I'm 23 years old and have had chronic back pain for the past 9 years. I injured myself in high school by tweaking an oblique muscle during swim team. I suffered from extreme back spasms for years, learning to live with the pain. I then went to college and played goalie for a D1 lacrosse team. During my time playing I reinjured myself. I received electro-stim therapy every day before and after practice/games to try to manage the pain. I've seen many doctors and haven't gotten a clear diagnosis.
After years of dealing with this pain, my last MRI showed two minor bulging disks. It was a bit of a relief to finally have something solid to point to. My pain and spasms occur in my lower back and left side, making it feel as if I've been punched in my ribs a bunch of times. When I'm especially stressed or tired the pain shoots up through my shoulder and neck...not fun.
I don't sleep through the night because I have to adjust my position every few hours. I also have a hard time working out. Doctors tell me to use my pain as a guide, but if I did that I would never work out.
I have tried acupuncture, massage, the chiropractor and electro-stim therapy. I have tried muscle relaxers and pain killers but don't like them and have a family history of drug abuse so I steer clear of them. I have been trying Lyrica but haven't had much success with that either, it has just been making me really tired. And I tried a cortisone injection but it only gave me relief for a few day and I had an adverse reaction to it. I have also gotten myself in better shape with running, swimming and doing yoga regularly.
I am looking for any sort of advice anyone has. I'm afraid of surgery because I am pretty young, but I've been in pain for so long that I'm losing hope. I force myself to go about life but I'm constantly tired and always in pain. Has anyone had any success?? Are there any other medications people find useful? Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!