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.