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What causes back pain and you can not walk?

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Depending on the kind of pain (sharp, down the back of your legs or pain that goes around the side of one or both legs (sound familiar?), if you can't walk and the pain is such you're looking for someone to put you out of your misery, then you likely have a disk herniation in the lower lumbar area.

Pain down the back of the legs is usually a herniation at L5/S1 vertebrae or L4/L5; pain that goes around the side of the leg and terminates at the inside of the knee is between L3/L4 or L4/L5. The specific nerve pain you feel and where it is can be traced to specific disks.

First, don't sleep on your back or your stomach - those are the worst positions for your spine. Sitting also aggravates it, as does lifting anything over a couple of pounds.

After that, try and sleep on your side; put one pillow in front (by your chest so you can hug it) and one behind you so you can't roll over either way. Put a larger pillow or cushion between your legs that's big enough to keep your legs parallel with each other. This will take the pressure off the hips and the lower back. Make sure you've got a decent pillow to support your neck also.

If that's still uncomfortable or you can only sleep on your back, the other solution is to sleep on your back with a cushion under your legs/knees so that the pressure on the small of your back is reduced (it should be flat against the bed),

If you still can't get comfortable, grab a blanket and pillow and head for the living room. Lie down in front of your couch, and slide your butt up against the front of it, putting your legs on the couch seat (sitting position but on your back). This will take all the pressure off your back; though it's a hard surface, it is comfortable if you've got back pain that's bad enough.

If it persists more than 3 days, you need to see your doctor. Until then, stay off your feet and lie down; sitting and standing also puts pressure on the lower spine and aggravates it.

As far as the pain, in addition to bedrest and getting pressure off the spine, reducing inflammation is the next step. If you don't have any prescription anti-inflammatories, you can use OTC meds to do the same thing. 2 of my favorites when I don't feel like using Percocet or Demerol tablets for my own back problems, which are severe. I use several OTC meds that work pretty well:

Aleve - Naproxen in non-prescription form. If you can get prescription Napoxen get it (500mg). If not, 2 Aleve is 440mg, which is close enough.

Bayer Back and Body Aspirin
Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps

Flexeril helps with muscle spasms - ask your doctor for a prescription. In a pinch, Benadryl will also help relax you.

Before you see a doctor, track your pain in a diary. Note the location (draw a simple diagram of your back and indicate where it is) the kind of pain you have (sharp, dull, tingly, needles and pins, burning, etc.), the severity of the pain (1 = hardly any, 10=please kill me or knock me out now), the time of day, the date, and what you were doing when it started or increased. Note pain beginnings and increases. At the top of the diary, note when the pain began and if you did anything before it started (accident, lifted something, unbelievable sex, etc.). Make sure you bring it with you to your doctor.

NEVER ask a doctor up front for prescription painkillers; you run the real risk of being taken lightly as many doctors will just think you're faking it trying to get pain meds. Of course real pain is difficult to fake, and having a pain diary will go a long way to show you're serious about your pain and getting it under control. Let your doctor suggest it first.



Lastly, a Thermophore Pad works wonders. If you get one, get the original Standard 14"x27" pad with the switch you have to hold (unless you have arthritic hands).

I've added some links below that might help you.
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