Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

I hate insurance companies

earth2robineearth2robin Posts: 51
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Health Insurance Issues
I have experienced chronic pain in my neck and shoulder periodically since high school with the flare-ups becoming more frequent every year until last year in July or August the latest flare-up started that has only gotten worse. I am 32 years old now with a prior history of chronic lumbar pain/ cauda equina syndrome/leaking spinal fluid/microdiscectomy at the L4/L5 level.

Below are the results of my cervical MRI.
Overall Impression: Multilevel (C2/C3-C7/T1) degenerative changes, most significant at C6/7 where an extrusion abuts spinal cord. Multiple bulging discs. Abutment of exiting nerve roots and severe stenosis of spinal canal and neural formaina. Large osteophyte complex. Spinal deformity.

Despite seeing my PCP at least 5 times for this problem as well as a neurologist about 3 times plus a neurosurgeon and physical therapy, I am no closer to a treatment or even pain management. My insurance would not approve the recommended surgery, they conferred with my neurosurgeon who then recommended a trial period of injections. Then my insurance dropped my coverage.

So now I have new insurance and I have another appointment in 2 weeks with a new doctor in Seattle, this time with a Orthopedic Surgeon that was recommended to me by my professor. I hope this doctor actually listens to me instead of my insurance company and will base my treatment on my symptoms and not what my insurance says has to be done. We will see.

What I do know is that I can't handle any of this anymore, the pain, numbness, and shaking severely impacts my quality of life. I have constant numbness in my right arm and leg and intermittent numbness on the left side. Plus all the various aches, pains, the burning sensations. Limited ROM in my neck and right arm. Constant tremors. And I can even hear my blood running in my veins or my heart beating or ringing in my ear, depending on whichever nerve is being compressed at the moment. Its enough to drive one batty. ;-)

I am currently unemployed, but I can't imagine returning to work now with all this pain and numbness and clumsiness. I think I should be classified as disabled now since I can't return to my job as I am now or anytime in the near future, but the doctors ignore me when I put out that I can't carry the equipment I would need to carry at work and I can't use a computer for 8 hours a day. Any ideas on this?

Any suggestions on getting my doctor to treat me the patient, not my insurance company? I'll take advice, suggestions, encouraging words, anything! :-)


  • i'd be real frustrated if i were coping with what you are coping with. i do not want to turn this into any political statement or anything, but as a non-american i find it hard to believe that white collar people in power suits and $500 shoes (HMO's i believe they are called) make decisions as to ones medical care, overriding opinions of some extremely brilliant physicians some who are voted by their peers as top in their fields. anyway, as i said, i don't want this to start any untowards political discussion, but i wanted to say that if i can say any encouraging words it is that i sure the heck would be EXTREMELY frustrated if i were getting jerked around by insurance companies that a lot of you have to deal with. you are a lot stronger than you think you are. i think i would have a difficult time dealing with that if it were me. i would for sure have an anxiety disorder, and who knows, maybe ptsd. hang in there earth2robin
  • Thanks, babyruth, for your support. I too hate my country's insurance system, but the way our politics are here I do not see it changing until campaign reform occurs. I think we should join the rest of the civilized nations. Did you know that even Afghanistan provides paid maternity leave for all mothers, not just mothers employed by a certain type of employer as it is here in the US?

    Just in case somebody reads this at a later point, I wanted to update this. After Medicaid dropped me, I picked up the insurance offered to students by my university. I kept the appointment that was originally scheduled as my second opinion with Medicaid, with an orthopedic surgeon/neurosurgeon in Seattle. Through research, I learned that he is actually considered one of the top 1% in his field by US News & World Report. He is affiliated with one of the top neurosurgery/orthopedic surgery hospitals in the nation and the top hospital network in Washington; therefore, in my opinion, his diagnosis definitely proves that my last “non” diagnoses was due to having Medicaid.

    On Tuesday, I was diagnosed with cervical myelopathy by my second neurosurgeon consultation and will have an ACDF performed at the C6/C7 level on March 21. What is frustrating is that through my research, I have learned (albeit after the fact) that some of the new signs used to diagnose cervical myelopathy is the finger escape sign. At the time of my first neurosurgeon appointment, I didn’t even know this weird movement of my pinkie finger had a name. I just thought it very strange and pointed it out to the first neurosurgeon. The only signs the first neurosurgeon even checked for is the Hoffman’s sign and hyperreflexia. I read that the Hoffman’s sign may not even be indicative of myelopathy if the compression occurs below the C5/C6 level (not sure if that is right though). They did not check for clonus or Babinki’s sign. At the time I had an obvious limp when I walk with balance problems, I even told them I about the electrical pains shooting down my neck and arms when I move my head forward (Lermitte’s phenomenon).

    To me it is incomprehensible that a doctor would ignore these symptoms simply because the insurance company involved, but I believe that is indeed what happened. So if you are ever in the Seattle area and you have Medicaid, send me a message and I will tell you which doctor to see and which not to see, although I have provided enough info in this post for someone to figure out who they should see by doing a little research. Sorry I can’t just come out and say it, but I believe the site does not allow that.

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Many insurance companies or should I say most insurance companies require the trial of other procedures before allowing a surgery. Regardless of what the doctor thinks. I needed surgery that nothing other then surgery could fix but i was forced to go to physical therapy and do injections before approval would be given. My surgeon tells me to go to physical therapy once if it helps go back if not then dont go back. At least in the insurance companies eyes I went, get the injections and then come back and we will schedule surgery. Sad but true.
Sign In or Register to comment.