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The situation isn't real yet

OllieOOllie Posts: 16
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:03 AM in New Member Introductions
I've been lurking for a couple of months but decided I really wanted to post here so I could say how helpful I have found the site & these forums.

In Ireland you do not get to see your medical records so my understanding is that I have had a serious L5/S1 slippage now fused on its own,formation of multiple osteophytes,one disc almost gone & the three above wedged shaped,S shaped curvature of the spine ,Stenosis with pinching of the nerves & arthritis ..leading to assorted pains & aches in the legs & feet & occasional loss of power to the legs.

Following X rays & MRI surgery apparently is not an option as it is such a mess.I feel a bit of a fraud as I seem to be getting off lightly with mostly manageable days with the help of Diphene tablets.

So a question..how best to prepare for the future whilst I'm still in relatively good shape ?


  • hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i have a good friend who lives in northern ireland..it is so good to have you here!! try and keep moving as much as possible is one of my main mindsets as well as eating well.. those are two good areas to start in if you want to stay in good shape. and get plenty of rest.. please have a good look around and make yourself at home! i hope your days stay managegable.. Jenny
  • Thanks. It is a learning curve with moving goalposts isn't it? Last week I flew back to the UK - a trip I've done many times before. After getting off the plane at Gatwick I could barely walk (the plane seats were old).As you may imagine,the long walk to baggage reclaim & then catching a train was not a good experience.

  • Welcome to Spine-Health. Sorry you are having issues, I dread flying for the reasons you stated. Flying 1st class, if you can afford it, gives more comfortable seats. A few years back I traveled more and was able to upgrade for $50 which was cheap and well worth it.

    Was surprised to read that you can't see your medical records. Is that standard in Ireland? Here they are our medical records and we can get copies. Sometimes you have to pay for them but you can get copies.

    Keeping moving is definately great advice. Also if you can do core muscle strengthening to support the back it will slow the deterioration.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Hi Ollie :wave: & welcome to SH :)

    If you feel comfortable, please share more about yourself. married, age, kids, job, how you were injuried and anything you feel ok sharing will be helpful for us to get to know you.

    This site has been at the least a sanity saver fir me and at times a life saver as I fight all my new challenges.

    Do you know how much more your injury will effect you?

    I do and am currently in the process of slowly moving things around in my home so I don't have to bend over as much. I am learning how to cook with a crock pot since standing to cook kills me - pain wise.

    I am trying to do all that I can now, so that my home is all ready for when I need it to be, plus it will make it easier on me now.

    I hope to get to know you better :D

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Wow I cannot imagine not being able to see my records, bless your heart. There is a lot of good information here and you'll find a lot of support, and a lot of advice, but be careful if it is something your doctor has told you not to do or it is something he/she has told you to do. Sometimes I read stuff here and then ask my doctor his opinion on it. And search the web, I belong to quite a few support groups and each one is a bit different. One thing I know for sure - our backs are a complicated part of our body and we can never have too much information. One thing my doctor and physical therapist has told me, which may or may not apply to you or others here is when I'm moving/walking/exercising (well right now exercise is out of the question) don't do it to the point of causing more pain and that feeling a stretch is okay, but not pain. I have some of the same conditions you do, and I'm going to have a laminectomy done and will have more details about it Friday. However, I'm a little bit leery now of posting too much information, so I'll probably decide whether or not I should post it all, part of it or none of it. Anyway, I'm surprised your doctor is telling you that you are not a candidate for surgery. But I've found doctors here who are like that, seems like some have a 1-track mind and a 1 size fits all attitude towards patients.

    Do you get the same treatment from ERs that most of us do here in the US? It does one no good to go to the ER with back pain, even if it is a 10! They aren't going to do anything for you. Thankfully when mine got particularly nasty last Friday and was easily a 7-8, since it was a Friday, I could call my doctor and he called in a prescription for me which decreases some of the pain.
    I am who I am!
  • Many medical facilities have closed records. The patient isn't allowed to hand carry or see their records, they go from the records department to the clinic and then back to records. However, a patient can then submit a request for copies of everything. It just takes more time. It does help reduce and eliminate the chance of a patient removing something from their records.

    ER's are not useless for all spine patient's. They may be frustrating, however they can and do break pain cycles which allow a person's oral pain meds to regain control long enough for an appointment with their doc to be made.

    Ollie, flying is always difficult on a bad or injured spine. There are some tips for making the trip easier posted on Spine Health somewhere. When I get a chance to locate them I will post the link.

  • Where in the US can you not see your own medical records? I'm not arguing but I've never been not allowed to see my own records and there is a law that protects us. I've had to pay a fee to get them before, but never ever ever have I been denied med records, and I've lived in - MD, WV, MS, Guam, TX, OK, NC and TN.

    As far as ER's it probably depends on the state. Some states are very strict about treating patients with 'pain' in an ER. The only legal obligation an ER has is to make sure you are medically stable. I am sure that there are those that do more. And I've used them very reluctantly for migraines before and was more than adequately treated. But, the bright lights, hard chairs, noise is pretty rough in the waiting room and I would think those chair would be rough on one with severe back pain. I'm not saying I wouldn't go at all - but it would have to be for more than pain - such as I lost sensation in a limb or something, and more than likely before I went to the ER, I would call my doctor's answering service, because if it was during the day I would just go and see my doctor. Some states the urgent care type clinics absolutely will not do anything but an xray or scan and then refer you to some one, but they cannot treat you with narcotics (nor would I want them to prescribe any medication - but that's just me and I realize I'm different from a lot of people).

    Now go to an ER with appendicitis, or a ruptured ovary, or gall bladder attack, likely no problem in any ER because you have something life threatening going on. ER's have changed in a lot of places recently. It's not like it used to be in some of them. And it is very, very expensive.

    (My opinions just that - my opinions, and are not to be considered medical advise. My posts are either my own thoughts and/or opinions or a synopsis of my own experiences. I've been around the block quite a few times and you can almost bet that if you put 10 people in a room and ask one question - you will get many different answers, again my opinion and from my own experiences) :)

    Hope everyone enjoys a good night's sleep and a break in their pain! I hate to see any person have to live in misery, and one of my favorite hobbies is helping people and I can't wait to get back into that one day soon. Goodnight and pleasant dreams, all.
    I am who I am!
  • Actually Closed Medical Record Systems are becoming more and more prevalent, with the influence of electronic medical record keeping. The military has been doing this for quite a while now and it's actually a smart move in many regards. I've also experienced this with the civilian pain clinic I am being treated at in Seattle.

    So how does all of this help Ollie? Well, in becoming better prepared for the future, as previously mentioned, it is a smart idea to acquire and maintain a copy of all medical records. Even in closed systems this can be done via a request through Patient Administration. In addition to that, copies of all imaging studies can generally be obtained from the radiology department wherever those studies were done.

    Going to the ER with back pain is a legitimate medical concern. The problem isn't so much the ER not wanting to treat a person as it is the person going there with pain that is still manageable at home. In reality it isn't a difficult decision to make, whether or not a person should go to the ER for help. Basically if their pain is out of control, then that individual won't be quibbling over whether to go or not, they will just go. The thing to keep in mind, is that ER's have to triage all patients and a pain patient isn't at the top of the list.

    Ollie, I have found that it pays to have a brief synopsis of my spine problems, treatments, medications and doctors that I take with me whenever I go see a new doc or haven't been seen in a while. It makes it easier to review things and it also keeps me from forgetting some procedure, test or medication I've had.

    Also when it comes to traveling, I have found that a trip to my treating physician prior to departure is helpful. The doc many times will prescribe something to make the traveling more comfortable as well as treat the body upon arrival at the destination and once again upon returning home.

    It's a continual process of learning what works for you given your location, medical resources and injury or condition.

    Kindest Regards,

  • Please keep the thread on track with the OP and what they were requesting help for. Emotionally debating side issues brought up by the discussion can easily derail a thread and send a new member running for the hills.

  • I don't even know if this is possible. But over here, patients come from Canada sometimes to get care. Is it possible for you to go somewhere else for treatment - is that something they allow? And I do know how hard traveling is. A short trip in a car can be horrible pain, let alone a long one.

    Hope you are getting some answers and help.
    I am who I am!
  • I have made it just a matter of fact that I request wheelchair assistance while flying. If both departure and arrival airports are very small I don't need this, but using this has been a live saver for me and it usually allows me to not be in severe pain by the time I end my travel day.

    As far as what you can do now to minimize your risk of crippling pain later on in life, I would say keep weight off the best you can and remain active. Staying fit and being cautious to not put yourself in positions where you could damage yourself even more. Say no I cant when asked to help move furniture and heavy objects. Be careful not to use quick jerky movements with your back, especially while carrying things.

    Keeping your flexibility so tight muscles don't pull on your back. Keep a strong core will make sure your spine is braced well and will protect it. Make sure to use proven safe exercises while doing this, you can hurt yourself doing excercises wrong. Just because you have back issues doesnt mean that you are destined to get worse with time, stay on top of it and hopefully you will live a great relatively pain free life....Mitch
  • For your replies.They have been a big help.
  • very soon, Ollie! There is nothing like back pain and sometimes, what doctors put us through makes you wonder! Good luck!
    I am who I am!
  • I seem to have started something ! Medical records in Eire are confidential to prevent the patient a) getting frightened & b) suing for an incorrect diagnosis.

    I injured my back 30 years ago gardening & was just told to rest. In the intervening years I would have spasms etc but nothing that lasted very long. 18 months ago I started suffering from sciatica: a visit to the Doctor resulted in an X ray & MRI.

    I've been told the situation is ongoing & as it gets worse they will ramp up the pain meds.Oh yes & please go straight to ER if you have any symptoms of cauda equina.

    Regarding a decision not to operate they told me the bio-mechanics of the lumbar region were too complicated to predict a successful outcome.

    About the travelling.. I'm thinking a lumbar support cushion ? My physio suggested a stick to act as a visual clue for others. Silly me -I didn't follow up on that...although I did take a double dosage of painkillers.
    What really tee'd me off was being told by airport staff the walk to the gate was only three minutes –Wrong .Looking back what did not help was pulling the small carry -on suitcase behind me through the airport (I guess I was twisted slightly backwards) Maybe the answer IS to go disabled.Anything to prevent a flareup.LOL
    I don't think there are any first class seats on the routes between Knock & the Uk.
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