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3 issues and so frustrated I could scream!

sacramentassacramenta Posts: 16
I am so aggravated. I could scream! I have 3 issues pending and I hope someone can give me some insight.
1. EMG came back showing severe left side nerve compression in my upper and lower back due to the herniations. The doctor wants me to go to a pain management doctor for a consult on injections. PM doctor's office said I can't even make an appointment until they receive a complete history from my neurosurgeon. The woman at the office is so scattered I have asked 3 times for her to fax it over and it still isn't done in well over a week. I understand that once it is there I won't be able to even get an appointment until 2 or 3 weeks after that! Don't they realize that when someone is in chronic pain that everyday is precious in trying to get a resolution and weeks seem like an eternity? Which leads me to #2.
2. I am alone with 4 small children and have to work a billion hours just to pay the bills. Cutting my pay and going on disability would do me in financially. So my NS wants me to go 3x a week to physical therapy. I am killing myself trying to fit this in to my already packed day. Does it even work? I seem to be doing things I can do at home.
3. Lastly, my NS is a very cautious, old fashioned doctor. He has now switched all of his patients from percocet 10mg to codeine 60mg due to this FDA warning that they are going to ban this medication. The difference is substantial! Not only does it not touch the severe pain days but it just makes me so tired I could sleep standing up at work.
I am so sorry to vent I just feel like I am just running in circles. When I am having days that the pain is worse then the next I feel like there is no place to turn. Things are moving so slow and in the meantime the medication is like taking 2 tylenol.
Thanks for letting me vent here. Does anyone have some words of wisdom to offer?


  • Perhaps it is time to look for a different spinal specialist to manage your care. Would that be a possibility?

    Also, it seems that there are two ways to approach an interventional pain management doctor. One can be referred by their spinal specialist, or one can make an appointment and see the doctor just as you'd do with any other specialty. The difference is that if you make the appointment yourself, it will probably take two appointments: one for an office call where the doctor gets to know your history and decides how to treat you, and two, to get the injection (if that's how he wants to proceed). One way the spinal specialist is directing the treatments and calling the shots (so to speak). The other way, the PM doc is in charge of making decisions.

    Ultimately it probably takes about the same amount of time to accomplish the same thing.

    Also, I don't believe it is necessarily because your doctor is "old-fashioned." All doctors today are becoming cautious as the insurance companies are really cracking down on everything they do...and prescribe...and the insurance companies will follow the lead of the FDA.

    Perhaps your family doctor could prescribe something else for you that would help with your pain?? Or Paul's suggestion makes a lot of sense --
  • I make a point of regularly getting copies of my medical records, including office notes. In this way I am not dependent on anyone to get those records out to a different doc. Susan.
  • I agree with maintaining a personal file for your medical records.

    All the red tape, authorizations, etc... are a PITA! I agree. When seeking a second surgical opinion I walked out of one Spinal surgeon's office. The front office girls were loud and chatty amongst themselves and unprofessional. They had also sent me out of their office for x-ray's because my insurance wouldn't cover the high cost of doing them in their office.

    As for the pain meds I don't know what to tell ya. My original ortho doc only gave me Darvocet. The first neuro doc I saw gave me a 40 tablet RX for Vicodin ES with one refill. He offered an additional RX two months after my first visit but I declined because it gave me headaches. RATS! That was stupid of me! I will never decline pain med offers again. Never know when I'll need it! I finally resorted to breaking the Vic ES in half. Now two weeks post surgery I have a small supply of Percocet 5-325. That gives me a super horrible headache if I'm not laying down. Blah!

    When I started PT prior pre-surgery I only went 2x a week. The therapist told me that was sufficient. Maybe you can get your PT reduced to 2x weekly? After you learn the exercises and such it's a lot easier doing them at home.

    Well, I can relate to your troubles. Except I don't have a family to take care of and that likely adds extra stress when managing these painful conditions.

    My other words of wisdom...calm down, and try to relax. And stop freaking out about the pain meds. You might want to ask your doc about Cymbalta. It helps some people with the nerve pain and also helps the mood. How about an anxiety med? Ativan calms me and actually reduces my feeling of pain. I take it when I'm pacing back and forth because of leg pain.

    Also, don't expect a miracle when you see the pain doc and get injections. For some people they don't work at all. And for some they help very little.


  • I'm sorry you're going through such a rough time, and I think it would be a good idea to enlist help from anyone you can think of. Right now you need to take care of yourself and find a way to get adequate treatment.

    I was currently switched to Oxycontin and oxycodone with tylenol and it wasn't a problem at my clinic. I sure hope this proposal to ban percocet and vicodin is thrown out. The problem is all the OTC meds out there with tylenol and people not reading the labels, not pain meds.

    Anyway, I really think a nerve pain medicine like Lyrica, Neurontin, or Cymbalta will help with the symptoms from the nerve compression. You should get better results by taking your codeine with something for nerve pain.

    Also, communicate with your doctor if possible. Let him know you're dealing with things all by yourself and you're trying to keep up with your PT. Perhaps he'll give you something else besides just codeine. I think doctors understand better when you tell them how the pain is affecting your life.

    Hang in there, and we're here for you at any time. Take care >:D<
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