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Saw doctor about lower back pain yesterday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

February
16
2011
Lower back pain.

Lower back pain.

Yesterday I saw the doctor about the reoccurring lower back injury I’ve been dealing with for the past six years. I was supposed to see Lisa’s doctor, but somehow they screwed that up and I was scheduled with another doctor at the practice. Rather than reschedule, I went ahead and saw the doctor they scheduled me with. The doctor spent a lot of time with me, and I was happy with the care I received. Unfortunately I don’t have much solid information about what might be wrong with my back yet, but here’s what I do know….

I gave the doctor lots of detailed information about what causes the injury to flare up (heavy squats and deadlifts), my long history with lower back pain and all the things I’ve done over the years to combat this issue (chiropractic care, foam rollers, countless stretches, inversion board, core strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatory medications and so on). I also told her about the persistent dull ache that I feel in my lower back while mountain biking and even while doing mild stuff like gardening.

I’m not a particularly strong person for my weight when it comes to squats and deadlifts, but when I told her that the issue flared up on Friday while doing deadlifts in the low 400s, her eyes bugged out of her head. I think there’s a real disconnect between general practitioners who typically see mostly overweight couch potatoes and people who actually train seriously. I tried to tell her that for my body weight the weights I’m lifting are not at all noteworthy. After some further explanation she seemed to accept what I was saying, but she said “You’re 42 years old, and you’ve had back issues all your adult life. It could very well be that your back is simply never going to be able to handle those kinds of weights again.” Actually, I sort of expected her to say that, and she may be right. If it comes down to it I guess can live with backing off the weight I use for those two lifts. I don’t like it, but I can live with it–especially if we can figure out how to make my lower back stop aching all the time when I’m mountain biking.

After we talked a technician had me lay down in four different positions and she took a bunch of x-rays. I don’t have the results of the x-rays yet, and probably won’t until I see the doctor again on March 8th (she did say she’d call me right away if the x-rays showed something serious). If the x-rays don’t show anything, she’s going to order that an MRI be performed. The MRI should be very informative.

In the meantime, she put me on a NSAID called Celebrex (200 mg). She told me to take the Celebrex until I see her again in three weeks. I can workout normally, but I am going to avoid back squats and deadlifts until we figure out what’s going on.

John Stone Fitness Comments

15 Responses to “Saw doctor about lower back pain yesterday.”
  1. I have yet to find a doctor that has a clue about weight lifting, or even really a good opinion of lifting anything reasonably heavy. I’ve even specifically asked my primary to refer me to a sports medicine person on my knee, only to again be disappointed.

    Probably the best has been my oncologist, who encouraged me to do what I felt I could handle even post abdominal surgery.

    Hope you get news that allows you to figure things out.

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  2. I took celebrex for a while for some hip/groin pain I was having, it definetly took care of the pain. I stopped taking it after my father had a heart attack, he was taking it as well and the doc said there have been some cardiac side effects with it. Anyway he is doing well but you should definetly do some research on its side effects.

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  3. lower back issues have been my plague in life. i have a prolapsed l4l5. you probably have some disc damage down there. mine was clear on both xray and mri but the mri revealed arthritis had formed around the disc. that’s where the ache comes from as you stay on your feet during the day. the sharp pains come when the disc edges touch on the nerves. that happens more when things are enflamed. but the dull ache i live with every day. my wife refused to believe me that bike riding is one of the more troubling exercises for me with back pain. it seems it should not be, but it is. running is far worse however and i’m currently curtailed from that for the same reasons you’re holding up on the heavy deads and squats.

    i hope you find that easing up on weights enables you to ride more comfortably. it makes sense to me that will happen. i can ride more when i’m not running. the tests will reveal alot to you. good luck.

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    • The pain I feel when I re-injure this area (like on Friday) is always a sudden and excruciating “clamping” pain that often drops me to the floor–it’s not sharp or “electric”, which is what I’d expect if a nerve were being pinched. The doctor told me she didn’t think it sounded like a disc issue, either. But who knows at this point. I’m very curious to see the results of the x-rays and, what I’m guessing is almost inevitable, the MRI.

      Good luck with your back, too, paddy.

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  4. Bret Contreras preaches about the glutes (in addition to the rest of the posterior chain) being a big part of alleviating back pain. Have you thought of adding in the weighted hip thrusts that he loves?

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    • After more than 5 years of fruitlessly trying countless suggestions from all the good people who have been kind enough to contact me (which I very much appreciate), I’ve decided it’s time to stop guessing and let the pros figure it out. 🙂

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  5. I hope you recover from this quickly. I’ve had knee and elbow injuries from always training heavy with the Max OT program. I’m slightly older than you and now I go with much lighter weight, more reps, less rest between sets basically to just maintain muscle mass and boost my metabolism these days. It’s tough when you have the experience and knowledge to do things correctly and still get injured.

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  6. John,

    I have a herniated disc in the L4-L5 space.

    I got injured for not caring about safety practices while lifting weights around 3 years ago…Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that if this option doesn’t works out for you, you might want to consider another option.

    I’ve found out that acupuncture works wonders on me when I’m in crisis. I was able to find a very experienced Doctor in this field and I couldn’t be more happy. I haven’t had any kind of pain in the last 12 months.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to add my 2 cents…I wish you a full recovery very soon.

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    • I’m really glad you’re pain free now, that’s awesome!

      It’s funny that you mentioned acupuncture because Lisa was just telling me about a friend of hers who also had excellent success using acupuncture to treat back pain. I’m going to continue on my present course, but if for any reason my doctors are unable to help me all options are open. Thanks!

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