16 year old son

Hi I'm new to this but desperately need some advice. My son has suffered lower back pain for the last year, all urine, bloods normal. He is now suffering from anxiety and has expressed suicidal thoughts due to the pain he is in. I feel so helpless, am I in the right place any suggestions? He's about to go for a pelvic exam and I've read about pain clinics but not going with him means I can't ask the in depth questions- I'm not sure a 16 year old would ask to be referred to a pain clinic? Help...

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  • Hello sorry to hear of the problems you and your son are having and hope there is an answer and cure for his pain.

    Should nothing come from the pelvic exam and you are still at a loss for the reason for the pain can I suggest that you then ask for him to checked for anklosing spondylitis a form of arthritis that first shows as unexplained low back pain and can hit young males hardest.a blood test for inflammatory markers -particularly esr is often a telling marker of the condition.

    Not for one moment suggesting it is this but it would be sensible to check for this if no other reasons found.

    I hope his pain is relieved soon.

  • Gosh thanks so much, this is the first time I've actually had anyone suggest anything or even listen. Thankyou

  • No problem Jane47. If the GP has no answers and the pain continues it would be wise to ask(or even demand in a nice way) for a referral to a rheumatologist who are best placed to help with any autoimmune/arthritis type conditions.IF and it's only an IF, it I said due to this type of condition then early proper diagnosis is really beneficial.

    Good luck getting the answers for your son.

  • Hi. I'm very sorry your son is going through this. Has he had an MRI of his back? I'm going through something similar myself and the doc suggested an MRI to see what's really going on. Also does he have any other symptoms. Like numbness or pins and needles? I really pray he gets some answers at his pelvic exam.

  • Thank-you so much Catherine, I'm really amazed that people want to offer help! Wish I'd signed up here a few months ago. Is an MRI something I can ask for? I wish I could go with him but he's that kind of age. If I put the suggestions down and give to him at least he's armed! My worry is that they must think I'm an over anxious mother and hes some kind of hypercondriac. Can't bear to see him withdrawing so much and noone really listening. Thanks again x

  • Hi Jayne I am high jacking Carolines post but absolutely agree with her.if your son gets no definitive answer to his pain then an MRI is a must.he/you may find you have to be firm and insist,which for most of us doesn't come naturally,but it will show lots that standard X-ray/scan will not.hopefully his GP will be a more helpful type and refer if he has no real answer. MRI needs to be of the full spine and pelvis.inflamatory markers blood test is. Also useful if no mechanical fault is found.

  • Thanks SS, He hasn't said anything about pins and needles but he has hinted that he has no sex drive (which seems unusual for a 16yr old) but could that be tied in with feeling anxiety about the pain. The drs have said that if he's anxious about something then it may be manifesting itself physically. More and more things pop up in my head when I start to think about it. Again many thanks for responding

  • Hi Jayne, yes it's true anxiety can manifest as physical which can cause or make any pain worse but they really need to rule out a mechanical or inflamatory cause prior to making a diagnosis of anxiety,so that anything that needs treatment gets the treatment.a mechanical cause does often cause pins and needles,numbness etc but an inflamatory arthritis usually does not. Does his pain lesson a bit when he is moving around? and worsen if lying or sitting for a day or so? Is it worse in the mornings when waking and ease a little if he is walking around,even indoors? Is it a sharp pain type or more of a deep aching? If he could explain to his GP those above things it should point the GP in which area to start to look for an explanation and refer if necessary to orthopaedic or rheumatologist.

  • Jane

    Have you looked into stem cell therapy.? Is it a disc problem? My stem cell doctor is injecting bulging or blown out disc's with a stem cell paste. It heals & combats inflammation. The pain clinic will only offer nerve blocks & narcotics. You can message me if interested in information about my doctor.

  • Sounds interesting, we have been told that he is too young to be referred to a pain clinic. I just want the doctors to take him seriously and offer him "Rule out" tests. We would appreciate any information you have so yes please!

  • Has he had an MRI? Could be spine related too!!! I have degenerative disk disease and that can cause pain!!!!! I know about the pain and how excruciating it can be and take over your life!!!! U definitely need to find out the cause. I've been in pain management for eight years. Physical therapy might help but need a diagnosis first!!!!! I've tried everything like acupuncture and pt and meds and hypnotherapy and seeing a psychologist. U name it I've tried it. I truly hope u can find an answer. I'm surprised u can't go with him!!!! Please keep in touch!!!! I'm here if u need anything!!!! My thoughts and prayers r with u and your son!!!!

  • Thank-you so much for your reply, he's been told paracetamol and naproxen? He has a pelvic exam coming up, might that show anything, like degenerative discs? I guess not... We asked about an mri but the doctor said that we would have to see what the hospital says after the pelvic exam. Can I ask for an MRI or is that for a specialist to suggest rather than a gp? Feel so naive about it all, your symptoms seem very similar to his. What pain relief is effective for you? Thanks again Karen

  • Hi Jane!!!! A gp can ask for an MRI. My neck pain got so bad it would lock up!!! I tried pt but I needed surgery and had three!!! I have had lower back pain as well but it was getting better and now is getting worse!!!! I've had epidural for that but they don't help much!!! I don't want back sx!!! I don't think the pelvic exam will show degeneration as that is usually done with an MRI!!! I have been on norco for seven years!!! I now have levator ani which is a spasm of the levator muscle in the pelvis. They call it headache in the pelvis and it is excruciating!!!! Does your sons pain feel like a pounding or stretching? What is his pain like? Where in the pelvis? My pelvic floor therapist uses exercises and breathing to help which it does but I have ibs which adds to my problems. I also use a therawand to help ease the pain which it does. If I didn't have pain pills and muscle relaxers I would be in serious trouble!!!!! I wouldn't be able to handle it. Your son might need those to help with the pain to settle the relaxation of the muscles that might be in spasm. I hope all goes well with his appointment!!!! Please keep me informed!!!! I'd be really curious as to what they find!!!! I can't imagine having this type of pain at his age!!! I'm so sorry to hear that!!!! I'm 62 and if I had had this at his age or when I was raising kids I wouldn't have been very good at life!!!! It does help talking to other people like u so I would encourage your son to do that if he can!!!! If u don't have this pain u can't understand it!!!!! I use to be able to talk to my mom about it but she ignores me now so I talk to my therapist. She has to listen!!! Lol. Not really. She's very interested in it and me!!!!! Anyway I hope your son can find out what is going on and get some help!!!! I know it's hell going through this!!!! I will say a prayer for him!!! I'm not super religious but I do believe in god so hopefully he will help your son and everyone else in pain cuz it sucks!!!! Take care Jane and please keep in touch!!!!!

  • Hi Jane!!!! How's your son?

  • Hi Karen well the pelvic exam turned out to be an ultrasound which turned out to be clear which I suppose is good. A nurse friend told me that once you've 'got your foot in the door' at hospital it should be fairly easy to nag and request stuff but unfortunately he was only being scanned so not technically 'under' anyone. It's difficult with him being 16 as he has to now do these things on his own and I think he's more likely to roll over than demand an MRI. I can't keep going in with him and I'm sure he doesn't want me too but I feel it's the only way he's actually being heard. His dr has said if the pelvic scan comes back clear then he will ask for a 'second opinion' I'm not sure if that means ask another dr at the surgery or speak to someone at hospital. It all seems a bit ridiculous, in pain for a year, I'm sure most people would have had an MRI by now but what do I know . What are your thoughts?

  • Hi Jane!!!! Well it's good the scan came back clear but I know u want an answer. I would too!!!! I would still push for an MRI or maybe go to a colorectal doctor to test the pelvic anatomy. He has to find out what's going on!!!! This is no way for anyone to live much less a 16 year old!!!!!! Don't give up!!!! Keep going to doctors until u get an answer. Usually a second opinion is with another doctor! I am now on my fifth gi doctor and he seems to be a keeper. My last one gave up on me!!!!! Said he couldn't help!!! I'm going to see the new colorectal doctor Tuesday and he's the second one. The first one gave up on me too!!!! U have to keep pushing forward until u find someone who cares and will fight for u!!!!! I can't give up on myself!!!! Somebody has to fight for me!!!! As I've told u I have tried everything and will keep going just as u and your son should. Have u tried going to a pelvic floor therapist? I saw my new one Thursday and I'm hopeful!!! We did biofeedback and internal tens on my recital region. Next is the balloon manometry which is suppose to decrease sensitivity and pain!!!! What r your sons symptoms? I know pelvic pain but is there anything else? An MRI will show a lot in the skeletal and nerve areas such as pinched nerves and impingements. I would push and push to keep trying to find an answer!!!! Don't give up!!!! Believe me I know how hard it is!!!! My son had a kidney problem and we just kept pushing until we had an answer which we got. That was years ago but was still a major problem!!!!! I can't and won't give up on me!!!! I just keep plugging away!!!! My mom asks why r u seeing another doctor? Because I'm tired of this and need help!!! Duh!!! I can't live like this. It usually takes me 3-4 hours in the morning before I can feel ok. Hopefully with this new tx I will get better. My therapist said many people she has treated like me have gotten so much better even though it took two months. I hate mornings as they r hell!!!! Keep fighting for your son. He might not want u to go in with him but if that's what it takes to get things to move along then so be it!!! U r only trying to help him get better!!!!! Please keep me posted as I'm truly concerned!!!!! I can't imagine being 16 and with this problem!!!!! I'm so sorry about that!!! I'm sorry for anyone who has a chronic problem. I read on another website about chronic pain and it's effects on people. I'd love to send it to u!!!! Do u have an email? It's in my phone and I read it quite often. It really puts things in perspective for yourself and others. Anyway keep me posted and I hope u and your son get some answers and soon!!!!! Take care Jane!!!!

  • Gosh Karen, sounds like you've been through the mill with this. All these things that you suggest are great but unless he wants to talk about them with the dr there's no way of knowing what he talks about. I've told him to ask for an MRI but I'm not hopeful that the dr will take this on board...

  • hi there Jane47 again. As Karen has also said an MRI is really the thing you would need to get done if your son still has pain after 1 year and no explanation for it,as such. if you ask your GP to do ESR blood test,if it hasn't already been done,and it shows above normal range then an MRI really is essential to rule in/out inflamatory condition/s. As before, I can only say that It is a possibility,and only that at their stage,that it could be AS an inflamatory arthritis of the spine/hips/pelvis which does strike at young males.it. An also affect females but the condition is usually milder in them.

    If it were me I would go all out to get that excluded.its fairly rare'ish and is not always the first thing a GP would be looking at but given his age,sex and what sounds like daily pain/aching-with no other clear reason given it is definitely something to check for.early detection can help to get a more targeted pain plan which with specific excersizes can lessen the effects.

    Esr for his age should be around 12 maximum.

    Hopefully he will soon get whatever help he needs to enable him to enjoy life again.

  • Hi Jane, is he receiving any counselling/psychological support? You mentioned anxiety and suicidal thoughts - make sure his GP is aware of this, if he isn't. And as someone mentioned, find a rheumatologist to investigate the joint pain. I'm a physio - have you tried that too? Physio's can advise on pain relief and exercises. Hope your son gets some relief and the right support soon. xo

  • Hi he was given a counselling leaflet by the doctor and left to it. How do I go about accessing physiotherapist? Do I have to go through the gp because if so I will have to leave it to my son to ask as I can't keep going in with him. The danger is that he doesn't want to keep going to the doctor and unlike myself, a middle aged woman, I don't think he will shout loud enough to get what he needs. I feel like they're fobbing him off...can he ask for a referral to a rheumatologist?

  • Hi Jane - I've sent you a private reply. Check your inbox.

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