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Horrific debilitating and intense pain suddenly stops (day before MRI) ??!!

lynnegllynneg Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi -

Eight months ago I woke up one morning to sudden horrific very lower back (tailbone) pain with pressure/pain that radiated to the buttocks. I suffered pretty bad for few weeks (one day I thought I was going to die it was so bad, but it passed). I was talking loads of OTC drugs - this did help somewhat. I did mention it to my doctor, who suggested I pulled something.

For the next six - seven months or so this pain came and went, but didn't interfere with my life, it was just annoying and uncomfortable.

About six weeks ago the pain came again, but this time it just got worse and worse. Went family doctor and orthoped. Both gave pain meds and was sent for bone scan. Meanwhile the pain was getting more intense. I felt like I was going to give birth to an elephant! A bit of pain radiating to the hips, but no sciatica at this point. (I am familiar with sciatica as I had it bad when I was pregnant 7 years ago, and randomly again about 4 years ago. (My 'magical' chiropractor fixed the sciatica.)

Finally about 3 weeks ago the pain was so horrific (it was the very lower back that I could no longer take, but also had the pressure/pain radiating to the buttocks) that I went to the ER at 1am. They did a back x-ray (all was OK), gave me a shot of something that helped and sent me home.

A few days later the pain was worse than labor pains (and I have high pain tolerance, I had a home birth, etc.) Went to the ER (different one, got a shot of something but it did nothing, got a shot of something else but it did nothing. They told me to go home and rest.

I was in such debilitating and intense pain, I just cried. I needed some relief. I couldn't take it. They admitted me to the 'spine unit'. I got Oxycod(in) pills and liquid (6cc every four hours). Finally relief!

They reviewed a CT that I had done back in May of the kidneys when I had flank pain and they thought it was a stone. They doctor said he saw a slipped disk L5 S1 with a slight bulge that was lightly pressing against the nerve. Doctor said I just need to rest. I asked if they could do back CT to see if there has been progression of the slipped disk to be cause such pain (the other CT of the kidney was 7 months od, and wasn't of the back), but he said no need.

I got an epidural/spinal shot in the hospital, but it did absolutely nothing - for all I know it was a placebo. Went home after two days.

A couple of days later the Oxycod wasn't even helping - dosage was down to 5cc twice a day at home. Called the hospital and they said to come back. I was again admitted, and they said they would do a back CT the next day, but then the doctor in charge (who acted as if he was god) said there was no need, the kidney CT from May (7 months ago) still valid! I asked about an MRI. He said no need. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I was a crying mess.

For over a month I haven't really left the house, can't move, in such pain. My life has completely been interfered. I can't take care of the kids, the house, work...nothing. My husband is angry (I can understand him), I am barely sleeping because of the pain.

I am living on Tramadol OR (the 24 hour one)300mg, pain patches (don't think they are don't much, took it off after a week and didn't replace) and Oxycod liquid (I try to take smallest dose possible). Sometimes it's 4cc twice a day, sometimes it's 6cc three, four times a day. Depends on the pain. I know most of you know this story.

I made an appointment for a pain clinic - next appointment is March. Great.

Bone scan came back fine. Family dr sent me for CT of stomach and pelvis just to be sure there was nothing there - still waiting for results. Meanwhile I was rejected (by insurance) four times for an MRI.

FINALLY I was approved for MRI, which is schedule for tomorrow. Yesterday the pain was especially bad, and I had to take extra doses of the Oxycod. Also had a bit of sciatica for the first time. Then...

Then this morning I wake up and the pain is gone!!! Huh?!

Has anyone had the pain suddenly stop after such horrific debilitating and intense pain? I know I slept good too, because for the first time in five weeks or so, I feel well rested.

It's now past noon here (I don't live in America), and I haven't taken any pain meds today at all. I did take the Tramadol 300 OD last evening, so the effects of that are still working, but I ALWAYS wake up in pain. But now I feel like new! (Even during the CT on Saturday (3 days ago), lying straight on the table for five minutes brought on excruciating pain and tears.)

Honestly my absolute biggest fear is that the MRI tomorrow will look OK, and then again in a few months all of this will return..... I can't go through this again. I need the MRI to show what is going on.

Sorry this was so long. I know most of you can relate to the hell I have been living for 5, 6 weeks now (actually 8 months, but I was able to deal with pain before by taking OTC meds).

Any ideas why the pain suddenly stopped? I did read yesterday that twisting can make the pain worse, and wanted to see, so I did some twisting... did I twist-fix it? :-)

Would love to hear some opinions. Also, with the horrific pain I have been living with, is there a way for it not to show up on the MRI?

Thanks so much!


  • Just wanted add -

    1) Sorry for all the typos above! (That's the perfectionist in me talking - I posted the un-reviewed version ;-)

    2) I wrote that I have been stuck at home. I have tried twice to go to pool. The kicking movement while swimming was too painful on the back. Even moving in the water hurt. Couldn't take more pains meds as the Oxycod makes me dizzy. Not a good combo in the water.

    3) I am in a sense stuck in a loop - I know I need to take even short walks around the block, but can only do so with pain relief, but the pain relief required makes me too dizzy to walk... :-(

    4) Regarding physiotherapy, they said to wait till all test results are back...
  • Your not alone, I've had 13 MRI's since 2004 and I'm only 26. I'd say about half the time my constent pain decides to take a break in the MRI tube. When it all started for me I also had a slight buldge at the L5S1 level, fast forward to know my disks are badly degenerated at L5S1 and L4/5. It is terribly flustrating to hobble into the doctor's after an MRI and find out they didn't really find A reason for the amount of pain your in. Don't make the same mistake I did for the first 5 years or so, If you don't like what the doctor say's, see another. By the time I finally saw a doctor who thought I should see a surgeon there was too much damage and my surgeon didn't sugercoat it, He tried his best but the operation was a bust.
  • I forgot to add, My dotors have told me that when you lay down on a hard sufface with a pillow under your knee's is a good way to take the prssure of your spine and relax, one small problem, this is exactly how you are set up in the MRI tube. My spine surgeon explained it to me and a "slight" buldge when you are in the most neutral position is probably a lot worce if they where to do a stand up MRI. So for what it's worth don't ever think your crazy because your not, you really are in as much pain as you think you are and find another doctor if they tell you your not!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    This chronic pain is crazy making..you can't control it..can't predict it. And it's odd that when we have moments or days of relief we think the pain maybe wasn't as real. Then I'm walking pain free and turn down the aisle at the store and I am frozen in sudden horrible I can't move or breathe pain.

    It's real. And it may be really difficult to pinpoint. Ct scans never showed much for me..MRI showed some but EMG had the doc truly believing my repeated explanations of pain. Then he had a better plan for pain control.

    Best wishes to you with your testing and no matter the MRI results, listen to your body. Good luck!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Well put, Monday I went to the store with my wife, got home, went to get out of the car and couldn't move, worst pain since my surgery in march, all before I touched a bag of grocerys. Happens to me once or twice a week, sometimes its really bad for a few days then just normal pain for a few days till another flair up.
  • It happens. But just because your pain goes, doesn't mean the MRI is invalid. The MRI is only part of the story. It could be kidney stones or it could be a bulging disc that, when aggravated, is creating pain.

    I have had 2 surgeries and was having terrible pain and finally gave in to calling the doctor back. General practitioner sent me for MRI since the last one was prior to my 2nd surgery nearly 2 years ago. The MRI really doesn't show much...that we didn't expect but my GP is still willing to help. I told him let me contact my Neurosurgeon first and if he doesn't think there is anything to do, I will come back.

    I am considering an 'anti-inflammatory' diet of sorts to try to keep inflammation at bay. I also found that if I keep a steady dose of OTC anti-inflammatory (Advil + 8 hour slow release tylenol) that my dr. is ok with, I can keep the pain at a manageable level.

    So, what does it mean? Not a lot. I would see what the MRI is. IF the pain goes away for now, cool.
    IF it comes back there are nerve tests they can do that can pin point if there is a a particular area causing your pain.

    And, just b/c the pain radiates down your hips, doesn't mean it is not muscular. If your back is hurting, you tend to compensate without knowing it which puts more stress on your hips.

    Good luck
  • Hey Lyneg, I had a similar situation, I am 26 years young, who consistently worked body possibly too hard and especially so before my non impact injury. I saw such a decrease in my pain (although not completely gone, I was concerned that it wouldn't show up on my mri or rather that it has really been me blowing the idea out of proportion that maybe I was exaggerating the pain in some way it was so bad- I could hardly walk my hip would be lifted the following day after waking up do to muscles pulling it into a position from stress, and it would take an hour of posture correction to walk although with heavy sciatica of what I believed to be a herniated disk after reading descriptions. I described the feeling as electrical dagger drags down the leg, and occasionally numbness / stabbing and aches. Pinches when hitting a Certian position. I finally saw a doctor for it after trying for months do to the symptoms of pain sounding inner hip related and leg in the beginning and wrongfully getting hip x Rays that revealed nothing- she told me that it seemed much more back related and have me a script for PT. pT would have been 100 percent awesome if not for the drive over and if you suspect you have what I had in the begining only do light stretches and no physical strength training that places you in pain. I didn't get a pin feeling in the back until much later after expressing symptoms to a doctor for a workers comp case that started late do to the confusion of the symptoms and how long it would take- do not delay. I had to change everything medical to workers comp and it's not an easy process.

    I eventually got an X Ray - through a same day after explaining symptoms and holding back depression (on almost three months of debilitating pain both chronic and at some points tolerable- much more severe than not and always worse in the morning. doc says looks like spinal compression- I didn't see any cracks but maybe I didn't look hard enough- I cried almost immediately when he said "compression of spine- perhaps out of fear and also relief that something actually showed. If something didn't my attempts to turn it over to workers comp would have been bad and the bills would have been high. He pointed to a space that he explained is much smaller than usual but never mentioned fractures. I hardly glanced at it because I was crying and my nurse and he, both seemed concerned and cleared me for MRI exam which he said he wouldn't always do even in mild cases of pain- but because it was so long with pain and I had been going to physical Theropy for a month he said we should look. My nurse requested same day clearance or next possible appointment and I ended up going the following night.

    Keep in mind that I was also prescribed prednisone and four days before the MRI I started experiencing something new- I knew the difference in pain almost immediately compared to the rest- and it wasn't muscle it was an odd strain in my spine, which concerned me as maybe more nerves were being damaged/ pressed. (Note I had no idea for cause but the location was clear) spine as in the bone.

    Mind you this is from a 26 year old male

    The MRI disk was given to me and I wasn't waiting for another doctors appointment. I loaded the disk into my computer and started reading the files- I had looked up the definitions and diagrams of disk herniation for weeks to months now and my therapists believed it was most likely true. But still believed that PT was the way to go as mri was a precursor to surgery.

    I found two herniations on s1 and the disk above it. Also seemed to have multiple fractures that appeared in slides. Concerned with prednisone as pain in spine started so recent.. As a warning to those prescribed it- it made pain disspute for 3 days otherwise nothing not worth the risk.

    He gives me what
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • The same thing happen to me I was in horrific pain with sciatica the whole ten yards... my granddaughter got hit by a can and I jumped up and ran not thinking.. the next morning this terrible pain was gone??  My doc, PT noone can tell me what happen to cause this... I mean I have no sciatica pain whatsoever... as I age I really wish I knew the answer here... 
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 354
    Several years ago I was dealing with sciatica pain for nearly a year, when I accidentally fell/slid down some stairs in my home.  I jammed my leg as I landed, and there was a horrible 'pop' sound that felt like it was in my thigh.  I was sure I'd broken something, but I was able to get up, walk around, so I guessed not.  I noticed then over the next couple of weeks, that my sciatic pain was decreasing until it was basically gone.  What happened? Noone can explain.  But I enjoyed a few good years after that, until I had other back problems develop.  Thank the good Lord for unexplained miracles!  As for the MRI, in your case, I would still get it.  If you have flare-ups in the future, it will be good to have as a reference.  All the best to you!
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