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Old 4th Jan 2006, 17:30   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

Hey everyone!

Happy new year and all that jazz!

About 2 weeks ago I was cooking a meal, I bent forward to open the lower oven (carrying nothing) when suddenly a searing pain went through my lower back and left leg. For a few days I couldn't stand up by myself etc. with time this improved, however sitting in a car for 1/2 hour would be very painful. I was starting to fear returning to work, having to sit flying for the day would be agony.

Anyways whilst sitting down today there was what I can only describe as a snapping sound, it felt like my spine twisted, and then sheer bliss.... no more pain!! I can bend foward fine, sitting down doesn't hurt etc. Great.
The question is: What do you think happened, any ideas how it resolved itself, and finally how do I avoid having it happen again?

Cheers, Tom.
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Old 4th Jan 2006, 17:43   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

i'm by no means a doctor but i'm pretty sure it was the sciatic nerve that got squeezed, did the pain go from your spine through your glute then going on to the leg?
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Old 4th Jan 2006, 17:46   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

Initially the pain did, but soon it was just lower back pain.
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Old 4th Jan 2006, 20:01   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

Sounds like a dislocated vertebra to me, that popped back in place...

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Old 4th Jan 2006, 21:04   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

I'm a retired pilot, not a doctor, but I have written quite a bit on this forum about backs. It's difficult to guess what happened to you, as discs don't move per se. They sometimes herniate, but I doubt that's happened here because of the spontaneous recovery. I would guess that you somehow moved a vertebra--relative to its neighbor–in a way that caused one of the facet joints to jam out of its normal range. Understand, this is just one of dozens of possible scenarios, I couldn't possible know the facts. Because of ageing, the sciatic nerve finds that it can not travel laterally far enough to allow for this displacement. (Typically 4mm) and this may mean that it was pulled tight over a surface rather than having enough length to slip along it. When the joint happily unlocked, the nerve would be relatively unscathed.

So often people will be told that they have a slipped disc, this is just a way of saying that the back is out of kilter in some way...this coverall term is as good as any, cos without careful investigation, nobody knows what's happened in there. A doctor or a real chiropractor / osteopath will have been trained to recognise the areas of the leg or feet that are affected, and be able to make a better diagnosis just from this information. So often these folk can give immediate relief, but in the case of an annular tear in the disc, it can be made worse. It's a difficult call, and that's why doctors so often choose not to recommend manipulation too soon.

More often than not it will get better by itself, and it sounds as though you may be lucky, but do take care...great care, for the next 12 months. You need to make sure that you keep your back strong (-ish), without risking a reoccurrence. Making a very cautious increase in your daily exercise will protect you from many problems in the future--providing that there is nothing really wrong. There is a plethora of opinion on how to do this, but whatever you do, do something, and do it carefully.

If it happens again, insist on an MRI, it's the only true way to know what's going on.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 10:16   #6 (permalink)

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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

and finally how do I avoid having it happen again?
Have a read about "moving and handling" your organisation should have a policy tucked away on a top shelf.

Try keeping your weight within "normal " limits.

Abdominal strengthening exercises are meant to be beneficial.

People who swim often, rarely complain of back pain.

Examine you posture, and look towards improving it.

Keep away from anyone medical or otherwise, who claims to be able to help with back problems.

(but see your GP if you develop any worrying symptoms.)

Keep out of the Kitchen.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 12:00   #7 (permalink)
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Arrow Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

In the meantime, do not bend down to pick up something. Bend your knees before you attempt to lift anything. Keep your back straight whilst lifting and get help with anything heavy.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 14:50   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

Thanks for the replies! I will take on board what has been said.

Tom (still smiling today!)
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 19:07   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone

I often suffer from sciatica and that sounds like what you experienced. One of the worse things that men do to cause sciatica is to sit on our wallets all day. If this is you then try putting your wallet in your front pocket while you drive or fly just make sure the condom ring is at the back .
Someone else mentioned bending your knees when you reach down for something. This is good advice but also remember not to bend in a twisting motion as that can lock things up as well, make sure the item that you want to pick up is directly in front of you and use the strongest muscles on you body to lift, your legs.
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Old 6th Jan 2006, 09:16   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Back pain .... strange snap sound...gone


Had this myself once, induced by my appalling golf swing.

RAF doctor more or less wrote me off, until a Tornado ejectee pointed my in the direction of a chiropractor.

He diagnosed a mis-aligned sacro-iliac joint. Spelling might be off, but its the joint where your spine seats in your pelvis, and has a nerve serving your left leg very close by.

I was fixed in seconds, afetr two months of being unable to sit.
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