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Can anybody help?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Chronic Pain

I am new here and you all seem to be so supportive and
knowledgeable, I feel like I have found the right place.

I am so frustrated with my doctors that I got online to see it I could find some help.

I have had chronic back pain since my last pregnancy 18 years ago, but it has gotten progressively worse, and I started seeking help 5 years ago. I have been through
countless physical therapy sessions, steroid shots etc
with limited relief.

I have back, sciatic, butt and hip pain and my doctors
tell me that I should not be hurting that much that my
MRI's only show 2 bulging disks and a synovial cyst.

My GP sent my to a Physiatrist who has been giving me
injections monthly since May wherever I seem to be having
pain at that time. My physical therapist and I think that
I need to find someone who will find out more what my problem is, not just jump at the steroid shots, so I wasted 3 hours at my GP office trying to get some advice on where else to go and his only suggestion was to send me to another physiatrist to get shots in another area. His words were there are only 2 kinds of back dr.s ones that give shots and those who want to cut.

I need some advice on where to turn now, my daily life is miserable, the pain affects every aspect of my life.
I am taking 4000 mg tylenol a day (my shot doctor does not
believe in narcotics so I save the 5/500 he gives my 25 of every 6 months) for my awful days just to take the edge off.
He has prescribed arthrotec and that wss an awful medication. I could not take it, I was running to the
bathroom every 15 miniutes at work.

I don't understand why my doctor won't refer me to a neurologit or pain management - I am sure they must have
some tests other than mri's and xrays to figure out what my pproblem is and other therapies other than shots - or am I

I would appreciate any advice on what my next step should
be, I am so depressed I don't know what to do.




  • I was told by my GP that my MRI was normal. A NS took flexion/extension x-rays of my back (bending forward and backward) and knew immediately that my bulging disc was from one vertebrae slipping over the top of the one below causing severe instability of my spine. Have you had those done? Can you switch to another GP? I really feel you need a referral to a spine center. You know there is something wrong and deserve a proper diagnosis. And your poor liver is probably suffering from all that Tylenol! Keep us posted and best of luck to you.

  • Thank you so much for replying, I feel so alone.
    I have been to 1 orthopedic doctor who looked at
    my MRI, said that shouldn't cause me any problems
    started to walk out the door, and I asked him if there
    was anything he could do,and he very rudely said, what do
    want, a shot? I said I guess so, and so started the rounds
    of epidural and hip shots. I guess I need to ask my GP to
    send me to a NS, he only wants to send me back to the
    shot route, a different Physiatrist. I just don't get it.
    Thank you for the suggestion, my GP seems to be against
    the NS, any other route other than shots, don't know why.....
  • Hi Dina,
    First of all welcome to the sh site, and second of all, sorry that you had to find us.

    First I don't agree that there are only 2 kinds of back dr., ones that give shots, and others that cut. There are other treaments. You can do differnet medications that do a variety of things. You can get meds for nerve pain, like Lyric or Neurotin, muscle spasms, like muscle relax, muscle pain, like pain meds going from mild (daracet) to strong (oxycodone). And there is other treatments besides shots (ESI), like nerve burning, radio frequency treatment. And I'm sure I missed a bunch of other possible treatment, and if you look on this site you'll find them. And I'm sure someone will post for you other options.

    As for doctor, you haven't even put a dent in them. First I'd like to say, is your physiatrist sounds like my old pm dr, who was just an anisitiologist(sp)(the guy that puts you out before surgery! lol!) He was shot happy! The physiatrist I see work with all of me. He specializes, and most do, in spinal issues. They do their own tests, like nerve root tests, nerve block tests, emg's,myleograms,and discograms. All these test are done to pin point wheres the pain, and how to best treat it. They will send you to a neurosurgeon, or orthopedic surgeon, if nessary. A neurologist will also do the same tests, but he usually has someone else do them, and give him the results.

    Pain managment dr vary. Some only do shots, and are not even allowed to prescribe meds, like the one I saw, but others on here go to them , and get all the same treatment that I listed under physiarist. The best way to find out if a pain managment dr, or physiatrist is right for you, is to call their office, and see what proceedures are offered. And if they are right for you. There's nothing saying that you can't change dr, if you don't like them, or what treatment there doing.

    I hope this helps, and clears up the muddy world of back issues a little for you. I know it gets complicated, but hang in there. You have come to a wonderful place that can help you answer some of your questions on the forum, blogs, chat, and articles that are printed here.

    Once again welcome to our friendly little group, and please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
    Bobbi Jo
  • For more or another referral! Just because your doctor says there are on two types of docs for back problems does not mean it is true! He is fairly accurate that you will commonly find docs that just want to do injections and other procedures. Those are usually Pain Management docs.

    Neurosurgeons, will do surgery, of course, but you have to agree to it, plus one of those may see or find what is causing your pain! The form of treatment at that point is still ultimately your choice!

    We all have to weigh the odds when deciding what to allow.

    Welcome to spine health.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of info, understanding and support here.

    Bobby Jo is right - there is so much more, but what I mean is that there could be other things causing your pain that the MRI doesn't show. I also have pain in my lower back, butt, hips and shooting pains down the back of my legs to my knees. I have a moderate disc bulge at L4/5 that shouldn't be causing the pain and it isn't. It the facet joints and stenosis. My MRI showed these problems, but yours may not.

    I'm not a doctor, but it's possible that your disc has little or nothing to do with your pain at all. There are so many things that can go wrong that you need to find the right doc that understands this. I suggest you find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, ortho or neuro, but one that only works on spines.

    My surgeon is in a spine center that has fellowship-trained surgeons who specialize in the spine, physiotherapists and physical therapists. They tried all the conservative measures before they suggested a lumbar fusion.

    Take care and keep us posted.
  • Just as I agree with all the comments posted. I am also on the journey to find out how to help myself to fix my back.At times it feels as if I'm totally lost but then get a break through and find myself a step further ahead. The one constant has been the family support here on SH.The many people who experience similar circumstances is a sad comfort. The advice and information here has led me to try different treatments with varying success.Currently I am waiting for the follow up with a new surgeon to see what he suggests.Life has given you some really tough times but don't forget this site will be here, with others who understand and will support you if they can. Welcome, Good Luck and a Big gentle Hug to you Dina- Hugs n' Loves - Paula
  • I also agree that your family doctor is hindering you from seeing another specialist with a fresh point of view who could help you figure out what's really going on. It's time to go in another direction and if your GP isn't willing to go along then it's time to let him go. Find another one and let him/her know that you need a referral to a back specialist because you need to be diagnosed correctly. Hopefully they will be open minded and help you get in with an NS or pain mgt clinic. I am also concerned with all the tylenol you're taking. There are plenty of medications, including narcotics that are efficient in relieving chronic pain and I hope that your doctor will find an effective combination of medications to give you. The most important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment.

  • Thanks guys for all of your suggestions, I will be using them in my next steps, just spent the afternoon in the
    ER with my mother-in-law, they just admitted her to CCU.
    At least I know she is in good hands now.

    It helps so much to get info from others who have been
    down this road before. Thanks again.

  • but a good PM can do a discogram and lots of other things in order to get a diagnosis. I have heard that synovial cysts can be very painful.

    It sounds like you will have to take control of your care and find the right doc on your own. This day and age there is no reason for somebody to suffer in so much pain without even pain medication to help you tolerate it a little easier.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.
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