When I first started on my trip down chronic pain I remember my first appt with a PM. I was given a 2 page form to fill in to give my assesment of pain over the previous two weeks on a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being "the worst pain imaginable". So I gave this some thought and for me the worst pain imaginable was being burned alive so that's my 10. On that basis I rated myself, on average, as a 5-6.Also at the end a pain manakin which I had to shade and then "arrow" to the area of pimary pain. Sound familiar?
So in 1993 I pay £150 to see this consultant. He does a 3 min phyical is arrogant and unhelpful. My appointment lasts 10 minutes and he begrudginly says I could have an MRI. He made me feel like an idiot and that I was just wingeing.
I have had serveral of the same experiences with PM's and surgeons over the years. Some have been slightly better but I have always felt that they were not interested in me or what I was experiencing. Every time I paid between £150 - £185 to be miligned!
Then his year when the pain got a lot worst I went through it all again and as usual did my research. I found another highly reccomended Spine surgeon (othopedic). I had been to a Nuro Surgen so thought it best to do both.
Before my first appointment they said they would send me a questionaire to fill in......here we go again I thought! It arrived. Two questionaires; one 10 pages long and one 3 pages long. The level of detail requested was amazing and seemed to be so much more relavent.
I made my appointment and took my MRI and specific Xrays he has asked for. This appointment cost me £200.00 and I was with him for 1 hour, yes that's right 1 hour!!!!! We did the pain scale and I gave him my assesment based on being buned alive. He smiled and said "we don't burn witches anymore Maxine". He then asked me to rate my pain on the basis of how it affected my ability to function. This made much more sense to me. He was amazing and went through in detail my MRI and X-ray plus all the possible options both non-surgical and surgical.
Needless to say my surgery (next Monday) is with him!
My rather laboured point is....if they don't take the time to listen to us and understand in more detail what we are experiencing how can they hope to improve pain management and spinal issues. It's such a complex area of the body surely the chances of improving treatment comes from listening to us, not talking at us. 10-15 minutes at £185 just adds insult to injury.
Ok will get off my soap box now! ~X(