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Suffer severe back pain, constant stiffness and stabbing sensation. Having pain. Took anti-inflammatories. Suggestions?

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General & Family Physician
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I am a 27 year old female and have been experiencing chronic, moderate to severe upper back pain since I was 19. It has gradually gotten worse over the years. At this point I have moderate to completely debilitating pain that runs along the sides of my spine from about C3 of my cervical spine down to about T6/T7. It is constant pain with stiffness, rigidness, often a stabbing sensation, an extremely intense feeling of needing my back to crack (parts of it will, but I rarely feel any relief from it). The pain seems to be worse on the left side, I have "patches" of a numbness where I can feel my skin being touched but have no pressure guage, I can't tell how hard it is being touched. My fiance will rub my back and in those numb spots (I always have the most pain there) and can put his entire body weight into it and it feels like I am barely being touched. I often joke "you could hit it with a hammer and I wouldn't feel it XXXXXXX I also experience a rather unnerving frequency of what I describe as a grinding and crunching noise when I move or stretch. My shoulder blades ALWAYS make that horrible noise any time I stretch and my actual shoulder joint clicks with rotation. I experience severe knots and pinched nerves along my spine, the tops of my shoulders, and what feels like under my shoulder blades. It is not uncommon for me to get a knots to the right and left of about C7/C8 that literally feels like the size of half of a lemon and can never seem to be massaged out. I went to a chiropractor years ago and was told I had degenerative scoliosis, he treated me for 3 months and told me I was not improving. I then saw an orthopedist that requested an MRI of C2-C7 and told me there was "nothing" wrong with me except "narrowing of the nerves". Clearly, I know SOMETHING is wrong. I have had chronic back pain ever single day for nearly 8 years. Anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofin do absolutely nothing. I have tried every over the counter pain reliever known to man and nothing helps. I have tried using ice packs (mild, fleeting relief) as well as heating pads (same result as ice pack). When I was seeing the chiropractor, he would have me lay on my stomach on a table and place electrodes on my back and use (I assume) electric current. Every time this was done they had to turn the machine up so high that it felt as if my organs were twitching, yet I felt virtually nothing in my back. The next day I would feel as if I had been hit by a car. The level of pain I experienced the days following treatment (never felt any relief) was enough for me to stop that treatment. The pain I experience is constant, usually worsening throughout the day. Sitting for prolonged periods of time make the pain far worse. I have absolutely no lower back pain at all, standing does not bother me. Exercise does not seem to make it any better or worse. (I do pilates/resistance training several times a week) Massage often relieves the pain temporarily but I have found that it is always worse the following day. What could possibly be wrong with me? I also do not have insurance, and have not (I can't afford it and don't qualify for state assistance) for several years. I feel as though I have no option but to just learn to live with it, which I have done for too long already. It interferes with my work, home, and social life. I often have days where it hurts to get out of bed or I will pinch a nerve and it becomes to painful to move. I am at a complete loss for what to do without insurance.
Posted Sun, 28 Jul 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 4 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

Sorry to hear that you are suffering from severe back pain.

I can see that you have already tried out everything possible under the sun to treat the pain. However, nothing seems to work for you.

As a last resort, I would like to advise you to sign up for yoga classes, if you have a good instructor in your area.It might take a little longer to see results, but I feel it will be worth it. Yoga is good for the body as well as the mind.

Continue your exercise routine. If massage relieves the pain , do it regularly.

I hope you feel better soon.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan

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