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Chronic Pain--Count Me In, I Guess

sassy411ssassy411 Posts: 199
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
I guess I'm in now. If my neck arthritis isn't enough, I finally got the results of my low back MRI.

Grade 1 spondyloithesis L5-S1.

Facet arthropathy at L3-4 & synovial cyst, L4 nerve root compression.

Prominent spondyitic changes T11-T12.

I guess this explains my miserable sciatica & other symptoms. My GP is shipping me off to PM, so I guess that means he doesn't think this stuff is fixable.

I'm still in the mode of, "oh I'm sure I'll be feeling fine in a day or two." Haven't gotten my mind around the idea that this is a long term thing.


  • Is your GP suggesting you are not fixable? That is for a specialist to decide- not a GP. When my low back started getting bad my pcp didn't send me to a surgeon until I requested it, nor did she give me an MRI until I requested it. Now I don't even consult her- I go straight to my NS for all my back care (PM for medication & injections). He keeps her updated but that is the limit of her involvement.

    Maybe the PM will help you get reffered to a specialist or do injections to pin point the problem (it could be everything or just one thing on your mri)? My PM has offered to reffer me to a different surgeon "if I request it". However I like my NS just fine.

    Hang in there >:D<

  • I only talked to his assistant & he didn't have any info other than what was written in front of him.

    My doc had told me prior to the MRI that he would likely have to refer me to either an NS or PM.

    I will certainly ask the PM doc whether any of this is fixable. My doc is suggesting epi injections. From what I've read, they sound pretty dreadful.
  • Sassy, I have had several epidural injections and never found them to be "dreadful". I did find in my case that they didn't help me so much until the last one I had a couple of months ago, but they certainly weren't painful and gave me a good excuse for one day of complete relaxation since you are asked to lie down and give the injection time to work the day of the injection. It is a logical first step in treatment before more invasive procedures.

    Although my NS did my first two injections, she now refers all injection procedures to the PM doctor. He did the last one, the one that worked, and it was so much simpler because he performs the procedure in his office and she always had me do it in outpatient surgery at the hospital.
  • Glad to hear the epis are not necessarily terrible. And glad it has worked for you.

    Excellent point about having an excuse to relax for a whole day!
  • Glad to hear the epis are not necessarily terrible. And glad it has worked for you.

    Excellent point about having an excuse to relax for a whole day!
  • honeysmom said:
    ... but they certainly weren't painful and gave me a good excuse for one day of complete relaxation since you are asked to lie down and give the injection time to work the day of the injection.

    Wow, I wish I'd known that. My PM doc told me it didn't make any difference if I rested or lie down for the day so I went in to work all three times. I didn't think the ESI caused very dramatic results, but overall they did help. Maybe they would have worked better if I'd rested on the day of injection?
  • First, f4tune81, although the docs say to stay still one day after an injection, if it's possible, staying relatively inactive for three days is the ideal to give the medicine a chance to settle into the area in which it was injected. If you move around, so does the medication. I heard this from someone very knowledgeable on here once, and I thought it made perfect sense. So to err on the side of caution, I always rest for three days post-injection.

    Sorry, Sassy, didn't mean to highjack your thread, but back to your situation.

    I didn't find the ESI injection to be a big deal either. In fact quite the opposite - it seemed like the facility made a bigger deal of it than necessary. You get in a robe, in a bed, hooked to an IV, etc. - all the prep takes five times longer than the actual procedure. It always seemed to me that you should just be able to go in, pull your pants down, get the shot and leave (after you pull your pants back up, of course). But they do take precautions and I guess that's the best plan.

    Like Julie, I don't see how your GP can know whether you can be fixed or not. If she said she could send you to a PM or to a NS, I'd opt for the NS. My GP sent me to a surgeon after she saw my MRI because she knew she wasn't capable of dealing with the severe cervical problems I had and the surgeon I chose (a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, ortho, that specializes in severe cervical problems) suggested surgery ASAP.

    I think trying injections and other conservative measure first is the common route. Injections, PT, etc. are all things they want to try because surgery is absolutely a last resort. Hopefully they'll work for you. Make sure that the ESI you get is a fluoroscopy-guided one (they use an x-ray during the procedure to watch the needle and its exact placement). You may also have the option to be sedated and will need someone to drive you home afterwards.

    Good luck with getting to the right doctor and with the procedures. My ESI worked wonderfully, in conjunction with a 5-day medrol pack, for my bulging disk in my lumbar spine. If only the facets and stenosis could have been helped, I wouldn't have needed any further treatment.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • You have really helped clarify things a bit. Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought.

    I don't know what GP is thinking, the staff isn't saying much other than wait for the referral to come thru.

    The PM is part of the same medical group, that may be a good thing. I really love my GP, he's amazing. But the whole getting results from tests procedure is a pain (literally), they are slow.

    My GP's assistant said it takes 5-10 biz days to process the referral. Groan. Let's just get on with it, shall we?

  • Oh, my, the waiting is the worst. I think us spineys are the most patient patients in the world- we have to wait for results, for referalls, for appointments, for tests, for determinations, for consultations...it seems like it takes so long and the entire time we're chewing our fingernails down to the quick.

    Having been at this for some time now, I've really learned patience, but sometimes things become unreasonable and you have to be the squeeky wheel.

    I'm hoping that you can wring out an answer from your GP in the days to come. Sometimes the waiting seems ridiculous - you'd think they'd have a little more compassion when they know we're in pain and need help. But then again, things do take time, so to blame the doc is too easy. Hang in there...you'll get your results and referral soon (I'm hoping).

  • They will get the referral processed. I hope the PM doc is a good one & will explain things to me & give me a referral to PT.

    I really need to find some form of cardio I can do without tearing myself up. Between my neck, back & knees, water jogging is about it but even that seems to wreak havoc on my low back.
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