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21 years old and can't live with the lower back and buttocks pain. help?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,008
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm 21 years old and nothing has helped my pain for months. I am home now and fustrated after seeing a neurosurgeon today for the pain in my lower back(upper lumbar), my hips, buttochs, and thighs; along with extreme weakness.. ~X( ..

I first found out about my back by chance, curious to see why my lower back/hips hurt. My roomate at the time needed some people to go get evaluated by a chiropractor so she could get a bonus from the chiro she worked for. So I did it and the guy tells me that i've got serious issues with my discs and he advises that I go to someone with specialities in this area. I took him seriously since my mom has had back surgery along with an aunt and soon a cousin. After seeing another chiropractor and recieving electro-shock therapy, the back top of my hips hurt more. My mom points out a red area she's noticed for weeks along the hip area that's super sore to the touch. So I end up at an orthopedic surgeon, the one who operated on her, who tells me I have 3 bulging discs after x-rays and MRI. At the age of 19 I took physical therapy and it helped. Till about 3 months ago I just put an ice pack on it and delt with it.

Then one night, September 12, the ice was not a way to deal with it. I was sitting down after a long night of serving which i did for about four years. My ex was talking and I went into a zone. My vision blurred and I remember shaking my head in a "no" action. He was calling my name but i sat silently with no responce. Finally I snapped out of it and yelled "nothing!". He said "yes there is, what is it"? "My back" I responded.
That night I didn't sleep, it was so painful. The next day I called my orthopedic surgeon and waited 17 days with the pain nonstop till I saw him, hopeing he'd fix it. He says "you have degenerate discs. non-reversable. it will only get worse. the only way to stop it is surgery". Then adding "you are so young to have these problems". I will never forget it. I said "I don't want to have surgery". He shrugged his shoulders, walked out and came back with a perscription of tremadoll and steroids. He says this should help with the swelling and get you through this spell". Well the tremadoll did nothing for me(I still haven't found a pain killer that helps, pills that mess with my head don't help the pain either :B I've tested them all) and the steroids didn't help a bit either. So then I take my mother with me to even out the age difference if ya know what I mean ;) . So we sit and wait, for hours and I think I'll puke from the pain. He still says surgery is the only option. Well I mention how I wanna try everything before surgery and he sets me up for physical therapy and shots(the back kind, scary?) So I go to therapy and leave in tears and an ache that keeps me hunched over. Too scared of shots still to do it, scared they'll hurt me. Well when i noticed i was losing my bladder control and digestion in general, I called my ortho again. His nurse tells me to go to the emergency room, I said "what would they do for me"? She says "...take an x-ray". Well i've got enough x-rays. So I called a neurosurgeon...

...Well he takes me in the next day. He says "You sure are young to have these problems." Taps my back, and tests my reflexes and strength in my feet and from the knee down. He puts up my x-rays and says "everything looks fine" :O . He askes me about my symptoms and says "if there is burning it's an infection, and there's no way you have degenerate discs. :O " I said "my buttochs hurts, my legs are weak, and I have no burning when I urinate." He says "well we can have an MRI done...". I said "I'd like that since my orthopedic surgeon wants to operate". :?? Being rushed around I was feeling confused since I was hurting and I was just told nothing was wrong with me. I then have an MRI done(the table is hard, the room is cold and i'm practicly naked, the noise is so loud it causes me to tense up). By the end of the thing my left side is killing me, from the upper hip through my buttochs and outside of my upper thigh. The MRI lady comes to get me and says "you sure are young to have these problems" :jawdrop: . I was like "?". I told her how I was hoping it was just in my head, the doctor said nothing was wrong. She says "I'm going to take him your old MRI and your new one to compare. And see if he'll meet with you to discuss." I'm like wow what's going on, All I recall is saying my bum hurts to her before I had the MRI. So he calls me back there and says the MRI looks identical to the old one. Shows me some slides clicking the mouse from a side view to frontal veiws of each disc. He says "you see the discs? they look just fine." with a glance to his watch. I responded with "I can't read those things, but yeah." His opinion is a muscular issue is causing my pain and gives me a perscription for physical therapy :? . Since I am in PAIN and confused, I just want to go home. So I pay my copay and get home. I open my envelope thing enclosing my x-rays and MRIs to pull 'em out and study 'em myself... The MRIs are not there!!! Now I'm really confused :S ... Does the doctor have both of my MRI's? Why didn't he show me both? Did he just forget to give them to me? Or did he not get the new one or my old one? seriously?

I know I'm 21 and "I sure am young to have these problems" but I really do. I've had the constant pain consisting of an ache, sharp radiating, to the touch, and absolutely breath taking from deep inside for over 2 months. I have burning in my thighs on the outside above my knee and below my hip joint, sometimes the area itches but I scratch and it's not really an itch(it hurts so I rub it). My feet feel weird, tingling and numb. My legs seem like bricks, heavy. And I weigh 110 pounds at 5'7" and have always been light footed and a speedy walker. I'm so slow and weak now. I'm getting worse... I feel old :O

Anyone know for sure what I've got going on? Time seems precious to me, I just want some help.


  • Welcome to spine-health,you can ask the doctors office for a copy of the mri report....
  • Hello and welcome! It's nice to have you with us, but I'm so sorry that you had to come looking for help!
    It really isn't fair for you to be in so much pain and have surgery as your only option (if I understood you right). I'm sure it isn't something you're looking forward to. If the doctor is saying that the injections might help you, I would certainly give them a try! You want to try all your options before having to have surgery. They aren't that bad! Many people get some relief from them. Also, if surgery is next on your list, go in to it with a positive attitude. It will help your healing process!
    Again, welcome to the forum. I'm certain you will meet many helpful people with similar experiences that can offer you some good advice.
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  • I agree, I was thinking ask for copies of both...
  • Thanks, I'm glad I found the site.

    It's just that one doctor says surgery while another says no surgery. So I'm left with a bit of confusion on what to do.

    Maybe I should try the shots(injections). I'm gonna give physical thyrapy another try too and think positive, :D Having a good perspective on things is important.. It's difficult though, when I can't sleep. I'm one of those that has to have my 8 hours.. And last night I got about 4.. I)
  • Hi 'bumhurts' and welcome to Sorry about your pain and at such a young age.I think that your second doctor was saying 'no surgery' before he saw the last mri...

    Sure, you want to exhaust all conservative treatment options before considering surgery, including shots.

    Unfortunately DDD does not just affect older people. DDD caused by age often does not show up until later, but DDD can also be congenital as it was in my case, and show up in some people at quite a young age. Was your mom and/or other blood relatives have conditions also the same as yours?

    All the best and keep us posted... Bruce
    Keep positive!

    Bruce old timer here and ex-moderator

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  • My mother had a spinal fusion. Her legs and feet had burned since she was very young and never saw medical help for it till her early 40s. She was missing a disc and had one large vertebra, possibly 2 merging to 1. My aunt, mom's sister, had a fushion. Her daughter, my cousin, is having surgery, 2 disc replacements and one rotating for movement. My aunt says I have the same pain as her and her daughter.
  • Have you considered going to a pain doc? Sometimes they can find things that will not show up on an MRI. I went through similar to you for 3 years until I found my PM. He actually found my annular tare (it did not show on MRI or xray). it may be a good option to try. I am sorry that you are being treated like this because of your age. Do not give up there is a doc out there that can and will help you. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • :H pain in the back is right. there are other options, im not sure if this is the right test but you can google it to make sure and pain management doc do this. i started out with sever lower back pain 5 yrs ago. and did all kinds of test and physical therapy, then i went my first day to pm doc he wanted to do i think its called a discogram whatever it is they inject your painful discs and a few good ones too, to compare with a dye and thru xray they see if the disc is leaking cause it lights up with the dye, sound like the perfect test for you. at the same time you can get the epidural injections , they help somewhat in the lumbar spine. i never had the test cause i got pregnant at the same time. hes 2 now but i recentely got cervical problems that out weight the lower back right now. i have sciatica severely the last few days. dont know why hasnt been this bad in years. but at your age dont rush to surgery, lots of opinions from specialist, i think the test could show if there is something the mri is missing, and the plus side is they fix it the same time they do the test by sealing off the leak. well thats what was explained to me by the pm doc on initial visit a few yrs. ago. but if you dont have a rupture let me please recommend to you from my experiences only, i tried every kind of physical therapy, personal trainers etc. the best thing that healed my lower back was taking private pilates class on the machines,,, not the mat. she was very experienced with back injury, most are. and let me tell you after a few months i got so strong and felt great. i tried to continue during pregnancy but bled early on during a work out and docs orders no exercice, i was 38 yrs. old so considered high risk anyway. did deliver 6 weeks early but hes healthy. im waiting for the ok now from my nuerosurgeon to start again, still waiting on a plan for the neck injuries now. dont know how pilates works for the neck but does wonders for the back. keep in shape and stay healthy.

  • Welcome to the forum.
    Like you I had a lower back problem when I was only in my 20s. My Gp said that I was to young to have a problem with my back. I kept on at him and got an Mri, this was after three yrs of p exercise. Surgery was scheduled, the surgery went ahead. Turns out that they could not do much for me, as my lower back was fused not slipped. Sciatica means the pain that runs down the leg.

    If you can leave surgery as long as possiable,it may get better by other means first. Surgery is a big step, although when it gets real bad I think most of us say yes.

    Oh and forgot to say, they did not believe me either at that age and was made to feel stupid or that it was all in my head. What ever you do dont believe them. Am shocked that in 2008 they still treat people like this. You are not too young, you should be treated no matter your age.

    Good Luck!

  • I am a retired physician, pain specialist. Your complaint sounds to me like it might be bilateral sacroiliac joint pain. That can send pain clear to the feet.

    I strongly suggest you go see a pain specialist for a better diagnosis and treatment.

    Your young age does NOT rule out serious pain problems! The severity of your pain is unusual at your age.

    I wish you well.

    Ken Noel
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