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21 years old chronic back pain with no help

I am 21 suffering from lower back pain for 2 years now. I injured by back 2 years ago i was diagnosed with with a L4-L5 herniated disc my symptoms consisted of tingling, numbness, and weakness in my left leg. My doctor recommended for me to do physical therapy and to take muscle relaxers and high doses of NASIDs. I have continued to do my physical therapy for 2 years now and it has only made my symptoms worsen and the medicines were not working which I made my doctor aware of but they kept prescribing me the same thing just with different names. I Now am having flare ups everyday with a pain scale of 10 I cannot walk and I have to crawl to use the bathroom. I was referred to pain management last year and received steroid injections but it made my pain worse and causing more frequent and intense flare ups my pain management doctor refuses to give me any pain medication after countless phone calls of crying in pain and office visit of me walking like the hunch back of Norte dame and him saying constantly you look bad. Finally he referred me to have a spinal stimulator placed and to consult a neuro surgeon but the spinal stimulator cost is very hefty and surgery is scary many of my friends mothers had surgery and it only made their problems worst. At this point I am desperate to find pain relief my pain is driving me into deep depression and each doctor I talk to for an opinion mentions my age and how I will heal but ignores the fact I am living with grim reaper pain.



  • Sakiema

    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Hate to see you suffering at this time  of your life. 

    Dont give in just yet,many members have walked where you are now and can give wisdom to help ease the way.

    You have a world wide family now and answers to ponder

    Hang in there!

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Hang in there, I am in the same boat.  I am 39 now but know what you're going through.  I had a microdiscectomy in November of 2017 and ever since then it has been a steady downhill fall.  I am in constant pain in my lower back and right hip.  Seen multiple specialists and have had multiple injections with no relief. I am going to try that Implant Stimulator next after my PT ends next week.  At this point I am very pessimistic about the root cause of my pain and am willing to take a option that hides or dilutes the pain.  Depression and sadness often accompany these problems as you feel less than human.  I walk with a cane and can barely handle every day tasks.  Not to mention I have a 10 year old son that I can't do anything fun with and a 15 year old daughter who I have never seen at a diving meet because there is no way I can sit on a metal bleacher an watch without being destroyed for days afterwards.  Hang in there man, hopefully we'll get answers/relief soon.

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  • sakiema

    welcome to spine-health

    I am sorry that you are going through this, especially at such a young age, I can understand what you are going through, I first hurt my back at 22, although that was many years ago, I went through a lot of the same things you are going through, doctor's saying you are too young, it really doesn't look that bad and so on, I finally couldn't stand the pain anymore and got forceful with the doctor, he ended up doing a myelogram which showed a disc rupture, I ended up having surgery at 23, unlike some of the horror stories you have heard, I did really well, went back to work as a auto mechanic, I did not have anymore back trouble until I took a nasty fall 13 years later.
    My advice to you is go to the neurosurgeon first, before any more talk about a SCS, make notes of where your pain is, when it happens, what makes it worse and so on, try not to be emotional, but be somewhat forceful in what you say, there are multiple test that can be run to help diagnose your problem, the main thing is do not give up, if you are not getting anywhere with this new doctor, you may need to find another opinion.
    As I said before, if you do end up needing surgery, there are a lot of success stories out there, those people are not usually the one's that talk about it, they have surgery and go on with their lives.
    I have posted a couple of links below that will be good for you.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  •  Hi Ssakiema
    Welcome believe me you have just hit gold :) in coming here so many excellent members to help you, who have been down the same road as you. I have had Chronic Pain for over 24 years so I understand how upsetting it can be. 
    You have to be strong for yourself and Chip has given you great advice please take it.
    Emotions can be a negative thing not only causing increased pain but our thought process gets all mixed up. I don't know about you but when I get all worked up my thought process becomes difficult. Have you thought of getting some help for the mental end of it. My dear friend gave me that advice and it is helping so so much. They give you tools to help handle stuff without getting out of control. I mean not that you are of course but we all need someone at times who gets it. 
    Do your part and educate yourself about your condition and the options out there to help you. Do you use ice and heat plus there are pain creams that help me. 
    Do you have a support group such as friends or family that have been around you in pain? Take one or two with you to the doctor and have them say what they have seen. That can help as long as they don't start complaining about your care. Also the advice to get other opinions is huge take it see two, three or more before getting the implant. 
    You said you had got comments from other doctors what does that mean? Have you seen other doctor's if so what kind and what was their opinion? Some times when we go from doctor to doctor it can come across negative sadly. Have you asked the people who have had surgery or have back problems if they have any suggestions for what doctor to see? So many of us have had to see several doctors before finding one that listens so be patient. 
    Sorry for going on and on but I just care you are so young and have your whole life ahead of you.
    Please keep us posted on how you are doing or if you just need to talk we are here.

  • @Hope3 the other doctors comments were is that just give it time and wait it out because I am so young I should be able to heal fast. But it’s been 2 going on 3 years now and I have made no improvements 

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  • @challenger thank you I have taken your advice and have an upcoming consult with the neurosurgeon I will update you all thank you so much for your helpful advice 

  • sakiema

    Good luck at your appointment and keep us posted.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Sakiema,  You have received wonderful advice from Chip and Hope.  I know doctors would rather not start such a young patient on narcotic meds but for heaven sake pain is pain no matter what your age!

    You might keep a pain diary to show the Neurosurgeon.  Showing each days pain levels, how you treat the pain, etc.  There are many examples of Pain diaries online that can be printed off.  Give the doctor a list of meds that you have tried in the past.  Indicate what worked and what didn't.  Make notes as to how the pain effects your sleep.  The more info you give them, the better.  The way things are today, a Doctor has to substantiate your need for pain meds so all that info helps him do that.

    So sorry you are suffering.  I will pray that this Doctor you are seeing will meet your needs.  Let us know how it goes.


  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 700

    Often times the problem with PT is that it focuses too much on strength building and unilateral stretching. Even worse is the stretching is often a forced stretch rather than just allowing the muscle to release its hold. Building strength could only serve to further strengthen the muscle imbalances and therefore causing you more pain. After years and years of thinking I gotta strengthen my core to get rid of my low back, and the only outcome was more prolonged pain, was proof enough to me that standard PT does not work for what I had. Muscle imbalances causing my bones to shift into misalignment causing my nerves to become inflamed and my discs to bulge/herniate. 

    Your symptoms sound a lot like what I had with sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and originates in the lumbar area, branches to each leg and down. If there's any impingement at L4-5, it makes sense that symptoms would extend into the leg. 

    I am surprised a doc would prescribe high doses of NSAIDs considering the bad rap they get. I feel you about the depression and desperation. So sorry you are suffering... 

  • Sakiema,

    I am 23 and was going through the same thing as you.  Excruciating sciatica from the herniated discs and no help from the doctors.

    The pain in my leg was so bad it felt like I could not go on.  The pain kept landing me in the emergency room and it was apparent that surgery was the only option.  A surgeon from a close by hospital agreed to perform the surgery the next day.

    When I woke up from surgery the horrible leg pain was immediately 100% gone.  Such a relief.  

    Our situations are very similar.  Not being able to walk, the 10/10 pain, the failed injections.

    If your sciatic pain is unbearable and you have tried everything, get the microdiscectomy.  I had mine three weeks ago and am still recovering, but not having the leg pain feels like another chance at life.

    I still experience low back pain, due to degnerative disc disease.  The surgery does not help with this pain.  It is critical you take care of your back to slow this process as much as possible.

    As someone who fully understands the pain you're in, I urge you to get the surgery.  I was very scared at first but now I realize I should of had it years ago.  You do not deserve to live with that leg pain.

    Best, Harrison.

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