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Exercises to strengthen core muscles & prevent flare ups???
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Exercises to strengthen core muscles & prevent flare ups???

Hi,

I injured my back in October 2007 when I lifted a heavy bucket out of the sink. I immediately felt sharp, intense pain in my lower back/hip area - R side. I took painkillers & fell asleep in the armchair later that evening. When I woke up several hours later to go to bed, I stood up & my legs buckled beneath me. I had no strength in my legs, they were like dead weights. The pain in my lower back was quite severe & I had to crawl to the bedroom.

I woke up the next morning & my back was bent sideways, I was leaning severely to the L side - almost to the point where I felt like I was going to fall over. The pain was unreal, I could hardly move. I had x rays done at a chiropractor the next day & was diagnosed with a 'pinched nerve'. Then commenced a series of very short, intense sessions every day for 2 weeks - where the chiro  manipulated specific pressure point areas in my back with what looked like a 'spring loaded pen', then he would do a quick physical spinal adjustment of my neck. I temporarily moved back to my mums for a week so she could help look after my young daughter & I went on sick leave for 2 weeks. Even though the strength in my legs improved, the back pain was excruciating & very extremely debilitating.

I visited the chiro for about 2 months on a twice weekly basis. The severe pain had decreased & my spine had straightened up a fair bit. But, by this stage though, I was still suffering constant, dull lower back pain & felt that the chiro sessions were now a waste of time & money. I felt like I'd hit a plateau, I wasn't getting any worse, but I wasn't improving either. After talking to other 'bad back' sufferers, I thought it was strange that my chiro never once massaged my back/shoulder/neck muscles, as I was full of knots & very tense.

I changed chiro's & found one that incorporated massage & accupuncture into his sessions, as well as spinal adjustments - same price, double the session time, friendlier & more willing to explain things. My back pain has significantly eased with this new treatment, I'm not in constant pain - but I do have sporadic 'flare ups' every few months. They are really painful & can last for a week. The pain is usually located around the R facet joint in my lower back/hip area & it becomes very swollen. My spine bends sideways (L) again & my R hip often 'locks up'. Sometimes the pain radiates further up my back. This week, I've had a 'flare up' & I've also got an ache in my R thigh muscles, at the back of my leg.

Last September, my GP referred me to a 'bad back specialist' - a rehab Dr. He suspected an annular tear. I had more x rays done then finally an MRI, to get a proper diagnosis. This is what the MRI report stated:

"Clinical data: Back pain for ten months after lifting. Annular tear?

Technique: Sagittal T1 and T2, coronal T2 and axial T1 and T2 weighted sequences were obtained.

Findings: Vertebral alignment is anatomical. Marrow signal is normal with no focal bone lesion or fracture evident. Distal conus and cord appear normal with the tip of the conus lying at L1/2.

There is mild to moderate disc height reduction with loss of T2 signal at L3/4 and more severe disc height reduction at L4/5. The other discs are well preserved.

At L3/4 there is very mild posterior broadbased disc bulging associated with a small annular tear. There is no central canal or foraminal stenosis.

At L4/5 there is a large central focal disc herniation measuring 20 x 9mm. This markedly indents the thecal sac at disc level. It appears to be extruded beyond the annulus. It does not produce any focal nerve root compression.

No gross facet arthrosis is appreciable at any level. Paravertebral soft tissues are unremarkable

CONCLUSION: There is a large central focal disc herniation measuring 20 x 9mm at the L4/5 level. Degenerative disc change is also noted at L3/4 where there is minimal posterior broadbased disc bulging associated with a small annular tear".      

After my back injury, I eventually reduced my working hours, as I'm an aged care nurse. After 11 years of doing 5 days a week, I now manage 3. I still cope with all the housework, gardening & looking after my 4 year old daughter on my own - though when I have 'flare ups', there are things that I just can't do until I recover.

I was also an avid gym goer before my back injury (weights, cross trainer, rowing machine, treadmill). I tried to perservere with the gym but had painful 'flare ups' each time. I had my thyroid removed not long before I hurt my back (January 2007), and have had a struggle with my thyroid meds - so as you can imagine - with a back injury/no gym & a slower than normal metabolism, I've stacked on the weight. I'm now 60kgs, 1.57m.

What exercises can I do to help me lose weight, strengthen my core muscles & help ease/prevent the back pain 'flare ups'????? I have a Bosu ball, a large exercise ball & 1kg/5kg hand weights at home, plus yoga & pilates dvds. Could I use these? Or should I be concentrating on stretching, walking & swimming? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciatd!!!!!!!!  Sorry my post was so long!

Rachel  : )
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4 Comments Post a Comment
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139792_tn?1299416777
Yoga , Pilates, Acupressure are very good health giving exercises as well as thrrapies. But when spine ingery is involved, one has to take the opinion of an expert.
A little mistake in alignment may create new problems. Consult expert of pi;;ate, yoga, accupressure and do the exercise under their supervision.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had  back problems since the 80s and all the therapies I have used (physio and chiro) helped for a while.

Once a person gets an injury, and in this case a back injury, he/she will never go back to health level pre-injury. I've studied anatomy and pathophysiology and it was a rude awakening for me.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Ditto...strengthen those core muscles.  I too have had a back issue forever and it flares up, of course depending on what I have done that I shouldn't have done, and then it goes away for a while.  Then the sciatic pain starts.  What joy to have a back problem.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah...you do know what I'm talking about.
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