- CASE FILE
Rapidly progressing back pain affecting my whole life. Some days I'm unable to walk. Test results do not match symptoms, no diagnosis.
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
In April of 2018 I started having a sharp pain in the left side of my lower back when I stood up. I've had scoliosis my whole life but it didn't really cause me problems. The pain continued to get worse and more constant despite massages, chiropractic adjustments and, physical therapy. By October I was having trouble just walking to my car. Standing was near impossible. It once took my 45 minutes to buy three items at Walmart because I could't walk fast. When I was done, I was in tears because of the pain. People have honked at me as I cross a parking lot because I am so slow. The MRI of my lower back showed some arthritis, degenerative disk disease, and scoliosis. but nothing that would cause the significant pain I was in. All my lab work for autoimmune diseases came back normal. I had two EMGs and a skin punch biopsy that all came back normal. The pain and stiffness continued to get worse and I started missing work. In December 2018, I had Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) from L-2 to L-5. I had significant pain relief. I was still stiff but was able to walk again. I developed neuritis on my right lower back and hip after the RFA. It felt like I had "road rash' and was extremely uncomfortable. Lidocaine did not help and I was started on Gabapentin. The medication helped but the neuritis never went away completely. By February of 2019, I was having more good days than bad but the pain was starting to come back (pain relief from RFA should last for 10 - 12 months). I started physical therapy again with no improvement. I also started having pain in my thumb joints and painful sensations in my hands. It felt like my skin was made of cactus. I did have one episode of loss of strength and dropped a glass. Cold made it worse and I was wearing gloves at work. My doctor tried Dexamethasone and Prednisone (steroids) and I had good results, it was short lived. When I came off the steroids, the pain came back worse. I started having trouble walking again. My back and neck were so stiff. Muscle relaxers help but they make me too tired to function. I continued to get worse and in July 2019 I had a second RFA. Again initially good results but the stiffness never goes away and the pain is already coming back. I also got the neuritis again. I started in the same area but then spread from my mid-back to down my hips. It feels like a bad sunburn all the time. They increased the Gabapentin. I also developed an numb spot in my left groin. At first the skin was just numb but now I am getting burning, shooting, stabbing pain in that spot. I started having intermittent blurry vision. I had an MRI of the neck and head. The neck was clear but there was a small lesion in my brain. I did follow up with a Neurologist and she said the lesion was probably related to migraines and not MS. She had no other explanation for any other symptoms. I never know what kind of day I am going to have, there is no trigger other than standing, walking, and activity. I always wake up stiff and now have to sit to get ready in the morning. Some days the pain and stiffness don't get worse. When the pain gets worse, everything gets worse. The neuritis flares and my clothing feels like it is made of sandpaper. I can't get comfortable. I really can't do much with my family anymore. We move to the mountains to enjoy the outdoors and now I really can't. I am the primary breadwinner for my family and I worry about what will happen if I can't work in the future, I'm only 38. I really just want answers.