sawbones & quacks? I've buggered my back

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Postby hoedad » 01 Aug 2004, 16:33

Neo wrote:I don't recommend chiropractors or massage therapists or ice/heat packs, which could cause additional stress to an already overstressed back. When I had back pain, I went to a sports injury doctor (can't remember his official specialty name). He had me move my body and limbs in all kinds of directions to determine the source of the pain.


And that's great, but Xrays and an MRI are needed to really determine if there's anything out of place. Xray's come first, then the MRI. I wouldn't trust a doctor who simply moved my body around and said, gee, must be muscular. There's no way for them to tell simply by manipulating your body.

I had a Dr. recently look at my knee, move it around, and suggest that I simply had tendenitis. After going to another Dr. and getting Xrays and an MRI, turned out I had a big piece of bone that had broken off and was floating around in there.
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Postby Neo » 03 Aug 2004, 12:54

In the US at least, there is a major bias against testing and treatment. It's related to the constant pressure HMOs and the like are putting on hospitals and doctors to keep costs down. So doctors are rationing care more and more.

While it's really terrible that you had a piece of bone floating around, I suspect it's a rare occurence. From a medical rationing point of view, is it worth it to do 1000 xrays and MRIs if you'll discover a handful of floating bones in the process? It's a tough question, but I think many doctors today are defaulting towards doing nothing.

In my case, it really was something non-serious that was bound to get better on its own, though it took a couple of months. Once it got better, I started going to the gym and made a point to do back exercises. Haven't had any problems ever since, and I feel much better knowing I have a decently strong back.
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Postby hoedad » 03 Aug 2004, 13:09

Neo wrote:
While it's really terrible that you had a piece of bone floating around, I suspect it's a rare occurence. From a medical rationing point of view, is it worth it to do 1000 xrays and MRIs if you'll discover a handful of floating bones in the process? It's a tough question, but I think many doctors today are defaulting towards doing nothing.



It's absolutely worth it because early detection of problems can keep those problems from becoming more serious.
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Postby robert_storey » 03 Aug 2004, 14:55

I think that I mentioned back exercises before. Anyway, here is web site with reasonably good illustrations:

http://www.1backpain.com/back_exercises.htm

Another thing I should mention - sleep on a firm bed. Soft sagging beds are the worst thing for your back. I now sleep on a tatami mat on the floor - helps a lot.

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Postby sandman » 03 Aug 2004, 16:38

Good link. Thanks Robert. I'm still not quite ready to start doing the stretches just yet, but I'll definitely be using that link. Gentle swimming should also help, shouldn't it? There's no way in hell I'm paying for a gym membership!
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Postby hoedad » 03 Aug 2004, 16:59

sandman wrote: Gentle swimming should also help, shouldn't it?


Swimming is excellent therapy. It's the only exercise I'll do if something hurts. It relaxes the entire body and doesn't stress any one point. It's great for back sprains. A deeper pool will give you more buoyancy, hence less stress.

One caveat - breaststroke is really, really bad for the knees. Freestyle is best.
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Postby Neo » 03 Aug 2004, 21:40

sandman wrote:There's no way in hell I'm paying for a gym membership!

Not all gyms are like the big expensive chains. There are probably some hole in the wall gyms near the university campuses that are cheap, or maybe you can finagle access to university facilities somehow.

You don't need a gym to do weight training, though. For every gym weights exercise, there is an equivalent calisthenics exercise using only your body weight as resistance.
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Postby autumn489 » 03 Aug 2004, 21:43

For a while there, I was exercising my lower back where I'd had the surgery. Soon realized I was trying to strengthen scar tissue so stopped the exercising in that area which was making it ache. I tend to exercise the upper part to develop the muscles which I hope are supporting the spinal column from collapsing downwards. However, that's debatable as the bone spur which grew to support the spinal column, grew in the lower part of my back.
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Postby Dahudze » 04 Aug 2004, 13:14

My injury was to the muscles in my back. If you're suspecting a severe problem then I agree with getting an X-ray/MRI. Beyond that, I've never had good results with traditional MDs on back injuries. I've also had bad experiences with bad chiropractors in the U.S.; the ones that try to sell you organic vitamins, hemeopathic crap, etc along with their services. The other ones, with additional experience in traditional physical therapy were the ones who helped me the most.

This is what I've learned over the past 13 years since I really screwed up my upper back:

SHORT TERM: After muscle injuries happen, take any stress off of the injured muscle. Don't try to "walk it off" or "work it out". Let it rest so that you prevent it from getting strained even worse. For the next few hours you want COLD applied to the area. This is because as the muscle becomes inflamed it needs the blood to circulate as effectively as possible. The swelling will only make it more difficult for the injury to heal. Soaking it in hot water immediately after it's injured will actually make it worse.

Also remember that stress is one of the biggest contributors to this kind of injury.

After a day or two and the swelling has gone down you can begin applying wet heat to relax the muscle. Get massages whenever you can (and thank God you're in Taiwan where it's easy).

This may sound counter-intuitive, but later on if you are able to do any sort of aerobic exercise where you can break a sweat (bike riding, stair-climbers, etc) I would highly recommend it. By getting your body warmed up like that you'll find it can actually help the injured area. Don't lay about too much--it only atrophies the rest of your body. Again--only do this IF you can do it without re-injuring yourself.

If you see a chiropractor, see one who's qualified. There are a couple of Western trained doctors in Taipei who I wouold trust. A good chiropractor will give you some "homework"--that is, exercises, stretches, and suggestions on how to avoid the injury from re-occuring. The local traditional chiropractors who treated my have only managed to make me more sore.

And above all--over the long term you'll have to EXERCISE. By making yourself leaner and more flexible you'll have a much stronger chance of staying injury-free. I screwed up my back when I was only 32. It was a good wake-up call, and it got me to change a lot of bad habits.
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My experience was . .

Postby Dahudze » 04 Aug 2004, 13:15

oops--double post
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