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For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Posted by mylab123 z5NW (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 3, 13 at 17:47

My husband is a very large man, 6'2" well over 200 pounds, especially since he hurt his back, is now probably about 210.

He is 62 years old, was in excellent shape until he hurt his back about a year and a half ago, power walked combining with running with a 40 pound backpack on his back every single morning for about 45 minutes, plus he is in a job that kept him physically active.

He has damaged the lower part of his spine, it is called stenosis, and he has thus far had two steroid injections, the second which helped him so wonderfully.

However, he remains in some pain, on these cold and wet or snowy days the pain is worse - storms moving overhead are even harder on him.

He sleeps in a very comfortable 'sleep number' bed which keeps him pain free. He is comfortable in both his "to work' vehicle and the vehicle assigned to him, which he spends a lot of time in. His office chair is very comfortable for him, as is his office chair at home.

And then, we run out of "very comfortable" places for him to sit.

He was in agony in the leather easy chair he had always used - that is now gone. He is unable to sit at all on the very good sofa, impossible for him to get up from or lay down on for much time at all.

I thought of a rocking chair i have always kept in the guest room - a Stickley which is mission style. It has a wide and rather flat seat, coushioned slightly, the back is wood slats which I put a thick quilt folded over for him to rest his back on. It is a rocker which doesn't "lean back" too much, I think that is why it has worked out so well. I bought it on a store sample clearance sale twenty years ago, covered the seat with fabric of my chosing and though I'm not a "mission style" kind of person at all, it looked fine in the guest room.

I want to get him something much better - we have been looking now for three weeks and I have to find something quickly, it is agony for him to be sitting and then getting up in chairs which don't work for him. I would buy another stickley and have an upholsterer "do something" with it (the can work wonders, totally change a look of a chair) but if I'm going to do that, I would rather start out from the beginning with a very good chair which is in new condition. This chair is creaking and I have no idea how long it sat on the store floor.

To be honest, within reason, money is not an issue. I NEVER say this. Ever. We are not in that income bracket that it has ever been an option of "money is no object" but in this case, it is not. We will steal from our savings in order to provide for him comfort when he is in his own home.

But what does he need to be comfortable? He knows that in order to sit at our dining room table and eat his dinner, I roll a towel and place it firmly against the back bottom of his seat and then he can sit there long enough to eat quietly, but not linger, he needs that lumbar support.

It can't be a low sitting chair bottom, the lower it sits to the ground, the harder it is to get out of.
It can't be overstuffed at all - that makes things much worse in terms of comfort.

It can't have a thick seat cushion, if it is thick and comfortable, he sinks into it and then is in pain - but he needs some cushion for comfort.

You see his dilemma.

A very fine furniture store in the city is going to run it's sale very soon now - we wait for anything we need every few years for this sale, we can then scrimp and get something really fine for an affordable price if I keep an open mind about what will work for me.

I'm hoping for some sort of general 20% sale, but if not, so be it - if he finds something that he is comfortable in, it's sold.

Does anyone of you who suffer from these back problems have any pointers for me? Is there a chair you are comfortable in at home- name brand please and serial number if it is available? If you can give links to pictures of what we should be looking for, I would very much appreciate it.

I'm desperate for this issue to be resolved, he must feel like he has a place, rather than a bed, for him to really relax and enjoy his time at home after a long day at work.

Thank you for any and all help you can offer.
It's all I wanted from Santa this year, to find him his comfortable chair!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I wish I had that info for you, Mylab. Have you considered asking your DH's massage therapist, chiro, or physical therapist? I would think they would be very good resources. That is who I would ask. Good luck to you. IMO it's worse watching a loved one suffer than it is to bear the pain oneself. Like watching your partner have a baby, I would think.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I can say I am sorry for your husband.

I, too, have spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, bone growing between the vertebrae and pressing on nerves.

I have had pain every day for decades.

I do not take steroids.
I seldom take anything for pain other than naproxen sodium or ibuprofen.

By far, the best thing I have done is work out with weights at least twice a week. I have a personal trainer to make me lift the higher weights, which I would not do myself.

Strong muscles help your core which helps alleviate back pain. It of course can't make one pain free, but this has done far more for me than heating pads, meds, special beds, chairs, or cushions.

The one thing I indulge is my vehicle which is so comfortable than I can drive alone for eight or nine hours with only a few stops of walking around. If I'm traveling with someone in any vehicle other than mine, my back is killing me after only a few hours.

I would look into those chairs that you kneel on rests which are supposed to support your lumbar area and alleviate pressure. Also, accupuncture.

But walking and lifting weights has helped me the most.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Has he tested recliners? There are also lifters that help raise the seat when you want to get up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recliners


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

The only seat that I can use with a minimum of pain, is my computer chair (LOL) But, it is one of those fancy back supporting chairs with arms. It's one of those super-duper designed office chairs. Expensive, but well worth the price.
When we have company, I pull it over and join the others.

Another suggestion, he may need to get used to using a Rolator. This is one type of wheeled walker that allows the person to use the arms instead of back muscles to maintain the proper upright posture.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

If office type chairs are comfortable for him, buy another for him to use in your formal rooms and stop worrying about the aesthetics.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I have spinal stenosis and a few disk that are bad. I had 3 steroid injections series in the timeframe perscribed that helped with the pain management. Never totally pain free.

I know 3 people with back problems and of the 3 everyone has a different chair, sitting position, beds that make them comfortable.

I feel sorry for your DH I know how much pain he is in. My labor pains were not this bad.

I would suggest he is going to have to go with you and sit in the chairs for a long time and see which one works for him.

Demi is right he is going to have to exercise to help even if he has to use some pain drugs to get through the exercise. The less I weigh also helps a lot. Sooo

Exercise
Lose Weight
Lots of Chair Shopping

Is going to be your answer. Sorry that is all I can offer.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I got an Scandinavian Ekornes recliner @ 20 years ago and it is the most comfortable chair I know of. Our dining room chairs are also Scandinavian - don't remember the brand. They are also comfortable and easy on a tricky back. My back bothers me sometimes because of an injury a long time ago. For the back problem, yoga is great. Acupuncture also helps a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: ekornes recliners


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Lazy Boy makes medical recliners that apparently are very comfortable. Maybe look at those. I would link if I knew how but just google Lazy-boy medical recliners. They apparently, because of the way they become upright, help the person get out of the chair as well.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

mylab,

I know exactly what you are going through and my DH knows what your DH is going through. For about three months last summer and fall he suffered from osteoarthritis and stenosis. His orthopedist was a jerk who refused to give him more than two prescriptions for pain (saying, "Rush Limbaugh is a smart man and he got addicted) and then dismissed him as a patient so that he had no supervising physician for the physical therapy he was undergoing. He was in so much pain one night that he said he didn't want to continue to live if such pain was to continue, which alarmed me. He had to sleep on his back, on the floor with his legs up on a chair. That terrible night he was afraid to even get on the floor for fear that he wouldn't be able to get up.

A friend from church had earlier recommended acupuncture and recommended a particular acupuncturist. The next morning, after that terrible night, I called and he was fitted in. Imagine my astonishment when I went to pick him up and he was all smiles - no pain!! The acupuncturist was also astonished. (He lost his balance on a throw rug a few days later which brought the pain back, but not nearly as bad). He had two sessions a week of acupuncture for 6 weeks and has been pain free since then, altho' he does go for acupuncture once a month now, for "maintenance." Medicare didn't cover it, but we didn't care as long as it helped. And no drugs are necessary. His ortho referred him to a pain specialist (pain specialists, according to my internist friend, almost always prescribe the steroid injections as they are a big money-maker). DH said, "no thanks."

Also, for sitting (he couldn't sit in most chairs for awhile), we got a BackJoy Posture molded seat that he will sit on and it works wonders. Google it. It was especially helpful in the car and in the church pew.

We also bought a wood rocker, sort of a "Kennedy-style" rocker which replaced a recliner that he used to sit in to watch TV. Got it through Craigslist and he tried it out before we bought it. He loves it.

We are even planning to go to Europe now in April. He'll be taking his BackJoy with him for the plane and, if necessary, we'll find an acupuncturist in France.

I know acupuncture doesn't work for everyone. I think it's a combination of the kind of pain, the skill of the acupuncturist, and the attitude of the patient. DH was very anti-alternative medicine until this. Now he can't sing the praises of the acupuncturist loud enough. Our primary care physician was so impressed that he is now referring patients to the acupuncturist, after meeting with the acupuncturist.

Good luck to your hubby (and to you). One particularly bad night, after a bad day, I read up on OTC pain relievers and decided to try Capcaisin (sp). When I talked to the druggist about why I was buying it (he said to bring it back if it didn't work), I told him I was buying it as much for myself as for DH.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I too have had a bad back since 1976, re-injured a number of times since then. My orthopedic surgeon is amazed I can still function with so many thinned disks, bone spurs, cysts and misalignment. I have borne with the pain all these years, relying on chiropractics, massage, exercise and ibuprofen. I'm actually more pain-free now than 20 years ago. I do need to lose weight and I must stop lifting and hauling 50# bags of loose material. I've been under chiro's orders not to lift more than 5# for the past 30 years.

I find few chairs or couches comfortable; few offer the kid of lumbar support to ease the pain and discomfort. I do own an Italian leather reclining chair that was never finished, missing the lumber section. I've filled this void with tubular-shaped foam and capped that off with loose-foam pillow I used years ago for my bad neck.

My favorite chair is an office chair I salvage and repaired for about a nickel. Excellent lumbar support, has arm rests, and rocks and rolls. I'm sitting on it now.

What I don't experience any more is shooting pain down either leg. Those were the days of true agony which chiropractics, physical therapy and massages eased.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

mylab, I accompanied my mother when she needed comfortable seating after back surgery and worsening osteoarthritis.

Her choice was determined by testing the chairs in person; painful as it was, that was the only valid means of making an informed decision. She did eventually find two - disparate styles, but what are you going to do? -- and purchased both. The first was an upholstered Danish Modern type chair with padded arms, a high padded back, and matching ottoman; the second a French Provincial armchair with a lower upholstered back.

The first was immediate relief for some time, and then it wasn't anymore. I hauled it up upstairs, and the French Provincial chair is now paired with the ottoman and reigns as the most comfortable seating -- currently modified with a pillow on the seat and back. (She hasn't been able to sit on the sofa for years.) Please be aware that what may offer comfort now may not do so in the future.

Good luck to you and your husband in navigating through the choices.

P.S. What was really the most comfortable for her was the wheelchair that we rented after back surgery.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

pilates and myotherapy. after a comprehensive physiotherapy assessment


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RE: For thos6e with back pain, I could use some help please

and dont have any more steroid injections. they thin the muscle fibres. they feel good at the time but cause worse problems down the track


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

And no more running 45 minutes with a 40 -pound pack jostling on his back! I was amazed by this. I used to run about an hour three times a week, maybe 6 miles a run. First my left knee went bad, then the right ilium/sacrum became inflamed. No more running said the orthopedist. Walk as long as it is comfortable.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I had a nasty stenosis last year in my neck, painful as you know and creating paralysis in my legs. There was some talk of surgery, but - long story short - they sent me to a physical therapist.

Who really knew what she was doing. After 5-6 sessions of massage and doing stretching exercises, she then proceeded to put her gloved fingers down my neck, pushed my head in one direction with her other hand, and popped the disc back in place with her fingers. Instant relief, and that was that.

The point being, ask around for a physical therapist who is knowledgeable about stenosis, and they may be able to help considerably.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I agree that your DH needs to try chairs but until then try the small size of Salon Pas patches placed on his lower back. I found them many years ago before they became popular. For me the smaller ones work the larger ones for the back do nothing. I have pain in the lower back and right hip. I too was almost to the point of calling it a day before finding these.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

"And no more running 45 minutes with a 40 -pound pack jostling on his back! I was amazed by this. I used to run about an hour three times a week, maybe 6 miles a run. First my left knee went bad, then the right ilium/sacrum became inflamed. No more running said the orthopedist. Walk as long as it is comfortable.'

Ah. Maybe man isn't meant to run too much. So he invented weapons: no running after prey, no running away before he became prey. Another great mystery solved.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Althea beat me to Ekornes. My 78-yr-old uncle with stenosis swears by his, and though they are pricey, the plus side is that they have various styles and aren't too hideous for a big cushy reclining chair. And they come with nice accessories like laptop desks. Check them out!


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I love physical therapists.

I don't know about stenosis, per se, but I do know that, in general, and for someone like me with some lower back problems, the aim is to avoid "sitting in a bucket". You want to have your knees lower than your hips. That might be contributing to his problems when he sits in a deep cushioned chair.

I have one of those EZ Boy, (I think that's the name), type deep cushion chairs that I finally just gave up on and I spend all my sitting time here at home sitting on it, not in. On? Yes. Finally, years ago now, I put a large shelve board across the two big fat arms, bought a thin cushion to ease the pain on my skinny behind and sit perched up here above everything. I haven't really sat in the deep cushions for years and years.

Talk to a physical therapist. They deal with this all the time.

Hay


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

If you have a Relax the Back store in your area, your DH might want to try out a Zero Gravity recliner.

There are some yoga poses that are really good for relieving back stress but he would need a teacher who really knows what he or she is doing.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I've not read thru all the responses so far, mylab, so forgive me if I'm not the first to notice, but all the "comfortable" places that you discussed all had one thing in common-- strong lumbar support. Just a thought.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Back exercises and acupuncture are things to think about.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I agree completely with Demi on this. Do not sit- it's the worst. The kneeling chair is a good idea at least for computer work- otherwise maybe a good recliner as others have suggested- try them out first. He is sitting too much- sitting in the car, sitting at work (take walking breaks) sitting at home- too much sitting! Try lying down on the couch if it's just for relax time.
Also walking is good - no backpack- that's just stupid. Just easy walking- low impact. Or find a pool and start swimming.

And as Demi also said- core muscles- consider Pilates. Again, I repeat what others have said- a good physical therapist or sports doctor.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I am incredibly thankful to you all for so freely sharing your thoughts with me, I got from you all exactly what I was hoping for.
I will certainly check into seeing about physical therapy, after two months of insurance fighting ( and we have good insurance!) they sent him to physical therapy for 3 weeks twice a week, in the very beginning. Only then, when still in debilitating pain would they approve a scan which immediately showed the problem. The ortho surgeon recommended surgery which my dh said was a last resort...ortho guy then set him up for the first injection at the hospital day clinic and dh has not been able to see him since. He had to ask for the second injection over the phone and was called back with an appointment date. If DH isn't interested in surgery the dr won't see him, we both are very upset over this and are looking into a replacement which is taking awhile because the hospital ( three easy miles away we want one with privileges) was sold and the ortho guy moved his office to a town 20 miles but 45 minute drive away. That is good news, as soon as the new ortho guy gets to the clinic across the street, DH will make his appointment with the new surgeon, he never liked the other one after being so dismissed for not having surgery but he needed relief and was getting it. Now I learn the shots are good either, another mental adjustment to make. Thsnk you all for this info.
Demi, what you said makes complete sense...the stronger his core muscles the better they can do more of the work. I'm going to check into all this alternate therapy recommended by you all, into more physical therapy too, it was cut off when his diagnostic scan was approved but maybe it is still available to him as part of a comprehensive treatment.

As well as weight loss, he has a big bone structure but he was a little over weight when he hurt his back buy maybe ten pounds--- and his muscle tone is now going because of the lack of exercise due to pain.
Marshall, I mis -spoke, he has certainly not been doing the running with the backpack since the day he hurt his back
After the first injection he did get out again - sans backpack, period, and was power walking a good rate again when he stepped off a curb 'wrong', felt bad pain,and didn't know if he would make it home He has not gone walking, power or otherwise, since. It freaked him out.
He needs a good Doctor who isn't primarily interested in cutting only, with the punishment resulting in being ignored if dh resists. Who turns to back surgery as a FIRST resort? He would have to be all out of all options and other methods of therapy, and then only if three other surgeons agreed that it was time, would he begin to seriously consider it...by some other Dr. What kind of Doctor insists upon a surgical solution to a spine problem as the only logical first response?

It has been a very demoralizing experience for my DH.

Elvis, you are exactly right, I've been on both sides of the sick bed and it was far easier to be in it than sitting beside it. The nurses are all about assuring the patient that they are going to be fine and I believed them, Inever was a bit worried about myself! The watching over the sick ones I loved so much though...its a torture derived from helplessness to make the illness and pain go away. Thank you for your kind words of understanding.
Hay, you are exactly right! The knees must be lower than his waist, even fractionally, or it won't due...and Bill, you are right, all that works for him supports his lumbar and also prevents him from leaning back...when he leans or stands leaning back, the pain is sharp and unforgiving.

I had suggested a good office chair to him ( it can easily be made to not look like an office chair with someone good with fabric and it's application, but he is hoping to find something better...the office chair is good for working, he is leaning forward while doing desk work and that is why it works - but not so much for simply sitting. I don't care what it would look like if his face was relaxed while in it - how he is able to find reasonable comfort as he relaxes is the only objective, all the rest is secondary.

I'm going to research some brands offered here, now at least I have a starting point. If he can get into see a stenosis specalist who does physical therapy, that would be great, he/she could probably tell DH and I what to try and where to find it.

Lots more good info, ideas to try, things to look for, thank you all so much.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Like so many others here, I've had constant back pain for decades, and it's morphed into osteoarthritis and sciatica. I've used a combination of remedies to cope.

Like Nancy's mother, a wheelchair has been the best solution for sitting, at least when I'm at the desktop. We bought one when I broke my leg in 2011, and it has changed my computer experience! The "leather" bottom is very solid, but has the give necessary to fit my, uh, bottom and back, and the two large wheels skootch around better than an office chair. I have a small Persian rug under it and there are no wheel marks ever. I keep a pillow propped behind my back and lean forward with both elbows on the pull-out tray, and it's extremely comfortable. Unfortunately, it looks strange in our living room, but our desktop lives here and am not giving up the chair, so too bad. More and more I find myself doing our bills and financials and note-writing here; it's that easy on my back.

You can rent a simple wheelchair like this one for a pretty low price from any medical supply store, just to try it out.

Two years ago I told my doc: no surgery and no pain injections, and he agreed. He sent me to a sports medicine rehab center, twice a week for three months, where my wonderful trainer taught me how to exercise my back. Everything revolved around strengthening the body's core. This is the crucial point. It's in the abs and the pelvic area - think flat or sort-of-flat stomach. He also got me on a recumbent bike, the best exercise imaginable, excellent cardio and fun besides. Am also considering adding a recumbent bike to our living room (to repeat the aluminum-and-leather theme of the wheelchair); it's the only place where we have enough room in this very small house.

Like Maifleur I also use a heated pain patch on my lower back - Wellpatch Natural Capsaicin Pain Relief Patch and Wellpatch Warming Pain Relief Patch. They are wonderful; they give a soothing heat and do alleviate some of the pain. I order mine from amazon.

I also rarely sit on the sofa; usually I recline, with my back propped against pillows and my legs up as well, always with my knees bent. That's the only time the pain completely vanishes.

About medications - have written before and am saying again that this country is positively cruel in its expectations of people, especially older people, to live with pain. I will do anything to be able to visit museums and art galleries and take a walk with my DGS. I take a Prilosec in the morning and then two Aleve (sometimes, infrequently, two more later in the day), and all the pain except for the back pain is GONE. Don't remember the last time I had to stay in bed all day because I was having an "achy day". Sometimes I quit for awhile to give my body a break from the Prilosec, although three docs have said that it is not necessary. In addition, if the back pain is really horrible, or I am going somewhere where I'll have to walk and stand a lot, I take a Tylenol 3. This has made our social life, and our travel times to visit the children, bearable. But - I control my use of this drug carefully.

Managing back pain has been a multi-faceted effort for me, and am guessing for most people. It's too soon in our evolution to walk upright!


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

You might seek out a Doctor whose specialty is physiatry.
They do not do surgery. Their board certification is physical medicine and rehabilitation.
They are usually associated with an orthopedic group.
At least that is where I found the one I went to.

They willingly order physical therapy etc and won't look to surgery as the end all be all


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Ditto what Sable said re sports training physical therapists working on core strength. From the sounds of your hubby, he might rise to the challenges of getting stronger.

Even just the general ambience in a sports-oriented physical therapy place vs typical physical therapy place. In the former, they play hip music, posters of athletes, in-shape people rehabbing injuries, the talk is of skiing, sports, etc. A more encouraging atmosphere.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I'm sorry to say I have back problems too. Unfortunately, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, and other things work against a permanent solution. Even the huge chunk of titanium in my spine only solved part of the problem. It drives the checkers in airports nuts though. LOL.

One big problem is that I am only 5 feet tall. I have never seen a chair that allows me to sit with my back supported or with my feet on the ground without perching on the front edge of the seat. It is very frustrating, especially since most of our furniture is sized for my DH who is well over 6 feet tall. If you happen to see a chair for someone my size, please let me know about it.

Beds are impossible. I sleep on my side on a sofa. The support from the sofa back is the only thing that allows me to sleep at all. Even then I am frequently awakened by nasty muscle and tendon spasms if I get in a bad position. I keep Tums and Tonic water by the sofa at all times but those spasms can hit anytime.

I lucked out by using Lyrica that allowed some nerves to heal. Unfortunately it stopped working. I don't like to use pain medication. I see too many who get dependent on those kinds of meds. One thing that does help most of the time is TENS. It doesn't heal anything but it allows me to ignore the pain and keep moving, which is very important. You do have to be aware of how and what you are doing so you don't make any damage worse.

Steroid injections were amazing when I had them but the dangers cannot be ignored.

I wish all of you luck in finding some relief.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

OH, I see! it isn't the office chair that's so comfortable, it's the fact that he is leaning forward over the desk that makes the pain better.

Maybe he needs to adjust his viewpoint. It's HIS BACK, not the chairs that are the problem. He is going to have to get used to sitting in a position that works for him.

An office chair with arms, allows him to place his weight more in a forward position with the arms for balance. He will never find a chair that allows him to lean back. That's not what his back needs.

Gone are the days when we are able to curl up on the soggy couch with a good book...watch TV, etc. We must maintain a certain posture to relive the pressure on the spine. We have to adapt, because our spines can't.

The sooner he changes to adapt, the better he will be, and the less pain.

Forget "furniture", think support in proper areas.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I've had a scoliosis of the spine most of my life. The only things that have helped my pain have been losing weight, gentle yoga, ballet classes, some pilates, to strengthen core muscles. Had it not been for all of the above, I don't think I would be as physically fit as I am, now. First things first, try to get some of the weight off. And I second the yoga poses recommended above.

I've heard from friends acupuncture works, but I've not tried it.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Woodnymph--I agree. I had a 73 degree curve, the doctors could only correct it to 34 or so. I'm still missing a good bit of my height I wish I had.

I'm going back to pilates this month, in addition to walking and weight training and boxing.

I have a neighbor that was considering surgery last November (2011). He could not sit on my sofa comfortably, he leaned forward and sat on the edge and I gave up my chair for him. I did not think of him as overweight, just that he could stand to lose a few pounds. His face showed pain and doctors had recommended surgery for his problems.

In January a year ago, he started walking every morning about six miles--the length of our road and back. I have met him when I walk, and rain or shine he walks. By mid summer he looked great-- he said he has no more back pain and he looks maybe six or seven years younger (mid sixties). The answer was to get moving and lose some weight (he lost 33 pounds).

Compensating for pain and alleviating it are things we need to do, but attacking the problem itself can eliminate the need for those compensations.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

After I hurt my back three years ago, I started doing stretching exercises. I also have a large wooden office chair with arms. I lift myself at least a half-dozen times a day and arch my back until it cracks. Since then I've also taken a chondroitin-glucosamine-msm supplement daily.

My back is fine now. I also had pain in my left leg down to my foot and it is now gone. I have a little numbness in my three middle toes that comes and goes, but that is about it.

Personally, for me, the most beneficial thing I've done is the daily stretching and arching of my back in my chair.

Exercise is fine but don't overdo it.

-Ron-


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Have had bad back on and off since I first had sciatica at 24. Later degenerative & compressed disc. Different time different solutions physical therapy was always the best medicine for me. Different chairs, different mattresses & exercises changed over time. I always trusted the one orthopedist I've seen on & off & the last physical therapist I saw.
I use a hard straight back school desk chair at the computer. I try to stand as much as possible at work and sit only when I have to type or send something. The last 2 years have been good little pain the year before I was using a cain most of the winter!
I rarely sit on the sofa but lay on it with pillows under my knees. I try to maintain my correct pelvic position when walking & I walk a lot alot!


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Mylab123,

I have multiple things wrong with my Lumbar Spine. I won't go into details. Suffice to say that I have stenosis, osteoarthritis, lanular tear, retrolisthesis, 4 buldging disks, scoliosis (probably from injury, because I didn't have it when I was younger).....I'm thin, and always have been.

Please do NOT have your hubby try things Willy Nilly because he can get injured more. Example: I am not allowed to swim! I am not allowed to have back "adjustments". Even bicycling "loads" my back.

I often hear people comparing their "bad backs". Trust me, the treatmetns are different for people. One size does not fit all.

Most people can do what I do: I do physical therapy 2x week, which includes weights, and upper body strengthening... I walk the other 5 days(approx 3.8-4.0 mph). I walk mostly for mobility, so I don't do further damage.
Everything I do, I ran by a top notch Physical Therapist,first. Another thing: it is very important that the phys therapy exercises are done correctly to a tee, or one can feel worse or think that the phys therapy is not working. Also, there are some exercises that I cannot do ( I feel worse), even though they are recommended, so it's a learning experience.

I used to be indestructable and a runner for years! Part of my job was lifting patients. Now I'm spent. I was told that surgery is inevitable. The Neurosurgeon told me to prove him wrong that I don't need surgery...some days I want to give up, but I keep fighting.

NOTHING works 100% to alleviate the back pain. Additionally, the sciatica and other neurological effects in both of my legs... are really scary.
The worse for me is sitting then standing. Walking slower and lying down with my knees bent feels the best.

I have a La-Z-Boy chair. It's ok, but not great. I've tried every chair in that store. I find myself moving onto the couch and lying down...

Lumbar support pillow is a MUST HAVE. I use it everywhere I sit, even the dining chair.
I've talked to someone who recommended (I am not affiliated with them):

www.Relaxtheback.com 1-800-222-5728

The ZERO GRAVITY CHAIRS. These are not cheap chairs, but the woman who recommended one swears by it. She says she falls asleep in one of the those chairs. These chairs are made in diff sizes and shapes, for short and tall people.
I don't know if there is a brick and mortar store near you. I would suggest to go and sit in a Zero gravity chair for 1 hour(15 minutes is not enough, when you have a bad back, so it's easy to purchase something that will feel comfortable for a short while, then it won't work.), and see if it works well for your husband. They also have all kinds of back support items.


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I don't know that I'd be looking for a chair... I'd be looking for a support cushion that would turn any chair into a comfort zone of sorts.

Hi, Mylab... as you probably know, both my husband and myself suffer from spinal injuries and issues that keep us from ever being completely comfortable or pain free.

My husband's issues are a combination of lower back, tail bone structure, and higher up toward his neck. He's had several series of differing injections, hoping to alleviate a good portion of pain. The last series was successful in allowing him much greater range of motion in his neck, but did nothing for his lower back or tail bone issues.

He finds driving to be excruciating, sitting on most chairs or furniture to be time spent in hell, and it's only because we know someone in the mattress industry that sleep is possible... we got a decent bed at an affordable price.

Right now, we're in the market for a portable cushion made well enough to offer comfort and support. There are several types offered through the medical or chiropractic industries that might fit the bill. This is where I'd begin my search.

My own back issues are mainly lower, though my entire neck and spine look wrecked and bent on x-ray film. I find I need lower back support when sitting for any length of time, and I've gotten away with using a soft pillow I can fold and tuck behind me.

Coincidentally, I find I can sit for longest in my rocker. It's a hard wood rocking chair with a fairly wide seat, made by Hols & Stone of Gardner, Mass. It's rather traditional in style, but without a cushion it's hard as a rock.

Before Christmas, my monitor took a crap... it needs some capacitors replaced. And we came back from our northerly visit carrying some nasty cold/flu virus that we're still getting over. For all of three nights, I was forced to sleep sitting upright in my rocker because I couldn't breathe when lying down. My lungs felt stuffed with cotton; this cold virus has a lovely respiratory infection accompanying the other symptoms. I truly felt old, Vick's VapoRub fumes filling the air around me, wrapped in a blanket sitting in my rocker with a pillow crammed behind my back!

Back pain is some of the worst chronic pain a person can live with. At our age, we opt for masking the pain instead of suffering, and try to make our surroundings as comfortable as possible. I couldn't even imagine trying to live without the help of modern medicine, and sometimes even that is not 100% effective.

My advice would be to look into the medical and chiropractic industries with regard to medical grade support items, be it a chair or portable cushion. A cushion would turn any chair or piece of furniture into a comfortable place to sit, widening your options considerably.



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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 20:22

Hey Jodik good to see/read you back ... Happy New Year!


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it needs some capacitors replaced.

Flux capacitors? ;-)


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"Before Christmas, my monitor took a crap... it needs some capacitors replaced. And we came back from our northerly visit carrying some nasty cold/flu virus that we're still getting over. For all of three nights, I was forced to sleep sitting upright in my rocker because I couldn't breathe when lying down. My lungs felt stuffed with cotton; this cold virus has a lovely respiratory infection accompanying the other symptoms. I truly felt old, Vick's VapoRub fumes filling the air around me, wrapped in a blanket sitting in my rocker with a pillow crammed behind my back!"

Sexy, aren't we? :-)

I had this back in late September/early October. A few people in the office had it too. And my neighbor, too. It was miserable and hung on forever. We sounded like a walking TB ward. Coughing so hard for weeks it hurt our poor old stomach muscles.

I thought about going to see the doctor but figured that if it was viral there's nothing that could be done anyway. And I really didn't feel like getting dressed and driving and passing it on to others who might be there.

One of my coworkers went to the doctor who gave her antibiotics in case the secondary bronchitis was bacterial in nature, but she didn't get over it any quicker than the rest of us.

At first it felt like a simple cold coming on, but it quickly turned into a monster. I don't know if it was the flu or what, but it was early and awful and it took weeks to go away completely. I don't usually get the flu shot until November. I might start earlier next year if it's available sooner.

Good to see you back and hope you are feeling better each day.

[end of hijack]

There are folks in my family who have back issues and they suffer a lot. I wish I had something to offer to you folks who are suffering. I hope you can find relief.


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Ewwww....you people can take your cooties and take several large steps back, please! ;)

Sounds like abject misery to me, some of that was going around in November, but I don't recall people being this sick, maybe a kinder strain was at work and the toughies in leather jackets with baseball bats and brass knuckles just haven't roared into town as of yet.
These aren't the symptoms of the flu of this year I suppose? See, then I would tell you that, oh yes you should have gotten your flu shot, after all! and because you are in an even greater physically weakened and vulnerable state now just as flu season is gaining traction it would probable be something to talk about with your doctor....but I'm also yanking your chain just a wee bit, recalling your refusal to consider flu shots as a truly safe preventative tool ! ;)

Very glad to hear you both are on the mend, hope your computer/ monitor is, too, and good to see that you are back in hot topicsville.


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mylab, you might have hit the nail on the head so to speak. People are so stressed and immune systems were down due to the holiday.

Good to see you back Jodik. Hope you get well soon.


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Thank you, everyone... yes, it's a doozie of a lung/sinus infection, among the other symptoms. I could have done without it! I began a course of antibiotics the moment I felt the lung issues start, and they have definitely helped. I'm still coughing, but nothing at all like a few days ago! It was torture!

Hopefully, my monitor can be fixed by replacing a few small components. Electrical capacitors... I don't need it time travel ready! It just needs to be net worthy! :-)

I must say, though... it's been a nice break from the ever expected daily grind of HT!

I think tooth pain and back pain must be the worst to deal with, and tooth pain is more the temporary type. Unless a person has a condition that can be repaired through surgery, or straightened out through chiropractic visitation, it's the kind of pain that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Imagine being in total misery 24 hours a day, unable to find a comfortable position to sit, stand, or lay down for any length of time. Just when you think you've finally found a position that offers some relief, the nagging pain reappears, cutting through your thought process, always there... and not just an "I sprained my ankle" kind of pain, but a constant high level ache that never goes away. It's extremely debilitating, wearing on you a little more every day. It becomes more than physical pain... it becomes psychological and emotional, too. It can ruin lives.

My husband is about 6' tall, around 190 or 200 lbs... and I think the larger the frame, the harder it would be to deal with back pain. I can sympathize with Mylab's husband... I watch my own suffer every day. Medications don't rid the body of all the pain, either... they only cut the edge off so one can function a bit better. But it's not a cure-all.

I would definitely look to the medical or chiropractic industries, though... I think that's where you'd find actual items designed for back pain patients.

And to be honest, I still wouldn't want a flu shot. I don't know how my compromised immune system would handle it. I'd rather risk a short illness now and again. I keep myself fairly healthy through an all natural diet devoid of modern day chemicals, processes, or other things that aren't natural to the human body, and I really haven't been sick in several years. I've been slightly ill with colds or flu, but nothing to write home about.

Unless my own son was the laboratory compounder, I would not accept a flu shot. I'm just not sold.


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  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 5, 13 at 14:43

50 people here could tell you what chair works for them, but your husband is going to have to shop with you, sit, try for size and find what works for him. Too many variables, they don't come one size fits all....either people and the number of inches between tailbone to back of knees, back of knees to bottom of foot etc, or the design of chairs even those supposed to support and be comfortable.

A chair with ottoman or foot rest, either attached or not, may be helpful to him. Or may not.

If he's tried walking (and if he stepped 'off a curb' he may have been walking on cement, not necessarily good) and felt insecure or had discomfort, nordic/trekking poles if they are the right size fit his frame may take some of the strain from backs, hips, knees and add to his stability, allowing him to get out and move more. My friend who teaches fitness at our college uses them herself (and we don't have snow here :)), recommends them to her students of all ages for more joint friendly walking.


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Please, go see a Physical Therapist. It's what they spend a lifetime thinking and working on. In the long run you might find that it's the cheapest way out of this.

Do you really want any support at all? On the one hand you want to learn the exercises to strengthen your back and on the other hand you want a chair that you can slouch in? Said as I perch up here with absolutely nothing but my muscles to support my posture. Good exercise and improved posture, all in one.

For more exercise, try dancing. Nothing like dancing to point out your bad posture to you.

Hay


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Hay, we're talking way beyond physical therapist, here... though, it's one more medical industry avenue to look toward in terms of support cushions, etc. And, all the exercise in the world won't help that much if the underlying issues can't be surgically addressed/repaired. The patient can have the most physically fit, well developed musculature, but will not find relief with a spine that's still damaged. The unfortunate part is that repair is not always possible.

I think it will boil down to an individual liking, as mentioned above. Mylab's husband will have to be the one testing out chairs, beds, cushions, supports, etc... he's the only one who knows his own comfort and pain levels, what he finds acceptable, etc.

Even though I can find some relief sitting in my rocker with the right support in the right areas, my husband couldn't sit there for more than a few minutes. It could very well be that what my husband finds acceptable or tolerable would not be so to Mylab's husband. Therefore, I think it will be a very individual choice. I wish you luck, Mylab...


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Check out the "zero gravity chair".


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Mylab, I admit I didn't read through all the responses so forgive me if it's been said already but have you considered warm yoga? There are so many kinds out there, but doing low-impact, slow moving yoga in a heated room (not hot yoga, but warm yoga to relax the muscles).

I wish Mr. Mylab the best.


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Yes, Mylab... how's he feeling? And have you found something comfortable that suits him?

I do hope so!


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How awful to have to live with constant pain! Reading all these posts makes me understand how pervasive this problem is for so many people. I have no advice to offer, only want to say I'd like to offer everyone a virtual bouquet of sunflowers and a (((cyber hug))). Wish I could wish all that pain away.


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Thank you, Pidge... it helps to know that some people really do understand. I'll take the hug, offer one right back at ya, and I'll trade you bouquets! :-)

Isn't it remarkable how many people deal with these kinds of issues? I would have never thought so many lived with such a variety of health issues, and with so much combined pain... but the statistics don't lie.

And then we look at the pitiful health care and insurance systems we've had to muddle through, and it becomes a little clearer why so many continue to suffer.

I won't be really happy until we can throw away the health for profit model and implement a real system that benefits every single citizen.


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I was recently diagnosed with lumbar stenosis. Although I have some problems with some chairs, walking for any distance (like one block) is almost more than I can take. Even standing for very long starts hurting. Whatever I did seemed to be accompanied by low-grade pain at least.

I was sent to a specialist, but before he got into his speel, I told him I was absolutely not interested in surgery if there was any other way to handle the situation. He said the only two options left were the steroid shots or physical therapy. I chose the latter option even if it is considered the lesser option.

Well, I'm here to say after a summer of physical therapy that those folks are just great! Three times a week I was put on a table that stretched my back--kind of a modern version of a Spanish Inquisition rack and screw treatment. Loved it--25 minutes a stretch. Then we did a series of specially selected stretch exercises, plus some general exercise with the exercise bike (10 minutes).

In particular, my therapist had me work on tightening the abdominal area.. It isn't just back exercises that are needed, but "frontal" exercises are also necessary. The tighter you can pull in that stomach area, the more strength you have to counteract the lumbar stenosis.

I didn't see above that anyone mentioned the abdominal exercises, so I thought I'd throw that tidbit into the pile of excellent recommendations.

And more than 3 weeks of physical therapy is needed. That was what my doctor had put me down for, but I insisted I needed more. I used up my Medicare allowance of physical therapy visits (20 visits--or about 7 weeks), and I'm almost like a new person! I still have bad days, but I'm much improved and some days have very little or no pain. Just wish I could set up a Spanish Inquisition room in my house--the stretching table was the coolest!

About chairs--I rely on straight-back wooden chair, well-made wooden office/computer chairs, and an old Lazy-boy rocker that my Dad bought a zillion years ago and that we still have--though it doesn't look that swell any more, it sure is great for when I'm tired and need a nap.

Just my 2 cents added to the thread.

Kate


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First of all, Kate... I'm very sorry to hear that you, too, experience pain in your back. It's one of the worst kinds of pain.

Exercising for core strength, or both front and back muscles, can be valuable tools in helping to support our skeletons... if we can actually do a lot of the movements required.

We went through a lot of physical therapy after the accident, and I know the "rack" you speak of, Kate! We were both put on one for differing time periods.

Personally, I found that chiropractic visits helped in combination with everything else... but there's no cure for the curvature and degeneration going on in my case. You are very lucky to have gotten some relief through your regimen, and I'm really very glad for you!

I think tooth and back pain are the two worst types... and tooth pain is usually only temporary.

Fortunate are those who can find a fix for their back or spinal issues!


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Jodi, I'm sorry to hear that your problems are on-going. I do admire the positive attitude you try to maintain--hard to do when we hurt, isn't it!

Keep exercising--that is the only "solution" I can see. Cuz I'm not about to go the steroid shots or surgery route, if I can help it.

Kate


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For my arthritis I find having an anti-inflammatory diet does wonders for me. I still get a pretty bad flare in my neck if I get off track (well, my whole body actually but I find the neck particularly excruciating) but if I keep it very strict I don't even need so much as a Tylenol. I haven't had a cortisone shot in two years and have been off DMARDs for three years. I went from not closing my hands to rock climbing. I don't believe my case is isolated and the proper foods for your body can do amazing things. I feel for anyone who has to live their life in chronic pain and fatigue - it's no way to live and believe there are many who don't have to suffer if our medical community would only expand their training into nutrition. I didn't believe the effects would be so resounding but they truly are. I took my first step due to another GW member who told me to call her when I asked if anyone heard of such a thing and that was the positive affirmation I was looking for to go such a route.


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I refuse to be cut, too, Kate... and I'm not allowing my husband to go under the knife, either! Of all the people we know that have opted for back surgery... and that would be quite a few people... we don't know anyone who is better off now than they were before surgery... not one person! Not that we could ever afford the cost! Just the price of an operating theater for any kind of procedure tops the $100,000 mark, never mind an anesthesiologist or anything else required! And then there's the long road of recovery and more physical therapy... no, thanks!

My husband has gotten injections... and not just your typical steroids, which are usually only temporary, anyway. He's had some type of nerve blocks and other injections done, some of which did give him a little more range of motion in the neck, but none of it is a cure.

He's way worse off than I am, though, and after his initial accident at work many years ago, was forced to learn to walk all over again. This last accident sort of finished him off, so to speak. He has about 15 or so years on me in experiencing life in the chronic pain lane!

For me, dealing with both injury and Lupus, I find that maintaining a routine and keeping in motion help somewhat. And then, I attribute part of how I feel to our diet... one of a more organic nature, avoiding all the processed, chemical laden, gmo, or foods with hfcs. This keeps inflammation at a minimum.

It's very true that modern medicine would be more helpful if physician schooling included in depth nutrition as part of its regimen. We really are what we eat!

This is why I drive 3 and half hours to see my doctor, though... because he approaches medicine from the angle of nutrition. He's very big on diet as a large part of what affects our health. Some of his first questions were, "What are you eating? What does your daily diet consist of?" And now that we've changed how and what we eat, there's a noticeable difference in how we feel.

As I've said before, though, we are also big believers in modern medicine as far as pain masks go. And even though strong medicines only take the edge off the pain sometimes, it can mean the difference between living a fairly normal quality of life... or curling up into a little ball and giving up on everything!

I have good days, Kate.. and bad days. I'm sure you understand how that feels. It's better to maintain a positive attitude and think more about how fortunate we are, than it is to dwell on the negative and on things we can't change.

Cookie, I spent many years as a guinea pig, trying a plethora of pharmaceuticals supposedly designed to combat the varied symptoms of Lupus, and most of them came with their own sets of side effects and dangers, and none of them offered any real relief. I've been through the wringer of treatments and medicines... and it was diet that had the most profound impact!

I still rely on medication to get out of bed most mornings, and to get through the day, but I've managed to make some real changes in how I feel and which symptoms I experience through maintaining a more natural diet, pressure point and deep tissue massage by my husband, an occasional chiropractic visit to realign my back and hips, and through maintaining somewhat of a routine in keeping active and moving.

I'm really lucky to have access to certain treatments through my husband's knowledge, and I really wish I could help him more.

Lately, I've noticed a marked decline in my overall strength, in my eyesight and hearing, and more severity in muscle and nerve pain. I don't know if it's part of aging, or if it's associated with Lupus. It's hard to tell. Just a few years ago, I could do twice what I can manage today.

The other day, for example, I tried to unload some bags of feed from the van, and I literally couldn't budge one bag. I could barely move a mineral block to get it on a handcart! That's not like me!

Kate, if your pain ever worsens to a constant level you can't deal with, it might not be a bad thing to look into some sort of nerve block... or look to a good chiropractor to keep everything in proper alignment, which does make a difference. There are a few workable alternatives to surgery, so it might be worth your while to check into it a bit.

Cookie, keep up the good diet! For inflammation, it makes a huge difference!

I wouldn't wish pain of this kind on my worst enemy... so I really do hope everyone can find a treatment or combination of treatments that works for them.


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Jodik is correct; the trend is definitely away from back surgery now, which is probably why the one surgeon was so insistant on performing it--he probably needed the business!

I am certain there are cases that do still require it, but I have lost over 6 inches in height without suffering severe back pain or requiring back surgery. What I did have was a very skillful chiropractor who knew the limitations of his own field and, eventually, a hip replacement. Incorrect hip alignment is behind much back pain, as many who first have back surgery eventually discover. A good chiropractor will sometimes pick up on this before an MD.

The most valuable thing my physical therapist taught me regarding my back pain was to stretch out the muscles in the backs of my legs and buttocks, which tended to tighten and pull on my back. I eventually learned to read in bed with my legs straight out in front of me and my extreme lower back supported by a very firm pillow, which quickly brought relief. A couple of summers ago I tried out a lawn chair/footrest combination sold by Wal Mart which looked like a lounge chair when the two pieces were put together, and it provided the exact same stretch as sitting in bed, so I immediately bought the whole lawn set it was in. Even so, I have to place one of my hard pillows at my back in order for it to be effective. The pillow has to be located below the rib cage (the widest part, at least) and be VERY firm to be of any use. If it is even one vertebrae too high, it is useless to me.

Some of the homeopathic pills on the market can be helpful for back pain and arthritis in general, as well, I have found, for me, at least.


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As hard as it is to believe, the medical field is still hard pressed to accept chiropractors as a part of the same medical establishment. I don't know why that is.

I love both my medical physician and my chiropractor! They both perform needed services, and each one offers something different, but effective.

Unless I could get a whole spine replacement with a guarantee of relief, I think I'll maintain the status quo for now. ;-)

With the leaps and bounds modern medicine has made, one would think surgery on the spine wouldn't be so hit or miss. It's really a shame, with the number of people who do suffer with back problems.

I'm glad you've found some relief, too, eibren... back issues are no picnic!



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Also, what about rolfing massage and cranial sacral?

(gentle) hugs to everyone experiencing ongoing pain.


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Thanks, Silver!

We call it deep tissue massage, but it does relatively the same thing, it sounds like. My husband makes certain that the muscle tissue, ligaments, bones and joints, and anything else is in proper position, and any tissue is of the proper consistency, and he includes the use of pressure point treatment... I'm so lucky that he learned all these techniques through time spent in martial arts.

I actually don't feel that bad today, aside from feeling the effects of several nights worth of insomnia. I'm incredibly tired, but sleep won't come... not the deep REM sleep needed to allow the body healing time.

I have a feeling, though, that I'll sleep like a rock tonight. A warm glass of milk, a teaspoon of raw, organic honey... and a valium... ;-)

There are lots of great techniques out there to make the body feel better, to keep everything properly placed and working well... to help in the healing process. I think, though, that as we age, so too does the body's ability to heal quite so quickly, to bounce back from injury or strain. And all the various parts begin to show signs of wear and tear and general age. We may require more maintenance than we once did.

I hear that yoga is a very good thing for keeping the body's elasticity, and ability to stretch properly so we don't strain things. And it's supposed to be very good for the mental state of mind, too. My Mom did a little yoga when she was younger, and she seemed to enjoy it.


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"I actually don't feel that bad today, aside from feeling the effects of several nights worth of insomnia. I'm incredibly tired, but sleep won't come... not the deep REM sleep needed to allow the body healing time."

Drugs can do that to you. You can get in a vicious cycle with them.

Hay


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Was that meant to be serious, Hay, or did you think it was a clever quip? With you, it's sometimes difficult to tell.

In order to make a statement like that, it's always helpful to know the medication types, dosages, and the other variables that contribute to the fatigue and sleeplessness of the individual patient.


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For starters, start with caffeine. How many cups of coffee do you drink every day?

And if you still smoke, (did you actually quit yet?) if you can't go longer than an hour or so without having a nicotine fix, you think that craving is going to stop at midnight?

And, I'd expect that a lousy night's sleep would make a coffee addict and a cigarette addict smoke and drink even more.

Vicious cycle.

If I want to fall asleep, I come here and read for a while. In fact, I may go take a nap right now.

Hay


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Don't smoke anymore... or any less! Da dum dum!

No, seriously... I've all but quit. I may have a drag or two off a cigarette every once in a while... but I'm about done with it. It was very hard to get this far, and I'm not pushing myself.

Coffee isn't a factor.

You're forgetting the normal symptoms of lupus, not to mention the added bonus of chronic pain... the former can cause both fatigue and sleeplessness, and the latter can wake one from a sound sleep or keep one from sleeping.

I've never been a normal sleeper, Hay... not ever. And once I wake up, I'm up. It probably doesn't help that I don't maintain a normal schedule like most people do.

I work when I need to, rest when I have to, eat when I'm hungry, and sleep when I feel tired. And since I don't have to awaken to an alarm clock... having insomnia isn't the end of the world.

Even as a kid I was a light sleeper who woke up in the middle of the night sometimes. I've tried resetting my internal sleep mechanism with Ambien, but that only lasted as long as the Ambien... about 10 days, which is the recommended time frame. And no, I don't want to keep taking sleeping pills.

I'm not really complaining about insomnia... just mentioning it. It's not the end of the world. I'll catch up on sleep when I need to, I suspect. Maybe I'll take a nap later today...

Sweet dreams!


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Despite being fit and trim and active, I need to be added to this thread, due to a chronic scoliosis of the spine that is getting worse with age. (I've lost at least an inch in height because of it). For a while, I was able to keep it in check through ballet classes and pilates. Now that I've relocated, I've not found the equivalent at a price I can afford. I've learned that brisk walking is helpful, which I do every day.

I do my own stretches at home, but it's not enough. So I was interested in what Kate wrote about finding a place that one can be stretched professionally. Would like to hear more detail on this, please.

Jodik, I highly recommend yoga for any body issues. It is calming mentally, reduces stress, and the gentle stretches are great for the aging body. Best of all, you work at your own pace.


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I may try yoga at some point... it is a very healthy and interesting form of exercise, I guess you could call it, and it's good for the mind, as well. Some martial arts are also good for both physical exercise and mental relaxation and centering. The majority were not developed for the purpose of kicking ass! :-)

I've never tried pilates, though I've heard good things. What I really need is some good core strengthening, I think.

And I highly recommend a good chiropractor, if one can be found, to keep everything in alignment where it should be. That's been a great help to me in alleviating some of the muscle pain from compensation... when the muscles try to compensate for something that's not in place as it should be... which tends to place pressure or strain on certain muscles. Some back pain is simply a matter of vertebrae being out of alignment.

Deep tissue massage is very helpful, as is pressure point therapy, which helps greatly in allowing proper blood flow and circulation... which helps some inflammation and pain.

There are many different practices one can try to maintain the body in decent form, and help with some pain, or the effects of aging... it depends on what the issues are.

Key, I think, is finding the combination that works for each of us... depending on what issues we each have.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Don't smoke anymore... or any less! Da dum dum!

Are you using nicotine gum or a patch? That's nicotine, too.

"Coffee isn't a factor"

You're always talking about the extreme amounts of coffee you drink. And you think it's not a factor? Really? Who you trying to fool? Me or you?

Pain killers can be a factor

"Opioid medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine are used for insomnia that is associated with pain due to their analgesic properties and hypnotic effects. Opioids can fragment sleep and decrease REM and stage 2 sleep. By producing analgesia and sedation, opioids may be appropriate in carefully selected patients with pain-associated insomnia.[26] However, dependence on opioids can lead to suffering from long time disturbance in sleep.[95]"

Ambien?

That's the drug that causes people to sleepwalk, isn't it? Sounds like a good way to get a good night's sleep.

Lack of a good night's sleep may have other consequences, too.

"Q: Is there a good answer as to why we don't need as much sleep as we age? Could this be a reason for mental decline?"

Hay


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

No patches, no gum... just will power, Hay. It hasn't been easy, but I'm doing it.

Coffee is a factor for some people, Hay, and for some isn't so much of one... it depends on when you drink it, how much, what kind, etc... lately, I've not been drinking it past early afternoon so much. And I don't drink soda or tea or sport drinks. I drink water.

Hay, I've spent half my life battling chronic pain, and more recently, battling worse pain. You tend to learn more about that particular area of medicine than you ever wanted to know... and you make peace with the fact that dependence is a part of it, whether you like it or not. The pain meds I take are not the kind you're thinking of. They're formulated differently and work differently on receptors. Sleeplessness is a possible side effect, but it doesn't rate anywhere near the top of the list.

Hint: I've had trouble sleeping since I was a kid. Short bouts of insomnia are kind of normal for me. I take naps when I feel really tired and can't keep my eyes open. It's just something I've lived with, oh... forever.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Hay, you seem deeply interested in all things "Jodi" lately.
Crush?


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

"Hay, you seem deeply interested in all things "Jodi" lately.
Crush?"

I'll pipe in, as I've been expecting similar commentary. Post a lot and one gets a lot of attention. Which is the point.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I sincerely doubt it, Mylab... I am not the consummate dancer he is... we have nothing in common! Even our politics differ, which would be a total deal breaker! ;-)

Actually, I think Hay might have had insomnia at some point, or something.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

So Elvis you noticed Hay's shadowing her, too.
Im glad you said so, then its not my imagination.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Woodnymph said, . So I was interested in what Kate wrote about finding a place that one can be stretched professionally. Would like to hear more detail on this, please.

Woodnymph, I'm not a real expert on this topic, but my back specialist gave me two choices for where to go for physical therapy--one was a service actually offered in/by our local hospital and the other was a place directly across the street from the hospital. The nonhospital place seemed to cater mostly to people who had sports injuries or had been in car accidents or had a fall that was causing problems. In other words, it was not a YMCA general exercise workout intended for "everybody" who wanted to get some exercise. This place treated everyone individually--took down a detailed record of your symptoms/problem (like the medical record a doctor's office keeps). Then they planned a program that was tailored just for my problems--everybody got their own individual program. I think one needs to be referred to the therapy place by a recognized back specialist (in my case)--the specialist had taken x-rays and before that my general medical doctor had me do the MRI thingie (boy did I hate that)--and the specialist diagnosed my problem (lumbar stenosis) and actually wrote a prescription that I had to give to the therapy place--so the therapy place had all those records to draw upon. My original prescription was for 3 weeks, to be renewed as needed. I went a total of 7 weeks, 3 times a week.

I don't know if that therapy place took "customers" who walked in off the street. I went there as long as my Medicare paid for it--and they very promptly told me when I would run out of Medicare credits and therefore my therapy would stop. I wasn't given the option of continuing it and paying for it myself--though when I asked what if my back started really hurting bad again before the year was up and my Medicare kicked again, I was told rather confidentially that I should just call "Jeff" and he could probably arrange something. Not sure what that meant.

They did send me away with a series of stretch exercises I could do at home and they definitely want me to do walking exercises (can be difficult when you have lumbar stenosis).

Whether a more general exercise place like the YMCA has one of those stretch tables and you can make appointments for its use, I don't know. I'd certainly call them and see. Or if you want about a month (3 times a week) therapy with the medical physical therapy place, definitely ask your doctor about it--maybe he/she has to send you to a back specialist who "prescribes" it. I have a vague sense of having seen some stretch tables (inverted tables, or something like that) being sold somewhere--check online--but I dont' have room for one, and I don't know how good they are--but I'm sure the doctor or therapist could give you helpful input on that.

What I am going to get for Xmas is an exercise bike--so that I get more exercise. It doesn't seem to hurt my back--whereas walking does hurt some days.

Hope that helps, Wood nymph.

Kate


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

•Posted by mylab123 z5NW (My Page) on Sun, Nov 3, 13 at 11:43

"So Elvis you noticed Hay's shadowing her, too.
Im glad you said so, then its (it's) not my imagination."

Not what I meant. What I meant is that I've commented frequently on jodi's posts also; and I expected someone to comment on that.

When I posted that if one posts a lot, they can expect more responsive posts, that is what I meant. jodi's been all over the place lately.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Kate, thanks so much! I don't have room for one of those tables, but I will look into the options you mentioned. I ride my bicycle a lot and that, plus fast walking, seems to help my back.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Unless one is having necessary back surgery, there is not a lot doctors can do for you that you can't do for yourself unless it is prescribing strong medications--which most people shouldn't be on for common back ailments.

Of course one needs to keep abreast of changes, but I have 14 fused vertebrae, cervical spondylosis, spinal stenosis, herneated discs, 34 degree compensating curve--you name it, and have for most of my life.

Common sense stretching, walking, lifting weights that aren't too heavy, core strength and not developing too much of a tummy, in addition to strong back muscles and wearing the right footwear all go a long way to helping, as well as a good mattress and occasional use of over the counter pain relievers.

Hot baths, whirlpools, back rubs and massages, pilates, yoga, meditation, eating right--you can do many things which in tandem help alleviate or make back pain better or tolerable.

I have done all of this myself without going to doctors or filing insurance or paying for anything other than a massage, out of my own pocket.

Woodnymph, my recumbent bike is much better on my back than a traditional racing bike. I can use a "Pee Wee Herman" upright back okay, but the recumbent helps.

Good luck.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

I have been doing yoga for over 10 years and I highly recommend it for back stretching. I started in a Gentle Yoga class and I am still doing Gentle Yoga. You do not have to do complicated twists or contortions to get a lot of benefit from the practice of yoga. The back gets stretched naturally by doing certain poses and then there are counter poses to balance the stretch. A good example is cat/cow. You are on all fours and you arch your back like a cat, then you curve your back in the other direction for cow. What's nice is you can take a class or two each week, and then do the poses at home. I highly recommend it, especially for people who have stiff joints and are inflexible.


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RE: For those with back pain, I could use some help please

Mylab, as I'm sure you've noticed, I have a few shadows... they seem to trade places on and off, or come and go, but they remain so close on my heel that I swear I can sometimes feel their breath on the back of my neck... if I stop suddenly, who do you think would be the first to bump into me? And would it be a multiple poster pileup? ;-)

Jodi goes where she feels she has something to add or say, since the forums are public. I don't really care who follows me or why... that would not be my issue.

Moving right along...

I concur with Kate on the physical therapy recommendation, and everything... that's how I came to go through it, myself, post accident. I was written the prescription by a doctor after all the films taken had been looked at, and a course of action discussed.

However, anyone can obtain one of those pieces of exercise equipment which inverts one, strapped in by the ankles, which might have a similar effect of straightening the spine somewhat, or at least stretching it while it's straight... though you'd be upside down.

We actually have one of those invert tables available here... along with bikes, treadmills, and other equipment... but none of them are comfortable or workable pieces of equipment for our individual issues... and I'd rather walk at my own pace outside.

There are many variables to back issues/problems or pain... and many reasons why an individual and their medical caretakers might choose a particular regimen.

The worst thing one can do, in my opinion, is overwork through exercise, or do anything major without consulting a professional first.

I know what my individual issues are, and I know how I feel... so I know what I can do and what I can't, or what I shouldn't. When I want to change regimens, or try something else, I just call Doc and ask. He's wonderful at explaining everything in detail, and if he says something is not a good idea, I listen.

Our spines and the muscles and tissues that connect everything in that area are incredibly important to our mobility... it's the last thing we want to take chances with, I think.


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