Hello there! I have suffered with mid-back issues since 2007 and I am a fairly young (27) male who got a progressive injury while working for the Post Office. Long story short, it took years to identify my injury and begin any form of treatment. I have an open Workers Compensation case and continue to battle on a regular basis.
I have been diagnosed (via MRI) with three herniated discs with nerve impingement at each level at T6-7, T7-8, T8-T9, as well as Thoracic Facet Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Pain Syndrome, and Depression with Anxiety (which I feel is understandable given my situation).
I have seen quite a few doctors about my back. My GP doctor has run out of treatment options (although she did her best and I appreciate her effort) and she said I should speak to my Pain Management doctors. One of my PM doctors is an anesthesiologist who specializes in injections and similar procedures. We had done several epidurals and facet injects with little impact. He referred me to a colleague to get a rhizotomy at each level both sides. This only relieved pressure on the facet joints... no real pain relief- which I feel it matters. But took over 8 months to get done. Not to mention Workers Comp is not paying for this procedure for an unknown reason... I have to pay out of my pocket. After this procedure not doing what they said it would I felt VERY depressed for a month and decided something HAD to be done. So I scheduled a new meeting.
So I had a meeting with this doctor to ask about ANY possible treatment solutions. After waiting over an hour and a half to see him (after waiting such a long time, I hurt. A lot.) but I understand he is busy, but he came in for a VERY brief (under five minute meeting). He entered and acted as if I was wasting his time. He was very rude and abrupt, he barely let me speak. He said my ONLY options are to do nothing or join another Pain Doctors group therapy sessions. This other doctor was in charge of my pain for about a year a couple of years ago. This doctor only wanted to shove high dose morphine and muscle relaxers down my throat. I have always said I am wary of such drugs as my family has a serious history with alcoholism and drug abuse (NOT myself personally... but immediate family). Still I listen to this other doctor for the full year I was with him. That year was the hardest of my life. I felt little relief and fell deeper into depression. Eventually I said enough is enough and went to a new doctor (my current GP doctor).
I told this story to my doctor and he seemed not to care. Maybe I offended him because they are colleagues, I am unsure. I apologized if I did in fact offend him. He acted as if I want to do nothing. I have repeatedly stressed the fact I want to get better and I make a clear effort to make a positive impact on my life (example: I started dieting to lose some weight to relieve pressure on my back. I have lost 35 lbs in the past 6 months). And he acted like I just want to roll over and give up. I also feel I should mention the program he suggested is VERY expensive and I have a hard time getting Workers Comp to cover anything, let alone something as expensive as this program. And I feel it is somewhat of a conflict of interest since they share offices and most likely share some of the profits.
I am not sure why he was so rude and abrupt, this is unlike my previous visits. I have recently filed for disability since I have not worked since my initial injury. I have waited so long to file because I wanted to get better, but at this point I feel I have exhausted my treatment options and for the foreseeable future I am going to be in intolerable pain. When we were leaving the office the doctor said something that shocked me because of his clear anger over the subject. He stated that not a single individual can be disabled. Before I could respond he barked, "Even Quadriplegics can work." And he left with that. I was stunned. Although I understand that some people can work around their disabilities, I disagree and think some are too hard to overcome. I respect his perspective but I feel he was overly aggressive, rude and abrupt. Also, I did NOT ask him to file a report saying I am disabled. My disability lawyer did ask him a few basic questions, but nothing that has not already been established in my Workers Comp case. We did not talk about disability during the brief encounter until we left... and he brought it up.
Now I need advice. What should I do? I honestly do not want to return to this doctors supervision, as I do not trust him. And I feel sort of abandoned by my other doctor. All I want is to get better, but I suppose if there are no more treatments there are no more treatments. Should I find another Pain Doctor? Should I just do what I have been doing and improve my life on my own? I need advice from people who have had similar situations or understand my situation.
I almost forgot, I have had more treatments than what I listed, I have done plenty of PT and Aquatic PT and plenty of pills (although I shy away from them). Any advice would be appreciated. I have spoken with two surgeons about surgery but neither think surgery is viable since there are three discs that are herniated and they are unsure which one to operate on. Not only that but the location is very tricky and they reserve surgery only when you are in a critical situation. I understand that they are unwillingly, at this time, to do surgery.
And a brief description of my pain: I have a 6 inch by 6 inch square on my back that is in constant pain. The area is always achy accompanied with sharp pain that comes out of the spine. When the pain gets very bad it can turn into a burning pain. When this happens I feel sick to my stomach and can barely think. I am terrified to go out in public or into situations where I can get sudden onset extreme pain. I have a hard time doing anything for more than twenty minutes (typing this in one go has been very painful). This pain has been constant since my initial injury in 2007.
Anyway, I am sorry for such a long post but I need advice. If I seem like I am complaining, I apologize. I just want to report my issues and figure out what to do. I have tried to include everything I could... but I am sure I left something out. Thank you for reading and thank you for your advice in advance!