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Choosing the right doctor - Please assist me

cjperkccjperk Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Pain Management
Cheers all,

How does one go about finding a good match for a PM doctor?

I've read countless stories of people let down, treated like they're addicts, and other such stories that I'm frightened of making appointments with these guys.

Whoever I see I need to work with me and understand me. For instance, epidural style injections are out of the question. I do not want a needle anywhere near my spine. It's a worst fear kind of thing. I could probably deal with trigger point injections, but not easily. I don't know how else to explain it, but the very thought sends shivers down my spine (no pun).

I'm not even sure of other treatments that do not involve a needle and your spine. Every PM clinic's website I visit only seem to offer these treatments. I've read about spinal decompression treatments that do not involve needles, etc.

If you're curious about any medical history just ask. Otherwise I will not bore, but I've jumped through all of the hoops, both lumbar and cervical MRI's, currently treated by family doctor. I need to pursue a different treatment because what I'm doing is not enough. Some days are good, but the ones that are not make life he*l.

Thank you very much in advance.



  • Hi CJ,
    Welcome to SH. Great place for support and info.
    And chat also.
    I'm with you and been doing new search to find a Pain doc.
    I have seen a few and fired them. I have done the injections never again. Last pm she had a attitude after injection did nothing but swelled up my body. And I asked her what amount she gave me because it never happened other times I tried them. Then she wrote a script that had over 5 different meds on it, never explained them.
    I have chatted with many members over the years about pain m. docs and I guess you have to just go and talk with them to see if its right fit. I have few close ppl I have met here and have become good friends and they go to a Physiatrist type of doc ok, don't think I spelled that right.

    For me I have been thru the worst with them so I think I'm due for new good one. But I am calling before and I don't want to waste their time nor mine.
    No injections and I don't have the best reaction on alot of meds I tend to sleep.

    So perhaps you can call around, and find out what they can do for you. As most will say they can help just to get ya in, you can always hear them out and say no thanks.

    Best luck to you
    And again Welcome

    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    You will know when you have found the right Dr for you. It took me a couple tries before I found one that I was comfortable with. I know the injections are scary but they can give you relief. The Dr can even make sure you are either tranquilized or even alseep when they are performed if your fears are that bad. Talk to the Dr and make sure they know of your fears. Before everyone Of my injection I was given Valium and a pain pill before each one. I know the idea of being injected at the spine is scary but the injections are not really bad. You will be sore after the injection but nothing real bad. Most pain Dr.s will want to do injections and if you refuse you can be terminated for being non-compliant. Talk to your doctor and let him know all your concerns and fears
  • Thank you both for the replies. Yes, they are very scary to me (spinal injections). I have literally darn near had a full blown panic attack from a wimpy injection in to my elbow. I don't believe the doctor believed me until I started sweating from my brow. Point is, I'm terrified of needles, and in to my spine is the scariest of all. My dentist

    Thank goodness my current doctor understands this, but we're at a stand still with treatment. All I'm doing is rotting away and letting this back pain control my life.

    I have an appointment with a Physiatrist tomorrow so I'll post an update. It was a refer, I didnt choose, and he has unfavorable reviews on the internet. I'm a little worried... Anyways, I know this is how they make their money but I'd rather do some sort of physical rehab program, etc.

    The restless sleep is probably making the pain worse than what it actually is. I cannot attest to this because I cannot get a decent nights sleep unless I'm drugged out of my mind.

    Anyways, I'll see tomorrow. If I do not like this guy is there a way to see various doctors without being accused of shopping? I've only seen 2 doctors for my back and they both were well aware of the other. I have nothing to hide.... Thanks again.
  • Good news is he did not want to do epidural injections.

    Bad news is this - While I have a bulge at the L5/SI level, they do not think it's causing my issue. I felt this guy listened and was courteous, I do not think he has a friggin clue what's wrong with me.

    This is what they diagnosed as -- Myofacial Lumbar blah blah blah whatever that is. Something is causing all of my lumbar muscles to guard and guard heavily. It's musculoskeletal something or other and he said it was very difficult to treat. So he prescribed me with Cymbalta to see if it helps. Only place it's going to help is my trash heap. SNRI's make me feel disgusting and I tried to explain this. I didnt feel right for DAYS after taking Tramadol. I really got the feeling that any of that crap would change who you are. Sorry but I'm not interested.

    He wasnt as interested in the Cervical bulge because I'm managing the symtoms well.

    Forgive the spelling and grammar, I'm in a hurry to another eval at a chiropractor. Somethings gotta give here, I'm seriously at my wits end with this back pain.

    Nice guy, but dang I can't help to feel like I'll be going at this a while. Something has to be causing this. What do I do next? Supposed to go back in a month, continue seeing this guy or look for other type of doctor?

  • Per PM instructions, I went to a Chiropractic visit to be stretched out, etc. I'm not a huge fan of Chiro's, but I'm giving it a shot.

    My left foot is numb after leaving the appt. I'm not very pleased about this, but my back feels slightly better. I'm supposed to do this for 1 month and then come back for a re-eval.

    The chiro tried to pop me 5 times and couldnt. He then resorted to the trigger type activator thing.

    I hate the feeling that they can see you coming a mile away, but I got that. They're going to do everything possible to bill my insurance I feel. I'm going to do one more appt. with this PM. If he offers no better solution, I'm getting another opinion. Thanks for listening.
  • I had an appt today with a new doc. My problem is finding one that actually sits down and discusses my condition with me. This one had an asst read him my responses to questions and took me out to a small area to view xrays then told me I could have injections and physical therapy or surgery. I had been told I couldn't have either by another dr. I asked him about the meds I was on and he just rushed through that. Back to the internet to look for another.

    I just want one to sit with me and not act like they have only 5 minutes to spend with me.
  • Hello cjperk. Here you will see a list of treatments;
    Alternative Care
    Artificial Disc Replacement
    Back Surgery
    Diagnostic Tests
    Heat Therapy Cold Therapy
    Pain Management
    Pain Medication
    Physical Therapy
    Spinal Fusion
    Spine Specialists..

    It takes time and a lot of patience [on both sides] when visiting and getting to know a new Dr.. You may not know on the first visit if the Dr. you visit is the right one for you, but usually you can get an idea on or after the second one. It's just a personal opinion of mine that I won't allow a chiropractor to manipulate my spine. I think they can cause more harm than good, esp. without knowing the exact condition(s) you are dealing with.

    Injections can be uncomfortable and scary, but can sometimes be helpful which makes them worth it.. sometimes!! If you do decide to try an ESI, I hope that you make sure that the Dr. doing the injection uses fluroscopy and not just free handing it, which IMO is much more risky and decidedly not worth the risk involved. Making your Dr. aware of your fears and concerns and well... communicating with him/her will go a long way in any success you get in pain treatments. My Dr. gives me a couple of strong nerve meds to take the morning before any painful injections, because they stress me out and I refuse general anesthesia.

    Welcome to Spine-health! Here is a link to read about those treatments mentioned above;
  • Hi Robin,

    Thank you very much for the list of treatments. I've tried most conservative treatments for my lumbar to no avail. I've done good keeping the cervical issue at bay, but the lumbar is causing much discomfort. The cervical bulge is really only causing fatigue, pain, and intermitent numbness doing the treatment plan I'm on (home PT type exercise/stretch, some medicine). Sometimes I get the crick for a few weeks, but traction/ice daily can get mobility back. I have the big bouncy ball and medicine ball, Saunders unit, bag of peas, and heat pad.

    I went in convinced I needed epidural, he didnt want to do ANY injections - Not even trigger point. TP injections seem much less scary to me. I also asked him about a TP style injection for my levator scapulae discomfort - He didnt want to do it either. He wanted me to stop taking medicine except for Cymbalta. Explained MR's do not help and that narcotics cause addiction. I've never, ever asked for any medicine type, dosage, etc. It's all been suggested. I've also never been accused or had any drug/alcohol addiction issues. The PM did not accuse of addiction, just said medicines lead to addiction.

    He claimed the disc bulge was not causing my (lumbar) problem. That's really good news in one way, bad in another. If it's not the disc what is it?

    Today I took the 30mg dosage of Cymbalta as a test run. I'm sweating profusely from underarms, my hands are warm and sweaty, and I feel super anxious. Some mild nausea, nothing serious. I'm not taking more until the weekend. I said I'd try it so I am going to. If these side effects keep up or if I start feeling different, it's going in the trash. To be honest, pain wise, I don't feel much different.

    I really liked this doctor as a person. I felt he listened, spent time, etc. I believe he believed me, but I do not feel he understood the level of pain this is causing. It's a constant 5-7, all of the time. Some things make it worse, some a little better. If he doesnt have a better solution by next visit I'm going to look elsewhere for treatment. I really am starting to feel like I'm suffering needlessly.

    I'm having a really difficult time believing that the disc is not causing the discomfort. Something is causing the constant muscle guarding, spasms, etc.

    Yesteday's Chiro Cliff Notes -

    Felt good while he was massaging / stretching
    Hurt like hell when he tried to pop me and I wouldnt
    Felt slightly better when I walked out of his office
    Some numbness in my left foot driving home.
    Some numbness in my left foot sitting last night.

    Stiff as a board again this morning
    Thoracic and cervical area sore (like bone sore, not muscle) today. I do not like the way this feels. A little scared to go back. I expressively told them no cervical manipulation. I cannot risk someone yanking my c-spine making things worse.

    So far, not a fan of either treatment options. Thanks again for listening. I'm looking for solutions that seem so out of reach.
  • I tried lying down for sleep and these weird feelings are keeping me awake. I'm having these weird pain pulses in random parts of my back. Surprisingly not much in the lumbar, but in the t and c-spine. My neck is hurting and my LEFT FOOT IS NUMB ARGHHH! Like my neck is sore, not fatigue sore or normal neck feeling sore, it feels like it's been reamed.

    While I've had some left foot numbness while sitting before, I've never ever had it bother me while trying to sleep. It's radiating up in to my calf and feels weak.

    What has this guy done to me.... Work is coming in a few short hours and here I sit awake. This is ridiculous, I should have never let him talk me in to trying Chiropractic. The Chiropractor should have known better than to jerk around on someone with a cervical bulge and who knows what wrong with their lumbar region.

    Right now, I feel WORSE than when I walked in to the PM office on Tuesday. I'm seriously not very happy as I'm sure you can tell. In fact I'm mad, mad at myself. I should have known better than to get talked in to a chiropractor.

    You know, a patient needs to trust the person they're seeing and vice versa. This PM claimed nothing is touching a nerve, what the heck is making my foot numb?
  • I'm a little blown away right now. I slept roughly 3 hours last night. Still having same issues today. I won't bore with more complaining about the pain.

    I will complain about this practice already a pain in my butt! I mean seriously, if they cannot even get some PT ordered in 8 hours, I'm just a little at a loss.

    So I promptly call at 8:30 and explain my situation. I explain the Chiropractor hurt me and I'd like to get in to PT fast to address it. Left foot numbness, etc. I'm told the doctor is at another office, he would call me this afternoon.

    By the time 3:30 rolls around, no call yet. I call them - She kind of rudely says, "Yeah, because he's been in the Surgery Center all day", "Youre going to have to wait till tomorrow".

    Granted I know I sound rough right now, I didnt sleep well past few nights, last night was worst. I'm trying not to lose my temper. I politely explain that I called PT and setup an appt. for tomorrow, I thought for sure this would happen (I know the PT girls / staff well - they let me make the appt. without the script). I cannot go to PT without the script.

    Geez maybe this is protocol, but is this practice looking grim or what? Am I overreacting? I'm so frustrated at this point I just never want to return to another doctor. It sounded like nobody was even going to offer a courtesy call to say, "Sorry, you'll need to wait till...".

    When an issue is caused indirectly by their actions, I feel it's their responsibility to address it. I believe some hard PT might help whatever he did. If I do not hear from them by 10am I'm calling my PC who referred me to this practice to see if they can call in PT. I'm trying to play ball, but not calling or seemingly caring about me is making me want to look elsewhere or go around them. Physical therapy should be essential to someone like me and NOT difficult to get. It's not like I called asking for anything but PT.

    /end rant. I'm extremely sorry for the frustration.
  • ^^ 20 minutes after making the above post, I'm back for my plate of crow. They came through even though the other woman said I'd need to wait till tomorrow.

    A very kind sounding lady just called with the script. Their practice closes is from 8-4 so this was even after hours. I thought I was getting screwed around. I was wrong.

    I'm a very reasonable person, but when I'm frustrated I'm frustrated. Sorry and thanks
  • I hope you are feeling better. If not, I hope your next appt. provides more options and some relief.
  • Robin said:
    I hope you are feeling better. If not, I hope your next appt. provides more options and some relief.
    Thank you for the wishes.

    Yes, I'm feeling 100x better than after the chiropractor visit. I'm still in shock the PM sent me there and I'm not going back. I'm still hurting worse than usual, but there's a noticeable difference from Friday. Please forgive me for freaking out so bad, but I was flabbergasted that the PM sent me there. I should have known better and I was extremely mad at myself for going.

    The PT said I was "super tight, neck to butt". He said when that Chiro tried to adjust me, my back thought it was an injury and started guarding severely. I'm not kidding, it was horrible. The PT also said some muscle is so tense it's compressing my sciatic nerve and he thought it would subside in a week or so.

    Good news is I'll at least get back to my baseline pain level. The bad news is I'm no closer to a good treatment plan. Oh well, at least I'm likely not injured worse. I'm going to stick with this round of PT and see what happens. I'm also giving the PM one more visit. If he doesnt have a better idea for me, I'm going elsewhere.

    Also, I can tell you now the Cymbalta does nothing except make me feel weird, anxious, and sweaty. It's seemingly doing nothing for the pain. I'm discontinuing use today. That's all I need is another seemingly useless drug stack on top of what I'm already taking.

  • I get it. My muscles are a tight mess too. My back feels like cement and I only wish I was that firm everywhere, but without the pain.
    Maybe you can ask your Dr. if you can go to PT for massage only-get those muscles loosened up. Have a hot tub or know anyone who has one? Like me, you really need to get those muscles relaxed, because as long as you have back injuries/issues the muscles won't stop guarding.. and they are my worst nightmare!!

  • Robin said:
    I get it. My muscles are a tight mess too. My back feels like cement and I only wish I was that firm everywhere, but without the pain.
    Maybe you can ask your Dr. if you can go to PT for massage only-get those muscles loosened up. Have a hot tub or know anyone who has one? Like me, you really need to get those muscles relaxed, because as long as you have back injuries/issues the muscles won't stop guarding.. and they are my worst nightmare!!

    I'll ask him about it next appointment. I thought that's why I was being sent to a chiropractor to be honest. Not in a million years did I think they would try adjusting me. I've been through lots of massage before to no avail (no cure though it felt great at the time). I was back to tight the next day or so.

    You're absolutely correct - I'll never get through the guarding unless we hit the cause. Apparently the cause is the muscles (from what he's saying). I don't see that as possible, but then again, I'm not doctor!

    Whatever we attempt, if it has no effect, I'm looking elsewhere for treatment. Going 1 month between appts. and getting nowhere is not helping me. I dunno if he doesnt get the severity of my problem or what, but to me he didnt seem very anxious to start thinking outside the box. In his mind (seemingly) the disc bulge was not my problem.

    I'm willing and ready to find out what's causing my lumbar pain. I already know exactly what's causing my neck pain. The symptoms are severe enough to cause me regular sleep loss, loss of function, some neurological issues, and loss of quality of life. This is even through medication. Best put, let's find out why I'm hurting and try to fix it! C'mon doc, I know you have it in you lol :)

    Thanks for all of the advice, I sincerely appreciate it.

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