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Severe Back Pain For 2 years, No Diagnosis

Hello there,

I was wondering if anyone can relate to what i'm going through and see if they can advise me in what to do!
Firstly, I'm 23 years old and I was involved in an RTA in June 2011, i was the rear seat passenger and a car went into the back of us at 40mph while we were stationary. I didn't get pain that day but was sick and suffered from whiplash.
I was told by my partners insurance company to keep a pain diary, and i didn't notice until looking back that i wrote on the day after the accident that i had the back pain.

I was a first year at uni when this happened in the holidays, i had A and B grades. And had a job as a chamber maid - which i had for four years. Since the accident my grades have slipped dramatically to C's and i even got a D grade last semester because i can not concentrate. I had to leave my job in september 2011 as i would come home and literally collapse onto the bed and wouldn't be able to move for the rest of the day.

So here's what treatments i have had...
I have had two courses of Physio. The first was for 9 months, he cured my whiplash and neck problems but couldn't even touch my back. The second one assessed me and said they don't want to touch me as i'm 'beyond repair'.
I have had a tense machine, which caused me to collapse more and it would make it worse - i don't know how coz it was bad anyway. I've had acupuncture and it was unbearable when the needles went in and the electrodes were on, but after they came out, my back was in agony but was a little more manageable - for half an hour!!!
I've had x-rays and one MRI scan and they said nothing showed up. I have also tried swimming and it didn't help.
I'm getting 'Pain Management' currently because the one thing in common the doctors have said is i will suffer from this for the rest of my life. They can not give me the steroid injection as i can not lay on my tummy. And the doctors said that wouldn't work in my case anyway, 'not even morphine would numb the pain' one said to me.

My GP's have just been a nightmare, They have just put me on more and more pain killers - i take 43 tablets a day. I will list everything below. And they have basically left me to rot. I have always suffered from depression since my mum died in 2005, but obviously this back pain has made it worse, i've even come close to suicide because of this.

My day begins with me waking up (on a good night i have 4 -5 hours sleep, on a bad - which is every night - 3 - 4) i can not move i am so stiff so my partner feeds me my pain killers, after an hour i can slowly move. At night i have a nightmare trying to get comfortable to get to sleep and then i wake up during the night to reposition myself - which can take half an hour, and then my partner has to drag me to the loo during the night too. I have had loo problems ever since the accident.
I never go out because i'm in fear i will collapse, wee myself or someone will push me. My memory and concentration is terrible now, and i can't walk far and when i walk i walk extremely slowly. I know when i'm about to collapse as i get numbness in my thighs and then shooting pains, and if i don't sit down quick i will collapse. I have no love life and can't go out socialising anymore and i can't get a job because of all my problems. I really don't know what to do, some doctors treat me like a criminal because they don't know the cause of it so therefore i'm making it up.
Can anyone help? I'd be really happy to hear from anyone.
All best xxxxx

Pain Killers:

Tramadol - 8 a day
Gabapentin - 6 a day
Naproxen - 2 a day
co-codamol - 8 a day
Amiltriptyline - 4 a day

Other Meds:

Movicol - for loo problems
Lansoprolside - Sickness tablet - side effect from other tablets
Ramipril - Hypertension
Levothyroxine - Thyroid
Bisproside - Hypertension
Indapamide - Hypertension
Mirtzipizide - Anti-Depressive


  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 04/20/2013 - 9:46 PM
    The tens machine only made my pain worse as well.

    Strong painkillers didn't work until they were combined with a muscle relaxant - because I damaged muscles and tendons as well.

    Did you break or crack any ribs in the accident? they didn't pick it up for years with me because they were concentrating on my spine - without realising my thoracic spine is joined to my ribs which were broken and I also tore muscles and tendons from my ribs, I compressed my thoracic spine T5 80% wedge fracture.

    I have been in severe pain since a motorbike accident 7 years ago - everything else healed except my spine - because I was twisting all day every day, so I couldn't heal properly.

    I had to give up work, give up my former life, the pain is unbelievable and it is hard to get through every single day.

    I have just started using a brace which stops my spine and ribs from twisting. At last, had three days without pain after seven years. Also driving or even being a passenger in a car really hurt.

    Look at your hips and check they are in alignment. If not there are people who build up shoes that will make your hips align. They helped me and you don't have to wear ugly shoes, there are really good ones they can build up on one side - just need to be flat.

    I would be a bit worried about the weeing because from what I've read it can be a sympton of spine damage.

    I also felt pretty suicidal at times - especially when the pain is really bad and I want it to stop. Would never do it thought of the damage to the people around me.

    If you do another pain diary now it should help you know what makes your pain worse.

    A brace might help, because it will stop your spine from twisitng and allow your body, muscles and tendons to heal. A magnetic underlay also helped - don't know why and built up shoes if your hips are not aligned.

    They didn't brace me at the time. If twisting makes your pain worse which you can't help doing every day, your ribs? muscles and tendons might get a chance to heal in the right place. Muscle relaxants combined with the painkillers were the only things that helped the pain apart from heat packs. I only just realised this stuff after seven years, was like you waking up every morning and lying there before work waiting for the painkillers to kick in so hope this info helps.
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,665
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    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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  • Thank you for your comment, it means a lot.
    I'm so sorry to hear about your horrible experiences with your back too.
    I have tried a back brace but it didn't do much for me. Yes i said to my doctor about the weeing myself part and he said 'well if you poo yourself thats when we will start to get worried'... thanks for that lol. I have moved so i have a new doctors but i feel that my last doctors have been to blame because they weren't helpful at all.
    That's a good point you have there, As i mostly get the shooting pains in my right leg, i get it in the left but its no way as bad as the right. I will defo ask the doctors about this. And about the muscle relaxers too.
    I didn't have any rib problems at all, the car wasn't badly damaged (about 2300 pounds worth of damage) weirdly enough. I well keep another pain diary as i do feel its getting worse, but because i've put up with it and got more depressed maybe my mental status makes it feel worse, but to be fair i think you could give a person with a high pain threshold and who's strong minded - and sooner or later they will break because it's so grinding and painful. I can't believe you had it for 7 long years bless ya. :( xxx
  • boy, are you taking a lot of pills in a day. you have to be careful because you might poison yourself with all of these meds. a lot of NAISD's. too many can hurt you liver and kidneys. i can't imagine one doctor prescribing that many pills in one day. do you only see one doctor or many. too many doctors is not good. i have severe pain for over 10 years and i see a pain specialist but i manage to work and take classes. the only time pain has gotten so bad that i could not function is when i had kidney stones and gall stones. i have had 4 fusions but still manage to work and get on with my daily functions. try to get out and do something and lay off all of the pills. they probably make things worse
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • terror8396 said:
    boy, are you taking a lot of pills in a day. you have to be careful because you might poison yourself with all of these meds. a lot of NAISD's. too many can hurt you liver and kidneys. i can't imagine one doctor prescribing that many pills in one day. do you only see one doctor or many. too many doctors is not good. i have severe pain for over 10 years and i see a pain specialist but i manage to work and take classes. the only time pain has gotten so bad that i could not function is when i had kidney stones and gall stones. i have had 4 fusions but still manage to work and get on with my daily functions. try to get out and do something and lay off all of the pills. they probably make things worse
    I was thinking the same, a lot of those pills you are taking are in the same family, why they would have you taking 3 anti-depressants is troubling.

    The next time you see your Dr, take that list of pills with you. Hopefully they will go through them and narrow them down some.

    Have you tried massage therapy? Not the salon type back rubs, I mean a registered massage therapist. It will more then likely hurt like hell when you are getting the treatment, but it works in the long run.

    I would start with a prescription review with your doc, some of your issues may be coming from the cocktail of meds you are taking.

    Fusion L4-S1, T8-T9 herniation.
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  • I just started some alternative holistic therapy: EFT and reiki. EFT (emotional freedom therapy) is rooted in acupuncture and that pain is from repressed psychological issues. I was also told to read John Sarno's "Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection". I only just started this 2 days ago and my pain isn't excruciating. This might not work for you, but I thought I would share this information if you decided to try this for yourself.

    Through this process of finding my repressed feelings/anger/anxiety from my past, I've been through a lot of emotional healing and the pain has been better. If you have tried everything else, give this a try. It can't hurt you. Pun intended! :-) Wishing you less pain soon.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Just re read your post and agree with everyone else - you are on a lot of meds. Sounds way too many to me. Sad to say but I had to do most of the research myself.

    Look up Wiki or a pharmacy book on line or even the labels they put in with the medication, to see what they all are and what they are supposed to be used for. I'd be going to my pharmacist to see if any have contra indications. That amount of meds could be dangerous, especially to your liver and kidneys, no wonder you have all those symptoms - just check if the meds have side effects and are causing some of them. But be careful about coming off some of them - lots of those meds you have to come off gradually.

    Please check your meds out. Get an an anesthesist as a pain management doctor - my friend who is a specialist said they are the one's who know what they are doing with pain management. Take care. Constant pain sucks, don't give up even if you have to be your own researcher.
  • turpin-birdtturpin-bird Posts: 3
    edited 06/27/2013 - 2:13 PM

    Hello guys,
    Yep I understand what your saying on the drugs front. I see about five doctors so that just keep telling me to have different pills. I've begged them to change the meds but its a no go. Some days I have trouble swallowing them. I Have to go and have blood tests every three months. It makes me very depressed because I used to be a raver chick and now I've totally lost my social life, lost friends over it and its turned my life upside down. I'm constantly in agony and we've found nothing to ease the pain. I had to see a specialist In London and he sent me the report and he believes I have severe lumber spinal stenosis that goes into my legs. I knew in my body that this was incurable and I got confirmation of that in the report and I was shocked but happy because I have a diagnosis!!! Finally. They are going to seek another opinion just in case. Apparently spinal stenosis is a progressive disease that gets worse and worse until i will lose the use of my legs. But he said he was disgusted that my hospital never saw the spinal stenosis in the MRI. But apparently I'm in very early stages of this, which scares the poop out of me because I'm disabled as it is!
    I just have to learn to live with it and be positive. It's hard because I wanted to go travelling and it'll be difficult for me to carry a child. I will keep you guys updated and see if there's any more break throughs. Thank you all for messaging me.
    Lots of love xxx
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 06/28/2013 - 2:39 PM
    if it is in the very early stages, as you said, or even later on, can be treated by having surgery. I would be very, very concerned about all of those medications and the side effects of them. Are all 5 of these doctors aware of the fact that you are taking all of these medications a day? They all have a complete list? I would find one doctor, a GP to oversee my healthcare first of all, then go through those medications and try to eliminate some of them. I bet that you would find that some of those are not necessary and may in fact, be contributing in part to some of the problems you are having.
    I get that you are in pain, but some of these meds, are double and triple for the same condition, which really is troubling.
    Stenosis may or may not worsen as time goes on, and there is nothing written in stone that you will wind up paralyzed in a wheelchair. It could happen but I would hope that you would see another surgeon for another consult before allowing yourself to give that diagnosis so much weight. Stenosis is usually picked up on MRI , since part of that test is to see/measure the canal diameter to make sure that it is adequate in size for the spinal nerves to pass freely. It should have said that in the report somewhere.
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