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Lower back pain and collapse advice

Started by 100004872665867... on 10/24/2013 8:27pm


I'm looking for advice about my back problems.

They started when I was about 19 (I'm 39 now, male) playing football (soccer), as I was kicking the ball very high, I lifted my right leg to about eye level and felt sharp pain at the base of the spine on the right hand side where it joins to the pelvis. Over the course of the next 16-17 years this injury seems to recur periodically and cause a few days of moderate pain and stiffness, nothing too serious, but I mention it because this injury may be the cause of the much worse back problems I've had in the last 3 years.

About 5 times now in the last 3 years I've had spontaneous collapses originating in the lower back area. There's basically a big spasm and explosion of pain in the lower back, and either my legs or back gives way and next thing I know I'm in a heap on the floor. The spasm is usually accompanied by a 'pop' or sensation of movement in the lower back. It usually seems to happen when I'm leaning forward about 5-10 degrees, and usually in the first few hours after waking up, and it's possible dehydration may be a contributory factor.

The worst case I've had, I couldn't get up for 20 minutes, and could barely move for the next 3-4 days, and it was maybe 10 days before I could leave the house again. During those first few days any movement was agony, rolling over in bed, coughing, and any time I needed to stand it felt like there was a high chance there would be another spasm and collapse. I basically had to hang onto something the whole time, and there was at least another 4-5 big spasms where I would have fallen again were I not holding onto something.

It also felt like a tremendous amount of musculature had been damaged in the first collapse. The whole of the soft tissue around my lower spine was very tender and there was obviously a ton of bruising. There was also pain where the spine connects to the pelvis on the right hand side.

Eventually with ice and heat my back recovers each time, but it feels like each one of these episodes is making the general condition of the lower spine worse, to the point where almost any exercise is giving me pain, mild spasms and there's always fear that another big spasm is on the way.

Last week when getting up from a chair there was, again, the familiar explosion of burning lower back pain, and usually I felt the pain travel in an instant from the lower back around the pelvis to the front. Thankfully since I was only an inch off the chair I was able to sit straight back down and little damage was done this time.

I'm trying to get fit and it feels like a big limitation of the types and amount of exercise I can do. For the last month* I've been doing an hour of kettlebell (think aerobics and weights combined) per day but even trying to do the exercises perfectly and curve the spine as little as possible, there's still pain and minor spasms, and even the days when I don't exercise it feels like any movement in the lower back causes pain. I've also started to get burning pains in the middle of my back since I started working out. Honestly I was expecting this kinda of exercise to strengthen the lower back and make it less prone to injury, but the opposite seems to have happened. I should point out the kettlebell isn't the cause here, most of the collapse episodes were before I started kettlebell, back when I was either cycling, or before than when I was taking no regular exercise.

The other relevant information here is that my posture is probably quite bad and I do spend a number of hours most days sat in an office chair, or generally slouching.

I've seen the doctor but he just gave me a printout with some basic exercises, and TBH most of them I already do every day as part of my kettlebell warm-up, so basically it felt like a waste of time.

Obviously what I'm looking to find out here is what is likely to be causing this, what's happening in my lower spine, whether it's serious and whether my doctor can do more to help (I'm in the UK btw).

Thanks a million,

(* before starting kettlebell I was cycling 10km 4 times per week)

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2 Responses


I have read your statement and not sure if you have seen a doctor who specialize with the spine, because I did not hear you mention anything about a MRI. For you to know what is wrong with the lower part of your back you need a spine doctor and a MRI, for starters.

Then take it from there. I hope you get seen by a spine specialist and a proper physical therapist. so until then you will never know what's wrong and the proper exercise to be doing so you won't further damage your lower part of your spine.

It sound to me a long time ago when you raised your foot above eye level it could of misaligned a disc and from time one it degenerated causing moderate to severe pain and swelling. you seriously need a spine specialist to look at it through a MRI.


Thanks for the reply :)

No I've never seen a back/spine specialist, just my GP. My GP did mention sending me to see a physio if the page of stretches he's given me don't work, so we'll see how that goes, but as I said I'm already doing every exercise on there as part of my daily workout.