Ok, so I am 24 years old and have had one protruding disc (L3/L4) since I was 16 and recently have another (L4/L5). I have had constant pain in my back since the first one and increased pain since this one BUT I have been to several doctors and the protrusions don't seem to be pushing on the sciatic nerve. The orthopedic surgeon I saw was the first one to take my concerns seriously as two before him treated me as if I was just trying to get pain meds (I'm guessing because of my age). I have chronic pain all over my body at all times (since as long as I can remember) with random shoots of sharp pain in different areas as well and degenerative joint disease (which apparently shouldn't cause pain but all my joints have a consistent pain, more in the cold and on stormy days etc).
Anyway, he did an MRI whereas the others refused to and found the 2nd disc but again, it's apparently not pushing on the nerve just like the 1st is not. He did say I have narrowing of the spine as well which COULD be the culprit but not sure. He suggested physical therapy which I did for 4 weeks but could not afford it any longer so I've been doing the exercises at home for the past 4-6 weeks on my own. It is not getting better and now I have pain in the same leg as the sciatic nerve pain only on the front part of my shin. It seems to hurt more when my back and the sciatic nerve hurt more.
He suggested doing nerve testing but how reliable is this and would it be a waste of money? By a waste of money I mean is there anything they can do to help manage and/or help correct whatever is causing the pain by doing nerve testing? Does anyone know of pain management without the use of drugs?
(Also, I don't have free time to explore time-intensive therapies etc. I am care for my child solely and am gone from home working 12-16 hours a day). Sorry this is so long! I would appreciate any input offered.