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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I injured my lower back five years ago.

I want to avoid surgery and would like to hear any ideas or suggestions you have to help me do this. This may sound like a dumb questions but after reading these boards about some of the problems that have developed with back surgery, I want to become more aggressive in taking care of myself.

I am 57 years old, 130# and have flat feet, if any of that matters. The xray showed that I have a disc that is 3/4 compressed. I was advised that I should be careful to avoid further injury to it or I will need to have surgery. I have some pain 24/7 but normally not bad enough that I take any medication. When "I'm good" I can move around, walk around and no one would suspect that I have a back problem. But I've had a couple bad bouts that put me down for 6 months each time because I got careless. I had to quit my job this last time because it demanded I be on my feet too much of the day and I got so I could barely walk. I am working at home now and this seems to be the best way to take care of myself. At least I can control what I sit on, how much I am on my feet and can remain productive and independent. During my bad spells my son did my vacuuming and grocery shopping (bless his heart)and soon I was back to doing everything for myself.

Previous injuries? When I was 15 I was in a car accident that dislocated my left hip and my right femur was broken. Bad break, bone overlap. I was in traction for 30 days and then a body cast waist down for 2 months. After the cast was removed the bone started to buckle so my leg was rebroken and back into the body cast for 2 months. This time it healed but because of this break my right leg is shorter than the left. It took me 10 years to get the muscle over the femur to stretch enough to completely bend my leg all the way back. Yeah...finally I could scrub my floors on my hands and knees without scooting around on my butt. I wonder why it took so long?

This is what I am doing now. I do believe I would "not" be walking right now if I wasn't doing all of this on a daily basis.

I do stretching exercises.

I sleep on an air bed that is firmly inflated. I've tried several mattresses and they are great for a night or two and then the pain starts.

I can only sleep on my right side and prop pillows under my left leg. When I try to sleep on my left side I can feel the stress building up in my lower back in a matter of minutes and I have to get out of that position.

I shopped until I dropped (or I should say, until my back was killing me) to find a chair I can sit in that doesn't hurt my back. Six times I purchased a chair that I thought would be perfect only to return them after a couple days. Finally I found a chair that I can sit in all day at my desk without causing problems. I put one in every room so I always have "my chair" to sit on. It actually makes my back feel better if you can believe that. If I take a job working out I will insist on taking "my chair" to work. I know how bad some of the chairs are in the work place and wonder if that isn't part of the reason many people develope back problems. Then they pick up a gallon of milk and there goes their back.

I give up skiing. Boohoo! This is the thing that I miss the most but what can I do.

I don't help anyone move. I like to help people but it's not worth it to end up disabled.

I don't vacuum, do laundry and grocery shop all in one day. I don't even vacuum the entire house in one day unless I have someone helping me.

I walk often but limit how long I am on my feet because if too long, not only my back pain increases but I get horrible pains in my right knee, lower leg and foot cramps and it takes two or three days in bed to recover. I have learned to know when I've had and quit while I am ahead, although sometimes I get in situations with others that get unhappy because of the limitation I put on myself.

I seldom wear my good shoes (dress shoes, low heels, etc.) except for short periods of time. I have a great pair of cheap tennis shoes that I put really good insoles in and I never get sore feet or tired legs. When the heels start to wear down on the outside edge, I throw them away and move onto the next pair. I think it helps. I am happy with the shoes. I tried many, many, even expensive shoes and nothing worked.

So the bed, the shoes, the chair and not lifting heavy items, what more can I do?

Another question, can you get a "cold" in your back?

Thanks for your help.


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