View Full Version : Lower back pain

-14th April 2011, 16:52
I hurt my back three weeks ago, and it appears it will be a long time healing. I am gradually increasing the fencing, but trying not to do anything too energetic or committed. I think I hurt it with some very poor over-lunging. There was an initial sharp and intense pain, followed by some serious stiffness and spasm the following day. The sharp pain was about a third of the way up my back on the left side (I am right-handed), but this has now travelled down to about hip level. The pain and stiffness has faded and I am a lot more bendy, but I still have painful spasm to the left of the lower back, almost inside the pelvis. I feel it when I lunge (uncomfortable, but not painful now) and it is most noticeable at about 120 degrees or so when leaning forwards.

Can anyone tell me what I have done, and recommend some stretches for the lower back? I find this really hard to reach with the stretches I presently do.

-15th April 2011, 09:29
First things first. You need to see a good physio to recommend the way to deal with this - not a GP unless that's your route to access the service. A GP can give you good painkillers to help you deal with the pain and general advice and that's about all - unless they have a specialism. It may even be worthwhile going private for your physiotherapy.

Next. You are not guarenteed to get good advice on here. Asking the internet for medical advice is not recommended. So, see my first point.

I have some experience of back pain having damaged it in the manner you describe. The cause isn't fencing itself, though it's a contributing factor, but your physical condition. You probably have poor core muscle strength, back strength or some combination of both. You need to stop fencing completely and take some painkillers. The spasms are being caused by the damage to your back but I hesitate before typing anything more than that. It seems clear from your description that the surrounding muscles are kicking in to provide extra support and this is normal.

Really though I don't want to spend too much time typing this. I want you to consult a proper physio.

fencers mum
-15th April 2011, 13:33
I agree completely with what has been said. Physio is the only way to help sort out an injury like this.

If you can, use anti inflammatories for pain eg. ibuprofen as this may help but proper advice from a physio is required here.

-15th April 2011, 23:07
My personal experience with back problems is fairly extensive. I would be tempted to book an appointment with an Osteo rather than a Physio. It might just be the ones in my area, but of all the people I've known to have had back, leg, hip, neck problems etc only the Osteo managed to fix them.

Personally I have problems with my back to the point I see a Chronic Pain Consultant who injects Cortico-Steroids directly into the ligaments on/around my spine (with no sedation or local anaesthetic etc). However, appointments with him are very limited (last time I waited about 6-7 years). In the mean-time, I have been to my GP and been given so many different types of anti-inflammatory and pain-killer that I've become immune to their effects.

As the drugs no longer help (and haven't done for many years now) with my pain and problems, I go to see an Osteopath. I pay about 40 per session for it, but it includes him manipulating my joints to re-align my spine etc, deep muscle massage, all sorts of things. Having been to a Physio (who did nothing apart from prescribe rest, which I'd already done for several months whilst downing painkillers to my GP's instructions) and also an Aupuncturist (which worked for a bit, then the effect plateaud), I would definitely recommend an Osteo as the best point of contact. It hurt like hell (I'm sure I nearly ripped the legs off the exam table), but it's only ever been that split second of "Oh F*********k", then instant relief which lasts a lot longer than any pain-killers or physio treatment ever did.

-16th April 2011, 10:29
Hi Esgrimista,

From your description its looks like non-specific low back pain. That can be attributed to a number of things from an inflamed sacroiliac joint (pelvis) or intervertebral joint to a muscle strain. The good news is that you don’t seem to have developed leg pain which could be indicative of a nerve ‘entrapment’. Try and see an osteopath (or any other qualified/registered musculoskeletal practitioner). In the case of osteopathy, they will try and establish what the predisposing and maintaining factors are, rather than simply treating your symptomatic area. Importantly, we (osteos) are trained as primary contact practitioners and if referral to your GP is required we will do that. And…by the way…if indicated, spinal manipulation doesn’t have to hurt. It is highly likely that treatment will include a combination of hands on treatment and advice (including exercise). As I previously mentioned on another occasion, I would try and avoid online diagnoses. See someone.


-16th April 2011, 19:38
In the case of osteopathy, they will try and establish what the predisposing and maintaining factors are, rather than simply treating your symptomatic area.

My experience exactly. Everyone else just wanted to manage the pain, only the Osteo wanted to find the underlying cause and fix it. Even the Chronic Pain Consultant I see is more into pain management than fixing (though he seems to be about half-way between just giving me pain-killers and doing it properly). His treatments are designed to reduce the inflammation causing the pain rather than just block the pain signals to my brain. He hadn't really looked at what's causing the inflammation though. My Osteo, always looks as deep as he can into the problems to try to get to the root of them and fix that (as well as giving me what immediate relief he can).

And…by the way…if indicated, spinal manipulation doesn’t have to hurt.

I half-agree with this. It might be to do with how long-term my problems are or the particular place in my back where they are, but the first second of the spinal manipulation is agony for me. There's an almighty crunch and clicking sound as everything is free'd up and goes back into alignment with a momentary AAGGGHHHHHHHH of extreme pain, but then half a second later, my body realises that things are in the right place again and the AGH is replaced by an "AHHHHHH that feels good".

-16th April 2011, 21:23

I don't want to put you down but your two posts indicate why seeking help on a forum such as this is not a good idea. My own experience of a severe trauma to my back was completely different to yours - so who is right exactly?

Not only that but you are describing severe chronic painful back pain. The OP isn't describing that.

-16th April 2011, 21:48
The OP isn't describing that.

Thank God...

No, I am definitely describing a less severe problem, and I think Gav's comments about my likely (ok, actual) overall physical condition hit this on the head. I have already spoken to a physio friend who also fences, but I may also actually go and see someone professionally. Bottom line is that I probably need to build up my core strength. The comments received are very helpful, but in hindsight I think the comments about not seeking advice over a forum are especially wise. I had mainly posted hoping that one or two specific people would reply, as I have seen some very useful posts in this section.