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What do my lab test results indicate?

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Posted on Sat, 7 May 2016
Question: I have had back pain for years. The pain is usually been along spine or just outside spine on the sides. Its most painful along spine but i do have a soreness along bottom of ribs. I have had multiple work ups to check kidneys as I was concerned and all have been normal.
my last check was a little over a month ago and it consisted of bloodwork, urinalysis, xrays.
All local doctors have assured me its back muscle and possibly some pain from discs.
My history and most recent results of blood work and tests are below
41 y/o Ex- fireman and current construction company owner( early work was very physical). My weight is 208, height 5'8"(muscular)
I have 10 year old diagnosis of L4-L5 & L5-S1 disc bulges as well as a slight thorasic bulges and a cervical herniation. Back was evaluated by neuro a few years back with no significant changes.
Have dealt with chronic back pain for around 15 years.
Ultra sound of kidneys and liver 3 years ago was normal.
TESTS and LABS - around 30 days ago
creatine was 1.1
BUN - 12
GFR - normal
Glucose 112

URINALYSIS & B/P
Protein - neg
glucose - neg
blood - neg
Leuk - neg
urinalysis all negative
B/P 127/88
scans all normal
i've been without insurance for a month. Ive written on here quite a bit.
On a side note - since last doctors visit, I read on internet that bubbles in urine could be protein and I then of course I started to noticed bubbles in my urine.
I very likely could have always seen this but never knew anything so I never was worried.
I even bought medical urine test strips from a medical supplier that check for protein, blood, sugar,etc...
( regent strips)
Ive been testing the last several days and the strips are always negative for everything regardless of wether my urine was bubbly or not.
I feel confident at this point that the bubbles in urine are dehydration because of all the negative tests and the fact that I work outside. Also when I drink just a few glasses of water it goes away.
so
My pain in spine is the same as its been and I can feel it sometimes with movement if it's flared but it's managable and i'm used to it. The pain going outward toward sides is more of a soreness that feels fairly surface and not a feeling of coming from further inside body. when I stretch I do feel tightness in the same areas being stretched. Just started the stretching so I think it may be helping.
My only guess is that this might be due to me sleeping on the couch. I have slept on couch for quite some time now and to be honest I think I noticed this same pain several years back when I started sleeping on couch, just didn't worry about it as much. I got a work up back then and all was normal ( thats when I had the ultrasound)
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question and I understand your concern. I also read the list of the test....I assume by normal scans in the end you mean imaging of the vertebral column?

Given the normal reports of your kidney tests, including ultrasound, renal function and urine analysis I would say the pain is not related to the kidneys. I do not think you should concentrate much on bubbly urine, those are clinical data which may push us doctor to ask for tests, but if tests result normal (and in your case you have double checked with sticks) they are much more reliable than a subjective impression. Also you describe the pain as being along the spine which doesn't correspond to kidney related pain which is usually more lateral.

I would say from the present info that the pain is most probably related to the spine and its supporting muscles as your doctors have said. It is a little uncommon at your young age and if it had been a recent onset pain might be worrying. However given the long time of the presence of the symptoms, even without the imaging reports I would exclude threatening causes like tumors involving the spine or disc infection from microorganisms like tuberculosis or brucellosis as those conditions would have progressed in the meantime. So I would say the pain is likely related to chronic degenerative changes of the spine (the disc bulges and herniations which tend to advance as one ages). The fact neuro found nothing abnormal reinforces that.

So in terms of management I would suggest only the occasional over the counter pain killers like Ibuprofen and physical therapy in order to strengthen your core muscles to enable them to better support the spine.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (46 minutes later)
Thanks for the reply. I gues to sum up the pain and soreness, its along spine in multiple areas as well as across the ribs to the sides. It actually feels like the muscles close to the spine and on the outer sides are sore. The area below my ribs but above my waist doesnt really have pain. Like i said, when i stretch from side to side i can feel the tenderness stretching out.
Early on, meaning several years back i didnt notice soreness across my back to the sides on lower ribs as much but i did certainly have periods that it hurt there for a while.
Its come and gone over the years, sometimes staying longer than others. Thats why i wonder if its where i sleep because i notice more back pain when waking. Once the day starts and i am up moving around its just sore, like i tweaked it or bumped into something the day before.
Not sure but im thinking after all the testing and doctors telling me is same old back issues and muscle pain, theyre probably right. Wondering if changing bed would very likely help?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (18 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
Sorry for not addressing the sleep issue which you had already mentioned. Yes a change of mattress (or a real bed in your case) may help at times. Generally a firm mattress is preferred as it is thought to provide more support for the spine, but apart from there not being any real scientific studies on that regard, it is not that clear cut as it depends also on the individual, at times too firm a mattress can cause pain on pressure points especially for people who sleep on the side, so should be considered what the individual feels more comfortable with really.

As for the rest, the pain description and the fact it is more pronounced in the morning it goes with the initial hypothesis of arthritic changes of the spine, which characteristically are worse with more stiffness in the morning and getting better as the joints warm up. As for muscle spasms and tenderness in the paraspinal muscles that is common as well as they work as a whole supportive system with the vertebrae and their joints, so may be involved by inflammatory changes.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

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Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3668 Questions

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What do my lab test results indicate?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question and I understand your concern. I also read the list of the test....I assume by normal scans in the end you mean imaging of the vertebral column? Given the normal reports of your kidney tests, including ultrasound, renal function and urine analysis I would say the pain is not related to the kidneys. I do not think you should concentrate much on bubbly urine, those are clinical data which may push us doctor to ask for tests, but if tests result normal (and in your case you have double checked with sticks) they are much more reliable than a subjective impression. Also you describe the pain as being along the spine which doesn't correspond to kidney related pain which is usually more lateral. I would say from the present info that the pain is most probably related to the spine and its supporting muscles as your doctors have said. It is a little uncommon at your young age and if it had been a recent onset pain might be worrying. However given the long time of the presence of the symptoms, even without the imaging reports I would exclude threatening causes like tumors involving the spine or disc infection from microorganisms like tuberculosis or brucellosis as those conditions would have progressed in the meantime. So I would say the pain is likely related to chronic degenerative changes of the spine (the disc bulges and herniations which tend to advance as one ages). The fact neuro found nothing abnormal reinforces that. So in terms of management I would suggest only the occasional over the counter pain killers like Ibuprofen and physical therapy in order to strengthen your core muscles to enable them to better support the spine. I remain at your disposal for other questions.