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CHRONIC Lower back, buttock, thigh, knee, and ankle pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Chronic Pain
I have been dealing with chronic pain for the last two months. In the beginning I thought it was my kidney stones acting up and I even changed urologists to get a second opinion because my urologist told me there was nothing he could do for me. I went to a second urologists who of course wanted to run every test he could which is very expensive and he told me there was nothing he could to that it was probably a nerve given my symptoms and to see an Orthopaedic surgeon. I went to the Ortho doc and he did an xray in his office and told me that there was a problem with one of the discs in my lower back and gave me hydrocodone for pain, which doesn't stop the pain it just takes the edge off. He also did not tell me what number disc he was talking about. Then a week later my symptoms are still the same and he had me go for an MRI. The MRI came back and he said he saw NO significant injuries or problems in my back. WHY WAS THERE A PROBLEM A WEEK AGO AND NOW THERE IS NOTHING AND I STILL HAVE PAIN. I then asked his nurse if they could refill my hydrocodone and she said no and gave me flexeril and ibuprofen and ultram. None of this helps either. She also told me that it was probably a sprain and there was nothing else they could do for me but the could REFER me to someone else. I HAVE BEEN TO FIVE DIFFERENT DOCTORS IN TWO MONTHS AND ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS REFER ME TO SOMEONE ELSE. I figured the ortho was the end of the line and I was so excited to see a bad disc cause I knew it was finally the ANSWER I was looking for but apparently I was wrong. I have spent over $5000 in the last two months on xrays and copays and doctor's visits. I am at the end of my rope, still in a lot of pain and no one wants to help me. WHAT IS MY NEXT STEP. Sorry this was so long, but I would love to know what someone else has been through and if they were treated the same way. It seems like they are nice to you when you are writing them a check but the minute you walk out of their office they don't want anything else to do with you. I was just told if I wasn't better I would have to be referred. TO WHO??? I am so confused and aggravated at this point I could scream. The only person who has been willing to help with the pain is my regular physician who I've seen for 25 of my 34 years. SOMEONE PLEASE COMMENT and let me know what your ideas are and if there is anything else I can try. I am tired of being bounced around from Dr. to Dr.
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Comments

  • First of all welcome to Spine Health. I'm really sorry to hear that you have benn getting the run around from your docs. Unfortunately what you described is fairly common for many people.

    The good thing is that you now have x-rays and an MRI. With those images you can get with a spine specialist and have him/her evaluate your condition. Maybe you can get your GP to give you a referal.

    You need to have someone identify what the exact issue is, possibly recommend physical therapy and go forward from there. One thing you will find, is that when it comes to back pain they will try every concervative manner of treatment over 6 months or more to get it to calm down.

    So if you can afford it, I'd go back and see your GP and see if he can help you out getting to a spine specialist.

    "C"
  • "C" gave you a very good answer.

    I would say a visit to your regular physician and ask for a referal,just as she had mentioned.

    Back pain is not always easy to diagnose-if nothing showed up on the MRI,that does not mean that you don't have pain of course,only that the Drs. can't see your pain.

    Try keeping a pain journal,at least for a few days just to show the Dr.when your pain is worse,eases up,etc.and to show your concern...maybe they will understand the seriousness and see your frustration better if you can show them something.
    Good luck!

  • welcome to SH. I am so sorry to hear of your frustrations with all of the docs that you have seen. You remind me of myself when I first started this long journey. I was in so much pain and could barely walk. Went to so many docs (even spine specialists) that told me they saw nothing on my MRI. I had just moved to a new rural area of my state and thought that they all must be a bunch of morons. But not everything shows on MRIs and xrays. It has to be pretty major to show on MRI but not pretty major to cause major pain is what I have finally learned. You can have lots of abnormal findings on MRI and xray but it doesn't mean that any of them are causing the pain. I started with chiros, Pt and when my left butt cheek went totally numb, PT refused to treat me and sent me back to doc. I finally ended up with a great pain management doc and started with the standard diagnostics, epidural, nerve block etc. Finally I recieved a rhizotomy which was a blessing. I got so much relief from it that I was actually able to return to work. I had these done about 1 x a year as that is how long it took the nerves to grow back. Most of my pain was coming from my arthritic facet joints. It helped about 85% of my pain. Then last Dec my doc did a discography and found that I had an annular tare at L3/L4 so he did a radical endoscopic microdiscectomy (removed most of my disc). I am telling you all of this so that you will realize that most times our spine problems are not found by xrays or MRIs alone. Maybe this will help to clear things up for you a little as to why you are in so much pain and nobody seems to be able to find the reason in your MRI or Xrays. I would definitely keep going to docs until you find one that is able and willing to do whatever it takes to help you. Maybe you can find a good PM doc in your area that can do more diagnostic testing. I have personally found with surgeons that if they look at MRI or Xray and do not see something that they can operate on, they send you down the line. Good luck to you and please keep us posted on your progress.
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you know you have pain and that is what matters!! you should not give up and continue to seek help until you find it. i would start a good pt program with a professional. talk to your family doctor about a referral or even a pm. a good pm could give you more conservative treatments to try and work out a treatment plan. good luck and don't give up! Jenny
  • Thank you guys so much for all of the much needed information . I was starting to think I was crazy and this was all in my head. I am so glad that I am not the only one who has been through a list of physicians to try to figure out what's going on. I am so thankful for all of your thoughts and well wishes and now my next step is to make an appt with my PCP and have him refer me to either a pain management specialist or a spine specialist. I will keep you all posted on my progress and anything new that I find out. Thanks again.

    Jenny
  • Thanks so much for the info. I have found a spine specialist in my city, as a matter of fact he was listed on this site, so I am hoping my regular physician will refer me to him. Is it bad to ask to be referred to someone that you want to see. As I have looked, he is the only one in town that specializes in the spine and related areas. Also, the orthopaedic surgeon that I saw doesn't do backs so I am assuming that's why they want to refer me. I do hope I can get some sort of answer and relief. Thanks for all of the well wishes and I will keep you posted on what's going on.

    Jenny
  • Hi Jenny!
    I just wanted to let you know that I had a retrolisthesis of L5 on S1 (L5 was shifting back over 1/2" when I stood up but when I laid down it went back) and because I was laying for the MRI it did not show up! I felt like a freak, but finally my NS ordered a CT myelogram (myelograms aren't ordered too often these days but he still finds them helpful and it sure helped with my case!) and it showed the vertebrae that was shifting back when they did Xrays with me standing and the dye in there. So, again, just another case of MRIs not being the "end all" in diagnosing back problems!

    Hang in there and keep us posted on your PCP appt and how it goes for you! Hope you get in the right hands soon!

    Erika
  • just wishing you good luck at your future appts.

    it is tuff when you think your going to a ortho dr they are going to fix all. there is only 1 spine dr out of my group of 18 drs. so now that you know.

    i also went 8 months not knowing what was wrong through pain managment. went back to my old dr. he got the mri, read it i had a slight hernaition at L/5 but spondylolthesis on S1 that only showed up on a xray of me bending forward. WEIRD how things come about. that was causing more pain then the herniation.

    your pain sounds like mine...

    anyway good luck!!! >:D<
  • Suggest seeing a foot surgeon and evaluating your ankle. For example I found by wearing an air brace PTTD(Posterior tibial tendonitis dysfunction) that I got rid of chronic pain 6 to 8 from my back. What was happening the foot was straining the inside of left knee and the low back so that when I sat down the pain level went to 6 to 8. Hope this helps you.
  • I'm a 14 year old athlete (track and field / basketball). I've had pain in my right knee since I was at least 12 and I never saw anyone about it, and that comes and goes as it pleases. Just this year, I injured my left hip during the track and field preseason and missed the entire season for what they think was Trochanteric Bursitis. Even now though, my hip hurts like it did earlier this year. My lower back has been hurting since about November of 2014 and I had to call my mom to take me to the hospital during class because it hurt so badly I couldn't move. By the time we got to the hospital it had stopped hurting that badly for the most part and there was nothing they could do since the pain had passed. My left ankle just recently started hurting and I originally thought I just twisted it and that nothing was wrong but the pain keeps coming back and hurts to walk on it, but it isn't swollen. Please, give me any insight you have! I'm going in for a physical soon so I can register for sports again but I want to have an idea of what's going on before I go. Thanks.
    "Here Without You"
    - TDD
  • New here. Hurt my back 10 years aho and had problems since. Had numerous physio sessions and chiropractic appointments over the years which only caused slight relief. I eventually got my doc to refer for mri which showed disc problems. Buldging dehydrated and slightly out of allignment. Had physio again and no improvements. Take pain meds every day but now it has spread to my buttocks both sides and my left upper thigh and behind my left knee. No idea if this related or not as still waitimg to get seen by my doc again. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Curious if it was your primary doctor who ordered the MRI?
    Have you been referred to spine specialist?...esp since you are having more and seems like you are describing worsening symptoms..?

    There are variety of tests that can be done in attempt to find cause and then more proper treatments.

    My primary tried to work with my pain about two years before referring me to pain management specialist.
    Best thing for me!
    He did variety of other testing and was able to have more appropriate treatments and meds for me, for my list of symptoms.

    You may benefit from the search in this site, upper right on page.
    If you were to type in about pain management consultations or preparing for appointment, it may help you with questions for your doctor.
    It may also bring to mind things to include when explaining your symptoms, and your response from your prescribed medications.

    Please keep us posted!
    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hey all, have been following Spine Health for while and thought you might be interested in my experience.

    Have had lower back problems for years but managed it by being a regular gym bunny and keeping my core strength up, this ended when I changed jobs and was just too tired with extra commuting I was doing so things started to deteriorate. I basically have an L5 Pars Defect, the way it was put to me was they don't know why, it could be an injury or even possible that I was born with it/inherited it or just had a weakness there - this told to me by my GP whom I trust implicitly.

    Iit was suggested I start with epidurals as the pain was becoming quite bad. The first time I had sedation before the injection plus local anaesetic. The procedure itself was quick, day care, went home and took it easy for the rest of the day and careful to do heavy lifting etc for another day. Have to say the pain relief was amazing and pretty instant. Since then (5years), I have had them regularly, gradually spreading out the gaps to match with recurrence of the pain. That first instant relief has never been repeated, but it was really quite bad at that point, and the aches and pains never totally go completely - how can they, the cause it still there. More recently I have also had sciatica through the right hip, knee and down to the ankle. The GP put me on pregabilin , have to say I don't like them, they mess with my head.

    Went for my now six monthly Rt L5 TFE yesterday, which I now do without sedation (and yes it bloody hurts, but I have high pain threshold and would rather suffer for that 5 mins so I can recover quickly and go home). The consultant checked my symptoms and I updated him on the sciatica, do you know this man put that cannula right on that nerve, they are truly amazing these people, I could feel it burning all the way down my leg. I'm suffering a bit today, pretty achy, but topping up with cocodamol, I know it will pass. He also suggested using electrolytes in conjunction with steroid next time as this may prolong the effects - am happy to give it a go if it means I can get the trips to the hospital down to 9mths or even a year. Some time in the future I may have to think about joint fusion, but the doctors prefer non-invasive treatments if they can and am happy to take their advice for now. Am hoping to get off the pregabilin as well.

    Pain and your response to it is very personal, what works for one doesn't work for another, so make sure you have a GP who has time for you and explore the options to find what suits you.

    If they suggest epidurals, give it a go with sedation first, the hospital should offer it anyway, don't suffer unnecessarily.

    Hopefully my experiences might be of use to someone,

    Merry Christmas!!
    cjg@london
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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