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New here chronic back/neck pain

Hi all,

My name is melissa and I'm 28 years old, though my body feels like it's about 98. My story is probably not too uncommon, but none the less, a painful one. I was in a car accident in 2005. At the time, all my injuries were thought to be "superficial" (broken nose, reconstructive surgery to my mouth and teeth)...I was given X-rays and a ct scan at the hospital and nothing was found. About a year later, I started getting bouts of dizziness and a pain in my thoracic region along with some neck pain and stiffness. I started seeing doctors again and apparently still had whip lash. The dizziness went unexplained.

Flash forward to today, where I live every single day in constant pain, dizziness and difficulty breathing. I've been to almost every doctor imaginable (chiro, neuro, gastro for unexplained stomach pain, pain management, orthopedic, even psychiatrists). I've been told the dizziness and trouble breathing is due to anxiety. I was put on antidepressants and Xanax. They didn't help at all and sometimes made me feel worse. I've also tried yoga and acupuncture, neither of which helped. The pain management doctor was the first doctor in all these years to recommend an MRI. It turns out I have 5 herniated discs; three in the cervical spine and two in the thoracic. From there I decided to try the cortisone epidurals and a nerve block. Those didnt help either. Then I lost my health insurance.

I'm so tired of trying to explain the way I feel to apathetic friends and family members. My boyfriend is the only one who tries to understand and shows any compassion. I feel like everyone thinks I'm making it up or exaggerating because I still go to work every day and do the things I have to do. No one seems to notice that I don't do anything anymore for pleasure. I feel like I've completely lost my quality of life. I feel helpless, hopeless, and alone.

I recently got on Medicaid because I am not offered benefits through my job and can't afford anything else. I'm only able to work part time, and have trouble making it through a 20 hour work week as it is. I am going to try a second round of epidurals and pray for some relief. The dizziness and trouble breathing are so bad, that I would honesty rather live with the pain if I could just solve those two things.

If anyone has similar symptoms besides the pain, I'd love to hear any advice or recommendations. I also hope to find some understanding here with people dealing with similar issues and if possible help those where I can. I hope to hear from you all soon.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I have a lot of back issues as well. One of my T disks almost crushes my spinal cord in half & when it 'goes bad' I get a severe pain around my left side as if I'm having a heart attack and the pain is unbearable to the point where I have to lie on the floor right when it happens & it's to painful to breath. I can breath in about as much air as would fill an empty balloon. It can take between 30-60 minutes before the pain subsides - lying prone probably helps as it decompresses the disk(s). Thankfully it doesn't happen that often & the smallest stupid movement is usually what sets it off.

    As for others who don't or won't try to understand what you are going through, ignore them or better yet, start asking for help with the everyday things at home or (especially?) at work that cause 'additional' pain. Don't be afraid to ask for help & try to patiently explain why you need the help & how it affects you at that point & how it also effects you later on during the day & at night or for days afterwards.

    Generally, people are stupid & you'll probably get the usual comment of 'But you look fine...'. You can reply to that with 'But you didn't appear stupid to me when we first met...'. Or some such thing...;>)
    Maybe if you asked them, 'Would you feel more comfortable around me if I used crutches or a cane...?".

    It's hard enough to deal with the pain everyday & then you add the ignorance of 'healthy' people....;>)

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