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Do you have lower back pain with clean MRIs/X-Rays and can't seem to get a diagnosis?
agentshell posted:
Do you:

1) Have lower back pain that has persisted for weeks/months/years at a time with seemingly no cause?

2) Have you attempted to get X-Rays and/or MRIs to diagnose this problem and gotten a "clean" bill of health, even treated like your problem was unimportant or, worse, not real at all?

3) Are you double-jointed or more flexible than others?

Then you might want to read on - I might have an answer for you.


I have struggled with lower back pain since I was a teenager, with a worsening in intensity as I have hit college years and my mid-twenties. It became so excruciating that I found myself going home immediately after classes to lie down, as that was the only way to get some form of relief. Any type of job has required me to be on a substantial amount of pain medication every day just to handle standing on my feet. We all know that pain medicine is harder and harder to be prescribed these days, and it is not ideal to take long-term anyway, as it is not a solution to the problem.

Anyway, I was becoming frustrated as I went to a chiropractor, which provided no relief, and then a spine doctor, which only afforded me a very expensive MRI and some X-Rays, both of which showed nothing except for some slight scoliosis (curvage in my spine). I have been informed by more than one doctor that scoliosis is not as scary as it sounds to most, and that a lot of people have it without any symptoms.

Finally I went to a physical therapist. I described my frustrations to him and he said, "I know what you have without even looking at you". He described something called Hyper-Mobility Syndrome to me which apparently occurs in many more flexible people, especially double-jointed individuals. He said that he has treated many dancers and gymnasts for this condition. A person with HMS has more flexible ligaments, which is good because it makes it much more difficult for us to break things, but bad because if the muscles in the lower back are weak, the ligaments start to stretch and strain in attempts to hold the spine in place.

At first I was skeptical after so many years of not having an answer, but I have been going to physical therapy for about six weeks now and I can actually feel a big difference. It's not excruciating to be on my feet for more than a few hours anymore, and I feel like with a few more weeks of work and continued exercise I will reach a point where I might only need my pain medicine on "bad days". My physical therapist said that there is no cure, only treatment, which is namely exercising one's core and doing aerobic exercises to keep the muscles in the back strong, but it is a manageable condition and doesn't have to control one's life. He himself has the disorder and is obviously very successful and lives a very normal and enriched life.

I took the time to post about this to spread awareness in case there was anyone like me that has been suffering from mysterious back pain and felt that there was no answer in sight. I hope this is helpful to even just one person out there looking for answers. I for one never knew that the ability to touch my toes to the back of my head and bend my thumb all the way flat to my wrist could mean a painful physical condition, but I feel much better for having found out.

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trs1960 responded:
Statistically about 50% of people with positive MRI pathology have no pain associated with the objective criteria. Conversely, about 50% of people with back pain have clean MRIs.

They're only a tool to show soft tissue images. Not good enough to show how the actual nerves are being impacted or the internal condition of disc nuclei. Think of t as a good road map when you need a microscope.

Of course before MRI and all of the knowledge gained from this it was like having blindfolds on
bj1208 responded:
Hi Agentshell - welcome to the support group -

I think the physical therapist may have misstated the definition and/or you may have misunderstood it - here is the definition from the MAYO Clinic -

I've had this since I was very young being able to bend/twist etc where others could not do this. This condition does cause for more sprains and dislocations etc.

The article also describes 2 other conditions Ehler-Danlos Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome which these are rare and can be serious disorders where joint hypermobility accompanied by joint pain should be examined by a physician to determine why this is happening

I believe because you are older and and this is happening along with pain that you should bring this up to your physicians attention to determine what is causing it and what the best treatment plan would be.

Hope this helps further with what you have found out - do as much research as you can. Let us know what you find out~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~

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