Back pain, no explanation please help!

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My partner has a bad back and has been in pain since last may. It started as a spasm which we thought would go, we ended up in A&E and they sent him away with pain killers and advice to ice the area. He works at a hospital as an occupational therapist and has been seeing one of the physiotherapists in his department. He had an MRI which showed no bulging or slipped discs but has continued to be in a lot of pain. He had a few months off work while waiting for an MRI at their request because his pain was too intense to handle normal work and for their own health and safety policies. He has now been back in work for a few months but has found this very difficult. He has seen a number of GPs who have prescribed him different pain killers. He is relatively fit and used to go to the gym on a regular basis. He has not being going to the gym for a while but has followed every bit of advice from the Physio in regards to exercises and strengthening. He was told at one point that it was muscle pain (his psoas muscle needing strengthening) and has also been told that it could be scheuermanns disease (oddly shaped vertebrae) . He was referred to the pain team who have also tried to help with pain management and has been going to work based counselling (not for the pain, but for tools around how to efficiently use your time etc).

He went to see a physiotherapist privately who suggested that while he still had joint tightness and significant pain, that he might be suffering with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. They suggested that he needs to break the pain loop and that he needs to do gentle enough exercise so as to not hurt the area and reaffirm the pain loop. We've now bought an exercise bike that he's been using gently. He went to his GP recently who sent away for a number of blood tests which we are waiting for the results of.

He also suffers with depression and has miraculously held it together until this point, but the frustration of not knowing it taking its toll and he's finding it very difficult to remain focused and positive. He's trying to present himself as capable in work however the patience of the team seems to have run thin now that there is no diagnosis and only lingering pain. He feels like a burden in work and feels as though he will lose his job soon. He feels like a nuisance to the health professionals who mainly tell him to take paracetamol or ibuprofen and don't dig any deeper. He is going out of his mind and I don't know what to suggest or what to think it could be now.

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  • Posted

    Hi sorry to hear that. Jus a idea but has your partner tried the alexandre technique. He works in health care and i wonder if hes got the correct posture. I never tried it think my back a bit knackard for that but hope it helps
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  • Posted

    I injured my back 12 or 13 years ago and I've been suffering ever since. Early on I got so depressed that i considered suicide and spend a week in the hospital for that. So you really need to make sure that your partner sees a therapist. This is very important because pain does psychological damage to a person.

    Secondly if you haven't already done so he needs to get a TENS unit. These are wonderful tools that help a lot of people. He can wear it even while he's working. They have sticker pads that stick to your back in the area of the pain and then it sends little zaps of what feels like tiny electrical shock to your skin. What this does is it tricks your mind into concentrating on that feeling rather than the pain feeling.

    Thirdly he needs to keep in mind that an MRI does not always show what's wrong with his back. He probably should consider going to see a neurologist. A neurologist specializes in the back. The GP probably didn't refer him because he didn't see anything in the MRI. I wonder if he had an Open MRI or a closed one. I ask because an Open MRI does not show as much as a closed MRI.

    And lastly I'm sure you're being as supportive as you can. But this is going to be tough on you too. Just keep in mind that he is in a lot of pain and he might not always seem to be being fair. Sometimes you want to try to help him and he made be very difficult to deal with. Just try to let it go in one ear and out the other because he really doesn't mean it. One thing you might do is on a time when his pain isn't too bad is ask him to make a list of some of the things you can do to help him when his pain is really bad. That way you know what to do without asking him when he is really hurting.

    I wish you both luck on this ride thru chronic pain.

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  • Posted

    So sorry. I have been there. Tens machine and ice is my advice x
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear this. Has he tried a TENS machine and ultra sound treatment?
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