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Pain Clinic?

CMatthewCCMatthew Posts: 49
I have had a work comp injury to my back in June of 08 and they dont find me to be a candidate for surgery. I have two bulging discs and real bad nerve pain in my right leg. I've had multiple shots and PT for a few months nothing had worked. My leg pain is so bad I can't walk w/o a cane some days and not at all some days. Anyway my surgeon wants me to try a pain clinic. I don't really understand what they are about and was wondering if anyone has been to one to tell me what they are about and how helpful they really are.


  • I have the exact issue....4mm bulges in 3 spots and not a canidate for surgery. I have been to neurosurgeons and neurologists. Nothing has helped. They cannot find the exact issue so they sent me to pain management. This doc is the only one I have right now and I feel STUCK. All they want to do is drug me and not find the issue.

    They have helped me to try and live with the pain but I still live with it everyday. I can relate when you say that you walk with the cane. I also have one, a walker, a wheelchair....all which I have to use on a regular basis. My leg goes numb occasionally when I am walking and I fall.

    Can you tell me more about your injury?
  • I worked for a marble and granite company and there are sheets of marble that weigh six tons. The fork lift knocked a sheet over and it fell on top of me and shattered on impact. I was lucky I didn't die but ended up with two small stress fractures on my lower vertabrae that they found with a bone scan. I have bulging in my L4-L5 and L5-S1 along with a few very degenerative discs above those which isn't from the injury. I fractured three ribs and broke my nose which those have healed fine but the leg pain ive been in the ER three times due to either falling or just to severe of pain. I'm on a very high dose of Oxycontin but it only makes life barely manageable. So they are sending me to this pain clinic to work something else out. Hopefully
  • Hello CMS ~

    Welcome to the board. I am curious why you have been told you are not a candidate for surgery? Do you have other health issues that would make surgery too risky? Bulging or herniated discs are often "fixed" with surgery. In a case such as yours, fusion would probably be recommended, due to the number of discs that are involved and the potential for instability if they operate without fusion.

    I suspect your problem is more with Workman's comp...but since I know nothing about the workings of Workman's comp, I will leave that to others.

    I would suggest you continue on trying to find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist (either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon) who specializes ONLY in issues of the back and spine, that will be able to help you. Sometimes we have to be pro-active and keep searching until we find someone who can help us.

    Regarding the pain clinic, they will attempt to find a way to make you more comfortable. There are meds that can help with the nerve pain, something that oxycontin cannot do. There are many "procedures" they can try, but it will only help with pain, not deal with your disc issues.
  • I have to agree that Workmens' Comp is pulling the strings in your treatment plan. If those bulging discs are pressing on the nerve, then a microdiscectomy might be indicated in my opinion. I go to pain mgt once a month and they are an integrative clinic where all kinds of treatments are offered. It can medications, PT, behavioral therapy, spinal injections, surgery, or implanting devices like neurostimulators and morphine pumps. I have chronic back pain and nerve damage stemming from when I herniated L4-5 and L5-S1 3 years ago. I went through a microdiscectomy and a 2 level fusion and both surgeries failed to give me relief from the pain. I hope you find relief from the pain soon and it's good to have you here at Spine Health. Take care
  • I have been to several surgeons and have been told by all that I am not a canidate for back surgery since my dics are not bulging enough (4.5mm) I guess the smallest is 5mm so I am almost there (any sugestions lol).

    However, I have also been in the situation where the pain is UNBEARABLE as early as today I was in the pain mgmt clinic because I couldnt deal with it. Their answer to all of this is to provide me with trigger point injections (which dont help).

    I am currently on a lot of medications which numb me but not the pain. Do you have sciatica all the way down your leg? What are your exact symptoms (wehre is the pain)
  • The whole work comp deal started off slow but it seemed as if they actually cared. It took them about 4 months to actually get started with any sort of plan. I tried PT for about three months with no progress and ended up with some pain shooting down the left leg along with my right. So that got put on hold. I have had multiple injections with no luck and there is about a month to two month lull between there plans to get anything going. But now that its going on a year they are trying to get me back into having a job without even fixing any of my pain or problems yet. It's just frustrating how they took forever to try to find solutions for me in the beginning but now that its coming up to a year its push push push to get me back to having a job and out of there lives. They would have contact with me once every two weeks to see how things are going and let me know what work comp has agreed to or not agreed to, but now its a phone call everyday saying that i have to do this or that for the whole job placement thing and nothing has been solved. I'm just rambling but I'm just so frustrated and depressed with this constant pain which has seem to grown over the past two months and there is absolutely no relief. I have a constant pain in my back and it goes down my right butt cheek down the back of my leg and it almost sits under my knee cap and in the back of my calf. But as of recently it has progressed further actually going down to my foot. I just feel like I'm at a dead end right now because its been over a week since my surgeon has suggested the pain clinic or a different neurologist and my QRC or work comp hasn't gotten back to me about What they are going to approve or whats my next step. I'm supposedly allowed to work 5 days a week 4 hours a day and have a weight limit of ten pounds. But then my ortho surgeon said no work at all so I feel like there are too many doctors involved saying different things and work comp just takes the cheapest route possible. Hopefully I hear back from someone this week and I can write about taking a step forward and have one more piece put together in this complicated puzzle. Sorry so long there is just a lot on my chest and nowhere to vent it. Thanks to you who read this and respond.
  • Please vent away. We are here to lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to. I'm sorry for everything you are going through and pray that you get some real answers soon.

    I am glad that you have decided to come to Spine Health and join our community.

    Nobody understands how you feel like a fellow Spiney does >:D<
  • Thanks for that response this is just the best place I have stumbled onto. And it's also nice, well not nice, to see so many others who can relate. I never would have guessed this many people with spinal and nerve injuries. Being in construction and concrete for the past 15 years I've seen a lot of injuries but never would have thought me. I will let people know if I hear anything this week and share my next set of emotions other than the obvious depressed, in pain, hopeless feelings. Hope you and everyone else has a nice rest of the weekend.
  • In attempting to accept some solution most of us surmise that continuing evaluating and diagnosis will provided the expectation we were looking for in the first place of some relief and getting back to normal. That notion of not being a suitable candidate for surgery can be a double edged sword, as then it does not confirm that our inherent pain may be resolved as others who have gone before us.

    Pain originates as an amalgam of thoughts feeling and experience of what we have to deal with soon accumulates as an expansion of the concept by itself. It naturally becomes all that we do and who we are, and even with additional experience not being tainted by the condition of constant pain almost impossible and we live that life. Bit by bit and with some understanding we morph into the person who has pain all the time and our capacity suffers as a consequence.

    Pain clinics have people who have knowledge and experience of how this process develops and how we can manage it more effectively, if that becomes our only option. They will use a varied strategy to help you with your pain and seek to see how this helps you overall, some acceptance that this may help is half of the solution, and that rollercoaster of success and evaluation will continue. It is not a magic bullet solution and takes time, perseverance and continuing tenacity and on the basis that you will have been managing most of your daily issues in some isolation you may find the whole process helpful. They may only be able at best to help you as said, live with the pain but that is far more effective than living in it and enabling it to make you more restrictive, you will learn about pacing and attainable goal setting and share ideas and concerns.

    Much text has been written on the effectiveness of pain clinics and we all wish you well on the journey ahead.

    Take care and good luck John.

  • Pain management has been a godsend for me. I was treating myself after my surgery. The surgeon had me on pain meds for one week after surgery. I was taking Ibuprophen, laying on a heating pad, and could not sleep. Pain mgmt now has me on pain meds, flexoril patches, and sleeping meds. Just being able to sleep has been huge. I still have tremedous pain but now I have times when I can tolerate it.
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