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Strained Back Muscle Again
Old 05-23-2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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Strained Back Muscle Again

Despite being good about exercising my back muscles, I once again strained the same lower back muscle that I injure every few years. This is probably the 10th time since the first big blowout in 1995 or so.

Luckily this time wasn't too bad, and after a day of not being able to put on my own socks or pants, I'm now 90% normal. I think that the daily hours at the piano aggravate it, and then one slip up and it gets pulled.

Am I doomed to this for the rest of my life? I was thinking maybe I should visit a physical therapist and get an exercise that specifically targets that muscle.

It was in preparing for this exercise that it happened, getting the weights off the floor, lifting with my legs and not my back.

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Old 05-23-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:58 AM   #3
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Might be worth it to get some pro guidance. In my experience, the exercising/stretching really does help. I went DYI on it though, I read a ton of books, googled a lot, and then eliminated any exercise that any of them warned could stress some people.

Despite that, my back acted up just last week. This was not very bad at all though, and 4 days later I was 99.9% well. I think there were contributing factors - I had been sitting behind the wheel for over 7 hours the previous day. We were putting the rear seat back in the van, and after I lifted and shifted weight a bit, the back acted up. I *usually* will stop and take a minute to do some stretching before lifting anything, and this time I didn't.

So, part of your problem may be getting loosened up properly before the lifting? I've also heard that the wrong combo of lifts can be bad - you can actually strengthen some muscles too much relative to others, and that causes more strain on the weak muscles, or just an imbalance that can trigger a problem?

I think that is where a pro can help set up a good individualized plan, and I might look into it if/when things get worse for me.

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:06 AM   #4
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T-Al, I hope you strained a muscle. For 20 years I would have my back go out every so often (couldn't put on socks or pants) with just a small twist or move. I always called them "back spasms" and with a few days rest they would go away. Last year after a particular long spell I finally went to an orthopedist (back doctor). MRI clearly showed bulging disk and thickened ligaments were nearly closing the spinal column and a week later - back surgery. Mixed feelings on the results. 15 months and absolutely no spells of can't move, crippling pain; however, pretty much daily "soreness". I'm hoping to address the soreness with excercise/yoga which will start when I RE after 4 1/2 more days of w*rk.

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:37 AM   #5
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I've had problems with my back for 10 years. I have arthritis and a herniated disc. On rare occasions, I have strained my back by the simple task of putting towels in the bathroom cabinet. I never know when it's going to hit me. I tried doing different exercises for my back, but it just made it worse. My doc agreed...no back exercises.

I'm doing pretty well now.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:54 AM   #6
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bbbam, herniated disc is another term for bulging and/or slipped disc. (My problem.) has the doc ever mentioned surgery? (I'm not advocating, just asking.)

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Old 05-23-2008, 11:10 AM   #7
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:11 AM   #8
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bbbam, herniated disc is another term for bulging and/or slipped disc. (My problem.) has the doc ever mentioned surgery? (I'm not advocating, just asking.)

t.r.
My diagnosis was made when I was 40 (10 years ago). They wanted surgery to be the last option. I tried muscle relaxers, pain meds and prednizone...they all failed. Then I went to a pain specialist that wanted to try injections to my spine.

The first time I went to the hospital, they inserted a tube in my spine that delivered drugs. Unfortunately, the bottle holding the drug malfunctioned. They could not complete the task.

After that episode, I went back to the hospital and had a series of injections to my spine. Each time I was given 8 injections. I returned for further injections when I started to have pain. I went a total of three times in about a seven month period. The last time I was in the hospital for my problem was about 8 years ago.

So far so good. If I start to have problems again, I will do anything it takes to relieve the pain.

I would like to add that when I got these injections, they put an i.v. in my hand and delivered some good juice. Otherwise, I would not have been able to stand the pain and be still. Unfortunately, one time, I woke up and felt an injection...it was pretty bad...they gave me more juice and I went into lala land again.

If anyone out there in forum land has this done, don't look at the needles...you will regret it, believe me.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:24 AM   #9
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Am I doomed to this for the rest of my life? I was thinking maybe I should visit a physical therapist and get an exercise that specifically targets that muscle.
T-Al, I think this is a good idea. That's what I did and I am S L O W L Y getting better.
On a scale of 0 to 10 ... 10 being 'shoot me, I am in so much pain, I can't stand it' and 0 being 'no pain', my worse point (right before physical therapy) got to about a 4-5. After extensive (Dr. said to do 6 weeks (3 days a week) PT (and I eventually did 14 weeks) I was down to about a (chronic) 2-2.5 on the scale. I have continued my exercises (abs, leg tendon and nerve stretching, back) and after 2 years or so (and almost daily (5 days a week) of advil to reduce inflamation) I am down to about a 1 to 1.5 (depends on the day) on the scale.
Hopefully with continued exercise I can get it closer to 0.
Some days are better than others (and that's what my Dr. said it would be).

If you haven't already done so, you may want to go and see a Dr. 1st.
You may have something else going on that they can 'fix' using other methods (like surgery or ?).

Good luck T-Al.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:24 PM   #10
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Al, I feel your pain!
(er, well.. I did..)
All better now after rest, but I haven't tried stretching it in the same way. Our yoga teacher is out of commission for some inner ear disorder so I haven't had a chance to test it out.

That weight exercise looks pretty iffy for the back.. I would go see a PT not only to find out what to do for stretching --there are a lot of web sites with exercises, and I had found a good one but lost the link -- but more to find out what you should NOT be doing, or what you might be doing incorrectly, with your current exercise program. That kind of thing you may not be able to ascertain without some hands-on advice and guidance.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:31 PM   #11
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Took care of my back with a titanium magnetic necklace - see this forum link
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Old 05-23-2008, 03:03 PM   #12
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Stress? my back goes more often if i'm stewing over something - do some stupid minor thing like extending my arm to pick up a bar of soap and kapow! someone knifes me in the back. Several years ago a doc prescribed a drug called Cataflam - guess it's really old school and there are flashier new drugs out there, but Cataflam does it for me. I like it because it doesn't seem to affect my head at all - just takes the back muscles out of spasm and lets the vertebrae realign.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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No, definitely no stress.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:40 PM   #14
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I have various and sundry lower back issues, but they're usually only a minor annoyance.

The one that gets me seems to have started in the early nineties, after I spent a couple of hours sitting crossed-legged, and bent forward over a sofa frame, reattaching loose springs. The next two days I could only roll out of bed, and had a hell of a time getting dressed and so forth. I've been to my GP for it maybe three times; he x-rayed me for it twice, but I finally told him not to bother. A couple doses of muscle relaxers will knock it right out.

My self-diagnosis, based on where it hurts, and minutes of exhaustive study, has narrowed it to either the internal oblique abdominal, or the iiliocostalis thoracis muscle. The pain is below the surface, running just inside the right illium. Man, killer, incapacitating pain, like a torn, spasming muscle, maybe pinching a nerve for good measure.

Doesn't bother me often, but spending much time bent from the waist will do it everytime...

I try to watch my posture, but I could do better.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:31 PM   #15
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I've focused more on strengthening rather than stretching. It seems so obvious that stretching would help prevent this kind of thing, however:

Stretching Doesn't Prevent Injury

Does Stretching Prevent Injuries?

Stretching the truth: Can the benefits of stretching towards injury prevention be proven?

But I plan to do a lot more warming up.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:00 PM   #16
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I've had problems with my back for 10 years. I have arthritis and a herniated disc. On rare occasions, I have strained my back by the simple task of putting towels in the bathroom cabinet. I never know when it's going to hit me. I tried doing different exercises for my back, but it just made it worse. My doc agreed...no back exercises.

I'm doing pretty well now.
I agree, back exercises may be the problem not the solution. I first hurt my back about 10 years ago while lifting weights. After taking six weeks off I never got back into it again until a couple years ago. A couple weeks into working out again I injured the same back muscle, went to the doctor, and he told me not to lift weights anymore. I stopped lifting weights and haven't had any back problems since.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:03 PM   #17
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Right. But I'm getting a lot of benefit from lifting the weights, and I don't want to give it up.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:09 PM   #18
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Al,

In case you haven't heard this, for back problems you need to really focus on strengthening the abs and stretching the back muscles. Working the back without stretching it can be counter productive.

Running for example makes you unbalanced because it "shortens" the back muscles and does not work the "balancing" abs muscles. To counter this you need to do a lot of ab exercises and a lot of back stretches.

I think that a visit to a physical therapists would be a good thing.

My suspicion is that they will suggest a good balanced program to strengthen and stretch the so called core muscles.

MB
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:39 PM   #19
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I agree, but each of my strengthening workouts begins with 20 trunk extensions (aka Supermans) and 20 crunches. I used to do that every day, but was convinced that twice per week would be more effective. The doc told me that my colonoscopy was painful because my abs were so strong.

I thought that that would be my insurance against back muscle pulls (and have recommended it to others), but it didn't do the job.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:52 PM   #20
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I agree, but each of my strengthening workouts begins with 20 trunk extensions (aka Supermans) and 20 crunches. I used to do that every day, but was convinced that twice per week would be more effective. The doc told me that my colonoscopy was painful because my abs were so strong.
I thought that that would be my insurance against back muscle pulls (and have recommended it to others), but it didn't do the job.
Al, you might want to read Jolie Bookspan. She focuses on avoiding bad posture/muscle habits by good daily practice instead of with just exercise & stretching. She's made a huge difference with my knees & back strains and she's doing miracles in older patients who've survived multiple surgeries.

She's studied human physiology & sports medicine (her doctorate), physical therapy, martial arts, and yoga. She's also come back from a couple of crippling accidents. She can get a bit New Age but she's extensively traveled Asia to study geriatric fitness and she knows her stuff. Akaisha Kaderli has met her and says she's pretty fiercely driven & independent. Jolie has ER ambitions of her own but she's pretty frustrated by the "medical-merchandising system".

Take a look at her old blog posts (The Fitness Fixer) with these keywords: lordosis/ hyperlordosis, lower back, neutral spine, squat (full squat and half squat), and strength.

You might also enjoy the book "Fix Your Own Pain".
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