Back problems - any ideas?

JAT74 Posts: 1,078 Member
I'm in a bit of a difficult situation at the moment and really need some advice and motivation.

Last year, from January-July I was working out around 5-6 days a week, sometimes twice a day and felt really fit/strong as I was combining cardio workouts like walks and cross training with weights workouts. Everything was going well and although I wasn't losing as much weight as I wanted on the scale, it had started to move and I was feeling a lot better about my body and started to get compliments from others who keep fit.

I then had a horrible fall last July, partly caused by an ear infection which affected my balance and partly due to having a few drinks on an empty stomach after not drinking for several weeks (part of my healthy diet). It was scary as I spent 3 days in hospital but I am ok and very lucky, though I've been left with recurring back problems every since. I had an MRI at the time of the fall and nothing out of the ordinary was detected, though my back hurt at the time but I put it down to bruising and the fact I had fallen on my back.

After around 3-4 months the pain which had been constant started to subside but I was left with daily back paid in the middle left part of my back which seemed to get worse throughout the day although it was ok until mid-afternoon most days. I tried to improve my posture and use good chairs etc. which helped a little and I have had a healer come to my house for 3 sessions which I've found has helped a lot too, because I was getting pain going right up to my skull and neck but that's now completely gone. Generally I don't feel too bad now, though all it takes is for me to sleep in the wrong position or turn the wrong way and the pain gets worse again for a while.

I have tried to start training again a few times since the constant back pain stopped but each time I've had to give up again as the back paid has got much worse again the very next day. I have found that walking is generally ok and even very gentle jogging for short periods but anything involving movement of my upper body (even light weights on my arms) causes my back pain to re-start. I should try and do my legs, but it almost seems pointless if I can't work my other body parts.

A few days ago I tried to do some Pilates because my back had been ok for a couple of weeks but the very next day I leaned forward very slightly to pick something up and my lower back clicked and I was in agony, barely able to walk for about 3 days.

The guy who did the healing (a friend of a friend) told me that he can definitely feel something out of place in my lower back and also my upper back and he said that all it takes is a movement in the wrong direction and it can cause a nerve to be pushed out of place or a disk to move etc. After the experience last week with my lower back he is definitely right because it was the first time my lower back hurt.

I have never had any problems with my back before this and really want to get back into training because I've now regained all the weight I lost during the first part of last year (around 1 stone/ 14 pounds) before the fall and my body fat is higher than ever. I feel really horrible and my other half is really disappointed in me as he says that if it had happened to him he would have been really really careful with his diet but the problem for me is I seem to be eating a lot more than I was again and the wrong foods because I am not able to move so much, I am finding it really hard to get back into the 'health and fitness' frame of mind when I can't do any exercise other than walking.

If there's anyone who has been in my situation and had these kind of problems, what did you do to get back on track, back in shape and is there light at the end of the tunnel? I want to be back to how I was before and be able to do the training I want to again. It's so frustrating, especially as last year I was on track to reaching my goal weight but now I'm back to square one.

I am waiting for someone to give me the number of a Chiropractor they know but part of me is really unsure about that too because I've heard horror stories of them making it worse and at the moment it's fine again so it's not something which is there all the time.


  • erickbrian
    erickbrian Posts: 53 Member
    Having dealt with lower back problems all my life (literally since the 6th grade – car accident) I'd deal with a locked back, spasms, sharp, dull, all kinds of crazy pain.

    Having gone to multiple chiropractors and doctors, I finally took it into my own hands to get better.

    1) stretch – i got the book "the genius of flexibility" which introduced me into how important stretching is. I wanted to learn/do yoga, but this was great!

    2) yoga – I've only done yoga at home, watching videos and ready "yoga for dummies" but this also helped out

    3) weight training – It's pretty much like starting over. recently i injured my shoulder from 2 bike accidents (4 months apart) so my shoulder had been really limited to movement. I've been lifting lightly, very light, and stretching. I push myself slowly, and after about 1 month, I can scratch my other shoulder now. It's the same strategy I used with my back pain. Start slow, light and keep at it.

    As a note, other injuries could cause back pain. Could be weak muscles elsewhere that your back is compensating for at the moment.
  • JAT74
    JAT74 Posts: 1,078 Member
    Thanks, that's great to hear. It could be that there is a weakness in my back caused by other injuries but I think it's unlikely as I haven't had any other problems with aches and pains and my knee problem seemed to go away with weight training on my knee last year.

    I thought about stretching but again was a bit unsure about in case it does more harm than good but I'll give it a try, starting slowly.

    I really want to do something more energetic but will also try yoga again as I also have a lot of home workouts and can pick and choose what exercises I can do, stop and start the workout etc.

    I want to do weight training too but again don't want to put any strain on my back so could start with legs and then do some very very light training with dumbells. I think the set-backs I've had so far are putting me off a bit but will keep at it.
  • Dawnog
    Dawnog Posts: 39 Member
    I cant speak for myself, but my husband had the same problem, he has even had 2 operations on his back and was still in pain. Having tried every back person around here with no results, the only thing that has now kept him pain free is pilates, he goes to one on one sessions twice a wk so the pilates class is tailored for his back and I can honestly say it has changed his life, he is now pain free. Good luck
  • erickbrian
    erickbrian Posts: 53 Member
    My friend recently went to a doctor about his back pain. He was dead lifting when his back started killing him.

    Found out, he had pulled a muscle in his leg a few days before, which shot up through his back causing severe pain in his lower back that day. He was compensating for a weak hip and leg while lifting, and ended up injuring his back.

    He's good now after he knew what was screwing him up. He's a big guy too (320+lbs) but he's back in the gym. So just be careful that you don't compensate for weak muscles and cause further injuries. ;)

  • Samby_v1
    Samby_v1 Posts: 202 Member
    I hurt my back years ago, and found the rehabilitative core work of Pilates more beneficial than Yoga. I used to do classes at the physiotherapy clinic.

    For fitness, how's about swimming?
  • broox80
    broox80 Posts: 1,195 Member
    My SI joint pops out from time to time. The first time it happened I was literally paralyzed. I had a lot of PT. It got better but does act up at times. I just do my stretches. They help strengthen that joint.
  • annabellj
    annabellj Posts: 1,337 Member
    i found this massage therapist who was wonderful, it wasnt my back but my shoulder. the chiro i was seeing before wanted to send me for an mri. the therapist talked a lot about healing the body on its own. and stress and how much that has to do with pain. if you can find a therapist who deals with pain therapy that might help. i couldnt lift my arm above my head a month ago and then i started working with it and stretching and doing more exercise and im pain free now and i have almost entire range of motion.
  • SanteMulberry
    SanteMulberry Posts: 3,202 Member
    Swimming is, by far, the best answer--especially aquatic exercise. I used to have a lot of lower back problems before I started working out in the water.

    Most chiropractors have a fit if you tell them you are doing yoga. There was a recent furor over a N.Y.Times article about how bad yoga was for back problems. Hyper-extension (which a lot of yoga moves entail) will NEVER help a back problem. There are yoga instructors who have to teach their classes flat on their backs!

    Weight lifting is supposed to be very good for back problems BUT you need to make sure that you ALWAYS use good form taught to you by a qualified instructor. There are a number of bad injuries that can happen to you if you are not well-instructed in proper form.
  • MJ1975CA
    MJ1975CA Posts: 31
    I had horrible back problems from the time I was 16 until a few years ago when I sought the help of an acupuncturist. She changed my life. I initially saw her for gall bladder and digestion problem but to my surprise she was also able to help my low back that had me barely moving at times due to pain. After I had my second child my hip/low back was hurting again but it was a "different" kind of pain. I went to chiropractor who found a birthing injury--5 visits with him and I have rare minor issues with my back/hip from time to time but never like before. Prior to seeking an acupuncturist/chiropractor I was prescribed many pain pills, sent to classes and told to heat and ice my back. Explore your other options, I had great success with acupuncture and chiropractic care :)
  • I agree with most have said here. I suffer from lower back pain due to two herniated disks, I was going to do surgery about a year ago but decided not to do it, mainly because I wanted to try everything else out there that can reduce and overcome the pain. Some things that help me to avoid pain are proper stretching, (find out what stretches work for you), yoga is very helpful done properly, work on strengthening your lowerback muscles, foam rolling also helps, and drink plenty of water. Don't forget to eat fruits and veggies, I noticed that eating those have helped me recover. I should also say that sitting for more than 30 min is an enemy for my back, I would recommend visiting a sport therapist and hear professional opinions. Our opinions are things that have worked for many of us but your case could be different. Wish you a speedy recovery.
  • Rachelmilloy
    Rachelmilloy Posts: 158 Member
    Bumpety bump
  • Jess732008
    Jess732008 Posts: 98 Member
    I have had back problems but they are associated with an anxiety and depression disorder for me. As soon as I took my meds my back feels great if I try to keep my body in natural alignment for everyday activities. THe pain could come back but I know most of it was caused by my anxiety. It was through the roof.