23-yr-old with migrating back pain - any ideas?

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/5/2012 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   
My normally healthy 23-year-old son came home from work with pain in his lower back one day 3+ months ago. He has a somewhat physical job, so occasional back strain was not unusual. In the past, heat, advil & rest took care of the problem after a week or two. When there was no improvement after 2 weeks, he visited his PCP who recommended physical therapy. This went well for a couple of weeks until he came home from one session with his back really bothering him. Pain began to spread out from mostly the left lower back to include the right side as well. Over the course of the next few weeks, the pain started expanding to include the middle of his back, upper back & shoulders, and even around his right side and lower abdomen (which he describes as a deeper, pulsating pain). The pain is not always in the same place, sometimes his lower back hurts, sometimes upper, sometimes one side more than the other. He cannot sit or stand in one position very long before the pain increases. It has gotten to the point where he's been unable to work (he trains & exercises dogs at a local kennel) more than a couple of hours at a time before he has to come home and lie down.

To date he has tried PT, chiropractor, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories with no relief. X-rays, bone scan, and MRIs show no physical reason for the pain. He tested negative for Lyme disease. He is increasingly depressed and hopeless that we can find and fix whatever's going on. He was a healthy active young man before all this started, and has no other physical symptoms other than the pain.

I'm at a loss as to where to turn next. I'd be thankful for any input!

Worried mom,

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16773
   Posted 5/5/2012 5:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Louise and welcome to the chronic pain forum. Wow, so sorry to read what is going on with your son. Its always so frustrating when the drs cannot come up with an answer as to why we have a problem going on. He has had the normal course of conservative care which is all any f them will do in the beginning. Has your son been seen by an orthopedic or neurosurgeon?

My thoughts are since he has been dealing with this for 3 months or so and things are not any better, I would ask my PCP to refer me to a pain mgt dr. Many of us here at the forum are under the care of pain mgt dr. Treating pain is their specialty and seem to have a better handle on how to treat patients. They often will try injections and procedures to help with the pain. These procedures may or may not work, there is nothing guaranteed on those.

I would keep pushing forward with the drs because someone out there can help him. Many times we do have to advocate for our own care.

Anyway, I wanted to pop on and say hello and welcome aboard. Your son is lucky to have you for a mom take the time to try to find help for him. Keep us posted on how he is coming along....Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 5/6/2012 7:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Louise
Just wanted to welcome you to the site and say I'm sorry your son is in such rough shape. I think Straydog is right in suggesting a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. Not that I recommend surgery unless there is no other choice. His problem may very well be a nerve problem which is very hard to diagnose sometimes. Nerves can cause a great deal of pain and of course we have them all over our bodies. A neurosurgeon and pain management clinic may be a good idea at this point. I wish you and your son all the best and hope you find some answers soon. Again welcome to the site. You'll find a vast knowledge and experience and support here. Good luck and keep us up to date.
Chronic Back Pain, Anxiety, A little Depression, Left foot problems...foot growing in length and big toe growing out sideways, Osteoporosis,11 surgeries total..right foot twice, right knee 3 times, right elbow, throat/neck, spinal fusion, left elbow, left knee, currently deciding on whether to have surgery on left foot.
Meds: Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Clonazapam
Birthday July 18th

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 5/7/2012 5:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Louise Welcome on board our site. It is rough seeing a young son have such discomfort and you are a very caring mother and he is lucky to have you on his side.

Ask his primary doc if he should see an orthopedic or neurosurgeon followed by a pain doctor.

Let us know what transpires. Once an area on the back starts to hurt the rest of the back goes into spasm and spreads across the entire back. Please keep in touch with us.
Age to a woman is like krypronite to Superman.
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