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has anyone else had this happen? help!
kjk1212 posted:
Hello. I am new to this forum. 5 weeks ago I was lifting a heavy item after a long day of lifting things and I felt something pop in my lower back on the left side. The muscles in my back got tighter and tighter causing extreme pain. The next morning, I could move. Bending forward was impossible and excruciating. Doc prescribed muscle relaxant over the phone as I could not get there. A week later, I was feeling better, but still moderate pain, until I once again felt that "pop" or pull in my back and I went right back to square one. Iced, ibuprofen, naproxen, flexeril helped somewhat.

A few days later, it happened AGAIN as I was carefully trying to shave my legs. Lots of pain radiating down my left leg and in my lower left back. Went to family doc who said probably herniated disc. Xrays normal. He said let's see how you are in a week and order MRI if not better. I am doing exercises at home to strengthen core as recommended by a PT friend.

Today, for the THIRD time since my initial incident, I felt and swear I heard a pop in my back, this time the middle of the right side. Once again, it was followed by pain and my back is tightening up add I type. I am icing it and took a flexeril.

I will call doc first thing Monday and ask for that MRI. I have no doubt I have a herniated disc causing sciatic pain down my leg and in my left buttocks. My question is this - why do I keep having these other popping sensations followed by pain throughout various regions of my back?? I work full time (teacher) on my feet all day ( which is less painful than sitting) and I can't afford to miss work. Also, I ride horses and haven't been able to get on mine since the initial injury. I want to get back on my horse!!

What is going on with my back? I am only 40, very active, and this is ruining my life.

Thank you for your help, Kelly
davedsel responded:
Hello and welcome, Kelly.

Please read through the Tip at the top of this WebMD Back Pain Community that lists recommended steps for getting back pain diagnosed and treated. Within that thread are links to websites that have good information about spinal problems and solutions.

You definitely need to start with your primary doctor and get a spinal MRI or CT scan. Your best next step would be to see a spine specialist such as a spinal orthopedic surgeon or spinal neurosurgeon. While surgery is always your last resort, these doctors are the best for accurately diagnosing back problems and offering effective recommended treatment plans.

I understand about not being able to miss work, but if you procrastinate treatment it will only get worse.

I pray you can get answers, treatment and relief soon.
Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


trs1960 replied to davedsel's response:
I don't know if you need to go to your pri Mary care or if you can go right to an orthopedic? I can with my insurance and time is of the essence. The first 12 weeks I'd considered acute injury, after that chronic pain conditions set in and the hill becomes steeper to climb.

Best of luck

bj1208 responded:
Hi Kelly and welcome to the support group -

once you have injured your back your muscles tend to tighten to help protect the injured area. the reason you keep hearing/feeling this popping sensation is you keep re-injuring the area.

I injured my back when I was very young being thrown off horses and my disc finally blew out (click my name or pic and read my story) and once that happened I was in chronic stages as it took several months (about 6) before my husband's insurance was re-activated (Union Worker - based on hours) so by the time I seeked treatments etc I was in the chronic pain stage.

Please ask your primary to refer you to a spine specialist - either Orthpedic Spine or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they are the only ones that can read film reports of the spine (MRI, CT Scans, X-ray etc). they will be able to offer you the best treatment options - they will not offer surgery until all treatments have been tried and/or if emergency.

please keep us posted what you find out~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
trs1960 replied to bj1208's response:
Check with your insurance. You may be able to skip the primary. Mostly they will waste some time giving it the standard 30 days of rest and so on

As joy said, it's normal for muscles to guard, but if the condition doesn't go away this can lead to chronic problems.

With my insurance I can go straight to a specialist.
davedsel replied to trs1960's response:
Hey, Tim.

IMHO, I think it is always a good idea to keep the primary doctor in the loop regardless of the requirement for referrals to specialists. The primary doctor may know someone perfect for the condition and can recommend that doctor if not refer.

Every health insurance plan is different. I started a medicare plan through a local health insurance company in May. They required a referral for my podiatrist, but not for my ophthalmologist or sleep specialist. So, yes, everyone should check with their insurance plans for the referral rules.
Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


trs1960 replied to davedsel's response:
In the loop yes, but most primary docs are out if their league when it comes to spinal injuries. We discuss getting dual opinions from ortho's and nuero's to get proper oversight. A true spine injury that has the potential of turning into a chronic pain condition has time as its enemy. It is considered that pain that is not cured in 12 sees has changed character and has now become the beginning of a chronic pain syndrome. Many primaries mean well p, but they will eat up at least 30% of that critical time needed to get on top of a spine injury. I know my primary agrees with me, but then he's using my injury as a reference. I'm not saying go to an orto every time you stub your toe, but if your spine is at risk and your insurance supports I'd go straight to pass go and not risk wasting time.

I know my ortho, PM and GP all get copied on my records and stay updated. Digital making and records as really helped out with this.

kjk1212 replied to bj1208's response:
Hello everyone and thanks so much for all of your replies. It had been over five weeks now since my initial injury and I called my primary yesterday asking for that MRI referral he said he would give me. Still waiting to hear back, but I will make sure I get in ASAP.

I tend to be the type to wait a long time to seek medical care, but I can see from many other peoples' experience that that is probably not the best strategy with a back injury. I will try to get a specialist to look at the MRI. I agree, it is just too important of an issue not to. My insurance is pretty good, so I think it won't be a problem.

Riding horses is my passion. I ride dressage, which involves a lot of sitting trot and obviously puts quite a bit of stress on the spine. Not being able to ride is just not an option!

Last summer, I had a bout of what I thought was piriformis syndrome with sharp, shooting pain in my left buttock and down my left leg. I couldn't sit down without terrible pain for a month. Then, after lots of stretching and icing, it dissipated.

I can't help but wonder if my current issue, where I am having the same route of pain now add it has moved from being primarily in the lower back to the left hip, buttock, and leg, is somehow related to what happened last summer?? I also was diagnosed with costochondritis last fall on left side of my chest. Completely out of the blue. Could this all be related somehow?

I am normally a very healthy, active person.

Thanks for your input.
kjk1212 replied to kjk1212's response:
Hello again,

I FINALLY got that MRI and the report back from it. It showed "moderate disk space narrowing and degenerative disk signal with mild disk bulging and small marginal osteophyte formation at L5-S1 associated with small disk anulus tear posteriorly. Minimal disk bulging at remaining lumbar levels and anteriorly, at T11-T12 and T12-L1. Mild posterior disk space narrowing at L4-L5 and Mild degenerative features and L3-L4 and L4-L5. Small bilateral perimeural nerve root sheath cysts. Mild facet degeneration at L5-S1 and mild facet joint synovitis at L4-L5 with minimal grade 1 L4 and Grade 1 L5 spondylolisthesis."

My family docs take on this - mild arthritic changes and disk bulging. Physical therapy and pain clinic if desired.

I am doing exercises as recommended at home and my back does continue to improve. It still aches by noon each day and I feel like it could give out at any time, so I am trying to "baby" it and not lift heavy things as much as possible. Not sure when I should get back on that horse, literally.

Any advice would be appreciated.
davedsel replied to kjk1212's response:
Hello again.

Now that your primary doctor is involved, it may be time to have a spinal specialist look at the MRI results. Does your health insurance require referrals? If so, then you need to discuss that with your primary. If not, then find a spinal neurosurgeon or spinal orthopedic surgeon and make an appointment.

At this point, it seems as though you are doing all the right things. I think the opinion of a spine specialist will be very important to your future treatments.

I pray you can find answers and relief soon.
Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


bj1208 replied to kjk1212's response:
Hi KJK1212 -

I'm glad you got the MRI -

As Dave said you need to have the MRI findings reviewed by either a Orthopedic Spine or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they are the only ones that can accurately read film results (MRI/CT Scan etc).

Your primary doctor is reading the results of the written report and cannot read MRI films properly so it's best to see a spine specialist - this does not mean surgery as most will not request surgery until all other treatments have been tried.

You indicated something about getting back on the "horse". If you really mean that you should read my story (click on my name or pic) we have a lot in common if so!! LOL

Once you see the spine specialist and if they refer you to physical therapy and/or a pain management clinic ask to be referred to a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist

I see one and they go deeper into pain management control based on your needs - they are the best pain management specialists that I have seen - and I have been to quite a few clinics.

Hope this helps - please keep us posted to what you find out~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~

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