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Back strain that wont leave me alone, can anyone offer advise before I have to find a new career?

Im 23. I am a welder. I have been having back pain for 4 months, upper middle back as well as radiating around my ribs a couple times a week. It mainly hurts to breathe in all the way.

I have had x rays, they came back fine. I have been going to physio for 2 months. It was diagnosed as back strain from being over worked. Assuming due to welding- Im now on office duty working at a desk.

I spent thousands on a new mattress, I changed the way I sleep and sit. I stopped eating dairy, eggs, and gluten. I took ibuprofen, tramadol, and most recently have started taking CBD to see if that will help. I stretch and do my physio exercises every day. I spend my free time sitting on a heating pad. 

I read a back strain takes a few weeks to heal, but after 4 months and little to no improvement I am at a complete loss.

Im writing this to see if anyone has any other ideas as to what I can do to help myself, or what could be wrong. I cant get injections due to where its located. I really just want to get well again so I can continue working as a welder. To be honest I am running out of patience and I cry a lot about this, I feel Im too young to have a completely messed up back! 

If anyone can offer any guidance AT ALL I would love ya forever!

Sidenote: I am anemic and hypythyroid, I take iron and synthroid for these issues. 



  • hi alyssamaja

    welcome to spine-health

    this is a long time, 'for a back strain' is they are referring to muscles.

    the advice i would give is request an mri as xray will only shows bones.  this will give a whole picture of what the problem is, to get further treatment if necessary.  

    as this was stated to be down to over work, this should have been offered already, considering your injury could be work related.  you have tried physio and not improving from what you have written.

    i have added two links below to help new members with information and these also contain the forum rules.  there is lots of material to research that will give you the power of knowledge.

    welcome to spine health



    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • I agree! I will try to get myself an MRI. Thanks so much! 

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  • AkiraAAkira Redlands, CAPosts: 82

    As AJ advised on the MRI, that should give you more answers and hopefully relief.  You are only 23 and you have youth on your side to get better.  Just stay positive that this too shall pass and you will get better.  Dealing with thoracic pain is awful and use the heating pad, ice, hot bath w/epsom salt, tens unit, massager, etc. to combat your pain.  Keep us posted.

  • Thank you Akira! I am  really trying to stay positive, some days are harder than others! I apply heat very often, same with baths! I think even if it is just a terrible back strain I will at least get some peace of mind with an MRI. Seems to be hard to convince them I need one!

    Thanks again!

  • Something else to try if you can, go to a YMCA or somewhere like that where they have a swimming pool.  I found that taking swim noodles and putting them under my arms and letting my legs just hang there made my back feel better.  Albeit, temporarily, but I did feel better.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,528

    What type of doctor have you seen already?  I know you mentioned you had X-rays and that came back normal.   4 months is a long time for a back strain, but perhaps you have never given you back a chance to rest that strain or pinched nerve. muscle strain or something along those lines.

    Getting a MRI is important.  You need to find out what is causing your problem.  Keep in mind , that many people have their X-Ray and MRIs come back normal, yet they are still hurting.  There are other diagnostic tests that doctors can do to help isolate the problem.

    To get the MRI, you need to have your doctor justify it to the insurance company.  The insurance company will be the ones that will approve or disapprove a MRI.  So for starters, you doctor needs to feel that a MRI is the appropriate test for now

    During the 4 months, has there been anything you can do to help with the pain?   ICE can work wonders on back problems.

    Keith suggestion about getting into a pool should help.  While you are a pool, you wont have all the pressure on your back and you can relax.  As everyone above has stated, maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way.

    23 is young, but back pain never discriminates.  You want to get to the bottom of this and isolate the problem.  Once the problem is isolated, then the appropriate action plans can be put into place.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I’m starting to think EMS guy bought stock in swim noodles lol. He’s referring everyone from a stubbed toe to complete spinal fusion to get a swim noodle! ........know I’m joking with you EMS guy! Lol


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

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