be having the amount of pain I am telling the doctors!!!
Heard that before? This is a pretty common thing and for these boards, its pretty wide spread.
Before I try to explain anything, let me state:
1 - This is NOT a question about IF you are having pain (and this is NOT about drug seekers)
2 - Diagnostic tests results are not always the final say
Ok, lets talk about you, the patient. You have been in pain for quite some time now, you've tried icing, bed rest, you've been to your PCP, all the normal things one would expect. So with this pain, you are looking for some relief, and many times answers. You want to know what is wrong with your spine that is causing you this pain.
The normal flow would be that after you visited your PCP, they would send you off to do some Physical Therapy. Along with that, they may prescribe a muscle relaxer or in some cases mild pain medications. This is pretty much want would be expected in any doctors office, any hospital. ( I do need to add the disclaimer, that I am talking about USA only, I dont have enough information to talk about how other countries handle this)
After a few sessions of Physical therapy, you are not seeing any real relief. You see your PCP again. A more thorough clinical examination will be done. There are so many simple tests that could help identify if you have s spinal problem, a joint problem, a nerve problem, etc,
When the doctor can not find an answer to your pain, they will probably order some diagnostic tests. MRI's are pretty much the norm today. But before the doctor even orders a MRI, they have to be convinced that the MRI is needed since all other tests have not been able to prove positive or negative.
You go for the MRI, the results come back. L4/L5 herniation, pressing on the nerve root! Finally an answer.. Now everyone understands why you are in the pain you have indicated.
BUT, what if the MRI test come back with nothing major. I am very strict in not allowing members to respond to anyone's question to interpret their MRI's It is a forum violation to ask and a forum violation to respond. But at the same time, just with common sense there are key words to look for. Mild, Moderate and Severe. I dont think I need to define each of those test results. So, your MRI comes back with everything Mild and perhaps a Moderate situation also. Nothing to substantiate the amount of pain you are in. The doctor then can
- Tell you there is nothing wrong, nothing they can do and perhaps its in your head!
- Tell you that based on the results, you should not be having this pain, lets look into this some more
Two very simple actions. Diagnostic tests such as MRI's are not fool proof. The better doctors will then take it a step further. There are other diagnostic tests that can be done to further attempt to identify the problem. But that is something that you and your doctor need to work through.
The better doctors will order additional tests and more until they feel they have exhausted all attempts to figure out what is wrong. After all, doctors are also problem solvers. They WANT to be able to figure out what is wrong with you.
It can all be very frustrating for the doctor and for you. The difference here is that you are the one in PAIN. You want answers. I could never accept the statement There is nothing wrong with you, you should not be having this pain, there is nothing more I can do
There is always something more than can be done to identify your problem. It may not be physical after all, it could be in your mind. But even if that was the case, then the doctor can forward you on to a psychiatrist that could do some emotional evaluation. Heck, if it turns out that its all in my head, then lets fix that.
Bottom line, you want a solution.....
Everyone should want one, everyone should expect one and everyone should really hope for one. You may not always like what you hear, but you do want answers. That to me is so very important.