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Hi from Brooklyn, NY =]

RNtoBeRRNtoBe Posts: 16
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Pain Management
I am a 26 year old nursing student who unfortunately suffered some spinal injuries in two car accidents. I have a total of 8 herniated and/or bulging discs, annular tears, spinal cord compression, the works!

I usually live with little to moderate pain, but every once in a while I have excruciating pain and it usually seems to come all at once. Pain in my neck shooting down an arm, then pain in my back shooting down my leg, and I become completely useless. Sometimes my back will spasm so badly I can't stand, or my neck will spasm forward and I'll be stuck in that position for a week. It's just not possible for me to live that way with the amount of school work I have to do. I had been managing these flare ups with Vicoprofen successfully and used Flexeril for when my neck or back would spasm (scary sight!)...recently my PCP dropped my insurance and I had to find a new one.

So I visit my new doctor and LOVE her, does a thorough assessment and physical and really seems to care about her patients. Then comes my comment "I am used to receiving medications for my spinal problems from my PCP, because I've never liked any of the pm doctors or orthos I've been to, so I just stuck with him"....she was obviously freaked out. This whole situation about doctors not wanting to prescribe opioids is understandable to an extent, I'm aware that kids are getting hooked on them, but doc, ur holding my MRI reports in your hand, I'm screwed up! I'm not a drug seeker! AND I'M A NURSING STUDENT! I'm well aware of every side effect of every drug I ever take and understand the possibility of dependence on these drugs. I don't take them everyday, I take them when I need them to function. She gives me a rx for 14 pills, this was 3 months ago. She then referred me to a PM who doesn't take my insurance, fabulous.

So here I am, without meds, and with pain. I do not want to go through a list of PM doctors, spend time making appts and going to them etc, for them to want to give me shots (which have never helped me in the past) and deny me the one drug I've found thats helped (Vicoprofen). So I talk to my long time pharmacist and he gives me the names of 2 doctors I should check out, I get home and call to find out they're PCPs, not PMs or orthos or any kind of specialist. I just changed my PCP, and I really like her, and I only get to change my PCP twice a year.

Is it worth changing my PCP just to get my meds and possibly not really like the physician? I feel so helpless right now, I just want a freaking specialist who isn't peeing their pants over having to write a script for an opioid. Any suggestions????

Thanks in advance.


  • I would not change PCPs again when the new one is also likely to send you out to PM. As you know, a lot of PCPs are uncomfortable Rx'ing opiates to a CP paient, and PM seems to be a growing field.I think it is largely a money making scheme because our regular physicians use to be the ones who treated us for all of our medical issues outside of specialties.. but I think that PM is a new specialty since pain has been added as a vital sign. Perhaps you can ask around and find a referral to a good PM, it's what a lot of us have had to do.

    Just FYI, being a nurse or going to school to become one does not make you exempt from the rules of addiction. As a matter of fact, more Drs and nurses become addicted to their medication (ratio) than the patients they treat. Nothing against you personally, I was just throwing that out there incase you were unaware of the problem that exists in the field where opiate pain meds are concerned. I have heard many times that it is harder for nurses to get proper treatment for the CP they suffer just because of those statistics. Good luck in your search for proper PM-I have been where you are.

    Welcome to Spine-health. There is a wealth of information here.
  • I am definitely aware of the addiction statistics, it's a sad but very true reality that many people in the medical field are addicted to prescription meds. I had never thought of doctors possibly linking me being a nursing student to the statistics though, so thanks for pointing that out. I'm just ready to cry over here, the only people I know that do have legitimate pain have the same problem I do, and I was always the lucky one with my old PCP.

    I don't know if it's something that's happening only in NYC, or more than usual in NYC, but it's hard for people to get access to certain medications. My brother has cancer and gets bone pain from the Chemo and he can't even get opioids. I think it's getting a little ridiculous, people can't live functional, happy lives while in excruciating pain. I just feel so helpless right now, and I can see plenty of people in my situation turning to buy drugs off the street because their docs won't prescribe them, and that's going to cause an even bigger problem.

    Well, thanks for the advice Robin, and I do hope to find somebody in Brooklyn with some guidance when it comes to specialists in the area.
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