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Back pain- suggestions please!

(25 Posts)
Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 07-Jul-08 23:20:36

Sorry, I'm sure this will have been done before, but I am getting desperate. Ds is nearly 8 mths now, and I have had awful back pain since I was pregnant with him (and had an OP labour). Actually, I've had back pain on and off since I was a student (sciatica). I've had physio, traction, xrays, and even went to a chiropracter for a while, but most of my bouts seemed to last a couple of months maximum, and I've always found if I stay quite fit I keep on top of it.

At the moment I am as fit as I've been in a long time- I'm training to run the half-marathon, but my pain in my back/ buttocks/ hips is really hindering me and frustrating me. I also go to other fitness classes and work on my core muscles etc to try to strengthen the area. I've tried stopping the exercise, but my back actually got a bit worse. But it is making exercising (which I love) very difficult, and I am fed up now!

My main problem is when I wake up in the morning, with 3 kids to dress/ change/ attend to, and 2 dogs to feed/ walk- I get up in tears every morning and I am snappy with the kids as I try to dress them. DH goes to work at 6am, so he can't really help. I am finding it almost impossible to lift ds out of his cot. It does ease a bit once I have been up for a while, had a warm shower etc, and I am bf'ing so don't want to take too much in the way of anti-inflammatories. We have an orthopaedic mattress and I am very concious of my posture, although I do often have to hold ds (who weighs a small ton!) on my hip, which I know is naughty. There are lots of unusual solutions out there (things you lie on, orthopaedic back supports) as well as acupuncture/ chiropracters/ osteopaths... I don't have lots of money I cam throw around trying to find something that works, so I was wondering if anyone else has found any magical solutions and would be willing to share the knowledge!!


avenanap Mon 07-Jul-08 23:31:26

Do you wear heals?

justRia Mon 07-Jul-08 23:32:34

I had pain-killing patches from the GP, but you probably can't use them when BF. Also had acupuncture from NHS physio. And, I bought a pair of crocs which have improved my limp no end. I live in fear of another sciatica flare-up though (if I wear ordinary shoes for a day I notice a twinge sraight away). The mornings are the worst though. I feel for you.
Do you do pillow between your knees when asleep on your side, and under your knees on your back?
Also "callanetics" exercises were designed for bad backs.
Good luck.

thumbwitch Mon 07-Jul-08 23:36:00

tricky. You could try a pelvis support belt, I had one of those for a while and found it useful for a bit anyway - it supports the pelvic structure and stops the pressure on the sciatic nerve. I have currently lent it to a client to see how he gets on with it for his sciatica.

DON'T get a memory foam mattress or topper - i got one of those and found my back got SO much worse because it never had the chance to straighten out and lengthen at night, as it would on a normal mattress.

I have a marvellous osteopath who keeps me going but doesn't seem able to completely mend me (not his fault, I have an unstable pelvis) so it might be worth trying again. Or try a massage therapist who can do myofascial release bodywork. (or even a sports massage therapist). I trained in this a few years ago when my sciatica was really bad and the release they did on my legs left me pain free and walking easy for the first time in months - sadly, it only lasted until I got in the car to drive again but would have lasted much longer if I hadn't had to drive.

Don't drive! Worst thing. (and almost impossible to avoid, sadly.) Don't vacuum or mow lawns! next worst thing. Don't iron! also bad.

Get tiger balm for your back, the white one, to rub in.

Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 07-Jul-08 23:50:52

Some good suggestions there! Thanks guys! DH was going on about one of those memory foam mattresses, so glad you warned me about that!

I never wear heels (don't have that kind of lifestyle any more- sigh!)

Interesting that you can get acupuncture on NHS physio- I've kind of avoided going to the GP so far, as I can see that mental deep sigh they make when you mention back pain, and I wasn't sure they could really do much for me.

I do think pelvic instability might be contributing to the pain- will look into pelvic support belt

And I have a pair of crocs somewhere- must dig them out! (although unfortunately it is chucking it down here, but might still prefer to have wet feet but less pain!)

Love the idea of a massage therapist too. I do drive a fair bit, and humphing 3 small children in and out of car seats doesn't help, I'm sure sad

Can you get tiger balm at a normal chemist, or would you need to go somewhere else?

thumbwitch Tue 08-Jul-08 00:01:24

argh, don't talk to GP about back pain if you can avoid it - once it's on your medical records it's there for insurance companies to see - I made the HUGE mistake of mentioning it on a policy update and was promptly left uncovered for ANYTHING to do with my back/neck etc. I phoned them in outrage, saying 'what if I was run down in an accident and it hurt my back, what then? Would I be covered?' and the woman said NO!!! {shock]angry

Some chemists will stock tiger balm but they often have the 'red' one - stronger, might sting sensitive skin and can stain clothes. independent health food shops sell it; Holland and Barrett have their own version called Dragon balm, which I haven't tried so can't comment on its efficacy.

The belt I had is one like this

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 08-Jul-08 00:13:15

thanks for that, thumbwitch! They seem reasonably priced as well.

Might leave GP out of it for now, then! They never seem to have much in the way of solutions anyway, IME!!

How long do you think it would take to train DH up as a masseur? (bearing in mind that the man is so heavy handed I daren't even ask him to rub suncream on me, as I'm liable to lose a layer of skin and break out in bruises!)

thumbwitch Tue 08-Jul-08 00:20:34

ahaha, but I betcha he can't keep it up for more than 10 minutes before he claims that his hand/he is "tired" now grin
depending on where he went, he could get a basic massage course done in a term but you need the extra stuff - myofascial release/ sports massage is longer. Sounds like he might do more harm than good!

have just had another thought too, that I recommended to another client - one of those gravity bar and boots things ( one option) to hang yourself upside down on, that can help. Not that cheap though

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 08-Jul-08 01:01:23

Oooh- tempting as that is, I'm sitting giggling trying to imagine the kids reaction to me hanging upside down in the door frame!! grin It would certainly get me out of the ironing though....

And probably best to leave the massaging to the experts, I guess!! Yup- DH will rub my back (grudgingly, and roughly!) for 5 minutes, before saying "There. That's you." as if that short pummelling was meant to cure me!! He has hands like shovels too! Will defo look into that myofascial release- if nothing else it sounds like it might be relaxing!

S1ur Tue 08-Jul-08 01:15:49

I found five minutes yoga before lying in bed before I got out really helped

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 08-Jul-08 01:18:17

any specific exercises, slur, or just general yoga? It's one thing I've never tried, but there are classes at my local gym if I thought it could help

S1ur Tue 08-Jul-08 01:21:17

there's a nice tape from active not sure.

I'll have a look, I went to classes ion evening which helped with understanding positions a bit but tape would help anyway probably,

How due are you? I have tape somewhere (needs bit of search) if you want to borrow?

S1ur Tue 08-Jul-08 01:24:52

this is what I had not sure I can lay hands on all, charts and such

oh apparantly a dvd is available on site too.

You could try actual group I always energed from groupp all lovely and calm and well. yum.

find a local teacher

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 08-Jul-08 01:26:54

Actually I have a feeling one of my friends has a yoga vid for pregnancy- will ask her. But ta for the offer! (I'm not pg, btw! Just still suffering! no 3 seems to have been that proverbial straw...)

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 08-Jul-08 01:28:52

Thanks all! I'm off to bed now, but feel free to bombard me with as much advice as possible- I will check in tomorrow!! smile

S1ur Tue 08-Jul-08 01:29:40

sorry assumption, hazards of mning so many pgers about. check yoga though but if not pg specific then be careful not to go for normal stuff too quickly, yoga can be quite intense if you haven't done I think. Check out video, consider beginner class or specific 'for back pain yoga stuff' maybe?

sushistar Tue 08-Jul-08 01:55:38

One word:


It'll seriously change your life. That soprt of pain is EXACTLY what it was designed to fix. It really really works. Get a good teacher, and once you're in the right mindset with the excercises and correcting your posture etc you can do it yourself at home easily. I'bve done yoga, and found pliates helped more. Yoga made me more bendy, but pilates actually made my core muscles a lot stronger and stopped lots of my aches and pains.

thumbwitch Wed 09-Jul-08 00:50:56

I don't want to be negative (but I will sound like it) - Pilates CAN be great. And sometimes it can't. I have had clients whose treatment has been set back weeks by doing pilates, probably before they were ready for it. My osteo has banned me strongly suggested I don't do it because of the unstable pelvis thing and various other complications.
If you do give it a go, make sure you go to a registered and properly qualified instructor.

Another great thing for the core muscles is to get your own gym ball - helped me lots. When I started with it my core muscles were very weak and I could barely balance on the thing with both feet on the floor - just before I got pg, I was able to sit on it for almost minutes with no feet on floor. Haven't been back to it since having DS, should do.

Joolyjoolyjoo Wed 09-Jul-08 22:47:09

Some great suggestions here, much appreciated! Thumbwitch, I have ordered one of those belts! I have a gymball, which previously I have only used when pregnant, but can dig it out. Oddly enough, I used it all the time to sit on when I was pg with first 2, but with ds I couldn't find it (although did after he was born!) and I had an OP labour, and have had worse back problems this time. Hmm!

babalon Thu 10-Jul-08 10:55:33

Huge sympathy from me, I too have suffered from back pain constantly for 18 months and have to work look after 3 kids etc.

You need to get a referal to a neurosurgeon or ortho back surgeon and a pain clinic. I'd definately advise that you ask for an MRI scan to see if there is disc damage etc. The pain clinic could arrange epidural injection or nerve root injections to try and control the pain. I also have a tens machine from lloyds chemist £14.99 and this really helps. I now take tramadol to control my pain and am deciding whether to have a disc replacement or not (I have a slipped/ buldging disc at L5/s1 ) and have tried all conventional treatments physio epidural oesteopath chiropracter.

It is very important that you find the cause of your back pain inable to treat/control it safely.

MumtoPhoebeboo Thu 10-Jul-08 15:14:21

I had excrutiating back pain for almost a year - had always had a bit of a dodgy back after falling off a horse years ago - got worse after I had DD, then the nail in the coffin was my digging the garden.

I tried a chiropractor, osteopath, acupuncture and physio - none of it did any good. I was referred for an X-Ray, nothing showed up. I finally saw a specialist rheumatolgist at the hospital, was prescribed Tricyclic Antidepressants for the nerve pain which helped. I then had an MRI and they could see that one of my lower discs was bulging onto the nerve, hence the pain. I had an epidural steroid injection into the disc space before Christmas last year and it's worked wonders! The pain is gone and I'm no longer taking medication! I'd definitely try and push for the MRI/injection!

Boboma Thu 10-Jul-08 19:52:28

Oh, I sympathise with you. I suffered in the same way - agony to do so many of the things that you HAVE to do when you are a mum! Mine is sorted out pretty much now though. I started yoga again which I hadn't done for a couple of years. I do a specific type of yoga- Igengar yoga - which uses blocks and belts etc as props to help you. My teacher is also trained in remedial yoga so she knows all about injury. I'd say with yoga, don't just follow a DVD/book or you might hurt yourself, get a proper teacher (and I'd say Iyengar is best - google it). I hope that you get it sorted somehow- my life is much happier with a better back

suey2 Thu 10-Jul-08 20:14:42

hello: i am a physio.
I would second the pilates call- BUT there is no point in goign to a class of 25- because it is all about how you do the exercise it cannot be taught by one person in classes greater than 6.

It sounds like your problem is more likely to be one of instability rather than stiffness or discy. (thus pilates rather than yoga for you) You should have had some improvement as a result of your running and if you have not, it probably means that your form is off. Be really careful that you are not bending forwards from the hip: make sure you are lifting your chest, make sure you are not running with your feet turned out or your knees turned in.

Given that it sounds like instability, you may also find that it improves a lot when you stop BF. The increase of oestrogen makes your joints more lax.

Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 14-Jul-08 00:00:21

Thanks again people! So grateful for all your advice. I've done a bit of research and decided that it might well be a sacro-iliac instabilty problem, so I am wearing the belt when doing the "mumsy" stuff (lifting, washing, ironing, hoovering) and I have looked at my running, Suey2, and you are right- I AM running with my butt pushed out, but trying to correct it and run more upright is really awkward and difficuly, so I think I'm going to have to go to my GP to get a physio referral.

I've also been using the cushions between my legs as someone suggested (justria?) and that has been helping. I feel a lot more positive now that I can see lots of ways to approach this. I really don't want to go down the old "painkillers and stop running!" route- I need to get fit enough to do what I need to do, which includes my exercise!!

So, again, thanks for all suggestions!

thumbwitch Mon 14-Jul-08 00:06:36

JJJ - glad the belt seems to be helping; do try and get back on your gym ball as well to help strengthen core muscles - I used to sit on mine to watch tv!

If your posture is off and you don't want to mention back probs to your GP, or he won't refer you, try to find an Alexander Technique trainer. They teach you how to sit/stand/ walk etc. properly for YOU (so you can't really do it yourself) - I went to one for about 6m and it made a big difference; I always used to come away feeling at least an inch taller and so straight and lovely!

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