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Comp Dr

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I am at a total loss at who to call, what to do about a situation with Workers Comp. Dr.
Aug 15 I injured my upper and lower back lifting too heavy a box in an awkard position. I pulled alot of muscles and MRI Shows a "probable" annular tear in lower back. Normal MRI on C-Spine. However, its been 3 months, pt, NSAIDS, Trigger point injections, chiro; and no pain relief. The pulled muscles are better. But I have discogenic pain in lower and what I and I alone believe, similar pain in T1/C7 area. This week at work I was able to replicate a particular symptom that was indicitive to me. Dr. recently increased my weight limit to 15lbs. I lifted exactly 6 (one at a time) 10lb bags of potatoes and the pain shot up my neck and my ears rang. I went on to light things until pain and ringing died down. Then I lifted 13 - 5lb bags = same exact result. Pain shot up my neck and ears rang. Then again after it all settled down I got the exact same result with 20 - 3lb bags. Dr. is saying my upper back hurts from muscle tension thus the 7 trigger point injections (that did not work). The conclusion I reached from that experiement was discogenic.O.K. thats all the backdrop.Here's what happened yesterday at Dr appt.

Dr asked if injections worked, I said yes and no. The muscles that got the shots were numb at first but now, one week later they are more painful than ever. I described the experiment above, Dr decreased my weight restriction to 10 lbs?!? I explained to him my newfound knowledge of disc anatomy and the meaning of annular tears and the importance of us looking at confirming an annular tear, its extent and type. He said the MRI report said probable and prescribed more pt, that will help it heal. But Dr. shouldn't we confirm, not necessary. But Dr. from what I've learned the pain from nucleus of disc chemically reacting with outer fibrosis can cause severe pain, and that is what I am experiencing. He interrupted and said moderate to mild pain only. Most people don't even notice annular tears. But Dr. the pain I am feeling in lower back is very similar to upper back and MRI's do not always pick up annular tears. Dr said he is going to order lab work. What?!? (It is at this point I felt I had stepped off reality and into the twilight zone). Why would we run labs? Thyroid disorders cause fatigue, etc (he went on to discribe symptoms, none of which I have). Then he educated me to a medicine that he has had great success with in treating thyroids (forgot it's name, was still trying to figure out the left turn). Who is your PM? Oh he don't like _ _ _ (whatever it was called). Tell you what I'll do for you, (I'm thinking of a greasy car salesman in a trench coat) you can do a self referral and come to my clinic (like I would actually pay for your services! I think not)and I'll be able to help you. Of course worker comp won't pay for this (OH! I see, lets move my back pain out of workers comp and move the cow to your pature so you can milk it! Now his agenda became clear and I finally understood the left turn). I couldn't get out of there quick enough. In a haze of pain, depression, anger and insulted sensibilities when low and behold. I run into a friend who is seeing same Dr. for a blown out knee. She wanted to know what was wrong, I looked awful. I told her I was hurting, havin a bad day, and looks like I may have chemical imbalance so I'm off to the lab. Yeah, me too she said. What do you mean you too? Well, Dr. found a thyroid problem in my labs. What the heck did thyroid problem have to do with total knee replacement? Well, what the heck does it have to do with your back?...

Can anyone relate, can I call someone, see another Dr. Is there anything I can do beside waste another two weeks on partial compensation, incredible pain and still no black and white diagnosis let alone treatment???????
Please help, I am so desprite.


  • Get a laywer they will get something done a put a stop to all the B.S. and lead you
  • workers comp adjuster and request a second opinion as you have every right to do. Good luck- hope you can get through the pain- until then. There really is no reason why they won't allow you to see a different doctor.

    I have to say, in March 09 I had a tremdous fall check the mail box at the post office for our office and we sent to a worker comp doctor. At first the doctor was almost arrogant in the fact that I may not be in as much pain as i said- he ordered an MRI- told me there was no reason why I couldn't work, gave me pain meds and sent me on my way. When the MRI came back he called me immediately to his office and asked that I bring my husband. He apologized and told my husband "With what the MRI shows, I can't believe she is even walking right now!" He upped my pain meds and referred my WComp to see a neurosurgeon- the first of which was a complete deaf jeak and simply said- there is NOTHING i can do for you.......what----He told me I was just depressed and sent me home with anitdepressants......I immediatley contacted my adjuster and that day was approved and referred to a top notch neurosurgeon in the city- she was proactive-I started PT 3 month after my fall- she couldn't believe the first guy didn't at least send me for PT- changed my meds and took me off of work- She then referred me to the BEST PT in the state- ESI injections, Nerve blocks- all which failed- Because of my surgeons reputation and results my wcomp insurance approved my fusion surgery even when the 3rd party surgeon recommended against it. So I have to say I have been blessed in a huge way to get such great care- not to mention the facility I had surgery was the absolute greatest- the care was wonderful- they were all so good to me.
    Good luck and request your second opinion asap!!
  • Thank you so much, I'll call my adjuster. It never occured to me. It is definately worth a try. Cross your fingers!
  • You must get another opinion and for goodness sakes don't let the man put you on thyroid meds! I have multiple annular tears and can vouch for the fact that they create massive pain! I have talked to folks over the years that had docs that also did not think that annular tears are a pain producer. I say let them walk around a day or 2 with just one and then lets talk! Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    Having a second opinion will hopefully shed more light into your situation.
    I do know only from reading so many posts here about Workmen Compensation cases, it is so much more restrictive. You cant pick and choice who you want for a second opinion and in some cases you might have to pay for everything out of your pocket.

    Annular tears are much more common then people think. So many people have them, they notice some pain, maybe get a MRI, but overall unless its major, conservative treatments are the best course of action.

    What annoys me the most about situations like this, and I am sure being a Workman Comp case fuels this, is that the patient doesnt seem to have as many rights as they would in a straight case. It seems that many times the way the workman comp cases work, the major concern is keeping the expenses to the company at a minimum. Ok, nothing wrong with that when it comes to widgets, but when it comes to a person's well being, it just doesnt seem right.

    Wishing you the best luck on this one
    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
  • You can type Annular Tear in the search box at the top of this page for more info. Here is a thread that about 10 members discussed pain from Annular Tears


  • Thank you all, so much. I attempted to get ahold of the adjuster but will have to wait till Monday. Happy Halloween everyone, by the way. I will keep you all updated. Meanwhile I have to let you know this forum has been a sanity saver for me. It is so nice to know I'm not all alone in pain and the search for understanding it, living with it and if possible healing it. You all share your experiences here for others to find comfort, hope, validation, and so much more. I thank you.
  • getting in touch with your adjuster even if you have to speak to their supervisor. This is your health and you have to fight for you because NO ONE else will or is!! Getting a lawyer will only slow down your care so you may want to refrain from that until you know what the insurance group for wcomp is going to do. I didn't have to pay for anything regarding my second opinion and I did go to the doctors that they chose- hopefully the second one will listen and work for you- Please keep me posted and feeling free to PM anytime you need to talk. I am keeping you in my prayers!!

  • Hi Lori,

    One of the most important pieces of advice I can give anyone dealing with work comp is to learn the laws of your state. Worker's compensation laws are set by the state's. Keep in mind should you seek medical treatment on your own it maybe out of your pocket and your private insurance may not pay for it, depending on the laws of your state. I caution you on one thing. In most places you go for medical treatment it will ask is this work comp? Be sure to always check that box, that this is a work comp claim. Hippa doesn't apply to work comp and they have the rights to all your medical files for the previous 5 years.

    I agree with all the others to call the adjuster in your case. If you get no place calling the adjuster, get a hold of your local HR Rep. More than likely this person is in contact with the adjuster, as they share information back and fourth in regards to your return to work. But most importantly google your state and read the laws in your state so you know what you can and can't do. For example the state I live we are not allowed to seek medical attention outside of work comp. The bordering state next to me, they don't need to see a work comp doctor, they have full rights to go to whomever they choose. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • MRI's do not show everything, especially the depth of annular tears. Many neurosurgeons consider a discogram the gold standard for nerve root compression and showing tears. My initial MRI showed several things, including a "small" annular tear at one level. After a discogram(and they do hurt but they show so much), it was clear to my 11 year old son AND work comp that the "small" tear was a wee bit bigger and I needed surgery. Work comp did not even dispute my request for surgery.

    That is my story in my state. Like Tam said, I read everything on my state's website about my rights(or lack of) and never even got an attorney until it I was hassled by personnel more than a year later. I like my attorney, but in my state, you are unable to talk to the adjuster again if you have an attorney. Since I was getting paid and having luck with the adjuster approving what I needed, I did not sign with an attorney as it would limit some of my few rights until I had to.

    Good luck, please keep us posted.
  • I am wondering if Lori has gotten any help with her issues? I have been dealing with w.c. for a year now. My last mri also said annular tear. Have done the shots, theraphy, theraphy again, several docs. No one wants to get involved or make a move. Just send me to another doc. I am looking for a good ortho guy in the Pittsburgh area that wont be afraid to help me with the pain. Yes in my reports it says "Slight nerve irratition"-Not slight to me. Ive had 2 mris and 2 nerve conduction test that all showed something but no help from anyone. I am seeing a chiro now, he seems to be the only one that will listen! Any help would be appreciated!
  • Hi Tessa,

    I am from north of Pittsburgh,about 60 miles. But I had been seeing a Dr. Michael Casey with Greater Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Assoc. They have offices all over, but I saw him in a sattelite office up in the valley. Since we get to Pitts. on Rt 28, that was closer for me than going into the city. He was going to do my cervical fusion surgery a couple years ago. I wasn't sure i wanted to do it, and am still putting it off.

    My 2nd opinion dr. was in Monroeville, a Dr. El-Kadi, but he is a neurosurgeon, rather than ortho.

    What i have found are that surgeons aren't much for pain control. Unless thay can fix something surgically, they will send you to the PM drs, or back to the PCP dr. Good luck and let me know how you make out.

    Go Steelers! Go Pitt! Go Pens!
  • Thank you all for the advice. I called the adjuster and told the whole story to him. He told me to pick a new Dr!!!!!
    Of course he set a few parameters and asked me to shy away of neurosurgeons as they tend to want to operate first. But he left the fireld pretty open. I got a good referral to a Dr in larger town and am awaiting adjusters permission to schedule appt. So it is looking up. Meanwhile I still have to see the comp dr. and my labs came back fine (imagine that!). So my thyroid is not causing my "perception" of pain. Poor Dr is stumped at what could be wrong with me. LOL.
    In good spirits and comforted by the care and support here, thanks again!
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