Best approach to getting back pain diagnosis w/o insurance

Patient : Hi, I'm a 31 year old male. No insurance. I've had chronic lower back pain since I was 14 from a skateboarding injury. I've never been to a doctor about it. I'm trying to figure out the best and most cost effective method of getting it diagnosed and treated. I've called a local back pain specialist and they charge $250 for the visit, + $100 for a drug test and from what I can tell that doesn't include any x-ray or anything. They don't do in house MRIs. I can't get much info from them without spending the money and I'm worried that I'll be spending $400 on a bottle of ibuprophen and told get some rest. I'm curious if you can make a recommendation on the best approach for someone in my situation with no insurance and limited cash. Should I call around places to try to get a cheap MRI first? Are cortisone injections expensive and is an MRI a requirement to asses if that's the best course of action? I've taken ibuprophen and tylenol occasionally and it helps with some of the aching associated with the pain but it doesn't do anything for the sharp pain in my lower back. I have some hydrocodone and it helps with the pain. The pain comes and goes so I only use around 10mg/wk on average. I am uncomfortable having it without a prescription though and would really like to be able to be honest with a doc and be treated like in an adult. I have considered shopping around general practitioners to find one that can help in that regard but then I feel like I'm sacrificing the expertise of a specialist for just any doc that won't patronize me. Any recommendations as to where to start would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Symptoms:  Sharp lower back pain. Associated right foot pain and mid/lower back ache
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