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20 year old needing advice

hello. I am 20 years old and have had a very traumatic time since I was 16. I have been suffering from chronic pain for nearly 5 years now, I have had multiple injections and 3 major surgeries on my spine, the most recent being a 3 level fusion last October. I normally cope quite well but I have hit a wall now in terms of my mental because this is going on so long and I think things are really getting on top of me.

I have lost all my confidence and I have very low self esteem, I don't want to meet my friends, I get very nervous talking to people and I don't want to leave the house. I make myself go outside because I know I am not helping myself by cutting myself off. I also get bad dreams about surgeries and flashbacks of time spent in hospital.

I have never admitted how low I get and how anxious I get because I always tell myself that this is normal and comes with having pain. I am wondering if these feelings are normal or should I tell my doctor about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 


  • Max_LeeMax_Lee New York, United StatesPosts: 389
    I would tell your doctor how you feel. It was one of the hardest things I've done, but it was worth it. He got me the help I needed. I'm not better yet, not by a long shot, but I am better than I was.
    I am also 20. Haven't been dealing with this as long, but also have had a traumatic time of it. The nightmares, the flashbacks...it's not easy, but there is help out there. You just have to ask. It's very hard to admit that you need help, but it is worth it.
     "The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the
    brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do
    not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.''-Anonymous

    My Story: http://www.spine-health.com/forum/discussion/90688/pain/neck-pain-cervical/help#latest

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,304

      Welcome to Spine-Health

    While you may have provided us with some information, there is always more to provide.

    One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding to your thread.

    So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns.  Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

    Here are some questions that you should answer:

    When did this first start

    • At what age?
    • Was it a result of an accident or trauma
    • Are there others in your family with similar medical conditions?
    • Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
    • What doctors have you seen (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
    • Which doctor did you start with? (Primary Care Physician, Orthopedic, ?
    • What kind of doctor are you currently seeing>
    • What kind of treatments have you had? Conservative or Aggressive ?
      • Physical Therapy
      • Spinal Injections
      • Ultrasound/Tens unit
      • Acupuncture
      • Massage Therapy

    What kind of diagnostic tests have you had and what were the results

    • MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc

    Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them. How many different tests have you had over the years?

    What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

    • Name of Medication
    • How long have you been using this?

    Has surgery been discussed as an option? If so, what kind)

    • Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
    • What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

    Providing answers to questions like this will the member community a better understanding of your situation and make it easier to respond to your discussion.

    Please take a look at our forum rules:  Forum Rules

    I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our  FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found under your avatar or by going to FAQ   There you will find much information that will help you better utilize the Spine-Health system

    Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.

    Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research. As such, no member is permitted to provide

    • Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    • Medical advice of any kind
    • Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

    What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another. You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

    Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.


    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    edited 04/05/2016 - 11:39 AM
    Hey , first off let me congratulate you for reaching out that is really the first step.  Being so young and having so much change can be traumatic and life changing.  I had the same things dreams , nightmares ,  flashbacks and the feeling I wanted to ball up like a child when I thought about my injury and/ or saw my college textbooks .  I had no idea what was happening I have never had an anxiety attack or panic attack prior in my life.  Once I got with the right team of Drs and my diagnosis was revealed I was devastated and my neurologist suggested I see a psychiatrist to help cope with the diagnosis.  I did and what they diagnosed me with was something I couldn't believe and still have trouble believing , I was diagnosed with PTSD ( accompanying a serious neurological disorder) and referred to a PTSD specialist and have been going for the last 4 months . I have learned a lot but the two most important things were that trama is cumulative so while you may have handled so much that the last trama may be the one that broke you mentally, the second most important thing is that if you have uncontrolled pain it is very hard for the psychologist to properly help, they can only do so much in the face of uncontrolled pain.
    thats just my story, but I was same as you I just couldn't understand after so much in my life why was this so much more difficult.  I was worn out.  But I am glad I made that first step and it has helped me and my god at 20 all you have been through , it's a lot.  Needing help doesn't mean you are weak just that you may not have the tools to deal with this recent trama or you are just plain worn down.  Good luck 
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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