I'm not quite sure whether this is going to help but worth a try! Sorry about the length too!
I'm 26 year old female. At the end of February this year I leant forward to pick up an item but was hit with debilitating pain from my back but through my legs and arms. I presumed I'd just pulled something but when I couldn't walk, sit down or reach up to get my phone I realised it was worse. I was taken to hospital and spent a night there as I was unable to stand up for them to assess me (due to pain) the next day my reflexes were checked, all ok and I was told to be on my way. I visited the gp 2 days later (Monday) and was told that it was likely I had pulled something and just to get on with it. I asked for a referral to a spine specialist as I luckily have private health insurance and felt that something wasn't right. The pain continued in my back meaning I walked funny and very slowly to try and ease the pain slightly. I then had an appointment with a neurosurgeon who referred me for an MRI, this came back as me having an annular tear and degenerative disk disease. I don't know the names of the disks but of the bottom four disks the tear was at the top, the next one down is ok an then the last two are "black" when it was explained they should be white when healthy. I was told I'd have to make lifestyle changes and hopefully the tear would heal. I had an epidural injection which gave me no relief from the pain again still across my lower back. I was then referred for IDD traction which again didn't do anything. I had visited a physio in between who gave me simple core strenghening excersizes but was reluctant to offer any more work due to my pain levels. I then questioned visiting a chiaropractor and the neurosurgeon said it was worth a try. I had been back at work for 2 weeks still in pain, using a TENS machine to get through 4 hours and then laying in bed for relief when I got home. I visited the chiropractor twice and after the second visit with some spinal manipulation I was in agony but it was now also down my legs a type of burning and pins and needles pain. Needless to say I didn't go again! Another MRI was done with no change noted. I then had a spinal block injection and another epidural, I had some relief for about 3 days but then back to "normal". I was told the only option left was surgery as I continued to have pain in my back when sitting, walking and continuous uncomfortable pain in my buttocks/hips/legs. An MRI was done done of my hips/pelvis and showed mild inflammation for which I had more injections. The pain has continued and I was told again only option is surgery. Two options were given one through my stomach and inserting fake disks (again I don't know the technical or medical terms for any of these!) or through my back and putting metal pins and a type of cage. The only problem is that I have these 3 black disks and he have little hope of relief or a "cure" as they wouldn't be able to operate on all three - it would be "chosen" which one or two after a discography. I was unsure about these surgery options so have been to another neurosurgeon who has said that he can see minimal signs of an annular tear but can see a slight disk herniation and repeated the ddd and black disks which is where he said the problem lies in terms of treatment. He has now referred me to see a pain specialist and the physio will come with me to this to put together a plan for me.
Basically I just feel confused by all of this! I can't work (didn't go back after being off for another injection) I find it difficult to go food shopping or anywhere else that needs walking round. I am still walking funny and very slow which drains me! I don't know whether I will always be like this, whether I will find a treatment to ease the pain and then I can go back to work, whether I should just have surgery and then see what happens and if I'm still in pain then nothing lost (except half a year of my life!) all in all I'm just confused!!!
I take cocodamol and ibroprofen (can't take any stronger pain killers as they make me sick) I can't excersize due to pain levels...I can't even walk far. I have an aching pain in my back if I sit too long (15 mins) continuous pain down my hips and thighs. Sometimes I have shooting pains down my thighs and sometimes down to my ankles. Sometimes I have cramping shooting pain across the left side of my lower back. More recently I have been getting a tightening type pain higher up my back that can make me feel like I'm winded and can last 15 mins - usually when I am walking (or trying to!)
I have never been very good with pain and so I have questioned whether I am just being a wimp and should get on with day to day things through the pain but have been told that the injections should have stopped this and the pain doesn't match with my MRI's
I'm not sure what I'm expecting in terms of a reply to this...but here I am!