My Back Is Killing Me is part of a new campaign about back pain awareness from the nonprofit patient community CreakyJoints. The videos in this campaign were produced with support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. If you missed episode 1, watch it here.

To take our quiz about back pain and watch more videos, visit creakyjoints.org/backpain.

In My Back Is Killing Me the police officer and detective are actors, but the “victims” are actual patients with chronic pain and the rheumatologist, Fardina Malik, MD, is a practicing physician at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Watch more of Hannah’s, Jed’s, and Roz’s patient stories in our companion series My Backstory. Watch more of Dr. Malik here.

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The Joint Task Force sits down with their back pain victim, a 30-year-old woman whose back pain is so bad that it’s killing her. Detective Anders and Officer Gil need to interview the victim to see what her patient journey has been like so they can avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Here’s how the victim describes her symptoms in her own words: “I just knew I was tired all the time. My lower back was stiff and sore, and my hips and my butt hurt, and I was too young to be that old, you know?”

When Detective Anders asks if the patient ever saw a doctor, she’s shocked by her response: “Dozens.”

Over the years, the patient was diagnosed with and treated for many different diseases, but she’s still living in pain. “Mono, chronic fatigue, endometriosis, chronic low-grade fever, spinal stenosis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, you name it,” she says.

Even worse, she says, some doctors thought she was making up her symptoms or was depressed. Others even just chalked it up to needing to lose weight.

“I feel like total crap some days and I have no idea why,” the victim pleads. “I’ve seen primary care physicians, chiropractors, orthopedists, neurologists, spinal surgeons. And I’m no closer to finding out why my back is killing me.”

More puzzled than ever, the Joint Task Force decides they need to take a look at the usual suspects — a back pain line-up — to keep digging.

“We’re gonna figure out why this woman’s back’s outta whack if it’s the last thing we do,” vows Detective Anders.

 

Keep Watching

Watch what happens next in episode 3 of My Back Is Killing Me.

For more information about cracking your own back pain attack, go to creakyjoints.org/backpain.