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back pain and "normal" mri findings

Hello everyone! I'm new here. A little background on me before getting to the topic. I'm only 22yrs old at 5'3, 118lbs, before a year ago I used to be totally fine, hard working (still am) and loved to work out. My job required me to stand, transport and lift heavy patients. And since Sep. Of last year my back started hurting/burning/tender at touch, and didnt go away. I had to stop running because I felt that with every shock my back took it was going to break or something. I went to the dr in Jan this year and she said I had arthritis and because of it I'd also developed scoliosis. I recently moved to a new location and the dr that I just saw earlier this month, ordered an MRI, results came back as "normal"... question is. Why do I have this pain? I asked for a second opinion but he denied any referral for me to see another dr.. No further testing and I think he thinks I'm faking this pain.. I do not wish to have pain, I hate the medications(flexirl, mobic) I take them as a last resort when my pain makes me cry. Am I crazy? Could this be psychological? I'm soo sorry about my long story but I just want some guidance, someone to maybe understand my pain.
My leg sometimes hurts also. But does anyone have pain almost 24/7, along with problems sleeping headaches fatigue?

Thank you for reading.


P.S. sorry for the grammar. I just felt like taking this off my mind for a while.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • hi - im similar to you, 25 year old female with 24/7 pain and scans came back normal. Its been three years and after many doctors (you have to push hard to see them) i think i have SI Joint dysfunction bacause my pelvis tips in all the wrongs directions. Anyway I definitely know how you feel, just remind yourself that scans do not always pick up the injury. You know what the pain is and you know something is wrong. People without constant back pain do not know what it is like, I have learnt to smile and nod whenever ppl give me terrible advice or think that Im being dramatic. You need to keep pursuing with every option, start from the most conservative - walking/strengthening exercises and do not do any lifting or bending. (Hire a cleaner if you need too, I did) I now see a chiro and do pilates and this seems to have the best outcome. I would think another doctors opinion or see several physios etc to get an overall view of what they think it could be.

    Keep going and try and hold your head up, it will never get better on its own :-)
  • Tullkyl, thank you so much, this helps a lot. Sorry about your pain, but at least I know that people might feel the same.
    Everyone around me is extremely healthy, downfall of that is that they think I'm over dramatic.
    Hopefully I get a diagnosis soon. Finally got a change in Dr today..
    I'll def. Be looking for a chiro. Have you tried acupuncture? Some one recommended me that.. but I'd rather take advice from someone a lil more experienced in this matter.

    Once again thank you!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    Don't look at yourself as being crazy, just look at yourself as being young. At times in the spinal world that can be a blessing or a huge weight to bear.

    You will read all too often that young people should not , can not, or if it is, it cant be serious , or or worse, they are only looking for drugs

    Thats the curse or the weight you have to deal with. Its almost to the point where you have teo 'duoble-prove' your condition to the medical field.

    Diagnostic testing, which MRI is just one onf many can not catch everything. Especially arthritis in the spine. MRi results may show bad situation, yet clinical examinations how the patient is doing ok, and the other way around. MRI looks ok, but the patient is really suffering. Thats when additional testing is required to further isolate the problem. First, you need to have a doctor who is willing to do this. To me, any doctor worth their weight will do this in a heartbeat. Its what they are trained for. Many times, that might be your Primary Care physician instead of a spinal specialist. The PCP looks at everything.

    The positive side about being young is that you are tougher and able to bounce back, recover from injuries, surgeries, etc better than someone much older.

    How to get someone to believe you? I have no definite answers for that. My take has always been stick with one doctor, earn their trust and confidence and them to you. Then things should be easier.

    Some folks here will tell you to go in and demand this or that, or go find another doctor and keep looking for one that will help you. Go with the trust and confidence aspect, it almost always works.

    Now, the last piece, this is more or less a disclaimer and not something targeted at you. There are many patients, young or old, that will go to one doctor after another, because they did not like what they heard. The doctors are telling them, there is nothing wrong that we can see, things look normal. They dont want to hear that, they want to hear something is wrong, so they can get medications or something else.

    Hang in there. Be honest with yourself and honest with the medical field and you will do fine
    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
  • Thanks for the great advice. I finally got a change of PCM. It was proven that the Dr. I was originally seeing was indeed a bad one. Sadly it might have cost another patient months of life. Diagnosed with cancer and thats why she was having pain... He had told her the same thing that he told me.. "you might have psychological issues maybe anxiety and depression"
    But thank you for the advise. I keep on active, try to stay away from all the drugs on to just meditation or a little break sitting down and relaxing.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    I am a firm believer in the Eastern medicine approach. There is so much we can learn from techniques that have been practiced for centuries. I am fortunate that my physiatrist is also a firm believer in Eastern medicine, so I've had many treatments with acupuncture, used aroma and music therapy. Relaxation techniques including meditation.

    It works, but at times you did need to have an open mind about all of this. But to achieve the pain free state that you want to be in without any chemical dependencies, now that is a goal.

    There was a popular FoodTV Network show , Ming Tsai, East Meets West

    I think its time that West meets East!
    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
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    edited 10/25/2013 - 11:46 AM
    I had my second acupuncture treatment yesterday and am hopeful that it will help my continued low back and leg pain resulting from a L3-4 microdiscectomy in May. I had a similar experience where my initial MRI was read incorrectly and the physiatrist also saw nothing abnormal. I spent from December until May in excruciating pain thinking I was crazy. Finally I saw a neurosurgeon who saw a piece of disc lodged in my L3-4 nerve root and had surgery in May.

    I continue to have residual nerve pain in my leg and low back pain. I have done Pt, water PT, massage and now I am trying acupuncture. I hope that Eastern medicine will help this heal.
    I have hope that it will help. The acupuncturist said it could take 3-5 treatments to make a difference. I am waiting for it to help.
  • I'm definitely open to anything that will help. I shall research Eastern techniques.
    Hopefully I can find something at a reasonable distance from me.
    *Liz* I hope your pain gets better also.. please let me know if by the end of your treatment it feels any better..
    Thank you all.
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