I'm so glad to have found this forum, just poking around over the last few hours it sounds like there are a lot of people out there with issues similar to mine, only most are much more experienced! So here's my story, I'll try to keep it brief -
I started having lower right-sided back pain in 2005 when I was pregnant with my daughter; the OB/GYN just said "sciatica, it'll go away" and that was that. Even after my pregnancy, I continued to have problems with that area on and off for several more years. I mentioned it to my family practice doc and she prescribed Flexeril, which never really worked but the flare-ups were pretty few and far-between, maybe one a month. Then this past Christmas I must have really injured it leaning over a table wrapping gifts, because from that moment on the pain was constant and stabbing all the time; I was on ibuprofen every six hours on a daily basis. My doc advised some PT and if that wasn't helping, go to the PM doc for some injections. I went to PT twice a week for two months, but it only made the pain worse, and now the pain was spreading to other areas of my back and buttocks.
So I finally got into the PM doc, who immediately suggested some steroid injections into the SI joint (never really said what he thought it was, but the x-ray he ordered was negative). I did 2 sets of injections two weeks apart, with only 4-5 days of partial relief each time. The only time I had no pain was the few hours after the injection before the anesthetic wore off. After the results of the 2nd injection, he advised an SI rhizotomy of four areas on the right side. I had it 2.5 weeks ago, and some of the pain is gone, so I'm not giving up on it yet, but the area of the top injection site is extremely sore and tender to touch; when I followed up with the PM yesterday, he just said to do Lidoderm patches, which only help some. He sent me on my way and said that since I've had even some relief from the rhizo, I didn't need him anymore.
None of the docs have ever recommended an MRI or CT scan; I asked the PM doc if I should get one and he didn't think it was necessary. During the fluroscopic xrays during the injections, he did say he saw a lot of dark areas around the joint, meaning arthritis. Over the 3 procedures I've had, he only gave me ten Valium and twenty Vicodin 5/500; whenever I told him I was still in pain he said to do the Lidoderm patches. I really feel like he severely underestimated my pain and was not really on a quest to find out what was causing the pain in the first place. So now I've had two injections and a rhizo and still no significant relief. I don't know if I should try and go to another PM, or an ortho, or physiatrist or what. I feel like because I'm relatively young (30) and did not have a specific injury, I will just get blown off again. I also do not want to be pressured into more procedures that may or may not work. I really just want an answer to what is causing my pain and what I can do about it so I can have a better quality of life on a more permanent basis.
Sorry this is so long...if anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!