Chiropractic adjustment from untrained friend leads to severe upper back/neck pain, headaches.

Hello everyone, my name is Morgan and I will be 21 years old in a few days. For the last 7 months I've been desperately searching for an answer for my incredibly painful upper back and neck pain. I feel as though I am at my wit's end and am going a little crazy. I read stories on here often and cannot imagine having to live with a pain like this for as long as a lot of people have on here, and to all of you people, God bless you. I have a newfound place in my heart for everyone living in chronic pain.  

I am a college baseball player at the University of Texas Permian basin. I was entering my sophomore year of the spring season in January of 2016. At this point in my life my body had never felt better, until I made the awful decision to let my roommate pop my back for me. He is twice my size and knows nothing about chiropractic, but I assured him I'd be fine. I just felt like I could use a good pop. I lied face down on the tile floor of my apartment, he stood above me and placed his hands along my spine in between my shoulder blades ( probably around the T4 T5 area). I took a deep breath in, slowly let it all out, and he pressed down with high velocity and high amplitude. I have had my back popped like this before, but this time, i heard and felt what was more a a series of "snaps" rather than just cracks. It was the most aggressive adjustment I had ever felt. And thinking back to the sound it made makes me feel like vomiting. However, at that moment I did not feel any pain. So I brushed it off as "I probably needed it" 

i sat down and continued to watch tv thinking nothing of it. And then, no more than 10 minutes later, I experienced one of the worst moments I've ever had in my life. My spine lit up in pain. All the way from the top of my neck down to the middle of my back. I stood up trying to find some position to relieve the pain, but there wasn't one. I started getting extremely weak and light-headed and thought for sure that I was going to faint. I tried to make it upstairs to my bedroom, I made it to the top of the stairs before collapsing on the floor in pain. I was on the verge of blacking out, laying on the floor, feeling as if my spine was made of jello and it wasn't able to hold my body together. I had my roommate call an Ambulance. I didn't know if I was having a stroke or a heart attack or what. When the ambulance arrived we were explaining to them what happened. They looked at us like we were crazy. I had started to settle down enough and didn't feel like passing out anymore (even though I was still in extreme pain) so the ambulance left and I made it into bed. The next morning we were getting on a bus for an 11 hour roadtrip to play in Kansas. It was the worst bus ride of my life by far. I decided to tough it out and play the first game with about 10 ibuprofen in my system. That game was the last game I've played since. As my team played the second game of the day I went to the bus to lay down, feeling like I was going to faint again. When I returned home, my parents began looking into doctors to take a look at my back. My dad coaches a son of a orthopedic surgeon who has been following my case for the past 7 months. He's a great guy who I know is giving me great care and attention. We took x-rays, MRI's, and Ct-scans of thoracic and cervical spine over a 2 or 3 month period all looking totally normal. During this time, I could barely make it out of bed, when I did make it out of bed, I just wanted to be back in bed. I felt this overwhelming pressure in my head constantly. Before all of this I was very into meditation and clarity of thought. After that night of back popping, I felt like I had "lost" my mind. Everything felt hazy, dizzy, almost not even real. Like a dream of sorts. I felt like I was having trouble communicating with people. I had always been very witty and funny, but it's like that part of me vanished. Needless to say, it was very horrifying. I had never heard of anyone experiencing anything like this. I found this website along with hundreds of other stories and research and had read about people with similar symptoms. It was all scary and didn't want to believe that it was happening to me, but sadly enough, it is. I went though 5 or 6 months without anyone being able to tell me that anything was wrong with my back at all. I moved back home with my parents and dropped out of college. We travled to different doctors all over Texas looking for an answer, and still nothing. Now about 3 weeks ago we were referred to a pain management Doctor here in midland. He ordered a bone scan of my sternum. ( I forgot to mention that a few weeks after my back had been popped, I noticed a protrusion of what seems to be a bone at my sternum. The doctors can't seem to tell if it's a rib head or the sternum itself, or if it had been there before or after the injury) ( I think it appeared after the injury). So I go in for my bone scan (expecting it to show nothing as all the other test have shown), and after the procedure, the radiologist says," I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm gonna show you something" he turns the computer screen towards me and says," you see this lit up spot on your sternum?" From what you've told me and my experience, I'd say you have a broken sternum." 

At that point, i almost came to tears of happiness as I thought finally someone has found something responsible for my debilitating pain. It made so much sense. I called my parents to tell the the great news that I had a broken sternum! Lol but the radiologist said that the head radiologist still needs to confirm it and what not. So last week we go back to the pain management Doctor to hear what the plan is for treating a broken sternum that for some reason hasn't healed yet. ( the orthopedic surgeon that has been helping us went back to an MRI to look at the same spot that lit up on the bone scan and he said he thought he could finally see a non Union fracture of the sternum. But wasn't sure) so the pain management Doctor comes in and tells us that the bone scan indicates inflammation around that area,but no fracture. And I felt like my stomach was gonna hit the floor. Tears poured out of my eyes as I imagined living any longer like this. He gave me a cortisone shot into that spot on my sternum and sent me on my way. It's been a week since I've had the shot and I feel no different at all. I am still in unbelievable pain and losing hope. I've been taking cymbalta for 2 months now and I guess it makes my mood better than it might be otherwise. They give me vimovo for pain which does nothing, weekly shots of toradol which doesn't help either. I'm also in physical therapy which is very painful, though it does feel decent when I'm in the middle of a workout. One of the worst things about this pain is the constant cracking, grinding, and snapping which happens all up and down my spine from my mid back to my back and popping in my shoulders. Doctors say it's not an issue but the cracking actually hurts and I think it causes my headaches. Cracking of thoracic spine happens almost every time I pinch my shoulder blades together and cracking at cervical spine happens when my head relaxes onto a pillow and things like that.

sorry this story is so scatter-brained and what not, I hope whoever reads this can put together all of the information. But I am in need of help. Not only do I feel like my college life is being wasted away, I feel like I am tearing down my parents lives too. Seeing my mom deal with this makes my heart hurt. I feel like this is all my fault, and I feel depressed and I don't want my mom to see me like this because I know she is depressed and it'll only make it worse, but it's becoming physically impossible to put on a happy face for anybody these days. I don't want to live my life like this. If anyone has anything they can tell me, I would be very greatful. Thank you all. 



  • William GarzaWilliam Garza TexasPosts: 2,011
    edited 07/23/2019 - 12:08 PM
    Hello Morgan

    welcome to Spine-Health

    please click the Welcome message for more information about Spine Health and resources inside
  • I'm sorry for the hell you've been through, especially being so young. Speaking as the mom of a son just a few years older than you, even though it's hard on your mom, keep fighting and don't give up. That would be even harder on her.

     I can't speak to your issues other than to urge you to keep trying to find the right doctor or tests to solve the mystery and ease your pain.

    I'm pretty new to this site, but one thing I've learned from reading other people's stories is that it can take a lot of trial and error to find the relief you need.  Please keep fighting & don't give up. And people on here really understand what you're going through. Sometimes just having other people to talk to who get it can help.
    I really hope you find answers & relief so you can get your life back.
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  • Did you ever find out the cause & get it sorted?

  • Oh kiddo, I feel for you. If this had happened to me and the radiologist found that discovery, I would be seeking another opinion from another physician. I have been told over the years from medical physicians that our bodies crack and pop. But it should never be painful. Please kiddo, don't take the cards you have been dealt as your final answer.gather your records and find someone who wants you well. You are way to young to be in chronic pain.

    Sinserly meandpain 

  • morgan102195mmorgan102195 Midland, TexasPosts: 4

    Unfortunately I’m still dealing with this pain. I’ve gone to serveral different doctors, even the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, but there’s apparently nothing on the X-rays that constitutes any medical procedure. I’ve been doing physical therapy for the last 2 years now and it hasn’t helped at all. I’m still seeing new chiropractors all the time, because I think that’s the only answer after all this time. If an MD doesn’t see anything on the X-ray, they won’t do anything, not matter how much pain I say I’m in. 

    I have a question for anyone in here. After not getting any meds prescribed for this for 3 years now, my friend started giving me some of her alprazolam. At one point I had taken it every day for a month and it was the best month of the past 3 years. I don’t need very much (around .5-1g max) and I don’t get very many unwanted side effects. I’ve talked to multiple doctors about this but all of them are unwilling to prescribe me. I understand the precaution they’re taking but at some point the benefits outweigh the risk, by a lot in my opinion. I see things online about how many people are genuinely happy they are prescribed this medication and have been on it for long periods of time. I’m not saying I want this as a permanent solution, but until I find the right chiropractor, it allows me to have some what of a life. Does anyone have any advice on how to get a prescription?

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  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,247
    edited 05/23/2019 - 4:58 AM

    Have you had a thoracic MRI? That’s what I’d want, especially since you said your friend cracked you around T4-T5. @morgan102195

  • suzyj16ssuzyj16 Posts: 1
    edited 09/10/2019 - 1:56 AM

    I read your entire post and fully understand back pain I had Spinal Cord Cancer from T8-T11 and it was inside the sack, wrapped around my Spinal Cord.  It was called an Epydemoma tumor. It turned out to be malignant. I had Surgery radiation and chemotherapy. I was put on Xanax .5mg three times a day and over a years time I was moved up to 1 mg three times a day. The dosage gas stayed the same for 34 yers and No, I didn't have that need for more and more! Yes, it is very, very addictive but the pain was intolerable.  They gave it to me because I was left with paralized legs, numbness and tingling in my sides and my "dead legs". I could feel deep pain in my legs but couldn't use my legs, at that time.

    The Xanax was prescribed to me for Pain! Yes, the pain. I had 18 Doctors argue me down that it didn't work for that. I slowly, very slowly got off of it and yes, my legs were useless again and I couldn't feel from the  waist down. The Xanax had allowed me to learn to walk again and  helped control the  back pain. So when any Doctor tells me that It doesn't work on pain. I have to strongly discagree and state my argument and that I am walking proof! 

    PLEASE, do not think that I am saying you have or may have Spinal Cord Cancer. It's very rare with 1 in a million people getting it and I guess I was the winning "ticket" on that and took one for the team, being the 1 in a million.

    Full function of my lower body came back and my T Spine pain was back under a very tolerable control when I was put back on my 1mg three times a  day dose of Xanax. I have had to take it for most of my life. I was 23 when it all happened and I am in my mid 50's now so I have been on it for almost 34 years. 

    Doctors that can prescribe it now are very rare. I have a wonderful Doctor that was able to review all of my medical records and see that the proof for the pain was right there. Nothing else had helped. Not pain shots, not steroids, not opioids, nothing except the Xanax and an occasional ice pack when I over do it. 

    Some call it Doctor shopping when you are seeking a particular medication but I went to 18 of them and traveled from TN [edit] to Houston, TX before I found one that was knowledgable enough to know Xanax does help with pain and also calms those nerves causing the pain. Please keep  getting nore medical opinions, ask for more MRI's and any test they can run.  Also, induire about a trial month on Xanax to see where your pain level goes.

    Let us know how it goes.

    I was diagnosed with my Cancer the month and year the MRI came out. It was May 1985 and the machine did not have  approval for use yet as it  had not been approved for medical diagnostic purposes.

    I am not a medical professional but I am a 34 year Spinal Cord Cancer survivor and can speak on my behalf to say Xanax does work for me on my pain.


    Edited by ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator To remove medical facility

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