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My wife is 53. Following a diagnosis of breast cancer, she had a mastectomy and LD flap reconstruction in February 2011. She is currently taking arimidex, also alendronic acid for the borderline osteopenia which is primarily a consequence of long-term use of arimidex. Her BMI is 25 and she is in good health apart from back pain.
She injured her back almost 9 months ago when pulling something off a shelf whilst twisting her shoulders about 45 degrees when squatting down in a confined space (as you do!). GP prescribed Ibuprofen, rest and time
In due course the specific pain in her left lumbar region eased off, but she developed debilitating spasms in the muscles running up the left side of her back. She had a bone scan which revealed nothing of any note apart from very mild arthritis of the right hip. GP referred her to physiotherapy.
One physio who my wife saw identified a spot about 4 to 5cm to the left of the centreline of her spine, level with L4, which she could manipulate in order to relieve the spasming. She prescribed various exercises to strengthen my wife's back and buttock muscles.
That was nearly four months ago, since which time my wife has seen the physios at 4-weekly intervals, conscientiously done the exercises she has been shown, and also been going to modified Pilates classes.
The only real improvement since February is that the muscle spasms in her back are not quite as frequent, and do not last for quite so long at a time as they originally did. They are however still debilitating and still preventing her from getting into the weight-bearing exercise which she urgently needs to start in order to help prevent her osteopoenia turning into osteoporosis.
We're short on clues as to what's going on. All we know is that ...
1 The spasms in her back can occur spontaneously or they can be triggered by impact such as from jumping up and down
2 It is obvious even to me that the muscles in her left buttock are nowhere near as developed as those in her right buttock
3 There appears to be some sort of connection between her hamstrings and her back pain, in that doing a specific Pilates exercise to stretch the hamstrings in a particular way could be almost guaranteed to trigger the back pain and spasming.
4 Matters are complicated by the re-arrangement of her left side LD muscle during the reconstruction of her left breast.
5 And they're further complicated by another side-effect of arimidex being what can only be described as a "disconnect" between mind and body where feedback from muscles etc is concerned.
6 Her GP is no real help and she's getting nowhere with physiotherapy.
We're keen that her treatment for this problem remains within the realms of conventional medicine, but we have no idea where to go from here. Her GP can be relied upon to refer her to any consultant who might be able to help, but we're not even sure what speciality might be appropiate!
Any suggestions for a way forward, please?
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