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Severe Lower Back Pain

I have been having severe chronic lower back pain for several years.  It does not allow me to stand for more than a few minutes before I have pain radiating from my lower back down my legs.  If I continue to stand and ignore the pain, my legs start to go numb and I fall if I do not sit down quickly enough.  This affects my whole life, I have trouble standing long enough to cook food, take a shower, and do much of anything in my daily life. My social life is pretty much non-existent as I can't stand long enough to do anything. I have become pretty much homebound and struggle to get to my vehicle to go to appts. I can't even have a normal job and am forced to look for a work from home job since I cannot stand.  

Due to going many years with undiagnosed diabetes, I am also overweight.  I used to be a fairly active person, but I'm afraid being unable to be active will add to my weight problem, which will likely add to my back problems.  My doctor said that my MRI shows nothing wrong, I have been to a chiropractor, and have went through physical therapy.  The physical therapy seemed to make the problem worse and the chiropractic visits didn't affect it at all.  



  • jam5146

    welcome to spine-health

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    Sorry that you are having so much pain and so many medical issues, you mentioned having a MRI, but you didn't mention having any other diagnostic testing. Is it possible that your leg numbness is coming from your diabetes? If that is not the case there are several other test that can be very helpful in diagnosing your problem, you also didn't mention what kind of doctor you have been seeing, if you are not already, you need to be seeing a spinal specialist, orthopedic or neurosurgeon, again I am assuming that you have your diabetes is under control, because that needs to be your first priority


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • I'm sorry, I was not very specific in my post.  So far I have had an MRI, CT scans, x-rays, and a nerve test.  The nerve test showed polyneuropathy in my lower left leg.  My diabetes is has been pretty well under control for about the past two years.  I asked about being referred to a specialist and I was told the only person I could see was a surgeon and that they would do nothing for me.  This advice has mostly come from my primary care physician.  

    Thank you for your answer.

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  • jam

    Thank's for the clarification, if it were me I would go see a spine specialist, orthopedic or neurosurgeon, a primary care is not a specialist, there are so many treatments that may be beneficial to you, just because you see a surgeon does not mean that you need surgery, also a specialist may see something in your scans that he/she is concerned about, that other's weren't.

    You have to be your own advocate, it's your body and you know you are in pain and limited in what you can do, if you don't fight for yourself, nobody else will.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 377

    " I was told the only person I could see was a surgeon and that they would do nothing for me." I truly don't understand why a medical professional ever says this to a patient! How do they know? I agree with Chip, you are your best advocate and I too would see a surgeon. Even if it ends up being there is nothing they can do at least you will know. Good luck!

  • It sounds like your PCP saw your unremarkable MRI report and thus assumed you don’t need to see a neurosurgeon. 

    However until a spine specialist reviews your actual MRI imaging (not just the report) you cannot be 100% certain the problem isn’t apparent on the MRI.

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