I'm a 26 year old female living in an extremely variant climate (sometimes makes pain worse more often).
I hurt my back when I was 15 years old while showing off for scouts in softball. I slid head first into a base the wrong way and immediately couldn't move and felt like throwing up.. I couldn't turn my head or lift a bat immediately following the incident. My mother suggested waiting to see a doctor in case I had just pulled a muscle so we waited for a few months and finally went to get a doctors opinion. They did no tests and attributed it to "growing pains" which did not make sense as the pain was immediate and did not develop over time.
About a year after the incident, we went to get a second opinion. I had an x-ray and MRI done, which showed I had a slightly bulging disk and several pinched nerves. They prescribed me loratabs which did nothing so I didn't take them (I wanted to be fixed in order to continue sports, not just be given a bandaid) I went to PT, massage therapy, and chiropractor all twice a week for at least a year.. nothing. I became so frustrated that I ended up giving up and just believing that this was my life from now on. There'd be days I couldn't go to school or work because I couldn't even lift myself out of bed. I did occasionally go to the chiropractor or masseuse to get temporary relief throughout the years.
So here I am over ten years later finally thinking about the future and having kids (It makes me cringe to think how my back will feel while I'm pregnant or the birth itself). I also wasn't able to sleep at all. This was not a problem as a kid because I didn't feel I needed sleep but now I lay in bed sometimes for over 13 hours and probably only sleep 4 (yes I did get a new mattress too to see if that helped.. but it did not make a difference) I started the steps to go back to the doctor about 7 months ago, starting with my primary who prescribed me ibuprofen 800mg. Then went to a spine and sports specialist who took an MRI of my lumbar and found the same things slightly worsened than when I was a kid. Now I also have intense pain in my neck and shoulders but they would not refer me for a MRI for those. My sciatic pain radiates everywhere EXCEPT my left arm. I have no idea why its only that arm but I am right handed. They recommended PT twice a week again. I went to the best guy in my city and he knew my story by just a few physical tests. My sciatic nerve is "shot" --his words-- I am not able to lift my leg with my head bent downward, I cannot touch my feet and never have been able to since the accident, it radiates throughout my entire back and affects my mental state as well as my social life. He is telling me all this and I start to cry because no one has ever believed in my problems, everyone said I was in pain but not as much as I said I was in. He tells me they didn't know as much about nerves back when I got hurt and the PT I was in at the time actually worsened my condition. He has mentioned that there may be something wrong in my upper back/shoulder blades/ neck but he cannot do anything to help without a referral. PT has helped me but I still have some days when I cannot move and am crying without realizing it because of the pain.
Now, my doctors believe I have rheumatoid arthritis, I'm going to be getting blood test results back soon. However they don't see the nerve factor as being a major problem. They refuse to do an MRI on my upper/middle back even though I have intense pain there as well, so therefore I cannot get a referral for PT without the MRI.
I'm curious if I should stick with this track of my current doctors or perhaps switch and go see a neurologist instead? I have become very weary of doctors since the incident first occurred and also with my father who was also misdiagnosed when in reality his spinal cord twisted in between two of his vertebrae and he could not walk because of pain and also had two old hip fracture which he could not feel because of the nerve damage.
Also, I am a waitress. I know that this may not be the best career pick for my condition but I do love it and I could not work at an office as I cannot sit for more than half an hour. I have tried yoga but it is very tough and frustrating for me. I cannot walk straight anymore, I walk most of the time with a limp from my sciatic and often do not leave the house when I'm not working. I do not take any prescribed medication either besides the ibuprofen which does nothing. I feel helpless and don't know what to do anymore. It has controlled my life for longer than I can remember and has limited me in so many things and I'm not even 30 yet so I'm worried for my future. Please any advise is appreciated.