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Unagie posted 7/24/2013 19:29 PM

My health insurance doesn't kick in for 2 more weeks and j am broke. I spent the last of my money on the appointment to diagnose why I have back pain. I have a herniated disc. Pain is debilitating at times. I was in tears yesterday and today from how much it hurt. The pain shoots from my lower back into my hip and buttock and then my thigh. Its a dull steady throb then if I shift wrong it's agony down to my ankle. It wakes me up. I try doing the exercises I was shown but I can't afford PT until insurance kicks in which means 2 more weeks of agony. I can go get my Percocet filled but I hate pain meds and how loopy they can make you. Please does anyone have advice on anything to relieve this pain? I have soaked in scalding hot baths and have a heating pad on now, lying flat on my back with legs elevated which helps but still agonizing. Help.

hurtbs posted 7/24/2013 19:51 PM

I really think you need the painkillers... I'm so sorry.

Lionne posted 7/24/2013 19:56 PM

Take the meds. Then try to, GENTLY, do the stretches you have been taught. You can't heal while you are in pain. You just tense the muscles more, causing more pain.

The stretches will help, but have to be done, just a little, every. Single. day.

Hugs honey...take the meds, as little as necessary to get you through the day, and to help you sleep.

Amazonia posted 7/24/2013 19:57 PM

Do you have a relationships with a chiro who will let you do a payment plan?

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 20:07 PM


This is a herniated disc?

Unagie posted 7/24/2013 20:21 PM

According to the doctor. He knew I had no health insurance so he didn't order and MRI even though he wanted to. I described the pain as accurately as I could. It helps a little if I lay flat on the floor with a cushion under my knees, very little. I'll get the meds filled tomorrow. Anyone have experience with Percocet? I've taken Vicodin and it made me groggy and unable to concentrate. I'm in training for a new job so if that's what Percosets will do I will save them for the evening when I need sleep.

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 20:26 PM

Percocet will do the same thing. Try taking a quarter and can you take motrin? Some people's stomach can't tolerate it.

Do ice instead of heat. When I ruptured my disc it was the only thing that helped. What exercises are you doing? Look up ones that stretch the IT band. Start slow.

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 20:27 PM

Also, you can find belts at drug stores that will hold and ice pack in place at your back. That thing saved my life when I was still working prior to surgery.

suckstobeme posted 7/24/2013 20:30 PM

Ugh. I'm sorry. I've been there.

I can't take strong meds because they make me sick so I got through with Motrin 8. My doc also put me on a steroid for a week to try to alleviate the inflammation.

Slowly, very slowly, things got better with PT, exercises and moist heat.

Hang in there. If you can't take the meds, try the Motrin at least for a little relief.

hurtbs posted 7/24/2013 20:34 PM

Percocet will have the same impact as Vicodin. I will say that you have ewer side effects the more pain you are in. I had morphine for post operative (ACL knee surgery) pain and barely noticed it. I'm super low pain med tolerant so this floored me. It will probably upset your stomach if you're sensitive that way. I'm so sorry.

Unagie posted 7/24/2013 20:43 PM

I'll try the motrin and the ice. Anything to relive it. They ran me through some basic exercises stretching my leg in front of me but I will look up more. Thanks guys I'm going to try to go to sleep. I found a position where the pain is tolerable.

sad12008 posted 7/24/2013 21:26 PM

(((Unagie))) Ugh, I'm so sorry!!

If you go with icing, I thought it might be helpful to pass along the 'recipe' for a malleable ice pack. 1 part rubbing alcohol, 2 parts water in a freezer bag; stick in freezer.

You might also try a Google scholar search for current treatment approaches to your issue. You might be able to glean some good information from that while you're waiting for the insurance eligibility.

I hate pain meds, too, but I hate pain worse. Don't be too fearful of the Percocets. Once you get the insurance coverage (I don't know how much these things are out of pocket), you might ask about Rxs for Lidoderm patches or Voltarem cream/gel...the latter in particular has been very helpful to me for various muscoloskeletal pain problems.

Again, I hate that you're suffering so.

kernel posted 7/24/2013 21:37 PM

Do whatever you need to do to alleviate the pain. In my experience with this, that meant getting rid of inflammation, and then the pain would diminish. For some people, it's ice and for others it is heat. It was heat for me and ibuprofen. I did the whole MRI, diagnosis of herniated disc and sciatica and embarked on the endless cycle of PT, stretching, chiropractor, drugs, every damn doctor-recommended thing short of surgery. Then I read about tension myositis syndrome and picked up a book by Dr. John Sarno. Changed my life and that is no exaggeration. Some people think it's bunk and to be honest, I don't buy into all his theorizing. But I no longer have any issues with the back pain and sciatica that you are describing and I suffered through multiple episodes of it. The fact is, modern medicine knows so little about the human body, and I was willing to try anything (short of surgery). I actually saw an orthopedist that diagnosed TMS and from that moment onward, my life was my own again. I am completely serious.

So, relieve the immediate symptoms and then explore other therapies is my advice. I have a friend that swears by deep tissue massage and acupuncture for her back pain. I've had great luck with those for neck and shoulder pain caused by sitting in front of a computer all day and half the night.

eta: I am not advocating ignoring your doctor. Just saying to consider opinions from other professionals when you don't get relief.

((Unagie)) Hang in there. It sucks big time.

[This message edited by kernel at 9:41 PM, July 24th (Wednesday)]

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 21:45 PM

Oh ya, massage therapy, big time. But you have to find a good one. Took me awhile, but the one I found combined with surgery and finding out I am hypothyroid, has me back on my feet and doing great.

purplejacket4 posted 7/24/2013 23:19 PM

Family medicine physician here:

It could be a herniated disc or sciatica since they both cause back pain with the radiculopathy symptoms you mentioned. See if the doc will call you in some steroids and muscle relaxants. Both prednisone and flexeril are on the Wal-mart 4 dollar list. If you do get the steroid (prednisone) don't take NSAIDS (like Advil, Motrin or alive). If you don't get steroids double the OTC dose of an NSAID WITH food. Use heat or ice... Which ever feels best to you. and do some stretches. To be honest with you I'd prescribe this even if you did have insurance. Until there are objective neurological signs (foot drop, peeing on yourself, etc.surgeons won't do anything anyway).

Good luck.

Dr. PJ4

caregiver9000 posted 7/24/2013 23:30 PM

Ice worked for me, heat increased the swelling? But only ice 20 minutes at a time and then wait an hour. Too much ice and you get rebound effect.

(((hugs))) and healing mojo.

Nature_Girl posted 7/25/2013 00:48 AM

You need ice, not heat. And as much anti-inflammatory meds as you can safely take. The swelling needs to go down. What disturbs me is that a herniated disc can rupture, and then you're in an entirely different world of pain & disability. I don't know that stretching & exercise is prudent, not while you're in this level of pain & limited mobility.

Unagie posted 7/25/2013 06:46 AM

Thank you everyone. I started on steroids today. I'll do the ice as well. The pain is throbbing and I barely slept so I hope this starts working. Thank you again.

Tred posted 7/25/2013 08:04 AM


I cal lthis stuff take it and really don't do shit for the next 12 hours!

Unagie, I've had a chronically bad back for a couple of decades - 5 operations, last on Jan 2012. The L4 finally ruptured - plus stenosis and facets in my spine. Other than that, it works great. One thing that helps is stretching, and I mean every day. There are some simple stretches for your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings that you can do.

1. A yoga pose called Cobra (or upward dog if you can do it). Lay on your stomach with your arms under you like a sphinx, and push your upper body up as far as you can go while keeping your hips on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 3 times.

2. Side twists. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Spread your arms to make a T. Then, lower your knees to the right while keeping your buttocks on the floor as far as you can - turn your head in the opposite direction to accentuate the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds - do twice for each side.

3. Hurdler stretch. Lay on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left below the knee and make a figure 4. Reach between the hole and lock your hands together behind your left leg - grab your shin if you can, if not, just grab your hamstring. Lay back and gently pull your knee to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Do each side twice. This really stretches out the piriformis muscle that most people ignore. (It's under your glutes)

4. Knee to chest. Lay flat on your back with both feet straight out, and bring your right leg up like you are doing a can opener in a dive. Grab behind your knee with both hands and pull it gently to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Do each leg twice.

Remember to breath with your stretching - breathing out relaxes your muscles. Take deep breaths. And remember it's called stretching - not tearing. Don't overdo it.

[This message edited by Tred at 8:28 AM, July 25th (Thursday)]

lynnm1947 posted 7/25/2013 08:53 AM

Unagie, I have been doing 3 out of 4 of Tred's exercises since my back first went out after my daughter was born 34 years ago. They really work, but you need to do them ALL the time, not only when you have back pain.

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