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went to ER last night

JuliegJJulieg Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Chronic Pain
I've been taking my anti-inflammatories, doing my back exercises (when it doesn't hurt too much to move) and practicing posture adjustments, but last night I woke up in blinding pain. By the time I got to the ER it had faded to its usual level, but I accepted a shot of painkillers anyway, fearing that it would come back. They gave me a prescription for flexeril but I'm in too much pain to walk to the pharmacy. My husband's at work (he had to go to work on almost no sleep because of stupid defective me) and I don't have friends in the area I can call.

All the doctors I've seen have just sent me out the door with a prescription and exercises. My core is now strong enough that I can do advanced yoga poses (at least, I could before the most recent flare-up - that was months ago) but they keep telling me that my core muscles are just weak. It doesn't make any sense and no one's taking me seriously. I don't even know what causes the pain because no doctor sits with me long enough to explain what's going on physiologically - they just tell me I have "back pain." It's like if you don't have a shard of bone jutting out of your back, then you must be making it up.

I'm so tired and worn down by this. It's been years, on and off, always striking just when I think I've finally shaken it. Please, I just need some compassion. I need someone to take me seriously. I need someone to tell me that this isn't all in my head, or that I could solve this silly little problem if I weren't so lazy. The pain is warping my whole life and nothing I do helps.


  • After poking around this site for a bit, I came across the pages for sacroiliac joint dysfunction and it matches my symptoms EXACTLY. If my condition has a name and specific treatments, why has no doctor ever mentioned it? Why did I have to find it on the internet? What am I doing in the examination room to make doctors blow me off?
  • Hello Julie and welcome to Spine-health! Well first off....Your not crazy, or lazy!! You have come to the right site...we are here for you!!

    It does not feel good to hurt but then get told that you are crazy....I am very sorry about that!!!

    If you ever want to scream/rant/cry or just talk you can PM me anytime!!

    I look forward to getting to know you better!!
  • Sorry to hear about your pain issue. As everyone here can relate to it.
    1st off tell us what kind of doctor's you are seeing. I'm guessing a GP, sounds like you need to see a Neuro or a Ortho. Or start off with a pain mgt. doctor.
  • Julieg,

    Welcome to Spine Health!! Sorry to hear you hurt so bad that you had to go to the ER - I hate that place!! Question? Have you had any imaging done (MRI/CT or even a Flex/Extension X-Rays?). Like Jim said, you might want to either get a referral, or if your insurance allows, get with either a Neurologist or an Orthopedist that specialize in the spine. Some GP's aren't savvy when it comes to spine issues.

    I hope you're feeling better. Again, Welcome Aboard!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sending you away is their way of trying to avoid you until, statistically, your back pain has a high chance of going away. Then if you're one of the ones with a problem that will not resolve without intervention, or with pain bad enough to make you keep coming back, they'll sigh, roll their eyes, and begrudgingly give you some treatment.

    So, time to be the squeaky wheel. No, really, it's the only way you're going to get anywhere. You need:

    a) A specialist referral.
    b) Imaging to find out exactly what's going on.
    c) Regular treatment for your pain, so your husband can sleep.

    If your GP doesn't give it to you, you know it's time to get a new GP. I had the same GP group for years without knowing they were terrible until I had serious health issues and they dropped balls left and right. Better to know now!

    It might be that physical therapy could still help you, but it has to be done under guidance- strengthening one muscle group without testing whether you are balanced in strength and flexibility is not always going to help.

  • Everyone else here has already said or asked pretty much all I was going to say or ask ;)

    So I will just post to you letting you know I along with the rest care about you & am here for you as I await for your response.

    Please keep us updated how you are :)
    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.
  • Thank you so much for your kind responses. The pain is better for now... looking back, it was a stupid idea to go to the ER, since I've survived middle-of-the-night attacks before and now I'll be $150 in the hole for the injection. I was just feeling so desperate for someone to help me.

    Let's see... Over the past 7 years, I've seen an ER doctor who told me I had a sprain and gave me ibuprofen; a GP who sent me to a PT, who gave me a long list of pilates-type exercises to do; an orthopedic surgeon who tried to send me to another PT who he said would give the same exercises; and most recently, a nurse practitioner at my university's health center (I'm currently in graduate school). The NP told me to make an appointment with the sports medicine people who will give me the same exercises yet again, but I'm going to go back to the health center tomorrow and try to get referred to a spine specialist. I've never had any imaging done except for a basic X-ray, which the orthopedic surgeon told me was standard for new patients.

    I've had surgery on my mind ever since I found those SJD articles, even though I know it's probably too soon to be thinking about that (although, I don't know, 7 years of severe debilitating pain...). On the one hand, this would be a major decision that I don't want to make lightly - but on the other, I worry that I'll never even get a chance to make that decision because doctors refuse to examine or treat me.

    Again, thanks for talking to me. I really appreciate it.
  • Since you have been dealing with this for 7 years, you definitely should see a specialist for your sake.
    Even if everything shows up good then you will have accomplished that, and then can look at other possible causes and treatments.

    Whether it be massage therapy, physical therapy, and/or a combination of pain meds to relieve your pain.

    You had x-rays how long ago, and the doctor's refusing to treat you are they GP's,
    You don't need a referal to see a specialist, thats where i would go.
    Good luck.
  • Julie, I hope you get your referral to a spine specialist!! You've lived with this for far too long undiagnosed and untreated. Let us know how it goes, and I hope that you get the help you need, and soon!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • after all these years i am surprised that you have not had the usual diagnostic measures, mri, cat scan, nerve tests, disography. you need to have these to narrow down the problem. no dr can make any viable diagnosis without these, in reality you should have all of these tests if you have back pain. have you asked for them? why have your doctors not prescribed these? any dr would be on the close side of malpractice if they did not order any of these tests if you came in for chronic back pain. if you have to go to the er, really bad idea in my opinion, you will need to take pictures and reports with you so they won't be dismissive towards you. people who go the er for back pain will have red flags especially if there is no history of diagnostic tests. instead of the er, get a pain dr or go see an orthopedic or neurologist doctor. you should see these instead of the er. i know nurses and they say that back pain people in the er arouse suspicion especially without test results. so get all of these tests and keep copies and if you absolutely have to go to er, take all copies with you.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • To suffer Julie!
    I'm glad you found us and even happier that you will seek the specific guidance of a specialist, so you can get to the root cause of your pain.

    You are right surgery is nothing one should take lightly. Neither is suffering in pain for 7 years, I know, I did just that and had back surgery finally on Aug 24th, unfortunately for me, I'm still in pain.

    Now, for you, its easy to read symptoms and get caught up in self diagnosis, take a deep breath, get into the ortho, let them work you up, X-ray, CT, MRI, whatever they need to figure out the source of your pain. One of my clients was complaining about his knee, a lot, told ne he knows he needs knee replacement, went to ortho, knees were fine, it was his back! He had a bad herniation and was causing knee pain, his back never bothered him. He had a discectomy and is fine, playing tennis & golf.

    Now when you see the specialist, be prepared to give specific interpretations of your pain, what sets it off and what relieves it.

    One good thing is your core is strong, that is so important and should help you.

    Good luck & keep us posted!
  • I 100% agree! It is way past time for you to see a specialist. Fight for yourself and be seen/treated by the right Dr. I can't image only having a X-ray so far!

    wow! and now a Good wow ;)

    PLEASE do keep us updated - we care :)
    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.
  • Julieg said:

    Let's see... Over the past 7 years, I've seen an ER doctor who told me I had a sprain and gave me ibuprofen; a GP who sent me to a PT, who gave me a long list of pilates-type exercises to do;
    Ugh, I've been to PTs like that before. So annoying.

    A really good physical therapist will have a multi-faceted approach. They will have exercises, but will also have pain management modalities (heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation), they will go over your daily activities to make them "back-smart," and usually you'll visit frequently and have the exercises tailored to where you are in terms of flexibility and fitness.

    And I also agree fully with your decision to go to a specialist. Good luck!
  • Hi Julie,

    I'm so sorry you feel like you've been blown off by every doctor. I'm wondering if it may be age related. Are you in your 20's by any chance? One of the things we see over and over here in the forum is the 20-something who has severe back pain which no doctor will take seriously. It's a mindset among some doctors, I think, that figures you're young and will get better on your own with time and exercise. The other mindset is that if they start talking surgery, that's a lifechanging thing and not something most 20-somethings would want to look at unless at the end of their proverbial ropes.

    Sorry, if you're older and this point doesn't pertain to you.

    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
  • Im so sorry your in such pain, I believe you btw.

    Try Ultram, or Tramadol. Also, you should get an MRI. If you already have one, get a copy of it and bring it to a neurosurgeon or if you don't have insurance, an ER as a last resort. You body is telling you that damage is occurring. IF YOU EVER ARE UNABLE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!, go to the ER!!!!!!!!!!!! Or if you have any loss of sensation in you feet legs or lastly, if you trip on you feet.

    I really feel for you. Insist on an MRI if you don't already have one. I really hope you have some type of insurance. Don't hesitate to complain on here. Thats what a forum is for.

    Many hugs and I really hope you feel better.

    I'm not a doctor, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
  • Julie where are you located?

    I also was treated for SJD among other things before I was finally discovered to have grade 3 retrololisthis of L5/S1 (also complete collapse of the disc at L5/S1). I can't remeber if it was a chiropracter or a PT person who decided that is what I had. They were pretty close and the SJ belt helped (kept some things stable). I wore it for a year I think maybe longer under my clothes. Ugg.

    I agree you need a complete work up. You really need to demand flexion extension xrays, & mri to start and should get with a good neurologist, NS, or OS.

    Feel Better >:D<

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