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#30282 - 06/10/14 07:46 AM Back pain
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Looks good, if extensive. I don't want do to any long troubleshooting. I have two slipped discs in my lower back pressing into nerves, causing pain down my legs and into my feet. Chronic. Every second of every day. Sitting at the computer is one of more painful things I do, probably the most other than driving, which I also shouldn't do. I plan to spend very little time at the computer at least until I can make some progress. Standing briefly, not sitting. I have had this since last July and it seems I've tried everything to troubleshoot my back.

mad


Edit: Originally a reply to slolerner in "10.6.3 to 10.6.8 font problem" [aka "fonts jagged when upgrading to 10.6.8"], this post and the follow-ups were detached and moved to the Lounge.


Edited by cyn (06/15/14 03:44 AM)
Edit Reason: Add note and new subject line

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#30321 - 06/13/14 05:20 PM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I'm not a doctor, but I play one on FTM. I have the same back problem and one of the discs ruptured and now I can't feel my foot because it is pressing on the S1 nerve, but you are in pain. First, see a VERY GOOD neurologist, dump the painkillers you may be taking, and get one of these belts for your back. Dr. has to prescribe it:

http://www.djoglobal.com/products/empi/empi-active

"Ah feel your pain."
_________________________
Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 13"
2.4GHz, 750GB SATA HD, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.7.5
1 HDX1500 2TB Ext.HD, 2 HDX1500 1TB Ext.HD
HP Laserjet 6MP printing postscript via 10/100 Intel print server
Netgear WN2500RP Range Extender (Ira rocks!)
Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router
Brother MFC-9340CDW Color Laser
iPad Air

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#30329 - 06/14/14 11:37 AM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I won't go into all the things I've tried, and this is a Mac forum, not a back forum. Nevertheless…

I'm supposed to get a steroid (prob. cortisone) shot soon. Hit or miss, from what I hear. Won't work, work for a day, a month, a few months, no one knows. Then you need another. Then they stop working. Will insurance pay? We'll see.

Oral steroid worked some, but you can only take it for 10 days, and it makes you somewhat hyper. Near the end, restlessness and trouble sleeping, but I did not become the Hulk.

Bought a $800 very firm Simmons mattress, the firmest in Mattress Firm, which probably makes a lot of difference, if only I could stop sleeping on my stomach, which is bad for everyone.

Bought a $600 Steelcase computer chair. Now sitting at the computer is the most painful thing I do, other than driving, even though both are adjustable. So much for the magic chair.

Bought a inversion table. This actually works. I recommend it to everyone, for stress, for back relief. Ten minutes, not bad. Not expensive. Relaxing. Lately however it seems to be pulling the muscles in my legs, so I've reduced it.

I never had good posture. Should've listened to Mom all those years ago. Slouching, crossing my legs, flipping one ankle onto my leg, sitting with my legs propped up, lying on the couch, sliding down. I was a dumb kid.

Fortunately I just discovered the miracle of the self-propelled lawn mower. Wow! What have I been doing to myself all these years?

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#30335 - 06/14/14 03:24 PM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Maybe one of the moderators can move this thread to the Lounge Forum. I would like to respond to deniro about the issues he is having with his back.

Thanks,
slo
_________________________
Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 13"
2.4GHz, 750GB SATA HD, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.7.5
1 HDX1500 2TB Ext.HD, 2 HDX1500 1TB Ext.HD
HP Laserjet 6MP printing postscript via 10/100 Intel print server
Netgear WN2500RP Range Extender (Ira rocks!)
Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router
Brother MFC-9340CDW Color Laser
iPad Air

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#30337 - 06/14/14 07:26 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Moving a troubleshooting thread to the Lounge isn't a good way to respond to a non-troubleshooting issue raised in that thread, but a new thread in the Lounge might be, if deniro chooses to respond there. Alternatively, since personal messages aren't active in FTMF, you could contact cyn with a request to contact deniro* with your contact and topic info, and leave it to him to respond to you.

*) It is FTM's policy not to publicize user email addresses, but to leave it to the users to make that decision themselves.
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alternaut moderator

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#30338 - 06/14/14 08:49 PM Re: Back pain [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I've made a copy of my last post in this thread, so can you delete it and move the string of posts beginning with deniro's #30282 to the lounge?

Then I can repost my response to slolerner.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#30343 - 06/15/14 03:47 AM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
cyn Offline

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
alternaut's right, moving the whole thread would not have been the way to go. As it turned out, though, I was able to detach the OT replies so could move them here to the Lounge and leave the font troubleshooting thread in place.

For the record, I'm not real keen on the email middleman role. I'd prefer those who are open to being contacted by other FTM members include an email address in their profile.
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FineTunedMac Forums Admin

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#30349 - 06/15/14 04:32 PM Re: Back pain [Re: cyn]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I'm going to take this opportunity to repeat a suggestion I made once before...

There are any number of instances in which we're asked or required to provide e-mail addresses to entities that neither need nor are entitled to them, and towards that end I maintain a "trash-mail" account, the address of which is given only to those particular entities, and which I can "trash" any time I feel like it; posting an address here would qualify as such an instance because of the possibility of its being harvested.

I do it under my ISP's mailbox quota, but I assume it can also be done via gmail.com.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#30360 - 06/20/14 03:39 PM Re: Back pain [Re: artie505]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
If we both activate IM messages, would that be better?

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#30362 - 06/20/14 05:17 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I imagine that instant messaging would be better, because it would allow for more facile communication.

My suggestion is really directed at people who must post their e-mail addresses but are wary terrified, and rightfully so, of the possible repercussions.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#30363 - 06/20/14 05:53 PM Re: Back pain [Re: artie505]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I have my private messaging turned on, he has his disabled. This is getting like a soap opera.

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#30366 - 06/20/14 06:27 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Do you mean private messaging at FTM? If so, you only think so, because it's disabled...has been since day one.

Edit: You did the right thing starting this thread; ball's now in his court.


Edited by artie505 (06/20/14 06:31 PM)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#30369 - 06/20/14 07:32 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
cyn Offline

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
slolerner, why not respond to deniro about his back trouble here, in the thread created at your request for that purpose, instead of discussing other communication methods?


Edited by cyn (06/20/14 07:32 PM)
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#30370 - 06/20/14 07:36 PM Re: Back pain [Re: cyn]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I wasn't sure if it was ok. I mean, it is a Mac Fixit site not a Back Fixit site.

Oops, a Fine Tuned Mac, not a Fine Tuned Back.

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#30579 - 07/16/14 04:45 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I just found this thread. If anyone wants to post about the subject, go ahead.

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#30581 - 07/16/14 05:21 PM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Deniro, hey. I had the moderator move our thread to here because it we got off subject. This threads for you!

I have had back problems for a very long time, am genetically predisposed to it.

I have had two types of injections: one is an epidural which is into spine and facet joint injections, into the spaces between specific bones:

http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/cervical-thoracic-and-lumbar-facet-joint-injections

They both involve a steroid to shrink inflammation, inflammation is what actually causes pain, and an anesthetic to block the pain.

Although I have seen other patients get their epidural shot and walk out with a smile on their face, in my case that did not happen. I don't want to scare you, but unless you find a anesthesiologist that comes highly recommended, I wouldn't try it. I am certain my case was a rare exception but things went wrong. Epidurals are supposed to last about a year.

The facet joint injections, which have been very useful to me, are a bunch of very thin needles inserted exactly at the joints in your spine where the doctor, from the description of your symptoms, is thinking the pain originates. It is done when you are laying face down on a table and the doctor uses a CAT scan devise to see and guide the needles and make sure they are in exactly the right places and then the medicine is injected at each site at once. It takes less than an hour. If the pain persists in some places and not others, then he can go back and try a different spot later. It is very complex as far as where you feel the pain and where the inflammation that is causing it is.

I find these injections useful, they last I guess about six months, but they are very targeted so the amount of steroid is less. The point of doing all this stuff is not so you can sit in a chair again, it is so you can start doing more physical activity because you are not in as much pain and that physical therapy will help build up the core muscles and give your spine better support.

I use a chair with a perfectly flat and level seat, no arms, with about a half inch of foam padding covered in fabric. That's all. It glides easily on the floor, no casters. I found that being able to change position, wiggle, move my legs around really helps and it's never good for someone with a bad back to use their feet to push things around and most people use their feet and not their arms to move around in a chair on wheels.

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#30629 - 07/20/14 09:36 AM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Of all the chairs I sit in every day, my computer chair, the expensive "ergonomic" one is the most painful. I don't see why it's so expensive. It's plastic like any other chair, with a few more adjustments. No big deal.

Have you found a chair that gives you little or no pain? I can't sit in many, certainly not recliners or couches. Strait-backs actually seem more comfortable for me, for a while, whereas the computer chair hurts me after less than 10 minutes. My PT told me: Don't stay in one position for too long, whether sitting or standing. I'm a short guy, so I thought about finding a table low enough for me, as I usually have to lift up the chair and use a footstool. Sometimes I think the footstool makes it worse, compared to having my feet on the floor. Something about leg circulation, maybe. All the tables I've seen are the same height.

Everyone tells me don't get surgery because that always makes it worse. Unfortunately, a neurosurgeon said that I would definitely need surgery eventually, though maybe as far off as 10 years, provided the pain can be under control some. Degeneration of the discs. I certainly don't want to live life like this for 10 more years.

I got a cortisone shot a couple weeks ago. The neurosurgeon, a different one the first referred me to, told me that the pain would be worse before it got better. He was certainly right about the first part. Then after a week I did notice small improvement. I could drive again, not without pain, but at least I could do it.

At the same time, I started getting pain in my right leg. The injection was for the left (into the left lower back). Now I have sciatica in both legs. I should mention that I have two herniated discs. That's part of the problem when trying to treat the pain. Two sources of pain doing all kinds of weird things.

My sister, a physical therapist, also had back pain, and she suggested my family are genetically predisposed to back trouble, as you mentioned. Yet, of the seven of us, only she and I have had a problem. Both of us are overweight, I note, but not that much. If I could help that I would. The weight gain was caused years ago by medication given by an unscrupulous doctor. I'm not a couch potato. I can't even lay on the couch. I lay on the floor.

Oddly, the TENS unit sometimes cures the right leg pain altogether. Then I exacerbate it and it comes back. Doesn't do much for the left.

I've started using the inversion table again, and it helps on my left, but my right is always so painful that inversion almost makes it worse. If you use one, you shouldn't have pain getting on it, off, or in between. As in other aspects of life, if there's pain, stop doing it. Those who say no pain no gain are out of their minds. I wish I had ignored that stupid saying a long time ago.

I'm taking one or two Alleve/day (to reduce inflammation), gabapentin (Neurontin, for nerve pain), and Robaxin (a muscle relaxant).

I did try one of those large velcro belts that wraps around the midsection, but it made the pain worse.

The journey through the woods continues…

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#30632 - 07/20/14 11:48 AM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: deniro
Have you found a chair that gives you little or no pain? I can't sit in many, certainly not recliners or couches. Strait-backs actually seem more comfortable for me, for a while, whereas the computer chair hurts me after less than 10 minutes. My PT told me: Don't stay in one position for too long, whether sitting or standing.

Hermann-Miller has two lines of ergonomic office chairs that have both worked very well for me for many years. Aeron chair ($1,100 to $1,500 depending on how it is configured) and the Mirra 2 for a couple of hundred less again depending on the specific configuration. Very expensive and IMHO worth very penny especially if you have back pain issues.

Originally Posted By: deniro
I'm a short guy, so I thought about finding a table low enough for me, as I usually have to lift up the chair and use a footstool. Sometimes I think the footstool makes it worse, compared to having my feet on the floor. Something about leg circulation, maybe. All the tables I've seen are the same height.

Try a Google search for "adjustable height computer table" and you will turn up any number of possibilities. I paid $900 or so for mine about 22 years ago. It is roughly kidney shaped and the keyboard portion and monitor portions are separately adjustable via hand cranks from sitting to standing height. The arc is such that everything is on an equidistant curve from the user and is made from ⅞ inch 21 ply baltic birch plywood. This is very definitely a case of you get what you paid for.

Originally Posted By: deniro
Everyone tells me don't get surgery because that always makes it worse. Unfortunately, a neurosurgeon said that I would definitely need surgery eventually, though maybe as far off as 10 years, provided the pain can be under control some. Degeneration of the discs. I certainly don't want to live life like this for 10 more years.

My back pain was in the cervical region and over the years I have had three surgeries to fuse four of the cervical vertebrate, the last surgery to fuse the final two was earlier this year. My experience following all three surgeries has been awaking in the recovery room with the feeling something was wrong. The last time I knew immediately knew its the absence of pain after a year or more of constant pain. In my case all the surgeries were performed by neurosurgeons because the surfer was too close to the spinal chord for an orthopedic surgeon to attempt. The reason for the multiple surgeries is the cervical vertebrate continued to degenerate at other levels in the neck and each had to be repaired in its turn. At this point my neck is virtually solid but I have no pain and my neck is not too stiff. In the last two surgeries the doctors indicated the deterioration was far more advanced than indicated by CT scans and MRIs. My only regret was going so long between surgeries and suffering that much additional pain.

Originally Posted By: deniro
I got a cortisone shot a couple weeks ago. The neurosurgeon, a different one the first referred me to, told me that the pain would be worse before it got better. He was certainly right about the first part. Then after a week I did notice small improvement. I could drive again, not without pain, but at least I could do it.

At the same time, I started getting pain in my right leg. The injection was for the left (into the left lower back). Now I have sciatica in both legs.

That was just about my experience. FWIW I have had no sciatica since the last surgery. Pulmonary embolisms yes, Sciatica no. The PEs were unrelated to the neck pain or the surgery.

I do know that lumbar surgery has the reputation of being a longer and more painful recovery If for no other reason than the mandatory back brace is bulkier and more uncomfortable than the neck brace. I also know that the protocols have improved dramatically in the last 5 years much less the last 20 years when my son had his lumbar fusion. I haven't heard any horror stories in a good while and with my radiologist son and hospital chaplain wife I used to hear a LOT of those. I would never encourage anyone to rush TO surgery but on the other hand neither would I encourage anyone to rush AWAY from surgery if it is really needed.

Hopefully you can get pain free and soon. Life is to short to live any of it in misery.
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#30636 - 07/20/14 01:40 PM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: deniro
Have you found a chair that gives you little or no pain?

A very aged friend of the family discovered that the only relief he ever got from his excruciating back pain was during the drive from Florida to New York in his 1990-something Ford Taurus. He was so enthralled by the electrically adjustable driver's seat that he obtained one from a wrecker and had a buddy construct a proper base for it and put it in his living room. It did the job.

Another instance where it pays to think outside the box.

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#30637 - 07/20/14 02:10 PM Re: Back pain [Re: joemikeb]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
As I said, I have found sitting slightly forward in my flat, slightly padded chair has been the best. It allows me to move my legs around and stretch my back as well as have my feet flat on the floor (the chair is low, 17" from the floor and I'm 5'4".) The epidural I had felt like lightening bolts down my legs, ad after I got over the initial shock of it all, I had no pain relief. The facet-joint injections are the best.

My chiropractor gave me a 2" wide belt that goes around my hips to hold the hip bones in alignment with my spine. It's a really simple device, but I always wear it when lifting something heavy because my hip bone separating slightly from my spine seems to be one big issue with me. As far as wearing any type of heavy back brace, I have been advised against it because it tends to do the work your muscles should be doing and in the end weakens your spine.

My recent and most serious injury yet, a ruptured disk where fluid from inside it leaked into the space between the backbone and the spinal cord, has been tough to solve. It hurt like all get-out when it happened but now there is no pain but I have lost a lot of feeling and control in my right foot, the S1 nerve is being impinged (squished) by the 'goo.' I am having facet joint injections to attempt to bring down the swelling of the nerve caused by this irritation so that the more signal can get through (Wireless, anyone?) and they may eventually have to shave away some bone from inside to make more room there. I, too, am waiting as long as possible. Every technology only gets better the longer you wait, right?

I wanted to tell you something very interesting I just found out. Serotonin levels are related to how you feel pain. Since my most recent injury, even though it doesn't cause pain, my migraines have skyrocketed. I found out that's why they use pain medicines like Lyrica and Cymbalta with anti-depressants. I think it's kinda like how much combined pain your body can take care of before it 'floods' and you feel it intensely because you don't have enough serotonin to suppress it. Not quite sure I understand it all, but might want to ask your neurologist about this.

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#30638 - 07/20/14 02:21 PM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Just to be clear, my chair is a simple dining room type chair with a 16" x 16" plywood seat covered with 1/2" foam rubber and smooth fabric so I can 'wiggle' and change position easily. I ditched the form-fitted chair with the wheels a long time ago. It held me in the same position too long and hurt.

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#30643 - 07/21/14 07:02 AM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE injections:
I just saw a health report* which discussed ozone injections into disc pulp which seem to be effective in 3 out 4 patients with disc extrusions causing nerve impingement. The procedure is apparently now being tested in the USA, but it is used elsewhere in the world.

* CTV News (ctv.ca); Avis Favaro, reporter.

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#30644 - 07/21/14 07:49 AM Re: Back pain [Re: grelber]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Thanks!

Here's the link:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/help-for-herniated-discs-doctors-testing-new-ozone-treatment-1.1923326

I'm going to show this to my doctor, that is exactly what happened to me.

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#30648 - 07/21/14 08:47 AM Re: Back pain [Re: slolerner]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Quote:
Hermann-Miller has two lines of ergonomic office chairs that have both worked very well for me for many years. Aeron chair ($1,100 to $1,500 depending on how it is configured) and the Mirra 2 for a couple of hundred less again depending on the specific configuration. Very expensive and IMHO worth very penny especially if you have back pain issues.
I spent a lot of time researching last fall. I have a Steelcase Amia, a step down from their popular, more expensive Leap. One problem is that the lumbar bar (a horizontal bar that slides vertically at the back of the chair) doesn't slide down low enough for me. It seems built for taller people. I don't see what the big deal is about this chair. The cushion isn't even that comfortable and I get hot sitting in it. $600. Why? It's plastic.
Quote:
Try a Google search for "adjustable height computer table"
Good idea.


Edited by deniro (07/21/14 08:51 AM)

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#30649 - 07/21/14 09:30 AM Re: Back pain [Re: deniro]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Quote:
Serotonin levels are related to how you feel pain. Since my most recent injury, even though it doesn't cause pain, my migraines have skyrocketed. I found out that's why they use pain medicines like Lyrica and Cymbalta with anti-depressants.
I've been treated for major depressive disease (treatment-resistant) and anxiety for 15 years. I've been on Cymbalta for about six years. Cymbalta does act as a pain reliever in addition to its anti-depressant effect. Sometimes it's used for fibromyalgia. I don't know why doctors are still prescribing Effexor, an older, similar drug when Cymbalta, a newer, cleaner drug exists.

You're right that depression (rooted in part in low serotonin levels) will adversely affect your health in various ways, given that depression itself is a physical disease like any other. There's interplay between physical and mental. All or most pain is physical. It's biology and chemistry, not metaphysics.

Anxiety will also severely harm your health. Problem is, like depression, it isn't something you can control by will. You can take Librium or Xanax for anxiety, or Robaxin for a muscle relaxant, like I do, in addition to all the other things doctors recommend for depression and anxiety. But these are treatments, not cures.

I can't take Prednisone, a steroid used for all kinds of things. Years ago my vet gave it to my terrier for itchy skin rashes. I was given it for depression. I sank like a stone. My mom had the same reaction. So I made a point of telling my neurosurgeon this.

All my life I have had trouble relaxing. As soon I as start working on something, no matter what it is, as soon as I concentrate, I tense my shoulders, back, and other muscles: driving, mowing, reading, working, writing. I'm not sure I can make a grocery list without tensing up. Even when I stand I tighten my back, buttocks, and legs. Seriously. It isn't that I'm always nervous, though I can be anxious. It's just a long habit. I have to remind myself to lower my shoulders, for example, when I'm driving. All while trying to maintain good posture, which I have had to learn, rather than my usual slouch.

I grind my teeth at night (TMJ) and so wear a mouthpiece. My jaw muscles are overgrown and as strong as a terrier's. Think of how that kind of pain, or tension, can extend from the jaw, down the neck and back to the waist, muscles and nerves intertwining. Here, too, depression and anxiety likely are a factor. All of these things contribute to pain, and not all pain shows up on x-rays, CAT scans, or MRIs. Reading an MRI, for example, is a surprisingly subjective matter.

I think of all the people out there at work, sitting all day, probably in uncomfortable chairs, working and living under impossible, merciless pressure. No wonder back pain is an epidemic. Maybe we all ought to think about working less. A four-day work week, or a daily siesta. A fantasy of mine that will no doubt come to nothing.

I thought computers were supposed to make life easier.


Edited by deniro (07/21/14 09:34 AM)

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