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20 yrs old, unknown back pain for 3 years, feeling defeated.

barbc33bbarbc33 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey there...spine-health world! I can only assume that people hate these "please help me figure out my back pain" posts, but I'm going to try anyways and apologize in advance.I know it's very long, I know everyone needs help, but I just feel out of options and I'd appreciate any help.
I am an extremely healthy 20-year-old female, and in Jan 2009 I started having dull lower back pain, like I had been on my feet all day.I went to numerous doctors (including a rheumatologist) and had x-rays done, but nothing was found and no one had any theories except for the fact that I am tall (5'11"). Before I went off to college, I did physical therapy for a month but it had no impact on me. Then after 11 months, the pain slowly went away (in November of 2009). I had been relatively pain free until the pain suddenly came back 9 months later, (September 2010). Since then, I have had constant pain with no relief. For over a year now. Sitting or standing for too long makes the pain worse, and I only find relief by laying on my back with my legs up.The pain is just a constant, dull ache, with the occasional sharp pain when I really twist something strange.
I started working with an FMT (functional manual therapy) physical therapist from January 2011 to May 2011 before I went home for the summer, and despite her knowledge and abilities, my back hasn't really improved. She uses her hands to push and manipulate my joints until I'm nearly in tears. She says my pain is in my facet joints and I have a lot of compaction, and that my sacrum is super tight. As well as my joints where my spine twists left to right.
I was a competitive Irish dancer (thin Riverdance) for 10 years, and I was constantly jumping up and down with a rigid, straight back. When I quit dance before I came to college/before my pain started, I took up running (which I cannot do at ALL anymore because intense pain afterwards), and she thinks the drastic change in motion messed me up because I have a loss of motion in my back and a ton of compaction.
My pain used to be centralized only in my back, but after all the physical therapy, I now have off-and-on pain in my upper back, my ribs, etc. I feel like back has become this fragile, out-of-wack entity.Just recently I asked if my over-pronated feet could be causing problems (my left food is WAY more overpronated than my right) and she said yes, definitely. So she's been manipulating and twisting my foot into submission as well as my back (once a week). But now my knees and achilles and hips are kind of hurting.When I was younger and dancing, I had shin splints, achilles tendonitis, and knee problems, but I assumed it was due to the dancing. Now I wonder if perhaps those were all connected to my back pain?
SO, my question for you is what do you suggest I do? I've been going to her for quite a while and haven't seen great improvements. I know back pain isn't an overnight cure, but I'm only 20 years old and I can't even sit through a movie, go shopping, or even be that active because my pain is so bothersome. I'm a poor college kid, so I can't afford to stick with a PT if they aren't helping me. I just want to live my life without constant pain and without taking medicine continually.
I appreciate any help you can give me--I am at the edge of my sanity.


  • You wont know if you dont have an mri and exray or both and have a dr take a look at it, you might be spending a lot of money on pt when it might never help.

    I dont see you mention seeing a spine specialist, Without a dr we would just be guessing. Spine is way to complicated to realy know whats going on. Even with mri and tests its complicated,

    Could be buldging disc or posible disc tear. Who knows for sure, Good luck.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    I agree with Alex on this issue, you need to pursue the source of your back pain with the help of a Dr ordering you an MRI, CT scan, etc.... to get to the root of your problem. If you start having any tingling or numbness you need to really get on top of it. Also quit running, I used to run a lot but after finding out what it was doing to several joints in my body I gave it up. There are so many other ways to stay fit without pounding your body into submission. Hope you get the help you need, don't quit till you are satisfied with your findings. You have to be your own advocate for your health and well being.
    best of luck to you,
  • I am drawing the attention of peoples not care to seating position in offices or in daily routine activities and still ignorant about the importance of sitting postures and the damage that bad sitting postures can make. Although if we take care about spine health and a well monitor keep strong also provides us energy and support to perform our daily activities efficiently.

  • I know just how you are feeling. I am 27 years old and married with one little girl. I have lower chronic back pain from 3 wrecks I have been in and nerve damage that causes migraines for 1 to 4 days at a time. I know how you feel. We are so young and we have to get up we have things to do and we want to live life. I can't even get up out the bed sometimes because of the pain. I have to go to bed when my head hurts and I just lay here and cry. I can't do anything about it but just lay there and let it go away when it wants. This pain totally controls every day of my life. I have my daughter that is only 6 and she don't understand anything about my pain. She suffers because I can't play with her do things with her or just spend time with her. I find my self yelling at her and screaming to go play or stop or just being mean because of the pain. I suffer from this but more importantly my family is suffering more. I feel so sorry that my family loves me and is still around but has to deal with my pain more than I do with my attitude. I just wish doctors would help me. But because I don't have the money and my health care plan does not cover pain management I don't get helped. This is not fair to me or my family. I hope you find your answers and your pain goes away I am so sorry your suffering I will pray for you and hope you get well soon. I am your friend in or out of pain.
  • Have you seen an orthopedic at all? Between them and your primary care they should be able to take care of your pain. My pcp has been the one taking care of my pain management for the past year and a half. I too get severe migraines at times and also dizzy spells. Back in September I actually had a dizzy spell where I lost my vision for a good 5 minutes. So I got referred to a neurologist. After telling him about my constant headaches and migraines he agreed that I did indeed have them and needed to be treated for them. He put me on amitriptyline 10mg 1 tab at nighttime. For the first two days I didn't notice a difference but after the third day I didn't have aby migraines. I didn't even get a tension headache. Even when something came up and I got really upset or annoyed or stressed out, a mirgrain wasn't triggered. I'm 26 and I would definitely recommend this medicine to anyone, it works really well. As for the dizzy spells, I'm in the middle of doing an EEG and a Holter test and I see him again at the end of the month. I hope everything works out for everyone on here. Pain is such a horrible thing to live with. I live with it every day. I've had 3 surgerys in the past year and a half, two of those being back fusions. I'm still waiting for the relief to come :-( things have to get easier for us. I can't belief that this is it. We're too young to just give up
  • HAHAHA! I love this because I don't have a major insurance I can't get no help no one will take cash and if i don't have a major insurance I can't get a doctor to help me! Wonderful! Now what do I do?
  • Thanks so much for you advice. But as I just talked to some people on the phone and found out no one will take my medicaid and that they won't even take my cash. I am in real need of help but no one will help me and then I am on a year and half waiting list for LSU which is a charity hospital. I don't think I will be able to make it that long in waiting I mean this is really killing me physially and mentally. I am deppressed upset all the time and just miserable.
  • What state are you in that they won't provide you any medical care? Have you tried going to the emergency room at your local hospital? They can't deny you care at the time despite what insurance that you have and maybe they can refer you to a place that may be able to help or atleast get you bumped up on a list to get seen by someone. I hate hearing when people are in pain and it's a shame when certain places will turn away patients because of their type of insurance :-( it's horrible *hug* I hope my advice helps a little
  • You are not alone.
    - I would also suggest seeing a back specialist (orthopedic spine doctor or neurosurgeon)
    -Understand that many people suffer chronic back pain
    -Walking on flat surfaces is good
    -Keeping you core strong is important but learn how to do so under a trained specialist. -PT is not something you do for a month...it is something you learn over a month but need to keep up with (think of it as training...if you stop training, you won't be ready for the competition)
    -until you figure out what is wrong, keep a journal to help you learn what activities increase or decrease your pain. I suspect you will find that bending, twisting, or lifting or impact things aggravate it.
    -if someone suggests lower back surgery to "fix"your issues, get a few more opinions. Lower back surgery is a slippery slope

    I learned to live with that dull pain with flare ups for 17 years and during that time got strong enough to run again and play golf.

    Hope some of these tips help.
  • Thank you very much for your advice. I have been to the ER plenty of times and all they do is let me wait like 6 hours come in talk to me ask stupid questions hear my breathing and walk out. Then the nurse comes in gives me a shot for the night and sends me home with some inflamation meds that don't do anything because this has to be in my nerves because the pills don't work. I am tired of doctors not doing anything I know what I need I need a MRI I need something done. I am going see my family doctor again for like the fifth time and I am going to tell him that if he don't give me a MRI or something in that matter then just give me a strong pain pill and send my butt home. If he won't do either thing then just let me know and I won't come back so I won't waste his time or waste my time getting out the bed hurting the whole time I am waiting to see the doctor. I am tired of games and him just looking at me and giving me more bulls**t pills and sending me home and taking more money from me and my medicaid. I want something done I am 27 and tired of living in this darn bed its not fair to me I have a family I have a daughter that is only 6 and don't understand whats wrong with me and all she knows is I am mommy and I am suppose to play and be there for her not laying in a bed yelling and crying. Thank you both for your advice and words aleast yall give me hope
  • Honestly, I would ask your family doctor to refer you to a specialist. Te family doctor might order the MRI but in all honesty, family doctors are general practitioners. I am lucky b/c mine is also a cardiologist but most are general which you want for primary care. But if he tries to read the MRI, he may not be doing so with your history too.

    Good luck.
  • barbc33 I have this exact thing! I would really like to know if you got it fixed or dealt with in some way!
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