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We can't give specific medical advice, just more general information. So here goes.
The first thing I will say, and I can't over-emphasize this enough, is DON'T GET SURGERY RIGHT AWAY! For most people, low back pain is readily able to be rapidly reduced, eliminated, and managed. If you fall into the category of the few who do not recover as expected, then you might consider an injection (With PT to follow), THEN you might consider surgery. The typical outcomes for lumbar surgeries are not good, and it should usually be considered as a last resort. That being said, if you have any alterations in bowel and bladder control it would be something you would consider (with the help of your surgeon) early in the process.
I would also like to address your attitude about your prognosis. Do not let your diagnosis limit you from doing what you love. Your job right now is to manage this episode, reduce the underlying cause, and then return to your function. If done appropriately, you could very well be back to doing everything you enjoy without pain/numbness/tingling.
Let's talk about inversion therapy. Inversion therapy is really just a form of lumbar traction. As such, the reason it probably helps is that it allows you to reduce the compression load on your lumbar spine (low back), which will create more space between your vertebrae while you are on the device, which in turn allows your nerve root to calm down a little. However, when you get off of the table, the compression returns, reduced the room for the nerve root, and then it gets unhappy again. We used to believe that the traction force actually helped pull the inner disc material back into the disc, but what we have found is that is not the case. In the neck, traction is still thought to be useful, but it has been shown to have limited effect in the low back.
So, how do we typically treat these types of problems? There are multiple ways, and no one way is right for everybody. However, the successful methods have something in common. Whatever they do, they reduce the compression load intolerance in your back, which allows the nerve root to calm down and stay calm. I am particularly fond of a method called the McKenzie Method. It is a method that allows us to classify your disorder, then treat it based on how you respond to specific movements. So a PT who is trained in this system could evaluate you and treat you using these specific movements. The nice thing is that you can also use the system for yourself, and if you are successful then you can manage your condition without a medical professional. The creator of the system has written an extremely simple book that I find often helps people treat and manage their condition. The book is called Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie. I recommend that you get a copy as soon as you can.
If you don't want to do that, then that is not the end of the world, but I do want to mention a few things about prognosis of this disorder. When you talk about symptoms in your leg, we call those peripheral symptoms. One of the single strongest predictors of a positive outcome is being able to take eliminate those symptoms in your leg, which is called centralization. So when you think about your symptoms, remember that even if your back symptoms are less, if your leg symptoms are worse then that is a negative thing. Conversely, if you reduce your leg symptoms, but you have more back symptoms, that is actually a positive thing. Central is better.
I know I wrote a lot, but I hate to see anyone with back pain that could potentially be pain free and isn't getting themselves the right help. I'm here to say that, in all likelihood, your back and leg symptoms are treatable without surgery, and you should be able to enjoy living your life the way that you hope to. Please try the book. It is just one method, but it can be very effective if performed properly.
All that being said, you should always seek professional medical attention if you find yourself in need. I apologize for the long response, and feel free to ask any follow-up questions that you have.
EDIT: Also, there are a few more activities that individuals with these conditions typically should avoid during their recovery.
> On top of that, she herniated a disc in her back, which doesn't just agitated those problems but also causes her not to have feeling in part of her right leg and foot, and causes her even more pain and mobility issues.
Just want to say that I herniated a disc in my back when I was in my early 30s and thought I was basically going to be crippled for life. I was able to fix it using the techniques in this book. I occasionally still have problems, but I'm able to get it back in place within a few days.
I second this. Find a good sports therapist, most important thing. I had a badly bulging disc (L5S1) and the pain was crippling. After MRI doc didn't recommend surgery, only PT. Had an amazing therapist and did every stretch/exercise he recommended; started yoga for core strengthening and flexibility. After 3 months I was feeling much better and around 6 months later I was back lifting (with good form). Now, with a stable and strong midsection and better posture I'm glad I fixed it myself and didn't get the surgery. Sucks, but it will get better if you use the same focus you did for lifting but aim it at regaining a healthy back.
Also, if you don't already have it, this short book was my savior.
Treat Your Own Back by Robin A McKenzie
Yeah, my personal track record with chiropractors wasn't great.
The McKenzie back exercise method absolutely helped me - with my second bout of back pain, I got that book and slowly started the exercises while waiting almost two months before my appointment with the specialist who helped me years earlier. When I got the reminder call for my appointment, my back was so much better I actually cancelled. Now, it certainly sounds like your case is a rather severe one, so I won't pretend it is a magical cure for you.
This is the exercise that had the biggest impact for me, a prone Press Up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clfpWjqVP6U
Here's the book that I used, and highly recommend: https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Back-Robin-McKenzie/dp/0987650408/ref=dp_ob_title_bk
I also like Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill, so I recommend that as well. His "Big 3" exercises are the ones I do regularly to maintain and strengthen my back. But the McKenzie book was a life changer for me in pain relief. I went from pain radiating down my leg, unable to sleep, numbness and foot drop to a relatively pain free daily life. I've had occurrences of pain when I push myself too hard (Crossfit was great, but not for my back), and I always go back to these exercises to help.
All of that to say, dealing with your depression would be a great idea. You might even look into some of the online services now available, they can be affordable and easily accessible compared to in-person sessions. That being said, I do think therapists can be a bit like dating - you might have to search around to find the best fit for you. Like any other profession, there are better and worse therapists out there, and ones that may not be right for you.
here's my recommendation, unless you've suffered serious trama, most spine and neck injuries are muscle related. (including whiplash) and your best treatment is physical therapy. (having seen it in action, and made a video for a doctor at a conference of doctors...)
There's two great (small) books on the subject Treat your own Neck and Treat your own back they both have treatments for both injuries, and prevention.
here's another testimonial, (one of the comments in there is by a friend that I gave copies to)
Always the best choice. Also pickup this book
McKenzie method is the basis for passive treatment for the lower back. The exercises they will have you do are going to be based around this. The info in that short short tome is invaluable.
Feel free to hit me up w any questions. I have almost a combined total of two years (not consecutive) PT experiences, a couple epidural injections and I am around 18 months post op fusion on L5S1.
Avoid surgery if possible but don't be scared either - being at a young and only needing a single level, odds of success are much higher. I had mine done just before my 28th birthday. Turned 29 just in August, so I know the feels.
Check out McKenzie, Treat Your Own Back.
Make sure your glutes are tight while doing pushups. But your pushup form might not be the cause. Have you changed anything else with regard to your behavior in posture, sitting, or relaxing along with the pushups? Have you started low back or hamstring stretches? Many people injure the back immediately after a workout when relaxing and assuming various slouched positions. This type of injury is only felt hours afterward / you don't feel it while it is happening. Injuring right after exercise is common and discussed in the book I mentioned.
Are you suddenly sitting much more (new desk job?/take a vacation?) Any changes in weight? Gains can bring on low back pain. Whatever it is, check out that book, it's the quickest way to take some of the mystery out of back pain and has exercises that really work.
When your back is feeling a bit better try adding some squats, with or without weight.
Sounds wise. If you do have a herniated disc I would recommend extension- based stretching, where you lie on your stomach then raise up to your elbows. I'd highly recommend "treat your own back" by Robin McKenzie. Good luck!
We talked briefly about your knee pain a while back. Have you been spreading the floor (twisting legs into the ground) more consistently since then? Does it help at all?
We also talked about the effect it can have on maintenance of lumbar neutral during your squats. Any luck with that, or do you still see a significant buttwink?
If the doctor immediately suggests xrays, MRI, opioids, or injections, I would suggest that you politely decline. Unless you have constant, unremitting pain that does not vary with activity and you have changes in your ability to control bowel/bladder...then imaging would make sense.
For your reference, one A-P lumbar xray delivers the same amount of radiation as 20 A-P chest xrays. And they are very rarely necessary.
These books can help you manage your back pain independently:
Treat Your Own Back
For your sanity, your presentation of symptoms sounds pretty normal. But to keep stuff from getting worse, any activity that makes symptoms travel lower down than your back need to be avoided for a week or two, maybe longer depending on how you're treated.
Ok, I've had painful back problems on and off for several years...chiropractors a couple of times, acupuncture, some massage therapy, etc. Then a PT friend recommended McKenzie therapy / stretching. It has been awesome! When I start feeling a problem, I immediately start the stretching exercises and typically the problem just goes away overnight.
By doing these stretches on a semi-regular basis, I've reduced the back problems from "can't get out of bed" to "meh, no big deal", and they came much less frequently now.
Treat Your Own Back
Let me know if you try it out.
The McKenzie method for treating your low back!
Unbelievable results with our patients in-clinic, and many have been able to avoid surgery. Check out his book, he breaks down back problems in very simple terms and the book is less than $10.
Don't know what your symptoms are but mine were solved by following the stretches in this book. My chiro and my physical therapist both mentioned this book by name. Treat Your Own Back
A GP I know recommends this book to everyone that comes in with back pain.
Edit: Linked to an older edition.
Good post. This book has been saving me from back surgery and PT visits. It's not time consuming and a hell of a lot cheaper.
The book Treat Your Own Back is great and was the primary guidebook my physical therapist used with me.
There are a lot of really simple and easy exercises you can do twice a day that really help. Also an ice pack on acute pain for ~20 minutes or so while lying flat on my stomach was also a good way to get some temporary relief when nothing else helped.
I switched to sit/stand desk at work which helped a lot, the Varidesk was helpful because it was able to turn my normal desk into a sit/stand area at a price that my company was willing to expense.
Oh and instead of sleeping on my back I would sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees which helped me get much better sleep which was hugely important.
I also took prescription dosages of ibuprofen (~800 mg) during the worst of it. My doctor also recommended magnesium supplements since magnesium can act as a muscle relaxer and sleep aid. I'm not entirely sure how much the magnesium helped but there's something about the feeling that you're doing something that does help you get through the worst of the pain. Obviously consult with a doctor before taking medication, but this is what I did.
All that said working with a good physical therapist for a few months and keeping a log of my exercises and pain levels and generally being very active in combating the injury was what got me through it.
I actually recommend, as a first step, to pick up a copy of the book Treat Your Own Back.
Many people have reported good results using the Mackenzie method at home. If you don't get results, you could go to a GP, or, you could consider trying physiotherapy as a first step.
Please understand that I'm speaking from my own personal experience when I say this.
Don't try to fix everything all at once. It may be deeper than you really think but fixing your state of mind might be the biggest, and first, hurdle you need to conquer. I did this and it made a world's difference when it came to my motivation to lose weight. I was unbelievably depressed for such a long time. I worked on this first. Trying to work on your own mindset about all of this will help you so much in the long run. When I started I never ever thought that I would be here 75lbs lighter and saying any of this to someone.
Also don't try to make too many drastic changes all at once. You say you have energy you just don't know how to channel it. Even if you, instead of sitting and watching TV or gaming, get up and walk in place while you're doing it. Take a 20 minute walk once a day. Try drinking more water. You'll be amazed at how much it helps.
Make better choices at the grocery store. I started getting things with whole grains. Seriously...for example..I love Cheez-it's. I don't deprive myself of them but instead I get the whole grain versions! If you aren't a great cook, learn how to cook for yourself!
My boyfriend suffers from chronic back pain and he recently read a book called Treat Your Own Back by Dr. Robin McKenzie which teaches you a series of stretches you can do once or twice a day. He has admitted that he's seen improvement after starting this and it might sound crazy but guess what...even stretching burns calories! Seriously...even if you just get up and stretch twice a day it could really make a difference!
Go to bed at a decent time! It's hard to get yourself re-program yourself but having a healthy sleep schedule will do wonders for your energy. And I promise you that getting up and taking that little 20 minute brisk walk around the block will leave you with the greatest feeling! I know for myself I always have a boost of energy from exercising.
What really hit me hard in your post is that you said you are alone and you don't have anyone. Listen here sir...You have about 243,000 subscribers in this subreddit who would love to help you with this journey.
Join MyFitnessPal! Start logging your meals today. When I started I was shocked at how much I was eating in a day. I'm talking like 3x what my recommended calorie intake was. And trust me when I tell you I had no idea about what any of that calories in/calories out crap was about. It really did help me learn to make better choices though! It's a great app that you can add friends (and a ton of people on this subreddit). Hell, even if you just add me..thats one person you've got to rely on to help through this. My username is awebz on MyFitnessPal,
I know how hard this all can be. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out!
also, check out McKenzie, a physio who wrote books to basically help people treat themselves
A friend had serious back trouble in her early 30s. She says this book helped immensely. That and yoga.
Stretch, strengthen your abs and get better shoes for concerts.
Use one of these when you have to sit for a long time. Also get this book in case the PTs you saw didn't show you this exercise.
Swimming is the best thing you can do for a bad back.
Ginger is a powerful antiinflammatory and it is a lot easier on your system than ibuprofen.
I realize many of these things might be too weak for your pain, but they are all worth a try.
If CBD oil capsules don't work for you see an MD familiar with CBD to see if they can get you some of the more potent products that are available to only MDs.
I rely on these exercises:
Your local library likely has a copy, but it's only $10 on Amazon.
Definitely go to the doctor to make sure nothing serious is going on, and if that is the case, you might check out this book - Treat Your Own Back - http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Own-Back-802-9/dp/0987650408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1331273012&amp;sr=8-1
A couple things I do (did prior to reading this book), was laying on my stomach for 5 mins or so in the morning when waking up (having a pillow underneath) and bowing my back. Another thing I do that has helped is rolling on a yoga/exercise foam roller. I normally do this in the morning and at night.
This book has been pretty good - https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Back-Robin-McKenzie/dp/0987650408/ref=sr_1_3?crid=VCFBPVK1RDX8&keywords=treat+your+own+back&qid=1566594860&s=gateway&sprefix=treat+your+o%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-3
As long as you are not having other underlying serious issues ruled out by imaging/symptoms - like bowel/bladder/incontinence/bilateral leg or arm weakness/tingling/numbness - then PT is generally helpful. I would recommend finding a PT with some background with McKenzie background - just ask the front desk when you schedule.
This book is also a very good option - https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Back-Robin-McKenzie/dp/0987650408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1519450256&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=treat+your+own+back.
I started with this, and it worked for me. At a minimum you'll learn some simple exercises/stretches and it's a small investment.
Also, if you see a doctor whose primary tool for fixing things is surgery, they are probably going to recommend surgery. My final advice-from-a-stranger-on-the-internet is to not get cut as a first treatment option.
Best of luck, when you make progress please post!