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.