Young adult needing answers

I am a 21 year old male with a clear medical history, healthy body weight and regularly go to the gym. I have had lower back pain for around 19 months now. It started off as a dull ache and put it down to sleeping funny however has continually got worse. It is on my lower left side on my waistline and extends down my left leg above the knee. It is a constant dull ache and flare ups are getting more and more regular when the pain becomes more sharp and feels almost like pressing on a bruise. I started with seeing my GP who referred me to physio, have got no relief or help from them and said it was down to being on my feet all day at work.

 Returned to my GP and recommend a chiropractor and keep going with physio, went back to physio and gave the chiroparctor a try. Chiropractor put it down to a tight Psoas muscle/tightness in IT band. Tried manual manipulation of lower back, acupuncture, electoro-acupuncture, stretches and said to strengthen my core in the gym. I got some relief from this over the course of a few months however slowly I got little to none relief so resorted to sports massage. Again started off great however slowly relief from pain only lasts around 24 hours. Doing mix of weights and cardio in gym with personal trainer however cardio is now too painful especially running (which I used to enjoy). 

Went back to GP who referred me to see a specialist who finally sent me for MRI, just got results back which show slight bulge of L3-L5 discs but said it’s not concerning as not a risk, but will speak to a neurosurgeon to get a 2nd opinion. Recently had a really bad flare up that ended up me in hospital to get checked out and the doctor that I spoke to said my MRI is perfectly normal and there is nothing that can be done and to learn to live with the pain. 

It is constantly there and effecting me physically and mentally massively. Tends to be easier in the morning and gets worse as the day goes on and struggling to get comfortable before sleep. Sitting down for more than an hour causes intense pain and lying down gives little relief. I don’t know what to do next and tried stronger pain killers but they only take the ‘edge’ off the pain. Has anyone had similar situation and found any relief or further explaination of the pain? 



  • Good luck at the neurosurgeon. He or she may be able to shed some light after reviewing your MRI.

  • Sounds like possible si joint issue

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  • Hello,

    I’m in a similar situation, I’m only 20 and have had chronic back pain for 5 years now, yet my MRI showed only a small protrusion...I also have to wait to see a neurosurgeon, hopefully they give me some answers and not just send me away like they did when I was 15...

    I hope you find the answers you’re looking for...chronic pain at any level can really effect your mental and everyday life...

    Good luck :) 

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  • Chriswood97. Sorry to hear that you are experiencing such pain. 

    Has anyone said you may have sciatica symptoms? The pain you describe is familiar to me and I'm currently suffering with sciatica. 

    A small protrusion is enough to cause pain if it is touching the nerve.

    It did take a neurosurgeon to give me details to my MRI. I think that when you see one, you may get the answers you need. 

    BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE (only) I would suggest giving up working out and jogging for a while to allow your body to heal. If you do some stretches for sciatic nerve pain, you may start feeling some relief. Its frustrating to be so inactive, but a month or two of mild targeted stretches may be saving you months of aggravation. 

    I'm not sure how intense your pain is (I couldn't even think of working out as my pain wont allow me to do more that walk and mild stretches) so my suggestion may not be suitable. But, I am assuming you may have sciatica pain. I'm on 3 1/2 months and I'm just now starting to have some "okay" days. Pain is there, but I can work. 

    It's a very slow process, but if you do have sciatica, it just needs to run its course. The stretches can help move it along though. 

    Good luck. 

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