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Crippling pain in upper spine
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Crippling pain in upper spine

Hello,
About 5 years ago I hurt my back.  I went through an Army course that involved carrying a lot of weight long distances, the weight was usually on a pipe or bar that rested on top of my ruck sack right at the base of my neck.  After the course I had severe pain in my upper spine.  If I stepped wrong off a step or something pain would shoot through my back and push the air out of my lungs, and I also had spasms in parts of my back according to an Army physician (who just treated my muscular problem in my back which has mostly gone away)

About two months later, I was carrying a bunch of stuff into my barracks and it felt like a water balloon popped between two of my vertebrae.  It was so bad I fell down and had to go get friends to carry my gear for me.  After that it was very painful to ruck but it got mostly better and didn't interfere with my every day life after I got out of the Army.

Then, this past March, I got rolled back on my beck in a way that should not have been a problem.  I felt my upper spine pop and then felt a lot of pressure around the area of my spine that had been hurt before.  The next day the pain was crippling and I left work after only working for an hour because I couldn't stand or sit upright, I had to lay down.  It was excruciating, and though it was also painful for the next few days I was able to function alright.

The problem is, that was March and it's now October, and it hasn't gotten any better.  If I carry any more than about 12 pounds for more than about 30 seconds, such as if I try to carry two jugs of milk or a bag of dog food through the grocery store, I get a very intense pain in my spine that stays for the rest of the day, though it does become less intense if I sit down and rest.  It's crippling in that I can't do anything else for the rest of the day, it's much too painful.  When I first injured my back, it seemed to get better (or at least good enough) over the course of just a few weeks to a few months, to the point that I was able to ruck march with lots of weight with some of the best in my company, but this time it's been 7 months and it hasn't improved at all.

I didn't get treated in the Army because the Army physicians blew me off, and since I was Infantry I had that "walk it off/deal with it" mentality and since I was able to cope with it, I just let it ride.  But now it's so bad it's interfering with my every day life.  I had X-Rays while in the Army and it didn't show anything, though I wasn't able to get an MRI.  

My question is this: what sort of injury could it be, is it treatable, and what steps do I need to take to get it treated?  I have a coupon for a free examination and X-Ray for a back place.  Can I take the X-Ray I get there to another physician?  How do I get an MRI done?  I've never dealt with health care outside of the Army and don't really know what I should do.  I do not want to get treated by the VA, I want real private doctors that won't blow me off.

Thanks a ton,
Doug
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