Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103

    Back aches - but only late at night ?? Can't sleep, please help !!!!

    Thanks for looking in, sorry for the long post, but I need to explain steps already taken.

    Symptoms = I feel good all day (lucky me) and ride / work / play without any pain. But after about 4hrs in bed I wake with a sore aching back. Seems like my leg and back muscles have tightened up as I have reduced flexibility. I can't get back to sleep, so I get up and sit at the PC for about an hour or two, then I will have loosened up enough to go back to bed.

    Sometimes I have to get up twice during the night, this is very disrupting and makes early starts difficult.

    This started about 9 months ago, which was about 6 weeks after I increased my weights training for an important race. I increased my leg extensions, leg curls and leg press, and saw steady gains in strength, endurance and muscle mass. Great, but now I can't sleep. I think the sleeping problem is muscle imballance caused by my weight lifting.

    Over the last 9 months I have tried all kinds of measures to try and fix this.

    Have been to 2 different highly regarded masseuses.
    An Osteopath
    A Physio who works with our institute of sport riders - she put me on a stretches program, but when that didn't help she sent me for xrays.

    Tried more stretches, different stretches, yoga, core strength work, inversion table, less riding, shorter stem and less aggressive position on bike.

    Checked position and leg lengths, new mattress, supplements such as glucosamine and magnesium, pain killers (no use - not using them now).

    My Doctor thinks it isn't muscle imbalance caused by my weightlifting, as muscles should be relaxed at night, and he doesn't think this would be waking me up. He thought it might be disc issues, till the x-rays showed they were ok. Scarily he started using terms such as "red flag" this how Doctors say "potentially cancer" without actually using the big C word as that may make you panic.

    Had X-rays, CTscan, MRI and bone scan......the Doctor recommended these because of the waking at night "red flag" issues. They found no cause, my back looks good, that is great news, but doesn't fix me.

    They did find a large cyst inside my pelvis bone, which at first I thought , but apparently this is a "red herring", not related. I have had a bone biopsy to prove this is benign, get the result in a few days time, but all tests so far say it is ok.

    Anyway, does anyone else have the waking at night problem ?

    After many different tactics, false hopes and trials, I'm going back to muscle imbalance theory. It does seem like a long time to correct, I have not done any weights for about 7 months and I have backed off the training and done all the above steps, but I suppose I just need to persevere.

    Will anyone here be able to give me better advice than the plethora of professionals I have already consulted ? Will anyone read such a long rant? probably not, but I needed to have a vent anyway.

    I will keep slogging away with the stretches and core work, and hope that my body balances itself and the problem just goes away. Eternally optimistic

    Sleep........................don't ever take it for granted

    At least I can still ride
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    974
    sometimes the simple answer ends up being correct when all the "bad" tests come back negative. It seems that immobility is causing the cramping. This can happen with electrolyte imbalances. Try drinking gatorade before you go to sleep. Also calcium levels can effect muscle contracture since your body uses calcium to evoke muscle potential. Have your parathyroid levels checked. Calcium deficiency usually causes spasm because the Ca receptors become super sensitive.

    Pain at night is a red flag for cancer, however only because cancer is a nagging pain which does not change with posiiton. since at night you have nothing else to focus on the pain seems more intense since usually it is a low grade pain. However, cancer usually will not wake you from sleep and certainly does not cause cramping. So I would not be too worried about cancer.

  3. #3
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Hi mlepito, thanks for your input, I have tried extra electrolytes, but not specifically before bed. I usually use gatoraide when I have a hard / sweaty ride or workout. I would have thought if it was an electrolyte imbalance that I would only suffer sometimes and with differing intensity. But I will try and persue this again.

    Calcium intake is something I have not played with, I will do some research and give it a try, thanks. I will also ask my Dr about getting my parathyroid levels checked.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  4. #4
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Hmmm, did a bit of quick research and it seems that I probably get enough calcium already.

    I had already just finished my sardines on toast for lunch, which is one of the recommendations, I eat veggies and cheeses, milk, yoghurt, seeds, and get outside for my sunshine dose when I can.

    I used to take magnesium supplements, but have stopped them as I have reduced my training intensity and didn't think I need them. Only stopped them a couple of months ago.

    My diet is generally very healthy, diverse and researched.

    Still I will experiment more and not rule out diet as a possible solution.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  5. #5
    fnar fnar brrraaaaap
    Reputation: ilostmypassword's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    2,171
    Have you tried a week off from riding?

  6. #6
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by ilostmypassword
    Have you tried a week off from riding?

    Yep, 10 days I went from memory, no different, and I stopped weightlifting altogether.

    My leg muscles have retained the extra bulk they put on when I did the weights though. I would have thought they would be shrinking a bit now after many months with no weights.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,650
    Stop doing leg presses. Leg presses are pretty easy to do in correctly and may be causing nerves to be pinched in the back. What kind of machine are you using to do them? The best thing to do would be to start doing free squats so you will be using your core. Also remember not to go past parallel when doing them. I would definately go see a good orthopedic that specializes in backs. It definately sounds like a pinched/irritated nerve to me.

  8. #8
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus
    Will anyone here be able to give me better advice than the plethora of professionals I have already consulted ? Will anyone read such a long rant? probably not, but I needed to have a vent anyway.
    Thanks Madsquwerelool, I knew some would not read the original post. Yes as stated about 3 times I have stopped weights.

    OK I know you meant well and thanks for trying dude
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,650
    I did not mean to stop doing weights, I meant stop doing that specific excercise as it is easy to hurt yourself. If you read my post, I was stating an alternative and possible causes to your pain. I did read the entire post, no were did you state that you have thought about your nerves. My mother has a degenerative back disease which cause her spinal cord to move and it would pinch nerves and cause severe back spasms and her legs to go numb. Took 5 years of her going to doctors before it was recognized. So, take your own advice and read my post a little more carefully, not just the first line (wink).

  10. #10
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Fair enough, I did read your post, but only responded to the first bit due to being tired and a bit inebriated.

    I don't know how to describe the leg press machine I was using except to say it's an old one where you sit and lift horizontally. I think I was fairly careful using it, many people say free weights are a better exercise, but others also say free weight squats can be dangerous. When / if I do start doing weight again I will research the options and techniques again.

    I would have thought the masseuses and physio I have been to would discover a pinched nerve if that was the cause, but perhaps not.

    The orthopaedic I was sent to for the cyst in my pelvis bone has suggested referring me to his collegue who is an othapedic back specialist.

    So yes I'm going down that path, he will be the 6th professional I've consulted.

    Fingers crossed.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,650
    The back specialict hopefully will get it all sorted out. I am a bit nervous about these issues since my mother's back disease can be hereditary. The key with squats is to start doing them with no weight at all, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing straight ahead and chin up. Go down to your quads are parallel and then back up. The main thing once you add weight will be making sure the bar is resting on your shoulders and not your neck.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cranked's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    376
    Obviously there are a mountain of potential problems that could be the cause. Not to over simplify things but I had a major problem a couple years ago. I would wake up screaming from back pain at all hours of the night. Got a new mattress thinking that was the problem, but it was the wooden supports under the bed that had slowly sagged over years of sleeping on them. Took a while to figure it out, but haven't had anymore problems since. I would start with the simplest options and begin to eliminate those first, as they tend to be cheaper and easier to try.

  13. #13
    all about the ride down
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    378
    Rattus, The only thing I could think of is going the extra step (whatever that may be.) to eliminate anything in your bowels. I can't work on you from here. Too bad. Yours is just the kind of challenge I look forward to.
    Good luck and please keep us posted.
    Chris
    The More People I Meet the More I Prefer Dogs!

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    48

    I've had a closely related problem

    I had a serious bout of back pulling hamstrings tight and vice versa problem last year. Since then, the better part of a year, I awoke with back pain in the middle of the night and the morning. My latest chiro/therapist told me that episode may have put to sleep the muscles, tendons whatever in my lower back. To wake them back up, he had me suck in my stomach muscles for 2 minutes, then again every time I got in car, got out of car, got into bed, got out of bed, got into a chair and got out again. Within a day, my back pain in bed went away. Unbelievable, but true!!!

  15. #15
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions..........

    MaddSquirrel.....I will keep your squats tips in mind if I ever start to do them.

    Cranked......Good suggestion, but I have already had the slats under my bed reinforced and supported with an extra leg in the middle. Then bought a new mattress, no go............when I sleep in other beds in hotels I still wake up sore also.

    split.therapy.........I will put bowels on my list of things to pursue and eliminate, hmmm that doesn't sound right does it LOL.

    jamesjoker..........I'm thinking this could eventually could help me. You were very lucky to find relief so quickly. My Physio has me doing similar as part of my core strength work. I suck in my lower stomach muscles and engage the "traversus abdominus" keeping them engaged I breath normally and do alternating leg lifts. I do heaps of other core work also.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BoiseBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    710

    Instability!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus
    Thanks for looking in, sorry for the long post, but I need to explain steps already taken.

    Symptoms = I feel good all day (lucky me) and ride / work / play without any pain. But after about 4hrs in bed I wake with a sore aching back. Seems like my leg and back muscles have tightened up as I have reduced flexibility. I can't get back to sleep, so I get up and sit at the PC for about an hour or two, then I will have loosened up enough to go back to bed.

    Sometimes I have to get up twice during the night, this is very disrupting and makes early starts difficult.

    This started about 9 months ago, which was about 6 weeks after I increased my weights training for an important race. I increased my leg extensions, leg curls and leg press, and saw steady gains in strength, endurance and muscle mass. Great, but now I can't sleep. I think the sleeping problem is muscle imballance caused by my weight lifting.

    Over the last 9 months I have tried all kinds of measures to try and fix this.

    Have been to 2 different highly regarded masseuses.
    An Osteopath
    A Physio who works with our institute of sport riders - she put me on a stretches program, but when that didn't help she sent me for xrays.

    Tried more stretches, different stretches, yoga, core strength work, inversion table, less riding, shorter stem and less aggressive position on bike.

    Checked position and leg lengths, new mattress, supplements such as glucosamine and magnesium, pain killers (no use - not using them now).

    My Doctor thinks it isn't muscle imbalance caused by my weightlifting, as muscles should be relaxed at night, and he doesn't think this would be waking me up. He thought it might be disc issues, till the x-rays showed they were ok. Scarily he started using terms such as "red flag" this how Doctors say "potentially cancer" without actually using the big C word as that may make you panic.

    Had X-rays, CTscan, MRI and bone scan......the Doctor recommended these because of the waking at night "red flag" issues. They found no cause, my back looks good, that is great news, but doesn't fix me.

    They did find a large cyst inside my pelvis bone, which at first I thought , but apparently this is a "red herring", not related. I have had a bone biopsy to prove this is benign, get the result in a few days time, but all tests so far say it is ok.

    Anyway, does anyone else have the waking at night problem ?

    After many different tactics, false hopes and trials, I'm going back to muscle imbalance theory. It does seem like a long time to correct, I have not done any weights for about 7 months and I have backed off the training and done all the above steps, but I suppose I just need to persevere.

    Will anyone here be able to give me better advice than the plethora of professionals I have already consulted ? Will anyone read such a long rant? probably not, but I needed to have a vent anyway.

    I will keep slogging away with the stretches and core work, and hope that my body balances itself and the problem just goes away. Eternally optimistic

    Sleep........................don't ever take it for granted

    At least I can still ride
    Your sx's are a bit remeniscent of a Lumbar instability. Typically, these instabilities will feel better with a sitting or flexed position that will stabilize the segments via the ThoracoLumbar Fascia. In a erect or extended position, similar to lying prone while we sleep, it is not uncommon for a person to get pain and even radicular type sx's. Often, as soon as we change positions into sitting or bending forward the back will feel better.
    Imaging may or may not inidicat any issues. The instability is soft tissue related (ligamentus) so a good manual therapist (PT) should be able to pick one up on you if it is truly the issue.
    BoiseBoy

  17. #17
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,629
    Rattus,
    Any family history of back pain?
    Any history of psoriasis or eye inflammation in you or your family members?
    Have you had imaging specifically of the sacroiliac joints? These tend not to be included on spinal MRI/CT.
    Anyone do blood tests called Sed Rate (ESR), C Reactive protein or HLA-B27?
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

    ― Albert Einstein

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dgage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    495
    I know a few years ago when my legs were cramping up, I went to my doctor about it and the first thing he asked if I had cut down on my salt intake. When I said I had, He said to start using it again. Problem solved!
    I know, sounds too simple to work but sure can't hurt. I just added a bit to my food like most people do.
    Doug

  19. #19
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    The biopsy result was good, so no cancer

    The surgeon thinks it's most probably muscular or nervous system. He was dismissive of it being anything to do with nutrition or internal organs, and didn't think and further blood tests were necessary. I actually printed out a couple of suggestions from here to discuss with him.

    He gave me a referral to a back specialist, I have an appointment in three months

    Tomorrow I'm going to a second physio, for a new perspective.

    The last couple of weeks I actually think I have noticed a slight improvement. The discomfort that wakes me up is less intense, sometimes I can get back to sleep without getting up.

    Thanks again to everyone here who has contributed. I will keep positive and keep trying
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  20. #20
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    Rattus,
    Any family history of back pain?
    Any history of psoriasis or eye inflammation in you or your family members?
    Have you had imaging specifically of the sacroiliac joints? These tend not to be included on spinal MRI/CT.
    Anyone do blood tests called Sed Rate (ESR), C Reactive protein or HLA-B27?
    You were onto it Mr Wheel, some months ago I asked the Surgeon about the blood tests that you suggested and he dismissed them. I now assume that was because he had no idea why they would be suggested, and his ego got in the way of him admitting that.

    The second Physio (in above post) tried her stuff for a few weeks, then referred me to a Sports Physician. He was straight onto the A.S. symptoms Ankylosing spondylitis and ordered the blood tests. He told me they were for arthritis type things. So that night I typed into Google "arthritis wake at night" and found out about A.S.

    Yes I am HLA-B27 positive, I now have my very own Rheumatologist who has diagnosed me as "undifferentiated spondyloarthritis".

    I am now on NSAID's drugs, and doing the low starch diet (which sucks) and I feel much better. I have books, forums and a very well regarded and researched Rheumatologist who specialises in A.S.

    Diet, drugs and exercise are my recommended therapy, all things that I have experience with

    For now I am still OK to keep on MTBing, but if I start to fuse up then I will have to take up less risky exercises. Fingers crossed that will not happen, I'm doing all I can to stop it, but the rest is just chance / luck.

    So thanks for your help Squeaky Wheel, even though it was dismissed, I will have to give the Surgeon a lesson in the hope he doesn't tell any other A.S. people to "go home and learn to live with it."

    Cheers,
    Rat
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  21. #21
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,629
    Glad to hear you're now on the right path
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

    ― Albert Einstein

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    59
    I've had this exact same problem for the past 3 months. My chiro says it's early stages of arthritis. I feel better the more active I get. He told me to stretch my back and hamstrings more, use my tenz a few times a week and use a heating pad to keep the muscles loose. I take an aleve almost every morning and that helps me get going untill it loosens up on it's own. Other than that, a steriod shot is another option but doesn't always help.

  23. #23
    Hill eater
    Reputation: Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    103
    Hi mkimber, if your chiro thinks it's arthritis then they should refer you onto a rheumatologist. Chiro manipulation can be dangerous for anyone with A.S.

    But you may not have A.S. so don't panic and worry about worst case scenario. I am still getting my head around it, but I need to keep in mind that I have an 85% chance of not fusing up. Due to age, and my scans I have been told I have undifferentiated spondyloarthritis and it might stay that way and not get worse.

    You need to get professional advice though.

    With drugs, exercise, stretches, posture and diet (low starch) I am now sleeping much better.

    I also plan on being competitive at my next local 6hr enduro race

    Some info here.............good luck

    http://www.kickas.org/
    http://arthritis.about.com/library/q...spondyquiz.htm
    http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.o...ull/44/12/1483
    http://www.kickas.org/as_dietary_primer.shtml
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankylosing_spondylitis
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •