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wayyy too young

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Lower Back Pain
So here's the deal.
I just turned 20 years old (first and foremost)...3 years ago I was in a bad car accident and have been dealing with numerous back problems and got extensive studies done in numerous fields.
I was told I have major disc degeneration/herniated discs at L3-L5, scoliosis, and arthritis of the spine. I have a pinched nerve in my neck that causes arm pain and numbness (loss of color too) and my sciatic nerve is pinched (sciatica) causing sharp pain in my right leg, achy joints, numbness in my toes, etc.
I have had 3 epidural injections, tried MONTHS and MONTHS of physical therapy, I've been on every damn muscle relaxer and pain killer there is, resulting in other health problems and sending me to the hospital (I was up to about 12 prescriptions a day, so I voluntarily stopped taking all my medication when I had a very serious drug interatction). I've tried decompression therapy, alternative therapy, heat packs/ice packs, excersize, you name it I've tried it, other than surgery. Due to my age they did not want to put me through that, which is ABSURD in itself.
I missed a good portion of my highschool 'career' I was out of work, and now struggle in college being that I have a hard time sitting through lectures.

I'm tired of suffering, I'm way too young to have to go through such excruciating pain on a daily basis. I lose a great deal of sleep, I'm physically exhausted all the time, and real miserable...I'm at my wits end, I would like to know if anyone has 'success stories' of surgeries they have had done and healing times (I know it varies but an approximation would be a great deal of help to me).
I plan on discussing options with my doctor but everytime I go in there he just gives me a prescription to "try".



  • that lots of docs hesitate to do surgery on someone so young because say with a fusion surgery, if you were fused at one level it puts more pressure on the levels above and below which will lead to more fusion surgeries. It is like a dominoe effect. There are no guarantees with surgery and I have met lots of people (including myself) that surgery actually made the pain worse. If you were able to find some type of relief there is a possibilty of a newer better procedure with better chances of success to come along. You mentioned 12 scripts at one time. Have you tried any of the long acting opiates? You are right you are waaaaaay too young for this and I really feel bad for you. I wish you luck and please keep us posted.
  • although i haven't had decompression yet or injections and don't have as many problems as you, i know what it's like, i missed out on my senior year and senior basketball season it blows.

    sorry nothing helps.
  • I went back to the doc's today and they prescribed me Amrix, Naproxen and Flector patches...we'll see how this goes.
    I also have a consult for November 7th with a orthopedic surgeon.
    Apparently, my neurologist thinks im crazy and suggested that I not be put on narcotics until I have a psychiatric evaluation, which I was never informed of until today.
    BOO doctors.
  • Didn't you know that? Oh, I guess you're too young to have heard that very much yet. You will, give it time. When doctors say that they should be slapped, it's their favorite line.

    Concerning surgery, has anyone suggested a simple Laminectomy? When I had mine, I was on top of the world. Too bad I injured myself and re-herniated the disk soon after surgery. But if that is all you would need to get some major relief, I would say go for it. I was up and about freely just after 1 little week. Dancing after 3! In the living room of course!

    Good luck!
  • First welcome to SH. ;)
    As topfuelfan put it all to well you will hear that over and over "your to young".
    I will mention this to my good buddy who just had surgery through the front and back. She is a great gal and mabye can help you understand a bit better.
    Your never to young hun. First something major happened to you the dreaded "car accident". DDD starts happening at any age. Especially if it runs in family history in my mind doubles the risk factors.(thats where most of mine is from) so ask about that also.
    Personal opinion only I am not keen on Neuro's. Yes there are plenty of GREAT ones out there. Like the one for my thoracic spine. But I found the orthopedic surgeons that specialize in the spine are more knowledgable. Ok again not all of them.
    We are here to offer you all the support we can give you. We are unable to give you any medical opinions or diagnosis.

    Mabye the ortho will give you news you want to hear.
    Surgery is not to be taken lightly. As its been said it puts pressure on the other disks. I know that off hand experience with my back.

    Did you have a cervical MRI?? Number one I know how painful aa pinched nerve in your neck is. I was just curious to see if there are any disks out in that area?? Do to the accident. Discoloration of your arm?? Well darn that don't sond right #o

    I feel your pain. I live it everyday!!
    Let us know how you make out at your appt.
    I wish you the best of luck!!!
    Take your new meds RX'd and hoping for some relief for you.
    Please take care of yourself. Don't overstrain. And stay with just simple walking. Consult even just your personal MD on that to.

    Hang in there you we will get through this you came to the right place!!!!

    Terri O:) >:D<
  • Hi There,
    Not too sure what else to add that hasn't been said already.

    You are young but there are othere here like you who needed surgery. The point the docs are trying to achieve is balance qualoty of life versus risks of surgery and more prbs in future.

    As long as you don't have a doc who is rushing in for surgery and you are clear on the pro's and cons.

    One can't live in agony forever!
  • I know how you feel and you have to be so so frustrated as to what has happened to you. I think everbody is right on what has been posted. I would try very hard to find any type of alernative treatment than surgery. I would try to wait a few year till tech. is better. there has been several articles not to have back surgery now cause there is so much better tech. that will be out in a few years.

    You are very young and need to talk about your future when you meet with these Dr. A fusion is forever no turning back maybe a surgery to relieve and pinched nerves or something like that. I say this from my heart please try anything but fusions Dr.s will do the surgeries than later if there is a problem you wil get brushed away.

    There is a disc decompression treatment that I looked in to doing and I can't cause I had a fusion but I talked to the owner and they swear thay can help its new and I would try it. If you would like info I cant look it up.

    Please just keep your future in mind when doing treatment. I hope so much you get some pain relief soon.

    Take care
  • You are sooo young to go through this. My first bout with back issues began when I was 21. Work injury. It took over 2 years of pain and numbness in my feet before a doctor finally did surgery. I went to chiropractic, PT, osteopath, etc and nothing had helped. When the surgery was done, I felt much better. The drs had all said I was too young as well. When they performed the laminectomy, the doctor apologized to me. Seems that the herniation was much worse than the films showed and that he then understood my condition.

    In my current situation, I am 40 and have been told that I'm too young for surgery to fix the 2 DDDs, 2 bulging discs, bone spurs, and nerve canal compression. ~X( Go figure.

    Many hugs and prayers that you will find relief one way or another.
  • i was 16 when i found out that i had to have surgery on my back. now i'm 30 and going through the same thing again. however, when i had the surgery then, it made a HUGE difference. i felt a great deal better. they told me that i had the back of a 40 year old then and i would have to deal with back pain for the rest of my life. so if you have support, like i have found here, talk to a real surgeon and take the chance. you'll feel better and your mood and spirits will raise making life a whole lot better. good luck and feel free to pm me if you ever need to talk.
  • i am 30 and i had my c1 c2 fused. so far so good. i am recovering slowly but surely.

    i got off the pain meds and most meds a few weeks after surgery. i am still in neck brace and therefor still use muscle relaxers as needed.

    i had no choice but to have surgery. i must admit that i was really worried about having it but i did.

    i did have bad anxiety for a bit but right now i can say i am a positive for fusion surgery.
  • You are way too young to not enjoy your life and youth at that. I was 28 yrs old when I got my neck injury. There is no age discrimination here.
    My opinion is to get another dr. Don't be afraid to find someone else. I just found a web site on stem cell research for lumbar disc. Regenexx.com There is also a video on you tube that they made. Have you researched ADRs? I don't know all the qualifications but being so young that would be an option for you.
    If your so unhappy and depressed that is a consideration the dr can take into account for doing surgery. I know that surgery is your last option but it sounds like you've done everything else.

    I hope you find another Dr and get some kind of relief.


  • Shakedown/Grace,

    Both of you are too young to have suffer this problem. Don't lose hope as its just around the corner. Try to find the person who can help and I guarantee that both of you will be the luckiest person on this planet Earth. Due to the nature of my job, being a ramp agent at Washington Dulles International Airport here in Virginia, I injured myself lifting a luggage that's 70lbs and several of our co-workers cannot avoid back injuries too; however, we are so lucky that one of our co-employees had a first hand experience when it comes to lumbar problem. He too had a herniated disc, L5/S1 and fully recovered through the modified methods of exercises. We're from African countries and what I can tell you is that his method is working for us.
  • I swear, if I didn't have medical proof of the things I've had go on that I was too young for, people would peg me for a hypochondriac for sure!

    I got my breasts at 5, my menstrual cycle at 7, uterine fibroids were discovered at 22, and then I hurt my back when I was 23.

    While I abuse my high pain tolerance for my back, I do know exactly where you are coming from when doctors don't want to operate on someone "so young".

    I know this because of the fibroid tumors I have. If a woman gets this condition, she typically gets them at menopause age, and then they are not operated on because once the estrogen goes away, so do they.

    Well, being 22 and having them, they never wanted to do surgery in case I wanted to have children.

    Well, that resulted in 5 miscarriages, and we adopted our children 2 years ago because we finally realized we didn't want a pregnancy as bad as we wanted a family.

    So yeah, I do know what you're saying, and know it stinks.

    I'd be getting another opinion if I were you!
  • I know what you mean about being too young to have to deal with back issues... I suffered an injury when I was 13 that resulted in having microdiscectomy at L5-S1 after all conservative treatment failed. The results were as good as could be expected. I continued to participate in track and field as well as basketball, but I had to switch over to cross-country running for a fall sport because the doctors wouldn't pass me on the physical to play football anymore.

    Years later in 2005 when I was 26 I started having pain again. Did the conservative treatment thing again but it failed to solve the issue. Imagery indicated that a herniation at L4-L5 was the culprit this time. Had another microdisc procedure which again relieved me of all pain and other symptoms. About 6 months ago I started having pain again and imagery shows another herniation at L4-L5, but on opposite side from the previous herniation at that level. I am gearing up to have my third microdisc done.

    I keep going back to the same treatment is for 2 primary reasons. First, it works. My symptoms have disappeared pretty much instantly following both procedures. Second, it doesn't alter the anatomy of my spine, which is important for continuing with my normal active lifestyle, and it leaves me open to future advances in medical solutions for my condition. Once you have fusion, you pretty much disqualify yourself from any future wonder treatments like the upcoming stem cell injection treatments that can potentially regenerate damaged discs. Fusion is an ultimate last resort as far as I am concerned.

    There are my 2 cents. Sorry to hear about your accident, but hang in there! There are good solutions out there and better ones arriving all the time.
  • im 20 as well and have been dealing with back problems with no cause. about a year ago i went to the dr. about wierd sensations in my legs had an mri that showed that i had ddd with bulging discs and tears in the disc. nothing was really done until dec of last year when my back pain got really bad so went to an ortho, had another mri, showed that things have gotten a little worse. the bulges are bigger and my spine is trying to straighten where it shouldnt and the mri also showed that i was having muscle spasms during the test. but he tells me that i shouldnt be in as much pain as i am in. sent me to a pain md and he said the same thing...said that 85 percent of the people with my problems dont have symptoms and its not serious.

    i am in ALOT of pain...i cant stand at work...i cant sit through class...i just got home from college today and cant even sit in my desk chair. so why is it not serious? its not in my head i played sports i grew up with two brothers im not a whimp by any means so why am i not taken seriously. for them to act like...well most people with these problems dont feel it...i dont care what other people feel. I FEEL IT this has affected EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE i just want to be NORMAL to not hurt every minute of every day and not be told well this isnt serious but we will give you steroid injections just in case they help. that was basically what the pain dr. told me yesterday.

    (sorry had a bad day, in alot of pain, and not happy with doctors)
  • Look, a few recommendations before you let some doctor who says you are crazy slice you up.

    Read Dr. Sarno's books - Healing Back Pain.

    Check out this interview about the mind and body connection at:

    You aren't crazy, but expectations, fear and mental programming can all keep pain from an injury going long after the physical body has healed.

    It's real and there is hope. Check out the resources.

  • webdan65 said:
    Look, a few recommendations before you let some doctor who says you are crazy slice you up.

    Read Dr. Sarno's books - Healing Back Pain.

    Check out this interview about the mind and body connection at:

    You aren't crazy, but expectations, fear and mental programming can all keep pain from an injury going long after the physical body has healed.

    It's real and there is hope. Check out the resources.

    What are you selling?"hmm
  • I have arthritis in my spine as well in the facet joints and received some injections with some relief. It took me the 2nd pain management Dr who did the facet joints instead of trigger point injections I was getting every week from my first pm Dr. Second opinion PM as well as Neuro & Ortho I encourage you. I'm sorry you've had to go through this at your age. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Last Friday I had my first trigger point injection in the sciatic area. Ten hours later I was feeling nauseous and sick to my stomach. By Five A.M. the next morning I was better. I have lumbar and leg (sometimes both) pain. Doctor (Ortho) says I'm not a candidate for surgery. Been thru PT and accupunc. PT made pain much worse and accupunc didn't help at all. Was wondering if you knew what meds are used in the facet joint injection. Is it lidocaine?? Thanks,Cleverlee
  • Hey, I am a 19 year old who just underwent spinal fusion L4-S1 nearing 4 months ago due to grade 3 spondylolisthesis, about a 75% slippage of the L5 vertebrae on the sacrum. I was diagnosed in seventh grade, turns out it was an old injury, we're not sure how it happened, but I've been dealing with it for 8 years. I've undergone physical therapy and it was working alright up until this past summer when it got worse, I was experiencing knee pain and foot pain, and it was determined that for me, because my condition is degenerative, that surgery was the best option to avoid more nerve damage. They debated for a while about whether I should get the surgery because I am so young, but they figured I heal easier because I am still young. I've been doing better, it's hard to tell how well my condition will improve, because the recovery time is so long, but I feel better. I wear a brace most of the time, a soft one, but I am at a large university, so I am forced to travel and carry books around. I have always been afraid of the pain and the surgery and the limitations getting in the way of my life and what I want to do, but I make it work. I live in pain every day of my life, in a few different parts of my body, I have some side effects of the medications, I have to be careful with my friends, but my life is better for it. I have faith that I will get better soon.
    I know what it's like to be young and have no one else understand what you go through on a daily basis, but I realized, for me, surgery was the best thing, and I had so much support through everything. My friends jump at the chance now to pick things up for me because they don't want me picking them up! And my university provides many resources to help me. I have a handicapped parking sticker, I can ride the handicapped bus, my professors understand my limitations. Basically, it is what you make it. I am scared every day that something will go wrong, and I am afraid of what I will miss while I am still recovering for what could be 6 months to a year, but I know that I am only 19. When I am in my 20s, 30s, 40s, life will be so much better knowing I took care of it now.

    Best of luck! You can get through everything, pain sucks, but it's an obstacle to overcome.
  • Wow! You really need to see a new doctor!!! I found a doctor in my area that was so sweet. He didn't question anything once he saw my MRI. I had l4-l5 bulge l5-s1 herniation and floating fragment of bone in s1. He is so great. On the other hand, I moved out of state because I am military, got placed with a doctor here that thinks I am making it all up...HELLO, MRI RESULTS DUMMY! You will always meet stupid doctors who have lost sympathy for people or who think you are making it up for pain pills, but if you have a MRI showing the problem and they are not treating you and it gets worse, NOW YOU HAVE A LAW SUIT ON YOUR HANDS!!! Find another doctor before it gets worse. Next time you go to that doctor, you might lose feeling in your lower half before he does anything. I feel sorry for you. If you even want my nice doctor's info. from Clarkston, Michigan, just let me know!
    I can also refer the BEST PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS IN THE US from Bloomfield hills Michigan. I referred a 70 year old man who hasn't had a day free of pain in his life since his 30's. He went there and after one injection he had his first full nights rest since his accident!
    Not steroids, but numbing agents for his rhizotomy. They detach your sensory nerves so you don't feel the pain. It doesn't heel your back if it is too far gone, but it lets ou live your life until you are ready for surgery or you can keep doing those until the scar tissue prevents your nerves from re-attaching. It doesn't even come close to your leg movement or bowel movements since they are sensory nerves so all you feel is pain free :)
    Good Luck!
    Try to find a more passionate doctor!
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