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Teen Undiagnosed Chronic Pain
An_254047 posted:
Somewhat of an update from what I believe I may have posted before.

I'm a sixteen-year-old girl, and have been suffering from chronic back pain for about two years now. Around last May, I finally got an appointment with the doctors. After a brief scoliosis test and a lower-back x-ray, they apparently could find nothing wrong, but suggested physical therapy. My parents are convinced that I just have "growing pains" (which I find superbly unlikely at this point), and haven't taken me back since. I have gotten no further medical help for this, and it's unlikely it'll happen any time soon.

The pain radiates primarily in my hips and shoulders; my shoulders and upper back constantly ache, while my hips hurt depending on my position at the time. For example, if I stand in the same position for more than, say, ten seconds, my hips will suddenly hurt (sort of like pinching) once I shift my weight. If I'm sitting in a position with my legs up, then my hips will hurt, as well. It's because of my hip pain that I've developed a limp while I walk - it started subconsciously, but eventually I realized that the longer I walk, the more my hips hurt (usually, I favor the right first, but then the left starts hurting after a while, and it starts a lopsided sort of cycle between the two).

The one thing the doctor recommended that I was able to do was get a rolling "backpack" (okay, so they didn't have backpacks, but a suitcase works just fine), so I wouldn't have to carry my books. This works for the most part, though my school unluckily has a large amount of stairs. Still, I'd say that if it weren't for the change, I'd probably be in an even worse place now, since my pain worsens over time.

I've also tried stretching; after a family member's experience with a slipped disc, I was offered a variety of exercises, and I've found that my pain responds the most to is bringing one knee to my chest, and extending the other. Sometimes, it makes my joints loosen up; other times, it just makes them especially sore.

One of the most frustrating things about my current position is how it affects my performance as a musician. As a violist, my playing requires an upright posture that I sincerely cannot achieve anymore, and often times once I come home from school I'm too tired and the pain has progressed to a point that I'm no longer motivated to feign a straighter spine and practice as long as I should. Whenever I ask about trying to improve my posture, people just say "sit up straight" which... doesn't really work, at this point. However, I'm willing to try anything suggested.

Thanks in advance for any advice. Sorry if I sound overly sarcastic or irritated; it's just kind of frustrating knowing little to nothing about what might be going on.
bj1208 responded:
Hi again and welcome back to the support group -

For one thing - growing pains do not last that long and also as an example, both my daughters stopped having those around the age of 13-14.

You are way to young to be having this type of pain for as long as you have been having it.

You've already had a couple of tests done and still no diagnosis of what is going on with your shoulders and lower back.. It would be advisable for you to see your doctor again and stress that you still have pains. Having either a MRI or CT Scan would seem to be the next step as either of these tests may show what is going on. But the most important part is once these tests are done you would need to see a spine specialist (either Orthopedic or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist) as they are the only onees that can accurately read the reports and give you an accurate diagnosis.

You need to stress to you parents about your pains still being bad and how they affect you at school. you should speak to your orchestra teacher to see if he/she has noticed this affecting your playing and see if they can discuss concerns with your parents.

Hope this helps - please keep us posted how u are doing~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
An_254047 replied to bj1208's response:
Thanks for the reply.

I've tried to be more persistent about it to them lately; now, the consensus seems to be that my pains are being caused by my poor posture. I didn't find this plausible before, since I'm surrounded by people who all have generally bad posture, and very few people with chronic back pain (even then, some of them have great posture, regardless). I'm aware that slouching can definitely cause some lower back pain, but do you think it'd be likely for it to be the primary cause of what I'm going through now?
bj1208 replied to An_254047's response:
Pains that last longer than a week or two would be cause for concern. I grew up with bad posture but never had back pains like this. If I did have pains taking either tylenol or ibuprofen would take care of it.

There could be a number of reasons why and until you get the right tests done and see the right doctor you won't know - and doing the guessing game is not enough. Everyone can always put their 2 cents in.

please try and stress this - you need to stay on top of it to get some answers.

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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