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New to the forum - not new to back pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in New Member Introductions
Hey, guys! First, I want to thank you for giving my post a look :) Though I am new as to what to do about my back pain, my back pain is definitely not new to me.

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with scoliosis (by a chiropractor). I’m not exactly sure what the degrees of my curve were. I began treatment and continued it for six months, but eventually my insurance couldn’t help with it any longer, so I couldn’t afford to visit a chiropractor at all. I felt at the time that I stopped going, the treatment was finally beginning to help, but once I stopped the treatment altogether, things began to get a lot worse.

So, fast forward to today – I am 22 years old, living with back pain that often makes my life miserable. Its not just one particular area that hurts, its everywhere! My upper back, my lower back, in my spine – not only that, but my back pain affects my nerves. I feel pain often in the heels of my feet, and occasionally in my hands. My back is incredibly weak; sitting down or standing up for too long causes the pain to start. Recently, my chest has been popping, just as if I were popping my back. It gives a bit of “relief”, but often its accompanied by other sharp pains in my chest, that go away as quickly as they came. When this started happening, I started getting really worried and decided it was time to finally do something about it.

My question for you guys is, where do I begin? At this point, I’m trying to figure out if this is a problem I should consult my general physician about, or if I should consult a more specialized doctor, since I’m positive it has to do with my back. But what doctor should I see? I’m not crazy about visiting a chiropractor, since I figure they treat more acute back pain, whereas mine is becoming more chronic. I don’t have insurance at the moment, but I feel I can’t put off the doctor much longer, because its only getting worse. Do you have any advice as to where I should go from here? As I said, I am new to this whole process and any information you may provide would be beneficial. This forum seems to provide excellent advice and information and I will continue to browse through the previous posts, but I just wanted to go ahead and post my own.

Thanks for considering a response! Look forward to learning more from the forum :)


  • I would suggest that you find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This will be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who devotes his/her practice to issues of the neck and spine. The fellowship signifies the highest level of training that is available in this specialty...and the ortho spine fellowship and the one for neurosurgeons is almost identical, and is some cases, is one and the same. Most spine clinics and many spinal specialists have websites now where you can easily see what their interests are and what professional associations they belong to.

    In your case you would want to look for those doctors that mention scoliosis as an interest or as a specialty. Other doctors will work with you, but scoliosis is complicated and can get worse as you age, so I feel it is important to see someone with experience in that particular area.

    If you live in or near a larger city or a teaching hospital it should be fairly easy to find someone with some background and training in scoliosis.

    I'm glad you posted and hope you will look at some of the articles and videos, etc. on the website, in addition to the various topics on the forum. Here we share our experience and knowledge, but none of us have medical training.

    Again, welcome.

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. Gwennie gave you some good places to start but i want to add the orthopedic surgeon. :? he can order some of the basic tests you will need and attend to you if the diagnosis warrants it.. at this point, any good doctor will do!!! =D> good luck as you start on your pain journey... i do wish you the best in finding good doctors and having a good support team behind you. :D Jenny :)
  • You may want to start with a fellowship trained spinal specialist. Depending on the type of insurance that you have you may or may not need to go through your GP in order to get a referral to one although if you have trust in your GP he may be able to tell you who the best specialist is in your area.

    There are lots of excersizes that you could do in order to strengthen your core but you should check with a doctor first in order to make sure that they are safe for you.

    I have no faith at all in chiropractors. If you have a problem with your spine I feel that they can actually make things worse.

    Please check with a licensed medical doctor before moving forward with any type of treatment. The last thing you would want to do is make things worse.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • I appreciate the responses! From what I've read, you're right about seeing either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Though they are alot alike, what exactly is the difference between the two?

    Also, if I don't have insurance at all, do you think I'd still have to be referred to see specialists like that? I'm an American Indian, and am trying to get help through my tribe, but so far I've heard nothing.

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