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chronic low back pain can't seem to get a diagnosis

jeremy54235jjeremy54235 Posts: 46
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Lower Back Pain
Ok...I am a 33 year old male. I started having low back pain at age 16 for which i started chiropractic care and continued for about 10 years never seemed to help the pain problem i went in for so i got fed up and quit. Over the past few years my pain level increased significantly. I can't sit,stand, or lay down for very long. When i wake up in the morning i am so stiff i can't really bend and that can stick with me for up to 6 hours. I also did physical therapy, they told me they tried everything they could and to seek other treatment. My family dr sent me to pain management he did a steroid injection which helped for about 2 days. Then he tried a nerve block, i didn't get any relief from that. He then told me he didn't know what else to do for me and told me i may just have to take pills for pain the rest of my life and gave me vicodin. Not willing to exept that i saw my family dr again and she had blood work done and per one of the results sent me to a rheumatologist. He thought my syptoms sounded like ankylosing spondylitis and put me on prednisone for a week. Which didn't help so he said he didn't know what to do for me. Back to family dr and she sent me to see a neuro surgeon, He said i had quite a bit of arthritis in at least 3 joints that he could see in the mri said possible more. He said the arthritis was not off the charts but much more than he would like to see in somebody my age. He also said the only thing he could think of that may help was to do a fusion, but being at least 3 levels in a row he said he would not do it. That my other joints would wear out fast from taking the extra movement and strain if it was successful. Neuro then told me to try another round of facet injections and sent me to see a different pain dr. Which did the facet injection had pretty good relief for about 4 days. He then did rfa(radio frequency ablation) which i had no relief. Another dead end told me he didn't know what else he could do for me. I have been laid off since last october and am in to much pain to go back to work if they call me back. I don't know what else to do everything turns into a dead end for me. The last pain dr i saw said he would never increase the strength of my pain meds or change it to anything else. Which i only have vicodin which helps some but only for a couple hours and can only take 3 a day. I have a 17 month old son i can hardly play with because i hurt so bad all the time. Please comment any info or feedback you may have. Thank you and sorry this post is so long.
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Comments

  • So sorry that your having this much trouble. Did your MRI mention anymore problems other than arthritis? It's sad that your pain management doctor will not try to manage your pain. I wouldn't give up and keep seaching for someone to help....
  • Sorry to hear but hope you get another PM Dr. and Ortho or Neurosurgeons opinion. Are you applying for disability? I was thinking after so many referrals to next see a Rheumatoid Dr. for the arthritis and DDD in my lower back. It's rough to deal with this when you're so young and have a young child. hopefully you'll get your pain managed better soon for you. Take 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
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  • You can give Prolotherapy injections a shot, it is safe, effective and has helped me a lot.
    If you Google "Prolotherapy" you will find more info. Also I recommend reading Healing Back and Joint Injuries by J Valdez.


  • Hi Jeremy,

    Your current pain management doctor is NOT managing your pain. It sounds like you've tried at least one other PM doc but maybe you need to keep looking. I would hope that a PM doctor would be able to help yous seek out a diagnosis for your pain as well as helping you with pain relief in the process.
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I have not filed for disability but my wife keeps bringing it up to me. I was just hoping there was something they could do to get me feeling good enough to work. Also the last pain dr i saw would not even give me any restrictions so i just figure i would be denied anyways. guess he has never seen me in so much pain i can barely move, or when i just lay on the floor in pain cause i can't actually play with my son. I won't even go grocery shopping anymore cause i can't be on my feet that long. But all these Dr's i have seen blow smoke up my you know what.

    MRI showed slight disc degeneration but that's all i was told about it besides the arthritis (which both pain Dr's i have seen say is not much but the neuro surg said just the opposite).
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  • How many orthopedic surgeons have you seen? Only one?
  • Nice to seeing you post in this section, but sorry to hear that you're still having problems finding the right solution.

    Have you looked for a fellowhip-trained spine surgeon, it can be either neuro or ortho, but one who only works on spines? I found mine in a spine center where they have surgeons, PT and physios all in one place and they all work together to find the problem, get a diagnosis and then work up a plan of action to take care of the problem. My particular surgeon specializes in botched cervical surgeries and very difficult cervical problems. He's great and worked with the physio in the office when my lumbar problems started, trying injections and such.

    I'm thinking that you need to get to the root of the problem and get that fixed, not just get a handle on the pain.

    There's so much more to spine issues than disc problems - there are facet joints, stenosis, spondylosis and spondylolisthesis, among many other things that could be the cause of your pain and I think that finding the right specialist or surgeon(doesn't mean surgery necessarily) would be the road to try.

    I realize you saw a neuro who didn't want to do a 3-lvl fusion, so I really think you need to get as many opinions as you need to from different spine specialists until you find the one that's willing to help you, not just put on a bandaid and send you home. There ARE spine surgeons out there that aren't afraid to do what they need to give you a chance at getting back to a fairly normal life.

    Good luck and please keep us posted. Oh, and you can ask for referrals from the members here (the referrals must be sent to you via PM, but you can ask publicly) and you can use the Find A Doctor function at the top of the page. It'll give you the options of doctors or clinics in your area, so that might be a good place to start. At this point, it might even be a good idea to travel a little ways if you find the right doctor that's willing to help you.

    Cath
  • Has your doctor suggested a Discogram yet? Maybe your discs have torn open and are leaking. That is what happened to me. I am now facing a MLSF, from L4-S1. No injections helped me, but the Discogram finally diagnosed the cause of my pain. I had no idea I had discs that were leaking.

    I have a terrible amount of pain when I first sit down. I also cannot stand very long now to cook dinner, but if I stand very still, I am ok. It's so odd...
  • I have also tried prolotherapy, and had good results. I still have pain sitting, but I am around 50% better since the prolo.
  • Has any of the doctors you've seen tried you on nerve pain medications? If you have arthritis i'm sure there there must be some kind of nerve involvement there for you to be in such pain and if there is a lot of times just pain meds. won't take the pain away and nerve pain meds. are more successful.
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