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I just want to know what's wrong with me

I'm 23, 6'3, 200 lbs, highly active and about a year ago, I noticed something off but not painful in my lower back. Then one day, I tried to perform a power clean, and all the pain just rushed in like something snapped. I have no insurance, so I did as much as I could to fix the problem. I got an x-ray and an mri, but all that was seen was a "slight" bulging disc at l5. I received injections at l5, and there was no relief at all.

It's been a year now, and I can barely walk on a good day. I use crutches to get around. I have a friend that's a spine specialist I see once a week that does chiropractic manipulations and physical therapy for free, but we aren't seeming to make any progress. These are my symptoms:
1. A deep, dull pain that radiates throughout my lower back and into my buttock on my left side. The pain never goes below the knee.
2. Sitting and standing are impossible. Even laying down causes pain. I sleep maybe a few hours a night. I can't sleep on my side because of the pain, so I sleep on my back for as long as I can before the pain becomes too much to bear. Then, I lay in a child's pose position with a stack of pillows supporting my body until my knees begin to bother me. I rotate between these two positions all night and grab as much sleep as I can. If I need to get out of bed, I can't just get up. I have to be in child's pose with the pillows for about an hour before I can move.
3. Coughing and sneezing causes so much pain, I don't even know how to describe it.
4. Sometimes, I get a tingly feeling that will travel all the way to my foot, but it isn't painful. Again, this is only on my left side.
5. Twisting doesn't bother me. However, both extension and flexion cause severe pain, with extension being worse.
6. Lowering my head (chin to chest) causes all the same pain.
7. Sometimes, when touched on my left side near the l5 facet joint, I feel pain, but it has to be pressed hard.
8. Any activity at all makes it worse. It seems only rest has any results, but like in my sleep, I can't stay in one position for too long.

I've done so much google research and listened to my friend. At first, we considered SI joint problems, but my sacrum is lining up fine, as well as my lumbar spine and still nothing. We've recently started thinking maybe I have issues with the l5 facet joint, but the treatment is showing no results. So now, I'm considering the possibility of a stress fracture of my pars interarticularis. However, I can't seem to find anything on the internet or one other person that describes my symptoms perfectly. I have a very high pain tolerance, so I'm not exaggerating. However, I can't seem to find anyone else that can't walk because of the pain. I have been dealing with this for over a year and have been on crutches for about 6 months. My will is finally breaking in desperation. Somebody please help me. I can't even work a job that doesn't require some form of standing/sitting. I just want to know what this is, so I can finally know how to get rid of it.


  • Upon reading your history, I don't see anything about you consulting a spinal specialist MD, a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon, other than one I assume is a chiropractor. Also, you don' mention having an MRI. Instead of trying to do the detective work to figure out what is your problem, maybe it would be more beneficial to talk to somebody who is an expert in this field. Ask around for references. Hope you will succeed in getting the right diagnosis and treatment.

  • I did say that I had an mri, but the mri showed nothing. However, I didn't specify on what type of spine specialist I was seeing. He isn't a chiropractor. He is a spine specialist MD. However, I can't afford to have all these operations. I grew up on my own as a foster child and am on my own now paying my way through college. I don't have insurance. I'm constantly broke. I'm lucky I have him to help me for free, but that doesn't change the fact that nothing is changing and that I'm running out of options. Thank you so much for your help, but I don't have much choice but to try to fix this on my own. I just wish I knew what the problem was that I'm trying to fix.
  • OT mamaOOT mama Posts: 63
    edited 09/11/2014 - 1:15 PM
    Have you looked at your cervical spine? The fact that chin to chest brings on symptoms makes me wonder if there's something going on higher up in your spine.
  • Yes, when I first received my x-ray and mri, they said the only other thing in my spine besides that slight bulging disc was that I had spinal stenosis in my thoracic spine. However, they said that wasn't causing my symptoms but might be an issue in the future. When I asked my doctor about my chin to chest issue, he suggested my dura may be the problem there.

  • I would not allow a chiropractor to do any adjustments on your spine unless and until you consult with a board certified spine doctor, not a chiropractor. They are NOT the same thing.
    While we all understand the frustrations and desperation that comes from dealing with an unknown spine issue, the chiropractor ( who is not a spine specialist by the way) doing adjustments can unknowingly cause you more problems .
    Check with your local college about insurance, and there are other options, imaging done at hospitals can be done for low cost or no cost to the patient, and consults with hospital run clinics with a real spine surgeon may be an option.
    You need to know exactly what is going on with your spine, first, then work with the doctors and clinics to get the proper treatment.
    Something is obviously going on , with you loosing the ability to walk, and obvious nerve impingement symptoms need to be evaluated and treated. And spinal stenosis or foraminal stenosis can be congenital and may be what is going on but you need the proper imaging and then treatment by the right doctors to find out for certain.



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