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Not sure what to expect.. Please help

jennyfer87jjennyfer87 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all,

I'm a 23 year old female and have experienced chronic back pain on and off for years.

I currently work as a care assistant and I've put a lot of my pain down to that (manual handling is not followed as well as it should be in my home).

When i was 15 my GP told me i had "jarred" my back. Ever since then i have felt pain at that site, in the top of my back. Its not always there but it comes and goes.

I use to work in a shop and found that my upper back would hurt if i did too many hours.

Over the past few months the pain has increased to the point I cant cope. When i wake in the morning it is agony, i feel stiff as a post and i have to 'crack' my back until i can move freely again. The pain and stiffness remains for some time after waking. After an hour or so at work I begin to feel better.

During the day my back constantly feels as though it is popping and cracking with any movement i do. Occasionally, if I go from sitting to standing, i feel a shooting pain up the right side of my spine.

Towards the end of a 12 hour shift i start to feel immense burning pain in the top of my spine and the stiffness increases.

My hips and knees often ache, its not a massive pain but i do notice it. If i sleep on my side, the hip im lying on often becomes more painful. My knees and elbows hurt periodically, nothing seems to initiate it, its just there and then it goes again.

A friend of mine has been giving me massages to remove tension knots, he is trained. On one occasion he found 2 areas of my spine, one just below my neck and one in between my shoulder blades, he described it as "it feels like your spine curves out and comes back in".It was painful for me when he applied some pressure to the area. Since then he has refused to massage in case he hurts me.

I decided enough was enough and I will change my job. I have been to see my GP who has referred me to a chronic back pain department. He brought up a page on his computer about spondylitis. He was shocked my pain was in my upper back not lower, and wasn't much help to be honest. My lower back hurts if i lay on my stomach, sometimes it feels pulled from work, but its not generally there. However he said he did not want to refer me for x-rays yet as i am otherwise "young and healthy".

I am just wondering what to expect from the "chronic back pain" doctors. Will they help to diagnose anything or will it just be physio? And does anyone else have spondylitis with the symptoms I've listed? I don't want to worry over nothing, but the pain is definitely getting gradually worse and I cant really help but think the worst at the moment.


  • I think you are heading in the right direction. As far as worrying, I wouldn't until there is a reason in front of you. It sounds like you are comfortable with your Dr and he pointing you to the right place. I know all about the pain upon waking and the hurting knees & elbows, I have osteoarthritis & a list of other issues. Unfortunately for me it's something I had to adjust to and find my way to deal with it. Like I said, nothing to get worried about until you have something to worry about. Easier said than done, but keep telling yourself that. lol I am still working with my Dr to get everything sorted out with my complete diagnosis. You are still young & hopefully it will be alot easier for you to recover if there is anything wrong. BTW I also was a care assistant at your age, the Dr always told me my back would be the first to go. Take care & good luck!
  • I have never been to a chronic back pain doctor, but it seems like they would be the people with the answers you did, so good for your doctor in referring you there! Hopefully, they will be able to help you. I feel for everyone with chronic pain, but especially you young people!

  • Hey there,

    I think you are on the right track too.
    By chance is he also referring you to a spine doctor (e.g. Orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon)? I only ask b/c a spine specialist may request an MRI just to have a baseline of your upper and lower back and/or might have some insights on if you really do have a curve.

    Glad you have talked to your doctor. It's amazing how physical therapy and small routine changes in life can reduce the back pain. I 'jarred' my back when I was about 18 or 19 and managed for 17+ years to keep the pain at bay after visiting a PT and really committing to the lifestyle changes that they recommended.

  • Thanks everyone for your responses.

    I see the chronic back pain team on Aug 15th so until then I guess I will just have to try and think positively. I've been advised NOT to see a chiro, is that normal?

    No, I haven't been referred to any other specialist for xrays or MRI or anything. I guess if the chronic back team think its necessary it may happen then. I don't really know what they are going to do yet.

    Today I have experienced a huge amount of shooting pains whilst sitting, and after they subsided i had a horrible aching pain between my shoulder blades. Co-codamol and Ibuprofen isn't doing the trick for this.

    Really just want answers now. Thank you for your support and best wishes to all.
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