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Low Back Pain - need quick fix!

(17 Posts)
Draylon Tue 11-Apr-17 12:52:32

(Also posted in Chat for traffic)...

Yes, I know there isn't one! I have had LBP on and off since my late teens when coincidentally I became a front line HCP. Funny that! The manual handling would make a physio blanch these days! 4 man pole lift of a 20 stone bloke, 4 young females? Routine.

Anyway, my back is paying the price, aged 54. I get 'bouts' about twice a year, sometimes shake-off-able in a few days, sometimes a bit more intractable. About a year ago I had to take a week off!

Anyway, I am on holiday from work, but about a week ago, my back was getting more sore, and, the stupid thing is, if anything it got worse and worse for 4 days, reaching 'a low' on Sunday. I can sit (on my Swiss ball right now), I can lie but walking, maybe 20 yards and I'm in agony!

The line of my shoulders is about 15-20 degrees to my hips, I stoop slightly and I clench my backside muscles, all in an effort to 'contain' the pain when I attempt to walk. IF I 'push through', the pain eases from 'really bad' to just 'bad'.

I am not getting any shooting pains down legs etc, in fact, the pain is about halfway up my lumbar spine, not down low, and the ache is sort of 'either side' of my spine, mid lumbar region.

I know my L spine is shot (MRI 3 years ago showing craggy vertebra and flattened, waterless discs!).

I'm using tiger balm, deep heat and ibuprofen, and am doing the 'gentle circles' exercise with my Swiss ball.

TBF, I am a tiny bit better today, but we are going away this weekend and'a walk' is pretty much unavoidable.

What do you think I can do to 'get through' the trip?

FTR, 'routine' appointments at my GP are 6 weeks hence, and NHS physio has a 5 month waiting list. SO it's up to me and 'over-the-counter', I think.

Any thoughts?

elfonshelf Tue 11-Apr-17 19:29:09

Very long-term back pain sufferer here who has been down every path there is and waiting for yet more surgery...

Heat pads are a godsend - the plug-in electric ones from amazon on eBay or similar - I use them when sitting and at night.

Exercise is good (within reason) - taking to bed will make things way worse.

If the pain is mainly in your back then there is not much on offer, but it might be worth getting some acupuncture. It's very effective on muscle spasm and back pain tends to set up vicious cycles that lead to spasm. If it's going to work it does so very, very quickly in my experience.

lljkk Tue 11-Apr-17 19:36:15

U tube videos 4 me.

PopcornBits Tue 11-Apr-17 21:27:59

Sports therapist private. My local one charges £30 for the hour, it's excruciating but they find all the trigger points and relieve the tension and pain.

Mu123 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:34:29

Chiropractor

Olivialoves Tue 11-Apr-17 21:37:27

Put the heat pads down
ice ice baby.
Will reduce inflammation. Get yourself a huge gel freezer pack. Or several small ones. 20 mins at a time, every hour.
Are you alternating paracetamol/ibuprofen every two hours?

Mu123 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:40:46

Biofreeze is good stuff!

JaneEyre70 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:47:40

I find the first 24 hours is the worst and you have to rest for that bit. Take regular painkillers (co-codamol and naproxen work for me) then the next day, it's a case of back brace on (like a weightlifters belt but amazing support - from Amazon) and keep moving. I usually just walk until I can feel everything warming up and relaxing. Keeping still after the initial 24 hours just makes it worse for me. I had NHS physio and that was amazing. I also find walking in a swimming pool is a great way of keeping the pain at bay and getting a good stretch. You have my sympathy - i've got crumbling fused discs and it's miserable at times but my poor cousin had surgery on hers and it's made it even worse so I count my blessings.

Draylon Tue 11-Apr-17 21:49:33

I've read alternating hot and cold packs isn't a bad idea, but as for drugs, again, my understanding is that those drugs aren't that effective against back pain, and I must say I haven't had much relief!

I am finding that if I get up and walk around, it's really painful to begin with but it eases to just painful after 10 minutes. I have decided to see how I am after the weekend, re expensive physio.

qumquat Tue 11-Apr-17 21:53:02

Not a quick fix but reading Healing Back Pain and The Mind Body Prescription by Sarno completely changed my life. I was in constant pain and was spending a fortune on chiropractors etc, now I very rarely have any pain at all. I can't recommend them highly enough.

overwroughtowl Tue 11-Apr-17 21:57:20

Can you beg or borrow a TENS machine? Although they seem to be hit or miss, hit for me.

Olivialoves Tue 11-Apr-17 22:18:30

ice for the first 3/4 days to reduce inflammation, then heat packs the next 3/4 days afterwards.
You'll make the muscle stiff if you apply heat to muscles in spasm. Ice will reduce inflammation, heat will promote blood flow to the area.

It has to be real ice/heat though to be properly effective.
Deep Heat/Freeze/Tiger Balm are just sensory. They do have their benefits, but actual ice/heat is best.

Definitely keep moving.

When mine is bad, its more comfortable to stand than it is sit/lie!

Redissuereader Tue 11-Apr-17 22:22:09

Another vote for TENS machine, really helped when my second disc gave up just after pregnancy. Tramadol and diazepam didn't work as well...

Destinysdaughter Tue 11-Apr-17 22:29:00

Agree acupuncture can help, it increases blood flow which aids healing. Gentle stretches to mobilise, massage, bag of frozen peas wrapped in teatowel, ten mins on, ten mins off, repeat for 30 mins. These can all help, but it's trial and error tbh. I empathise OP, I've had back pain for years and my idea of hell is 'going for a walk'!! flowers

Destinysdaughter Tue 11-Apr-17 22:31:23

Also, have you tried a good back care Pilates class, thinking about the long term, to strengthen your core?

butterflymum Tue 11-Apr-17 22:40:49

Empathy. Ordered a TENS machine online via Lloyds Pharmacy (the 4 pad version). It arrived quickly, and for me at any rate, proved helpful. Not just as 'pain relief', but also from the 'massage effect' too.

ZestyDragon Tue 11-Apr-17 22:48:37

My first job at 16 was as a carer - manual handling??? As if!

I am 41 and back pain is a constant threat. I have always had a private physio. I pay £33 a session but its worth it and I see someone every 2/3 weeks. I was on a walking stick 6 weeks ago for a few days with diazepam. I am now taking amitriptyline for a few months just to get a handle on the pain. Seems to be working well. I have a weak core and I am working on strengthening that.

I honestly think regular physio is the way forward. They will help identify the main issues in your back and help you deal with those.

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