My journey with chronic pain started when I was around 14, probably earlier, but that’s when it really started affecting me. I saw a few doctors who passed it off as pulled muscles, mild scolosis, etc, but no one ever did more than a standard X-ray. As I got older, I kept complaining to my PCP, but he was convinced it was growing pains or muscle pains and kept suggesting exercise and Aleve. I think finally he got sick of me complaining and sent me to a physical therapist/chiropractor. Well, what a lot of good that did. I ended up in more pain and was still ignored by my doctor because I was 16.
I sucked it up and suffered with the pain until I was 18, which was nothing compared to what I experience now, but back then it was rough. When I moved down to Florida, I found a doctor who finally took me serious about my back pain. Unfortunately, I had health insurance issues and had to put off diagnosis/treatment. When I finally got back on insurance, I was so bad that I could barely walk. I was waiting for my boyfriend to get out of an upper endoscopy, and couldn’t even walk to the recovery room. I ended up dragging myself to the ER and checking in. I think because of my age, and because it was “back pain,” they trying giving my shots of non-opiate medications that didn’t do anything. They didn’t believe me until I was crying in pain that nothing was working. Finally, I got a shot of Dilaudid which helped a bit. I had an MRI, yada, yada, yada…
I had a hard time getting anything stronger than prescription ibuprofen for a long time. I would go to one specialist, and he would tell me “I’m too young for pain killers and shouldn’t need them.” Another would tell me the same thing, but then cave and give me a few Darvocets. I fought for awhile to finally get doctors to understand that I was in genuine pain and just because I was/am young doesn’t mean that I’m not suffering as much as someone 30 years older than me.
Even my surgeon, who knew I was on 5/325 Percocets as needed prior to surgery, made them stop giving me IV morphine in hospital only 12 hours after surgery, even though I was in a lot of pain. He had them giving me oral 5/325 Percocets every 6 hours, which took forever to kick in and barely touched the pain. Luckily, I had brought some with me to take as well. Before discharging me he wrote a script for 25 5/325 Percocets and then almost ripped it up because he said at my age, it would be too strong for me! I had just finished having a pretty big surgery and he thought Aleve would be more than enough. Ha!
Sorry for the long rambling…I’m in a writing mood tonight. But, I know I have heard numerous stories of younger people on Spine-Health who are not properly medicated because their doctors seem to think they are too young to be in genuine pain. Even at 21, I experience this and have experienced this for years, and I’m wondering who else has? I know this may be a hot button issue, but I think it is an important cause to take up. Why should anyone be forced to suffer because of age? If you have legitimate, diagnosed issues, you should be properly taken care of. The pain is there no matter what, regardless of how old you are.
Please share your experiences, comments, what have you…
I want to see how widespread of an issue this is and possibly brainstorm what can be done about it!
Thanks for your time!