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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in New Member Introductions

I've had chronic back pain for over 10 years now. I treated my back pain with exersise and walking. I've also taken a vicodin about 30 a month. Some days I don't need to take any pills but other days I need to take up to three. My Kaiser doctor recently asked me to come in for a consultation. He told me that he thinks I should stop taking vicodin and wants to refer me to physical medicine (what is that?). I am at a loss. I have been under his care for over 3 years with the same treatment and prescription amount. I've not asked for more nor do I think I need more. I do know that the vicodin helps me. He made me feel like an addict... I don't get why the sudden opinion on my treatment. Im starting to doubt myself. All I know is that my back pain can be so severe at times that i'ts hard to stand from a sitting position and walk. I've had MRI and CAT scans. No disc protusions so the doctor said it's all muscular. The doctor did say the CAT scan shows that I was born with a very minor case of Spina Bifida. He states that that wouldn't cause pain. Has anyone heard of this?

I live in the San Gabriel Valley. I am going to change insurance. Can anyone recommend a doctor that will be more understanding.


  • Hi Martia and welcome to the spinal boards :)

    It's pretty late here right now and I am sure tomorrow you will see more responses. Please hang around the boards and get to know this wonderful group of people. I am pretty new here myself and have found such wonderful support & information and resources :D

    In my own ( VERY non medical educated ) opinion.... I would say a "little" case of SB would be enough cause for you to be seeing a SB specialist.

    As for the sudden med change.... There could be several reasons. I suspect that many Drs right now are feeling a LOT of pressure from the FDA and many other sources to cut or even remove the amount of drugs they are prescribing to their patients.

    There has been a LOT of flack about this lately going on within the medical community.

    I too took Vicodin for about 4 yrs and I can say it never helped my muscle pain - so to me that makes no sense about what they are now telling you - but maybe that is just me :?

    I hope someone else here can help you better.

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Thanks I just feel really lost and in pain.
  • welcome martia.. have you looked into pain managemnt? they are very understanding about everything.. i have horrible back pain for a year and a half now and im only 19. they do procedures along with medication and i feel they are better than regular phycians and specialists because they actually listen and care more. hope this helps and good luck!
  • I don't know of any doctors.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. Your doctor might be thinking that since you aren't getting any treatment to try and get better that you might be better off with pain managment where they try and find what's causing your pain and then taking steps to fix it. In fact, I'm surprised that he isn't taking steps to find out himself.

    You might want to find a spine specialist or clinic and take your test results to them. Different doctors can read MRIs differently so a spine doc could give a new perspective. From experience, I know that back pain is not always from bone spurs or muscle problems, it can be from stenosis, arthritis, facet joint problems, etc. A spine doctor can take those into account when trying to find where your pain is coming from.

    If you want to find a spine doctor and/or clinic in your area, you can use the Find a Doctor function at the top of the page.

    Take care and keep us posted on your progress.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry you are suffering back pain with no relief. :( don't let that doctor detour you. find another, explain your symptoms and see what he has to offer you. a good pain management doctor might be best. :? good luck with whatever decision you make. :D Jenny :)
  • Hi martia,
    I agree with what the other spineys wrote about why your dr, is do what he's doing. With the FDA pressuring drs, and the stigma associated with long term pain med use. i think the best thing that you could do would be to find a physiatrist, they specialize in the brain, spine, and condition related to them, plus they do pain managment, or a neurologist, that also specializes in the spine. Take one piece of advice when you find one to go to. Make sure that they prescribe medications, and they handle spinad bifida occulta.
    I have spinal bifida occulata, which is the most common form. And is can sometimes not diagnost till your older, and some people are never diagnost. I'm 41, and wasn't diagnost until I was 37. I would guess that you are also in your 40's-50's. For some reason, maybe not enough folic acid taken by our mothers, this is the age group that hasn't been diagnost at birth. This area can be at risk for many different things, because it weaker then the rest of the spine. So it can cause lots of pain, and problems.
    I would recommend that you see a dr that has knowlegde of this birth defect. I know it hard to find dr that specialize, or even know about certain diseases or defects, when you live in a rural low population area. Good luck in your search. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a pm.
    Bobbi Jo
  • I think that your doctor wants to send you to a physiatrist (physical medicine doctor) because they are trained in rehabilitation and offer a variety of treatments your regular doctor can't.

    They do a limited amount of pain management, and will have you try meds like Neurontin and Lyrica, antidepressants like Cymbalta or Elavil for pain as well, and maybe Ultram, Darvocet, or Vicodin. They focus a lot on PT and offer alternative modalities such as massage, accupuncture, and aquatherapy. The doctor will even write you a script so that you can have a TENS UNIT and the insurance will pay for most or all of it.

    I think this would benefit you a lot since your current doctor is not doing much of anything for you. Family doctors do not like to prescribe narcotics for a long time basis. I'm surprised he didn't sent you to a specialist in all this time. When was the last time you had an MRI? If it's been 3 years then I think it's time that you had a new one done since a lot could have changed or something could have showed up in that amount of time which could answer why you're having pain.

    Yes it's time to move on. You could accept your doctor's referral or ask him for another referral to a pain mgt clinic. Take care
  • i can't type much right now but when somebody asks for help i must respond.

    please find a pain management doc that specializes in the spine. that is where i finally found compassion and some relief.

    the symptoms that you describe sound like it could be related to arthritis in facet joints. pm docs have more ways to diagnose and treat.

    you are not lost and don't give up. there is a doc that can and will treat you. you just have to find them.

    narcotic regulations are getting ready to change and it sounds like your doc may not want to deal with narcotic patirnts anymorew

    good luck and keep us posted.
  • Thanks everyone one for all your response. I feel as if I am not alone and feel as there is hope.
    I advised my Kaiser doctor that I am changing Health plans and all he said was good luck and refilled my pain meds. I guess he was just glad to get rid of me. Thanks to all of you I now know that I have many options not just meds. Although meds might be part of my future I am interested in things or exercices I can do to help me. I am looking for a Spine specialist as that is what I think I need.
  • I hope your Primary Dr. can help refer you to a Spine Specialist like a Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic Surgeon. It's best to have an MRI before you see the Specialist and your regular Dr. can help you get that. Do you have any referred pain to your leg at all? Good luck and I know you'll find a Dr. to help you. Take care. Charyy
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • i want to compliment you on the way you have battled your pain with lots of walking and some medication.
    i hope this physiatrist will help you.
    i have read all the suggestions here and i know its a lot to digest. you might want to reread meydeys comment again as i think she is right on target.
    it's great to get treatment but important too to find a diagnosis for your pain. please pursue the new physiatrist but also push for an opinion from either a neuro or ortho spine surgeon. new expert eyes on new tests may finally find the cause of your pain.
    and stick around this wonderful site. it's nice to have a few friends to help you beat of this terrible beast called pain.

  • I'm going to open a can of worms here. Can someone point me to a site that would accurately explain to me what a 'Kaiser doctor' is? Everything I find it negative. I'm assuming that this is part of the health care system in the Socialist Republic of Kalifornia, so it doesn't surprise me that someone would go three to ten years without someone in the medical system there trying to get to the root cause of Martia's pain. My family doc took xrays of my back and said up front it would not show the problem but an MRI would be required and before they did that xrays would have to be done. He was dead on, the xrays showed arthur but it took the MRI to find the rest. All of this, including surgery took less than 6 weeks and I even saw a neurologist as well!

    Martia, I would get a referral from someone besides this Kaiser doc to a neurosurgeon. I have a great orthodoc but still would see a neurosurgeon for anything with the brain or spine. Even go to a doc-in-a-box to get the MRI ordered and take it with you to the neurosurgeon. Don’t go to one without it. (I did see where you had one but unless it is current, get another.)

    Back to the Kaiser doc thing, google ‘Kaiser doctor’ and I’m sure you will find some of the horror stories that I did. You might want to see a lawyer as well.

  • funny thing happened this weekend.

    I recieved a letter from my doctor at Kaiser informing me that he was retiring. Ha ha ha!!!!

    This gives some insight as to wanting to push me along.
  • I found the info I needed. I don't know why I never heard of this, but please pardon my ignorance. I am now somewhat informed, thanks to google and Wikipedia.

    I probably shouldn't venture into politics, but I fear that this is nothing compared to what we are headed for with ObamaCare. I hope I am wrong.

  • Kaiser is a healthcare provider, it's full name is Kaiser Permanente. It's generally an HMO. Kaiser healthcare is a bit different than most HMOs in the sense that they have quite a few facilities around the city and you choose which facility you want to go to to get healthcare and prescriptions. Any facility you choose has different areas of treatment, such as opthalmology, cardiology, ob/gyn, etc. When you go to this facility and say, need to visit the cardiology dept., you don't generally see a particular physician that has seen you before, you see which ever physician is available and that physician has your previous records. I prefer to have a choice as to my doctor and like to see the same one each time so I don't care much for Kaiser, but there are many people who like it and get great care there.

    So, a Kaiser doctor isn't with the KGB or based in Germany, it just a health plan that some companies subscribe to for their employees and their families just like with BC/BS or United HealthCare.

  • Thanks Cath, you put that in a nutshell very nicely. I've heard of HMO's but the only thing close to one for me is the PPO that I use (BCBS), which certainly lets me step out of the network if need be, and I do for my dental work. My MRI bill was $1300 but because they are a preferred provider they knock it down to less than $500. My portion will be about $200. I did well to get all this done at the end of the year before I have to start over on my deductible.

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