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Lower chronic back pain for a 19 year old

I have had back pain for 2 years now, I have done every blood test for the arthritis that was found on my Mri in the Lower 5 vertebrae. The rheumatologist said he believes its a wear and tear arthritis. I have done 9 months of chiropractic as well as 4 months of physical therapy. The physical therapy became too painful and since no doctor is gonna Prescribe a 19 year old narcotics I have been doing injections and nerve burning Which will hopefully allow me to complete PT. Since I am doubtful that it will help I am debating going strait to surgery. I don't have much more money to spend chasing after temporary relief.. I have changed careers to try and ease the pain,  which hasn't helped much. It's affecting my depression very badly since I can hardly manage the depression without being in constant pain so I'm feeling hopeless and don't really know what to do next. I can't live with this pain the way it is for. Much longer but surgery will be tricky since I don't have the luxury of missing 6 weeks of work without loosing my car, house etc. If any one has any suggestions please let me know.. I'm open to any possible solution, I'm at the point where I'm ready to just quit trying and live the next 60 years in pain which sounds like an awful life to me. But I don't see any decent options that don't require months of pain with a false promise for relief. Thanks in advance. 



  • Hi Hockeymandan. I'm so sorry you're going through this at such a young age! I don't know that I have the perfect solution for you, but wanted to respond because I can relate to your predicament. My son was 15 when he injured his back in high school athletics. He also went through all the conservative treatments like physical therapy, ablations, injections, etc. for years. Nothing helped and he was so discouraged. Young pain sufferers face a different level of complications, we found. Others  find it hard to believe that someone so young could be suffering from what is usually seen as an old persons problem. We had a very hard time finding anyone willing to do anything about his back. No one wanted to do surgery on someone so young. No medications were available to him either, like you said. Looking back, I wish we had done one of two things...
    1. Used the combination of accupuncture, massage therapy, and yoga that is so very effective for him now (at age 23). Perhaps we could have avoided surgery altogether. I wish that we had never done anything invasive like ablations or injections.  or
    2. Had surgery earlier in the whole process because it would have bypassed a lot of pain and agony from treatments that didn't work anyway. Surgery was successful for him. Keep in mind , tho,  that having surgery so young comes with some added complications (we found in our case) like severe muscle spasms (because your muscles are young and healthy) and increased scar tissue which can be a problem in and of itself. 

    However, every situation is different and you may find relief from treatments that didn't work for us. My best advice would be to do a lot of research and perhaps explore some "out of the box" options like seeing a functional medicine doctor, etc. From years of research I am convinced that the medical community is on the verge of some new effective treatments that are very different from the traditional recommendations for chronic back pain. I think we will be seeing great things soon. 
    im so sorry this was such a long response! I just hate hearing about someone so young going through chronic back pain because I know how it can severely affect your life! This is a great site for ideas, information, and support! So many amazing folks here! I hope you find a solution soon!!!
  • Max_LeeMax_Lee New York, United StatesPosts: 383
    Both of you speak very dearly to my heart. It's hard to find someone who will listen to you and work with you when you're younger and in the predicaments we are in. It's mainly just temporary things that only mask the underlying problem that are available to the younger patients; which leads to whatever surgery that has to be done getting bigger and more invasive as the underlying structural problem (which the temporary treatments don't fix) grows worse. Like @lcarpenter said, surgery earlier probably would have saved suffering through unhelpful treatments.
    (Disclaimer: Everyone is different and everyone responds different. This is my personal opinion)
    I think that after 3-4 months without pain resolution and if there is some structural problem causing the symptoms, surgery should be done within a year or so. That, in my opinion, would reduce the chance of the nerve problems like sensation and movement disturbances becoming permanent, reduce some pain and reduce the likelihood of worsening and potentially lifelong pain (studies show that the brain 'remembers' pain and if exposed to it long enough, will 'create' pain without an underlying issue to cause it), reduce missed days of work due to people being in less pain then they would have had to miss with the structural issue untouched, and would likely reduce the amount of painkiller consumption overall if the surgery was successful in reducing pain to either better manageable levels or elimination of the pain completely (which would be awesome for me because I take 16+ pills every day just to get out of bed without screaming, less pills would be nice). That's my opinion. It's definitely not one-size-fits-all.
    I was 19 when I got hurt and 2 years later at 21 (steadily barreling towards 22 LOL), I'm in worse shape with all treatments standing at a solid failure. Had I been helped earlier on, I believe I wouldn't have as many problems as I do now and would have had the chance of gaining back all function and sensation. There's not much room for me to get worse. I can't find a paying job and can hardly stand school, let alone sitting at my desk at my unpaid job - I only do it to keep myself sane. I can't afford most treatments either, I'm so poor. I have lost nearly everything over this injury.
    Don't give up on finding a way to manage your pain. We have a thread called 'The Blend' which was written by dilauro, one of our mods; which goes through a TON of different things, some you have heard before, some you may not heard of. Seeing some sort of therapist or psychiatrist for the depression may help that aspect.
     "The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the
    brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do
    not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.''-Anonymous

    My Story:

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,250
    hello hockeymandan !
    have you been working with and through your primary doctor? what kind of doctor is doing the injections you spoke of?

    my primary doctor tried to work with my pain two years before referring me to pain management doctor. best thing for me!
    he did other tests to try to discover causes of my chronic pain. emg was revealing for me.

    i believe in specialists. no one doctor can know everything about every thing.
    is that an option for you?

    please click on links for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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