Severe Onset Back Pain for One Year Now causing excessive weight gain

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Over one year ago, I was very healthy and active (working out, going to gym 5 days a week) and was about 170lbs at the time. I have never really put on weight, at the time-- 170 was the heaviest I ever was.

Then, out of no where, I go to bed and the next morning I have severe mid back pain near T-5 on the spine more towards the right end. It is a stabbing feeling like a very sharp knife being inserted between the spinal vertebrae. I didn't lift anything to cause this pain either. I just woke up with it.

The following weeks I would have this pain every day without fail. The pain caused me to stop working out (so severe), I would only get 5-6 hours of sleep before I was woken up by the same pain. The pain only seemed to appear when I was immobile for an extended period of time (sleeping).

I started going to the doctor for this pain, I wanted to know what was wrong-- I was getting no sleep. My weight was 172 at the time the pain started. Over the course of 30 days, I went to the doctor 6-7 times.

My weight, in that one month, went from 172 to 191 just like that. The pain persisted in the same place and hasn't gotten any better even one year later (today). My weight is still 191lbs and the pain is still there.

I am at a loss as to what it could be. What could cause back pain and subsequently cause excessive weight gain so instantly? I have been to many doctors and have had a lot of tests run. I've had a CT, MRI, Bone Scan done and they show nothing but some slight inflammation in the collar bone and waist and 3 hemangiomas along the spine. (Which are harmless-- got them checked out).

My blood tests showed that I had the genetic marker for ankylosing spondylitis, but the doctors say that I don't show physical signs of having this yet.

I am a college student in my early twenties and I would love any help y'all could provide.

5'11", 191lbs

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  • Posted

    Oh how I sympathise with you.  From being active I now cope daily with unexplained back pain which has stopped me in my tracks - I just want to sit down to ease it.  Ranges from severe backache on standing, to sharp pain on trying to get going in the mornings.  Nothing diagnosed apart from possibly a trapped nerve and it appears to be my lot now.  Been going on two years now with same outcome, terrific weight gain over the past year, nothing fits and I feel depressed about that.  Short of starvation, the lack of former activity is putting on the weight.  To give up food and activity seems too much to ask.....  One thing has helped though, and that is to grab a shopping trolley whenever possible (can't face any other aid as yet) and I can walk freely for a long time.  Maybe it wouldn't work for everyone.  You are younger than I am so it is very possible they will spotlight what is causing your problem and be able to put it right.  Meanwhile if it is the weight which is troubling you more, then restricted calories is the only solution until you can burn them off.

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  • Posted

    Hi marc

    I have had similar symptoms without any cause. My very talented GP then did acupuncture on my back. It was agony for 18 hours then hey pain! It lasted 5 years, reoccurred went back sorted again. This is over a period of 15 years. I am currently experiencing this again and when it interfered with me working found another acupuncturist and am currently having treatment. Appears to be having similar benefits.

    My current GP has also referred me for physio.

    Just a thought to try something different if conventional medicine isn't cutting it.

    As for the weight gain I found I gained when I was not as active.

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  • Posted

    I was in your shoes 11 years ago. The only difference between your story and mine is that I was older at the onset of pain and I gained a whole lot more weight. We humans want answers when we have pain. I think it's because we think if we know the problem we can solve it and get the pain to stop. Unfortunately that is not always the case. In fact a lot of times it's not. I am always saddened when I see someone as young as you that is already suffering from pain. You have so much of your life left and I hate the idea that you have to live this life in chronic pain. I think that rather than continue searching for the answer you might want to try going to a pain management doctor and start looking into managing the pain so that you can start living again. They don't all prescribe opiates in fact many of them no longer do but there are other medication that can be taken to help with your pain. The two drugs I'm referring to are Gabapentin AKA Neurontin and pregabalin AKA Lyrica. There are steroid injections that might help your pain too.

    One other thought about your weight they probably already did this but have you had your thyroid checked? You mentioned blood work but didn't say what and hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's disease will cause weight gain it can also cause body aches and pains.

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  • Posted

    Hi Marc,

    I would say you should pay more attention to Ankylosing Spondylitis.  Genetics has a higher risk of getting one and as per your story, you showed some early symptoms of AS.  Physically it may not be seen as yet.  I want you to check this link for more insights.

    You may need further laboratory testing such as BLA H27. The earlier that your signs and symptoms manage, the better you will handle any discomfort that you feel. And the earlier that you are diagnosed with AS, the easier it is for you to be referred to the right medical practitioner such as Physical Therapy. I hope you will have your answers soon. 


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