back pain

runner

Veteran
Location
Bristol
On Friday I sat on the loo (as we all do!) and when I got up had a spasm in the lower back. I was walking like a very old man...you know bent over...it lasted through Saturday..into Sunday...stopped me running today. I know we are not a medical forum but again this is prob an injury that most of us had had at sometime or other. The funny thing is cycling does not seem to make worse. I am taking ibuprofen and rubbing deap heat into the area but the question is how can just "getting up" cause such a painful muscle spasm. I hope that tomorrow it will be on the way out...
 
Last edited:

toeknee

Über Member
Location
Wirral
I know how you feel runner, I have done what you have just done in the past, also brushing my teeth, and another time bending down to pick the dogs bowl up, it's crazy I know, and you can never predict when it's going to happen. Hope it gets better soon.
 

ScotiaLass

Guru
Location
Middle Earth
I had that years ago! I bent down to make a snowball for our Great Dane and I couldn't straighten up!
It took about 4 days before I was back to normal.
To this day I still don't know what it was!
 

Yorksman

Senior Member
I was about 16 when I first went to the docs with a bad back. He said 'it'll get worse as you get older'.

Yes, sudden movements can cause spasms. I now have 45 years worth of experience. It depends on what is causing it but usually it is the disk between the vertebrae that deterioriates with age. You don't need a dramatic movement or have to be lifting something heavy, simply stretching to pick something up as light as a newspaper can cause the disk to touch the nerve and your legs just drop away. The pain is caused by the inflamation and, because it is so hard to find a comfortable position, you hold yourself in all sorts of subtley odd poses which just make it worse.

Eventually, the disk completely degenerates and your vertebrae fuse together and you shrink a little.

When you feel better, start taking precautions, sit upright and don't slouch, no sudden movements, keep good support on your back when driving and, oddly enough, wear good shoes and make sure the soles are not unevenly worn. Walking with a good posture helps greatly. All my bikes are adjusted so that I sit upright, like traditional sit up and beg styles.

Ibuprofen needs to be 600mg for the anti inflamatory bit to work, but you need a prescription for that. Last time I asked for a box of 400mg tablets and a box of 200mg tables they caught on and wouldn't sell them to me.
 
Last edited:

Yorksman

Senior Member
There's a nice video on youtube about disk problems.



I found that after a short rest, when the worst of it was over, gentle movement helped. I used to go to a squash court on my own and gently play. I had to be careful not to stretch or rush or twist but found the movement soothed as the blood flow to the inflamed area increased. A friend of mine watching me said Tai Chi movements done slowly would do the same, though I never tried that. Movement must be gentle and rythmic. It's basically the same as gently soothing a knock. Things like Deep Heat rarely go deep enough.
 
Last edited:

Tojo

Über Member
I've had reoccurring instances over the years caused by doing mundane things, one time just coughing....:scratch:. I would say if you need to get a prescription that maybe Naproxan my be better than Ibruprofen that's what the Doc gave me and they were good....:thumbsup:
 
Best of luck with your back. Take care of your back and any warning signs you get.

I had next to no warning of any issues and put the phone down, turned to walk away and a disc ruptured and very badly. I've been left with some paralysis down my right leg, some numbness in the right foot, unable to walk without crutches at all and only for around 15 mins without pain (and only after taking morphine and paracetamol) and can't sit down at all! I'm still on lots of very strong painkillers 4 months after it happened and 2 lots of surgery. I go for another MRI scan tomorrow (this time with contrast dye) and that in itself is a major operation because a private ambulance is needed to transport me to hospital because I can't sit at all.
 

doughnut

Über Member
I had a bad back for over 10 years - lower back always in spasm and I was continually getting twinges if I was walking and my foot slipped even just an inch or two. Often made it worse while I was standing in the shower. Sometimes the pain I had was so bad I would be physically sick. I spent a good deal of money at the chiropractors. The main thing I took away from there was a gel pack which you store in the freezer and press onto the spasming muscle for as long as you can stand the cold - I forget the full story but the chiropractors view was that inflamation was caused by blood pouring into the muscle, tightening things up. He said warming the muscle up with deep heat type stuff was only temporary relief. By cooling the muscle down instead, the blood vessels shrink and blood flows away from the inflamed muscle. Of course, I was paying the chiropractor an arm and a leg so maybe this was all nonsense talk for a naive punter, but it (or the placebo effect) worked for me. If I ever didn't have the gel pack, then I would stuff a bag of frozen peas down the back of my trousers which also worked.

As you say, the spasm comes when you least expect it. But I found that it also went as quickly and unexpectedly. One day, I was sailing a dinghy on a particularly windy day and got a really good workout - when I woke up next morning the back pain was gone and I've not had a single twinge in the last few years.

I still have the gel pack in the freezer and bring it out for any muscle injury at all.
 

RedRider

Pulling through
Everything that reiver sad. I had intermittent back problems for a decade culminating around two years ago with a sneeze and sciatica causing a fair bit of pain and temporary loss of sensation and weakness in my right leg. Got referred to a physio then a 'back class' at the hsopital. This was a ten week course concentrating on developing core strength and I followed it up with pilates/yoga throught last winter/spring.

Last summer my back felt great (and I've never felt fitter on my bike), Since then my good yoga habits have slipped away to nothing but I've had no pain since. My good intention is to join another yoga class.

Hope you're feeling better soon.
 
OP
runner

runner

Veteran
Location
Bristol
thanks for all the really helpful advice. After 5 days I am not walking as if I am a very old man but equally the condition has not gone away. The ibuprofen has little or no effect (prob as already stated the shop dose is too low) I work at a job where i walk all day and this does not appear to make any worse but still the discomfort is there. I have not run since this occured but I commute and cycle each day and this has no adverse affect....I think if by the start of next week I still have limited movement I will seek out my gp for some advice and guidance...however if all is reasonable at the weekend I plan to get back to runing as I have a half marathon in two weeks.....
One other thing might be worth a mention I was told last year I had a slight hernia (after scan) and nhs did not treat. I suspect that this will only get worse....could that in any way be related to my present back problem?
 
Last edited:

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
I was lifting heavy lumps of steel at work a long time ago, and I woke up one day with symptoms similar to yours. I thought I could tough it out with hot water bottles, a stiff drink before bed, and Ibuprophen. I was wrong. I ended up with a really badly prolapsed disc and sudden incidents of unbearable sharp, jabbing, hateful pain. The surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital wanted to get his knives out but I was reluctant to submit. The physiotherapists at the same hospital put me on a traction bed twice a week and gave me a strict back exercise regime which mercifully worked. Go and see your doctor at the earliest stage of a back problem. Please.
 
OP
runner

runner

Veteran
Location
Bristol
I have just increased my dosage of ibuprofen to 800mgs this morning and this seems to have helped a little but that is twice the recommended dose!....do you think that is safe? I will prob take 600 this evening....
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I have just increased my dosage of ibuprofen to 800mgs this morning and this seems to have helped a little but that is twice the recommended dose!....do you think that is safe? I will prob take 600 this evening....
A friend of mine almost died from a perforated ulcer which he got from megadosing on ibuprofen to cope with the pain of a finger which he broke just before a skiing holiday.

I would be wary of taking too much for too long!
 
I am not a medical practitioner. I had back pain 30 years ago which occasionally re-occurs.

-Do not take a continued high dose of Ibuprofen.
-Do not use heat on the affected area - Doughnut is right, ice helps reduce the inflammation (and helps you feel less pain temporarily!). Ice for no more than 30 minutes at a time - loses its coldness after a while. Do not put very cold ice pack directly next to skin; wrap in damp cloth.
-Once better, core strength is vital to keep back healthy. User9609 is 100% correct. (I'm sure most of my lapses have been because of my stupidity or lack of core strength!).
-For recovery, if not improved by now, I would recommend osteopath/chiropractor. They do receive bad press but worked brilliantly for me and continue to do so. Others recommend Alexander Technique practitioners.
-Cycling seems to help me - it helps stretch the spine/back. I would think that running would not be good because of the jarring effect on the spine - take professional advice.

Hope you feel better soon.
 
OP
runner

runner

Veteran
Location
Bristol
thanks shadow that was very helpful....I will keep cycling as you say it does seem to help. I only took the one high dose of ibuprofen today and will prob take no more as to be honest I don't really believe in taking pills.
 
Top Bottom