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Undiagnosed chronic back pain

Hello everyone,

I could really use some help. I have been suffering with back pain from probably around 15 years old and I am now 24 and have been unable to diagnose or treat my back pain after dealing with multiple doctor's and specialists.

I'll start from where I think it all started. I am a snowboarder by career and the love of the sport. When I was about 15 years old I had a bad fall where I landed on the mid of my back over a rail in the snow park. Ever since than I have dealt with chronic pain in my mid to lower back and "tight" hips. The pain in my back is normally a dull numbing pain but sometimes it does flare up into a more piercing pain. I have a fairly high pain tolerance but it is still enough to wake me up in the night. Laying down regardless of orientation and bending over for extended periods seem to aggravate it. Also I have noticed that eating to much or having to go to the bathroom bad also seems to put pressure on it and aggravate it more.

I am healthy and exercise often. I have tried yoga and multiple back stretches to elleviate my pain but nothing seems to help. I have seen 3-4 doctor's and specialists now who have all sent me for x-rays, ultrasounds really any test you can think of and so far all the doctor's have told me is there is nothing wrong with me as far as they can see. I have also seen a chiropractor who said I am maybe slightly out of allignment but nothing that should be causing me this much pain. I am really starting to be at my wit's end trying to figure this out and I really don't want to end up on pain meds just to get through the day. Some help trying to figure this out would be greatly appreciated and all questions are welcome.



  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 237
    edited 12/26/2017 - 5:32 PM

    You mentioned having undergone x-ray and ultrasound studies. These are not the best or ideal studies to check for potential disc issues. For that a lumbar and/or thoracic MRI is required.

    You said you were fine until you took a nasty spill. That means a specific trauma triggered your pain.

    If you’ve never had a lumbar or thoracic MRI those studies could help to unveil your issue.

    You shouldn’t have to be woken up by pain in the middle of the night ... not after nine years!

    Also, I seriously doubt muscle pain is the type of pain that would wake you up during the night, especially since you said you have a high pain tolerance.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,437

    Hello Davidm
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    That was going to be my first question, have you had a MRI?
    I am not saying there isn't a diagnosis for your back, but below is a very good article to read in your case.
    When there is no cure for your aching back

    While you are waiting on other members to reply please click on the Welcome below and Tutorial for more information.

    Welcome to Spine Health

    Spine-Health Moderator
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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 274

    @davidm1994 - I totally agree with the comment about MRIs or about other additional tests. Given the length of time you have suffered and the symptoms you list, I really think you should find a reputable spine surgeon, either a neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon and get an evaluation. I speak from experience that I had MRIs and the radiologists missed serious issues. Because of the missed untreated issues, I ended up with worse issues that could have likely been prevented that have forced me into long term disability.

    In my section of the country, you will wait for three to four months to get a reputable spine surgeon's initial consultation. Yes, it seems the longer the wait, the better the spine surgeon.

  • You really need a spine doctor and mris. There are a number of bowel and bladder nerves in the sacral region that can cause issues and you need to see if your problems are bone or nerve related. Make sure you read and understand your mri reports. Groin pain plus bowel problems with shooting pain might indicate a number of nerve problems that need assessment. Chiropractors and yoga might not be helping matters as you do not want to worsen problems. Stretching might help. Until I had sacral/pelvic mris I did not realize the sheer number of problems that could occur in that region. Some things require a mri or ct scan for proper imaging.

  • Like everyone else is saying, MRI is the way to go, definitely the next step. Don’t give up until you find a doctor who won’t stop until your better. Living with pain that wakes you up at night is no way to live. And don’t stop at MRIs it those aren’t decisive. I had a lot of pain and the MRI showed some bulging discs but nothing serious enough to be causing my pain. Then I had something called a discogram and that showed that one of this discs was actually much worse than they could see on the MRI. I wish you the best of luck! I was 16 when I first started dealing with back pain and now at 28 I’m recovering from my sixth surgery. I was very active; I played soccer, basketball and volleyball and it’s hard to go to a more sedentary life because of pain. I hope they’re able to find the source and fix it for you.

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  • Thanks for all the comments. I would like to add that I have had an MRI had meant to add it in the list. It was done maybe a year after I fell and it had shown up clean but I have not had one since. I will be requesting to see a spine specialist next time I see my doctor and will deffinatly ask about discograms. Thanks for all the help.

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 428

    When they did the x-rays can you recall if they did narrow or broad imaging? Meaning did any one xray show your shoulders, spine, pelvis as a whole or did they focus only on the mid back? To me it seems like too many doctors try to pinpoint the exact location of the source of your pain rather than focusing on the body as a single kinetic unit.

    In my opinion for pain to wake you out of sleep it is nerve pain. What is your sleep position? Do you use any props?

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