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BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!

06 Jun 02 - 12:28 PM (#724419)
Subject: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

Hi all;

yes, it has happened: little Miss Alternative Medicine has developed a condition that is often best treated with western medicines symptom-focused therapies. But back pain is usually the result of poor posture or overuse and so immediate cures are not effective in the long run, so I am gonna go the holistic route on this, even though the pain is pretty intense and came on rather suddenly (woke up with it yesterday morning). In fact I have been quite active lately (walking, yoga, etc.) so have no idea what is causing this.(I did model for a portrait class the night before I woke with it; that hard backed chair may be the culprit). The muscle spasms are the worst so lots of hot compresses with essential oils are helping. Wish I had access to a sauna or hot tub!

For now, I am taking calcium/magnesium supplements and Advil. (Hope to get off the pain killers; they mask pain which can make things worse). I am going to go on a limited diet for several days to alleviate muscular congestion (raw nuts, lots of fresh pineapple, whole grains except wheat, and certain types of fish). I am going to add a few yoga stretches and see if that helps.

Sleeping is the worst; impossible to get comfortable and getting out of bed is torture.

As always I have no health insurance but I am willing to plunk down some cash for acupressure or acupuncture. (I will also consider seeing a chiropractor at some point). Also am going to find a course in the Alexander technique or Pilates which are both great for long-term realignment and back health.

I will keep you all posted as to the progress of my holistic regimen...and will certainly sheepishly admit if I use any conventional therapies...

any others hwo have had UPPER back pain/spasm? This is right between my shoulder blades. I had something similar years ago (stress related) and this is sligtly higher but VERY similar in terms of how it's affecting my range of motion etc.

I sure don't need this right before I am going backpacking in England and then camping for a month! :~(

Wish me luck. I am determined to heal and hope I can be patient with what comes. Sudden as this is, I know it must be linked to some greater underlying cause that needs attention.


After all this whining I feel it is necessary to give thanks for everything else wonderful in my life! I am a very fortunate person and this is nothing in the gre

06 Jun 02 - 01:16 PM (#724447)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Morticia

see the chiropractor now.....if you have trapped or pulled something, which is very much what it sounds like then you will need manipulation to put it right.Wear ear plugs, it doesn't hurt but it sounds horrible!

06 Jun 02 - 01:34 PM (#724465)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

thanks Morticia; not sure I can afford a chiropractor now but if it is not better by tomorrow I see little choice. Better than making it worse! I am going to the phone book now and seeing who's out there.

06 Jun 02 - 02:39 PM (#724515)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Mrrzy

Yes, I had upper back pain, and I recommend VERY STRONLY AGAINST the Alexander technique, it made a lot of stuff a lot worse. I have a subluxated vertebra right between my shoulder blades and get all kinds of muscle spasms there sometimes. What works for me is ALTERNATING heat and cold, heat + exercise, and stretching for a good 15-20 mn before even trying to get out of bed. The "dying bug" is a good one, lie on your back with legs in air with knees bent and arms up, and kind of alternate moving arms and legs in a natural motion (limbs on one side toward each other, other side away from each other), being very careful to balance your pelvis. Work up to that one, though, with stretches first. What they call the prayer stretch is a good one for upper back. The best is if you're already up and it starts bothering you, find a flat wall, place feet about a foot from the wall, bend knees so that butt hits wall, flatten back completely against wall, raise arms over head with upper arms horizontal, hold for count of 10, relax arms, repeat. That is my BEST upper back loosener. GOod luck! It's no fun, I know!

06 Jun 02 - 02:44 PM (#724526)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: CarolC

I had severe back pain with spasms that had me almost completely immobilized a few weeks ago. It might have been a pinched something, but I don't know. Sometimes I get a virus that settles into muscle groups causing a lot of pain. This last episode felt a lot like that, but it didn't respond to my normal way of treating this virus. It went away gradually, and it's completely gone now.

The virus I experience is very similar to the one that causes shingles, and it can flare up from time to time in any number of places, including in my head and the area around my spinal cord, causing all kinds of problems from migraines and vertigo, to flu-like symptoms, and a bunch of other problems, including the intense spasmic pain in some muscle groups (and one time even in my digestive tract).

The best treatment I've found for this virus is a tincture of the herb, Chaparral. I get the best results from a brand called "Quantum", and I take 30 drops in a large glass of water (the stuff tastes awful), several times a day as needed.

Unfortunately, I find that flare-ups of this virus can be caused by eating: chocolate, corn, peanut butter, monosodium glutamate, and also by drinking alcohol. Sucks, but the virus is worse than going without those things.

If you try some of the Chaparral, and your pain goes away, there's a chance that your problem is of this sort (although there's no way to know from just one experience since the pain could just go away by itself anyway). But I find if I start taking the Chaparral right away when I start experiencing this sort of thing, it usually goes away within a day or two. And if I don't, it often lasts for weeks.

06 Jun 02 - 09:08 PM (#724863)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

Carol: interesting about the viral thing; I had shingles in college actually. I'll try the tincture; can't hurt i guess. (any more than all the ibuprofen I'm taking).

Mrrzy: Thanks for those stretches! I will try them. I am shocked to hear you think the Alexander technique made thinsg worse; I wonder if you had a bad teacher??

am starting the diet tonight; no red meat or dairy or white flour or sugar or alcohol or coffee for at least a week! (that may kill me quicker than the back pain)


06 Jun 02 - 09:13 PM (#724866)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: CarolC

I forgot to mention this before. If you use the Chaparral tincture, you'll want to have some food in your stomach when you take it. I get queasy if I take it on an empty stomach.

06 Jun 02 - 09:15 PM (#724870)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Celtic Soul

Chiropractors cost the most on the initial consult, *but* some run specials to get you in. Some even wave the initial consultation fee altogether. When I was calling around myself, I even found some that would work on me for free occasionally because they were truly committed to healing, and not to the money. My current Chiro costs me a mere $35.00 per visit, and that is quite cheap for this area. He is also the very best I have ever been to. I feel marvelous for long long stretches after a good cracking from him. I'd recomend a few phone never know what you might find!

07 Jun 02 - 09:03 AM (#725152)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: John J

Peg, I assume you're in USA.

I was over there recently whist suffering severe lower back pain. I checked out Chiropractices and found them seriously expensive. It's MUCH cheaper here in U.K.

I would endorse the Hot & Cold treatment, also try a search including athletics in your criteria. Lots of athletes suffer all manner of problems, and as they tend to be quite motivated people you should find some practical answers to your problem.

If you are in spasm, a decent massage will undoubtedly help, but ensure it's carried out by someone who knows what they're doing. Simply rubbing the area is not the answer.

Re: backpacking. If you are literally backpacking with a large pack, and intend walking distance: try walking poles, also ensure that the straps of the pack are arranged in a way that will keep the weight on your hips, and also ensure the pack is balanced and not pulling you forwards / backwards / sideways.

PM me if you need details of chiropracters (s?) / physios here in the UK.

Enjoy your trip anyway!

John (in Manchester, NW England)

07 Jun 02 - 09:10 AM (#725158)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!

Thread creep - sorry. But I am having major knee problems. A month ago I carried a very heavy box down to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs, I turned but my lower leg didn't. Horrible grinding sounds. That day, it barely hurt at all. But next day there was a huge nasty bruise and swelling as well as lots of pain. Hot compresses and a knee brace help but I still have trouble going down stairs (not up - leave it alone, Spaw) and any amount of walking hurts. But if I sit any length of time, it "freezes up" and that hurts too. Any suggestions?

07 Jun 02 - 10:53 AM (#725250)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

ya know it had occurred to me that I may well get cheaper chiropractic care in the UK and I am headed there on Thursday! I will PM you John. thanks

07 Jun 02 - 11:03 AM (#725260)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Les from Hull

Yes - hot and cold compresses helped my partner Maggie a lot with muscular pain. (she's a reflexologist and massage therapist). As much rest as you can get while there's spasm, plus massage. Hope that you have a quick recovery and a great trip.

07 Jun 02 - 01:43 PM (#725370)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: GUEST,MAG at work

I'd second the suggestion to try chiropractic sooner, not later. The longer you have something out of place, the more likely you will end up with permanent damage, which would put a crimp in your hiking and packpacking for the rest of your LIFE. Pain between the shoulderblades could involve neck muscles, shoulder muscles, or both. You really don't want to fool arould with the vertebra involving what could develop into dowagers hump.

Not trying to scare you, but do take it seriously.

Been there, done that.

07 Jun 02 - 11:10 PM (#725749)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Gypsy

See your chiroprator...if you not got one, talk to the local UPS guys, and the like. To maintain good spine health, get the book of: MacKenzie Stretches, How to treat your own back. They really and truly do work. My doc has seen bulging discs get better, and we never see some patients, unless they neglect their stretches.

08 Jun 02 - 10:49 AM (#725997)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

I did see a chiropractor yesterday. I grew to trusthim pretty quickly. One of these old school guys: office decor untouched since 1975, doc was quite overweight (bad for the back no?) but he seemed to know what he was doing. He seemed positive about the holistic measures I want to take. Those adjustments always freak me out! I did feel better after, though a bit sore. This morning the pain is almost as bad as yesterday morning was. (I wonder if I did badly to walk home up the hill carrying two bags weighing about five pounds each?) The nerves are still very inflamed and it has spread to my chest. But I am hoping it will improve today.

Not too expensive. $60 for initial consult and exam, and no charge for the adjustment. I explained I was currently unemployed and they said I can pay in installments if I ever need to. I have another appointment for Monday afternoon, though the doc did say come back today if it was not much better. I have only been out of bed or an hour so I am hoping with some icing and a hot bath it will improve. I will also stay home from a huge party today; I would just be tempted to eat rich food and drink home-brewed mead, neither of which are good for the back!

thanks for the tips all; will keep you posted.


08 Jun 02 - 11:12 AM (#726007)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Noreen

Acupuncture! My mum had acupuncture for serious muscle spasms in her back, and it was like a miracle. Prior to the treatment she'd been on very high dose painkillers for a couple of weeks which had turned her into zombie (!); after the treatment she discontinued all painkillers and came back to us.

Certainly worth a try.

Good luck, Peg.

08 Jun 02 - 12:17 PM (#726041)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: van lingle

I had upper back problems and it was suggested by an orthepedic surgeon that I had some kind of aggravation in one of my cervical discs. The x-rays didn't show anything. I had spasms in between my shoulder blades and pain radiating down my arms to the fingertips on occasion. The surgeon prescribed stretching and physical therapy 3 times a week. After a few months there was no noticable improvement and I decided to try something suggested to me by several people. I went to the local drug store and bought a home traction device and after using it for a couple of weeks I felt much better and after a month I was fine. For the next year of so after that I used it whenever I felt a twinge and I've been fine ever since, 6 or 7 years now. I'm not sure if your problems are similar, Peg but if you go that route be sure to avoid shaggy dogs like Rueben during treatments *g*. Good luck.vl

08 Jun 02 - 02:14 PM (#726083)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Peg

yes, I do want to get acupuncture. In three weeks' time I will be surrounded by a number of them as well as other body workers and healers. So I hoep to get some treatment then...


taking it easy...

08 Jun 02 - 02:58 PM (#726104)
Subject: RE: BS: Back Pain (not lower)--ow!
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Much depends on the cause of the back pain. If not purely muscular, x-ray is a first step to determine the possible location and cause. Serious problems cannot be treated by acupuncture, chiropractics or health store nostrums.
My wife has osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty (injection of a "glue" into the vertebrae) was the solution used to repair two of her vertebrae. Bone loss and fracturing of vertebrae needs serious medical help.
Acupuncture was of no benefit whatsoever. She becomes nauseous with most pain-killers, but after trying many, with the assistance of her doctor, located one that helps.
I have bone loss as well, but mostly it is kept under control by gentle exercise, massage, and use of Celebrex when needed. I also take glucosamines, calcium-magnesium with vitamins and Fosamax. These stabilize the damage, and bone-density measurements show slow improvement over the past three years.
Chiropracters are OK for some massage type treatments, but their training is sheer quackery and they can damage patients through their ignorance. A couple of deaths here recently (Canada) from improper treatment.
A sports-trained massage expert is far superior.