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New member, chronic low back pain :(

BigochaloopaBBigochaloopa Posts: 41
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everyone. My name is Steve,33 years old, and I'm new here. After fracturing my L1 in a vehicular collision two years ago, I have been hurting ever since.
My fracture apparently healed properly, however, every day I wake up feeling like a 90 year old arthritic man. It takes me hours before I start to loosen up and feel somewhat normal.
I also suffer from severe sciatica in my left buttock and leg. Sitting, for me, is my number one trigger for pain. Not so good, when you're a professional driver! And, of course to be the icing on the cake, I also have been diagnosed with PTSD and major depressive disorder....yaay :(
Unfortunately the doctors can't figure out why I'm experiencing such severe sciatica. The MRI looks clean, and they don't see any nerve impingement. I'm waiting to see a neurologist, but since the MRI's aren't showing anything dangerous, it's taking forever to get in to see him.
They thought it was piriformis syndrome for a long time, but have since ruled that out.
I often wonder if I would feel any better if I could figure out exactly what is wrong with me. All I know for sure, is that I am in pain all day long. If it's not my back acting up, it's my sciatica.....If my sciatica feels pretty good....then my back is killing me. I'm stuck in this rut, and don't see any way out.
I have a wonderful wife and children, and it's all I can do to function like a "normal" person. But its really hard, when I can't even sit at the supper table because of the sciatic pain....or take them to a movie and enjoy it....or even go for a nice Sunday drive.
I'm losing my job in the military and have no idea how I'm going to make a living after I get out. Unless I'm considered permanently disabled, and won't have anything to do for the rest of my life. Maybe I'll be Mr. mom and my wife can go to work every day :)
Thanks for letting me vent here everyone. I know my wife is tired of me complaining all the time....and to be honest, it feels like my doctor is even sick of my pain.
This place is a blessing.


  • Hi Steve. Thank you for your service to our country.
    I'm new here too, but no stranger to back pain. Have you seen an ortho or neuro specialist? These work ups can take a while, esp in the military. (we were a military family for many years)
    I love your avi...big Stuart fan here
  • In the mid-80s I was in your boat, with lower back pain and sciatica, with every test (CT, myelogram, lumbar venogram) coming out normal except for the EMG, which showed L5-S1 radiculopathy. I was referred to an OSS, who performed a diagnostic block to see if I'd benefit from surgery. A decompressive laminectomy was performed, and I was symptom-free until2001, when symptoms reappeared. A year ago I had an MRI, which showed three herniated disks, a displaced vertebra (a.k.a. spondylolisthesis), facet joint arthritis, a dried-up disk, and scoliosis. Surgery was recommended, but I refuse to have it. PT has improved things pain-wise.

    Have any other tests been done besides what you mentioned? In the case of back pain, diagnosis is next to impossible without additional tests. I sure hope something can be done; back pain/sciatica can be just awful. Best wishes and keep us posted. Love 'n >:D< , Ess
  • Hi there, thanks for your replies..:) Essmoe29, I've had multiple MRI's, CT scans, x-rays. I have been diagnosed with Degenerative disc disease......however, they just don't see what could be causing the severe sciatica.

    When I look at all my symptoms, it really seems to my that I have osteoarthritis. But, apparently a bone doctor looked at my rays/scans and didn't see anything. Although, apparently it can take a long time to show itself through scans.

    My low back/sciatica pain is killing me. Last night my family and I were driving around looking for a restaurant to have supper. Of course, with my luck, every place we wanted to just happened to be closed for god knows whatever reason!! We ended up in the car for over an hour, and then of course, to sit down for the meal......then back into the car for the drive home.

    Needless to say, I am so CONSUMED with pain, that it's so hard for me to think about anything else! I am cranky/miserable/short tempered with my family today. I hate it, but I can't help it. I am hurting so bad.

    I find myself waiting for the end of the day to come, just so I can numb out. Whether with pills , or alcohol or both. This is a slippery slope I don't want to slide down. Suffering with major depression/PTSD, I know alcohol is a HUGE no-no. I haven't been over doing it........just enough to take the edge off and to help me get out of my head.

    Well that's enough moaning and groaning for now. Take care everyone,
  • Hi Steve,

    I am new here too and I really feel for you! :(

    I am not a medical professional but wondered firstly whether you could get to see a pain specialist at all? They may be able to give you the relief you need.

    The other thing I was wondering about was something the physical therapist I was seeing was talking to me about and that is trigger points which are tight knots of muscle that can cause excrutiating pain apparently. This is what I though I had ironically when I actually did have a herniated disc. He said that many people with chronic pain may have these and they can be treated in a variety of ways. As I said I am clearly not a medical professional but it was my first thought when I read of your symptoms and the fact that noone can seem to isolate where your pain is coming from based on traditional diagnostic testing. Perhaps you could try to get a PT referral from your physician.

    I so hope you find answers and get the relief you need soon.

    Take care.

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