It all started when I was 22 years old and working night shift at Wal-Mart to try and pay the bills while in college. I would work 10pm to 7am, then go to classes from 8am until 2 or 3pm.
One afternoon, after getting off work, going back to my apartment and getting some well needed rest, I woke up almost unable to move from severe back pain. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. I quickly called the campus doctors and got an appointment right away. At first they just gave me some Ibuprofen and told me to rest.
Later that evening, I was rushed to the hospital because the pain was unbearable. They put me on a Prednisone taper, Ibuprofen (1200mg, 6 times a day), Vicodin (10/500mg, 6 times a day, Robaxin (750mg, 6 times a day) and Flexeril (at bed time). They also ordered an MRI and x-ray.
Needless to say, all of the medication that I was on made me a complete zombie and I was unable to drive for around 3 months. I was going through Vicodin and muscle relaxers like they were going out of style, I was getting my prescription of 100 Vicodin refilled every 16 days. It was out of control.
Eventually, because of all the medications I was on they stared to eat away at my stomach lining and I started to have internal bleeding, at which time they took me off most of the medications.
Eventually, I received the results of my MRI and x-ray. I had a ruptured disk between L4 and L5. They set me up to start physical therapy once a week. I attended these and it didn't seem to help at first. It just made it worse, but eventually, it was feeling a little better by the time my physical therapy was finished.
I then graduated college and moved back home with my parents. I was still having pain, but it was nothing compared to what I was dealing with the months before.
That all changed one week, right before I was getting ready to start my new job. I started getting the stabbing pain back again. I decided to get in the hot tub to try and relax the pain away. Halfway through putting on my bathing suit, my back froze up and shot a paralyzing pain all through my body and I collapsed on the floor.
I was then rushed to the hospital again where I was put back on the Prednisone taper, Ibuprofen, Vicodin, and Robaxin and was to make a follow up appointment with my family doctor. They recommended that I start going to see a spine specialist. I went and had my first appointment and their course of action included trigger point injections.
I started the trigger point injections, which actually hurt worse than the pain I was in to start with (I actually ended up passing out a few times during these shots), as well as bruises the size of dinner plates and the inability to drive after some of them due to the location they were in.
I went through the 6 week procedure to have minimal relief after all of that. The specialist I was going to did not believe in pain medication at all. It was then recommended that I get back to physical therapy and come back in for more injections if I felt it was necessary. By this time I was exhausted and said no to physical therapy, because I had already done before it and it hadn't help me then. I was just tired of everything.
I really wish I could say that I am pain-free but it really looks like I will never be. I have built up a pain tolerance to be able to get through my days. I do everything I can to help with the pain such as heating pads, icy hot creams. Unfortunately that only helps for so long before my back goes out again and I am in agony.
They have told me that surgery is an option eventually, but that I am too young to go through that right now. I have basically come to the realization that I will never get rid of my pain and never be pain-free. To make things even better, my back just went out again this morning. - Erin