24 year old with 2 years of chronic pain

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/13/2012 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I joined and posted a long time ago. I thought I would give an update about myself and see if anyone has any suggestions that could help me.

My pain started about 2 years ago when I was taking a combatives class. Though there was no specific injury during that time, I also took judo and between those two classes I was thrown on my back a lot and generally exercised harder than I had since 4 years ago in high school cross country. I wonder if just stressing my body by going from sedentary to really intense working out started my pain. I've also considered that I got some sort of infection from the mats (the combative mats were disinfected everyday but the judo ones weren't) and that somehow that started my pain.

My dad is 55 and has a lot of pain, too. His pain is in his back and shoulders and neck and he has arthritis and lots of bone spurs. His mom had back/neck trouble, too, so much so that I was told her neck vertebrae fused (not from surgery, just naturally - I'm not sure how that happens, but that's what I was told) and she could no longer turn her head. My pain is in the same areas; neck, shoulders, and lower back. So I think maybe I had genes that made me susceptible to pain and that doing combatives turned on my pain genes.

Anyway, I think since the last time I posted I have been to a rheumatologist twice and to my family doctor twice (that is in addition to previously seeing two different chiropractors and a neurologist). That has been a disappointing experience, because neither one of them did anything to help me, besides ruling things out and prescribing the medicine I asked for. I read on here that tramadol is popular and I told him that and that's what I've been prescribed, so I basically prescribed myself.

He took an xray of my back (previously I had an MRI on my neck), and many blood tests were done. RA, ankylosing spondylitis, thryoid malfunction, diabetes were all ruled out, so I was told I just had "chronic pain". Tried different meds; nortryptaline, something I don't remember, and cymbalta. Tramadol is the only one that gives me some relief. Cymbalta I hated. The only thing that did for me was make me think I was having seizures when I tried to sleep from "brain buzzing". My rheumatologist wasn't very friendly and didn't even warn me to taper off Cymbalta. I had to go back and ask the nurse myself for a sample of a lower dose so I could taper off. I took the lower dose for a week, then stopped, and still had a big spike in the brain buzzing side effect, so I stopped seeing him and plan to go back to my GP when I need my tramadol refilled.

So I'm on tramadol, now. I take it twice a day and it helps, but it doesn't last long and sometimes it doesn't help that much. When the tramadol is ineffective or I forget to take it, the pain can get so bad...

I feel like if I could find out what is causing my pain I would know what the proper treatment is and could cure it instead of partially masking it with the tramadol, but the doctors have pretty much given up on finding out what the cause is. I'm not sure what to do. I don't necessarily want to switch medications, because tramadol has helped the most of the things I've tried and I feel it is one of the safer pain medications as liver damage isn't a side effect.

Any advice? smurf

(Discussions of suicide or self-harm are not permitted, per the forum rules... --Tina)

Post Edited By Moderator (Momto8kids) : 3/13/2012 1:32:50 AM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25356
   Posted 3/13/2012 7:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hope you and your father can both find some help and relief.

Never give up hope, there are meds and answers out there for you.

Age: 59, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, original catheters 63 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81, 6/11 5.8, 12/11 14.0
Other: Spent total of 1 ½ years on 21 catheters, had Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10
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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/14/2012 12:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for replying, David. I hope you're right.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 3/14/2012 3:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I didn't see all of your post before it was edited, but I hope you will find relief from your pain. It would seem to me that it was time to go back and have some more tests run to make better determinations. Plain old x-rays were all they would order for me when I was your age and then I found out they don't show the back problems that I have and never did! I hurt for years without a shread of medical documentation as to why and then someone ordered the first MRI on me and it explained a great deal of why I was hurting.

I too took tramadol (rather Ultracet, which is tramadol/tylanol combined) for years and had great success with it. After years of back pain that seemed to get worse and worse, I herniated my lumbar spine and it changed my life forever.

I would honestly suggest you go back to the Dr and ask for further testing. If you are indeed suffering from something that came from your genetic line, the Dr should be able to find that out easily enough. Also, if your problems are from the infection you got from a dirty mat....that should be fairly easy to diagnose too and you may be able to find relief with less problems than you think.

Good luck and I hope you are able to find the correct Dr to order the correct tests for you to find your answers.
Failed TLIF L5-S1, Miltiple Bulges/Herniations, Scoliosis, Pituatary Disorder, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery, Failed Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (now trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendonitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, & Vision Issues

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15875
   Posted 3/14/2012 5:11 AM (GMT -6)   
RM is correct about plain film x-rays. They will only show fractures & breaks. If its been two years since your last MRI, then it should be repeated since its been so long and you are not doing much better. Ask your PCP to repeat this for comparison views. Some of us do come from what I call the the bad gene pool because of our family history. An infection from the mat is something easy to either diagnose or rule out.

Take care.
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/29/2012 2:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Contranigma,

I am new to this forum but I came across your post because your situation sounds very similar! I am also early 20s with almost 2 years of chronic pain in my back. Like you, I had no specific injury or accident, although I do not have a family history as you have. I have also had similar experiences with health care professionals and have also been on cymbalta - I would agree with you that it wasn't great!

I would definitely suggest getting a new MRI, an x-ray will only show bones and it doesn't sound like that is your problem. If you are still having no luck with your doctors, I would ask to be referred to a pain management doctor/clinic if this is possible, as it sounds like this could be beneficial to you.

I see this post is about a month old now, so I hope you have had been able to get somewhere with the doctors or have at least been keeping ok in that time.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 828
   Posted 5/4/2012 9:41 PM (GMT -6)   
You mentioned your pain started two years ago with a combatives class. Do you recall a specific moment when you first started feeling the pain? I.E. was there a time you were thrown or something that triggered it? Or did you just start noticing the pain then?

It might be there was some other incident that caused the underlying issue, but you didn't notice until you took that class and got roughed up.

You can injure yourself by not stretching and preparing your body for activity if it hasn't been very active...but those types of injuries...strains...pulls...twists...etc...don't usually last two years. Also, you're young.

Do you have ANY other medical conditions? Have you had any other injuries previously? A car accident, even a "fender bender" or a fall, or have you played any sports? Also, you said you ran in HS...did you have any pain issues then?

Also, what type of pain are you experiencing? Is it sharp, dull, constant or does it come and go? Do you get muscle spasms or tightness? And where is the pain? Is it one location or several?

There are some conditions that can give you a genetic predisposition, like arthritis, but just because your family is experiencing pain, doesn't necessarily mean you've got pain in your genes. Does your family have a history of arthritis and other things?

Like the others I suggest an MRI, it can give a lot of information that other tests can't.

Sorry for all the questions but I'm trying to get a better picture of things so I can try to point you in a direction. Hopefully you're doing okay, and that you still come around and will read this :)
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