Please Help Chronic Back Pain
Hi. I desperately need some advice. I've been to a doctor, had an MRI and seen a neurosurgeon and pain management specialist. My pain is chronic and even wakes me at night (I am a poor sleeper waking in the middle of the night wide awake for hours sometimes). I take nothing for the pain but over the counter meds occasionally, but I seem to be getting progressively worse and worse as I age, and I have a very high pain tolerance (trust me). I am only 38 years old.
I've been diagnosed with Scoliosis, and spinal stenosis (mild) and a herniated disc in L5 S1 (I think as no one really took the time to go over my MRI or prognosis with me). I was ushered in and out of offices without much attention and I kept my mouth shut. Doctors don't want to hear my complaints about how the pain moves around and how morning stiffness is awful. So, most of the time I have just accepted it as best I can--it often drives my wife and family crazy because I can't help but complain at times. The neurosurgeon did a reflex test and figured I was okay, he basically said as long as I can work I am good. The pain management specialist wouldn't give me anything for the pain.
Problem is I am wondering if there is more going on with me as it seems to be getting worse and there seems to be periods of swelling involved. I have had back pain since my 20's when i worked at a store where lifting was involved daily and I know I have herniated something in the past because I can pinpoint the physical events. Every once in awhile I still throw my back out and the pain is unbearable. However, lately, I seem to have these inflammatory episodes that involve my lower spine and also now my neck and hip. The pain in my spine is achy and like a knife point, and it starts lower spine and exits through my tailbone and to the left (my right side is not really affected). It's like each vertebrae experiences the ache until I can actually feel it leaving at the bottom tip of my tailbone up inside my anus 1-2 weeks after it starts. It feels like swelling and draining is going on in there--the pain moves a lot. In my neck I just have the ache at the level of the collar bone and it gets better and worse and is centrally located. I feel like my spine is totally out of joint and when I stand and face the mirror I look crooked leaning toward the left.
I have greatly modified my diet and noticed immediate improvements in swelling and stiffness from avoiding dairy, wheat, alcohol, gluten and coffee. Seems extreme, I know, but I will do anything to feel normal again and feel way less inflammation since I started this diet. The pain is varied and often shooting and now my neck and hip seem to be more involved whereas they never used to be even 2-3 years ago. Also, the initial pain that started as a "pinching" in my lower back is now constantly an achy feeling that get's worse when I move my back in certain directions. Also, the front of my left leg is now affected as the muscle there seems stiff. As I said the pain is mostly, if not entirely on my left side. Lately I am able to crack the lower back by leaning a certain way and it never used to crack or move at all. I get relief from the cracking when I can do it.
Do I have some sort of Spondilitis? Multiple Sclerosis? Rheumatoid Arthritis? Is this just disc degeneration and arthritis? Do I have cancer or some sort of auto-immune disease? Fibromyalgia? The only other detail is that my stool is loose and clumpy and I have urinary urgency and a small bladder. My stool has changed over the years, but so has my diet--tons of veggies and fibre. Perhaps I have prostate problems?