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Young, told it's just muscle pain, but I know it's not

Hi all,

So I am a 19 year old female who works for a supermarket chain. After repetitive awkward lifting whilst bent over at work, I started having tiredness, which lead to pain, which then led to sharp pains in my lower back.

Told it was muscle strains as I couldn't bend my back very far in any direction. given a referral to the physio. Seemed to help the muscles, but made my spine hurt more.

Impossible for me to follow my work recovery program, so it has slowly gotten worse.

Fast foward 5 months, I get an xray. Apparently my L5 has been worn down due to having such young bones.

Another 4 months on, I finally get an MRI due to pains in my hips and down my legs. I can't even lay down without pain.

Apparently I have a Schmorls Node in L1 disc, that is causing no pain and a central disc buldge at L5/S1, that is also not causing pain for me.

I am still being told that it is muscle pain but I know it's not. I do yoga everday and it is having little affect since my spine starts hurting before my muscle stretches.

Has anyone ever had a similar issue with being told it's just muscle pain, even though you can tell that isn't the only issue? I don't know what else to say to the doctor, he seems to dismiss it everytime I say my actual spine hurts.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,638

    What then does this doctor recommend for you?

    Since you have L5/S1 situation is this being addressed or left alone for now?

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,437

    Hello mikaja!
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    One thing I have learned when talking to doctors is, they like facts. If you go in and just say my back hurts or my spine hurts that isn't very much for him to go on. Do research on Schmorlas nodes and different muscles around the spine, write down questions and ask your doctor.
    Your only other option would be get a second opinion.

    Please click on the Welcome link below and the Tutorial for more information.
    Welcome to Spine Health

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my Medical History
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  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 237
    edited 12/19/2017 - 1:47 PM

    It sounds like you’ve been experiencing this discomfort for nine months now (if I did my math right).

    That’s a long time for just a strain.

    However, if you’re doing certain things (physical things) on a daily basis you may be preventing the healing process from fully executing itself.

    If you didn’t have a discogram or EMG how can you know that L5S1 is not your pain generator?

    Who told you L5S1 is not your problem?

    A neurologist or neurosurgeon?

    Or another type of doctor?

  • Dilauro - This doctor recommends regular yoga, 30 minute minimum walking everyday. Panadeine when the pain is too much.

    Memerainbolt - Being very specifc doesn't seem to help. He is aware of the types of pain experienced at different ranges of motion. After a couple hours on my feet at work I have horrible sharp shooting pains down my legs, but when I told the doctor I had started experiencing sciatica, he simply told me that it was not sciatica. Nothing else.

    With me not being anything close to a medical professional, how am I to know that they are telling me the truth when they say something isn't causing my pain?

    L4_L5- It feels like a lifetime being in serious pain everday! I am just trying to follow doctors orders at the moment, which means no lifting etc if I can help it, but it also means that I can't relax for an entire day.

    I believe the main reason for this is being refused time off work for my injury, so I've worked the entire time with this injury, only taking days off when I can't move properly :(

    The radiologist is the one who read my imaging, said the signal is fine and that isn't causing me pain. The doctor just read the report and agreed right away.

    I feel as though me being 19 has quite a bit to do with how much they are dismissing.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,638


    While spinal problems do not discriminate regarding age, there are some in the medical field that do.

    We have so many young members here and the overall theme of their discussions are basically the same. They are hurting, they are in pain, they go to the doctors and are basically dismissed and perhaps given a week of physical therapy to fix things!

    Just do a search on Young and in Pain and you can start reading novels here.

    In addition, I do believe females have even a harder time. So, being you, being female does make it harder for you to get your message across. Its unfair, you should be treated the exact same way anyone else walked into a doctors office. With respect and with the doctor doing their best to identify your problem.

    Now, I am also going to say that there are a lot of younger people who do try to abuse the system. They go in with every type of pain and problem hoping to get pain medications. Those days are slowly going away - and thats good.

    There are also situations in which young (or older) go to see a doctor for a problem. They run a few tests and the doctor says its basically nothing. You want more tests and more because you are convinced something is wrong. Unless you can convince the doctor otherwise, you best option is going to another doctor.

    Something that has worked for many members here, bring in a parent or older sibling to your doctors appointment. Perhaps more respect will be given then

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
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  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 237
    edited 12/19/2017 - 5:18 PM
    A radiologist is not a spine expert.

    You should consult with a neurologist and/or neurosurgeon so your studies can be reviewed by those specialists.

    Secondly, you stated you first started experiencing symptoms at work. Because the repetitive strain of bending/twisting at work triggered your symptoms you should consider filing a worker’s comp. claim.

    If you do this and it’s denied you should consider seeing a worker’s comp. attorney.

    You are far too young (only 19) to have to take time off work without pay (due to pain) when your symptoms first manifested themselves while you were engaged in physical movements necessary to fulfill your occupational duties as outlined in your job description.

    If you wind up enduring lifelong repurcussions it’s not because you were injured while screwing around on your own time; the repetitiveness of tasks required at work certainly played a part (I’m just going on what you said in your initial post).

    It’s not uncommon for sloppy radiologists to report a normal signal whereas a more careful, thorough radiologist may note a slight increase in the signal intensity, which can mean there’s a tear and/or herniation.

    Good luck. Please a post follow up after a neurologist/neurosurgeon has reviewed your MRI or sooner if you have more to say or any questions.
  • @dilauro 

    Yeah, I completely understand when it comes to people trying to just get pain medication or time off work. I personally do not like it myself, but still take some when I desperately need some pain relief, which my doctor knows.

    I think I might take your advice though and bring my mum in with me some time (hard because my parents/older figures are hours away). Although I might see how I go being a little more demanding for a specialist.

    I think too many people's problems, regardless of age, are being dismissed. But, it is our bodies, we can normally tell when something is not right!


    Thankyou for the specific specialists to ask for! I wasn't sure what exact specialist to ask the doctor for when I do .

    A report was filed, and I was put straight onto a Work recovery program with no time off. I had absolutely no idea about filing a second Work Cover claim, which I have recently found out about. I am organising a meeting with a union rep to help me get through the process without being stuffed around too much more.

    Thankyou for the advice though, I will definitely be asking more of these questions!

    Very thankful for your responses, I will update as I know more. :)

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 237
    edited 12/19/2017 - 5:48 PM

    What conditions are currently allowed in your claim?

    Probably only a lumbar strain, correct?

    This is why they won’t give you time off.

    But if you have not been afforded the opportunity for a specialist to review your diagnostic studies, who is to say your only problem is a strain?

    Are you on light duty, at least?

    I don’t know what else to say to the doctor. He seems to dismiss it every time I say my actual spine hurts.
    This is the doctor for the insurance company saying this, correct? It sounds like you’re being jerked around.
  • @L4_L5 no lifting over 3kg, sitting/standing with modifications, can't bend, can't squat.

    This is a problem though, I have to be on my feet for 5 hours at a time, not allowed a mat to stand on, can't sit down, been told off for leaning slightly and even for having nurofen in my pocket.

    Yes indeed. Now it is now being printed on my forms as 'musculoskeletal low back pain'.

    That is how I am feeling about it at the moment. The recovery time for this injury is causing quite a bit at stress at work when it comes to managers. Hoping seeing a specialist will help.

    When it comes to neurologist or a neurosurgeon, which one would be more beneficial? I'm obviously not familiar with the details of professions, but doesn't one focus more on brain scans etc? Forgive my lack of knowledge, asking is the only way I'll know.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,638

    In its basic sense

    A neurosurgeon - Is a doctor that will perform surgery on the brain and spinal cord

    A neurologist - Is a doctor that will help identify any neurological problems.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
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