My Pain (this was written almost a year ago)
Last Updated (Tuesday, 19 January 2010 09:21)
Written by Ben
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 08:10
My condition has gotten gradually worse over the last 6 years. I was a heavy weight lifter when I first noticed the pain, and since then have gradually been in too much pain to lift, run, exercise comfortably. I fight through pain every time I work out, since when I gain weight or don't exercise, my injury hurts from stiffness. I am a 6 foot, 205 lb, 28 yr old male, fighting a losing battle.
Let me explain the pain...
I often complain of stiffness down the right side of my back-body. It is ONLY my right side that has any pain, but many places along the right side. I feel like I need to stretch it with my right hand above my head, reaching over head to the left, but it isn't easy at all to loosen up.
The spots are
1. Between my shoulder-blades - needles
2. Beneath my lats/underneath the inside of my rib cage - deep pain, soreness, and tightness
3. My right side (sometimes around to my obliques) - soreness
4. My right hip and hip flexor - tightness
5. My left low back (right above the hip) - soreness
6. My right hamstring - tightness
Seemingly related pain often bugs me in my right shoulder, right side of my neck and very often around my right hip (which is much tighter than my left). My right hip-flexor and lower back make me feel like I need to do a runners stretch every 5 minutes, only when this acts up (not always). Again, always right side. My hamstrings are very tight, but even after a couple weeks of stretching them, the side/back pain is still present.
Let me explain the treatments I have done....
PT - Said they weren't sure what the cause was, but knew that the Quadratus Laborum was involved. They would do manual massage therapy, stretching and gave me a stretching/lifting routine (to strengthen problem areas), which I still do now. It doesnt seem to be working.
Injections - Steroids and Botox. Steroids did nothing. Botox has helped my low back and hips, as I have not has as much hip pain recently (I had the botox injections 4 weeks ago).
Chiropractic - Nothing substantial. Relief immediately, if they can get it to "release" (crack), which they rarely can, since the mid back spot is so tight.
Prolotherapy - A long time ago in the low back. It didnt help, actually made things a bit worse (I think).
Accupuncture – Felt great during and for 30 minutes after, then did nothing.
Stretching helps. Yoga helps. They both offer short-term relief.
Oddly enough, after a good sleep (from a night of drinking :-) or a prescription pain reliever/sleep aid), I tend to feel pretty good the next day. On any given morning though, it usually is worse than when I went to sleep, but too tired or hungover to live a normal day.
Running, hiking, basketball, yoga, and lifting weights lightly tend to help loosen things up a bit immediately after. However, my back bugs me through the activity and any soreness a day/2 days later from these activities usually feels very tight (i.e. if I ran for much longer than 1.5 miles, I hurt the next day). This is frustrating, as I can never get a good work out.
The best relief I ever get is from a Styrofoam pole that I bought, thanks to a PT, which I lie on longways on my spine and cross-ways across my back at my hips, then rib level, then beneath my lats. It feels great while on it, and lasts for a little while (usually long enough to fall asleep). Laying over an exercise ball (arched over or bent over) feels really good too.
Sleep. I wake up in more pain then I go to sleep.
Lifting heavy objects over my head hurts, and could set me back for two days. A couple of times (twice within the last year) I have twisted/moved in a position and been immobile for a day until a chiropractor adjusted me (this felt like a slipped disc right beneath and between my shoulder blades. Both times, it took a week to get better, but then went back to my normal chronic state.
Sitting for too long hurts. I work at a desk all day and my right side will tighten up and cause pain from sitting too long.
Walking hurts. A 1.5 mile walk will aggravate it (more than running, oddly enough).
Swimming tightens it up bad. I tried it today, for the first time, thinking it might be a good exercise to loosen things up and it hurt almost immediately after, into my shoulder and neck.
State of my world...
I live in pain. It stinks. I can’t help but believe that there is a solution and I just haven't found it, so I am writing to see if you could offer up some advice. Maybe I have found it, but haven't done it for long enough, or the right way. I take new guesses everyday about what is causing the pain. Maybe it's my mattress, maybe it's overuse of the quadratus, or maybe my side body isn’t strong enough to support my weight. I want to be pain free enough to enjoy exercising again, work out, lift my kid above my head, all of the things that normal people can do.
If I can't "be normal", I just want to be able to manage the pain. Maybe I could find a routine of stretches/exercises that ALWAYS make the pain go away and learn the right time to do them. I am very anti-pills and refuse to live for the next 60 years of my life on pain medicine for a worsening condition. I am already on Altace for high blood pressure (which I strongly believe is due to the back pain and lack of sleep related to it).
All things considered, I can still run, walk, do anything I want, I just have to deal with the pain. People may see me as a normal, active individual, but the hidden secret lies somewhere in the right side of my back-body, which is that I am coping with pain, ALL THE TIME.