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. Watch episode 1 or episode 2 here if you haven’t seen them.

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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After a thorough interview with their back pain victim in episode 2, the Joint Task Force decides to bring in the usual suspects — a group of probable back pain causes — to see which, if any, could be the culprit in their victim’s symptoms.

Her old mattress: While a lumpy mattress is notorious for contributing to back pain, it can’t fully explain the victim’s years and years of pain. What’s more, she switched out her mattress a few months ago and she’s still in agony.

“So the statute of limitations on this bad boy has run out,” observes Detective Anders. “Who’s next?”

Tristan, the victim’s boss: Excess stress can certainly play a role in chronic pain. But the victim says that work’s been good lately. And work stress can’t fully explain why the victim is experiencing such significant fatigue in addition to joint pain.

Heavy box: The victim did move apartments recently, but an injury from heavy lifting tends to be acute. It should go away in a few days or weeks with adequate rest.

X-ray: While the victim fell off her bike as a child, an injury of this nature shouldn’t be causing chronic back pain and other symptoms decades later.

Fibromyalgia: This chronic illness characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain is common among people with various kinds of chronic pain. But there are inconsistencies with the victim’s pain and fibromyalgia. It’s clear that fibro is just another misdiagnosis.

“To have fibro you need to have pain all over, and our victim’s pain is localized. It seems that fibro has an airtight alibi this time,” says Officer Gil.

Unfortunately, the Joint Task Force seems no closer to solving this back pain mystery. Detective Anders decides they need to take a look at other unsolved back pain cases.

 

Keep Watching

Watch what happens next in episode 4 of My Back Is Killing Me.

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