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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: CHRONIC LOWER BACK AND LEG PAIN


 tomosaka - Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:53 am

Dear Doctor,

I am a woman of 54 years old, with clear medical history but I was being diagnosed to have scoliosis. I noticed that I have lower back pain and radiating to the two legs since about 2 years ago. Physiotherapy, cupping treatment, heat therapy and acupuncture were done previosuly and yielded only temporary relief. The condition seems to be worsening over time. MRI was done but no particular finding except some slight degenerative changes in the vertebra. I noticed that my leg muscles seems to be very "tight" and spasm since last week. What should I do in order to relax the muscles and improve the condition? My continuous achy pain on my low back and my back legs make me quite distressing and it also disturbs me from sleeping well. Thanks for your advice.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:03 pm

User avatar Hi Tomosaka,

Lower back pain is very difficult to deal with. It is, unfortunately, quite common and treatment often involves using non-steroidal pain medicines, physical therapy and in extreme cases surgery. Surgery is generally a last resort because complications are somewhat common and occasionally the outcomes are worse.

The pain in your legs may be due to the nerves of your back being inflamed due to pressure on them from the degenerating disks. It is also possible that you have some pain in your legs from the muscles tightening and trying to protect your back. Subsequently, the legs hurt not because of the back pain but because they are constantly tense (basically getting a huge workout everyday).

I would recommend you continue to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon. Physical therapy may help some as well. One important point is that when using pain medicines it is important not to "over do it" when the pain is better because the pain medicines only mask the issue and don't actually make it better.

Best wishes.

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