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cliff notes, mri results, quick story, please provide thoughts ty guys

cliff note of situation
- 26 years old
- got rear ended at red light 14 months ago
- went to ER, told you will be fine in 2 weeks
- never made a claim because I was in back seat, not my car, didnt know to make claim, dad told me not to be a cry baby and work and live life
- worked 2 jobs, acted normal, for 6-7 months while on the inside I was in so much pain and agony but I held it in
- 7 months ago I could not take it anymore told my dad forget you, quit my job, and went to a chiro for 2 months (no help)
- 13 months after accident contacted lawyer ( said too late to file claim )
- I went and got an MRI
- now physical therapy

Ive been going to physical therapy for a week and I was told I would be there for 4 months.

However the physical therapist said he is waiting on my health insurance for the back and neck brace and that according to the insurance they can only work on the cervical or lumbar at one time. So I'm not sure if its 4 months to fix everything or just the cervical or lumbar individually. I was told also not to workout or do any other exercises or lifting while doing physical therapy. There is no way to get the auto insurance involved so that they can just speed up the physical therapy? I also went to see an orthopedist who recommended epidural injections however the dr at physical therapy said I dont need injections and to give physical therapy a chance. Who should I listen to? I need to get rid of the pain and if the epidural injection will provide relieve then I really want to get the injection.

This is the plan for me to get better and fix my back, but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to manage for 4+ more months. My parents are leaving the country permanently in August, I have no other family or friends, I'm running out of money, and I cant work I cant produce an income for myself. Can I contact a disability lawyer or something? I mean what am I supposed to? I literally hate driving to PT or anywhere else because my neck locks up and I cant even look at my blindspot which is dangerous but what can I do... I cant cook food without having to take a break or pushing through the pain because Im starving, I cant study, I cant play sports I cant even go out, I cant even sit there and enjoy a movie. How the hell am I supposed to work and be normal when writing this email has taken me an hour because I cant just sit and type without pain. When I say I cant work or I cant drive or cook I mean that I functionally can do it but it takes such a giant effort, my back and nerves hurt more, and I just can't do basic things how I used to. I can't even sleep unless I pass out because laying down the pain is worse. I'm a young man with a athletic fit past and Ive dealt with pain, but this is on some other shit no exaggeration.

I know I should have made the claim right away, but on top of the other 50 reasons why I didn't I never thought it would get this bad and this painful. I'm sorry to email you again where it seems I'm just venting but I'm really confused on what I'm supposed to do and I cant believe the position Im in.

My MRI results said mild degenerative changes, very minimal spinal stenosis at L4-L5, small central disc protrusion and

at L4-l5 mild neural foreman narrowing mildly effacing existing L4 nerve roots.

I'm not sure if "very minimal" "very small" "mild" are supposed to reflect how Im supposed to feel. I always had a small fear of admitting how much pain I'm in because of stupid pride etc but at this point

I dont care if the words "very minimal small mild etc" appear because truth be told I'm in a constant 6/7 discomfort and then 40% of the time I'm literally at a 8.5/9.

Please let me know what I should do/can do. What my options are if any...

ty for your time


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • EMCEEMC Posts: 84
    edited 06/06/2013 - 6:29 AM
    However, do not be discouraged by "small" "mild" etc. A radiologist could be looking at 10 different MRI's and the one that looks "normal" may be the one that the patient is having symptoms. It's bizarre sounding I know but true. Keep an eye on your symptoms as a central protrusion is noted to be the worst kind if herniated. (I had one too) The words do NOT undermine how you feel. You def have stuff going on. It's frustrating I'm sure. A pain clinic is usually where you can get the injection, which will be the next step after therapy. Pls note My therapist never gave me anything that hurt more as it should be. There is a Supplemental program called SSI (not disability) that may be of help once you have exhausted your resources. The program is through the social security dept.
    take care
  • I would try any approach you can since most things take time. You didn't mention where you live. If it's in the U.S. you might have a few avenues. First, I would try to make sure your health insurance is secure. Health insurance through parents is only good through age 26 unless, I think you are determined to be disabled? Many states have insurance for those with low income. I would contact social security to find out what you may be able to apply for, especially because of lengthy waiting periods. You could contact a disability attorney. Your pain could be from other issues besides the spine directly. It's terrible that you're in pain like that at such a young age.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • One of the moderators here.. maybe Ron? wrote a step by step guide (who to go to first, second, third) etc to work trough chronic spinal pain. Can someone provide him this link? Do you have standard health insurance at all? If so, you can always use that because the "mild degenerative changes" could be said not related to the wreck and should be covered.

    I do hope you are able to get the treatment you need. And honestly if it were me, I'd do both the injections and PT... or at least speak to your surgeon about that option again. Again, that's only what I (not a doctor) would do... I
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-treatment-step-step

    Here you go, here is the link to the guide. We hope that it provides an outline to how to get your pain treated and the steps and progression involved.
  • What a wonderful resource for our forum!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/07/2013 - 2:38 PM
    That's what we hoped, that it would become a resource to kind of lay out the path to getting treatment for chronic back/neck and thoracic pain.....so far, it seems to be a good thing.
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