Hi! I'm new to this forum, so I'll introduce myself. My name is Marjorie, and I'm an archaeology/anthropology major in Mississippi. I did a quick search but didn't see anything that really matched my situation so I figured I'd see if anyone might have some insight into what might be going on.
I am a 21 year old female. I've been having issues with sciatica and a bulging disk (L4/L5) for about two years now. I've tried a lot of different treatments, including physical therapy, chiropractic, various pain medications, gentle exercises (like yoga) to strengthen my core and keep my spine aligned, and some homeopathic remedies, like a heating pad, massages, muscle rub, hot baths, etc.
My pain is generally centered on the right hand side. I tend to have an ache right above my buttocks associated with shooting pains through my back. Occasionally I'll have muscle spasms that feel as though someone is squeezing and releasing my sciatic nerve -- when this happens, I also have pain through my buttocks and into the back of my thigh, sometimes also associated with foot/toe numbness. I also get more random shooting pains and numbness through my right leg and foot.
I've had x-rays, an MRI, and quite a few physical examinations to diagnose the sciatica and disk issue. I've also had four professionals examine my symptoms to determine that it is indeed a bulging disk (general practitioner, physical therapist, chiropractor, and ER doc). However, when I had the MRI, I was told that it looked "perfect" even though I have "textbook" symptoms of both problems.
For the past three weeks, I've been in constant pain. The pain will generally be about a constant 4-6/10 with the spasms causing it to go up to an 8-9/10 for a short period of time. I'm a college student and our campus is pretty large. I walk about a mile three times a week, and twice a week about half a mile getting to class. I've removed everything that is not necessary from my bag, dosed myself with medication, and gritted my teeth to get through the day, but the pain has been so bad that it is interfering with my work schedule (I'm a student worker in an archaeology lab).
I'm basically at the end of my rope. I can go to the Health Center here on campus but I'm limited as to where else I can go as I got married in October and no longer have health insurance. This is also keeping me out of physical therapy. Even though I'm still having the same symptoms and same pain as I was previously, the PT exercises don't seem to be having the same result as before. Even with insurance, chiropractic wasn't covered, and I racked up an $800 bill that I then had to pay off on my own.
Have any of you had a similar issue, with symptoms and severe pain but no radiographic evidence? What were you able to do?
Thank you so much for reading this. I know it's long but I wanted to make sure I wrote down everything pertinent to my situation.