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Low Back, Butt, and Leg Pain, 21 years old. Help!!!

Hello, I am 21 years old and have had low back pain since I was 15, a freshman in high school. I have played volleyball at a high level since I was 11, and am now a D1 college athlete. I unfortunately have had to give up on the sport and myself due to my back pain and not being able to compete at the level I want. My back pain is numbing, stiff, and stabbing. The worst feeling I get in my back is with extension, when I arch my back the pain shoots automatically to the point of falling down or bracing myself. Besides that, standing is the second worst. I am constantly moving my legs around, shifting positions, and trying to walk around. When sitting I move my legs back and forth on top of each other to reduce pain, and leaning forward with a crouched back feels the best for me. I have gone to numerous doctors over the past 6 years for different types of treatments. I started with physical therapy and different types anti-inflammatory medications after I got my first MRI. My MRI showed a very slight bulge in one of my discs and a very slight tear in another, in L4-5 area. I have had a full bone scan too, and nothing showed up with that. After physical therapy didn't work, my doctors wanted me to try multiple different pain management treatments, I tried 2 different types of injections, including a facet joint inject and a type of epidural, which didn't relieve any pain either. My doctors referred me back to physical therapy again, which didn't relieve any pain, again. I have been prescribed medicines including tramadol, hydrocodon, ibprofen, advil, lyrica, and more. I stopped playing volleyball a year and a half ago and since then I have had new leg pain in both of my legs. From the feeling of the pain, I think it stems from my lower back or butt area and my doctors still don't know what it causing it. When looking at my MRI, multiple doctors have said my bulging disc isn't touching any nerves or close to it, which wouldn't be causing the pain in my legs. The doctors I have gone to say my discs aren't nearly bad enough to the point where they would operate. The pain radiates down the back/right side area of my right leg the most and goes into the bottom of my foot, heel, and pinky toe. It feels like I always have a cramp in my leg no matter what I do. My back pain is worse with standing but my leg pain is worse with sitting. The same pain has gone in my left leg as well, but not nearly as much. My right side is everyday, and my left is maybe once a week. The latest doctor that I have gone to really doesn't think my leg pain is coming from my back. He thinks that I might have piriformis syndrome. I have an appointment scheduled in January to go see a new doctor to get an emg and see if that could be my leg pain issue. I would really, really love any and all opinions to help fix my problems. It's been way too long to not have had any relief in either my back pain or leg pain. I even gave up volleyball and any physical activity in general for a whole year now, and nothing has helped or relieved any pain. Thank you for your help and for taking the time to read this!!! I don't even remember what it feels like to not have back pain anymore. I just really want to get back to myself and the way I used to feel. Hopefully this last doctor is right and I finally find out what is wrong with my back/legs! Thank you again!!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello cament!
    it seems good you are going to have more testing and new doctor.
    another pair of eyes is always a good thing, to me.

    is your new doctor pain management?...spine specialist?

    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,357
    Casement, I wish I could help you!! You are so young and are having to give up things way to early in your life because of pain.
    But I have to hand it to you, you've tried to resolve these issues for a long time and you're still trying. About the only thing that I think any of us would have said would be get another opinion. Which you are doing in January.
    Please keep us posted, we would like to know what you find out.
    Feel free to ask any questions or just talk, you've got support here.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
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  • gmkzkggmkzk Posts: 12
    edited 01/02/2017 - 10:53 AM
    Try doing piriformis stretching in the morning, afternoon and at night before bed to see if it helps. It helps with my sciatica relieving the pain in the upper butt cheek for sure. It didnt help the other areas though.


    Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter
    item,  exercise program,  mechanical aid,  brace, 
    etc  always consult with
    your doctor to make sure you get their approval. Some of these products may be very effective, but no two
    individuals or medical conditions are alike. 
    What works for one, may cause trouble for another.

     Ron DiLauro,
    Spine-Health System Administrator

  • Your symptoms are very, very similar to my wife's symptoms, so I would be hesitant to say the pain is not related to a back problem.   Good to see you are going for another opinion.  We have depended on a neurosurgeon for our treatment.  The only thing that has given any relief that you did not mention is the use of gel ice packs at the pain site. 
  • Hey, I did my initial injury in the 3rd grade, never started hurting until year 7, since then I have tries just about every natural treatment available to man....  L4/L5 started out being minor, then at 22 and pregnant, it buldged and I couldn't walk or even have anyone lean on my bed without excruciating pain going where you stated above - starting at the L4/L5 and travelling to my toes.  I was lucky to have a dear friend who did acupuncture 3 times in 1 week, and I was able to get around without any pain after the 3rd treatment.  Definitely your sciatic nerve!  I then had another baby and after a botched spinal block (22 needle holes in my spine counted)  my L4/L5 prolapsed and I was i n a wheelchair.  10 years on I felt 3 squidges in the disks above that area and though it didn't hurt when I felt it, I demanded my go give me a ct scan, the results now is a schmorls node running from the top of my L2 to the bottom of my L3 - all I was doing when it went was standing.  Now 2 years on, I am experiencing major pain again....  The best treatments I have found are find yourself a very good masseuse, or acupuncturist or both - in my experience, i t usually takes about 3 initial treatments to see results with pain decreasing, but it has worked for me, and when you are able, exercise, but don't so the ones that cause pain, and ease into it - slowly build up.  The docs are amazed that I have gone 27 years with my injury and still walking.  Footy is probably out now, also any impact sports, but there are heaps of non impact sports around and you sound like a good athlete so shouldn't be too hard for you sweetie, I am naturally sporty too and understand how much of a heartbreak this kind of injury can be.
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