Review for Lower Back Pain

  • Age 55+
  • Female
  • 148 lbs
  • 5' 3"
  • Sandpoint, ID
  • Injury Status Recovering
  • Physical activity per week 0-4 hours
  • Chronicity 6-18 Months
  • Repeat injury? No
  • Doctor/Care Giver Dr. Ispirescu (Pain Specialist)
  • Additional Diagnosis/Symptoms Sciatica (pinched nerve, radiculopathy), Spinal Stenosis, Herniated disc (bulging disc, disc protrusion)

Treatment Ratings

    Almost Cured
    Cortisone Injection
    Swimming, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises, Chiropractor, Rest, Massage, Postural Modifications, Physical Therapy, Other
    Not Improved
    TENS/Electrical Stimulation, Heat, Acetaminophen, Ice, NSAIDs - Anti Inflammatory drugs

In November of 2014 without warning or any traumatic injury, my back suddenly went into a very severe spasm. The pain was agonizing. After a few days of terrible pain I went to the urgent care and was given muscle relaxants and pain medication which I only took for a few days since I wanted to avoid their side effects. A week later, I was still in pain and unable to straighten up and walk normally or to remain in any position longer than a few minutes. If I bumped into anything shock waves of pain went through my back and radiated down through my buttocks and down the side of my leg clear to my toes. (This condition persisted for almost a year). After a couple of weeks, I made an appointment with my regular doctor but no tests were ordered because Medicare required me to go through a lengthy period of physical therapy before being allowed having an MRI and a diagnosis of what the actual cause of my pain was. I went through a couple of months of pool therapy along with MENS therapy, and exercises to treat the piriformis muscle. This was followed by months of chiropractic adjustments and deep tissue massage. Finally, I was allowed to have an MRI after almost a year had passed during which I had been in constant pain. I feel the Medicare requirement caused a delay in my treatment which prolonged my suffering to the point where I began to feel hopeless about a positive resolution to my condition and exhausted from the relentless pain and loss of freedom and mobility.

The MRI showed several bulging discs and stenosis in my lower back. I was referred to a pain specialist and had an injection in my spine... This helped briefly, but didn't cure my pain. I, then, had an injection in my piriformis muscle. This seemed to help a little more, but then the pain returned. I opted to have another injection in the piriformis and this time I experienced greater and longer lasting pain relief. It also enabled me to be more physically active than I had been previously. Over the four months since then I took a trip to Africa and was able to increase the level and intensity of my physical activity. Since returning to the U.S. my pain has gradually declined to the point where I now feel very little pain. I'm still aware of the sensitive areas, but I don't have the fear of bringing on another spasm just by moving the wrong way. I have begun experiencing pain in my hips when I first stand up after sitting for an extended period. I'm not sure what is causing that. I sleep with a pillow between my legs which holds my back in a position of proper alignment. I am increasing my exercise and over time I'm hopeful and confident that I will continue to improve.

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