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New sufferer, picking a doctor?

Just joined this morning. I have been experiencing ALL the "normal" symptoms for about 10 days, which appear to still be escalating in severity.

Went to a local chiropractor a few times, he would do some basic adjustments, massage, acupuncture. None of which helped. And he prescribed some exercises that I can not do presently, there is just no way I am going to be able get into a lying position on the floor and get back up again without help. Yesterday afternoon he decided that I most likely had a bulging disk and referred me to a specialist (from their web site - specializing in the non-operative treatment and management of painful spinal disorders and other musculoskeletal conditions). I don't have an appointment yet but their web site says they make every effort to see new referrals in 2 weeks, we will see once I actually talk their office this morning but I can not deal with 2 more weeks of this.

My insurance lists about 60 in-network orthopedists within 20 miles of my house, so I can hopefully get an appointment pretty quickly. Although seeing the first one with available time on his/her calendar might not be a good approach.

I am new to this, how do you go about picking a doctor? If I have to wait 2 weeks to see one, what do I do? Can my local GP prescribe something to help in the interim?

Living in nearly constant pain, afraid to make any movements, a prisoner in my own house, alternating cold/hot packs, and swallowing Advil is no way to live.



  • RTgirl2011RRTgirl2011 Posts: 512
    edited 01/15/2013 - 6:04 AM
    Do you need to get a referral to go to a specialist? Be sure that you go to one that board certified in spine surgery. Have you considered going to a neurosurgeon? The usual wait time to get into a specialist's office is about two to three weeks.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
    Take a look at: Picking a Doctor
    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
  • Thanks, the doctor the Chiropractor referred me to was able to get me in Friday morning. Waiting until then is going to be like watching paint dry if things don't start improving though.
  • Got an MRI Friday afternoon, I haven't seen the pictures but the diagnosis is a large herniation. Went in for an ESI yesterday afternoon, which the doctor says went well. He had some pictures showing the contrast moving into the targeted area. I experienced a few hours of blessed pain free movement after the procedure thanks to the anesthetic in the injection, but waking up this morning and that respite is over. How long in your experience does it take for the anti-inflammatory action of the steroids to start working?
  • The first 4 or 5 hours after an ESI are blissful as you are out of pain until the pain med part of the injection wears off. For me the hours from 5 to 24 are a slow steady building of pain and it usually peaks higher than it was before the injection. Believe each person is different in how long it takes for the steroids to work but can take up to a couple of weeks for everything to settle down. My OS has me chart the level of pain hour by hour the first day and 3 times a day for the next week so that he can see the effectiveness and helps him in deciding follow on treatment.
    How are you doing today?
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • It's been 6 days since the ESI. Things have certainly improved. Although I still get up in the morning in considerable pain, but once I have had a chance to take some meds and ice it things settle down to a manageable level.

    I have managed to get a couple short walks in, it seems I can walk a few hundred yards and then my calf and hamstring tighten up. If I sit for 5 minutes the tightness relaxes and I can walk another little ways before the cycle repeats itself. Standing still similarly results in my leg tightening up after a few minutes.

    davrunner- I am not certain of the exact level of the herniation, based on symptoms probably L5-S1 but other than the injection I have not seen the doctor since the MRI and have not seen the MRI, I will ask when I speak with the doctor again.

    I expect a call today or tomorrow to review where I am at and possibly schedule another ESI.
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