I really need some advice. I am 26 and for the past year and a half, I have had low back pain that gets worse and worse no matter what I do. I have been to my dr too many times to count and they just tell me to go home take advil and do stretches. I think that because they don;t suspect it is a nerve problem, they just send me home and it makes me so mad.I don't get any numbness or that kind of stuff, my main symptom is pain. It's like I can't sit still because I can't get comfortable. When I stand up, my legs feel weak, like I am going to fall. I can;t drive for more than 10 minutes without being in so much pain that I just want to go home. I can only go to a store if I hold onto the carriage. I ad to stop exercising and this is basically ruining my life. No one understands. The pain is constant. I also have plantar fasciits. Here is my question, can anyone relate and share how they got this under control. Does anyone know if low back pain can make you feel like you are off balance?
Thanks for listening.
Hi Monarch -- so sorry to hear you are hurting and that your doctors don't seem to be listening. I too have low back pain and plantar fascitis and when sitting/driving is uncomfortable, walking and standing can also bother you because of your feet. Advil and stretching are certainly options, but it sounds like you need to find out the root of your problem so you can get an appropriate course of treatment. For me, they started out with an X-RAY, then moved to an MRI pretty quickly. Have you had these tests? I would recommend insisting on an MRI, because it will show a lot more than an X-ray in terms of your discs.
By the way, back pain can make you feel off balance, especially if your legs are feeling weak.
In the meantime, do try icing your back. I found it to be really helpful for low back pain and would lie on an ice pack with my legs up on pillows to take some of the pressure off my back. It was always a temporary thing, but would provide enough relief for me to be able to go to sleep. I found myself doing this the second I got home from work every day. Some people use heat too but ice is always my favorite. Also try putting a lumbar cushion in the car for when you are driving. It gives your lower back a little more support. I also used ice packs in the car when I had to drive. I guess I am an ice junkie!
I hope you find relief soon and that you find a doc who will try to help find out what the problem is.
Thanks. I think the scary thing is not being able to walk. Every step feels like you are going to fall. And I have been this way for over a year. They did test my blood to see if there was anything wrong with my muscle tissue, and thankfully, there wasn't anything wrong, but it doens't make it any easier. I used to love to walk on my treadmill and even in the park with the dog, and now, I can't do any of that. I feel like I miss out on so much and people around me just don't understand that I cant do things.
I just want to chime in that I sympathize. I initially had some difficulty getting my GP's ofc to listen to me. After 8 months of problems and PT and ice and stretches, I buckled down and kept a symptom log. I tried to focus on all aspects of my discomfort and debility. I finally noticed that my pain was weight-bearing. I listed symptoms by time frames - extreme tightness in thigh muscles upon waking, for example. I rated my symptoms and color coded them - 0-3 yellow, 4-6 orange, 7-10 red-just like the Terriost ALert System! I showed that to my GP started faxing in the week's data every Friday and it wasn't very long before I had an xray and an MRI scheduled. Once those were in I became very popular overnight! I didn't have to ask for apts after that. Not at all, at all. Then, every one wanted to see me.
It is important to really pay attention to your symptoms. For me, since I know my pain is weight-bearing I also know I can control it somewhat by frequent lie downs. Of course, since I work full-time and own a home I can't lie down all day. But I use this knowledge to my advantage and have a zero-gravity chair at work.
Schragie gave good advise - you need some diagnostic images taken and if your GP won't order them - order up a new GP! Times awasting. Constant pain has a cause, of that I'm sure. Best of luck to you - Suzy-Q
I too agree with Schragie in that you need an MRI done, and I am surprised that your Dr did not recommend it... Perhaps, you need a new doctor... I suggest spine specialist / neurosurgeon. I also agree that ice packs are great for helping with pain.. But not more than 20 minutes at a time. I also tried using ice packs, then heat pad right after, and do this whenever I can.. I also bring an icepack to work with me, and if my back starts to act up, I ice it before it gets to bad...
Wow, Suzy You are my hero(ine)! I am impressed at what an active role you took in getting your doctors to listen to you. Your method of keeping a pain diary of symptoms is great. For a long time I tried to ignore the pains I was having but eventually figured out, as we all do, what makes it worse, what relieves it. This information is really useful for the docs. There's a part of me that always feels like I am complaining when I tell the docs my symptoms and my husband always says I minimize them, but when I started writing stuff down it made it a lot easier to explain. Pain is a very difficult thing to explain and I had to have a psychological evaluation before the pain doc even prescribed pain meds for me, which made me nervous. It was standard protocol for the pain doc but a little frustrating to have to jump through hoops just to get some relief.
By the way, Suzy, what is a zero gravity chair? Sounds like you could be an astronaut!
Monarch, it sounds like you are being ignored. Hopefully you can get the tests done and find out what is wrong. It is not right that you should be suffering so long. Just as an aside, I saw one neurologist for a nerve conduction test who told me to try exercise and weight loss for my back after I had already lost a ton of weight and been in PT for months with my symptoms getting worse. He also told me to try a nerve block after I had already had three epidural injections. I left there very upset! Who wants to here to keep doing what you are doing when it is not working? Then his test results all showed abnormalities. Go figure. Three surgeons concurred the next month that I needed surgery. Sometimes if your doctor isn't helping you it's worth getting another opinion.
Sorry to hear yet another "victim" has been taken by all this back stuff. I totally understand you frustration and the pain you are describing is all too familiar.
At my last appt. my doctor to me how much better I was walking and to "stop whinning" . He was laughing when he said it but it still struck me wrong. YES, I know I doing better than before surgery but I'm still in pain. I had contious pain daily, even on strong meds. before the fusion. The only relief was when all the meds. knocked me out.
NOW I have good days and terrible days. And of course, "Murphy's Law", I was having a good day when I had my last appt. I told my husband two days later when I was up in the middle of the night crying and pacing in pain that I should call my doctor to come see how well I'm walking.
Sorry for ranting. I needed to vent. I pray you have some relief.
Dec 05 - Discectomy L3/L4
Jan 06 - TLIF Fusion L3/L4
May 08 - Ruptured C5/C6
Jun 08 - Fibromyalgia
Oct 08 - Artificial Disc C5/C6
July 09 - Ruptured L4/L5
July 09 - Spinal Stenosis
[QUOTE=monarchangel]I really need some advice. I am 26 and for the past year and a half, I have had low back pain that gets worse and worse no matter what I do. I have been to my dr too many times to count and they just tell me to go home take advil and do stretches. I think that because they don;t suspect it is a nerve problem, they just send me home and it makes me so mad.I don't get any numbness or that kind of stuff, my main symptom is pain. It's like I can't sit still because I can't get comfortable. When I stand up, my legs feel weak, like I am going to fall. I can;t drive for more than 10 minutes without being in so much pain that I just want to go home. I can only go to a store if I hold onto the carriage. I ad to stop exercising and this is basically ruining my life. No one understands. The pain is constant. I also have plantar fasciits. Here is my question, can anyone relate and share how they got this under control. Does anyone know if low back pain can make you feel like you are off balance?
Thanks for listening.[/QUOTE]
Sorry for your problems.
This doctor that is treating you, is that your primary or are you seeing a true spine specialist? At least see an ortho or neuro even if at this point you don't suspect that you need more specialized care of a doctor dedicated to treating just the spine. With legs feeling weak, there needs to be at least films taken to rule out other concerns.
You don't describe where your pain travels, but there are a couple of excellent sources on the web where you can look at the diagram and see where the source of your pain is likely coming from in the back. Spine universe web address is at the top of the boards in a post by Bionic Witch. There is also a site of similar name of spine health that you can find with a web search. Both have excellent diagrams, articles on back problems, treatments, etc. Informing yourself will help you become your own best advocate, so that you can make certain points to the doctor that will make them take notice.
As one who has had a number of major spinal surgeries and who didn't seek out a spine specialist until I became temporarily paralyzed during a test that was not done by a spine specialist, let me highly recommend that you do see someone else about your back pain soonest. Although you may not have numbness yet, people who have constant and severe pain, and/or numbness that is not relieved within a short time run the risk of being stuck with pain and/or numbess for life. I had been in severe pain and stuck in a bent position for more than 10 months before I sought out the spine specialist. What I learned from him that the general ortho and neuro surgeons had not told me, was that if severe pain from a pinched nerve is relieved within 6 months there is excellent chance of full recovery, but that drops to a 75% chance at about 9 months and only a 50% chance for full recovery at a year or more. I was lucky and got rid of the pain but not the numbness.
Not saying you are in that much pain and are at severe risk yet, but if you have been having problems for a year, and it is becoming more constant, don't waste more time - see someone who will listen and do a good exam of the back.
If you must ask for a referral because of your insurance, you may wish to find a post using the search at the top of the boards, for a thread I have on how to locate a spine specialist in your area. You might consider checking that out and finding one or two names of doctors you would prefer to see so that you can ask your doctor for a referal to them in particular.
Hope you will take care and get that back healthier soon. Best wishes