomorrow over the phone, and he will insist on signing me off sick from work. I don't want to be signed off sick yet. Got to make the team meeting as it's a new team, new dynamics, and if I am not present, then the resentments of my old team due to my back problems and sickness absences will follow me, this is a chance to show myself as present at work. First impressions in the new team will affect how I am treated from now on. It's shit that is how it has to be, but it is how it is.

ExCinnamon Mon 02-Jun-14 22:15:39

Hi there, sorry to have run off, had a few reports to write, am a teacher.

I had an mri about 6 weeks ago, have had osteo treatment since and the guy is a physio as well.

I started my new job in January and from March onwards I had the pain, which I ignored.
Before half term it got really bad and I had 2.5 weeks rest, exercises and swimming. After swimming and my exercises the pain is almost gone (well, for 5 minutes).

Sitting is really bad but what can I do - end of year exams, reports...

My pain is mainly across the lower back. I also have a constant tingling in my right foot, very annoying.

This is the second episode of L4-5 prolapse, the first was 4 years ago and it went away completely with physio. It was different back then, as I did it lifting my toddler and couldn't walk for days.
This time it has crept up on me slowly.

Hope you guys have a restful night!

Maiziemonkey Mon 02-Jun-14 22:32:20

Yay for the mri date candy, and sorry for the shitty script from the physio- although i hear alot from people that they often give only the worst case scenario. i have a friend with ms told she wouldnt walk again- she told them to get out of her house, this was a few yrs ago, she walks with a stick, but she does walk- it wont always be like that i know, and false hope is not what you need either, but they dont know for sure.
second the wine, - get those anti-inflammatory benefits where you can
shit pav that sounds bleddy awful, hope you feel a bit better tomorrow- that sounds real seriuous- (((((((((())))))))), to you, very un mnetty i am, hope you can go home early as well, i know you have to show your face etc, but dont soldier on too much- you have to look after you, and even if she has real serious back probs doesn't mean you should be there any longer than you have to- cant you do any of this work from home?
I feel so bad- was supposed to go partivcipate in an experiment and i forgot completely, i mean i am a bit more maizie than usual on the gaba but it's no excuse really. have sent a grovelling apology and fx shell let me go another day, what an arse i am!
got dd's early nursery free offer sorted so i can register tomoro, yay!!

Matildathecat Mon 02-Jun-14 23:09:40

Oh dear, will I actually be expelled from mn for this? (((((((((()))))))))))

They are for everyone who is suffering. pavlov, shit. Not again, surely? Did you ever get all the bloods done? This is happening too often. It sounds different to my flares which, vile as they are, are almost always in response to some trivial thing I've done in the past day or two. Also, could the family have a virus? Bit weird that you all have things at the same time. Anyway, hope you are able to get tho the meeting but also able to go home again afterwards if you need to.

tough, thanks so much. Yes it went ok. Actually better than ok. Lovely man. Very sympathetic and actually looked extremely shocked at elements of my 'story'. I did, of course, forget to say certain things so sent a long email after. I guess that corroborates my loss of memory?? It was difficult but made better by having my friend there. In the end it was interesting that she cried, not me. I think I'm beyond tears a lot of the time.

cinnamon, I've had a tough time and would do anything to help prevent someone else going through any of this hell. Please, please listen to your body. It is telling you something. Of sitting is sore, painful or agony....don't. You had this before and it resolved. Each time is a bit worse but you have improved. Please rest and let it heal. You will never regret this course of action. A few weeks' pay is nothing to long term chronic pain which will prevent you working anyway. Sorry to be so harsh but it's very well meant.

Good night all. Sleep well.xx

Maiziemonkey Mon 02-Jun-14 23:49:18

I wish I had taken a bit more care too matilda though it's always hard to do at the time- things were going almost perfect for me before i pushed it by carrying heavy rucksack while pushing buggy with dd in the rain going off the train to my mil's- and then soon after started uni and work at same time, it all collapsed around me, I wish i could go back in time, maybe would have been jusy the same but at least then i'd know i hadnt caused it. sorry fogive the tipsy ramble, it was probably a long time coming since ive had issues on and off since having my kids- not coincidence im sure smile.
good luck for tomoro pav, make a fabby 1st impression- then get back home to your bed
wow sounds like you did well in the assessment matilda, now it's over , hope you get some peace for a bit , you've had enough of that recently, the clumping effect.
all those having a bit of a tough time today, hope tomorrow is a better one and you are all getting a good rest tonight,(((((())))))

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