Back pain positivity?

(45 Posts)
DRC2004 Fri 24-Jul-20 17:30:56

Hi everyone,

I'm 27. I've been experiencing lower and mid back pain since the beginning of May. Since then I've had physio (and done the exercises!), seen a chiropractor and an osteopath. I'm getting quite frightened as I haven't found much relief from these things and the professionals I spoke to suggested that I would feel better within a couple of weeks.

I've found it quite difficult to cope with constant grumbling pain and I'm falling really behind on my work. I'm mentally exhausted as relaxing isn't really enjoyable either as sitting causes pain.

Online I seem to either see people who had a temporary issues which eased after a couple of weeks or people with years of chronic pain.

I was wondering if anyone had any positive stories where they had back pain for a couple of months but did eventually resolve it? I'm finding it difficult to know whether I should be trying to fix it or learning to live with it, and I know there's a danger that me stressing about it will make it worse.

I know there will be many people living with far worse pain than me or for longer periods of time. I'm sorry if this is insensitive. I'm really struggling and feel so isolated with it so I would love to hear your positive stories and suggestions. Thank you in advance.

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MacavityTheDentistsCat Fri 24-Jul-20 17:45:32

Sorry to hear you are suffering OP. Backache can be very painful and isolating and it's easy to get scared that it's not going to go away.

I'm a recovery story though. I had terrible backache three years ago for about five months and ended up being hospitalised with it. They found nothing and nothing helped and I eventually resolved it myself by massaging the tissue in my mid and lower back and buttocks with a small hard physio ball. I used to roll the ball between my body and the wall. It was excruciating at first but gradually did the trick and there has been no recurrence (I've meanwhile made sure to improve my core, which has no doubt also helped).

I hope it gets better for you soon. It's exhausting and I'm not surprised you are behind with other stuff. x

Amymac5 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:38:16

Oh sorry to hear this. I've suffered on and off with back pain and it is miserable and sucks the joy out of life. I had pain for a good few weeks last year through my back and causing spasms down my leg. Was initially misdiagnosed and the second physio I saw said that although the pain if often felt in the back the cause is hips/pelvis. This was true for me and eventually with the right exercises and massage using a tennis ball as per PP I was able to gradually feel better and make a full recovery. I've also had lower back pain before this and found a tens machine fabulous for speeding up recovery. It was the only thing that blocked the pain for me and helped me be more mobile and speed up recovery.

IAmOptimusPrime Fri 24-Jul-20 20:50:15

Back pain sucks, I had major surgery on mine 2+ yrs ago so I sympathise.

Are you on Instagram? If so look at moveu. They’re a company in California set up by an ex chiropractor I think, they are all about aligning the body from top to toe to fix problems. They do have a paid online exercise program but also have loads of tips on their Instagram page.

Try sleeping with a pillow between your knees as that will take the pressure off your lower back. Im a side sleeper and now also hug a pillow as that helps too. Sleeping on my front is horrific so that’s out for me.

DRC2004 Sat 25-Jul-20 20:14:27

Thank you so much for your kind messages. Sorry to hear the pain you've had, it sounds like you've been through a lot and really glad you've been able to find the answer and resolve it. Honestly it has made me feel so much more hopeful and positive, will keep trying to find what works. I hope I remember to be this kind and support others on the board as it made me feel so much less alone.

@MacavityTheDentistsCat This is really helpful, thank you. My osteo recommended a peanut roller and I couldn't tell if it was working but will keep practicing and trying.

@Amymac5 thanks for the tip on the TENS machine, I think this could help me get on with work when I need to. I have ordered one, fingers crossed. 🤞

@IAmOptimusPrime Interestingly I already follow moveu on instagram - my physio recommended their paid course but haven't been able to stomach spending the money yet! Good to have a second recommendation. Have you tried the course by any chance? I am going to look back over some of their IG vids. (:

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IAmOptimusPrime Sat 25-Jul-20 23:03:48

Well....I did sign up to their paid course and although I think what they do is great and have learnt loads from their Instagram videos I didn’t like the format of it. They take you through a series of initial exercises that you work on to align various part of your body before you move on to the next stage. It is very thorough but I personally need a workout that takes me through a routine from start to finish, it’s just the way I enjoy exercising rather than having to watch a series of individual videos. But this may not be a problem for you. I tried it for a week and requested a refund and it was no problem so you could always give it a go?

Things I have learnt from them are how to hip hinge rather than bend the whole spine over even when doing stuff like taking the washing out or unloading the dishwasher and that has helped a lot. Also to make sure my spine is in neutral, not stand with one hip popped out, turn my feet in so my hips aren’t rotated, simple stuff that does take a little practice but makes a big difference. I also picked up stuff from their podcast.

The hardest thing I’ve found with my back is knowing my limits and that it’s ok to rest or have a 20 minute lie down if I am in pain. Pilates has helped too but I am very selective in what I do and don’t do because I think it can be damaging if you’re not aware that certain positions can put unnecessary stress on your body. For a long time I went through a real fear of pain because it invaded my life so much, plus I had a physio who went on so much about the psychology of pain and it being all in the mind. Which I suppose it is but that’s not very helpful when you’re crying at 3am because it’s so tiring. It also made me feel quite belittled and like I was making a fuss. With a bit of hindsight I can see that my mental strength was weakened by pain, trying to avoid pain, being fixated on what would cause pain. I have managed to let go of that a bit more.

If you are interested in something like that I can certainly recommend Rachael Hall and her online program. She has a 7 day trial at the moment and it’s worth it for the 7 days alone just for her psoas muscle workout. That really helped my back and I do it every 2-3 days. She has a free spine video here but I would say don’t push back in to the cobra pose if your back is sore, I avoid that extreme move at all costs. Mainly because I’m fused from s1-l4 so it’s never going to be good!!

Also read this if you are interested in Pilates so as not to do moves that aggravate.

This is really interesting too and I do suffer from tight hamstrings so I try to do this with the psoas workout

I’m trying to think of other resources that would help. This website has a lot of info and I don’t think you need to necessarily sign up to his program either.

I’ve probably overloaded you but I know how hideous it can be. Don’t jump in to any of the above if you are in the middle of a painful flare up, let yourself heal, keep your back warm and if you can try not to tense up when you move. I hope something helps and tens machines really are ace!

IAmOptimusPrime Sat 25-Jul-20 23:09:55

Just another thing - osteopaths and chiropractors are great but are not a long term solution, I wish they were. I think they help with alignment but won’t fix your back issues long term.


cherrypiepie Sun 26-Jul-20 14:56:59

When I was 30 I hurt my back and was I. Agony for a year in tramdol mri spoke to a surgeon. After a year I woke up and it was gone.

'Normal' back pain might last a month or so according to the physio.

When I was 38 two years ago o hurt my back again and this time it hasn't healed. I take amytriplyline lowest dose and yoga and the sciatica stretches on HASFIT really help. I also have had another mri and referral to pain clinic but there is nothing mechanical wrong it's more of a pain condition. I stopped taking the amytriptyline but I was in agony and miserable so I'm back on it and leading a normal life ( when level build up again). Persist with the gp. heat patches work well for me.

ajf759 Sun 26-Jul-20 18:52:48

Living with back pain is so miserable. I completely empathise. My pelvis tilts forwards (I think) after child birth and no amount of chiro /physio touches it. I think you have to be prepared to do a lot of work yourself in between sessions. I was recommended as they give you loads of exercises to do with other advice about applying heat or ice etc. It’s really not expensive and I found it really helped me and the advice is from osteopaths not PTs which personally I preferred. Good luck. You won’t have to live with it forever. X

Amymac5 Wed 29-Jul-20 20:14:56

I really hope the TENs helps a bit and you get some relief in the short term and can make a quick recovery. Will keep everything crossed for you.

NewKittyMeow Wed 29-Jul-20 20:17:46

I had a period of back pain that lasted 8 months about 10 years ago - two slipped discs apparently.

Occasionally it flares up again (I’m having a bad bout atm in fact) though last time I went to a physio and she reckoned it was a pulled muscle rather than a slipped disc that time. Usually it takes between 2 weeks and 6 weeks to clear up.

yeOldeTrout Wed 29-Jul-20 20:50:13

Bad News: I started getting back problems in my 20s, too, and I'm still vulnerable.

Good News: very little of the last 25 years I've had any trouble. It just flares up once every 10 yrs or so, and maybe less often as I get older & figure out how to prevent/manage it. Hang in there. Keep trying things. It can get better.

Goslowlysideways Wed 29-Jul-20 23:19:52

About 10 years ago I ended up having to have 3 months off work with appalling back problems. I had two slipped discs and honestly thought I would never feel normal again. I went to the osteopath, physio and acupuncture. Slowly it started to improve and I managed to get back to work. But I was still in constant pain. I did exercises and strengthening and gradually became pain free.
10 years on I do occasionally get pain I can’t wear heels, carry heavy shopping or lay for too long. But if it returns it’s not usually for long. I try and walk as much as I can and if I feel the start of it I try to do a bit less. You just need to figure out your triggers and stop doing them.

DRC2004 Tue 11-Aug-20 15:02:03

Hi everyone - thank you so much for all of the advice and sorry that I haven't responded.

I'm really struggling to cope with it and so tired of trying to do lots of things to help and seeing no benefit. I feel so trapped and I can't enjoy life anymore.

I am going to try all of the suggestions above and try to keep positive.

OP’s posts: |
LimeLemonOrange Tue 11-Aug-20 17:07:33

Hi OP, so sorry to hear you're struggling with this. I'm currently struggling with some neck shoulder and arm issues. It's a bit odd as nobody seems to be able to help or properly diagnose my issue, but I suspect a minor trapped nerve. I get a lot of neck and shoulder pain and my arm is now weak, but the thing I find most disconcerting is the fact that sometimes my neck issues make me feel dizzy. I can't sit in a chair comfortably, all I can do is walk up and down or lie down, and I can't use my arms at the moment as raising them triggers either pain or dizziness or both. I'm writing this using dictation on my phone while I lie down. It's been getting worse for about eight weeks and I'm utterly miserable as I can't properly do anything, so really I just wanted to say hello and sorry you're miserable and suffering too. Hopefully both of us will find some relief and improvement eventually.

iklboo Tue 11-Aug-20 17:19:16

Have you had a formal diagnosis at all? I hurt my back during CV19. Docs originally thought I'd torn a pelvic ligament but it wasn't getting any better. I went to the walk in centre and the X-ray showed osteoarthritis in my left hip which had affected the way I walk & stand. But still in pain so had an MRI which found a prolapsed disc pressing on my sciatic nerve and one next to it. You might need some more investigations.

Shed loads of painkillers, TENS machine and (remote prescribed) physio exercises - which make it feel worse. Hoping to see a physio in the flesh soon for a formal assessment.

FabulouslyGlamourousFerret Tue 11-Aug-20 17:20:03


Hi OP, so sorry to hear you're struggling with this. I'm currently struggling with some neck shoulder and arm issues. It's a bit odd as nobody seems to be able to help or properly diagnose my issue, but I suspect a minor trapped nerve. I get a lot of neck and shoulder pain and my arm is now weak, but the thing I find most disconcerting is the fact that sometimes my neck issues make me feel dizzy. I can't sit in a chair comfortably, all I can do is walk up and down or lie down, and I can't use my arms at the moment as raising them triggers either pain or dizziness or both. I'm writing this using dictation on my phone while I lie down. It's been getting worse for about eight weeks and I'm utterly miserable as I can't properly do anything, so really I just wanted to say hello and sorry you're miserable and suffering too. Hopefully both of us will find some relief and improvement eventually.

This sounds like something a chiropractor could sort out.

@DRC2004 I injured my back many moons ago and have had a few nasty relapses over the years, I've had physio (no good really) and acupuncture (this was good) and totally get how draining it is on your mental health.

It's been bad again (can hardly walk when I get home from work) for around a year, especially if I've been sitting down. I've just paid for a chiropractor assessment and he has said that my bottom disc has worn away and that I need 18 sessions (@£700!) with him and I will be pain free ... I'm sceptical but will do anything to sort it out. I'll keep you posted.

QueenCT Tue 11-Aug-20 17:24:48

Yes and no. I had a badly herniated disc and needed emergency spinal surgery. Pain free mostly now apart from the odd bit of back pain but nothing compared to how it was!

LimeLemonOrange Tue 11-Aug-20 17:43:13

@FabulouslyGlamourousFerret I forgot to mention in my post that I'd tried a chiropractor before the physio, but didn't feel she had a good understanding of my issue, and after her second treatment I felt a lot worse. So that's why I tried the physio. Maybe I should try a different chiropractor?

To be fair to the chiropractor when I first visited her my symptoms were more vague, it was mainly dizziness and an odd feeling. Whereas now it has progressed to neck back shoulder and arm pain and arm weakness and tingling.

Poppytime Tue 11-Aug-20 21:14:54

I'll join you DRC, I've been having lower back one sided pain for months now, getting worse despite physio etc. Having an MRI tomorrow as suspected sciatic involvement but I don't have the numbness and tingling just constant pain, worse when walking and standing. It's blood depressing and debilitating, I'm completely with you on that. I'm usually very active and exercise regularly so this has really got me down and the pain is exhausting. Here if you want to moan!

squashyhat Tue 11-Aug-20 21:31:22

I'm so glad I found this thread. I have suffered increasingly bad back pain since January and have yet to find a cause or a cure. It started under my left ribs but is now all across my lower back to my right hip. It's so miserable - I've discovered just how much of life involves bending down and it's really restricting my life. sad I do yoga which helps a bit and I'm having my first non-Zoom physio appointment for 4 months on Thursday so hopefully he can get in there and help more than just doing exercises has done. I've been putting off going back to the GP but think that is my next step, although x-rays and an ultrasound have shown nothing more than 'normal' wear and tear. Best wishes to everyone who is suffering - it really sucks.

Cailleach1 Fri 14-Aug-20 13:20:24


Poppytime Sat 15-Aug-20 07:41:16

How was your zoom call squashy?

Got the results of my lumbar/sacral mri from
Weds evening - all normal! So what the hell is it? Sleeping really badly atm and just totally fed up with being so limited, miss activity sad

How is everyone else?

Poppytime Sat 15-Aug-20 07:41:43

Sorry I mean non zoom!!!

DRC2004 Sat 15-Aug-20 09:38:48

Hi! I hope that everyone is doing okay, really glad that other people have found this thread and can find some support. (:

I haven't resolved my issue but it has felt more manageable and I think a huge part of that has been that I've been able to be more positive. Obviously this is much easier said than done, and at first when I read other people saying this I found it depressing, my initial thoughts were 'oh no, people are saying they just grin and bear it'. I promise this isn't what I mean. My mindset really has made a difference on how it's affected my life in the past couple of weeks.

One of the biggest things affecting me was that I developed a big fear of chronic pain and that it will never go away. I wasn't scared about it being something serious or life threatening, I was just worried that I would have to live with the pain. I particularly got obsessed with the NHS advice that pain after 12 weeks is classed as chronic pain. In reality, this is not a clear cut threshold of 'it goes away by itself' and 'there is nothing you can do, live with it forever'. Chronic does not necessarily mean permanent, it can still resolve and there are plenty of interventions. I hope some of the posts above help people as much as they helped me.

There are many posts from wonderful lovely people that that do live with chronic pain on this forum and it has reminded me of two things:

1) Remember the responses will be skewed towards people funding it difficult or living with long-term pain, many people resolve it so that it doesn't affect their lives and they are less likely to be looking at things about back pain online (so won't see the posts).

2) Even if (in the minority of cases) what people are dealing with is going to be long-term, there are so many examples of people who have long-term solutions and have happy unrestricted lives, whether medication or lifestyle factors

I hope this doesn't play down anyone's experience, as I'm obviously speaking from very limited experience! I have no idea what it's like to live with long-term pain (fortunately other people can offer this insight) but I think it is easy for people like myself to catastrophic and assume this is the case very early. We have no idea whether this is actually the case, or whether the prospect is all doom and gloom even if this does persist. Hope it helps someone's as this was a huge thing affecting me mentally

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