Health

Ask health experts and get answers to your health question ASAP

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I've had low back pain for 18 months and I don't know what…

Customer Question
I've had low back pain...
I've had low back pain for 18 months and I don't know what to do... I go through pain meds like they are candy. my pain begins (it seems) at my belt-line on my back-left side and travels down in a THROB to the back of my knee. my mri last week showed NOTHING. Any ideas?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Health
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Health Question
Answered in 20 minutes by:
6/25/2010
Health Professional: Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD) replied 8 years ago
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 39,108
Experience: MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
Verified

Hello,

The Plain MRI may sometimes may not show the subtle changes and sometimes they are false negative (means there is a problem but it is not detectable by the MRI). An MRI with the contrast and neurophysiological study like nerve conduction velocity study (NCV) will show the problem and should be the investigation of choice in your case. Your symptoms are most likely due to the pinched nerves in the lower back which can be due to;

1) Herniated/degenerated disc in back

2) Lumbar spondylosis; bone spurs in the back vertebrae pressing on the nerves.

You have done almost all the medical treatment available. In this case surgery is the option but long term results may not be necessarily very encouraging. I am repeating the comprehensive conservative treatment;

1) Back care in the activities of daily living, which is an integral component of the treatment of back problems. Back education is one of the most important thing which teaches the basic body mechanics, like correct posture for standing, standing at a desk or drawing board, sitting, brushing teeth, washing the face, pushing and pulling a weight, lifting a weight, getting in and out of bed, sleeping, getting into and sitting in a car. The training for these routine activity helps in preventing the spasm of the muscles. One needs to consult an occupational therapist or physical therapist which can educate about the proper and improper behaviors when back is painful in case they have to sit, bend forward, lie down, walk, cough, or sneeze. Following more need to be done:

a) Avoid activities which increases the pain.

b) Rest intermittently

c) Avoid bending at 90 degrees

d) Pushing and pulling should be avoided till pain subsides

f) Avoid prolonged sitting and standing

g) Avoid sitting or sleeping on floor

2) Anti-inflammatory analgesics like ibuprofen, other analgesics and muscle relaxants

3) Local analgesic gels or sprays / ointment

4) Hot fomentation

5) Electrotherapy like trans cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: done by physical therapist. Other thing are ice packs, heating pads, electrical stimulation, phonophoresis, iontophoresis, relaxation, and biofeedback.

6) Good supervised physiotherapy: The exercises consist of abdominal bracing, modified sit-ups, double-knee-to-chest or low back stretches, seat lifts, mountain and sag exercises, knee-to-elbow exercises, hamstring stretches, extension exercises, and extension flexibility exercises. Swimming exercises (pool exercises) are best for back pain. Initial stretching and later strengthening exercises are taught.

7) Lumbosacral corset or support or brace

8) If obese or over weight, reduce weight for long term benefit.

9) Epidural steroid shots

10) Acupuncture

11) Chiropractor manipulation

12) Surgery is usually last resort, when the above conservative measures fail. You can start the following exercises;

1) Straight leg raising: Lie on the bed with your back and remain in a relaxed position. Slowly raise one of your legs upward and keep it as straight as possible. Count up to ten, and slowly bring down the leg. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat this exercise ten times.

2) Curl ups; lie on the back with knees bent, fold arms across the chest, tilt the pelvis to flatten the back, and curl-up lifting the head and shoulders from the bed / couch. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly lower to starting position. As strength builds, aim to complete one sets of ten curls. The exercise should be done twice a day (both the sets).

This is a slide show for the exercises (you can pick up your own set, which suits you);

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00001_D

You can consult following specialists (apart from your GP);

a) Orthopedist

b) Neurosurgeon

c) MD in Physical medicine and rehabilitation

Discuss all the aspects with your doctor and options. Since you symptoms are persisting for 18 months, a surgical option may be the choice.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

Dr. Arun

Ask Your Own Health Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a health professionalLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 39,108
39,108 Satisfied Customers
Experience: MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine

Dr. Arun Phophalia is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

Corrie MollPretoria, South Africa

I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

ClaudiaAlbuquerque, NM

Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion.

KevinBeaverton, OR

Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
I feel better already! Thank you.

ElanorTracy, CA

Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem.

JulieLockesburg, AR

You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions.

John and StefanieTucson, AZ

I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!!

Janet VPhoenix, AZ

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Family Physician

Family Physician

Doctor (MD)

5,660 satisfied customers

Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years

Dr. Ketch

Dr. Ketch

Doctor

102 satisfied customers

Medical Degree, Former Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Yale University

DrRussMD

DrRussMD

Doctor (MD)

5,096 satisfied customers

Practice Director

Dr. Arun Phophalia

Dr. Arun Phophalia

Doctor (MD)

39,108 satisfied customers

MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine

Dr. Chip

Dr. Chip

Doctor (MD)

14,266 satisfied customers

Over 20 yrs of Family Practice

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark

Doctor (MD)

6,253 satisfied customers

U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery

Dr. Gupta

Dr. Gupta

Doctor (MD)

5,053 satisfied customers

Vastly experienced MD Physician with 19 years of experience.

< Previous | Next >

Related Health Questions
What about kidney stones made of calcium oxalate does that
What about kidney stones made of calcium oxalate does that have anything to do with me taking calcium?… read more
Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip
Doctor (MD)
M.D.
14,266 satisfied customers
For the past month, i've been having pain at the very top of
for the past month, i've been having pain at the very top of my left thigh. It's more of a burning pain that comes and goes. It even happens when I am sitting. throbs of sharp burning pain. have been … read more
Karel1
Karel1
Certified Respiratory Therapist
Associate Degree
56 satisfied customers
M, 52, stroke 3 years ago, type 2 diabetic, deep seated pain
M, 52, stroke 3 years ago, type 2 diabetic, deep seated pain left middle back, near bottom of ribs, for aprox 4 weeks, than fell down hard, on left side, possable brused ribs, started to develope burn… read more
Dr. Saha
Dr. Saha
Doctoral Degree
505 satisfied customers
Can you recommend a type of Doctor that I should see? My
Can you recommend a type of Doctor that I should see? My primary care Dr. has been great help with referrals so I just need advice on a specialization. Background I was injured in 1981 when I was in a… read more
Dr Anil Kumar
Dr Anil Kumar
M.B.B.S
2,778 satisfied customers
I have daily pain (for several yrs now) that rates from
I have daily pain (for several yrs now) that rates from discomfort, to burning, to sharp nerve shooting sensations down my left leg to the very bottom of my foot. Yes, I have diverticulium and have ha… read more
Susan RN
Susan RN
Professor, nurse educator
Doctoral Degree
572 satisfied customers
From time to time I get a pain in my lower right leg. it
From time to time I get a pain in my lower right leg. it travels to the top of the calf and no further. It seems to get aggravated when I travel. I have had a MRI and it could not disclose the cause o… read more
Anthony Bray, MD
Anthony Bray, MD
Doctoral Degree
9,226 satisfied customers
I had a slip and fall accident over a year ago. Have severe
I had a slip and fall accident over a year ago. Have severe sciatica type pain on right side and is irritating to the point I don't sleep. I've had 6 mos physical therapy that did nothing, painkillers… read more
Dr. Nomi
Dr. Nomi
Physician
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
1,983 satisfied customers
I ahve had severe back pain that wraps around to my upper
I ahve had severe back pain that wraps around to my upper abdomen, the pain is in my mid to upper back and on a scale of 1-10 is a 15. It comes in waves a couple times a day and I have am in a lesser … read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctor (MD)
Doctoral Degree
6,253 satisfied customers
I am 45 years old, active and heathy. About 3 months ago my
I am 45 years old , active and heathy. About 3 months ago my right knee swelled up and is causing a great deal of pain. Most of the swelling is on the outer upper side of my Knee above my knee cap. Th… read more
Susan RN
Susan RN
Professor, nurse educator
Doctoral Degree
572 satisfied customers
I am trying to find out why I am having pain in my hip and
I am trying to find out why I am having pain in my hip and legs. I wonder if it is due to the diagnosis of dermatomyositis I had 6 yrs. ago. I've had nerve and muscle tests, enzyme tests and all were … read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctor (MD)
Doctoral Degree
6,253 satisfied customers
For the past 2 months or so, 3 of my last fingers and down
For the past 2 months or so, 3 of my last fingers and down the side and under neath, running up to almost my arm pit (this on my left hand and arm) are numb or get pins and needles very quickly if I p… read more
Onlinedoc
Onlinedoc
B.A.M.S.(Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine & Surgery)
3,585 satisfied customers
Suffer from arthritis and pain particulary in left knee and
suffer from arthritis and pain particulary in left knee and hip, had an MRI which confirmed this, have now been referred to a neurologist as lack of sensation in left leg. am very confused as i though… read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctor (MD)
Doctoral Degree
6,253 satisfied customers
I have had a pain in my right rear side for about a month. I
I have had a pain in my right rear side for about a month. I had a urinalysis test done and my kidneys checked out ok. My side feels like a had run to hard and got a pain in my rt. side. I have this d… read more
Dr. Singh
Dr. Singh
Physician
Doctoral Degree
2,715 satisfied customers
4 weeks ago lifting & swinging 70lb sound system into trunk
4 weeks ago lifting & swinging 70lb sound system into trunk of car towards the left felt an immediate twinge in my lower back as I lifted and swung it in trunk.next 3 weeks aching pain lower lumbar pa… read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctor (MD)
Doctoral Degree
6,253 satisfied customers
MY RIGHT UPPER THIGH BECOMES VERY ITCHY IN THE MORNING AFTER
MY RIGHT UPPER THIGH BECOMES VERY ITCHY IN THE MORNING AFTER I HAVE AWAKENED. THE FIRST IMPRESSION AND THE FEEL IS AS IF IT HAS BEEN INJECTED WITH THE PAIN KILLER APPLIED BY A DENTIST. UPON RUBBING TH… read more
drkevinmd
drkevinmd
Doctoral Degree
184 satisfied customers
Have left hip, groin & knee pain with weakness for 6 months
I have been experiencing left hip, groin and knee pain and weakness for the past 6 months. I am (was) an avid exerciser - running, weights etc. No specific injury, and a gradual onset- first with thig… read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctor (MD)
Doctoral Degree
6,253 satisfied customers
I had a pinch type of feeling in my right leg and then the
I had a pinch type of feeling in my right leg and then the pain has been unreal for about 10 days so I went to my doctor and they did a sonagram (it was neg for a blood clot) I was put on an antibot. … read more
Scottish DOC
Scottish DOC
Family Doctor
Post-Doctoral Degree
580 satisfied customers
It started about a month ago when I noticed my lower left
It started about a month ago when I noticed my lower left side of my back was beginning to ache. Then over time my leg began to go numb and the outer side of my leg is going numb. Now four weeks later… read more
MDTOYOU
MDTOYOU
Doctoral Degree
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x