For a quick read go to the bottom for the mainpoints..sorry I can't think straight
I am coming here as I don't really know where else to go. I have a very long story but I will try to cover the basics real quick. Anyways I am an 18 year old male, senior in high school, going to Chapel Hill in the fall and life is pretty good. 18 Months ago following my swim season, I had a 2 week break before I started soccer. I noticed a little muscle soreness in my back but didn't really think much of it. It just felt like I did after an intense workout over swim season. As time progressed over the next few months it became increasingly worse, I'd say a 5 on the painscale. I began to see a chiropractor and he said because of my muscle tension, my spin was being pulled and distorted. Over the next 3.5 months I saw him first 3x weekly, then 2x after the first month. I received readjustments each time, tinge unit couple with heat therapy, and acupuncture. I took Advil daily as the pain had started to become distracting.
I then moved from Florida to Raleigh NC in the summer when the pain had increased to a 6. Since I have moved here I have seen more doctors than I can count. I have seen psychiatrists, primary care doctors, rheumatologist, physical therapists, pain therapists, and even neurologists. My primary care doctor originally thought it was fibromyalgia but we agreed to recant it because for some strange reason the rheumtologist wouldn't see me if I complained of fibro symptoms. I dont want to accept fibro as a diagnosis, one because I am 18 and a male which completely goes against all statistics, and since my PCP thought I had it I've had a negative view on it. I view fibro as more as stress induced pain from depression, hence why antidepressants are often the first and most successful treatment. Now I do not mean to offend anyone as saying this I do think fibromyalgia is a very debilitating disease that is very painful. I just don't think/hope that I dont have it.
I have gone through a a now 9 week physical therapy treatment along with lidocaine trigger point injects every 2 weeks. The treatment after 6 weeks relaxed some muscles on the surface of my back but apparently not the deeper ones. Seeing my physical therapist 2-3x a week for 9 weeks saw the progress from the start. The first day I went in she wasn't even able to touch my back without having widespread spasms; if she tried she said my muscles would lock up and she'd never get through. She made me go to my referring doctor the next day and get a round of injections and also asked her to increase my dose of Zanaflex. After a week she was able to begin working. She usually massaged for about 30 minutes, it was painful but she said it'd help. Then she'd try to do some reajustments like the chiropractor did, then 20 mins on the tinz/heat. She eventually helped me get prescribed a portable tinz unit which I use constantly.The pain hasn't gone away from when the treatment started but the spasms decreased. This was great as I have a terrible time trying to fall asleep. The spasms would wake me up causing me to get 2-5 hours of sleep a night. On bad days I'd be lucky to get 1-2. I went through these insomniatic nights for about 5 months and became used to running on no sleep. This of course didn't make things better. With these spasms gone I finally began sleeping again (5-7 hours a night) for about 2-3 weeks.
With sleep restored I thought my life would be so much better but things made a turn for the worse again. My physical therapist seeing that my muscles were beginning to relax wanted to move onto re-strengthening. I am in shape but was forbidden from any excessive activity, unfortunately being running more than a half-mile. I used to swim 5000m a day, and now can't even run a half mile. I was told to try to walk a half mile on the treadmill, then 2 days after see how I felt. I felt fine as I walked more than that everyday at school, she then said to try to do the elliptical. I started walking a half mile one day and a mile on the elliptical a day after. I kept this up for about a week then out of no where, it all came back. My back muscles completely contracted (last week) and since then havn't relaxed. I went to my physical therapist and the intern whom had watched me started to cry when she saw my back. The pain is an 8 right now I'd say, I've felt worse but I havn't felt relief in 18 months so its not like I have anything to relate it to. Its kinda like if you pinch your arm it hurts but with time slowly dulls.
Since the long treatment at the physical therapist didn't work, my rheumatologist, physical therapist, and my pain specialists wanted me to see a neurologist as a last option. I was diagnosed as an arachnoid cyst as a child but continue to be told that can't be the reason. The neurologist ordered an MRI of my brain last week and I havn't heard anything back. I assume no news is good news but then that also comes with bad news. I have exhausted almost all of my options and have no answer.
I just want to know what else I can try to relieve this unexplainable pain. My mom tells me its all in my head and I tried to believe her, consciencely saying what I was feeling wasnt there. I know the brain is powerful enough to produce bodily symptoms I just dont know why/how I am doing this to my back and spasms. My doctors all laugh when I tell them that story saying there is no way I can think myself into producing widespread spasms and tension, but I had to try.
Does anyone know what I can do to try to get rid of this pain? I am really exhausted and out of it currently so I apologize for how terribly this message flows and how many details I probably left out. Because of that, I will do a TLDR post at the bottom to recap.
Past Medications: Cymbalta, Prozac, Zanaflex, Etodolac, Seroquel (sleep), Ambien, Lyrica, Lunesta.
Other nutrients: Multivitimin, Omega 3, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Folic acid, and some weird chinese pepper thing curcumin?
I just want to find a way to treat this. I dont want to live with this pain especially through college. I've been laying on a couch everyday for months, wasting away my senior year. As I write this I am sitting in pajama pants on a heat pad with a tinz unit and a neck support unit.. My mom hates medication and because of that she wont let my dad/insurance finance pain medications. OTC meds dont relieve anything and I have stopped even trying to take it. Sorry for rambling, I am just so over this.
-Intense muscle spasms, muscle tension
-No relief from physical therapy, trigger point injections, heat, tinz unit, and constantly increasing muscle relaxer dose.
-Pain has never relieved
-Sever insomnia induced from spasms and difficultly falling asleep from pain
-Pain constantly stays at a 7, sometimes luckily going to a 6/5 but flares are an 8 as of now.
-Pain of 8 is couch ridden and not moving as to avoid pain
-No diagnosis even from rheumatologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, physical therapist, pain management therapist, or primary care doctor (was fibro but we agreed to rid of it).
Sounds like you have been going through a lot and Im very sorry about that I know how it is to live in chronic pain. It sounds like you will need a pain killer. I dont know how you feel about taking them but that would be the next step to get you out of pain if the muscle relaxers are not working. I would talk to your doctor about starting you on a low dose of vicodin. This seems like the logical step to take next if nothing else is working. It will relax your muscles and help you sleep it will also take away the pain. Please keep us updated and I hope this helps.
Hi, Zabumafu. I also have chronic back pain and spasms. I developed it at 18. Like you, doctors went back and forth about whether I have fibromyalgia. Right now, at 30, I am much better than I was in my early 20s. (I've developed some completely unrelated problems, but that's neither here nor there.)
Trigger point injections are good, but you need someone very skilled with a needle to find exactly the right place. When it works, I typically feel a brief, bright flash of heat, cold or pain as the needle goes in. And of course, if you have 50 trigger points in your back, getting 4 of them needled won't help much.
Medications that have been helpful to me included baclofen (an antispasmodic) and nortriptyline. Antidepressants can actually relieve pain directly by changing the way that the brain processes pain signals. Before nortripyline I was rarely able to sleep a full night, but now I do much better.
Also: STRETCHING! I found a yoga teacher who specialized in people with chronic pain, and I took several private lessons with her. We worked out a routine that I could do. The Pilates warm-up routine (find a book or video) is something I can do even on the worst days to loosen up a little.
It sounds like your mother's disbelief is very troubling to you. My parents also reacted very badly at first. Her baby is broken and she can't fix it, so it's very difficult for her to accept. It's easier for her to believe that you are imagining it. Just do what you have to do, and in time she will probably come around. Does she ever go with you to doctor's appointments?
Believe it or not, most narcotic painkillers are very inexpensive. If the doctor prescribes them, take them.