Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

How do you know when to go to the hospital?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Chronic Pain
I have chronic lower back pain, herniated L5-S1, nerve referral down both legs and muscle spasms everywhere. I am currenty having severe muscle spasms in my neck from the way I have to sit. I have a horrible headache (the domino effect) directly related to my lower back. I had to leave work after only 20 minutes this morning.

It's not that this is pain I haven't been in for a long time although I'd say it's one of the worst days I've had in a while.

I've never been to the hospital for my back pain, ever. It's no an emergency, I'm not dying, but WHEN DOES A GIRL DESERVE SOME RELIEF?

I would probably just get labeled a drug seeker because I'm only 21. I have a copy of my most recent MRI dated September 4, 2008.

Do I go? I can't stop crying so that says I should go but I'm just apprehensive about the hospital making me cry worse.

Thanks for reading...

-Lisa
advertisement
13

Comments

  • Firstly where do you live lisa? UK or USA? I know in the UK they will probably just give you meds (they did this with me) so i would suggest seeing your Dr a.s.a.p he can then refer you to a spinal consultant who will then assess you (take your MRI scans with you) then he will decide how urgently you need to be treated. I was booked in 5 weeks after seeing mine and @I had been off work for 3 months as in the same pain as you and could not sit at my desk for more than 10 mins. Let me know hown it goes. PM me if you like
  • Here's what I use as an indicator that it's time to go to the hospital/ER.

    If my pain is so out of control "at the moment" that I can't control my breathing, I'm nauseous or vomiting and I know there's no way I can just hide in a dark bedroom and make it until morning.

    "C"

  • I just cried all night and prayed a lot in several religions O:) :S I am still in a lot of pain, duh, as always but I have to suck it up. Doesn't that suck? Sucking it up? I feel trapped inside a lower body that is mad at me for 11 years of gymnastics and tae kwon do. If only I had had a crystal ball... Yeah, I probably would have ignored the future and kept up with the sports I love... Stubborn woman I am... Now I just have a broken bottom half with a brain that's as eager and sharp as ever. I should have my master's degree in 5 years. But now I can't make it through the day. Something's got to give. Anything.
  • what about a doctor? why go to the hospital when you can go to a doctor? it doesn't make sense to me. doctors can give out meds. get referred to a pain dr and set up test etc with them. people who go to hospiital for back pain do get labled drug seekers not due to age but because they will ask who your dr is. the hospital is not for treatment, it is for emergencies and use of it instead of a doctor makes our rates go up. do you have a doctor? have you asked him for meds? did you have a referral to a pain dr? the problem back pain is something that is subjective and hard to pin down even with mri's. my advice, get a dr and get started with a pain dr then start treatment. you willl probably have another mri, nerve tests, discography, etc to pin down pain

    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Good point. I was wondering about that also.

    "C"
  • I think it was too late in the evening when the post was made???

    Not everyone in pain need a pain Dr...,but a regular pcp would be a good start,and I agree about the ER thing.The last time I went to the ER was when I dislocated my shoulder.That was a few years ago..the last time(I did it 3 times)

    What is the deal with all the ER posts I read?I thought ER stood for emergency room?
  • i guess by now you can tell there are certain things that bug me and use of emergency room is one. people should have a doctor if they have back pain and the dr or pain dr should give enough pain meds to last. one should follow the amount and directions, then one should not run out. if you go to er, they will usually ask what meds you are on and who is your dr. this is a screening process. er's are for emergencies. if you can't walk or function, maybe go. or if it is that bad drs usually will say on phone call 911 if this is an emergency. if it is that bad call911. when people go to er our rates go up. this is why in ca we have insurance rates that go up, abuses of hospitals. also why would you want to wait 4-5 hours to see a dr?

    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Good points Jon


    If there's anything that can irk Doctors, it's patients that go to the ER for non-emergencies. Being a Paramedic, I was on a different end of the scenerio. We often had "frequent fliers" that would call us to take them into the ER for everything from the college girls with menstrual cramps on exam dates, to poor people that just need a ride to town and can't afford a taxi. This takes resources away from those that do have dire need emergencies and could potentially result in loss of life if someone has to wait because all of the ambulances, or ER docs, are tied up with basic stuff.

    Having said that, sometimes there is a change in pain, or a new symptom, that do warrant urgent attention, and if it's after hours then the ER is the only alternative. For instance, a patient with chronic back pain and sciatic nerve damage loses control of their bladder and/or bowels..that is an emergency and must be evaluated right away.

    I don't know enough about Lisa's circumstances to deduce whether or not there is a legitimate need for the ER. If it's during Doctors business hours, then patients should call the office and ask what they should do-sometimes the Dr will tell a patient to go to ER. If it's after hours there should be a pager number or phone number to call and that avenue should be pursued before going to the ER if conditions are not life threatening.

    At any rate, Lisa, I hope you the are feeling better or at least able to contact your Doctor for guidance. Please keep us posted, OK?

    Take care of yourself..
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,715
    I agree with Jon in the fact that Emergency Rooms are often mis used. I believe that Emergency Rooms should be used for what the name implies - Emergencies. Now granted this does not mean every instance has to be a 911 situation. There are many times where there is a problem that can not wait and you can not get hold of your doctor. And there are many other legitimate reasons.
    But what I have objections to are those that use the Emergency Room as a standard way in obtaining medical treatment. It could be for a head cold, sniffles, a sprained ankle, etc.
    If you ever sit in an emergency room for a bit, you will run across these. And what makes it worse is that some of those folks do not pay for the services. We cant turn people away, but who pays for those services in the long run?
    I have several friends who have worked in the Emergency room as a doctor, a nurse, or another technician. What I would hope to see is that their time is spent handling emergency situations and not just taking care of a head cold.
    I am sure its different in different parts of the country.
    Years ago, we had several walk in centers where people could go for the run of the mill treatment. Those have all closed down. I have the utmost respect for Emergency Room personnel, starting at the triage desk to the folks that have to clean the rooms
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I'VE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS PAIN FOR 6 YEARS, THE PAST 2 BEING SEVERE. I'VE NEVER ONCE GONE TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM, EVER. I HAVE BC/BS PPO AND HAVE MET ALL DEDUCTABLES AND OUT-OF-POCKETS FOR THE YEAR. I HAVE A CURRENT MRI (HERNIATED DISC, STENOSIS, FACET ANOMOLY, ETC.)AND A LOWSY PAIN DOCTOR. I'VE HAD MRI'S, EPIDURALS, THE WORKS! I AM SEEING A NEW PM AT THE END OF OCTOBER BECAUSE MINE HAS SAID THAT IS HIS PERSONAL BELIEF THAT SOMEONE MY AGE SHOULD "JUST DEAL WITH IT". I TAKE 60MG VICODIN, 8MG ZANAFLEX AND 300MG LYRICA EVERYDAY. I SUFFER SILENTLY BECAUSE OF MY AGE. I HAVEN'T SLEPT IN 2 DAYS. MY URINE IS COMING OUT IN SPURTS DUE TO PRESSURE ON MY NERVES. I'VE BEEN HAVING ANXIETY ATTACKS LIKE NEVER BEOFREN THAT MESS WITH MY BREATHING AND FUNCTIONING ALL CAUSED BY PAIN. THE SPASMS IN MY NECK, CAUSED BY MY BACK AND THE WAY I HAVE TO SIT/LAY/STAND/LIVE ARE SO SEVERE I COULDN'T HOLD MY HEAD UP WHEN I WROTE MY INITIAL POST.

    BUT I'M NOT DYING, I'M PAINFULLY AWARE OF THAT. I GUESS THE ADVICE HERE IS TO SUFFER, SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT. BECOME NOTHING. JUST DEAL WITH IT. I'M TOO YOUNG FOR ADEQUATE HELP SO JUST DEAL WITH IT. I'M TOLD I'M TOO YOUNG TO HAVE AN MRI LIKE MINE BUT I HAVE IT, IT'S REAL, BUT SUPPOSEDLY I'M STILL TOO YOUNG. FINE. I GET IT. NOT AN EMERGENCY, JUST MY LIFE.

    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INPUT, IT'S HELPED A GREAT DEAL.

    -LISA
  • You don't need to defend yourself to me or anybody.I figured it was too late at the time of your initail post to go to the Dr and was why you mentioned the ER...I saw that it was questioned so added my thoughts,but it was not personal.Not to me.

  • I NEVER TAKE MORE MEDICINE THAN I AM ALLOWED. I NEVER RUN OUT OR REFILL EARLY. I ICE, STRETCH, WALK WHEN I CAN, AND DO SO MANY OTHER THINGS I DON'T FEEL LIKE LISTING RIGHT NOW. IT'S ONLY BECAUSE OF MY AGE I'M NOT GETTING PROPER TREATMENT. DOCTORS HAVE SAID MY PAIN IS REAL AND THEY BELIEVE ME BUT I'M TOO YOUNG FOR ANY OTHER HELP. MY SURGEON SAID I'M TOO YOUNG FOR SURGERY UNLESS I'M BEDRIDDEN 100%. I'VE DONE ALL THE RIGHT THINGS BUT EVERYTHING IS WORKING AGAINST ME.

    I GUESS I'M JUST ONE OF THE MANY THAT THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED.
  • Lisa

    None of us here are judging you, nor did anyone say you abuse the ER. We just stated our views on going to the ER for non emergencies. If you re-read the replies you'll see that we also said that there are times when non life threatening situations warrant going to the ER when a persons Doctor is not available to them.

    All I am suggesting is that you call your Doctor's office and explain what is going on and ask what they want you to do. They may very well tell you to go to the ER, but you won't know that unless you call. It's a weekday, call the office and find out what's going on now before they close for the night.

    You should not be left to suffer needlessly and nobody here is suggesting otherwise. We understand that you're in pain-so are we! We're trying to offer your our advice, which is what you wanted, correct? Otherwise you wouldn't have posted about this at all...? The last thing you want to do is something that can get you labeled as a drug seeker or hypochodriac. If you were to go to the ER w/o contacting your Doctor first, it's very likely that label would be attached to you and present you a whole host of new problems from that point on. You want to avoid that at all costs.

    It doesnt matter how old you are-you are in pain and that pain is real. So take my advice and call your Doctors office right now and see what they advise you to do, OK?

    We really truly do want you to get help-we just want you to go about it appropriately, that's all.

    Try to keep that chin up and don't get defensive, especially with the Doctor's, or else you'll be shooting yourself in the foot, and that's the last thing I want to happen to you.

    Hope you get the help you need.

    -also, please don't type in all caps-it gives the impression that you're shouting at everyone who reads your posts, OK? I think there's a post around here somewhere with the various netiquette guidelines that explains this.

    Take care, and please do let us know how it goes.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,715
    By itself Age, does not dictate what treatments you can get.
    Since chronic pain does not discriminate with ages, nor should any treatment. I was 16 when I first had some spinal issue and it wasnt until I was 28 that I had my first surgery.
    I know that when you are young and have so much to look forward to you feel cheated as if you were robbed. Look at this in another light, that they are finding problems with your spine now, so that corrective actions can be taken and not have to wait until your older when those problems become so severe, most treatments may not help.
    You have youth on your side, use it. The younger body can respond much better to pain, to surgery, to problems than an older body can. If surgery is in order for you, your recovery time should be quicker and more complete than if it was done later in life.
    If your doctors are saying that they have done everything for you and because of your age they are not going to do more, I would seriously get many other opinions. You are never too young to have spinal surgery, that is only something people like to believe. Part of it is because when you are young, you are not suppose to have problems.
    I strongly would recommend continuing on ALL types of conservative treatments. If they didnt help at first try them again and again. Exhaust every possibility and I mean exhaust them . Then after that you will know what your options may be.
    Just dont allow anyone to tell you because of your age, you shouldnt have this or you shouldnt do that etc.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I've tried everything over and over. I've had PT, chiropractics, pool therapy, and so many other things it's left me in more debt than I can describe, which I'm sure you all understand. My current doc has made it no secret that someone my age should just deal with it. I've had knee surgery and only took Ibuprofen. ~X( I know I'm not weak and that I have a very high pain tolerance and this may be part of my problem as well. I've exhausted every conservative option. My boss believes that a laminectomy might help but says to hold off as long as I can because of the structural weakness it causes. I had an amazing pain management doc but he retired and didn't know of anyone else to refer me to that he trusted. My next step is to wait until the end of October to see my new doc and hope he has anything different to offer. I'm not the type to ever give up but I'd really like to take a mind vacation out of my body. Wouldn't we all? I'm exhausted.
  • I would try contacting the doctor's office where you have the appointment and try to push for an appointment as soon as possible. If they cannot fit you in, then see if they can refer you to someone who can.

    I went to the ER because my injury happened on the weekend and I was in so much pain I couldn't move. As far as I'm concerned, they ER doc was a waste of my time and money because all they could do was prescribe pills. I wanted someone to diagnose & fix the problem.

    Good luck and let us know what happens.
  • did you say your boss doesn't want you to have a laminectomy? or did you mean dr?. my pain ddr also retired but i believe there are networks of pain ddrs and they all know each other. i'm sure he knew someone. if not get a referral service from hospital and have them refer you to a pain dr. what new dr do you have to wait for until october? you can't get one sooner. try telling them it is an emergency and you need to see a dr asap.

    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • If your pain is so out of control, and your meds do nothing, what I would do first is call your specialist. But if you have loss of bladder and bowel control, that's very serious, and you go to the ER immediately.
    From my experience, when I first herniated L4-5, my pain went off the charts. I called my doctor, and he said to go to the ER since I had that much pain. I was on Percocet at the time.
    If your doctor sends you to the ER, some will call ahead, so the staff would be expecting you. I have done that, and I had no problems. They gave me meds to get my pain back under control. Now that I go to pain mgt, it's a bit different. I'm on strong medications and there's not much they can do for me. If I flare up, I would call my doc, and they'd call in steroids if there isn't any new symptoms, and they ask me if I have any loss of control of bladder/bowels.
    I hope you get to feeling better and you should never feel like a drug seeker since you have legitimate back problems. The medicines are there to help you function.


  • I know how infuriating it can be to hurt so much and not be taken seriously because of age. I went through the same thing in my 20s with the countless female issues & surgeries I had. I felt like the world was against me and it sucked! That's why I was trying to explain to you the things you don't want to do-only because I know how it is these days with people assuming all young people that say they're in pain are only trying to score drugs, and that's not an assumption you want to follow you around within the medical community. That's why I was saying to call your doctor first and see if they can either get you in right away and if not they may tell you to go to the ER. Meydey's right, if they do want you to go to ER, they should call ahead and let them know you're on your way. Believe me, your treatment will probably be much better that way (not necessarily, but likely). It's not right, but it's an unfortunate truth that we have to deal with because along the lines, people did abuse pain meds. So now, it's so much more difficult for those of us who really do need help for our pain. Isn't it lovely? :S

    Keep on your doctor, see about getting those referrals, and by all means, if you can't get in to see your doc and you're hurting beyond functionability, then please do go to the ER. You have to do what's right for you. We are the only advocates we have in our quest for pain management.

    I hope you'll keep us posted on how things are going. We really do care! :)
  • My boss is a chiropractor, the smartest doctor I've ever met. He's the only one that's helped me without meds. I have meds and a PM too but it's not sufficient. I called my new PM and asked to get an earlier appointment but they said there's a waiting list for people trying to get in earlier, but thanks for the idea anyways. I called my current PM too and he never called me back although I did my best to express urgency. My boss said the surgery is the only thing he can think of that might help but to hold off as long as possible. I've only been to one surgeon who spent 5 minutes with me to tell me that I am too young for surgery. He validated my pain but did not recommend surgery saying it would only lead to more surgeries sooner. I feel horrible right now.
  • If you have a really good relationship with your PCP, you may want to consider talking to him.her in the morning.

    Start by explaining the issue(s) and the meds you are on. Explain how they are not controlloing the background pain, let alone thebreak-through. They may offer a sympathetic ear and write you a new / modified scrip.

    Best of Wishes,
  • Your new PM you can talk to him about long acting pain meds such as opiates. I know that alot of docs do not like to give them to young people but with your good record of taking as prescribed and the fact that they are all telling you to wait for surgery I would think that you would be a great candidate for opiates. Opiates are much easier on your organs not to mention your stomach. And you would probably get much better pain relief with them. You would not look like someone coming in off the street asking for opiates since you have been in PM for six years without abusing your meds and you have medical proof that your pain exists. Hope this helps you somewhat as it was the only thing that I could think of. Please keep us posted.
  • That's a good idea but I don't have a GP. Other than my back, I haven't needed to see a doc in years. I think it's against PM rules to get meds from another doc anyways. Haha, that's the last thing I need to do because I follow every rule and still get treated like a kid looking for a good time/high. I have a lot of praying to do before the end of October when I see my new PM... I have good insurance so I can go to any doc I wish, I suppose it's just a matter of trial and error and error and error =)) :))( =)) I've never had a doc tell me that I'm not in pain or that I'm faking, but that's the way I get treated. I even jumped through all the hoops and got evaluated (TWICE!) to see if I was honestly in pain and not a drug seeker. I passed the evaluations with a green light for proper treatment (I know because I read the reports) but even that has not helped my cause. I've been nauseous all day :& I suppose I just need one of these -> O:)
  • When my back was first injured I tried chiropractors but it didn't help. Then I struck out on my own and had my PCP order a MRI so I could finally find out what was wrong with me. It came back with a herniated disk and a few other things but the town in which I live has only one doctor who takes spine patients. I made an appointment but it was for 6 months away! Even though I stressed how bad my pain was and the fact that I could barely walk, (I dragged my leg behind me) it didn't matter. 6 months! I was also having migraines on a weekly basis. Because none of the migraine med's would work, and I tried every single one on the market, I had to go to the ER every week for almost a year. Luckily they could tell how much pain I was in and was always taken in right away. Got a shot of Demerol and was on my way home again. Before I could wait out my appt. my left leg completely gave out on me and I was 100% unable to walk, or even stand for that matter. I was admitted immediately and they scheduled emergency surgery for the next morning. Since then I have continued to have a lot of problems with my back, more surgery, but after that first laminectomy, my migraines went away and now I only have them about once a month. And I don't have to go to the ER for them anymore either! Yeah! I realize this might not help, but maybe it actually will, no matter what you need to get yourself a PCP. For anything that may come up in the future. As a matter of fact, my first PM wasn't treating my pain well enough, I was being under-medicated. I had an appt. with my PCP and the minute that she saw me she was furious! She upped my dosage of my pain med's and referred me to another PM in town who took great care of me. No matter what, I wish you the very best of luck. Feel free to send me a pm anytime if you have questions or just want to chat or vent.
    Jewels
  • You keep mentioning about being too young for surgery. there is no age factor with surgery. there are young kids, 10-15 who have back surgeries. there are teenagers who have back surgeries. there are babies who have surgery. Age should never be a factor in determining surgery and if they tell you this, like i said get a new dr. have you gone through a referral service? all hospitals have them. look on line or phone book but in my humble opinion this dr is giving you a line of bull about being too young. also i know that sometimes with specialists you have to wait, but you need to be proactive and tell them you can't wait and it is an emergency and if you have to wait to have them give you the name of another dr to call. most drs will refer you to others if they are too busy. just sitting and taking things at face valuue while you suffer is not to your benefit. i would be on the phone all day to everyone if i was in that much pain. it seems like you need to be more decisive about finding a dr, not sitting around. like i have said before, i would take the bull by the horns if i was suffering and i have done it. i would not stand for this from any dr. say, you are in pain i can't wait i am suffering and i need to see someone now and if you can't please refer me to someone who can. thank you


    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I see fully how you got your name.

    How dare you, a person who has no idea what I've done or have been doing tell me to be more decisive. I'd appreciate if you don't have sound, helpful advice if you would stop posting on my posts. I will not stand for someone with a "computer ego" telling me how to live. I asked one simple question on this thread and you have deviated from the subject since your first post. If it makes you feel better to act the way you do, please do not post on my threads.

    I do not need any negativity. Thank you.
  • I do understand your frustrations, there are many people that are here for you with support or maybe a suggestion, to take from our own experiences. so you hang in there, stay positive. patsy
  • I don't understand why you singled out terror when what he has said is the same thing some of the rest of us have? You did seek opinions-and that's what you got. You're not obligated to agree, or to follow suggestions given, but it doesn't make somebody "negative" because they have a different point of view than your own. What is the point of attacking a specific person that you don't agree with, especially considering more than just Jon gave the same round about opinion. If anything he was standing up for you because he was suggesting you be proactive in your quest for pain relief by not allowing Physicians to tell you that you're too young. I don't see anything at all negative towards you written by him.

    In your initial post you said yourself that if you went to the ER (which you didnt) you would probably be labeled as a drug seeker because of your age. Jon was pointing out that your age has nothing to do with anything because it is well known that people of ALL ages have problems/surgeries, etc. Being labeled a drug seeker when going to the ER for chronic pain is a reality that any of us could face no matter how old we are-ER's aren't for chronic pain, they're for acute and potential life threatening situations.

    There is a stark difference between negativity and reality.
  • Lisa,

    I'm confused now. You started a thread asking about "how do you know when to go to the hospital". Throughout the entire thread, some good people have given you some sound and outstanding advice along with care and concern.

    Now you are telling "terror8396" to not say anything because you don't need any negativity.

    So what exactly are you looking for? What exactly do you WANT EVERYONE TO SAY?

    "C"
  • How would you feel if someone that definately didn't know you (or even care to try!) told you to be more decisive without any knowledge of what you have done or are currently doing? And for the record, the DEA's war on drugs targets youth. You know, the commercials of someone young sneeking into mom's medicine cabinet. Yes, people my age. I know from much experience that it is certainly true that people my age have a higher instance of problems such as being labeled a drug seeker. I was even told by one doctor that he does not see patients my age because he can't put his license on the line in case we are drug seekers. Ha. Now, I never said it's only my age group that confronts this problem. I just speak from my experience and the shared experiences of others.

    :D Positivity is where it's at and that's what I'm here for. If anyone doesn't have helpful advice or kind words, I'd appreciate it if you did not post on my threads. This message is for everyone. No one needs people that aren't going to try to be helpful. I do not appreciate cynical people image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> , they do not aid in my coping or recovery.

    Thank you.
advertisement
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.