Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Nothing Helps My Back Pain...

CreepySusieCCreepySusie Posts: 2
edited 05/20/2015 - 9:23 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone :) I'm a 20 year old active duty Army female with a history of lower back pain x5 years.

When I was around 15, I started having very severe stabbing pains in my lower back that kept me lying down unable to move. X-Rays revealed very minor scoliosis (14 degree levocurvature) and they concluded I was probably having muscle spasms. I started physical therapy for core strengthening, muscle relaxers, and custom soft orthotics once the PT realized I also had severely flat feet.

Physical therapy (did about 6 months then insurance said no more) left me relatively pain-free up until I enlisted when I was 18. During my first few months in the military I did have some back pain but chalked it up to it being from all the heavy loads and constant running and walking everywhere. I'm a medic, so dragging people twice my size around also didn't help. I would get regular massages on weekends from a spa place during my AIT training and that seemed to help some.

Maybe about a year into my service, when I was stationed in South Korea, my pain suddenly began to get a lot worse. It was a burning, searing pain. I worked for a pretty knowledgeable PA, so I went to him. He sent me for X-rays and a scoliosis survey, it showed my curvature had progressed to 19 degrees. He put me on a regiment of acetaminophen, meloxicam, tramadol, and cyclobenzaprine. Nothing worked. My body didn't even react to the medications (cyclobenzaprine never made me sleepy, neither did the tramadol, even at fairly large doses for my 120 lb, 5'3 frame). At this time I continued to get regular massages at a spa on post and did stretches, used a foam roller, etc.

I then began experiencing what I first thought was shin splints. Taping, icing, and NSAIDs didn't help, so I finally gave in and saw a Doc after I realized the pain was in my calves and feet; he suspected exertional compartment syndrome. While running my feet would go numb and my calves would burn and ache horribly, though it was noticeably worse in my right leg. I was given a no running profile for two weeks and told to follow up at my next duty station, as I was on my way out of Korea.

Once I was at my next duty station, I began experiencing burning pain localized to the soles of my feet. It happened when I stood for too long, and it rapidly progressed over two months to me being unable to stand for more than five or ten minutes without having to shift my weight around or lean on something to take the weight off my feet. All the while the pain in my back continued to worsen, still that burning pain only now it had begun to sort of "connect" to my leg. I saw a podiatrist who recommended me for custom hard plastic orthotics with lifts and that was it. While the orthotics helped me be able to stand a little longer, my symptoms in general only got worse. It started to feel like someone was twisting my leg off, or like someone had grabbed my tendons and stretched them out like a worm out rubber band and put them back in like that. Soon it was shooting pains down my entire leg and occasionally but rarely episodes where my leg felt like it was on FIRE. I mean, it was horrific. Sitting down made it worse, and standing temporarily relived it. But there was no position that would relieve my pain.

Again I sought out help from a doctor at work who I knew was top notch (Westpoint graduate) and he put me in for a scoliosis survey. At this point it showed a levocurvature of 22 degrees with a thoracic dextrocurvature of 10 degrees (which doesn't technically count as scoliosis since it's only 10 degrees but it is worth noting that it was not there before), pelvic tilt on the right side of 8mm, and mild lumbar twist. A drastic worsening in about a year. He then put me in for an MRI and started me on physical therapy again.

The MRI showed no herniated disks, but it did show two fairly large Tarlov cysts on either side of my S1 nerve root. Doc said he thinks one of them might be compressing the nerve a bit, but given that the cysts tend to fluctuate in size and don't show up too amazingly on imaging, he could not be sure. By this time I had been given lidocaine patches for relief, but they did absolutely nothing. Physical therapy just ended last week, and improvement was minimal, I'd say 3/10, but it is better than nothing at all. During therapy we noticed a steady weakening of my right leg with minor atrophy as well. Simple things like balancing on that leg had me wobbling and falling because I was unable to support my body weight.

I've come to a point where sitting is a Russian roulette type of deal because if I don't sit just right, my entire left leg gets that weird pins and needles feeling and I have to constantly shift around or sit in weird ways like almost on my back...kind of in a fetal position, if that makes sense, which isn't good for my back either. Going upstairs is a nightmare, walking anything further than 1/4 mile at a normal pace makes the soles of my feet completely numb and my left ankle will hurt so bad from compensating. The pain is now constant and unrelenting. On a good day it is. 4/10, but then it has its days where it's a steady 7-8/10 and things like bending over to tie my boots in the morning is excruciating. My body is starting to become deformed due to scoliosis, my right shoulder sits lower than my left, and I have to stand with my hip out to compensate for the pelvic tilt.

Being a medic, I have an array of meds and supplies at home, and once in a blue moon I resort to 30 mg tramadol IM to take the edge off the pain. I have been on gabapentin as well before for unrelated reasons, and it did not affect my nerve pain. A long time ago when I was given hydrocodone after my wisdom teeth were removed, I remember I cried because the medication did absolutely nothing and I was in so much pain. I basically consider things like tramadol and all that fancy Tylenol, because it's worthless to me :/

Doc says we've pretty much run out of options. I just want to not be in pain, or at least take the edge off. I owe it to my patients to be 100% mission capable!! Anybody care to share your experiences with pain management, or anything that you guys do to manage your pain? Any and all suggestions, questions, etc., are very much welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights that are available as tabs on the main Spine-Health menu bar

    Spine-Health Main Menu Tabs

    Conditions Detailed medical libraries of articles and videos that address almost every spinal condition.
    Treatment List of treatments to the conditions identified by Spine-Health.
    Wellness Section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.
    Medical Articles
    Pain Forums These are the forums you will be using
    Find A Doctor This provides with a method to search for doctors in various locations.
    Videos Index to all Spine-Health Videos

    As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family[/u] who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 27,00 international members and growing daily.


    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts[u] do not violate any of the rules.[/u]

    - All new members must read our FAQ in order to understand the layout of the forums, how to navigate through the forums, helpful terms, how to make effective threads and posts, plus a link index to many of the important medical forums and key medical articles on Spine-Health Forum FAQ

    I am positive any member, new or old will find this Chroinc Pain - Step by Step thread very valuable.

    Here are some links that all new members need to review to create effective threads and more

    Read before you post
    Tips for Newcomers
    Understanding the rules

    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    You can also find Spine-Health on these Social Networks

    Facebook www.facebook.com/spinehealth
    Pinterest http://pinterest.com/spinehealth/boards/
    Twitter https://twitter.com/SpineHealth

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the private message facility to[u] contact any one of the Spine-Health Moderators



    Doug Hell

    Also working with us very closely is Allison Walsh from the Spine-Health company


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    When my chronic pain and spinal issues first reared its ugly head.....I too would receive some treatment and I would feel better and resume my work. This is prior to me seeing spinal specialist and receiving pain management...treatment and daily medications ...to keep me stable and take edge off of the pain.

    It was quickly reinforced to me, by my body's responses and by doctor, that I could no longer participate in activities...such as lifting, turning, twisting.....all of which I did on a daily basis. I too was in medical field and worked with patients daily...and long days they were.

    I too found myself sitting in weird ways...on chair, I would bring feet up and sit on by feet with body slouched forward. The fetal position was a frequent position I found myself in. I wondered if it was my way of relieving stress on my spine...trying to put more space between the vertebrae ....?

    I had to change careers.

    When my primary doctor was out of options for me, she sent me to pain management/ neurologist specialist.
    He has been a lifesaver.

    I continue with pain management and have learned to cooperate with my bodiy's ....demands.....

    There are more diagnostic tests than just MRI....testing that can reveal source and or cause of pain allowing doctor to be as precise as possible in his treatment for you.

    I wish you the very best in relieving your pain
    And, thanks for serving!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Savage, wow I had not even given a thought to seeing pain management. We have one clinic on post, though my understanding is it is quite hard to get referred there. I will ask about that, or at least neurology, and hopefully I can get in to see either or both.

    Thanks for your advice, and thank you for your support c:
Sign In or Register to comment.