24 Year Old with Chronic Back Pain

by Jane

Hello Sarah,

My name is Jane and I'm from London. Firstly my apologies in advance if this message gets a little lengthy, I would be more than happy to arrange a Skype consultation if you feel it might be beneficial for me. Of course I would love the opportunity to consult with you in person but I realise you are based in Sydney and not sure if your schedule allows much time in London?

I left a desk job early December 2012 and (probably shouldn't admit this) sat around pretty much every day until after Christmas, following which I decided to embark on a home exercise DVD programme, focused on intense interval training between cardio and light weights. I'm not sure if it's related because I've done intense workouts before but a couple of days after finishing the programme, it all started...

My pain started in the center of my back, to the right of the spine, where the bottom rib meets the spine - a cramping pain at first. My lower back then joined in, again a pain on the right but central, a deep aching pain which gradually worsened to a pulling sensation that ran from my back through the right of my bottom and into the side of my thigh, then I started to get a gnawing almost acidic pain under my right shoulder blade, again central but to the right. As time has progressed I have noticed a snapping/popping in my upper back, and crunching in my neck. The shoulder blade pain has near enough gone but has been replaced by an awful stiffness/tenderness in my upper back that spans from the bottom of the ribcage to under the shoulder blades on each side, it almost feels like it's squeezing my spine and gradually gets worse as the day goes on (I have a new desk job which I started April 2013) All of the pains are much relieved in the morning but progress with the day. I have seen 1 physiotherapist and 1 oesteopath - he has identified several stiff spinal segments but I have not had much relief from my 2 manipulations thus far. I've had a lot of "nervy" feeling since the manipulations though and the lower back pain now seems contained to a burning sensation in the thigh but the stiffness is horrendous and when everything does flare, all the different pains "join in" making me feel like I've gone back to square one!

I did try your back block routine for the best part of a week but stopped because I felt quite sore and the pain hadn't improved, though if I'm honest I wasn't really sure which routine from your Back Sufferers Bible book best described me so I may have been doing something wrong. I've had countless blood tests and a CT scan which have all come back normal. No painkillers seem to work. I only get temporary relief from hot baths or a hot water bottle.

I feel totally hopeless and in despair, I hope I don't sound too melodramatic but I feel like my life is over and I'm only 24. I'm consumed by the back pain. I went from social and active to barely making it through a day at work. I no longer have a social life through fear of pain, I literally haven't been out socially since this all began. My life consists of struggling through my job and spending evenings and weekends at home in pain and depressed. I'm petrified that this is it now for the rest of my life and no one seems to know what is wrong!

My apologies for the essay... Your thoughts would mean the world to me.

My best,


Comments for 24 Year Old with Chronic Back Pain

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Jun 27, 2013
Your mid-thoracic pain
by: Sarah says:

Hello Jane,
Sorry for delay. Snowed under with a recent Back-in-a-Week!
From what you write, I think you have twisted a couple of ribs. It's rather unlucky, but I think you could have done this by following a period of relative indolence with sitting around after leaving your job, followed by over-energetic weights and gym stuff.
You would get better help from reading the Thoracic Spine section of 'Keep the Joints Young' but meanwhile you should try to mobilise this part of the spine yourself. Perhaps the best way is doing the 'pelvic bridging' where you roll up your spine, from a starting position lying on your back, knees bent, feet as close to your bottom as possible. As you roll up, try to roll over more onto the sore patch you can feel beside your spine, literally where the ribs attach. Make small movements here 'on the spot' as you seek out the pain and pummel it into submission.
I think a Skype Chat would be ideal. Failing that I am in London in July and I could see you. You can contact my PA, Ruve Singh, on ruve@sarahkey.com

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