My name is Laney. I am new to back pain/discomfort. Over the years, I have put alot of time and energy into fitness and because I am in great shape, it's been difficult getting my back issues addressed.
I am new to the terminologies, and have been experiencing symptoms that I have never had before -- either with anxiety or broken bones in the past. As I warm up to introducing myself, I may be able to provide more of my symptoms, but am in that stage where you want to "pace" how much energy you give it, in order to not stress yourself out. I'm adjusting to this new discomfort, which has been a huge departure from anything I have experienced before.
It's been difficult so far trying to find the best treatment for myself; I do not have insurance. I was on the road to employment, as well as quitting smoking, before I started having panic attacks again. During the time I was having them, my instant reaction was to get to the doctor as soon as possible, and address the anxiety issues. I did that, but had also mentioned that the panic attacks were grueling, but was relieved that I was getting on top of it. I mentioned to the doctor that my upper back felt like it was burning/felt painful, and had him take a look. Because I am in such great shape, he chalked it up as anxiety related, which made sense to me as well.
It has also been an area that has had the minor aches and pain, where I have always carried my stress over the years. In part, perhaps, because I have a long torso. But the aches and pains were just your typical aches and pains -- nothing like what I have been experiencing lately. I am also recalling a time when I was younger that the doc said I had "minute scolliosis but was never relayed to me that it was serious, and my upper back has never given me trouble -- did ballet/sports/etc -- so it's always been a non-issue. Such a non-issue that I didn't recall it until after my last doc visit.
Meanwhile, the doc prescribed me an SSRI to get on top of my anxiety -- I prefer alternative therapies, but have been helped greatly by SSRI's in the past for my anxiety. So I got on a new routine, only a few days so I'm not sure if the med was in my system long enough to see any sort "improved result". The side-effects were hard to discern from my anxiety as well, because I had spent a few days having panic attacks, so it always take a few days of rest to feel "regular".
Anyway, the back issues I was experiencing were not improving, but feeling worse. So much so, that it makes the panic attack stress seem miniscule. Because the symptoms were so alarming and unlike the sensations I am used to with panic attacks/new meds/etc, I was concerned and went to the ER, which was a tough decision for me to make: I truly felt that it was an emergency beyond my anxiety. Going to the hospital for it was nervewracking for me: I've never had these back issues before and care about my health, and did not feel I was over-reacting to want to go get checked out. I guess what I mean to say is that because the symptoms were such a departure from anything I have experienced, any reasonable man with the same symptoms, I am sure, would go to the hospital.
I went to the ER and was panicky (partly because of experiences in the past involving ill family members, partly because I know something is off to the point where I was nervous about finding out what is wrong, and partly because I was afraid that it would not be addressed in the way that I would like, but knew in my gut that going to the ER was the best thing I could do. I really do not like going to the hospital at all, so the fact that I went is proof enough that I felt it was an emergency.
The doc took a look at me and it was kind of humilating feeling. Because I am able bodied, still mobile, athletic, flexible -- all those things. Not sure if my endorphins/adrendaline were pretty up there, but was able to touch the floor with my hands flat to the ground without bending my legs (have done alot of yoga, exersize, etc) -- so it was kind of embarrassing in that regard...to have severe back issues but still be completley able bodied and athletic. Frustrating. Even though I was having the back symptoms before new meds, the doc told me to end my new med regimen. Because I was kind of panicky to be in the hospital, it was within reason for him to feel that my back issues were panic/med/stress related. I had calmed down already quite a bit, when the nurse came in and said that the doc wanted me to take xanax (and I told her no, because I don't really like taking that stuff -- and the way that she was looking at me, made me feel really uncomfortable as well..perhaps because I was nervous about being in the hospital, and she may have erroneously viewed me as wacky because of how highstrung I was. Anyway, I refused to take the xanax, but suggested that I take the sleep med I was prescribed instead...it was getting sorta close to my bedtime. Obviously, that reduced my blood-pressure and calmed me down more, but I was already starting to calm down a bit on my own since I had gotten the first meet and greet out of the way with the doc. Anyway, at the end of my visit a nurse took my blood pressure after the med, and it was "poof" lowered -- how does your pain feel. When I first went in it felt like a nine. When I had left I didn't have pain per se, but discomfort.
Anywho, when the doc came back I emphasized to him that my physical symptoms were of great concern to me, beyond my anxiety issues. I explained to the nurse that my baseline in hospitals is high-strung anyway. He proceeded to emphasize that my panic/current meds might be the problem, so I didn't argue. Because I have not been in a major accident and could perform difficult poses, he did not want to give me an x-ray (though I would have preferred to have gotten that done -- and still do). He instructed me to end my new med routine, take the xanax for panic, and call my doc.
Because of the holidays, I finally reached the nurses line, and had explained that the back I mentioned to my doc was getting worse and felt it was important to go to the ER...I also mentioned that the ER doc had told me to end my new med routine and to take xanax for the panic. The bloodwork they did came out fine for the things they tested...still trying to educate myself about stuff. The bloodwork coming out fine made me feel good, but i'm not sure what they didn't test for. I was only on new SSRI for 4 days, and have now been off of it for 4 days. My pain and inflamation has reduced greatly, so the med side effects were excaberating it, I am sure. But I still feel the upper nerv/bone/autonomy issues. Because I do not like painkillers or taking pain relieft meds, I have been very conservative taking the otc inflammation reducer -- only with pain or inflammation.
Right now, my upper back muscles feel very tender, and massaging the areas between my shoulderblades brings great relief--it does not hurt to the touch, but feels very good. At first the backpain issues are so new to me, that I was having trouble adjusting to them. I've always been really tough about broken bones, sprained ankles, stiches etc, and have never had nerve/bone issues with them before. I don't get sick very often. I don't get migraines. Have been hypochondriac about colds/germs/getting sick...but not about issues having to do with nerve/back issues. Like I said, the symptoms are so nagging that it makes the panic attacks seems miniscule by comparison and because I have anxiety issues it interferes slightly with getting proper treatment.
I still have to wait to hear back from doctor -- had mentioned on nurses line that it would be awesome to discuss it further on the phone, that I have been trying to articulate the straight-symptoms -- not researching endlessly trying to diagnose myself. When I first went into ER, I had printed out a few things that lined up with my symptoms and family history, but have since just tried learning about the upper back and logging my symptoms/sensations etc.
It's new to me and was really scared at first, still kind of feel scared, but feel like I have been doing the rational thing so far. Learning how to function with the discomfort, trying to be proactive about learning about the upper back, going to er, reaching out to any friends I can who may have insight, and trying to find a therapist as well.
The symptoms i'm having are kind of new/uncomfortable for me: lots of cracking, popping in joints, nerve issues I am not used to, so I will open up more about them gradually. I need the support from this site so I don't feel so alone in what I am dealing with. I haven't been in any major accident or anything, so I feel guilty and wimpy, but my threshold for the nerve stuff isn't very high. I'm allowing myself to be breathy and lengthy and getting down my thoughts, however imperfect they may be. I'm glad that I found a place to just get this stuff written in a supportive environment. I have been a drain on my family and have few friends with the time to be there for me in the way that I want. So hopefully just being able to write/discuess will help me to get my thoughts down and feel "heard", even if I don't get a response or am able to connect. Just writing stuff down and reaching out and being breathy/getting all my thoughts down, is helping me organize what I have been going though.
I look forward to learning more from your experiences and learn more about the back so I can articulate the issues I am having better. Thank you!