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New member seeking advise on Upper Back, Neck, Shoulder pain.

Summer SunshineSSummer Sunshine Posts: 1
edited 11/12/2014 - 5:20 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone,
I'm Summer, a 24 year old female. First I'd like to explain my work, as it may have some connection to my pain. I'm a cashier at a local convenience station. I work 10 hour shifts where I'm on my feet the whole time. Once a week, I unload a truck with the potential of having some pretty heavy items. About two months ago, I got a promotion and was moved to full time. During this time I noticed my legs were so tired after work. I went and bought a $150 pair of shoes to help support my feet. They are designed for people with high arches. After wearing them a few times, I realized that in fact have a low arch. The pain in my legs and feet got worse. I started having intense, long lasting headaches. Also around this time, I started getting major depression and anxiety. This lead to even more headaches and muscle tension/ pain in my shoulders and neck. I got TMJ pain, which screwed with my ears and led to facial numbness. One night I got so anxious over my symptoms that I went to the E.R. They did blood work (normal) and CT scan of head (normal) and referred me to a neurologist. The weekend before I saw my neurologist I started having mild back pain in my left side around my shoulder and in the middle of my spine. Two days later I helped my husband split and load a whole truck bed of firewood. (I know, bad idea, right?) It was hard work, and after that I got nauseous and felt like my muscles were weak. Ever since then my pain has intensified. I saw a neurologist and got a MRI of my head to check for brain tumor and MS due to tingling sensations in my legs. My MRI was perfect and my neurological exam was as well. I was referred to a general practitioner to sort out my back pain, head aches and leg pain.

Now I will describe what's going on with my back. I just wanted to give you some background info. My pain is almost always in my upper back. Like between the middle of my ribs to the top at my neck. My shoulders are extremely tense. I have pain right at the top of my spine near my neck, right below the hump at your neck. It's sore to the touch, but I don't feel extreme pain when I push on it. My muscles on the left side are so tense and sore. I had a knot on my left side that I massaged and worked out. I have pain around my shoulder blades and if I breathe in deeply, it occasionally hurts and I can even feel and hear what sounds like bones popping. Like knuckles cracking. I was given another neurological exam because I'm terrified I have a spinal tumor. The dr said that everything checked out okay, and he didn't think I had a tumor, but we would do an MRI just to be safe. Ever since this started I have been scared to death. I will admit that I am a slight hypochondriac, but this is the most pain I've ever been in and no one can seem to tell my why. When I'm sitting down in a certain position, it feels like something is pushing from the back to the front against my lungs/chest. I don't have any bad arm or leg pain, my legs mostly hurt after standing at work all day. I haven't had any loss of control over my bladder. The pain subsides with 800mg ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer. I have pain all the way into my sides and rib cage, and that unpleasant pushing sensation. I will also note that my muscles feel sore all the way down my back and under my armpits into my shoulder.

So here is my question. I have terrible posture. I always have. Since my TMJ pain, I've been working on my posture, because the dr said TMJ is connected to bad posture and high levels of stress and anxiety, which I have. I will admit that I'm about 40 pounds overweight, and I carry most of it in my stomach, as I have never lost my baby weight from having a child. Between the posture, wrong shoes, standing on my feet, and loading all the heavy firewood, is it possible that I may have messed something up in my back, such as a herniated disc or a misalignment? Due to my anxiety, I always assume the worst such as a tumor or some life threatening illness. My pain is less when I'm more relaxed and not thinking about it. It also improves with rest. I am going in for a MRI hopefully in the next two weeks, so eventually I will have an answer. In the meantime, it would help to have advise from a support group who knows so much about back pain. I'm really glad I found this site, and I greatly appreciate any help. I'm trying to stay positive and lower my anxiety. I'm just tired of hurting at such a young age. I have a toddler who desperately needs me to feel better so I can get back to throwing her over my shoulder and playing. At the moment it hurts to much to do things like that. I apologize for the long post, and I know it sounds selfish to ask such questions when there are people on here who are obviously in worse pain than I am. Anyway, thank you!


  • Evening yall from New Orleans

    I had an outpatient back surgery in 2003 to remove bone spurs from both sides of L4 down to L5. For two years all was well, and then in 2005 I once again started having back pain. My PCP prescribed ES hydrocodone 3/day and all was well until 2011.
    I retired that January and was enjoying life to the fullest, playing golf 3 times a week, family vacations...etc. It was early 2012 when I realized that my 3/day prescription was only lasting me 15 to 20 days and the rest of the month it would take a day of bed rest before I could get back on my feet again.
    Once I realized this I sought out a PM Dr. in my area and a neurosurgeon referenced from my PCP. The NS told me that I needed a double fusion at L4-L5-S1, but at all cost do what I could to stay away from doing it......so I did.
    My PM Dr. did steroid injections, and a rhizotomy....no help. We went thru all the drugs and finally found that a 10mcg Butran pain patch gave me relief with 10/325 Norco backup. Thankfully this was good for a couple months; that it allowed my wife and I to enjoy our 30th wedding anniversary on an Alaskan Cruise in June of 2012.
    Finally when Hurricane Isaac arrived, I realized I was an invalid as I could do nothing without severe back pain. I finally threw in the towel and scheduled the fusion for November. The fusions were completed, but during the surgery the NS found that scar tissue from the 2003 surgery had wrapped around the L4 nerve bundle and my spinal cord. That added an extra 3 hours to my surgery to clean out the scar tissue, or as much as they could.
    It was a very slow recovery and here we are now in 2014 and I'm having continuous lower back pain after 4 sessions at a local rehab in April. This was my second rehab try with both trips leaving me with a setback in my recovery.

    To close this out I had an MRI, Cat scan, and Xray in July showing very little if anything that could be causing my pain. My original NS had moved so I went to another in his group and got a slap on the leg telling me there was nothing that surgery could correct. I changed PM Drs. going to one in the same group as the NS believing he/she would work with the NS to help get me some relief. After letting the PM Dr. know that the 25mcg Fetanyl patch was only lasting a 48 hours instead of 72, and I was needing/taking more than the 3/day 10/325 Norco to maintain a normal life......Sunday Nite Saint's games...Paul McCartney concert..etc..I was told to follow the prescription as prescribe or she would drop me, and a reminder that this was Pain Management and not pain relief!!
    Anyway....my dilemma...
    I found out that my NS that did my 2012 surgery was coming back to a city close enough to New Orleans that I could make an appointment with him. I did and unlike his ex colleague whom spoke to me for five minutes, we spoke for over an hour and he listed what he would do.
    1. The MRI shows a small change at L3-L4-suggestion is to do a nerve block test to see if this is the source of the pain
    2. MRI with contrast to see if scar tissue has already developed-easy, I agree
    3. Electronic Spine Stimulator-Do a test with an Electronic Spine Stimulator-50/50 chance this will work. It might eliminate the pain in my back, but cause problems in my legs.
    4. Hardware block test-if this test is positive, once we remove the hardware the alignment held by the it might move and cause me pain from other areas
    5. Pain Pump Installation

    So after all of this, being 60 years old already, why don't I just lean towards the pain pump, get it over with and get back to living. Just this week I tore up a $200 James Taylor concert ticket and just gave away my Saints tickets because I knew I couldn't sit thru them!!
    As of right now my pain moves around from the middle of my back, to the left side downward to my knee, to my tail bone

    sorry for the long rambling....any suggestions will be helpful

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