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6 years of Chronic Back Pain - my story

sproydssproyd Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Chronic Pain
1st post here and strangely my first time branching out online in pain forums regarding my longstanding back pain problem. Sorry about the MEGA post but it feels good to data-dump here and it looks like lots of others on the forum have done similar. PS I've been told I elaborate too much when telling stories so apologies for the lack of succint-ness.

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Where: New Zealand

What: 6 years now of chronic low to moderate Thoracic Spinal Pain, often radiating out to upper back and wider back pain due to muscular tension.

How & When (this is the stupid bit!):

New Year's Day 01/01/2006 I was 20 years old and with a bunch of friends on holiday up at a beach in Northern New Zealand. We were playing this outdoor game (as crazy Kiwis tend to do) where we were driving an SUV/4WD with a tow-bar, towing people kneeling on a bodyboard via a wakeboarding rope in a very shallow stream that was running to the beach. At a certain speed the bodyboard would start to plane on the stream and so you could control your direction as you got towed by the SUV. Everyone took turns until they fell off. I still remember on my turn I was hanging on to the tow rope and was doing better than the others had done. They decided to pick up the speed in the SUV and eventually I lost control and hit dry sand at about 40-50km/h.

At that speed on hard sand I went head-over-heels multiple times, landing in a glorious heap. I went to stand up and realised that something was not right in my back. Getting back into the SUV and driving along the beach every time the truck hit a bump I felt a stabbing pain in my spine. Unfortunately, being with a bunch of macho guys I sucked it up rather than asking to see a doctor immediately.

A month went by and the low-grade chronic pain was still there so I decided to engage the medical profession (I know, I know I should have gone earlier but as a 20 year old Male I was still convinced I was invincible and my Wolverine powers would heal any injury regardless of how grave)!

My injury:

Only 5 years and an MRI later was it identified that I had received a moderate compression fracture of the Thoracic vertebrae (T7,T8) and the ensuing low to moderate chronic pain has been persistent ever since from the damaged nerves, despite the skeletal reparation. As I'm sure you are all mostly aware the chronic pain has side effects other than just pain including depression and various other lovely mental dysfunctions as well as just generally lowering the quality of life.

I've seen multiple GPs, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Traditional Chinese Medicinists and 2 highly qualified Musculo-Skeletal Specialists and I still have this back pain. I've also gone through a load of medicine treatments including;

* Manual specialist manipulation of rib dysfunction

* Paracetemol, Ibuprofen, Amitrip (amitryptiline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Norflex (Orphenadrine), Diclofenac, Lecithin, Multi Vitamins, B Vitamins, Executive B Complexes, Ginkgo, EPO, St John's Wort, Chromium Picolinate, Taurine, Omega 3-6-9 complexes, Fish Oil, Phosphatidylserine, Acetylcholine, Glucosamine, SJW, Rhodiola Rosea, 5-Htp, L-Tyrosine, DHEA, Blackmores Detox programme and the list goes on and on....

Some of these meds of course did nothing and some offered temporary partial relief. I'm not a fan of ongoing meds so I only now regularly take Ibuprofen (and Panadol) which really messes with my stomach and I feel I've grown some resistance to.

* The most drastic treatment was this year my specialist elected to try Medial Branch Block.

He went through a full diagnosis program using localised anaesthetic injections to identify which nerves were causing the pain. The anaesthetic injections felt great for a few hours and I was sure this was going to be the cure. Well he waited until **THE DAY** of which I was going to get the proper treatment (where they burn the offending nerves to stop them firing) to tell me that he thought it was too risky and the chance of success was too low, and that instead, I would be the lucky recipient of some spinal cortisone. How convenient - the money grubbing b@stard.

*The spinal cortisone injections were horribly uncomfortable and have done nothing notable to cure the pain.

*The best "cure" insofar has definitely been Mindfulness Meditation which I discovered in August 2007. While this has profound impacts in reducing pain it is notoriously difficult for 'amateur' Westerners to stick to at the best of times let alone those suffering from chronic pain and the ensuing demotivation. Also, the underlying nerve pain is still there and will come back in full effect when I am not meditating for whatever reason.

Now I'm back to square one after 6 years and looking for other solutions. It's funny that the cause of the pain has been diagnosed by professionals but they don't seem to have any answers.

I am VERY open-minded and money isn't really an object when it comes to this life-debilitating injury. Open to any suggestions, ideas or any observations from this forums depth of experience. I hope I can repay the favours!


  • I suppose it's good to know various treatments are really not helpful as I've often been envious to potential available treatments. It's frustrating and emotionally consuming just waiting and wondering why misery befalls me and "would it help to actually get treatment?". No accidents. No traumatic events, just severe back and neck pain that seems unending in its pursuit of my misery. Doctors only seem to bounce me from office to office for a lucrative several-hundred-dollar bonus for 30 to 60 second exams with nothing remarkable to note on the medical history except "pain. administered dope."

    I either need to get better, get disability or die. Unfortunately, neglectful doctors who aren't getting paid as much as they would like make the first two options impossible.

    I think it's only a matter of time for me.
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