Hi everyone. I've written on here before but never on the chronic pain forum. Well, things have been going pretty bad for me lately and it gets harder and harder to stay positive. Here's my story...
I'm 20 years old and a sophomore in college. I've had back pain for 5 years and these past 2 years have been the absolute worst. The pain is in my lower back and it radiates down my butt, both legs, both feet, and toes. I played competitive soccer for years and had to quit because of this. It was like a huge part of my life was taken from me. I'm still dealing with this loss. When it first started I was diagnosed with spondylosis thesis, but then I went to another doctor last year who said I didn't have that.
My pain is constant and debilitating. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm complaining, but I rarely talk to anyone about this because I don't want to be annoying. I figure this is the place I can speak what I feel. Anyway, I can't have a job because I can't stand or sit for long periods of time. I can't even go to the mall without being in pain. Pushing myself to get to class is so hard. The stress of chronic pain has affected my happiness and my boyfriend's and family's happiness as well. Most weekends my boyfriend and I just lay in our apartment while I'm drugged up on pain medicine. My medicine makes me so so so tired, and makes me have no appetite. I've lost almost ten pounds because of it. I was 125, and now I'm at about 116. (I'm 5'3 by the way.)
My doctor (an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the spine) said to take anti inflammatory medicine. That didn't work. He gave me a back brace which hurt more than anything. He put me in physical therapy which also killed my back. I had Ct scans, X-Rays, MRIs, EMGs all which showed nothing except for a slight bulging disc that the doctor said couldn't cause my pain. At this point, the doctor wasn't giving me pain medicine because I don't think he believed me. He gave me another back brace, again it didn't help. He made me go to physical therapy. It didn't help...surprise. At one point though, it got so bad I went to the emergency room and they referred me to a neurologist. Before I could get to my appointment I made another trip to the emergency room. By now I realize they can't do anything for me there, so I quit going, although I'm in terrible pain daily.
I went to my ortho again before the neuro and he had me get an epidural injection which didn't help at all. He finally gave me pain medicine after that because I guess he realized how much pain I was in. Then I went to the neurologist which was the worst doctor experience of my life. He accused me of faking my pain to get pain medicine. He yelled at me for wearing "fancy" nike shoes instead of better ones for my back. They were brand new tennis shoes that I bought specifically because they helped my back pain. He slapped my leg and told me I was cheating on the reflex test. He yelled at me for sleeping on my stomach even though I said I slept on my side. He said there was nothing to do for me. He said I need to take Tylenol and do physical therapy. I don't think I need to tell you that neither worked. By the time I left I was in tears and my mom was close as well. (One of my mom's friend's said they saw the same doctor, and they refuse to ever go to a neurologist again.)
My ortho referred me to a spine specialist and I just visited him about a month ago. I was hopeful that this time would be different. You know what he said? Take some Tylenol and do physical therapy! He saw I was close to tears and my mom basically snapped at him and said there is no way I can deal with this with Tylenol so he has continued to give me pain medicine but he doesn't feel like I should take it much longer. He said it is my muscles making me hurt which I just know can't be true. He said I need to become more active and start running. I don't know what to do! I already told him I cannot even walk to class without being in excruciating pain what makes these people think I can run?
I started my physical therapy again. The guy said he isn't sure if it will help me because none of the other pt rounds did. I can't even do the simple exercises without being in pain.
I take Tramadol around the clock, quite literally. I take 2 in the morning, 2 in the evening, and 2 at 3am. If I don't take it in the middle of the night I wake up in agony around 5 and don't get back to sleep.
I've tried to be positive for as long as I can. But, it is getting harder and harder. I come back to my apartment from class crying almost daily because of the pain of just being up. I went on vacation with my boyfriend and family and I know I just dragged them down, always needing breaks to lay down and everything. I would love to be active again, but every time I try, I just hurt myself worse. I'm only 20, I shouldn't be in the much pain all the time. I'm losing so much time just crying and laying on the couch, I want to go out on the weekends like everyone else on campus. I want to not hurt. Honestly, I think maybe I have forgotten what it feels like to NOT hurt and that makes me so sad. I just want to be a normal 20 year old, I'm sick of bringing people down by saying things like, "Oh sorry, I can't go to your party", or. "No, I can't do that because of my back."
What do I do? I go back to the spine specialist on the 8th. I'm thinking about asking for another x-ray. I just know there has to be something there. I know what my pain feels like and I know what sore muscles feel like and I know for sure that my muscles are not the problem.
If anyone has advice for me I would appreciate it greatly. I'm sorry if this sounded like a sob story. I really am not trying to make people feel sorry for me. I just needed to get this all off my chest.
Thank you for letting me get this all out. If I could just push this pain back and deal with it in my 40's or something, I'd love to. I just want to be happy and OK again. I just want to be normal.
If you have any info for me or anything that could help me...please please please tell me. If any of you guys just want to talk that would be cool too.
Also, sorry that this post was so long and scatterbrained.
Thanks for listening,