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Cover your OWN best interests

ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
edited 08/09/2012 - 8:46 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone, new to this forum.
Just want to share a little of my expirience so far.
Have been having chiropractic for over 6 years now.
About 3 years ago my back pain switched to sciatic pain, worsening monthly.
Got a CT Scan that discovered moderately herniated disc.
Began seeing a pain management doctor, who recommended epidural injections to try to avoid surgery.
Went through the series of 3 injections over 8 mo time frame. Unfortunately I only got minimal relief, so time to see a surgeon.
Although I think it would have been better to see a surgeon sooner, I dont regret trying non-surgical options.

Here is where it gets a little seedy.
I go to see a surgeon, after an extremely long wait a doctors "assistant" ( not even a nurse ) comes in and asks alot of questions, checks my reflexes, ect.
Now keep in mind that I am a generally healthy 32 yr old male. I can stand, walk, bend, stretch, tiptoe and all that. But if I stand for more than a few minutes(which is a large part of my job), or lay down i get extreme pain from my left buttock to my toes.
Also keep in mind that I have been firmly diagnosed and referred to surgery by my pain management dr.

This assistant proceeds to basically diagnose me and set up a treatment plan of PT & oral steriods. I knew I was in the wrong place. So the dr finally comes in and is ready to send me on this treatment path. Not 1 time did the dr or the assistant say the words herniated disc! So i had to basically beg this dr to send me for a MRI to see the changes since the CT scan. I took his MRI order to another surgeon, got MRI & appt and low & behold the herniation has gotten worse, hardened, and severe narrowing has occured. 2nd dr advises MicroD.

So the point of this story is that this "assistant" & his boss would have had me do PT with a herniated disc that wasnt going anywhere. It was a cattle factory.

So always get a 2nd opinion and keep your best interests in mind when going through any serious medical procedure, many of these doctors have THEIR best interests in mind not YOURS.
L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Reading your post, you indicated that a CT Scan diagnose a moderate herniated disc. That is odd, because CTScan really can image that deeply, a MRI and perhaps a mylogram is best to diagnose disc problems.

    This new Doctor and his/her PA (Physician's Assistant), did they have any prior images or test results to review prior to seeing you? The almost normal course of action, based solely on a clinical examination would be to suggest conservative treatments first (ie Physical Therapy and perhaps oral steroids. It would be only after those actions were taken would a doctor have enough details to determine if further actions, such as a MRI is in order. In today's Health Insurance environment, all diagnostic tests need to be justified and adequate rationalization provided by the doctor to get the approval. So, that is one of the reasons patients can't really demand tests, the doctors need to see the reason.

    And I am not clear that this doctor did send you for a MRI, and you took those results to another doctor to review.
    If the first doctor and his PA ordered the MRI, did they not read the images and provide a report and diagnosis?
    And the new doctor advised surgery. What were their findings?

    Please read the forum rules and FAQ.. You will find many tips on how to make your initial posts so that it will be effective.
    The more detailed information you can provide here
    - Medical History
    - Results of diagnostic tests
    - Pain Medications
    - Conservative treatments (ie Physical and Aqua Therapy, Traction, Tens, Injections, etc)
    - Any past spinal surgery? If so, when and for what
    - Current spinal problem, Disc level(s), Lumbar,Thoracic,Cervical
    - etc

    I always agree that having a second opinion is in your own best interest. After all, who should be the one fighting for most, but yourself. Its a shame you stated that those doctors have their own best interest in mind.. Perhaps those are the few that should not be practicing.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Herniation is L5/S1, severley degenerated. Im not gonna write the whole thing but intermediate sized protruding disc-osteophyte complex, .7cm x 2.9 cm... with material extending...mild stenosis... severe narrowing.... compression of L5 & S1 nerve roots.

    Yes the CT scan was just a single image, but it was enough to diagnose the herniation of the disc.The new doctor DID have that information. The Dr was also well aware that i had spent the past year trying to avoid surgery ( epidural injections/ chiropractic ) And yes this doctor did order an MRI, I had the MRI done at another location where the MRI staff and the surgeon were all togethor. I am sure that 1st surgeon would have alot more input after seeing the MRI. I knew goin in that no further treatment, espically surgical, could be done without the MRI. This 1st surgeon will get the results, but due to my bad expirience, I have no desire to return to his office The MRI revealed a much more detailed view of the problem area.

    The big problem for me here is that an assistant would try to diagnose and set a treatment plan, without a new image and before the doctor even saw me. It was a very generic approach, almost seemed like a predetermined strategy. I truly believe that a physical therapy treatment could have made things even worse. I also do not believe that my pain mngmt dr would send me to a surgeon for PT.

    The new findings (MRI) were very clear, and I agree with the 2nd surgeon ( and my pain mngmt dr ) that surgery is my best action at this time. The herniation has worsened, hardened, and there is now severe narrowing of the canal.

    My only real problem with the 1st doctor was that he would allow an assistant to suggest treatment on my 1st visit. I could have easily accepted " you need an MRI before we proceed" that is why I went ahead and shedeuled the MRI & was able to see 2nd surgeon 2 days later.

    Bottom line is that no one should be treated like a number, every patient is different and should be treated as such. I would have been willing to explore more non surgical options if I thought ( or a doctor showed ) they could help. But it is pretty clear to me that removal of the herniation is the only way I can return to a normal life. I know its gonna be a long road, but i have been in pain for too long.

    Thank You for your feedback!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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