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View Full Version : Mild Scoliosis, Major Pain



thesergie
04-12-2011, 02:37 AM
Hi! My name is Sergie and i'm new to this forum. I'm a 24 year old dude that lives in beautiful San Diego. I love surfing, snowboarding, and designing websites.

So here's the story...(thanks for reading!!)
From September to December of last year (2010) I had the time of my life. I was working every day and loved every bit of it. I was creative, energetic, social, and active. I have never worked so much in my life and have never worked out so much either. Suddenly in mid December I started to have dull mid back pain (from right below my shoulder blades to where my lumbar spine starts) when i sat at my computer. I didn't know where it came from. After thinking about it, i realized that some things could have caused it: sitting in a stiff wooden chair with poor posture almost every day during the 3 months, and that time i was sick on December 5th but had to work from 10am to 3am to finish a project (18 hrs straight). The mental stress and muscle strain could have easily tensed up my back.

I thought it would go away but it didn't. I couldn't work on my computer for long periods of time (1 hour) without pain, so i wasn't motivated to design anymore. I started getting into a funky depression. I felt like i couldn't exercise because fear of more injury.

The next thing i did was go to a message therapist that my good friend recommended. The masseuse gave me a deep tissue massage once a week for 3 weeks. That helped, but only for a day or two. I saw a chiropractor a couple times from the same building. It also helped, but temporarily. The chiropractor said my hips were out of alignment. Both practitioners suggested i stretch my really tight hamstrings and work on my hips. I had to pay out of pocket because i didn't have insurance.

The next thing i thought of doing was getting health insurance and seeing a doctor. So i did. I got x-rays. I was told I have 8 degree curve from T7 thru L1 (usually 10 degrees is needed to diagnose scoliosis). The doctor referred me to a physical therapist. The PT measured my legs and said my right leg is a little bit shorter than my left. He then prescribed me some exercises for lower back pain. WHY? I have mid back pain, so why would he do that? I didn't trust him and didn't want to spend $100 for poor treatment. I asked my doctor to get leg and hip x-rays to see if my back pain is from my hips or leg discrepancies, but he said no way and prescribed me drugs which i don't want to use. I later visited to my deep-tissue masseur in Sacramento (he knows his stuff) and had 3 one-hour sessions to get rid of the big muscle knots on the sides of my spine. It didn't help all that much. He said that my spasmed muscles are pulling my spine into a funk which is causing all the pain. It makes some sense.

PROBLEM WRAP-UP
I have 8 degree scoliosis (T7 to L1), right leg shorter, right hip lower, TMJ in right jaw, big muscle knots on both sides of spine (longissimus, iliocostalis and some spinalis). I get a deep dull pain in my mid back when i sit for over an hour. My back muscles feel tense. My left hamstring is tighter than my right, my right hip flexor is tighter than my left. My right side (back, arms) are stronger than my left. So i'm all out of balance. I feel more acute pain when twisting my trunk to the right.

MY SOLUTIONS WRAP-UP
So i've been doing Yoga every other day and it has helped some, but pain is still there. Some days it's bothering me all day, other days i feel fine unless i sit. When i'm active it's easier to deal with it. But then again it's risky. I pulled my left latissimus dorsi while surfing in big surf (it hurt to breath in) and that's never happened before in my 5 years of surfing. I was throwing a frisbee with a friend at the beach yesterday and today the muscles closer to the spine felt VERY tight and painful. Tried acupuncture, but it didn't help. I roll on my roller every day and have tried manual trigger point therapy, but that's only helped temporarily.

......

So what do you gals/guys think? I've been told many different things by many different people, but i don't know what's the whole truth. I don't know what to do to relax my back muscles once and for all. What would you recommend? Keep exercising to strengthen the back? Aerobic exercises? I was thinking of seeing a different Chiropractor to get a second opinion. I was also thinking of going to the gym and working on my butt and thighs because i hear that can be the cause of mid back pain (besides sitting a lot).

Thanks for reading all of this!! I really appreciate your help (correcting my knowledge, suggestions, personal experience, anything!). :)

-Sergie

LindaRacine
04-12-2011, 10:50 AM
Hi! My name is Sergie and i'm new to this forum. I'm a 24 year old dude that lives in beautiful San Diego. I love surfing, snowboarding, and designing websites.

So here's the story...(thanks for reading!!)
From September to December of last year (2010) I had the time of my life. I was working every day and loved every bit of it. I was creative, energetic, social, and active. I have never worked so much in my life and have never worked out so much either. Suddenly in mid December I started to have dull mid back pain (from right below my shoulder blades to where my lumbar spine starts) when i sat at my computer. I didn't know where it came from. After thinking about it, i realized that some things could have caused it: sitting in a stiff wooden chair with poor posture almost every day during the 3 months, and that time i was sick on December 5th but had to work from 10am to 3am to finish a project (18 hrs straight). The mental stress and muscle strain could have easily tensed up my back.

I thought it would go away but it didn't. I couldn't work on my computer for long periods of time (1 hour) without pain, so i wasn't motivated to design anymore. I started getting into a funky depression. I felt like i couldn't exercise because fear of more injury.

The next thing i did was go to a message therapist that my good friend recommended. The masseuse gave me a deep tissue massage once a week for 3 weeks. That helped, but only for a day or two. I saw a chiropractor a couple times from the same building. It also helped, but temporarily. The chiropractor said my hips were out of alignment. Both practitioners suggested i stretch my really tight hamstrings and work on my hips. I had to pay out of pocket because i didn't have insurance.

The next thing i thought of doing was getting health insurance and seeing a doctor. So i did. I got x-rays. I was told I have 8 degree curve from T7 thru L1 (usually 10 degrees is needed to diagnose scoliosis). The doctor referred me to a physical therapist. The PT measured my legs and said my right leg is a little bit shorter than my left. He then prescribed me some exercises for lower back pain. WHY? I have mid back pain, so why would he do that? I didn't trust him and didn't want to spend $100 for poor treatment. I asked my doctor to get leg and hip x-rays to see if my back pain is from my hips or leg discrepancies, but he said no way and prescribed me drugs which i don't want to use. I later visited to my deep-tissue masseur in Sacramento (he knows his stuff) and had 3 one-hour sessions to get rid of the big muscle knots on the sides of my spine. It didn't help all that much. He said that my spasmed muscles are pulling my spine into a funk which is causing all the pain. It makes some sense.

PROBLEM WRAP-UP
I have 8 degree scoliosis (T7 to L1), right leg shorter, right hip lower, TMJ in right jaw, big muscle knots on both sides of spine (longissimus, iliocostalis and some spinalis). I get a deep dull pain in my mid back when i sit for over an hour. My back muscles feel tense. My left hamstring is tighter than my right, my right hip flexor is tighter than my left. My right side (back, arms) are stronger than my left. So i'm all out of balance. I feel more acute pain when twisting my trunk to the right.

MY SOLUTIONS WRAP-UP
So i've been doing Yoga every other day and it has helped some, but pain is still there. Some days it's bothering me all day, other days i feel fine unless i sit. When i'm active it's easier to deal with it. But then again it's risky. I pulled my left latissimus dorsi while surfing in big surf (it hurt to breath in) and that's never happened before in my 5 years of surfing. I was throwing a frisbee with a friend at the beach yesterday and today the muscles closer to the spine felt VERY tight and painful. Tried acupuncture, but it didn't help. I roll on my roller every day and have tried manual trigger point therapy, but that's only helped temporarily.

......

So what do you gals/guys think? I've been told many different things by many different people, but i don't know what's the whole truth. I don't know what to do to relax my back muscles once and for all. What would you recommend? Keep exercising to strengthen the back? Aerobic exercises? I was thinking of seeing a different Chiropractor to get a second opinion. I was also thinking of going to the gym and working on my butt and thighs because i hear that can be the cause of mid back pain (besides sitting a lot).

Thanks for reading all of this!! I really appreciate your help (correcting my knowledge, suggestions, personal experience, anything!). :)

-Sergie

Sergie...

I agree with the masseur. You don't really have scoliosis. Whatever your back problem is, is causing you to slightly alter your posture, which is pulling your spine into a small curve. I think if you find the right physical therapist, yoga practitioner, or Pilates instructor, they can help you find the right exercises to help you.

Regards,
Linda

Lilysaidwhat
04-12-2011, 11:25 AM
What Linda said, and the only thing I would add is maybe an orthotic in one shoe if your leg is indeed shorter.

thesergie
04-12-2011, 06:38 PM
Thanks for the replies Linda and Lilya!

I'm going to look around for a good physical therapist that knows a lot about the back, and i'll ask my doctor to refer me to them. How would you suggest I look for a physical therapist that has experience with my type of back problem?

Thanks!
Sergie

Lilysaidwhat
04-12-2011, 07:09 PM
I have a regular massage therapist I see, and she recommended me to mine - he's a chiro and also a PT, which is handy b/c he bills you as one client and then when your insurance runs out, he can bill you as the other so that you get more service from him. He really REALLY knows his shiz and is excellent with my particular issues - which is why my LMT was able to recommend him (she was familiar with my issues and therefore knew he was the right guy).

In short, networking with people in the field or related fields. You could also try researching online for local PT shops and try a few out, see who you like for what may be extended (3-6 months) care rather than a one-shot deal.

You could also try going to a PMR (Pain Management and Rehab) doctor. They can refer you.

I've seen plenty of PTs. The one I have now was the first one I ever thought really knew his stuff.

LindaRacine
04-13-2011, 12:04 PM
Thanks for the replies Linda and Lilya!

I'm going to look around for a good physical therapist that knows a lot about the back, and i'll ask my doctor to refer me to them. How would you suggest I look for a physical therapist that has experience with my type of back problem?

Thanks!
Sergie
Hi Sergie...

Not an easy question, but I think that asking your doctor is a good place to start. Where are you located?

--Linda

thesergie
04-13-2011, 03:02 PM
The PT my doctor referred me to seemed very uneducated about my problem so i stopped seeing him. He told me he saw a lot of lower back patients and so he prescribed me some stretches and exercises for lower back. I don't have lower back pain so that just ticked me off. I tend to trust medical specialists too much.

I live in San Diego, University City area.

A friend of mine recommended me to a sports chiropractor who utilizes the Active Release Technique (http://www.activerelease.com/index.asp) for deep muscle release. That sounded good because of the focus on spine and muscles surrounding it. Has anyone heard or had experience with ART? Here are some PTs with ART skills in my area (http://www.activerelease.com/providerSearch.asp?strGeocode=%2832.8328259%2C+-117.20003509999998%29&strAddress=North+Clairemont%2C+San+Diego%2C+CA%2C+ USA).

I think the ideal person to see would be a PT that really knows his stuff about the spine and surrounding muscles, and who uses actual massage (not TENS) with his/her patients. My insurance covers PT but not chiro or massage, so a PT that can do it all will be oh so nice. :)

-Sergie

Ballet Mom
04-13-2011, 03:58 PM
Vert Mooney, M.D. ran a chain of physical therapy centers in the San Diego area before he passed away a year or two ago. He was an orthopedist who is well-known on this board for performing studies on torso rotation exercises to stop progression of scoliosis.

He passed away, so I don't know how much the staffing has changed, but they are probably still quite good.

There's a number of locations including a downtown location and Kearny Mesa, which was their headquarters.

Here's the link, hope it helps.

http://www.spineandsport.com/

thesergie
04-14-2011, 07:00 PM
Thanks for the referral! I'm going to look into these guys and see what they offer.

I'll keep you all posted on my progress. Who knows it may help another guy or girl out there with a similar problem (mild scoliosis, muscle imbalances, back muscle spasms, leg length discrepancies, and TMJ all mixed in).

Sergie

Karen Ocker
04-17-2011, 08:55 PM
I know people who had the same back situation you describe. They got a lot of tips from reading publications/books written by Dr. John Sarno(MD). He describes what helps when one's physicians cannot find a cause for the back pain.