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Horrible lower back pain

AidensMommy361AAidensMommy361 Posts: 56
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey everyone, I'm pretty new to this forum stuff. I'll get started by telling everyone that I'm 22 years old, For several years now I have had lower back pain. I was in a car accident in 2009 and noticed it had become worse. I've never seen a doctor for my pain...mostly out of fear of the doctor not believing me. The last few weeks have been HORRIBLE. I have an appointment this friday. I'll list my symptoms and see what you all think.
1. Sharp pain when I stand up, bend over, pick my son up or sit/stand for a long period of time.
2. Sharp pain down the back of both of my legs.
3. When I bend my neck forward I feel the same sharp pain in my lower back as if I am bending over.
4. It feels like if I could just stretch it far enough or bend over enough it would "pop" and stop hurting.
5. The area above my tailbone is extremely tender, I can't even touch/push on the area without it causing tremendous pain. If Zeus where to throw a lightening rod at my back, this is what it would feel like.
6. Every morning I wake up stiff, It takes me a little bit to bring myself to push through the pain from sitting up and stand up off the bed.

I have no numbness or tingling.

Now I will list what helps the pain (which isn't very much)After I do these things the pain is maybe gone for a few minutes.

1. Laying down on my side with a pillow between my knees.
2. Laying on my back with a pillow under my knees
3. Hanging from a door, Like a kid would hang from the monkey bars.
4. Having someone push on my back while I'm laying on my stomach.

All four of my grandparents have/had DDD. My mother had surgery on her neck due to DDD when she was 35. I'm really scared about going to the doctor. Not because of what may be wrong with my back, I KNOW something is wrong and has been for a long time...I'm afraid of being judged or that she won't believe me. I know this sounds stupid but they are real concerns of mine. Since I am only 22 I fear that she may think I am making this stuff up.

If anyone has any information or has had the same type of pain or has gone through the same situation, I would love to hear what you have to say.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    First things, Spinal problems never discriminate when it comes to age. The only problem at times is those that do not always believe that younger people can have those types of problems.

    To me, going to the doctor and having first a clinical examination to hopefully determine what could be the problem and if necessary diagnostic tests to isolate any problem.

    It is so important to know what is going on. Its easier to deal with the known then the unknown.

    Now, when it comes to your doctor and being judged. As long as you are straight forward, explaining your situation, symptoms (like you did in your post), a good doctor will listen and make some judgments.

    Judgments, not based on your age, but on your situation. I always believe coming completely prepared for a doctors appointment can be very helpful.

    This article is written for those patients who are going in for surgery, but many of them could apply to anyone. 38 Questions to ask your surgeon

    I wish you the best with your doctor visit.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I would not be doing you any favors if I posted a guess at what your issues are, being as I am not a Dr.

    However I will say that when you see a Dr please make sure you tell him/her everything like you posted here, as I do think you have something going on that is more then a "sore back".

    If your dr is the type to hurry you through write a letter (type it out unless you have really good hand writing) and ask the nurse to attach it to the FRONT of your file. Most Drs read the notes while still in the hall way. This way he/she will be clued in that this is not a rush you through type appointment.

    Please keep us updated how things go and what you find out :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Print your post from here and take it with you so all doctors can read it. Update it if needs be from time to time.
    Make sure that you thoroughly explore soft tissue damage and other problems, not just the hard bits!
    It's the soft bits that have to work overtime to look after the spine, and they can cause intense pain.
    Ask questions all the way through, and make sure everything is explained to your satisfaction.
    These things can take a few different doctors and visits to sort out.
    Try to avoid any remedy that relies just on drugs. They mask the problem but don't resolve it.
    Seek out a good physio too. They can work wonders and know more about this area than the average doctor, as they specialise in it.
  • Thanks guys. I'm so anxious about seeing the doctor tomorrow morning. I asked my mom to come with me, maybe that will help. I will be sure to keep you all updated on how the appointment goes. I'm probably just stressing myself out over nothing, I'm just afraid of not getting the help I need. :-( Hopefully all goes well and I can get some relief! I'm going to take the advice of bringing a copy of what I wrote up above. Once again, Thank you all!
  • stopping in to see how your dr appt went? Hope all went well :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • It didn't go as I had hoped. She pretty much said that it's due to nerve damage caused by shingles I had a few months back. I'm going to get a second opinion. All she did was prescribe me flexeril 50 mgs three times a day and norco 7.5/325 every four hours then sent me on my way. I asked her about having an MRI done and she didn't agree with that idea. :( Hopefully the next doctor I see will actually listen to what I'm saying and not throw medications at me and say it will go away.
  • Any chance they want to run tests like an MRI to be sure it's related to shingles? Yes, I know that can cause nerve problems but I would want to be sure based on the symptoms you are having.

    Can you visit a neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine doctor? Any thoughts on PT helping?
  • Well, I had a horrible day today! After my husband got home from work I had him pop my back, He ended up pushing on the wrong spot and I could not even get up off the floor. I had him take me to the emergency room. They did an x-ray and couldn't see any damage. The doctor did give me a referral for an MRI since the hospital doesn't do them unless you have severe trauma. She said she believes I may have 2 herniated discs in my lower back. She did give me a shot of Norflex and also a prescription for it, which helped tremendously! I was actually able to bend over without feeling like my back is going to break! At least I'm making some progress to finding out what the cause of my pain is. My only concern now is confronting my doctor. At the last appointment she pretty much called me a liar. I can see where she is coming from since I am only 22, I just wish she could be more open to the idea that not just older people have back problems. Once again thank all of you for your comments and suggestions. I will keep you all updated when I find out more information.
  • I'm not sure that any age group is more is less liable to be lying, so please don't let her treat you that way.
    Perhaps it is just medical scepticism based on the expectation that you will be after drugs.
    What about taking your husband along with you as back up and witness? She would find it much more difficult to disbelieve 2 adults, surely.
    If not, change doctors.
    Do you write down all that happens with your back so that you can present the full picture?
    Sometimes we just expect too much from our doctors, and medicine is more of an art that a science they tell us.
    Keep it calm and factual, and try to get her understanding each step of the way. This way you may be able to find out where she starts to turn away.
  • I may not be understanding this correctly. If the ER Dr gave you the MRI referral, can't you just go and get it done?
    Then when you see your own Dr after the MRI is done she will have to see that you have something more going on if the MRI shows it????

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Well, that was my original hope, to have an MRI done at the ER but for some reason I guess South Texas hospitals don't do MRI's unless you have been in a car accident or have had some kind of serious trauma. And the Insurance I have is through the county so it's not very good, I wouldn't be able to afford to have one done on my own..So the ER dr wrote out a referral for an MRI to give my dr, because if she would just order it I would only have to pay $50.
  • Oh OK I see. well that stinks! Lets pray she does the right thing.

    Please keep me posted :)

    PS: Note* Don't move to Texas! I have that same type of insurance here in Pa. We call it the gold card. It covers me VERY well!!
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Well, I have a new symtom...I'm not sure if this is t.m.I but now when I have a bowel movement I feel the same pain I would feel if I tried to bend over. Now my pain is constantly there, repositioning doesn't help anymore. Standing to do the dishes for 10 minutes makes my lower back so stiff it hurts to walk. I'm so desperate for help :'( I know you all have said age doesn't matter but my dr seems to think it does, thankfully I have an appointment april 10th with a NEW dr. Wish me luck guys.
  • I use Colace a stool softener once or twice a day to make it easier to go to the washroom.

    I also have pain standing in one spot trying to do dishes or brush my teeth. It would be good to write down all your symptoms and let the Dr. know that you have a hard time standing in one spot, can only walk so far and if pain relieved by bending over so he'll know better how to treat it. I alternate ice and heat on my back.

    Always support yourself getting up from a chair or from the bed holding onto something instead of hauling yourself up with your back.

    Don't bend over from the waist at all to pick up your son but instead crouch down. Hydrate with a lot of water at least 8 glasses a day. I hope you don't get your back popped anymore.

    Sorry you have to wait so long long to see the Dr. and hope you would get an MRI soon.

    Speaking of Shingles I just got them in my middle back and they are darn painful.

    Keep us posted how you're doing. Take care. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hey everyone, I just got home from the ER, they told me I have two buldging discs and early signs of osteoarthritis. I have to start pain management and physiotherapy. I'm so confussed, I'm only 22. I feel like crying. I am thankful to know that it wasn't all in my head. They gave me a medrol steroid pack and norco until I see my new dr. Thank you all for your support and comments.
  • So sorry you have this problem but I am thrilled you got it diagnosed and are getting hooked up with a pain doc at this stage. Does degenerative disc or joint disease run in your family? It did in mine. I was in an auto wreck with a major head/neck injury at 18. My brother had a serious athletic injury at 19. Our spines were a mess within a year. Don't be afraid to ask your pain doc any questions you might have. There are no dumb questions. As a matter of fact, qustions often give the doctor insight that he/she might not have gotten otherwise. Hang in there.
  • I'm glad they got you the MRI so now your Dr. can refer you to Pain Management and Physiotherapy.

    One thing though there are many people who walk around with bulging and herniated discs and have no symptoms. My herniated disc L5-S1 healed on it's own but now have L4-L5 bulging but I'm hoping that will heal also.

    I sent you that PM to another place that talks about chemicals released if there's an anular tear that can cause pain if you have a tear.

    I have had minor back pain issues throughout my life due to scoliosis and now kyphosis also but still try to walk daily short walks ice my back and alternate with heat. Drink lots of water cut out the colas.

    I use a backjoy seat when I'm sitting and keep my feet up on a foot stool to keep the pressure off my back and do stretches and exercises given to me by Physiotherapist.

    Keep a list of what causes you pain like standing in one place for so many minutes you can only walk say a half block before you have to bend over to get relief. Pain while sweeping floor etc. Let the Dr. know as your time is limited in an appointment so he will know how better to treat you. Let him know if you have any numbness tingling or pain in your leg(s)

    My Dr. would never give me oral steroids as they have a lot of side effects and did better with an anti-inflammatory but hope this short term will help you. I hope you will get better with treatment. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Everyone on my mothers side has ddd. I actually just had a talk with my moms cousin who is 43 and he has almost the exact same problem as me. I found out also my aunt had surgery on her back when she was 28. So I guess its in my genes. Lol awesome! Just kidding :( I'm just glad I was able to find out before it got too bad.
  • Hi there! Just want to express my sympathy... I am 27 years old and have been dealing with horrible back issues for the last 8 months. I'm a registered nurse and injured my back lifting a patient at work. It started off with the dr thinking it was a muscle issue which turned into a ruptured disc which I had surgery on in Ovtober of last year. Pain didn't go away and was sent to a second doctor after being told it was all in my head. I had a second surgery 5.5 weeks ago and the surgeon took out my right facet joint at L5-S1. Pain is still there and will need a THIRD surgery within a year to fuse that segment.
    My first surgeon was not empathetic but my new surgeon has been wonderful! I keep a pain journal that I let him read at each appointment and he understands that I am an active 27 year old that wants to get back to work and a normal life.
    It is so frustrating trying to deal with a doctor who thinks you're just trying to get medication, and in my case thinks that I'm trying to not go back to work. But with this new surgeon, he listens and I feel he is invested in my recovery.
    Keep your chin up and try to find a doctor who will actively listen to you! It makes a huge difference in your physical and mental well being to have a doc who is on your side.
    Spine problems know no age, it can affect anyone!

    Keep your chin up and don't let your pain rule your life!

  • I'm also an RN, in my lower 40's. I love to work. I started to have lower back (mainly sacral) pain last year in October. No known injury.

    I've seen 3 specialists (Ortho, Neuro and Spine). I've had 2 MRI's which showed "nothing". I've gone to Chiro and PT. Now my neuro thinks it's "stress".

    I'm constantly in pain but still working. I have been prescribed "those meds" and Gabapentin.

    I am terrified of addiction, so I take them only when it's really bad.

    I am tired of Dr's falling back on the "in the head" when they can't find anything.

    I would much rather have a cause and cure it (if possible) then a bunch of Rx's.. :(

    I don't know what to do next.....
  • Just found out i have had a misaligned pelvis for several years. Had a chiro adjust it this morning and i feel maybe 30% better. My right leg was 1 1/2 inches shorter than my left...now my left hip is starting to bother me. Plus i have a limp now :(
  • My MRI after my first surgery showed "nothing" but my surgeon tried steroid injections. He basically said that if they didn't work it would lead him in the direction that it was so
    Etching else going on which led me I to the OR and he found that my facet joint was so arthritic that he had to remove the joint.
    My point is dont give up! Find a doc that listens to you and is on your side!! :)
    I'm sorry you're having to deal with this but finding a surgeon who is willing to try everything before cutting will ease your mental well being. I wish everyone here could find a doc like mine... I go tomorrow to schedule my L5-S1 ALIF surgery
  • Lastnight my right leg gave out again. I think i may have messed my pelvis up again. Now i have a pain on the side of my right foot that feels like a throbbing jolt of electricity. Do any of you know if this pelvis misalignment ever going to go away or will it be chronic? Im thinking that it has been unaligned since i was 15-16. I keep thinking about how the dr pushed on my lower back and how horrible it was....it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the pain, it literally took my breath away. Anyways, just wondering if this is chronic or not...i cant seem to find anything on google.
  • First of all (since I have not been here for a while) I am very happy you have some more knowledge as to what is going on with your back :)

    Yes your pelvic bone can be adjusted and not "pop" back out again - almost. Allow me to explain.

    Mine popped out after pushing for 8 hrs to give birth- something that most Drs don't allow these days, but that was 30 yrs ago - I felt like a mack truck hit my pelvis area. It only took 1 adjustment to line it back up again BUT over the past 30 yrs I would say it has popped back out about 20 times. I was told it could do that. I was told if it did to stop what I was doing and lay down with my legs & feet a little higher then my heart. It has worked every time for me. Some times I just need 5 to 10 minutes and other times I need an hr. Once in awhile I need over night.

    Having said all that. I honestly don't know how wise it is to allow any dr to adjust/crack your lower back. My chiro adjusts my neck & my hips, NEVER does he touch my lower back.

    Pain in your foot - does it radiate from some where else or is it only in your foot?

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Well just thought I would update you all. I had an appointment this morning. My Dr ordered another mri for Friday and referred me to a neurosurgeon who I will see "1-3" weeks after my mri. Grrr.

    Once again he changed my meds from neurontin to lyrica and norflex to robaxin. The neuontin was causing weight gain and migraine headaches. He offered to give me tramadol but told him no, my husband had a seizure while taking that med. So once again I'm left without something for pain.

    Anyways, I will update again once I hear the results of the mri on Friday. I hope you all are doing well! Thank you for your support!
  • This one is well known as being unsuitable for some people, particularly the elderly. I can take it, and do, but my wife can't.
    See if you can try a very small dose. It would be a shame to not try is as you may be able to tolerate it.
    It is given in hospitals here in Australia as the main pain killer.
  • I now am regretting not accempting the script for tramadol. Its just so scary to think I might have a seizure. My Dr also said that taking klonopin (which I take) increases the risk. So that's another reason I opted not to take it. But I will probably call his office tomorrow and see if he can call it in.
  • The usual reaction for oldies is a spaced-out or loopy feeling.
    That's what my wife had (not an oldie!).
  • Findings: There is a mild central and right sided disc protrusion at L5-S1 with accompanying osteophyte formation. A component of compression of the right s1 nerve root is present with relative sparing of the s1 nerve in the posteriorly located thecal sac at that level. A spinal stenosis is noted at that level.

    The l4-5 level demonstrates a mild central disc protrusion with mild ventral extradural compression of the thecal sac and perhaps slight lateralization towards right side. The spinal canal is on the lower limits of normal in a size associated with that disc protrusion.

    The l4-5, l2-3, l1-2 and t12-l1 levels are unremarkable. The t11-12 level demonstrates a mild protrusion to the right of midline with mild ventral extradural compression of the thecal sac. No spinal stenosis is noted.


    Mild right sided disc protrusion at t11-12

    Moderate right sided disc protrusion at l5-s1 with compression of the right s1 nerve root.

    Mild central disc protrusion at l4-5 with resultant borderline spinal canal size at that level.

    Still not sure what all of this means. :-/
  • From what I've read, you can't make any assumptions just because certain conditions have been observed.

    Some people have had quite pronounced spine degeneration or other apparent problems, yet the patients haven't had any pain from them.

    Then again, as may be in your case, there is nothing to really identify as the likely cause. All very tricky to diagnose.

    I would have thought that any MRI includes an explanation of the findings.
    Otherwise, what is the point of going to all that expense?
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