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Chronic back and neck pain, 18 years old female

My name is Malana and I have been having lower back, upper back, and neck pain for about 6+ years, I am 18 now. And when I say back pain, I don't mean the muscles, it's pain more so radiating from my spine. I don't remember when it all started or how it started exactly, but I was not injured to cause my pain. A few years after dealing with the pain, I was bucked off of a horse during 4-H county fair and broke my tailbone. It healed nicely and it actually cured the pain I was experiencing when sitting (I used to have very bad tailbone pain and get numb and tingly if I sat too long, car rides were terrible and so was sitting in class), but ever since being bucked off that horse, I've not had any more tailbone pain, though it may have caused me more pain elsewhere in my back.

The pain isn't sharp or stabbing. It's a consistant ache that won't go away and makes it very difficult to sit, stand, sleep, and do normal activities because it is always hurting. When I sit such as a car ride, I will get numb and tingly in my upper back from the pain. Sometimes, the pain in my lower back will radiate through my hips and it's like I'm feeling pain litterally where my legs connect to my hips and pain radiating through the bone in the back of my thighs. It's hard to explain or understand since it doesn't hurt from the outside.

Recently sleeping has been a huge struggle, even if I apply heat or ice before I go to bed. I can't get comfortable because I hurt so much and only when I sleep, deep in my shoulders hurt too and this is when my neck hurts me the most.

Tylenol is not helping and even after ER vistits and seeing my doctor and his nurse practitioner, I have yet to find any relief. I will be starting PT soon but I'm not getting my hopes up because I was fairly active in sports and activities before and I still had the same amount of pain as I do now. On a scale of 1-10 my pain is pretty well a constant 7. I'm too young to be dealing with this and no one seems to take me seriously because of my age. I'm simply told to rest or I'm givin muscle spasm medication that doesn't do anything to help me, and told to use ice and heat. It's been 6 years, I'm fed up with this. I know I'm young but I also know that constant pain like this is not normal and I shouldn't have to continue to deal with it because my doctor and ER visit doctors want to diagnose me with a 'lumbar strain'. I did have an x-ray of my back only and that came back perfectly fine. I have seen 5 different chiropractors and they all seem to be baffled to why I'm hurting and can't seem to tell a difference when they adjust me on if anything is wrong. I go back in every time saying I'm still hurting the same and I get temporary relief from the adjustments but so far nothing permanent or more than a few minutes. I only continue to go because once I had a migraine that lasted a month and was hospitalized because of the severity and after visting a chiropractor a few times, I was back to normal!

I also think my pain might be bothering more these past few months only because I became pregnant and I'm 8 months postpartum. I gained 60 pounds and had a nearly 10 pound baby boy + a c-section. I've almost lost all of the weight, only 15 pounds more to go! I'm sure being pregnant obviously didn't help my back, but I've been hurting for years and I just can't take it anymore. Please if anyone knows why I might be hurting so much, please talk to me and help me figure this out. Any advice and suggestions would be great! Thank you


  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 06/29/2014 - 5:41 PM
    I would get another opinion. An MRI looks more closely at soft tissue and may pick up something the X-ray didn't. I would be careful about having chiropractic adjustments until you know what's causing the pain. It can do more harm than good if you have a spinal problem. You can try topical creams for pain in the meantime to see if that helps. I hope you get some answers.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • MagnoliaMMagnolia Posts: 1
    edited 06/29/2014 - 5:58 AM
    Hi Malana, I am sorry that you are suffering so much. For years I have dealt with pain both in the neck and the back area. For years I was told that it is normal for woman to have back issues if they have ever been pregnant, since carrying all of that weight around can be damaging.

    For the last few years I have been dealing with a cold left arm, this gets worse when the temperatures are extreme, either hot or cold. Also when I exert myself with exercise. It oftentimes gets so cold that it is painful, almost like frostbite from the inside out. I have been checked for circulation and have not had anything come back to identify. Also, I have chronic pain throughout my body and joints, the pain often times will radiate down my arms and to my hands. The lower back pain will radiate down my buttocks and down my thighs and all the way down to the feet. Walking is a chore as if I go any further than a block or two the pain intensifies.

    I have recently had lower back injections which helped only briefly. I have tried all types of physical therapy including aquatic, however that just seemed to intensify the pain.

    I have difficulty understanding the MRI results as it seems to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo, so perhaps someone can help me out with some explanation:

    MRI Spine Cervical

    There is a dessication of the discs from C2-C3 through C5-C6. The remaining vertebral bodies and intervertebral disc spaces exhibit normal marrow signal, height and alignment on all pulse sequences. There are no abnormalities at the craniocervical junction. the cervical spinal cord is normal in caliber and signal intensity.

    At C2-C3: There is a mild disc osteophyte complex. There is no neural foraminal, central canal stenosis, focal disc extrusion or protrusion.

    At C3-C4: There is a mild disc bulge. There is no neural foraminal, central canal stenosis, focal disc extrusion or protrusion.

    At C4-C5: There is a mild disc bulge with a suggestion of a tiny central disc protrusion indenting the anterior thecal sac. There is mild bilateral facet degenerative change without significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.

    At C5-C6: There is a mild disc bulge with a suggestion of a tiny central disc protrusion indenting the anterior.

    Lumbar Spine MRI

    L1-L2 - no significant pathology

    L2-L3 - no significant disc desiccation. There is a very minimal disc bulge asymmetric to the right.

    L3-L4 - mild degenerative disc diseased characterized by disc desiccation, disc space narrowing and endplate spurring. there is a mild disc bulge with a moderate broad left paracentral/lateral recess disc protrusion. This results in moderate narrowing of the left lateral recess and borderline narrowing of the right.

    L4-L5 - mild degenerative disc disease. there is a moderate disc bulge with a broad central annular tear.

    L5-S1 - no significant disc disease. There is moderate right-sided facet hypertrophy.

    Vertebral body height and alignment are within normal limits.

    What does all of this mean? HELP?????
    It is a violation of the rules of Spine Health to ask for any interpretation of any medical imaging or test results. Please read the forum rules.
    5.12 You agree that any information, opinions or other content provided by doctors or patients on Spine-health.com forums is for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical diagnoses or treatment. Always consult with a physician for any health problem or medical condition.
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  • You must see your physician to discuss any medical imaging test results or reports. No one on the forums is qualified to give you any information regarding your results.

  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/29/2014 - 6:14 AM
    Perhaps, you need to see the proper doctor instead of your primary and ER doctors. The ER is not the place for treatment of a chronic spine pain issue. And since your primary doesn't seem to be doing much, you need to see a board certified spine surgeon, who can diagnose what ever might be going on with your spine, and refer you for the proper treatments.



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