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Running out of options...

GrowingTiredGGrowingTired Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Chronic Pain
I can't obtain insurance because of preexistence conditions. I am losing the function of the left side of my body and am in pain 24 hours. I am told that a double fusion most likely will not alleviate the pain and that a I am better off with a two complete disk replacement surgery. The US hasn't approved that surgery here. Without insurance the Neurosurgeons seem to dismiss my conditions or won't even set an appointment because I am a cash paying patient. The disturbing part is that I am only in my 30's. My quality of life has been greatly reduced due to pain.

Pain feels as if I broke my foot often leaving me unable to walk. That pain radiates from bottom of my foot to my ankle then knee and hip. It also begins in my neck and goes down to my elbow, wrist and fingers and down my rib cage. Feels like a sledge hammer hitting from joint to joint with charlie horse and spikes hammered in the muscles. I am looking for anyone that can offer some pain assistance. I am trying heat/cold, massage, stretches and wraps with no luck. I am maxed out on aspirins, muscle relaxers and nerve pain blockers with minimal relief.

2010 MRI
At C5-6, there is a small to moderate-sized right paracentral disc protrusion. This effaces the ventral subarachnoid space and impinges upon and deforms the right ventral surface of the cervical spinal cord causing a moderate degree of central canal stenosis.
At C6-7, there is a large central and left paracentral disc protrusion and extrusion. This effaces the ventral subarachnoid space, particularly to the left of midline and impinges upon and deforms the left ventral surface of the cervical spinal cord causing a moderate to moderately severe degree of central canal stenosis to the left of midline. There is mild narrowing of the left neural foramen due to laterally protruding disc material and uncovertebral joint hypertrophic changes. IMPRESSION:
1. Multilevel cervical spondylosis. The most significant findings are at C5-6 and to a greater degree at the C6-C7 levels. 2. There is reversal of the normal cervical lordosis from C4 to C7 consistent with muscle spasm.


  • Hi,

    Welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you find many going through what you have or have gone through it.

    As far as your mri not much I can say in regards to that at all. But you said your max on muscle relaxers? What are you taking and how long have you been on that particular med? I have bounced around on several different muscle relaxers as the body builds up a tolerance to one or the other. Also which nerve pain blockers have you tried and what dose are using of the med. Other than a surgeon whom else has treated you for this condition? How many surgeons have you visited with thus far.

    As far as ADR(artificial disc replacement), that has been approved in the US for cervical spines. The FDA approved those disc on July 17, 2007. Now the fact is that not everyone is a candidate for them. So they may be more of the issue, rather than the ADR's. Look around in the neck forum there are several members here whom have gotten them and I think in the insurance section as well.

    If your looking for research on them you can look at cervical ADR or cervical TDR(total disc replacement. Also depending on what state your in all states are setting up the mandatory insurance pool programs for anyone whom maybe uninsurable, so your state may have it setup at this point and time. If your a cash customer for surgery you should have the money for the premiums. The issue with a surgeon doing surgery on you is that it is not life threatening, so it is considered elective surgery at this point. So it is true your not going to find many surgeons to do a surgery with no insurance. I know on my last surgery they wanted the deductible money up front prior to surgery. Wrote the checks the morning of surgery.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Take care and keep us posted on how you get along.
  • You have significant spinal problems for someone so young and to be without insurance is a very worrisome situation to be in. We can offer you our experiences and caring and you can unload your fears and concerns here in the forum and maybe be a help to someone else in the process.

    Wishing you success in finding treatment and relief from pain. Keep us up-to-date on what's happening. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Growing, most states are currently putting together high risk pools for Health Care Reform. Here is a list of how to contact the state risk pools and find out if you can get insurance:

  • Also, have you ever seen a pain management doctor? That might be something to look into, especially if you are not eligible for surgery. Good luck!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • There are many hospitals (2 here locally) that set aside funding, through donations, etc., and some of it federal monies for patients such as yourself. IF it were me, in that much pain, I would make a trip to the local emergency room when you just can’t stand it anymore and find out what can be done. I would discuss your financial situation, your pain, and ask to speak to someone in the financial assistance department. (I know they exist)! We have many illegals, single mothers, etc., in this state with no insurance and no money. Often the kids are covered, but the adults are not. There is funding specifically set aside in “most” hospitals for situations such as these. Most of the time, they ask for a lot of information, prior year tax returns, etc., and I have seen them write the whole bill of many, many times. It is out there, you just have to get in gear and go after it. If nothing else, they should refer you to a hospital specialist who can work with you on proper treatment, rather it be surgical intervention, pain meds, or PT. Good luck, you are way too young not to get this taken care of before it becomes worse and you end up like us old, stoved up “BUT STILL HOT” geezers on this page  Best wishes, Marion
  • Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I am looking into several options. Unfortunately I receive a lot of rejections from pain management doctors not even willing to make an appointment due to lack of insurance. I have tried for insurance on my own and either it is too expensive or will not cover preexisting. I once had a great career and full coverage, however, that is long past me and now suffering through a minimum wage job to pay my bills. As for the hospital here, I have been in several times and just referred back to the County Health Services.

    Keep on fighting and eventually I will win. :)
  • In a different county if you need too. We have several counties within 30 miles of each other (borders). Some good, some not so good. The bigger hospitals would be your best bet, rather than a small community hospital. Here, the cache county hospitals are very small, but weber county has two that are huge. What state are you in?
  • Growing tired, did you check the link I posted? Your state should have a high risk pool now or use the federal one, at an affordable cost. You should be able to get insurance because of the Health Care Reform Bill, and it will cover all of your pre-existing conditions.

  • I am in Colorado. I have an application being sent to me for coverage. Thank you Happy. I am not sure I can afford the payments but am willing to look further into the option. Oh how I miss the days of full insurance and high salaries!!!! HA!
  • Growing, I promise that the premiums will be cheaper than surgery ;) They are subsidized, so hopefully they won't be outrageous! Good luck and keep us posted!
  • Hi Heide and welcome to Spine-Health. I also live in Colorado and am unemployed. My Cobra benefits ran out and because I've been turned down by one insurance company due to pre-existing conditions, I'm now qualified for the state program, covercolorado.org.

    Please check out this program and see if you're eligible. They have a few choices, including a catastrophic coverage with a very high deductible, but it really is reasonably priced and is guaranteed to immediately cover any pre-existing condition.

    Let me know how it goes.
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