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DedalusDDedalus Posts: 92
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Lower Back Pain
I really am starting to hate doctors. A couple months ago, my PCP referred me to a Neurosurgeon. Great I thought! Now something will get done. Well, the neurosurgeon didn't want to see me and referred me to a Physiatrist in his practice. Ok, I was still good with that.

The physiatrist found that I have chronic inactive spondylolysis with NO instability. He told me that it would be a long step by step process to get rid of the constant pain. He sent me to PT (which I like and fully support) and put me on a prescription NSAID and Tramadol. This was progress! He said he would work with me and the next step would be injections. Fine. Anything to avoid surgery!

In the meantime, I am still having problems. If I take the tramadol after 3:00PM, I can't sleep that night. So basically, I have no pain control at night. I asked him about it on my 2nd (and apparently last) appointment and he told me to take Benadryl to make myself sleepy. I was skeptical, but it was worth a try. It didn't work. I am also missing hours at work pretty often, either for pain or appointments (Drs and PT). Normally I miss from 0-12 hours a week. My boss is fine with this, but even so, in a large corporate environment, missing this time still puts my job at risk. Corporate HR really doesn't care if my immediate boss is understanding.

Ok, back to the doc. After my 2nd meeting, he tells me to call him in 2 weeks with an update. I do and bring up my concerns about having no pain relief at night and also ask him to sign a form for intermittant UNPAID FMLA, just to get me job protection for the hours I miss. His response (cowardly delivered though a nurse, of course) was that he can't help me anymore and is referring me back to the surgeon! WTF??? What about those injections? What about working with me step by step like he said?

Is it just me, or is this just shameful behavior on his part?


  • That does seem strange. Do you think it was the mention of the FMLA that changed his attitude?

    I would get an opinion from a fellowship-trained orthopedic spinal surgeon, if I were you. Even if your spondylolisthesis is stable, it probably is compressing the nerve. Conservative treatments may or may not help, if that is the case.

    I know in my case, no amount of PT or ESIs were going to create enough room for the nerve to pass through freely.

    I would take this opportunity to find a new specialist.
  • Not much time before I have to book, but I wanted to say you are not alone. Unfortunately, we can very rarely understand where our health care workers are coming from (I.E., why do we spend so much time in the hospital for testing when all we really wanted was to get our BP down?), so we ask questions, and they evade, and eventually throw us out on our bums. ~X( X(

    Not saying this is true for all and for everything, but how unfortunate that it happens even once! To anyone! =((

    Many doctors have trained us not to ask questions, so we, in turn must turn around and retrain ourselves to ask them. It's our life, our bodies, we deserve a say, and to understand why they do what they do. :W

    IMO, you should keep calling that Physiatrist until you have answers. Use legal terms when they start hard-balling you... maybe something will get under their skin to at LEAST give you an explanation for their (yes, I will say it) inability to admit that they lack the understanding needed to treat you fairly, and for Gods sake, fill out one SINGLE DA*& form! 8}

    Good luck, and keep us posted!

  • I just don't understand what I did to make him "fire" me as a patient. Both times I met with him he mentioned working with me long term and went over next steps... none of which ever involved a surgeon or surgery.

    Then BAM! He can't help me anymore after 2 visits and sents me back to the surgeon who didn't want to see me to begin with?

    At this point, I have about 20 days worth of meds, and I don't even know who to go to for my next refill!

    I did schedule an appointment with another spine clinic for a 2nd opinion. Maybe that will get me sonewhere. But I'll tell you, if I didn't have a wife and kids counting on me, I really don't know how if I'd be able to bear all of this.
  • I can not stress this enough! Call your PCP NOW!
    When they started screwing me around I went to him.
    He was reluctant at first, but after an ER doc called him and ripped him a new one for not resuming treatment of me when my Ortho stopped he stepped up and has been great every since then! He has even admitted to me as my PCP it is HIS JOB to make sure I am getting treatment if no one else is doing it.

    So, call your PCP and get an appt to get whatever referrals etc you need. If he won't do it then you have a problem, but he should do it.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    At this point I think you have two choices:

    1 - Get back with the physiatrist explaining all the problems you are having. Ask what other conservative treatments are available and what about the spinal injections? If you do not get any
    satisfaction, then politely ask him WHY? Depending on how that goes, I would then also ask the doctor " Do you want me as a patient or not?"

    2 - Find another set of doctors that we be willing to work with you..

    Many times it is the PCP who can find and recommend the best specialist

    Sleep is very important as part of any healing process. Lack of sleep can just stop any recovery.
    Benadryl is a good option, however there are many people that get hyped up on Benadryl. I use it nitely because I have adverse reactions to sleep aids such as ambien

    Good luck
    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
  • Thank you for the supportive posts. They help!

    Here is my plan at this point. On Tuesday, I have an appointment with the surgeon that the physiatrist referred me to. We will see how that goes. Then I have another appointment with a new physiatrist at a completely different clinic (the one the professional athletes in my area often go to) and hopefully I can get a good 2nd opinion there. So with those 2 appts, I should have more info by week's end.

    If I am still lost then, I will go to my PCP. I am not sure if this is good or bad, but my PCP is my brother-in-law. Up until this point, I just acted like any other patient with him, but I could always call him at home or sick my wife on him. haha.

    In the meantime, this weekend we had a family trip planned for 4 days. After 2 I had to come home. I feel so bad doing that to my 4 and 8 yr old daughters. They are very understanding about it (as is my wife) but it still hurts me to have to short-change them like that. makes me tear up just typing that...
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