Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Paid a visit to a doctor but...
    pvupilot posted:
    Hi guys,

    I'm new here but have been browsing the forums for a while. I've been suffering from lower back pain the last 8 months. The pain comes and goes about one week a month. I started noticing the pain after a long road trip that lasted a week and I did a lot of sitting. My current job has had me sitting the last few months for long periods of time too, along with sitting while driving daily and sitting while doing homework. This last week, it started hurting pretty bad again so I decided to get up and walk/stand as much as possible while at work. It seems to have helped because today I have minimal pain. I went into the doctor since I was getting tired of the pain that comes and goes and figured I would get it treated before it causes life long problems (I am only 21). The doctor seemed very concerned with my symptoms and took an Xray and wants me to go to a "physical medication doctor". He thinks I have a herniated disc.

    Here is where I don't know if I feel that is correct and am looking for input. I have not had ANY trauma in the last year, I am only 21 so "wear and tear" shouldn't be a factor and I have a very clean medical record. I don't have any tingle or numbness. I haven't been able to do much exercising the last several months so my body has been pretty inactive. From all the reading I've done, it seems more like a muscle problem that can be treated by exercising and not staying stationary. I thought that was what my doctor was going to agree on too. But with the concern my doctor showed about a herniated disc, I am a little worried too. I have been working extremely hard to get a pilot slot in the Air Force the last several years and if I have a herniated disc, I will be disqualified from even joining any military branch.

    So basically, I came here hoping I can get some insight on what others think it is from my symptoms.

    jls826 responded:

    Sorry to hear about your pain, especially at such an young age!

    I am 36 and started having back issues in 2008. No injury or anything, just one day my back was all out of sorts.

    You should definitely go to Physical Therapy. Core strengthening is key. It's not just about being in shape as many people that are toned with "6 packs" have weak core muscles that support the spine.

    PT is great at ensuring the right muscles are working at the right time. PT will also be crucial for poster, etc.

    PT worked great for me for a few years. Since you have 1 disc issue, you would hopefully benefit long - term from 6-8 weeks of solid PT. An injection may help too - a pain and rehabilitation doctor will do that. Some Physiatrists do as well and they are pivotal in coordinating PT.

    And, what you are doing is great- move. Adopt practices like whenever you are on the phone in the office to stand. Consider a standing desk.

    Hope you feel better!
    cspine75 responded:
    Have you tried yoga? Hot yoga in particular can be really amazing because it loosens the muscles for good stretching! I would do everything you can to avoid surgery, especially at your age. Like the poster before me, building core is hugely important. Does the pain radiate down your leg to your knee? I ask because my much better half has major pain after sitting/driving for extended periods of time, has low back pain, and radiating pain down his leg. I am wondering if he too might have a herniated disc. Anyway, please let me know if I can offer any insight into the world of back surgery. I have had two spinal fusion surgeries. And I thank you for your desire to serve our country! Whatever life brings your way, I wish you all the best!!
    trs1960 replied to cspine75's response:
    I agree with the above comments. You are young, but your life may be putting strain on your back. Treatment now may prevent worsening and there's no easy way out. You need a good medical professional and proper exercise. Just make sure whomever you use knows spines!
    pvupilot replied to trs1960's response:
    Thanks guys! I guess I didn't make one part of the story clear. I am still waiting to hear what the Xray results are and so the doctor saying he thinks it is a herniated disc was just him making an assessment. But as I went through today, I get kind of nervous that the signs are just that. I don't have any pain in my legs, it is all isolated to my lower back and butt. I thought maybe the butt pain had to do with bad seats at work and the bad seat in my car so I threw a pillow on my car seat and boy, that made a difference! The pain has been mild the last few days, and not so much in my back as it is in my butt. No tingle feeling, more like a "pulse" type of pain. Does this still sound like a herniated disc or maybe something less major?
    bj1208 replied to pvupilot's response:
    Hi Pvupilot and welcome to the support group -

    When dealing with the spine, as TRS 1960 said, it's best to be seen by a spine specialist, either a Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they are the only ones that can read MRI, CT Scans or X-rays of the spine and can accurately diagnose and offer treatment plans.

    Spine issues can come on suddenly, most spine specialists will ask if you ever had any trauma to the spine, even if this happened when you were much younger. Genetics plays a part too as Degenerative Disc Disease is one that can be inherited from either your mother's side or your father's side so asking questions now may help in your spine specialist properly diagnosing your symptoms.

    Please let us know what the x-ray shows. Also, you may want to get some pillows and try sitting iwth those. They can add comfort especially if your chair does not have much cushion in it.

    take care~~
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    pvupilot replied to bj1208's response:
    Got the results from the Xrays today and... "The results are all normal" and bone density is normal too. Best news I've received for a while! He still wants me to go see some "physical medicine" doctor. I had a friend who is in the medical field do a small evaluation on my back and all they noticed were my back muscles were very tight. So this is looking to be just a muscular problem!
    bj1208 replied to pvupilot's response:
    Hi Pvupilot - that's great news -

    just be sure to keep a log of the pains and where they hurt at, if it gets worse. this way you will have something to show them and if it does get worse I would strongly suggest seeing a spine specialist as outlined in my previous post~~

    Let us know how u are doing~~
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    trs1960 replied to pvupilot's response:
    Keep in ind that Xrays and MRIs are only tools. Statistically 50% of people scanned that show abnormalities have no pain symptoms, yet 50% of people reporting pain have no pathalogy to support it.
    Keep an open mind, a positive spirit and study your spine. There's lots of great books out there that can teach you what may be an affect of a disc issue or just muscle pain from bad seating or posture like you already mentioned.

    jls826 responded:

    All the feed back is good. Just be cautious with exercise programs. Yoga and Pilates (and any exercise) are only helpful if they do NOT inadvertently cause more pain/damage to your spine. It's important to establish a good baseline, something a a physiatrist, pain and rehabilitaion specialist, neurologist, etc. (any who specialize in spine) can definitely help you with.

    Helpful Tips

    Try water therapy
    I also have had surgery for L5S1,protruding disc for sciatic pain. Everything was fine for a year. Then the pain came back and the doctor ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    22 of 32 found this helpful

    Helpful Resources

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center