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I don't know what to do anymore!! Please help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Lower Back Pain
So my name is Kirstin, I am 19 years old. I have been suffering with back problems for 3 years now, my lower discs to be exact it is my L4 disc. Well It has deteriorated so badly over the past year and but in the past 3 years I have been dealing with the bulged/herniated part of it. It has bulged out into my spinal cord so bad that you can barely see the spinal cord where the disc has bulged into it. My back will go out on me about every 2 months where I lose feeling from my waist down. I can't get up or move around, the pain is so unbearable that I can't sleep, I get panic attacks. After I start to get some feeling back I can get up and walk but it hurts in my hips it will take me 30 minutes to walk 10 feet. The pain is so bad that I can't help but cry. My legs hurt constantly to the point I can't sleep at night anymore. My hips always hurt, my back is constantly on fire. I have like a million tender spots in my back, if anyone just touches it, it feels like I've been stabbed. It literally will bring me to my knees and tears to my eyes. My doctors have told me it will heal on its own, that I need to act like I am 50 years old. I am 19 years of age. I can't stand for longer than 20 minutes, I can't sit for longer that 20 minutes, I'm not allowed to bend, stoop, twist, carry anything heavier than 5 pounds. I've been active in sports since I was 5 years old. I've had the epidural steroid injections in my back, which in the end made it worse. I've been in a year of physical therapy which didn't do anything for me. I've been to a chiropractor, that didn't help. Muscle relaxers don't help because well its more nerves than muscles. I've pretty much tried everything, since I hurt my back I gained weight... guess what I lost it all and keep it off had a boob reduction hoping it would lesson the pain. Just Monday night I was in the ER because my back went out on me. I'm sick and tired of getting ER bills and everything, I'm 19 years old and already for a half a million dollars worth of doctor bills. Ridiculous right? So that last stage that we can do is an artificial disc. Which i am worried because I am so young that I will just have to live with the pain for ever, but I have no other option. My last doctor told me I should sit and rest and not do anything to trigger my pain, well guess what doc.... i did that... guess where I ended up.. the ER. Yeah that didn't help at all. He said my back will heal itself. Well my disc is pretty well gone. So sitting and letting itself heal is never going to happen. Well if anyone has any suggestions i am all ears. I would love to hear what you would have to say.

Thanks for reading,


  • That's rough what you're going through. Please get a couple of opinions for surgery. I had the burning in my back but it was from the facet joints and the facet joint injections have helped somewhat for me. It stopped my back from locking up. I would get a 2nd opinion for your surgery and also get another Pain Management Dr to treat that pain you're in for so long. I can't believe they waited for 3 years of pain before they're doing something. It sounds like if you don't have a disc left they have to use an artificial one or fusion? Understand though I'm not a Dr so I can't give medical advice. It sure sounds like you need some pain meds for what you're going through. I haven't had surgery so I can't help you much more. I just wanted to welcome you to the forum and hope others can give their experiences. Take care and keep us posted on your plan of 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
  • hello kirstin, and welcome to SH you have came to the right place for help support and guidance.
    please note i am not a doc r anything along those lines just a fellow spiney but in readiny what you have said it looks to me that you have some serious nerve damage.therfore yu most definately need to be taking some kind off meds for that for example i take lyrica as do a lot off people on this forum but there ar plenty off other nerve pain meds out there also.
    i totally understand how you feel as do most people on here and my sympathy goes out to any young person dealing with chronic pain.
    please take the time to let us know what sort of medication you are on and how long you have been taking it.i promise to write back to you and i am sure you will get alot off responses to your post just give it a little time.
    take care off yurself in the mean time and i look forward to seeing a reply from you.

    LOVE P

    P.S. i have children your age and i would hate to see them in so much pain so you have 100% of my undivided attention in helping you find a way to deal with your pain management.

  • I'm 22 and have been dealing with back problems for the past 7 years, the past 3 being severe. I did gymnastics for 9 years 6 days a week as well as many other sports and dance. I can COMPLETELY understand what you are going through. Those damn medical bills that didn't bring us any help can really get to us. Combine that with this insane pain and stupid, frustrating limitations, and we're headed for disaster. IMHO, if you have tried strong pain killers, and every therapy and shot out there, and your doctors are still telling you it will go away on its own, THEY ARE BS'ING YOU AND YOU NEED TO FIND A NEW DOCTOR ASAP!!! I've made the mistake of staying with terrible doctors for too long and I suffered greatly for it. Seek out a neurosurgeon and tell him/her everything you said here. If they won't help you, go to another one. You are having some very serious nerve/spinal cord related symptoms and need to be taken seriously. Your problem needs to be addressed now! The age issue sucks! We get brushed off because we are young. We are told things like, "You're young, you can suck it up!" Yes, I actually had a pain doctor tell me this. This was the same man I put my faith in for way too long. The best thing I ever did was go get another opinion. If that next one isn't willing to help you or treat you like a human in pain, go get another opinion, you never know when help is just around the corner or at the next appointment. Someone will help you! I'd say a neurosurgeon is the best person, but this is only my opinion, I am not a doctor, only a young spine patient who's been through the loop once or twice. I can talk to you anytime you need someone to listen or offer advice to the best of their personal experience. YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE AND SOMEONE WILL HELP YOU!!! I'm glad you found us here at SH!!! Please keep posting and talking...

    Much love and understanding,
  • I'm sorry that I can't offer you any answers but can relate to some of your problems. When your legs won't work-it's scary, panic gets you, pain grabs you-try to take a breath, tell yourself it's O.K. Take it slow,I use my low wheely computer chair to get a couple of feet, congratulate myself, another deep breath, then finally get where I need to go.Using a hot water bottle on my lower back is a comfort, not a fix-just be carefull its not too hot.You deserve help with the pain, no matter what your age. My recliner chair with pillows helps a bit, but I am fortunate to finally have some pain meds.As the others have said you need to find a doctor who will listen and help. I'm not a doctor, just another spiney trying to find the path back to being comfortable.I'm sure that there will be others who can advise you far better than myself-Just felt so badly that you are so young and please keep talking, the people on this site are really supportive
    Hugs n' Loves
  • None of my doctors would prescribe me medicine which sucks for me in the long run, I have no help with calming down this pain. It gets to me every single day! The only medicine I actually get is when my back decides to give out and I end up in the ER, they prescribe me medicines that doesn't work for me. I just every doctor I've been to in 3 years have told me i will grow out of this that it will just fix itself. It's tough. I plan on going to another doctor in August when my dad puts me back on his insurance, he just recently changed jobs so I'm without insurance for 3 months! I just hope nothing serious happens. I was lucky about 3 weeks ago I was supposed to go to the city with my best friend.. good thing I didn't go or my back would be so far worse... some lady rear-ended my best friend and my best friend had to go to the er. I'm glad I wasn't there though. I haven't worked in a year now. I'm in college full-time, no help really from my parents. I get their insurance and that is about it. They won't help me with medical bills or anything. It's tough, it sure does bring down a kids spirit after awhile. My senior year last year, I was offered a full ride to Oklahoma University for Track, had first place in regionals and my back decided it was going to give out on me during state, I was in 2nd place and just collapsed my coach kept pushing me and pushing me and she knew the back problems that I was having, yes I should have quit earlier, but instead I lost my ride and was DQ from state. Since then my doctors told me no more sports, any kind of impact could cause me to go paralyzed from my waist down.
  • Thank you, I definitely need some support, I've just kinda given up. I know no one here are doctors, but i know people are going through a lot of the same things I am and they can give advice that most people I know can't give. None of my doctors have ever prescribed me medicine, they have told me they don't believe in medicine. haha wow! The only times I've gotten medicine are the times I've ended up in the ER. The pain medicine they have given me doesn't work at all for my pain. Other than that I deal with the pain every single day. I can't work because it hurts to bad. I currently don't have insurance till August because my dad switched jobs. I am paying for college out of my pocket and trying to manage with doctor bills. I wouldn't have had to worry about paying for college because I had a full ride but lost it because of my back. My parents aren't helping me with anything with really sucks. It will definitely bring a kids spirits down real quick. I just needed some people to talk to really is all I am looking for. No body that I know understands what I am going through. I hate not being able to be a a kid(well not a kid but a young adult). thank you for listening
  • It's nice to hear that people actually understand. I lost out on scholarships and everything, doctors told me my senior year that I needed to quit sports because I would end up paralyzing myself. I agree my doctors are BS'ing me. I stumped one of my doctors he was just so i don't know, he had no clue why a 19 year old should be having this much trouble. After lookign at my mri's he told me that my disc has deteriorated a lot that he couldn't really see it. That it has bulged out into my spinal cord really bad... but then he turns around and tells me he can't do anything for me, the only thing i need to do is let it heal on its own. That I need to act like I am 50. He won't touch a 19 year olds back. LAME EXCUSE!!! None of my doctors have prescribed me medicine. They say they don't believe in it and they don't want me to get addicting.. well I can go to a pain med doctor.. you know. the only times i've gotten medicine was when I had to go to the ER. Those medicines haven't helped, didn't help the pain at all. I just have to suffer every day. I am currently without of insurance as of May 1st because my dad switched jobs and I won't be on his insurance again till August so I just hope nothing bad happens between now and then. Thanks for listening.
  • I usually can't feel from my waist down for atleast 2 or 3 days which is horrible and sucks so bad. When I get the feeling back oh man it hurts to no belief. I try to take slow breaths and take it easy but the pain is so overwhelming especially when no body will give you anything to calm it down, or they will give you something and it doesn't work at all because its targeting the muscles and not the nerves. I don't currently have insurance either, my dad switched jobs so I won't have insurance till August. My parents don't help me with anything, I can't work, and I am trying to go to school full time. It's hard. Brings my spirits down a lot and definitely can make someone depressed, which i know that I am I just try to deny that but some days its harder than others. It's nice to talk to people who understand. I wasn't expecting anyone to really tell me what to do but more of their advice. I know that there isn't anyone that are doctors here. I just I have no one else to talk to, no body that I know understands what I am going through, and I honestly think half the people think I am faking, which i just then pop out my mri's and show them what I am talking about.. PROOF haha i just hate that people automatically assume that someone that is 19 years old and say they have pain every day is faking and just out to get drugs. Well that isn't the case, I've honestly never done drugs in my life, nor have i ever smoked a cigarette. my crime i have drank some alcohol.. but im not out to trick doctors or anyone else in that matter. I need help. No one will help me and I get turned down from doctor to doctor. I just keep losing faith. My dad tells me that he has pain he just sucks it up and goes on with life.
  • Welcome to the board. As you can see already, there are some of your peers on the board. From reading their posts, it seems that it is a fairly common problem for a doctor to not take your problems seriously, since you are so young.

    Have you tried going to a teaching clinic connected to a large university? I think I would be tempted to make an appointment with one of the pediatric spinal specialists. I think they may treat patients up through about age 21. It might be worth making some calls. At least they are used to dealing with young people who are in pain...and, as far as I know, they believe their young patients.

    I can't imagine why a doctor would tell you that your disk is degenerating and then tell you that you'll grow out of it. At least on this board, you will find people who will understand what you are going through.

    Take good care.
  • good to see you respond so quickly why dont you go to chat here on the forum people there are great listeners and will be more than glad togive you advice.
    ive found chat a great place to vent and i hope to see you there so we can have good chat and i can get to know you.

    LOVE P
  • I'm sorry to hear that you have these back problems so young, and I know of members who are going through this who are around your age.

    I admire you for trying to finish school; it's much easier to stay in bed when you're in so much pain. You sound like a smart, driven young lady who won't give up. You will have to hunt for a doctor who will take your pain seriously and medicate you.

    There is a huge bias against young people with back pain- doctors may think they're faking and just want to get high off their meds. This is total BS. Back problems don't differentiate between people. It happens at any age, but it's more common in your late twenties and up

    People who take pain medication for legitimate pain do not get addicted as long as they take it as prescribed.(the chance is very slim). Yes, your body will grow tolerant to the effects of the meds, and you may eventually need a dose adjustment because it's not efficient anymore. It's normal and it doesn't mean you're hooked. People who take it that have no pain and want to get high are the drug abusers. Period.

    Anyway, ask your parents to help you find a pain mgt clinic and make sure you have all your records and films. They use all kinds of medicines, not just narcotics, to treat your pain and they also do spinal injections to give you relief. If they think you need to see a surgeon, they will refer you as well.

    Well sweetie, don't take no for an answer- doctors need to help you and don't fall for the "we can't do anything" line. You have a legit condition and REAL pain. MRI's don't lie. Take care
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    You know what so many other people know... Spinal problems and chronic pain does note discriminate regarding age.
    There also seems to be a pretty common view here that many doctors do not take younger patients that serious. As if, being you, you shouldnt have problems, or you are young so you can fight it off, or worse, you are young so if you look for pain medications, they try to put you into a negative bucket as a drug seeker.

    After your MRI, what action plan has your doctor recommended? Doing nothing, getting rest is not an answer, if anything that will just help in the shorterm.

    I would seek an additional opinion. As difficult as it does seem in having spinal problems when you are young, you age can also work to your benefit.

    When you start to try all the various conservative treatments ( Physical Therapy, Aqua Therapy, Ultrasound,
    Massage Therapy, Passive Traction, Acupuncture, etc ) and you still are not getting any relief discussions regarding surgery might be in order.
    But try each conservative treatment, not one, but twice.

    Going to the ER every once in a while, and having problems sitting or standing too long is not the way want to live.
    There should always be something that will give you some

    My own opinion, especially when you know you have disc problems, is not to see a chiropractor. Their manipulations could potentially create more problems.

    Try not to get discouraged, I know its easier to say then do. There is a doctor out there, a treatment out there that can help you... Dont give up
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks for the advice. It is just so frustrating when you just keep getting turned down. The doctors excuse for not working on my back was I am young and I have a long time. Then he wrote restrictions and told me I can't do anything be lay on the ground all the time. That is BS!
  • hi kirstin,
    i think you definately need to do as advised above and that being a second opinion.
    but in the mean time anytime you have a question just at it to the forum im sure someone wil be around to try and answer it for you.
    as for the people you say dont believe you well try not to worry about them that is not helpig your feeling low moments just try to focus on the future and what you want out off life after all your going that extra mile and staying at school wich proves your a strong willed person and you want something out off life, you have my full support and no doubt the support of your fellow SH buddies.keep us posted on whats happening we are here to answer and questions we can.

    LOVE P
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