Back Pain Problems

I'm including this section with the possibility that it may be of some assistance to those of you who are currently trying to figure out what to do about your back pain. One of my more knowledgeable MD's in years past gave me this advice, "Don't ever let anyone operate on your back, and don't ever get divorced." He obviously had done both, and regretted both! I’m sure most of you have a story about back pain. I have been taking supplements for many years to be proactive on arthritis.

With my latest problems I have come up with a couple new ones - boswellia, boron, borage oil (GLA), and Zyflamend. I will narrow that list as soon as I find what is effective in getting me over this current episode.

Second Opinions (Get one)

I have a history of needing to visit several doctors before I can find one to fix the problem. My hernia required visits to six surgeons before I found one that turned on his ultrasound machine and showed me the hernia. The previous five told me I didn’t have a hernia even though I could see it protruding from my intestine.

So I have a history of needing to visit several doctors to find a cure. I’m sure many of you have had the same experience. If not, please get a second and third opinion. I remember sitting in a group therapy session listening to a woman describe how her physician told her she had cancer and six weeks to live. She said she did the only sensible thing and changed doctors. She was obviously alive and healthy years later.

The Cause

There may be many causes for back pain. Mine started when I was 20 years old trying to lift a trunk off the roof of my 1946 Ford returning from college. Over the years the pain has come and gone. I have read many books and viewed many videos. The best book was Maggie's Back Book: Healing the Hurt in Your Lower Back which basically says lie down on your side, find a spot that is the least painful, and stay there.

My latest round of back pain started out on my left side with a painful hip joint shooting pain down into my thigh. At my age (77) I never know what is causing the pain, arthritis, bone cancer, ruptured disk? I recently figured out that my ergonomic position on my computer keyboard was terrible. The keyboard was six inches too high, and I had to lean forward to view the screen even though I had this wonderful chair, I was not using it. Since I knew my MD would only give me a pain pill, I went to my orthopedic surgeon, and asked what was causing the pain.

Could be arthritis, which I have for the last 40 years controlled with supplements, cancer of the bone, or the two screws in my leg left over from previous surgery caused by falling off the roof and breaking my leg. The orthopedist took a bunch of x-rays and told me it must be tendonitis caused by the fluid sac (bursa) between the tendon and my hip bone not being intact. He gave me a cortisone shot which was not effective. He also recommended physical therapy. I went to the physical therapist who told me I had bursitis and gave me a stretching exercise to lengthen the tendon. Come back next week. That will be $283, please.

Alternative treatments

Then the pain traveled across my back to my right side. I decided to visit my acupuncturist who in previous times had done wonders. I did $83 and there was no improvement. So I tried my son’s chiropractor. In the past I have seen many chiropractors. The really good ones seem to get out of the business, and the bad ones stay in it. I have gone to both. My son’s chiropractor said he couldn’t do much without an MRI. So I went back to my orthopedic surgeon and told him I needed an MRI, which he was happy to prescribe.

Meanwhile, I had seen my barber who recommended her chiropractor and said he had kept her working for the last ten years. So I did. I took my x-rays to her chiropractor and he immediately picked up on the arthritis which nobody else mentioned, and I could plainly see on the x-ray. He also told me the lower part of my spine was pretty well twisted up, and there were muscle imbalances which were causing pressure points in the muscles in my thighs. I obtained a copy of the MRI which showed several bulging discs with one herniated. Just what you might expect from a 77 year old man with a history of back pain. My barber's chiropractor has impressed me, and has been effective. For anyone in my area I would recommend Dr. Lipsky

Re-enter the Surgeon

My orthopedic surgeon finally called me back with the results of my MRI. He confirmed what I had already read, and recommended an epidural cortisone shot in the back. I immediately went to my second source, the internet, and found that the shots were only 50% effective and really didn't last very long. Side effects were loss of bladder and bowel control. Since I was making progress with my chiropractor, I decided I could do without the shot. (Currently (11/19/2010), the pain is decreasing, so this is a work in progress, to be continued)

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