I'm not sure what I'm looking for here. I just kind of want to vent and get some advice if there is any. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm throwing myself a pity party but I just need to unload. I've had chronic pain in my back and neck for 2 and a half years now. I finally went to a doctor about it end of summer 2017 on the advice of my wife. and After a few visits we did X-rays of my lower back and neck. The neck X-ray showed degeneration so we did an MRI of (just) my neck. I was told I have osteoarthritis and two bulging discs. At first it was a relief to get this information. It made it clear that I'm not crazy and the pain was real and had a cause.
However, the pain has been getting worse even with treatment. I've done PT, and I was prescribed Gabapentin and Tylenol 3. The PT exacerbated the symptoms, the Gabapentin isn't working, and the Tylenol 3 doesn't kill the pain. In fact, I'm not totally proud of it, but in moments of frustration, I've taken more than the recommended dose and it's only made me drowsy enough to finally fall asleep. When I wake up the pain is still there and on fire. I know there are heavier pain mess out there but I don't want to do those for a lot of reasons. The doctor has recommended getting a shot but he said it works for some people and doesn't work for others. It doesn't seem like there is much that can be done about these conditions or the pain.
I can't stand for more than twenty minutes. I can't sit in the same position for more than 20 minutes. When I lay down there is no sense of relief. I still feel like I have a weight on top of me, like there is extreme pressure in my upper back, shoulders, and neck. My neck cracks, grinds, and pops like crazy. Most days I have limited mobility. Some days I literally can't move my neck at all and I probably shouldn't be driving. I feel so tight and constricted all the time. I'm constantly tired/ fatigued. I have difficulty exercising. I see people doing physical things and it hurts just looking at them because I know I can't do it and my body won't move like that. I can't sleep through the night. I've always had migraines but I get them even more often now. I really think the lower back pain is just sciatica. It's still painful and it radiates down to my lower half but it is nothing at all compared to the pain in my upper back, neck and shoulders. My left arm feels like a bag of sand and there are days where the fingers on my left hand will not do what my brain is telling them to. Lately I've had a pain I can only describe as bright red. It starts at the bottom of my left shoulder blade and continues up to my neck, and imbeds behind my left ear/ upper jaw.
I mentioned the grinding and cracking. It starts about half way down my spine and when I bend/ twist it cracks/grinds from there to the base of my skull. This concerns me because we only completed the MRI on my neck. I've seen the pictures and there is no view of my mid spine and very little of my upper spine.
I'm 32 years old. I've never been in a serious/ injury accident and I didn't play high school/ college contact sports. However I've always been very athletic. I lifted heavy weights, jogged, pick up games, etc. and for a time in my twenties I chose to save money rather than buy a car. So for a few years I was walking 6 plus miles per day. Now it hurts my body when I even think about jogging, my legs hitting the pavement, vibrations running up my bones.
What is this? Is arthritis pain really this intense and limiting? Especially considering my age. On that note, if I can barely stand for very long now what's this going to be like in ten or twenty years? I'm going a little nuts. I've complained about it to my wife and a few close friends but I don't want to seem like a baby, and I don't want to bother or burden them. I swear I have a high threshold for pain but this is nuts. I'm wondering again if I'm crazy. If the pain is really as bad as it seems or if it's all in my head. I desperately want a good nights sleep without medication and without feeling like I got the shit kicked out of me while I was dreaming. Why can't I do the physical things I used to be able to do and why is this happening so young? Are MRIs ever wrong? Could my diagnosis be incorrect? Should I get an MRI of my entire back? A second opinion? I'm extremely frustrated and I really don't know what to do or how to deal with this.