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Can it be this difficult to diagnose?

MiltarymanMMiltaryman Posts: 1
edited 01/25/2016 - 10:44 PM in Lower Back Pain
I'm trying to pinpoint what type of injury I have and what self treatment I can give myself (because I do not have health insurance nor money for a doctor).
I am a 49 year old male who is physically fit (6 - 10 workouts a week). I have suffered a few broken bones throughout my life, been in car wrecks, and even been run over by a car on my bicycle years ago.
About 20 years ago I had an MRI done on my lower back and was found to have slight herniation to 2 of my disks (I forget which ones). I have found over time, and always practiced, that If I ice my lower back for 12 minutes after a workout it usually keeps me from being in pain the next day.
I have though over the years had bouts of bad back pain after a rough workout (maybe 15 times). But I have always been able to self-treat the pain over the course of 2, 3, 4, or 5 days (ice, ibuprofen, heat, inversion table, and once in a while, a muscle relaxant (Flexeril)).
I usually wake up a little stiff, like I assume most people do as they get older, and I find it hard to look down towards my abdomen area because of the stiffness. I do not know if it is because of my age or because I need a new mattress, but the stiffness usually goes away within 15 to 20 minutes of walking around.
I went to my friend's house three weeks ago today, to work on a video we were editing. Within about 1/2 hour of sitting at his dining room table I realized that the hard chair I was sitting on was very uncomfortable. I forged on and sat there for about 3 hours with a couple of breaks of getting up to move around.
I went home, cooked dinner and went to sleep.
The next morning I felt crippled. I could not take my socks off, I could not bend over, and I had a very sharp pain in the lower right side of my lower back.
I tried the usual self treatment that I have done in the past but nothing worked. After three or four days I ultimately got another muscle relaxant prescription. When I took 3-4 ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant I would feel fine, but as soon as they wore off the pain would return just as bad.
I did this for 5 days and the pain did not subside.
Over the course of the injury my pain level has gone from 9+ and then down to a 5 where it remained steady for about a week. Two days ago I sat on a much softer chair for about 7 minutes. I went to sleep and when I awoke I had the same 9+ pain, BUT, on my left side !! How can that be possible? How did a lower right hand pain move, after 3 weeks, to a lower left hand pain??
As I mentioned before it has been now three weeks
So my question is this:
-how many different things can this pain be?
-if it is not possible for me to figure out what this pain is, what would be my most economical route in finding out?

I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to attack this in a circular fashion, (I will actually need to borrow money in order to see a doctor). In other words should I keep trying to treat it myself, go to a chiropractor, a physical therapist, or just go straight to an MRI clinic for a scan ($175)?
Thank you!

There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site, no member is permitted to give medical advice or suggest a diagnosis based on your symptoms. Therefore everything you read is based on the personal experiences and/or research done by the individual member. Comments should never be taken as pure medical facts. You need to discuss this with your doctor. They are the only ones that can provide you with detailed information about you, the patient.

Liz, Spine-health Moderator


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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