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, episode 2, and episode 3 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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Interrogating the usual suspects in the police lineup brought the Joint Task Force no closer to cracking their case. But Detective Anders realized there have been some other back pain case files still unsolved.

Could they all be related? She starts playing back old interview footage to look for patterns.

“Almost all these files involve people who had back problems relatively early in life. If they strained their back from an injury or fall, their pain would be more consistent — and wouldn’t last more than three months,” notes Detective Anders. “That’s a sure sign they need to see a doctor, but so many doctors miss the real story.”

She watches another female victim describe her pain: “I’d wake up in the middle of the night in agony. It seemed like my pain got better with exercise and worse with rest.”

Then observes what this male victim said: “Exercise made it better. Rest made it feel worse.”

As she toggles back and forth between the footage, she realizes there are more and more similarities between what they are describing and what the victim in her current case is experiencing.

Detective Anders starts pacing the room. She knows this feeling — she’s hot on the trail.

Staring at the office bulletin board, a few random words scream out to her, seemingly out of nowhere: “Special.” “Joint.” “Doctor.”

Startled and excited, Detective Anders drops her coffee mug. She knows exactly what they need to do next. “I need a special joint doctor. Get me a rheumatologist! STAT!”

 

Keep Watching

Watch what happens next in episode 5, the final episode of My Back Is Killing Me.

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