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6 years of pain and no signs on MRI

becki0904bbecki0904 Posts: 3
edited 06/02/2014 - 7:10 AM in Chronic Pain
Well i'm 22 years old, ive had upper back pain for 6 years now, had 3 physiotherapists, an osteopath, acupuncture, pain management service, pain clinic appointments. I've tried all sorts of pain medicenes, however the MRI said there was nothing wrong with my back or spine. The doctors have now told me i have to put up with the pain however no pain medication because ive tried everything they can prescribe, apart from morphine which they dont want to put me on because of my age.
I have today asked for a second opinion of my MRI and also being referred to a hospital based pain clinic which might have other techniques. Do i give up on seeking help for my pain and accept that i have to just deal with this pain all of my life?

I have to lay on the floor at home and at work to stretch and crack my back when it gets really painful, i cant stand still for even an hour. Can anyone give any words of wisdom or help?

Also i have seen a bonesetter, 3 appointments and he says i have a disc protrusion, 2 vertabrae that arent in line and a tilted pelvis, however my doctors wont take this seriously or even have a look at my back.


  • It is possible that the pain is muscular in nature........not having anything show up on MRI can be a good thing, that means that there is nothing anatomically wrong with your back ........at your age, that is what you hope for when they send you for imaging studies.
    On the flip side of that finding, if you are still having pain, then it may be from something else, and not from your spine at all......muscular, a ligament, tendon.......or it could be from cracking your back . Doing so is not necessarily a good idea, and may be part of the problem.

  • i dont purposely crack my back, it just happens when i lay straight and it kind of relieves pressure for a minute or so. If it was a ligament or tendon, how would i find out if that was the cause of the pain?

    Thank you for your response, its much appreciated
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/02/2014 - 5:24 AM
    They are different than a physical therapist.........they are physical medicine and rehab doctors. Or a sports doctor, might be able to help diagnose what the problem is.
    Massage and accupuncture might also help.....so it might be worth considering trying either or both of them.
  • Have you ever had an MRI with contrast? I have a similar situation as yours, pain for two years and no "proof" on MRI, X-ray, or other tests they have run. I recently had an MRI with contrast and that allowed the doctor to better see my muscles- but they still didn't find anything. Once I finally found the right doctor, he told me that it's possible to have pain and all the tests are negative. I remember in the early days, I just kept hoping that a test would find something. When negative results came back, I'd be devastated. Medical staff would comfort me by saying, at least it's not whatever the test was for. That didn't really help me. I wanted an answer, so that it could begin to be fixed. And if it couldn't be fixed, at least I would know, and not think I was crazy.
    I have tried physical therapy numerous times, and it has not worked for me. Maybe I never found the right therapist, but massage therapy helps me with the pain. When I have a session, it feels like blood is able to get to different parts of my body that have become numb. Muscles untighten, and my body is suddenly moving back into the position it was suppose to be in,
    I have had previous back surgery, a fusion for scoliosis, and my spine is still curved. Medical staff have guessed that this may be putting pressure on different parts of my body. Have you had any previous back issues or pain? Have you been checked for scoliosis?
    I still want an 'answer' or just so definte reason for my pain. However, I don't think that will happen. It doesn't mean I give up, but I do need to learn to live with the pain I have now. I have a pain pump, which is supposed to assist with pain, but I have had struggles with it. It does assist some with my back pain, but my pain has moved to my right leg. Again, I want an answer for this, but doctors have not been able to find one. I don't know if my pain pump will start to help more with other medication or different dosages.
    It's hard to hope, because I know how damaging it is when you are let down. I wouldn't say I have 'accepted' the pain, but I have stopped fighting it so much. I've come up with distractions that work for me. What do you do that doesn't have anything to do with your back pain?
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 06/04/2014 - 2:26 PM
    come back and indicate negative and that there is no obvious spinal problem..
    Do you seek a second doctor? , No perhaps if anything, I would want another doctor to at least review the images and report to get their opinion.

    I can not tell you how many times we here about people that are in pain yet all test indicate that there is no real reason for them to be in pain.

    Is it in your head? No, I dont think so. Perhaps there are people that just want to tell everyone they are in pain even though there is nothing to substantiate that.

    There is not meter that can display a persons level of pain. Its all very subjective. Someones pain level of 10, may be anothers pain level of 3

    When most of the diagnostic tests for spinal problems come back negative, you should be very happy. What that could mean is thatw the source of your pain is muscular or nerve related. That being the case, there are so many ways to approach that to get things back to normal.

    Putting up with the Pain! No, that is not a valid answer. Yes, some of us dealing with chronic pain after years of surgeries and treatments, perhaps we could qualify for living in pain. But for someone like yourself, you need to find a doctor that will work with you to eliminate your current pain and get and back pm track/
    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
  • How would i go about finding a doctor that will actually help me? ive been to my doctors who referred me to physio who referred me to osteopathy, who referred me to acupuncture who refered me to pain clinic who refered me to active lifestyles who just said to exercise. ive got an appointment with a different pain clinic within a hospital but when you feel like people are just passing you about because they dont see something right away!
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