Aa
A
A
A
Close
Back & Neck Community
11.8k Members
471747 tn?1211308080

Low back pain

I was sick about 3 weeks ago (vomiting) and felt a pop in my lower back and lost feeling of my legs.  Freaked me out because I could stand up.  I'm 24 and have never had back problems.  I went to the ER and they said it was siatica and sent me home with 10 vics, which really did nothing.  I was finally able to see PC this thursday and he just gave me a medrol dose pack and some flexiril.  I am topping out on the tylenol/ motrin I should take, I just dont know what to do the pain is driving me crazy and I dont want to sound like a young addict trying to get a quick high, I'm in pain and still have to go to work and school.  I have spent a lot of money on this; of which i dont have much of, I just dont know how to go about telling my dr. that this isnt working and it sucks so bad....any suggestions...?
   My x-ray looked fine, and they wanted to do an MRI but my co-pay is like 1000 dollars, I just cant do that right now.
21 Responses
Avatar universal
x-rays will NOT show disc/nerve problems. so yes, you need an MRI. and until you get the MRI, there is not much that a dr can or will do for you..because he doesnt know what he is treating....so they give you the bare minimum kind of pain meds. what im saying is....drs are going to "treat" this as you just wanting to get pain meds...because you are "refusing" the MRI....therefore, the only thing that they KNOW is wrong is that you are complaining of pain, and yet they dont know why...so they have to ?? if its an addiction thing, or what. drs are not going to hand out REAL pain meds without knowing the cause of the pain..and even then, theres no guarantee that the pain meds will help you.

It DOES sound like a disc/nerve problem that needs attention...but until the drs SEE it on film...they arent going to "assume" it and give you something stronger for pain. So you have to decide which is more important....not going in debt to have the MRI done...or going in debt to get it done so that they can treat your problem. when my pain gets bad...no amount of money is going to stop me from getting treatment of any kind. So now that you KNOW that an x-ray will NOT show any discs/nerve problems...maybe that alone will encourage you to get the MRI so that they can find the problem and address it with the proper kind of pain meds and treatments. otherwise..you are just going to have to suffer. if it is a disc problem....you can potentially make it worse by moving the wrong way, bending, twisting, squatting, pulling or pushing on things....not to mention lifting on things...even the lightest of things...thats why you need to find out whats wrong, so that you wont cause further damage while at work....the dr can give you restrictions to keep you from making it worse...but for now...they dont know whats wrong...so they cant help you that much.
471747 tn?1211308080
Thanks for your comments, I went back to the DR b/c I couldnt stand it anymore, I told him I dont care about money I cant take this anymore, I was almost in tears.  I go in Thursday for my MRI, hopefully it gives me some answers.  Also he gave me some ultram which dosent do a whole lot but make my head feel like its going to explode, anyone else take this stuff???  Oh well, I'll just tough it out till Thurs.....wish me luck (and my bank account luck lol)

james
Avatar universal
yw!! Im so glad that you went. Good luck!!  Another piece of advice...you can have access to your MRI report before you get to see your dr for the results..usually you can get the results within a few hours...or up to 3 days...and most likely you wont see the dr for a week or so...IF the drs office calls you with the results..they dont mention everything...just the main problem areas. So when you have it done on Thursday...ask them when the report will be ready so that you can get a copy of it (the typed up report)...that way you can read the findings yourself and then type it here..and we can help you with the terms of it.

as far as the ultram....i take it....it doesnt cause any side effects for me....its not the best pain med in the world...but.it helps some.
471747 tn?1211308080
Will do, I dont know what to think....I want it to be ok but then agian I want something to account for this crazy pain...sigh, 2 more days....
471747 tn?1211308080
Well my dr office just called and said I had multiple bulging disks and some DDD, anyways I have been complaing all day to them about how ultram makes me feel and after 4 hours they called in a script for "zanaflex"  I am truley sick of him throwing muscle relaxers at me, soma didnt work, flexeril didnt work, now this....he knows I havent been sleeping b/c of this pain....GRRRR  I just want to trade my pain with him, like they just dont care, well I guess I'll just take me some tylenol and advil and have a wonderful night at work suffering....

james
Avatar universal
i pretty well figured it would come back showing disc problems. have you received a copy of the MRI report for yourself? i really would get one, not only for your records, but so that you will know EXACTLY what it says. for some reason, drs will only tell you the main thing(s) thats causing your problem. for example..with me, my mri report shows arthritis, and 3 bulging discs...however, i was never informed of the arthritis, nor was i told about 2 of the 3 discs that are bulging. my drs have only focused on the one disc that is pressing on the nerve. you will also learn more about your problems if you get copies of your medical records from your drs office. for instance, with me, they never told me that my right calf muscle is softening (which means its getting weak), nor have they ever told me that my ankle reflex is almost gone. so now, that you know that there are definite problems there that can now be explained for your pain...id be looking at getting copies of your medical reports, just so that you will know, and are aware of any other problems, that they dont tell you about. like with me, had i know that my muscle was literally getting weak..i would have started walking (which hurts like heck!!)..anything to keep that muscle from deteriorating even more. but i wasnt aware of it until here recently. that report was done months ago, but just found out.

even though i never really seen any results from muscle relaxers..(because you do wonder....why muscle relaxers, when its a disc problem, right??). their point in giving them to you, is because when your back is inflamed from swelling, and muscles start tensing up because of the pain.....which adds to the problem..so they give you the muscle relaxers to help relax them, so that it can help alleviate some of the pain. i hate it for you, but, im here to tell you....you are possibly in for a VERY LONG ordeal..and it may never get better. im certain your drs next steps will be (or you might want to ask) about epidural steroid injections, as i stated earlier..they are expensive!!!....they didnt help me...but they do some people. so its something you cant knock until you have given it a try. then there will possibly be physical therapy. surgery will be your last resort...and honestly.......there is no guarantee even with that. people do not understand disc pain/problems AT ALL, until they have been there..and realize that it really does seem like a never ending ordeal, and that it seems/feels hopeless. go to ************.com   and go to the back pain board....there are ALOT of us on there!! and you will then get an idea as to what i am talking about on here about it being neverending and hopeless. some people do really well with injections, or with therapy, or with surgery.......but some....nothing seems to work. and you do honestly feel like life is over..but....you have to remain strong and not let it get you down. you just have to learn to accept that things are as they are....and just live life the best that you can. ive dealt with mine for 19 months now...facing surgery..that i really do not want to have.

good luck and keep us posted.
Avatar universal
sorry that was healthboard *******
Avatar universal
gee...lol   its called healthboard forums    so just do the healthboard     dot   and then com  lol
471747 tn?1211308080
Thanks for the reassurance about the Doctors.  I really am upset b/c in a week I have spent like 50 dollars on different muscle relaxers and they arent doing anything, I mean I'm a full time server, full time student and have to pay all my own bills, car, cable, ins, etc.  I just dont have a lot of money to throw at something that dosent work...thats why I was so upset b/c I have argued with the Dr about it twice now.  I will get a copy of that on monday and will post what it said, I go for PT monday morning and I'm sure they have a copy.  2 days now with only tylenol and its pretty bad but I dont feel really funny in the head...anyways thanks for the 3 trys at the website, thats kinda silly they wont let you type that...I'll check it out.

james
Avatar universal
i totally understand your frustration....but its not going to get any easier anytime soon...unless you are one of the few that are lucky enough for something to actually work. i take tramadol with acetomenophin. (same as ultram) supposed to take 1 every 8 hours...i take 2 and it eases the pain off...but im left so groggy that i cant function....so you really cant win either way.
Avatar universal
Find a good physical therapist who does the McKenzie method.  They have all sorts of things that they can do.  They even have electrical machines that can help relieve pain.  I did physical therapy and it didn't help, but is was worth the try.  I work in the office that I went to, and I see dozens of people who come in for their first visit with a walker and walk out on their own a month or two later.  I've been there........  You can also talk to the office and ask if they have some kind of financial hardship help that they can give you.
Avatar universal
When you go to the dr or have any tests done, always ask for copies of your results. Especially MRI films. It saves you a lot of time if you see a different doctor for anything, and you can hand him/her the films. It takes forever to get copies of your medical records and most places charge a fee for copying them. But, if you get them immediately, you are entitled to one set of copies. I started doing that when I was first diagnosed with MS  and I can't tell you how having copies of films has saved a lot of time and trouble. Granted, when you get copies of your MRI films they will not have yet been read by the radiologist, but, you can get a copy of that result when you F/U with your doctor. I keep copies of everything. Now they put MRI films on disc. I just keep my own files at home! You will be thankful you got the copies!!
471747 tn?1211308080
Well I just found out today that I was dropped from my ins at work.  Apparently I havent been getting my 50+ hours every two weeks to qualify, and they decided to tell me today that I'm dropped...it woulda been nice to know this like 4 weeks ago when they was something I coulda done about it....just one thing after anohter.  I wish there was a little help for a full time student, I mean how can I hit these hours if I am at school??  Its not like I'm skipping work...Now I guess I just gotta keep dealing with this myself b/c I definatly cant afford my doctor without my insurance.  Yay for America's health care system!!!
Avatar universal
oh man that just bites!!!!   call your local health department, and see if they have a free clinic or something that they can send you to. see if you qualify for some kind of health ins assistance or something. you cant deal with this on your own...if you dont get things taken care of...you could end up with nerve damage...or worse problems. How old are you? Is there anyway that your parents can help you?
471747 tn?1211308080
I'm 24, my father passed away when I was 12, and I live 300 miles away from my mom for a reason....lol.  Its not hurting much anymore I dont know if its just because I have been just ignoring the pain.  My insurance was up monday and I have a Dr. appointment Thursday, I dont know if I should go and kinda explain it to my Dr. and get a final word from him or just not go at all, b/c it will probably end up costing me around 100 dollars just to walk in the door....
Avatar universal
oh im so sorry to hear about your dad. and i know what you mean about moving that far..lol. well hopefully you are going to get better on your own..but, i would take it easy for a while to see how things go. i have 'come and go' pain as well...it makes you think that you are getting better...then one day...OUCH again!!   but at least i do get breaks from the pain here and there. id at least go see what the drs has to say, and explain things to your dr.....and in the meantime...work as much as you can to get your insurance back.....because you WILL need it!  back injuries are costly...so you need to do what you can, and then tell your dr that as soon as it picks back up, then you can start with whatever treatment he recommends. its going to be tough to maintain those hours though. when i first got hurt...i tried soooo hard to work. i think out of a month, i might have gotten in 4-5 full days....the rest of the time, i was very lucky to manage to get in 3-4 hours, if any at all! so it really might be difficult for you to get in 25 per week...but for your ins...its something you will have to do. thats just sad, i know. i dont know what i would have done if  i was single and had to provide my own insurance...i would have definitely been screwed! but....i am on workers comp....so the back injury is taken care of (half way anyway...lol)...but ive had to go to my own dr from time to time since i got hurt..so i have definitely needed personal insurance.
471747 tn?1211308080
MRI results

Does not sound too bad, but I dont know what it means...and it still hurts!!

L4-L5 mild DDD, mild diffuse disc buldge, no nerve root impingement or foraminal stenosis

L5-S1 mild DDD, small central disk protrusion, no never root impingement, foraminal or central spinal canal stenosis.  Mild bilateral facet arthropathy.
471747 tn?1211308080
MRI results

Does not sound too bad, but I dont know what it means...and it still hurts!!

L4-L5 mild DDD, mild diffuse disc buldge, no nerve root impingement or foraminal stenosis

L5-S1 mild DDD, small central disk protrusion, no never root impingement, foraminal or central spinal canal stenosis.  Mild bilateral facet arthropathy.
471747 tn?1211308080
MRI results

Does not sound too bad, but I dont know what it means...and it still hurts!!

L4-L5 mild DDD, mild diffuse disc buldge, no nerve root impingement or foraminal stenosis

L5-S1 mild DDD, small central disk protrusion, no never root impingement, foraminal or central spinal canal stenosis.  Mild bilateral facet arthropathy.
Avatar universal
i think the worst part is that you have arthritis in your back. you do have discs out of place, but, they arent hitting a nerve, so thats a good thing. now dont get me wrong, having discs out of place will cause pain...but nothing like you would feel if it were hitting the nerve. its possible that PT will help to manipulate the discs back into place...at least we can always hope anyway. what does your dr say?
471747 tn?1211308080
I went to a new doctor that specializes in back injuries that a manager at work refered me to, and he just explained the mri results and put some shots in my back that really helped on like one side of my body but not the other..he said he wanted to see me 3 times a week for more procedures, I told him about my insurance or lack there of....and he said just call me when I know whats going on...
Have an Answer?
Top Pain Answerers
Avatar universal
st. louis, MO
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
Could it be something you ate? Lack of sleep? Here are 11 migraine triggers to look out for.
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.
Tips for preventing one of the most common types of knee injury.
Here are 10 ways to stop headaches before they start.
Tips and moves to ease backaches