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Chronic pain

How to conquer back pain for good!?

49 replies

NorthSouth25 · 17/09/2022 08:06

Hi there.
I’ve been living with back pain for years and would love to hear some positive stories. and how you conquered your back pain!

I’m 42 and have had back issues since I was 27. The first time it ‘went’ I was under incredible stress and being bullied in my job, working long hours at a desk. I woke in the morning and my back went into spasm and I could barely move. I was given diazepam plus codeine which eventually solved it.

However in the last 15 years it has come and gone. When it ‘goes’ it’s excruciating pain and my back locks in spasm. I know stress is a big factor. Diazepam is the only thing that can release it.

I’ve seen an osteopath, chiropractor and physio over the years. The best bit of advice was trying to manage my stress but this isn’t realistic with my job and home life as it’s super busy!

I’m persevering with the exercises but I’m not convinced they help.

would love to hear from anyone who is now pain free and how you did it!

Thanks in advance! X

OP posts:
SpinCityBlues · 18/09/2022 01:33

Hello, OP. Do you know what's causing it? There's a useful thread currently above this one on the board that might be of help, about disc bulges / nerve pain. I have this and godwful associated muscle 'clenching'. It's been going on for 8 years now.

Pixiedust1234 · 18/09/2022 02:02

You know what helped me the most, to the point that I rarely have it? A back cushion for my sofa. When I changed my sofa I no longer needed it. When my husband slightly broke the seat support In the newer sofa i have needed it again.

I guess if a new mattress can help with back pain then sitting differently on the sofa watching TV every night could also help. You can get cheap support cushions from argos.

NorthSouth25 · 18/09/2022 10:01

Hi @Pixiedust1234 thanks! I’ll def look I got the cushions. I always use a regular one but perhaps a more specialised supporting one may be better.

Thanks @SpinCityBlues I think mental stress is the main cause. Unfortunately I can’t really avoid it as I have a demanding job and outside of work hardly any free time. But like you I feel my muscles ‘clench’ then worry it’s only a matter of time. How do you treat your pain? X

OP posts:
SpinCityBlues · 18/09/2022 10:34

@NorthSouth25 for my back pain, I seem to have an entire pharmacopoea of medications, from Zapain (codeine) to strong NSAIDs to Gabapentoids. I'm also attending MSK physio (and do physio at home). I've also had Amitriptyline but it knocked me out too much - just couldn't get accustomed to it. We are all very different!

I have Adalimumab injections for inflammatory auto-immune disease as well.

Nevertheless I'm having to pay for a private MRI scan of my lower back to get an actual diagnosis of what's actually wrong - I'm very worried about nerve damage. It's very interesting how the NHS protocols operate re debilitating back pain.

NorthSouth25 · 18/09/2022 10:44

Hi @SpinCityBlues I’ve often thought about getting a private MRI too! Do you know the costs yet? Please DM me if you’re comfortable sharing.

you’re right the NHS waiting lists and paperwork take forever :-/

OP posts:
SpinCityBlues · 18/09/2022 10:59

I don't mind saying, @NorthSouth25. I've booked it with my nearest Spire Hospital - they're all over the UK. I'm having an MRI of my lower back (lumbar) for £420. It's basically £420 'per area', but I'm pretty sure it's my lumbar that's needs imaging.

You do however need your GP (or consultant) to print you out a referral, but that's a formality. Mine GP practice seemed more than happy to hand me off to Spire.

Then I contacted Spire and arranged to scan and email the referral to them, and they sent me an appointment. There's a waiting list of a few weeks, as they are so busy. (Possibly because the NHS has its protocols that seem to avoid imaging patients' backs.)

Other private facilities are available! Depends where you live.

Eve · 18/09/2022 11:03

Yoga & Pilates twice a week massively helps my back pain.

stopped for 6 months & had to see Osteopath 4 times to help ease the spasms. started Yoga again and within a week relatively pain free.

am aware this won’t help everyone- and should be taken carefully etc but helps me a lot as my issue is lower back muscle spasm from sitting at a desk 12 hours a day.

lljkk · 18/09/2022 11:09

If you love your job very much, that you put up with all the stress it causes you, then I guess this is the price you pay. After 15 years, sounds like you have tried everything. My back stays good when I'm not lazy, when I put in the time to do exercises to keep other muscle groups strong. Doesn't sound like laziness is your problem, though.

WingBingo · 18/09/2022 11:10

After years of chronic lower back pain, regular exercise helped mine.

SpinCityBlues · 18/09/2022 11:16

My physio exercises do offer some relief, but it's only ever temporary (as in, a couple of hours!). They are a mixture of pilates and 'McKenzie method' stretches. And I'm too dependent on painkillers/meds to be able to do them in the first place.

So I feel like I'm in quite the rut. My 'self-help' plan is to pay for an MRI now, rather than waiting for god knows how long to maybe get one via the NHs. This has been going on for years.

It's not much of a plan but it's all I've got right now.

GetOffTheRoof · 18/09/2022 11:22

Pilates! I'm doing classes weekly, and trying to do some in between too. It's making a big difference to my posture and my back pain.

Don't go to a Les Mills type class, lol for a proper instructor who does it for body health not just "fitness". Mine is run by a physiotherapist from the local clinic and she adjusts the exercises for all our various ailments. ThebLes Mills version is basically aerobics with a few stretching exercises - not great.

nancyglancey · 18/09/2022 11:59

Suggest you look at and ask your GP for a rheumatology referral. Such pain at a young age is unusual and ankylosing spondylitis is usually last diagnosed. Worth ruling out. I had a very similar pattern and was diagnosed with AS at 47

nancyglancey · 18/09/2022 11:59

Late diagnosed sorry

DesertOrchi · 18/09/2022 12:04

"Stott" Pilates.Should be on the NHS

Oncemoreforluck · 18/09/2022 12:15

Yes, regular exercise works for me too.
initially went to MSK physio, who did the initial ‘unlocking’ which meant I could actually move and exercise.
now just stiff getting out of bed in a morning and actually more or less pain free once I’m up and moving around.

BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 18/09/2022 14:24


I've posted my story a few times. I've had daily pain for four years, on bad days it was a 6/7 out of ten, I was on 8 coedine a day, could barely walk.

I've had 3 MRIs, 2 rounds of steroid injections, nerves burned through my lower back, about 8 types of drugs, medical cannabis, ketamine infusions. Did 1:1 pilates physio for 2 years, Yoga, osteopaths about 15x.

None of that provided any proper relief. And then I tried medical hypnosis for chronic pain and I started to understand why and how pain is generated and I started to use the curable app.

See an example of the type of content.

Chronic pain is really complex. The body loses perspective on normal activity and sends pain signals constantly to protect you, if you can make this mental shift away from being "broken" to being in constant fight mode, this is the first step.

This is what has made a difference to me and enabled me to reduce pain to a 2/3. It hadn't been easy to get my head around but understanding the mind body connection is what has helped me conqueror it.

How to conquer back pain for good!?
How to conquer back pain for good!?
How to conquer back pain for good!?
UnconscionableSnacking · 18/09/2022 14:29

You might be worth trying a stress management course, so that even if the same amount of stressful stuff is going on at work, you can try to limit the level of 'perceived' stress in your brain, which hopefully in turn will reduce the physical response to it (the clenching/pain).

NorthSouth25 · 18/09/2022 17:29

Wow thank you all so much! Yes it’s definitely being ‘fed’ by stress. I’m always on guard in case it goes which in turn makes my body tense (even tho I’m trying not to be).. and that can lead to the spasms happening - vicious cycle!

@SpinCityBlues thanks so much for sharing your path so far. I’m really tempted too. I just want a solid answer / treatment.

im also going to look into Pilates lessons run by a physio. So expensive but worth it if it works!

Ill look into curable as well. Thanks @BryceQuinlanTheFirst - it’s so true that I’m constantly clenched as I’m worried that it will just happen at any moment. Interestingly, when I’m on holiday, ie away from the daily stresses, it totally loosens up.

OP posts:
BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 18/09/2022 20:31

There might not be a clear "physical/anatomical" explanation. It might be your body is trapped in a pain loop and when you are under stress it sends pain signals. Try a free trial of curable, it's so interesting.

DelilahBucket · 18/09/2022 20:33

Pilates run by a physio. The exercises do work as does regular stretching. Have you seen a private physio or NHS?

Maria1982 · 18/09/2022 20:37

another vote for Pilates delivered by a physio. For me that is the most helpful thing.
get an assessment / a few sessions with a physio to start with, they can give you tailored Pilates exercise plan.
then either make sure you keep up with them at home, or find Pilates class to attend

Whoareyoumyfriend · 18/09/2022 20:39

Hi op. I live in the south and dh did a research paper into chronic lower back pain. to message me if you want

BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 18/09/2022 20:40

Would you send it to me please? I don't know how to message on the app

TwilightSkies · 18/09/2022 20:42

Can you do anything to reduce the stress in your life?

CrunchyCarrot · 18/09/2022 20:46

I've had chronic lower back pain for 15 or so years. It first 'went' doing some gardening. Like you OP I had very painful back spasms, eventually got diazepam prescribed to deal with those. I only get them very, very occasionally now and take the smallest possible dose to deal with them for a day or so. I also just had generalised lower back pain that was always there, not at a terrible level but because it was always there and my movement was quite restricted, it really wore me down. I used to take Diclofenac full dosage all year round. I also used heat pads. It was miserable and depressing.

By chance someone mentioned trying Boron. I didn't think it would do anything but being desperate gave it a try. To my surprise over the weeks my back pain really alleviated and I was eventually able to give up painkillers after a few months. I take 30 mg of Boron daily.

My back will never be OK though. I don't have spinal problems, it's my ligaments and muscles that are weak, thanks to hypothyroidism. Exercising didn't really do anything, it just increased my injuries so I never made progress. I use a back cushion (McKenzie) and only sit in an upright chair. I am a lot better than I used to be though and my thoughts aren't on my back 24/7!

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