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severe back pain
19 Replies
txsunsets - November 29

I have had severe back pain for months now. I had a MRI done and it showed everything was normal. i then went to see my rhuematologist and he gave me 4 cortisone shots in my lower back but that isnt even helping. please let me know if you have any other suggestions. thank you


Fantod - November 30

Insist that you have either a sitting or standing MRI which is weight bearing. The problem may not show up in an MRI when you are lying down. I am sorry that you are in so much discomfort. Good luck and take care.


txsunsets - December 1

Thank You Fantod. I will ask my dr about that.


January - December 1

I completely agree with Fantod. I had horrible back problems and lots of CT scans - but they never showed anything - until I specifically ASKED for a sitting MRI scan. Then the problems were crystal clear. It's well worth having one.

And IMO, cortisone shots don't help much. I don't know anyone who's gotten long term relief with them. If you check the forums, some people get relief, but most people don't. They will only help if you have short term inflammation going on - and then they only help for a short period, so you may need to have more shots - but you really shouldn't have more than a few over a year's time. Cortisone can badly affect some people. You also are taking a lot of risk by allowing someone to stick a needle in your joints - risks like introducing infection into the joint and permanent damage to tissues. However, most doctors are pushing cortisone shots. Maybe they get good reimbursement from insurance for "surgery?"


Pikespeak - December 2

Hi! Just a thought on this--are you taking anything for high cholesterol? I was flat on my back for a month while taking Lipitor. After I made the connection, I weaned myself off the med and was pain-free in about 3 days.


littleloey - December 2

I, too suffer from back pain which is getting progressively worse. I have scoliosis in lower and upper back and also a slightly bulging disk. I called the orthopaedic Drs. office yesterday and asked about having another x-ray to see if the disk or the scoliosis has gotten worse. last time they checked it was last March. They suggested that I have another epidural injection in my lower spine. They seem to not want to take another X-ray. They suggested I get another opinion. So, I guess I will have to look for another specialist.
I had two injections in 2010, neither one lasted more than two months. Since you can only have three in a year the pain specialist feels this is not the right thing to do and I will get no long term relief. I agree with him so I'm not interested in getting another one. I know that I might feel better for a short time but I also feel that there is a risk of doing further damage each time I have one.
January, several times you have mentioned a sitting MRI. The Drs. I have asked about them seem to not know anything about them or where you can get one. In fact they acted like they had never heard of such a thing. I live in the state capital so these are not small town Drs. How did you find a place to get one done?


Fantod - December 2

Use Google. Type in the name of your metro area and sitting or standing MRI and see what pops up.

I'd be really concerned if your doctors know nothing about this type of MRI. It is not commonly done but if they are specialists, they should have some knowledge on the subject. Take care and enjoy the weekend.


txsunsets - December 2

I checked on the sitting or standimg MRI and they dont do that in the town i live in.
Pikespeak: I do not take any cholesterol pills. I am on amytripalyne, flexeril, and savella.
I have been having back problems for months now. It's to the point i am having difficulty standing from a sitting position. I am also having problems walking. I have severe pain in my lower back, down my butt, and down my thighs. i dont know what to do i need some relief.


Fantod - December 3

txsunsets - You will have to travel to get it done. It sounds like it may be the only way to figure out what is actually going on with your back. Find the nearest facility that does them and get scheduled. Most MRI facilities operate 24/7 around the clock. Good luck and I hope that you don;t have to go too far to get this test done. Take care.


Pikespeak - December 4

Hi txsunsets! Just a note about Savella--I took it for about 6 months, had a weird headache twinge and a recurring UTI. I am off Savella and no more UTIs! I take a probiotic pearl, Skelaxin, Nexium and vitamins daily and am doing really well! Those FMS meds may be helpful to some, but after the side effects, I'll stick to a more natural approach and pain meds for break-through pain. I am a big advocate for GENTLE stretching. Pilates, Feldenkrais and Body Rolling are all worth investigating! Check them out on youtube.


January - December 5

Hi littlejoey -- sorry to be so late responding. Things have been busy and, you know, it takes me four times longer to do stuff!

I found out about the sitting MRI because a place opened up very close to where I live (a large metro area on the East Coast). It was Next Generation MRI, they began advertising on TV, and talking about the advantages of it. So I specifically went to my dr. and ASKED him to refer me there.

They were the BEST, very kind, professional, and I got a perfect MRI which showed a lot that hadn't shown up on many other tests. "Oh, NOW we see why you are in pain!" I had no idea this was such a hard-to-find procedure! If you have to travel to a big city, I agree with Fantod, it is well worth it - you will (hopefully) get a good clear film, with a diagnosis - and then nobody can laugh you off and ignore your complaints. Just show them the film of the MRI - Next Generation gave me one copy to keep at home, so if I go to a new doctor, I can take it with me and show what I'm dealing with.

I just googled "sitting MRI" and picked the sites for "sitting MRI locations" - which included ads for "Next Generation MRI" and a bunch of standing MRI places also. I hope you can find one near where you live! Good luck with it.


txsunsets - December 5

thank you everyone. i am going to the dr this afternoon the pain is unbearable. i just want someone to listen.


January - December 5

txsunsets - hope you get some relief! Getting the right diagnosis is important. I found out I had not only herniated disks, but spinal stenosis and a cracked vertebra. As was discussed on another thread here, what helps me the most with the severe back pain is a low dose narcotic. At least I can walk around and do stuff. Good luck.


txsunsets - December 6

I went to another dr that had my MRI results. she says that i dont have any fluid so when i walk or bend my bones are rubbing bone on bone and that is what is causing my pain. she is sending me to a nero surgeon but the bad thing is i cant get in to him until february.


Fantod - December 6

Do they have a cancellation list? Can you call every day to see if they have had a cancellation? Can she do anything to expedite an appointment to see this doctor? If there someone else she can send you to that could see you sooner and still keep the appointment with the first doctor too?

I hope someone can help you sooner than February. Take care.


littleloey - December 6

txsunsets, I am so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain and pray that they will be able to get you in to see the Dr. before February. Waiting becomes unbearable when the pain is so bad. I agree with Fantod, call them everyday if you have to.
Fantod and January. I live in the Midwest, Iowa to be exact. I have called all the metro hospitals here, The university of Iowa Hospital and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minn. None of them do a sitting or standing MRI. I just don't know where else to look. I'm sure that is what I need as that is when the pain is really hard to tolerate. I'm positive things would be seen in
an upright position that they are not seeing in a normal MRI.


January - December 6

Hi littlejoey - I googled, and was surprised to see that most of the first sitting MRI hits I came up with are indeed centered on the East Coast. Other places have Open MRI machines - but they still have you lie down. It must be a very new development, though I got mine done a few years ago.

I searched VERY quickly and found one place in Houston, Texas that might have sitting or standing MRIs available. I know nothing about this place, how good it is, etc., but they did list a phone number, and apparently they take people from out of state. The number is 713-592-9800. It is run by someone named Dr. Nath. If you google him with MRI, you should be able to access the website. Good luck with it.

And one little note. In my reading I learned that one of the dyes they sometimes use with MRIs, gadolinium, can cause physical problems, like kidney failure - so unless you have a really good reason to need dye injections, stay away from them!



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