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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 6/24/2009 10:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I have been reading posts on this forum for the past couple weeks and have found it to be a great wealth of knowledge, as well as compassion. My name is Logan and I'm 22 years old. For the past three months I have been having moderate to severe pain located in the center of my lower back. This has been getting progressively worse since I first noticed it three months ago. In addition, I have a weird burning sensation in my right buttocks and the back of my right thigh. Sometimes my right foot feels like there is a pins-and-needles feeling on the bottom of it.

The main reason I have decided to join is because I am scared that this pain is developing into a chronic condition. I have been to my primary physician, who has yet to make a diagnosis, but says that my x-rays appear normal. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and several different muscle relaxants, which have a very minimal effect on my pain. I have also been seeing my chiropractor regularly for adjustments. However, they can't tell me much except that the "L5 nerve on the right side" is acting up. The cause is as of yet unknown.

I don't want to consider that this pain may be a continuing condition, as I am so young and have not ever had any serious injuries to my spine, but I can't help but feel 3 months with worsening symptoms points to a serious underlying problem. Both my personal life, work, and schooling have suffered due to my pain, and I don't want my quality of life to be affected to such a degree.

I would therefore like to ask the community the following:
What is the youngest age at which you or someone you know started to experience CP?
What is the longest that a moderate to severe pain has remained without the cause being diagnosed?
It bothers me quite a bit that the cause is unknown, should I request an MRI in order to find out more?
My doctor mentioned opiate painkillers, but I don't want to just treat the symptoms while leaving the cause behind. Are there any treatments that I may recommend to my doctor or chiropractor that are not so superficial?

Thanks in advance for your consideration. I don't know if my friends or family, or even my doctor understands how I feel.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 6/24/2009 11:09 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Spacebutler,

Welcome to our HW Family.  CP has no age discretion, there are several very young people on our site who have been dealing with pain for quite some time.   

I am so sorry that you are having problems! From what you have posted has either of your Drs suggested you might have Sciatica?  Have you gone for a 2nd opinion?  In my experience Xrays alone do not always give enough information to make a diagnosis.  Definitely go back to your PCP and tell him the symptoms are not getting better, if it were me I would mention having an MRI!

There are lots of other therapies available but you need to find out what the cause is first. 

Keep us posted and again welcome!



Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 6/24/2009 11:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Spacebutler, pain knows no limits whether by age  or any other limitation. Some of us are older but have dealt with pain for many years. If you have been trying the meds the PCP has given and there is no relief, I suggest you go see him again and ask for an MRI. If he does not think it reasonable, ask for a referral for an ortho or neurosugeon. They will probably be willing to look further. That does not mean you need surgery as they have non surgical approaches nas well. I certainly would encourage you to keep looking. We are not doctors but we know from experience that nerve root compression, calcium deposits, bone spurs, buldging disk can cause the radiating pain starting in nthe back and then douwn through the buttock and leg to the foot. Depending where the nerve is compremisedm where the pain will be. Best of luck as you continue to look for a cause.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 6/24/2009 11:43 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for your compassion. I have never heard of Sciatica before, only the Sciatic Nerve. Upon searching for this term in the forum, though, I find that the symptoms are quite similar to mine. One thing that would contradict this, though, is the reflex test done by my doctor - reflexes at my knee and ankle were normal, he said. I will mention this to my doctor as soon as possible, though... I think I may have downplayed the pain I was experiencing at first because I thought it was just something I should be able to "walk off" so to speak.

I've never had an MRI before - I don't even know if my insurance will cover this, though.

Thanks again for the advice. Have a good night.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/25/2009 1:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Spacebutler,
Welcome to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. I think you're very wise to be proactive and want to avoid this becoming a more chronic condition. I and many others know how easily that can happen. I have many of your symptoms and more, and have had double fusion surgery that failed, so I'm pretty much stuck with medications to manage pain. But I'm a lot older than you.

I would really suggest going to a specialist - either a neurologist (would be my first choice because of the nerve pain) or maybe an orthopedist. Let them order additional tests like an MRI because truthfully your PCP isn't trained to interpret such tests. Your PCP might want to refer you for a course of physical therapy first, though. Often they do that, and if the PT doesn't help, then a specialist is definitely in order. If I were you I'd avoid chiropractics for now, especially because it seems it's not helping you. You want to find out where that nerve is being irritated or compressed. Try to find a good PT, which isn't always easy to do. Sometimes PCP's know which ones are good, but we've had some recent threads here discussing the importance of asserting yourself even with a physical therapist. I've had some wonderful ones (just had a session today, as my insurance is running out), but have had some that hurt me more. Anyway, I think PT is worth exploring, but if after a couple of months of PT you're not improving, please insist on seeing a specialist. Whether your insurance will pay for the tests may depend on your plan, but it would be important to not let it go on indefinitely.

Hope this helps a bit. Again, welcome.


Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 6/25/2009 1:27 AM (GMT -6)   
    Dear Logan,
      Good evening :-) my name is Dani  :-) It is very nice to meet you. I am new here too.  I am sorry you have had pain so long and are worried about it becomming chronic. It sounds to me like you are working very hard and taking a very proactive approach to your back pain. Chiropratic therapy coupled with physical therapy can be a real gift. :-)

What is the youngest age at which you or someone you know started to experience CP?

I don't know? These guys are only chronic pain patients I know?? For me though was around 23yrs old

What is the longest that a moderate to severe pain has remained without the cause being diagnosed?

Dont feel bad about the "we don't know" I get that alot too, many years. I am 29yrs old now.
It bothers me quite a bit that the cause is unknown, should I request an MRI in order to find out more?

I think that depends on your insurance? or I think you can pay out of pocket for one. But I never had one done until I was sent to spine specialist in 2008. He had a huge list of tests he wanted done and people he wanted me to see, MRI was one of the tests.
My doctor mentioned opiate painkillers, but I don't want to just treat the symptoms while leaving the cause behind.

Did you tell your doctor that? Just like you said here? I understand, me too. Plus I have to have my witts about me. I have lil children so.. My doctors completly understand

Are there any treatments that I may recommend to my doctor or chiropractor that are not so superficial?

Yes. Physical therapy. :-)



TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1037
   Posted 6/25/2009 11:43 AM (GMT -6)   
WElcome Spacebutler,
I started having problems with my back when I was about 20...I am now 42.  Through the years I have had bulging discs, herniated discs, ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, nerve damage....I have had 2 back surgeries...I was recently told that my spinal stenosis was inherited from my father who also had it, and had back surery when I was only about 3....
Having CP is horrible...Not only do we suffer with the pain, we also suffer the stigma from the public because we take pain meds.  We are a close knit family here who welcomes all who suffer....We all know what we are talking about, although we are not experts...
Welcome and good luck,  Me.

 I hate Boats!!!!
Post Lamenectomy Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, DDD....
1999 Hemi Lamenectomy/2005 Spinal Fusion(L4-S1)
Methadone 120 mg. a day/15 mg. Oxycodone as needed(up to 4 x a day)
High Blood Pressure: Lisinopril HCTZ 10 mg. daily
Type 2 Diabetes: (March 16, 2009)
Metformin HCL ER 1000 mg. at night..Glipizide 10mg. 2X in the morning
Lantus 10 units at bedtime with Solostar Pen                                                                   


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 6/25/2009 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Again i wanted to say welcome! i started with my pain at 16 years old, im only 19 now... but i went on for months without a diagnosis which probablyt isnt what u wanted to hear... but it is the truth, but i do kno that it doesnt always take that long... but i wanted to say i think it is a good idea to start to control ur pain, it is something that does need to be dealt with; that being said, i dont think u should just treat the pain and stop looking for the underlying condition, but i think u can do both- get some relief and control on the pain, while searching for a diagnosis! you also might want to see a pain specialist or a pain clinic... they deal with tons of back pain, and might be able to help you out a lot more than ur primary can, and in addition they can help with ur pain, and if it does end up being a chronic thing, they are the ones for chronic pain management.... you could see them just to see if they have any ideas, they think differently in most pain clinics and have unique experiance and unique resources that other docs dont... basicly its worth looking into!

I hope u get this figured out, and that it does not become a chronic thing... but we r here for u and here we also understand and know what its lik to live lik this, which helps a lot! Good luck and let us know how things are going !
"In God's hands, in God's time."
"The scourge of life, and death's extreme disgrace, the smoke of hell, that monster called Pain."

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16417
   Posted 6/25/2009 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi SpaceButler and welcome to Healing Well. As you can see all of us here on the forum
have one thing in common-pain. I do really hate to see someone young like you have this problem. Lets hope your dr can get to the bottom of what is causing your problem and come up with something that will take care of it.
Unfortunately, as the others have said pain has no age limit. Since you have been suffering for three months I think its reasonable to request your PCP to refer you out for an MRI. Once you get the results of the MRI, then see about a referral to a specialist. That cuts down on time if you have an MRI film in hand when seeing a specialist too.
For many of us here our pain medication gives us back some quality life. I have an intrathecal pain pump, prior to it, I had no quality life. None of us ever wanted to start opioid medication either, but when you have the choice of being in horrible pain all the time or trying to have a life it many times  becomes a part of a CP.
The burning you describe in your buttock really sounds like you have some nerve involvment going on. You really do need some proper workup done to find out the cause of this pain. Keep pushing for more work-up and a referral to a specialist.
Keep us posted on how you are coming along. Again, welcome aboard.
Moderator Chronic Pain
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 6/26/2009 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for all your consideration and advice, Patti, fatherjohn, PAlady, Dani, me, mystic_duck, and straydog. I am impressed with the level of knowledge this forum shares between its members.

I have decided on several things I will ask my doctor about on my next visit. The most important seems to start trying to find a good PT. Also, I have checked with my insurance and they say that I am allowed to visit a specialist without a referral. This is great news, but I have a limited time to take advantage of it. As soon as I finish school this next year I will be unable to remain on my parents' insurance policy. Therefore, I have started the process of seeking out a specialist. I will also suggest an MRI to my PCP.

Thanks to all those that answered my questions. I feel better in a way that there are other people whose pain symptoms started so early (but of course am very sorry that you feel such pain in the first place). Thanks for the support.

I will keep you all updated.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 6/26/2009 4:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi space! It is wonderful that you have posted with us but again horrible that you too are in pain. I agree with all the posters here.

I began noticing symptoms after I hurt my lower back at work. I was 36 when I started down this road and I'm sure hoping that someday I can find another path out. Unfortunately its not looking like its going to be anytime soon.

Anyway, I wanted to welcome you to the family and I sure hope that some one can help you through this pain that you're having. If you need a shoulder I am alway here...or at least I try to be, but that is not always the case since I am now being bounced around from appt to appt. But you can email me anytime.

What doesn't kill us only makes us fight back harder! :P

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 6/26/2009 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Space,

Welcome welcome. I am so proud of this forum. Everybody has given some very good advice. For what it is worth I will add mine.

First of all, I agree with PaLady when she says to avoid a chiropractor. I started with symptoms of sciatica and the chiropractor was responsible for making me worse. I ended up at a neurosurgeon and eventually surgery, so go easy with the chiropractors!!

I disagree with whomever said have your pcp should order the MRI though. Let the specialist order it. They like to order their own tests and refer you to their own people who give them the info that they want. Just a thought there.

I also agree with duck in that pain clinic doctors think differently than most other doctors and that it is certainly worth a try. If I were you, I would start there.

OK enough of my opinions. I send you well wishes and hope you feel better soon. Sciatica is horrible and I get it from time to time. By the way, your reflexes can be perfectly normal for quite some time with sciatica. It's only when the sciatica persists that the reflexes start to become compromised.

Best of luck and God's blessings too.

Co-Moderator Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Forums
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 6/26/2009 9:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Space,

Welcome to HW! As you've already noticed, this is a wonderful compassionate, caring, supportive group! I am sorry that you have to join us because of pain! I hope that you will get some answers & will not have to live with it forever! I couldn't wish that on anyone!

As for your questions, I'm only 21, and I have had CP since I was 18. It all started with a traumatic injury, but it appears that it has now developed into, or revealed an underlying central nervous system disease. However, I still do not have a diagnosis. I've been at this for two & a half years, and although we keep learning more "pieces of the puzzle" as time goes on, we still aren't sure how all the puzzle pieces fit together. Unfortunately, it is possible to go for many, many years without a diagnosis. We know a lot about medicine, but at the same time, we know very little! I hope that this is not the case with you!

I can understand you not wanting to take pain medication, I avoided it for well over a year, but was forced to give in when I had exhausted all other options. Pain medication hasn't been an answer for me though. I'm actually in the process of withdrawing from my "last hope" opioid. It seems that I have some kind of genetic condition that blocks the effects of these medications. There are a great many more medications to try, though. I'd also suggest that you seek a specialist. The first, second, or third doctor that you seek out may not be able to help you, but there is somewhere out there who can! Just don't give up!

Keep posting with us & let us know how things go!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 6/27/2009 10:37 AM (GMT -6)   

The reason I made the comment of getting the PCP to order the MRI is because when I called to schedule my appointment with the NS and Neurologist both, they wanted the films on CD and results in hand before they would see me!  They let me schedule the appt but if the results weren't ready we would have to move the appt to a later date.




Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 6/27/2009 12:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the family...  I hope you stay with us and you don't have to have CP to post here.  Chronic pain can mean many things to different people.  Any pain for any time sucks... yeah
I would therefore like to ask the community the following:
What is the youngest age at which you or someone you know started to experience CP?
I starte with pain at the age of 17 or 18.  Acute pain that came and went with kidney stones.

What is the longest that a moderate to severe pain has remained without the cause being diagnosed?
Wow this one was a long one for me.  20 years if you can imagine that.

It bothers me quite a bit that the cause is unknown, should I request an MRI in order to find out more?
MRI's are VERY helpful in any situation.  If I had mine earlier I would of had a DX sooner.

My doctor mentioned opiate painkillers, but I don't want to just treat the symptoms while leaving the cause behind. Are there any treatments that I may recommend to my doctor or chiropractor that are not so superficial?
First of all why not take something for pain control.  Why stay in pain?  You can use pain medication to help you through with furthering your testing to find what is causing you such grief.
Once again welcome to the family

39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD
Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea
Hopefully NO MORE........ I think I have it all

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