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Severe Back Pain

I've been bed ridden since mid January because of intense lower back pain which radiates down my left leg. My foot is also numb because of sciatic nerve pain. I can't sit, stand, or even drive my car without horrible pain. I have no health insurance and can't work because of this pain.

I borrowed money from family to go to the Chiropractor and an Osteopath Doctor. The X-rays didn't really show much so the doctor wants to do an MRI and send me to physical therapy. I can't afford to pay for an MRI so I am now trying to get Medicaid Health Insurance for only 3 months so I can hopefully diagnose this and live a normal life again.

The only time my pain goes away is if I lay down flat on my back. The doctor says it's most likely a disk problem. All I did was reach across my car's seat, then I felt my back give out (2 months ago). I am an otherwise healthy 54 year old woman and am not overweight.

If you or a loved one has had lower back or disc pain, can you help me with web sites or other information. I don't want surgery, but I can't keep laying in bed. I will exhaust all options and will do anything to live normally and pain-free again! Thank You!

Cyinda from Seattle


Severe Back Pain

If somehow you can e-mail me I could help you as I have had severe low back pain for 15 years and finally got rid of it through physical therapy. I could tell you my exercises and you could try them on your own as that is what I ended up doing. You could also try cranial sacral therapy or myofasical release therapy, which was also helpful to me. I know exactly what you are going through. My back would go out doing the littlest things like sneezing, coughing, taking clothes out of my front loading washer, or just stepping out of my car. I have been relatively pain-free for the first time in 15 years and it has lasted for 11 months. (03/09/2009)

By justhelpingout

Severe Back Pain

I had the same problem. This is what a doctor had me do and it works; Lay down as if your sitting in a kitchen chair, so put pillows or something under your legs, laying on your back, you want the calves of your legs to take the weight off your lower back, try it and see how it works for you. (03/09/2009)


By Marieaa65

Severe Back Pain

Sounds like you have a slipped disc in your back. The pain down the left leg is classic sciatica - that is, the Sciatic nerve is trapped. In bad cases it goes all the way to the arch of the foot.

(for example see:

I slipped a disc and compressed the nerve in my lower back in an accident in the army. After that, every doctor just prescribed regular painkillers, such as Brufen/Ibuprofen - which do not really help, as the nerve is compressed, so the medication cannot reach the affected area. You need a psychoactive painkiller, such as codeine, which blocks the pain at the brain. These are synthetic variants of morphine, which many folk prefer to avoid. For, me the pain goes, but they make me nauseous.


After several years, I went to see a chiropractor, who manipulated my back. It took about six sessions over a year (first few week weeks apart, then months) and he explained what to do for gentle exercise. I have hardly had problems. That was about 15 years ago. It still nags from time to time, but never as bad as it was.

I don't know about the US, but in the UK, there are two types of chiropractor. One type does seven years medical training, virtually the same as a medical Doctor, except they can't prescribe medication. They talk about nerves, bones and muscles. The other type, does a part time course over about a year. They talk about energy flow and spirit. I suggest seeing the one with proper medical training. After all, they are going to twist and crack a vital part of your body.


Rob. (03/09/2009)

By alloydog

Severe Back Pain

Here are four tips that will not damage you.
Try floating in a swimming pool.
Try swimming if you can, pool or sea.
Try hanging from a beam as long as you can stand it.
Find a good bench seat, then shuffle forward onto the balls of your ankles and let your butt sag over the bench. You take the weight of your body on to the palm of your hands, but you must keep your arms straight. This is liken to hanging from a beam. Hope this helps, it's worth a try. Good Luck!


By dunno

Severe Back Pain

You need to file for social security disability. You need to file and go to the hearings and then keep on appealing. Type in Social Security Disability in the search bar and click on an official site.
It should tell you where to write from your computer for instructions on how to begin filing for disability.
Initial filings always get turned down. You should expect to be turned down five or more times before you get approved. Never quit appealing if you are turned down, or you will lose out on what they owe you from the time you first filed. Please start on this now. Also look for a doc who does a free evaluation or discounted evaluation.


I don't know what exercises to do but I am sure there are some on the internet. Be careful, you do not want to hurt yourself worse than you already are. My husband is disabled from something similar in his neck area. He had to file for about 5 years before he got approved for disability. You really need to call or write to social security administration and get started.

Blessings to you,
Racer (03/10/2009)

By Robyn Fed

Severe Back Pain

I had back pain so bad that I could only lie down or stand up, but not sit. It lasted for months. Tried docs, pain and nerve meds, physical therapy, chiropractors. Then I took the Prednisone Dose Pac (prescription) and the pain was gone in a day. I expected it back after the pills were gone (6 days) but it didn't come back.

Very soon after that I started water aerobics in a warm pool, and as long as I keep going I get no back pain. If I miss for a week, it starts to come back. My brother also had terrible back pain and it was stopped in a day with Prednisone. I would not want to take it for long, but that Dose Pac is amazing.

By Jeneene

Severe Back Pain

I fell ice skating when I was about 20. Over the next nine years I had 3 or 4 incidents where my back went out. Then when I was 30 it really started giving me pain on an everyday basis. The doctor, after finally finding a test that proved to him what was wrong (where they inject some kind of dye into your spine to see if there's a leak), immediately set up surgery. Instead of doing more research or listening to my father who had also had back problems and 3 or 4 surgeries, I went ahead thinking the doctor knows best. I can't tell you how much I regret not looking into other avenues.

I now live with daily pain (despite strong narcotics that aren't good for me). I've also tried physical therapy and many other things. I've heard they are having a lot of success with that new procedure that stretches your back. I have forgotten what it's called, but they have a table you lay on that stretches your back. Once you're approved for medicaid, look into this. As someone who knows where you're at, I really wish you the best of luck and hope you find something that helps. I just have to live with this and get what I can done on my so called "better days". I hope you find a solution.

By gidget10

Severe Back Pain

I wanted to add that I agree with the other poster about going ahead and applying for the Social Security Disability. In the meantime if you find something that helps, you can just withdraw your application. But as long as it usually takes to get approved, and with me now knowing as much as I do about back problems a lot of people don't find a solution. This way if you do, you can withdraw it but if you don't you're on your way to getting some kind of income started on coming in. Again I wish you all the best and God Bless You. (03/11/2009)

By gidget10

Severe Back Pain

If you could email me, I have lived this way for many years. There is a group on yahoo groups called chronic pain, and I am part of that as well. Cinnamon (03/11/2009)

By cailifouhnofthemist

Severe Back Pain

Try a back doctor who specializes in back pain. They can give you shots in the spine, a lot of people say they work wonders. (03/11/2009)

By billjen1982

Severe Back Pain

I posted originally in the chronic back pain part, but I'd like to add to my post:

In the past I'd had lower back pain off and on for several years. The yoga helped tremendously. Another thing that I found helpful during the back pain was to avoid sleeping on the stomach - it puts extra stress on the lower back muscles. If at all possible, sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to keep your back straight, or sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees, again keeps the back straight with less stress on the lower muscles.

During my worst bout with lower back pain (which lasted about six months) I made daily trips to a pool where I hung off the side of the deep end. I would jerk my legs down as though I was trying to pull my back straight. Hanging from bars might do the same thing. I went to the 3.5-4 foot deep area (about chest high) and walked across the pool. Walking against the water seemed to strengthen my muscles. It is impossible to walk fast, so it doesn't seem to harm the muscles. Try to get as much water exercise as possible. If you don't have access to a pool, try going to a hotel or motel where there is a pool, explain to them what you'd like to do and see if they can make arrangements to let you in - maybe for a small fee.

Also, if you do office-type work, get a chiropractic-type chair. They are not expensive. You sit on a forward-slanted seat with your knees resting on a padded bar. This forces your back into a straight position. As uncomfortable as it sounds, it is not at all uncomfortable. In fact, it is very comfortable and you do not even notice that there is no back to rest against. All your weight is being held up by your knees, so there is less weight on your lower back.

Chiropractic help is good if you can afford it. I try to not go where they take x-rays as a good Chiropractor can tell by feel what is going on. The chiropractor I use (when necessary - which is rare anymore) doesn't even have an x-ray machine. And if he feels I need to see a medical doctor - that is the first thing he tells me.

Put an ice pack on the affected area - the ice reduces swelling which causes pressure on the nerves. If it is extremely painful, go back and forth (10 minutes each) from ice to heat (this causes blood-flow to the area which is healing). If I have a flare-up the first thing I do is place ice on my back (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off) and it is gone within a few hours to the next day. Today, I have a feather bed which has been a god-send. Since I got the feather bed, I've had virtually no back pain. (03/12/2009)

By Noella

Severe Back Pain

A chiropractor I used to work for recommended an Inversion Unit for patients who had chronic back pain (check out the Sam's or Walmart website). They work as a home traction unit, taking stress off the back discs. Several chronic patients swore by them. I'm considering getting one for my husband and myself. (03/12/2009)

By susanmajp

Severe Back Pain

Hi Cyinda - sorry to see you're struggling with this awful pain. I have no secret wonder answers, but I will put up a prayer for you. God bless you! You've been a great contributor for a long time, we are here for you! (03/12/2009)

By kimhis

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