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Lower Back Pain for 2 Years - I feel like I've tried everything

johngjjohng Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm a 29 year old athletic male. About 2 years ago while I was working out with a trainer to rehabilitate my knee several months after a knee surgery, I finished the workout with a very sore back. The action that seemed to ignite the pain was a kettlebell swing exercise where I was swinging a kettlebell through my legs as I bent over and then swinging it up as I stood up.

The initial pain was really sharp and for several weeks I could barely reach down to tie my shoes. Since then, I have been in various levels of pain each day. Sometimes the pain is sharp in my lower back area on the right side and middle, sometimes it is a burning pain behind my hip in my upper buttocks area, sometimes it's an achy pain combined with tight muscles along my right side and lower back, sometimes while my back is aching my shin-area also aches, sometimes the pain goes slightly lower into my buttocks area.

I've had an MRI, an X-Ray, I've had a couple of epidural shots in my back, I've tried yoga, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractics, mindful meditation, I've tried being physically active, I've tried giving it long periods of rest - nothing seems to help. I try to watch for patterns, but there seem to be few. The absolute worst pain usually happens when I'm at the mall, I guess it's the long walking or perhaps combination of walking and just standing for long periods of time.

I am willing to try anything to make it better, though at this point am wary to spend more money as I have already put so much into it with absolutely no results. Does anyone have any suggestions?

If it helps, below are the results from my MRI and XRAY:

There is lumbar curvature with convexity to the left. There appears to be some retrolisthesis of L5 on S1 with suggestion of pars interarticularis defect and some facet degenerative change. There is probably some disc space narrowing as well at L5-S1. There is disc space narrowing at L3-4 and perhaps L4-5
Note from doctor: The x-rays show your known scoliosis. You also have some arthritis and some disk disease in the low back. The last vertebrae has slipped forward a bit as compared to the sacrum. The next step is the planned physical therapy as a good back routine often gets rid of symptoms from the low back. Let me know if the physical therapy does not help.

1. Mild L3-4 posterior and left lateral disc bulge, minimally narrowing the inferior aspect of the left L3-4 neural foramen.
2. Mild L5-S1 right lateral disc bulge, slightly narrowing the right neural foramen at this level and slightly abutting the exiting right L5 nerve root.
3. No other significant central canal or neural foraminal stenosis identified.
4. Mild degenerative disc disease of the lower lumbar spine, worst at L3-4 and L5-S1.
5. Mild to moderate hypertrophic spondylitic changes of posterior elements of the mid to lower lumbar spine.
The conus medullaris terminates at T12. There is mild lumbar levoscoliosis. Vertebral body alignment is otherwise normal. Vertebral body heights preserved. There is probably a small hemangioma in the right side of the S2 vertebra. Bone marrow signal intensity is otherwise unremarkable. Mild L3-4, minimal L4-5 and mild L5-S1 disc space narrowing is present. There is slight disc desiccation at L3-4 and L5-S1.
At T12-L1, no significant disc bulge seen. The central canal and neural foramina are patent. Direct axial interrogation is performed at following levels:
L1-2: Negative.
L2-3: No significant disc bulge. Central canal and neural foramina patent. Mild bilateral facet joint hypertrophy.
L3-4: There is a mild broad based posterior disc bulge with mild left lateral component, resulting in minimal narrowing of the inferior aspect of left neural foramen. Central canal and right foramen are patent. Mild to moderate bilateral facet joint hypertrophy and mild left ligamentum flavum hypertrophy are present.
L4-5: No significant disc bulge. Central canal and neural foramina patent. Mild bilateral facet joint and mild bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. L5-S1: There is a mild focal right lateral disc bulge with probable small annular tear. This small bulge minimally narrows the lateral aspect of the right neural foramen at this level and slightly abuts the exiting right L5 nerve root. The central canal and left foramen are patent. Mild bilateral facet joint hypertrophy noted.


  • Welcome to Spinehealth :D

    Have you tried Massage? Sometimes a good masseuse (SP?) can help by helping the muscles relax in the affected area.

    I was fortunate to find a lady who was also trained in Reiki (healing) and combined the two disciplines.
    If you can afford to have a massage every week for 4 to 6 weeks, you may find it very beneficial.

    Also, if you're having nerve pain, have your doctor(S) suggested you take lyrica or neurotin? I'm on lyrica and aside from alittle weight gain (UGH!), it has helped me.

    As you will see from reading the many informative articles on this site, nerves don't heal very fast.

    Another thought is a hot tub or spa tub -- the circulation benefits of this may aid in your healing.

    I know it's a long haul and you're so very young to be saddled with this pain.

    I'm sure others will write with their ideas.

    Take care,

  • I had a similar L5-S1 herniated disc and tear and that resolved on it's own within 2 years. But I also have facet joint hypertrophy and bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. L5-S1 and DDD.

    I did have some relief with acupuncture and facet, SI and nerve blocks in upper butt and hip where the sciatic nerve takes it's route.

    I agree that the hot tub after aqua therapy with Physio helps as well as my infrared platinum heating pad on my back or leg while sitting. In my case mild anything on the MRI or x-rays means no surgery for me.

    I recently upped my walking to everyday and just purchased an air stepper and use a recumbent exercise bike for strengthening my core muscles. Brief and frequent episodes of exercise about 5 minutes several times a day is better than a long exercise period for me works better.

    I take Cymbalta for sciatic pain and numbness but used to take lyrica and amitriptyline with some relief as well as muscle relaxants. I've been to 3 Pain Management Drs for their opinion and awaiting a 4th consult with an Orthopedic Surgeon. Have you seen a Neurologist yet?

    Of course check with your Dr before any exercise routine and keep looking for a Dr. to help you. Keep us posted how you're doing. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • Sorry to hear of someone else with this same issue. I've been dealing with very similar pain for about 6 months now. Had MRI (central disc protrusion at L5-S1), 2 epidurals (mixed results, didn't opt for a third) and lots of PT.

    I'm 37 y.o., and was in great shape. Bent over dumbell rows... I should never have done them!!

    Overall, symptoms have improved and I do feel that the sciatica is almost gone (within the last few weeks). However I still have daily lower back pain, pain and numbness in upper buttocks and occasional SHARP nasty pain right at L5S1 location.

    One surgeon was willing to do microdiscectomy. Another recommends no surgery and waiting it out for 1 to 2 yrs (cited study showing 85% of people report similar pain levels after 2 yrs, whether they do surgery or not).

    Have you tried a hot tub? I'm thinking of getting one.

    Good luck man! Hope you find some relief.
  • I bet the physical therapy helps :)
  • I noticed on your post that you had a known issue with scoliosis. Has that ever given you a problem in your past? Some people can go through life with no symptoms and others are very symptomatic.

    What kind of dr are you seeing or have you seen since this injury? I can definitely understand your frustation regarding there being no pattern to the pain.
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  • Johng,

    I think I may have something very similar to your symptoms. Do you get alittle bit of popping around your sacrum area?

    Your mild scoliosis is consistant with an uneven pelvis caused from SIJD, also your MRI results are consistant with the SI joints not working properly.

    I'm trying to get my SI joints stable again with prolotherapy before my situation gets any worse.
  • No surgery more! try use conservarive treatment as 1-good smart Chiro or who knows applyed kinesiology,2-stretching,stretching every day,more effectivly inversion table, no more than 1 minute for one time! but evrey day! late-when muscle and ligament will be more elastic- twice a day,and 2 minute for procedure. 3-no twist suddenly around low back! 4-used creams,tablets with hondroitin ,glucoseamin,karipain(concetrate of papaya),for inprove disk and reduce size of hernia.Good way!
  • Hi,

    I'm 25 and a soldier. I have been having this issue in my lower/ middle back that has onset alot of issues elsewhere like my knee/hip/pelvic area. It started with my right knee about three years ago March 2012 when I joined.Its been a big issue of mine, I had a cyst that formed then popped sometime in 2013 all onset by a "stress fracture" i was told. I still havent had a straight answer with it and why it happened. I have had many MRIs and auquatic/ land therapy, I've been shocked not sure what the machine is called and I have nothing now but still have severe pain. Well back in April 2014 I started getting mild pinches in my right lower back/hip/buttock. I woke up the next morning with serious pain I went to the ER and they told me muscle spasms and sent me on my way with no x ray but gave me muscle relaxers. The meds didnt really help so I went to my Dr. on base the following week he pushed and probed which hurt like hell. He sent me to an Ortho dr after complaining for a good while and that dr did two MRIs the results read:

    Procedure:L-SPINE(AP,LAT,AND SPOT)
    Reason for Order: parasthesia right leg buttock to lateral thigh to lat leg. knee and hip pain.
    Indication: Paresthesia right leg

    Sacralization of L5 on the left or lumbarization of S1 on the right are observed. Curvature of the spine is seen mainly to the left.

    Vertebral body heights and disk spaces are unremarkable. Alignment of the spine is normal. Bony abnormality is not seen. Usual curvature of the spine is present.

    Conclusion: Sacralization or lumbarization as mentioned. Curvature of the spine

    Scoliosis survey is recommended

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ this result was NOT explained or told to me^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Reason for Order: pain in hip with knee and thigh pain.
    Indication: Paresthesia right leg

    Sacralization of L5 on the left or lumbarization of S1 on the right are observed. Curvature of the spine is seen mainly to the left.

    Vertebral body heights and disk spaces are unremarkable. Alignment of the spine is normal. Bony abnormality is not seen. Usual curvature of the spine is present.

    Conclusion: Sacralization or lumbarization as mentioned. Curvature of the spine

    Scoliosis survey is recommended

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^this result was not explained or told to me either^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    So the next day I got a scoliosis survey done it read:

    Reason for Order: lumbar scoliosis
    Examination: And scoliosis survey.

    Indication colon scoliosis with

    Mild reversed S-shaped scoliosis is noted. In the upper lumbar it is to the right. The angle is measured 5 degrees.

    Conclusion: Mild scoliosis

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^nor was this result explained or told to me^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Then I got sent back to therapy which failed before and was told I just had a weak core which was causing muscle spasms and that was it again nothing helped so I quit not only did I have back pain but it made my knee hurt more. So I went back to the ER over the weekend in May 2014 a month later again that week followed up with my dr who gave me another MRI which read:

    Procedure:MRI, L-SPINE WO/CONT
    Reason for Order: tingling and pain into right leg posterior and lateral.


    [Procedure]: Standard pulse sequences are obtained. Findings: There is lumbarization of S1 with a narrowed disc space between S1 and S2. Mild levoscoliosis noted at the lower lumbar spine. There is no evidence of a fracture, subluxation or focal bony lesion. The T12-L1 and L1-L2 disc space appear mildly narrowed with endplate irregularity and minimal T2 signal loss . Mild endplate also noted at L2-L3 level. The signal intensities from the vertebra and disk spaces otherwise appear within normal limits.

    At T12-L1, L1-L2, L2-L3 and L3-L4 levels, minimal posterocentral disc bulging noted. Spinal canal and neural canals appear unremarkable at this levels.

    At L4-L5 level, mild annular disc bulging noted causing mild narrowing of both neural canals. Spinal canal appear unremarkable.

    At L5-S1 level, mild posterior disc bulging noted causing mild narrowing of both neural canals and minimal narrowing of the spinal canal.

    Disc spaces otherwise appear unremarkable.No mass effect noted on the exiting nerve roots at any lumbar level. Surrounding soft tissues, facet joints and the conus medullaris appear unremarkable.

    IMPRESSION: 1. Multilevel mild spondylosis . No mass effect noted on the exiting nerve roots at any lumbar level. 2. Lumbarization of S1.

    ^^^^^^^^again never explained or told to me^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    again therapy and the same comment "WEAK CORE which is causing muscle spasms" I refused to do the therapy again and have been dealing but its getting no better.
    on top of it all in August 2014 I went in because not only did all of my back hurt, my right knee; I ended up with bad pelvic pain which took a whole month of complaining and ER visits to get so Sep 2014 I got a CT scan w/ contrast and an ultrasoung which read:

    Procedure:US, PELVIC PG

    Report Text: Examination: Ultrasound pelvis.

    Uterus is measured 6.8 x 3.3 x 3.7 cm. Endometrial thickness is 0.4 cm.

    Right ovary is 3.5 x 2.0 x 1.9 cm. Left ovary is 3.1 x 1.8 x 1.87. Small to follicles are seen bilaterally which appear to be peripherally oriented.

    Free fluid is not seen the pelvis

    Conclusion: Findings are compatible with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

    that led to:

    Reason for Order: 25 year old female chief complaint periumbillicle pain x 3 mo.

    Report Text: CT Scan of the Abdomen and Pelvis with IV contrast

    Findings: Study was performed after administration of IV contrast.Oral contrast material was utilized. 3 mm contiguous arterial phase axial images of the abdomen and pelvis were obtained.

    There is excess fluid seen within the terminal ileum which is suggestive of inflammation in the terminal ileum. Appendix appear unremarkable. The wall of the duodenum appear slightly thick and fuzzy which may be due to mild inflammation or lack of adequate distention.The bowel otherwise appear unremarkable .There is a 2 x 1.5 cm cyst noted in the left ovary. Right ovary is unremarkable . Uterus appear retroverted. The liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, adrenal glands, aorta, and urinary bladder appear unremarkable. No adenopathy, free air, free fluid, bowel wall thickening,abdominal aortic anurysm, cystic or solid mass or abnormal contrast enhancement was seen .Fat planes appear clean. Visualised lung bases appear clear.

    Impression: 1. Excess fluid seen within the terminal which is suggestive of inflammation in the terminal ileum. Clinical correlation recommended. 2. There is a 2 x 1.5 cm cyst in the left ovary. Retroverted uterus. 3. Other findings as discussed above.

    After that result Jan 2015 I got a Colonoscopy done and was told I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and polyps in my colon

    Now I'm left with knee pain , back pain, polycystic overian syndrome, and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to top it all off. All which happened in that order
    all of the results on my back I DID NOT KNOW about until maybe a month ago when I had to get a copy of my medical records for another hospital to do that colonoscopy and went through it. Funny how all I had was just a "WEAK CORE". I need any advise I can get. I know my story is long but I want it all out so I can get the best help other than these Military Drs.
  • ValineVValine Posts: 4
    edited 09/22/2015 - 9:52 PM
    I know this is an old post and you have many issues going on, but did you ever look to see or did one of your Drs ever check if one of your cysts or if something in that region was pressing on your sciatic nerve? They checked with me and that wasn't the case. I hope all is well...
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