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I'm so desperate for help

msimmsi Posts: 1
Hi! I'm an american 15 year old currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark and I have a L5 S1 disc prolapse. I have had this for about six months ago and to cut this short, the danish health system is doing EDIT all about it. I went on an amusement park ride on my birthday and about a week later the pain in my lower back was unbearable to the point where I couldn't get up to use the washroom let alone go to a doctor. After about a week, I was sent to a chiropractor who didn't even bother to take an xray and she treated me for about two weeks and I felt great until about 5 days after my last appointment. I started feeling an intense pain in my hip and I told my mother but like most moms would do, she just brushed it off and said it was psychosomatic. After about two weeks of increasing pain in my right leg, I went to a physical therapist, who we later found out was under qualified. I continued with her for about a month and a half and instead of the pain in my leg going back into my back, it spread all the way down to my ankle and I lost the reflex in my right ankle. I stopped treatment after that and I went to my then doctor, who prescribed me ibuprofen and paracetamol and ordered me to be in bed until I felt better. I'm not sure how they train the doctors in Denmark but obviously bed rest is the worst thing for a back injury, but yet 5 weeks later, I was still in bed with the worst pain yet and I barely remember it from the amount of codeine I was prescribed since I demanded an actual painkiller. I couldn't stand for anymore than two minutes without collapsing in pain. My grandma was the only one who really picked up that something was really wrong so she took me to the ER and we waited in an empty waiting room for about 10 minutes until I couldn't sit any more and was sent to lay down on a hospital bed. I saw about 3 people in the rooms we passed and we waited about 5 hours for the doctor to come in. I had an xray taken laying down and they obviously couldn't see anything wrong since you can't see spinal fluid on an xray and was sent home with even more drugs. My mom by this point was already sick of the danish health care system and took me to another chiropractor who was trained in the states. The first thing he did was take an xray of my back standing up and saw that my spine was straightened out from the injury. He then immediately started the treatment and by the end of the hour I felt 100x better. I went to him about 25 times within the period of three weeks and I felt amazing. I had to stop however since the treatment was not covered by danish health insurance and it cost my mom about $10,000. After about two days, all the pain came back at once and I collapsed once again and I went back to the ER and my mom demanded that I get an MRI. I left with a different medication prescribed and an appointment a week from that date for an MRI. I've had MRIs in the states before and I received the results about 15 hours after however, once I got the MRI here, it took three weeks for the results to come. After I received the news that I had a disc prolapse, I was sent to a in-hospital Reumatologist that immediately checked me into the hospital once she saw my condition. This was on a Friday morning. Once I was all settled in my room, the doctor came in with another new medication, this time it was tramadolhydrochloride, ibuprofen, and paracetamol and she told me that the physical therapists had gone home for the weekend and that I had to stay there without treatment until Monday. My entire family went to the Reumatology wing of the hospital and screamed at every doctor they saw. That was rather embarrassing. The only good thing I could say about that weekend was that the food was good. Once Monday came, the physical therapist came in 20 minutes before wake up and gave me a crutch and "treated" me for 20 minutes and left for the rest of the day. This happened until Wednesday which was the day I was checked out. The entire stay was ridiculous and a waste of time and the nurses and doctors didn't believe in chiropractics or really any treatment besides medication and the doctor told me to just live with the pain until I felt better. They didn't even give me a cold ice pack when I asked for one, it was lukewarm at best and I was only allowed to have one every hour. I had to soak it in the sink with ice for it to be cold. Anyways, I was promised free physical therapy through the hospital which I still go to but I didn't get an appointment scheduled until a month later. By this point, I started missing school and I missed the first two months. A little while after that, I was scheduled another appointment with a different Reumatologist who is by far the best and most sympathetic doctor I've met here. He saw how desperate I was and gave a cortisone steroid shot in my back but it did nothing. Another month passed and I had had about 6 physical therapy appointments in total as the therapist was sick or whatever. I started going back to school too. My mom and I were supposed to go to Chicago at this time but we couldn't because if I had to go to the ER it would have put my parents in debt forever so we ended up selling our tickets to a guy who ended up being a student of one of the best neurologists in Denmark and he set up an appointment for me within the next week. We went to the neurologist and it ended up just being a huge waste of time since she told me basically everything I already knew. Fast forward to about a week ago and I went to the nice Reumatologist again and I broke down in his office. It's my last year before IB and I have a once in a lifetime chance to go to the most expensive and best school in Denmark for free and if my back is EDITstill up, I can't go. I have taken 112 pills a week for the past four months and its started to take its toll. I can't remember certain times of the day or I fall asleep in class, I can't read or write and if I don't take the medicine every four hours, I start shaking violently. Back to the reuma, he is lowering my dose of medicine and is having me try taking Gabapentin, a medicine for epileptics and for nerve pain. He also has put me on the critical list and scheduled an appointment for me after the new year but since this is Denmark, I probably won't get the surgery for another year and getting it done in another country is out of the question because of the cost and I wouldn't be able to go to the boarding school next year. The life has been torn out of me and I'm so desperate for help, I don't know what to do because surgery has the risk of further degeneration in my back within the next ten years and I don't want that and my body isn't responding to the physical therapy and I really need some new opinions or options on what I should do.

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Post edited by Sandi


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    First I'm sorry that you are in pain and that you seemingly are having difficulty navigating the danish healthcare system.
    Chiropractors are not the best option when it comes to treating a suspected injury in the spine, unless and until you are certain that there is no damage to either the nerves or the alignment of the spine, or suspected herniations since any of those conditions can seriously worsen your condition by getting adjustments done to your spine through a chiropractor.
    A rheumotologist is also not the doctor that you need to see based on what you have said in your post. A board certified spine surgeon, either ortho or neurosurgeon. This does not mean that you do need surgery, but they can go over your MRI with you, discuss treatment options and then send you to the appropriate people/therapists to get you back on your feet.
    You are taking a substantial amount of medications for someone your age, and I am not saying that you don't have pain, but staying in bed, is only going to make getting up and moving around far more difficult and painful after weeks or months of inactivity.
    There is a link to a Step by Step guide to treating Chronic Pain in the Spine above in the welcome post..........it would be a good idea to read through it and then show it to your mom and use it as a guide.
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