I’ve been living with lower back pain since I was 21, and have yet to find a doctor who can tell me exactly what it is. I’m hoping someone in this forum with similar pain and symptoms might be able to shed some light on it and share their experience.
It began after my parents helped me move into my dorm room in college—after the 7th or 8th trip carrying boxes inside, I remember having to stop because my low back was “spasming”. By low back, I’m referring to the left side of the sacrum. Ever since then, any time I bend forward for any amount of time, I have a difficult time standing back up right away, as it feels like I’ve aggravated the nerve and I need to slowly straighten my back or else it is very painful. This pain occurs when bending forward over the sink to brush my teeth, pushing a heavy box across the floor (even while keeping my back straight), bending into my trunk to grab an object that’s far back, and at work bending forward to prevent a child from falling (I work with children who have Autism and severe behaviors).
I was helping my boyfriend with a floor and lifting the laminate pieces aggravated my back so much that at bed time, I was unable to lay flat on my back for at least 20 minutes. The only relief came when I sat up and leaned forward into the bent position that originally caused the pain in the first place.
At work, sometimes I’ll be walking down the hallway and all of the sudden this painful jolt will happen in my sacrum that forces me to walk with a limp in order not to aggravate the nerve, unrelated to whether or not I was bending over. This lasts for maybe 5 minutes, and if I baby it, it goes away.
History- I fell on my tailbone twice as a child and remember being very sore for several days. I was also in a car accident around 18 years old and suffered minor bruising on my left rib cage. I used to move a lot of heavy furniture in my bedroom as a child due to wanting a room change. I would sit against the dresser and put my feet against the wall or floor and push backwards using my lower back to move things. Also, I ran a 25K a few years ago that was extremely hilly and resulted in a strained left hip flexor muscle. I think I have pretty weak glutes overall, tight hip flexors, and tight hamstrings (never been able to touch my toes without pain in my hamstrings).
My doctor took an XRay of my back last year and everything came back normal. She referred me to a physical therapist. I never scheduled the appointment though because I didn’t think a PT could diagnose back pain — I thought she was sending me for physical therapy without knowing exactly what condition I was getting therapy for. My insurance requires a referral but she didn’t refer me to an Orthopedic specialist. Wondering if that’s who I need to see for chronic back pain?
A chiropractor once determined I had a hip misalignment and wanted me to come regularly for adjustments. He pressed behind each knee and asked if either felt sensitive, but he definitely pressed a lot harder behind my left knee, so I felt like he was just trying to convince me I had something that I needed to be seen for, without actually knowing what was going on internally.
I am thinking I might have a herniated disc of some type, but would I feel the pain so low in my sacrum if that were the case? Also, I don’t have the major signs of a herniated disc or sciatica — no pain while sitting, no leg numbness or tingling. Who do I go to in order to get a quality diagnosis? Someone who wants to try everything to determine what is causing my pain, and doesn’t just brush it off?
Thanks for any tips, advice, or experience you can share!