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I was having pretty bad lower back pain which I did have on and off for about a year. I was told as long as the pain goes away it's not mets. So after joining a gym I thought I had pulled a muscle and my regular family doctor put me on a couple rounds of steroids (two different times) and when that didn't work he sent me for an X-ray. That showed I had degenerated discs and he was going to send me to PT. Like the others said, it was just a different type of pain I was having in my lower abdomen. So I went to my onc and he ordered a CT scan which showed 3 areas on my lungs. Then I had a PET scan and that's when things really showed up...the spots on my spine, etc.
So...to me there really is no one way to know just by feeling pain without having a scan. And all this happened within a matter of about 2-3 months. I hope that helps.
Love, Karen H.