I am excited to have found this board and hope to be an active member as I am greatly in need of support from people who understand what it is like to live in constant pain.
I have spent the past two years trying to get a definative answer as to what is causing the constant and severe pain in my lower back. In the next few weeks I will be returning to the only PM clinic I can go to, and would like advice and tips on how to best address my situation with the doctors.
All of the doctors I see speak English as a second language. In the past they have seemed rather offended when I have asked them to repeat things or explain things. The doctors themselves have never interviewed me regarding my pain, I always just see a nurse who asks "On a scale of 1-10 how bad is it right this minute?". Then the doctor schedules non-steroid nerve blocking injections, which don't work. The last Dr. said it could take up to a year of 12 different injection sites to find one that works.
I know for certain that my problem is with my sacro-iliac joints, however I am very confused as to the specifics. If I am understanding everything I have been told, my primary care physician says it is "just" arthritis, specifically, "instant onset arthritis" resulting from a fall on my tailbone in May of 2006. The first Pain Management doctor diagnosed ankylosing spondylitis, but I am just now learning that upon reviewing my records as he never told me or explained it to me. When I went to PT in 2006 they said the problem was a posterior pelvic tilt. I saw a well respected theraputic massage therapist for six sessions and she was concerned about the possibility of rhumatoid arthritis given the amount of swelling.
My care has been inconsistant due to lack of insurance, but I have had 2 MRIs two years apart, a CT scan and supposedly a complete blood work-up just this past May. The CT scan showed a bulging disc but the MRI's did not. The first MRI showed "age appropriate" wearing of the SI joints, but the second showed more wear and extensive swelling. The blood work was done to address symptoms of severe fatigue, weight gain, and excessive sweating. An ultrasound ruled out ovarian cysts. Currently my only treatment is Celebrex and Loritabs.
Because I never know how long I will have insurance coverage (it is state sponsored, I've been dropped and re-added three times due to income fluctuations and policy changes within the state) I always feel tremendous pressure to get as much done as I can while I have coverage.
I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read this. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.