Back Pain Help

by Melanie Howard
(West Bromwich)

Hi, my name is Melanie and I need back pain help. I am 29 years old. I have had back pain for 2 years. I went to a private doctor in the beginning but that cost too much. They did do an x-ray and told me I have a bulging disc and mild sciatica. When I go to NHS they just keep giving me pain killers. I have also had 6 pyhsio sessions.

I am in pain all the time. I have bought a mattress topper but it is not helping. I am not sure if I should push the NHS to do another x-ray. The private doctor said my disc was a quarter of the size it should be. I have problems just turning over in bed.

2 years ago the pain just started. I just woke up with a bad back. I have worked in a pub for 10 years part time, but I left over a year ago because of my back. My full time job is in a office.

Do you think the NHS should investigate further? I am sick of taking pain killers. I think I am too young to be suffering everyday. I am trying for a child as well, but I worry that when I do get pregnant my back pain may get worse.

Hope you can help me or give me some advice

Hi Melanie,
I am sorry you are having such a rough time. It sounds like you have degenerative disc disease causing your pain. When the discs that are between the vertebrae get dried out and stiff they can be very painful even with minimal activity. Once this gets started it is very difficult to reverse, but there are some things you can do.

If you think your pain has changed since the first x-ray, a repeat x-ray may be helpful. But if your pain is pretty much the same, a new x-ray will probably not help very much.

You don't say if the physical therapy helped or not, but I think aggressive therapy is going to be your best chance of getting off of the pain pills.

If you have access to a pool, hydrotherapy can be helpful. Any activity that raises your heartrate such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming will stimulate endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are similar to morphine and bind to the morphine receptors in your brain helping to relieve pain.

If you are overweight even a little bit that can add to the pressure on your back. Talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan.

If you are trying to get pregnant you need to get real serious about stopping any narcotic pain medicine you are using, and finding other ways to control your pain. You don't want your baby to be born addicted to drugs.

A therapist can evaluate your posture, identify any weak muscle groups, and develop a home exercise program for you. Then it will be up to you to start exercising every day.

I don't know if your pain will ever go away completely. There may be some discomfort that you have to learn to put up with, but I know you can do it.

You can get some more exercise ideas at Exercises for Back Pain.

To read more about how to learn to live with chronic pain check out Living with Chronic Pain.

Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

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