Lower back pain for 10 years MRI was normal. What do I do next

I’m 35 had lower back pain for over 10 years. Hurts the most when I sit. The longer I sit the more it hurts. Also hurts when I lay on my side and back. The Most pain is when I sit. 

I also have weakness in my left foot up to my knee. It feels a little heavy but I walk normally though. 

I had 2 MRIs in 2016 and one this year. Both was normal. Also recently had a EMG test. That was normal too. The doctor said that there is nothing he can do for me. I asked him if there is any other test he can do. He said no. He said MRI is the gold standard and the best at detecting back problems. I’ve seen both my primary care medical doctor and a neurologist too. 

They are sending me to pain management in November. I also did Physical therapy in the past a few years ago too. 

My question is what do I do next? Over 10 years lower back pain and they can’t figure out what it is. Should I go to another hospital, get a second opinion? Should I see a different doctor? If so what type of doctor? It’s really frustrating having this pain and not being able to tell what’s causing it



  • Welcome reez79 we’re glad you’re here!

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about back pain on Spine-health that you might want to check out: Back Pain Overview: A Guide for Understanding Back Pain. It’s a very comprehensive article. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Asecond opinion with an orthopedic spine specialist or a neurosurgeon could never hurt

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Did physical therapy help at all.  Are you still doing the exercises.  If it was me I would definitely get a second opinion. There are other tests that can be done to help diagnose what’s causing your pain.  Pain management can also help in identifying pain generators and ruling thing out. 

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  • 32 years old and have very similar problems. Sitting makes it worse. 5 years of chronic pain and MRIs are all normal. 

  • reez79 and Kevinb31 - I was in neck pain for 17 years and went undiagnosed, even with multiple MRIs.  If you would like to discuss more in detail, please private message me.

  • I stopped doing the exercises but yea it was helping a little.  What other tests can be done to find out what’s causing the pain in my lower back. It also hurt when I lay on my side. I can’t even lay on my side to hold my girlfriend at night cause the pain increase the longer I lay on my side, same way it does when I sit for a long time too 

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  • I have had a ct myelogram before when a mri failed to find the problem.


  • @challenger

    I’m curious how the doctor who did your CT myelogram knew which level to target if your MRI was normal.

    Did he do each level one by one?
  • There is only one injection of dye, they then take several x-rays of different positions, the table you are on will stand you up and even take your head towards the floor so the dye will flow, after the x-rays you go to the ct scanner, you can have a full spine looked at with one injection. I hope that answers your question, that's the best I can describe the procedure.


  • Thanks, Chip! @challenger
  • mjcgmmjcg Posts: 71
    edited 09/22/2019 - 7:43 AM

    Reez -   When a doctor say there is nothing else s/he can do, it's time to find another doctor!   And you should definitely explore all the excellent articles and videos here on this forum.   Wishing you pain relief!

    Edited by Sandra for medical advice.

  • hjeradthompsonhhjeradthompson Posts: 1
    edited 09/29/2019 - 2:31 AM

    I totally get what you are saying! I am 35 years old, and yes a bit over weight, but I have not had a clear response to my lower back pains. Countless doctors, countless people that have no idea the real pain we experience, and no real info. I would typically have to stretch 30 min after I get up just to be able to get ready for work and out the door. I am looking at flexors It has seemed to be the most beneficial thing I have seen yet. 


  • Is it nerve pain like burning, aching, numbness, and tingling? 

  • AlonzoAAlonzo Posts: 1
    edited 10/29/2019 - 3:45 PM

    [edit] I had a situation similar to yours but quickly blamed it on my many years of playing football. Finally, I got fed up and started looking for answers; I found out I had weak hip flexors. I included my hip flexor workouts into my workout routine, within days my back pain went away, and about 1 month later my knee pain slowly faded.  


    Edited by ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator to remove advice

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