Severe Back Pain - Off Work - Advice?

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • Hey everyone,

    I know I haven't posted on here in a while, but I am just wondering if anyone can give me some advice as I am in quite a tricky situation at the moment.

    A couple of weeks ago I started having severe back pain, to the point where I couldn't stay still OR move without some sort of pain. I have had this pain before, but never this bad, and I have always been able to push it away. It is in my lower back, in my hips and buttocks, and travels down my legs sometimes.

    I have been back and forth with the doctors as I've recently moved so have only just registered with my new GP, but they have said I probably have Siatica and the best they can do at this point is refer me to a physiotherapist and give me pain killers. I am going to the physio on Thursday morning but any pain killers I have been given has not helped the pain :( The best it has done is eased it for a couple of hours but it has returned after.

    I don't know why but I feel like it's something worse - maybe I haven't got a strong pain threshold or what - but I literally cringe when I move, the pains are always different, sometimes stabbing and shooting pains, constant aches and burning, and like my bones are grinding together which makes me feel like cat nails going doing a bloody black board!

    I am really worried because have been unable to attend work it has been that bad, and as we have just moved, it hasn't really helped with me being off work as I'll only be getting SSP. In my contract it says I get 2 months full pay if I am sick, but I have only had the job a couple of months, even though I have been with the particular company since May, so my boss isn't even sure I will qualify for full pay. I cannot sleep because the pain is so bad, and because I am worrying about paying next months bills. I really thought this time our financial situation was sorted, and then this comes along. I feel so guilty, even though I know I can't help it. Jamie is always so supportive, but I just feel like shit!

    If anyone has any advice for me, financial or otherwise, I'd be very grateful, but I know this is a great place for getting things off your chest. I feel like I have moaned about this pain to everyone a bit too much recently!

    Cally x

  • Hi Cally,

    My friend suffers from Siatica and he swears by a good chiropractor and also acupuncture. I remember him saying last time it flared up that it gets worse before it gets better. (for him anyway)

    Good luck, I hope your feeling better soon. x

  • Hi Cally, As a temporary fix I was advised (by different Osteopaths over the last 20 years) to get two bags of frozen peas. Rest one of them between the chair/bed and place it between the small of your back (slightly towards the painful side) and keep it there for an hour. This has the effect of reducing the swelling of the area pressing against your sciatic nerve (which runs down the right side of your spine and all the way down your leg) hence easing the nerve pain. It's worked for me in the past as temporary relief until I can physically get to an osteopath, but has also worked when i've wrenched the back muscles as opposed to a slipped disc.
    The only problem with pain killers is if you can't feel the pain, you may do more damage than good by over exertion as pain and swelling is the body's natural way of saying don't use the offending area.( Difficult coz it's slap bang in the middle of your body! ).
    When the bag of peas has thawed, just swap it for the other bag from the freezer if needed.
    I'm not saying this works for everybody as all injuries are different but what have you got to lose?
    Back pain can be debilitating and there is very little you can do until you get to see your physio so good luck and it ain't the end of the world!
    I know quite a few people that have learnt to manage it in their own different way. Let us know how you get on and lets hope it's just temporary .
    Slowly does it!!

  • Hi Cally, nice to see you back. In July last year, Julian had the sciatica which progressively got worse. After 6 weeks, they sent him for an MRI scan which showed there was a ruptured disc pressing on the sciatic nerve and it ended in an operation. This isn't to scare you but make sure you go to your GP regularly if it isn't going away so they can also send you for a scan. Acupuncture can work well if its just sciatica but it can be expensive. Massage can also help. Try Ibuprofen to take the inflammation away. Warm baths ease the pain too as does a TENS machine if you can get one.

    Hope it gets better soon x

  • hugs honey, sorry to hear you're in the wars. Sciatica is a bitch :( accupuncture may be available through your NHS physio and i would suggest physio above anything else really.... Core muscles work to support the lumbar region. Gentle hugs and nice to see you on here xxxxx

  • Thanks everyone, my mom has similar problems to me (they can't actually diagnose her) which is why I am also getting worried, because the doc did mention something about genes, but they're sending her for tests for it. She does have artritus, but has had hip, back and knee problems since she was my age, so I guess I am worried of not finding out like her, and being like this for a long period of time.

    Vik, I have tried dicloflex, co-codamol, they've given me a pain killer called Naproxen and I have been taking diazipam on the evening, non of them have helped really, pain has gone way a little occasionally band I then do housework/move about more etc which results my back being more swollen and more in pain.

    You haven't scared me, I think after the physio tomorrow I am going to go back and ask for scans. I want to go know whats going on before the end of next week, because I have booked a week off work next week and want to know where I stand! The pain surely would have eased off after 2 weeks if it was temporary?

    Hibinator, believe it or not, frozen goods on my back is the only thing that soothes the pain, but like everything else it's temporary :(

    Thanks for everyone's relies and support x x x

  • Yeah, definitely ask for a scan. At his worst, Julian was taking liquid morphine, morphine tablets, diazapam, ibuprofen and tramadol, I really hope they can sort it out soon for you. For Julian, it started off as a feeling that he had pulled a muscle in his bum and it got worse from there. I think Julian took Naproxin too, if I remember rightly its an industrial strength anti inflammatory. I know its not easy but try and lie down as much as possible, Julian found that walking too much and sitting down made it hurt more xx

  • Hi Cally, first thing is it's not your pain threshold, sciatica is hell. By the time they operated on me I was on diazepam, morphine sulphate twice a day and liquid morphine every three hours, right through the night and all I could do was lie flat. I was so bad we didn't go to the doctor, we had him come to us. You must rest and keep chasing the doctor. I went three weeks before I called the doctor as I thought I'd pulled a muscle. They don't normally scan for six weeks in case it clears up on its own, but I told them I'd had it for three weeks before I called them so they arranged it after another three weeks when it was obviously getting worse. They operated two weeks after the scan. I'm still recovering now, but the hellish pain down my leg is pretty much gone. Good luck and take it easy.

  • Financially all you can do is apply for housing / council tax benefit, telling them that you have been off work solid for however long, they should be able to do a short term assessment, (or used to, I am really out of touch with that side nowadays)

  • Sorry you had to go through that Julian :(

    Whenever I lie on my back it kills me, I have like a lump on my lower back above my bum that really hurts, so I usually lie on my front, which apparently doesn't help but its the only way I can get comfortable.

    With the pain threshold, I don't know - because sometimes it eases off I am thinking that maybe I am better and I am making too much of a deal about it? So when I try to do more and it hurts I get so frustrated with myself!

    They have gave me 2mg of diazipam to relax my muscles and make me sleep, but I didn't sleep til around 3 am this morning because of the aching when I was lying down. My dad had tramadol when he had is quad bypass surgery last year, and he said I should ask for them from the docs to help with my pain - but if I am taking that strong a pain killer then surely it is something serious?

    I think I will see the physiotherapist tomorrow and then call up for another doc appointment.

    I really am scared of losing my job, and having the claim benefits. I know I'll have to inform our landlord, which I am not looking forward to if I need to do that!

  • :( defo get scan honey, took an MRI scan to confirm two discs out in my neck, am awaiting surgery at end of month. I have sciatica of the arm and hand ... It not called sciatica but tis same thing. When my L5/6 popped out years ago, i went to see a sports physio who worked wonders and even though it hurts all the time, touch wood, it has never herniated again enough to put me where you are. :( really feel for you love... Give the dwp a ring and see if you can get someone to give you some information on where you stand benefits wise xxxxx

  • ps my mum is on tramadol she has spinal stenosis and she's getting relief but has to keep upping the dose. Its one of them ones to ween back down off of. I take amytriptaline and canabis for my neck. Careful with the NSAIDS...took them for years and now they give me severe kidney pain if i take them! I wanted dihydracodiene cos it don't make me sick like codiene or co-codamol do but they won't prescribe it me. The extra power paracetamol/aspirin/caffeine tablets built up through the day help when it spasms as does constant self-treatment reiki and wearing extra layers over the effected discs to keep them extra snuggley warm. Are you west mids? I got a reiki contact up there if you are interested xxxxx

  • tincture of canabis,whilst stupidly illegal, if you can source it, is fucking amazing and better than any painkiller/antiinflammatory and antispasmodic that pharmacology can come up with!!! Bastarding bollocking prohibition grrrrrrrr!!! I asked my GP for sativex but you have to be under a MS consultant to get that scripted....insane!!!!

  • Thanks Sarah, x

    What is Reiki?

    A lot of people have suggested cannabis to me, but I'm not too sure about taking it!

    I know that IF I lose my job and have to claim benefits that we will not have enough money coming in to pay all the bills etc. I think this is why I am feeling worse, the fact I am worrying about what may happen if my back continues to be in constant pain. We have literally just got back on our feet and I feel so guilty :( :(

    I have just got up from lying down for three hours, and the pain hasn't eased, I'm just going for a walk now to ease up my muscles and see if I feel better from that.

    My right leg and foot feels like it is going numb, and I thought it was because I was cold but I have warmed the house up and been covered up, so I'm not sure!!

    :( Eurgh

  • When you see the physio there are some things that can get you a good diagnosis, (I am a physio), make sure you are very clear with your answers so they can make a good diagnosis. Have a good think today about what makes it worse, eg what type of movements and which directions. Where is the pain and when, both legs , one side etc. Try and describe the pain as this gives an idea of what is causing it, eg burning shooting dull ache. Also think about what eases it, positions and movements. Is it constant, with no relief ever, or do you get some periods of no pain. Give physio a try, but if you get no relief after 6-8 weeks of pain in total, insist on a scan, I say this as most back pain resolves within that time on its own. Be aware that when I was working as a physio in an out patients department, we were only allowed to refer a set number of people to orthopeadics per week. Scans may be different, but if they get awkward about it, go back to your GP and get them to refer you for a scan. I hope your pain improves soon.

  • Thank you

    The pains are all very different, I might try writing everything down, because I have so much to say I often forget bits when asked about the pain.

    Waiting on a phone call from work about sick pay, so I am hoping it is good news and I can relax a little for now.

  • I had a slipped disc back in 1999 and was off work for 5 weeks, since then I occasionaly suffer from a mild pain - I say mild it isn't nice but it aint severe.
    On three occasions I have been in real agony, the first time I drank heavily and took strong pain killers then threw myself sideways into a wall to "pop" it back in - not recomended although it did give me some relief, the other two times I went to an oesteopath, on the second of these occasions he told me I have managed to shift my pelvis :eek:. The sessions with him were around £40 a go but it is the best feeling in the world when that pain goes, if it happens again and I have the choice between eating or the oesteopath i'll be going hungary

  • Ditto Wurzel ^

    My ex partner was crippled with sciatica and went to an osteopath. Took about six sessions but sorted it out completely (although I remember he felt worse after the very first one)

    Get well soon xx

  • Saw the physio today, she was a really nice lady. She thinks I have a pinched nerve and has given me some exercises to do - but is concerned about the lump on my back, so if this doesn't work I'll be referred for scans and stuff.

    I feel awful atm though, feeling sick and pain is every where in my body. :(

    Thanks for all the replies x

  • [What is Reiki?)

    Hi :waves: Reiki is a method of bringing healing Universal energy (Rei) into the body's energy system (Ki) through the practitioners' hands. I am a level 2 practitioner, have been for years. I have seen a lot of successful treatments happen, bearing in mind that most of our physical pain results from body memories, and our emotional attachment to them. Hot stones also are very effective at releasing pain, sadly that seems to have become a 'beauty spa' treatment. I combine the two (hot stones & Reiki) Maybe I'll start a roving practice!

    I had started a thread to this forum -natural remedies ect- in which I write of my experience and discovery of castor oil as pain relief it works wonders, and is not expensive - a little goes a long way!
    hope this all helps - feel better soon!

  • [quote='Vampira','']Saw the physio today, she was a really nice lady. She thinks I have a pinched nerve and has given me some exercises to do - but is concerned about the lump on my back, so if this doesn't work I'll be referred for scans and stuff.

    I feel awful atm though, feeling sick and pain is every where in my body. :(

    The assessment can make you feel worse for a little while as they have to try to reproduce your pain to find the cause. Take it easy and use some pain relief. Just do the exercises she prescribed, no extras while it settles down. If you find it's getting worse, let her know. it's good that she is willing to refer you for a scan if necessary. I hope it goes well and you start to feel better.

  • Managing pain and managing rehabilitation/recovery is not only frustrating, its time consuming. It is however mandatory if you want to get to a point where self treatment is effective, when surgery may not be a solution. Time may have to take on a new meaning, Waiting for appointments, diagnosis, a cure. Waiting to be prescribed a suitable pain relief that is beneficial to your particular ailment. Be it a pill, patch, physio or acupuncture, even surgery. Time is what stands in your way & the one thing you can't really rush. If you are lucky/fortunate enough to recover before the system has got round to you, on the long list of patients waiting for nhs help/diagnosis. You will get on with your life and probably never give that painful episode a thought again. Weeks, months, years may pass and your still waiting for recovery. This is why its important to manage pain and rehabilitation right from the start. Some may recommend rest, others exercise to improve core muscles, maintain a good posture. Little and often - peaks and troughs. All terms you could end up hearing quite often on your journey through to recovery. More often than not, a patient will be fobbed off with run of the mill painkillers and a sick note for the employer from their GP. For most this is enough to get them through to recovery. (pain management and rest) Persistent/prolonged sufferers will go through referrals, physio/scan/acupuncture etc. (time) Suffering with pain day and night, a spiral of disillusioned expectations that if not tomorrow, next week, next month it will all be ok. What if it isn't? where will you find the strength, the support to get through it? to carry on? Chronic, long term pain can be/often is life changing. Adapting to change can be as difficult as living with the pain in the beginning. Typically like most of us who have suffered spinal injury, the first time pain subsides enough, we peak with relief & go and do too much that very day. Push ourselves to catch up, to achieve what we have neglected, to carry on as we normally would and we end up back to square one, in a trough again, in pain, out of action again, relapsed. Learning to managed pain comes with learning to manage your abilities, listening to those who are guiding us through to recovery. The GP, the physiotherapist, the consultant. Listening to your own body. Pain won't kill you, although you may wish you had evolved with a built in life switch - on/off button at your really low times. I have read your posts for a few days and fully understand your anxiety with work, money and quick diagnosis. I just want you to be aware that it may take longer and have more of a impact than you can imagine at this point. Don't try to run before you can walk. Hopefully you will be back to good health in no time. Hopefully. Meanwhile you have my sympathy.

  • I'm suffering from back pain at the moment (Horse riding accident) I find cold (deep freeze gel or frozen peas) then hot bath and at bed time take a hot water bottle , My Dads lent me a tens machine as well ad that works , I also wear a back support at work and out on my bike to stop the cold from getting to my back . Hope some of that helps :)

  • Enigma's Mum, it has helped my peace of mind going to the physio, I can't believe that a few exercises could knock me about so much, though! She wants to see if the pain will go just by exercises and pain relief first so I am going to stick to everything she has asked of me, and go back to the docs for a different pain killer (cuz the ones I have definitely aren't working!)

    Alices wonderland, I totally understand your post. My mom has been battling back/neck/hip pain for over 20 years now, and I've seen her at her low and times where she's been better. I know it's possibly going to be a long process, and I honestly don't think I am ready, but I'll have to deal with it, and I know I need to do it in a positive way.

    My main concern is financial issues (even though I know I should be worrying more about my health) Bloody sick of taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back!

  • I meant to reply to this a couple of days ago and completely forgot about it (What was I saying about Mindfullness? :o). I have what I think is sciatica, though I haven't been to the doctors about it because I'm not registered with one. It was really bad around New Year and I took some time off work with it. At that point it was so sore I could hardly move, and I had pain varying down both legs, though mostly in the right leg. Sometimes right down the leg to my ankle, but the worst pain is always in my right bum cheek. I mentioned on here once before that it feels as though someone is holding a red hot poker to it sometimes. It's eased off a bit over the last few weeks and at the moment is like a dull ache at my lower back and across the top of my bum.

    The thing is, I've had lower back pain when lying flat on my back (especially on hard surfaces) for years. I've also had that pain in my right bum cheek on and off for years too, though I always thought that was a pulled muscle that wouldn't heal. I never connected the two.

    I'm thinking about going to a chiropractor when I can afford it, and have heard that yoga and pilates are good for working on core muscle strength. The job I'm doing at the moment (hotel housekeeping) is really hard on it because it involves a lot of bending and lifting when making beds and hauling about big sacks of laundry etc. But I start a new garden centre job in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping this doesn't get in the way. They've told me I won't have to lift compost or anything so that's good.

    It sounds like yours is quite a bit worse than mine though. It's easy for me to say not to worry about finances, but you have to allow yourself time to heal. These things always happen at the worst possible time! xxx

  • Buy some castor oil, may have to order it online as it's not sold in many shops ( health and safety in their wisdom, have found that some people have used the seeds from the racina plant to cause miscarriages) ..anyway, 500 ml will be about £8...take a soft cotton cloth, towel w/e fold it to fit the sore area, pour a couple of tablesoons of oi onto this and warm it in microwave (seconds only It'll burn) or radiator - wrap this on you wherever the pain is tie it on with a sash of some kind. In the case of my whole lower back I pinned a bath towel on with nappy pins ! wrap up warm and go to sleep - I swear it will work, might take 2 or 3 goes but it really works. I started a thread about htis stuff peeps will think I'm fixated or something, ut I've used this for back pain, sprained wrists, swollen rugby knees and bruised hockey ankles (my sons). My tailbone when I fell on ice and was black and blue.....better than any pills. excellent if you put some in your bath too, even with bubbly stuff same time....can't hurt to try!

  • Yeah I am feeling lots better, still a bit in pain but I am taking tramadol and rubbing heat gel on my back, and that seems to be working with the physio exercises.

    I am hoping to go back to work on Monday, as this is a week I've booked off.

    My main problem now is sorting out the financial problems which we're quite worried about... well there's always something!!!! I hope my back continues to get better/stay the way it is, because I really need to go back to work.