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Rear Ended in May 2015--Pain in neck/back is getting worse!

Sholub153SSholub153 Posts: 18
edited 10/25/2015 - 9:47 PM in Chronic Pain
Accident was this May, my family and I were rear ended in our truck by a guy going 40-45mph in a Nissan. His car was totaled. I went into protective Mama mode & wanted to rip his head off when the dust settled & I heard my kids crying in the back seat. My husband kept me in check, but the guy was cited for reckless driving and our new GMC got 8.5K in damages. We opted out of the ambulance because being in the military, we look at it as "if you aren't bleeding, your eyes are good, and bones aren't broken"...you are doing alright.
The hubby, kids, and I went home post-accident and were sore and exhausted...then came morning. I felt like I had been run over and dragged. I called my supervisor & told him I was headed to the ER. Husband watched the kids, they all tolerated feeling very sore and uncomfortable.
ER did a CT, negative. Discharged as soft tissue injury. They threw meds in my face & said follow up w/ your PCM. So I went home & used ice, pain meds, muscle relaxers, took baths, and laid in bed. Our new mattress felt like I was laying on shrapnel. Not a good night, lost a lot of sleep.
Saw the base doc the next day. He recommended dry needling. I declined, was in enough pain and needles in my neck/back sounded in poor taste. Dr filled my Rx and put me on a profile ;( no running/push-ups/sit-ups for a month till everything sorted out. Back to work I went, to my military desk job I love (really did!)...till I got rear ended and now sitting at a desk and computer causes PAIN all day. It's bad.
Was called by a chiro and I went. Later found out he was an "ambulance chaser," gave crap medical attention & wasted my life for 2 months. He over adjusted & delayed crucial healing time. He charged a ridiculous price for services ($20 for an ice pack, called it a therapy service!). Anyways...I'm in pain for months, fired old chiro & got a new one. He helped for a while...had 2 sets of X-rays that showed some misalignment. Needed further tests run!
I'm now at the end of my 5th month & the pain is WORSE!!! Hurts to sit or lay in bed. Headaches are constant. Right forehand and fingers are tingly and numb (I thought carpal tunnel from my desk job, maybe not?!), irritable and depressed from the pain not going away. Military doesn't want to order the MRI, they don't get that they aren't paying for it...I need to see a specialist, I need an MRI or another test to show my muscles/ligaments from my head to mid back. I'm beyond depressed this is still going on.
I'm in PT now and that [edit] did dry needling last week. Initially it felt OK...then it got bad. Real bad. Hurts in my upper back, between shoulders. Feels like a spasm from hell. Hurts all the way down my spine. Been using heating pads & muscle relaxers all weekend, nothing helps :(

Insurance company keeps wanting to settle the kids claims for 1K each, no injuries. I took them to ER as well.

Someone please advise me? I've hired a lawyer, but feel incredibly lost with medical care. Military is quick to medically retire you if you can't PT or deploy, I'm trying to protect my career...been in 10 yrs & don't want this accident to ruin my career.

Thank you all in advance...so very much

Forum rules prohibit anyone to give any advice on the forum, no member is qualified

Liz, Spine-health moderator



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
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  • I was also rear ended (by a fully loaded dump truck in Feb 2014) and am a Tricare patient (hubby is retired military). Hubby insisted I go to the ER on the day of the accident. They took X-rays, whoch showed typical whiplash/auto accident results, then prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxers and told me to follow up with my PCM in two weeks. Unfortunately, the pain didn't go away, so the doc sent me for dry needling. Got results, but they didn't last for more than a few days. By this point, the muscle spasms were causing migraine headaches. My WONDERFUL dry needling doc suggested lidocaine injections instead of dry needling, for longer relief. That was fantastic - got about two weeks relief from those. We continued until she was deployed (naturally, she was the ONLY one who did this in the entire clinic). Tricare then sent me to civilian physical therapy. At that point, they did an MRI, which didn't show any mechanical issues like a herniated disc. Continued physical therapy for almost four months, with improvements, then got rerouted to military physical therapy for almost six months. I've been released now and told that I'll probably always have some issues, but they'll address those as they crop up, if/when pain becomes too bad.

    The good news is that the treatments did help. I still do my stretches every day, sometimes multiple times a day. For me, the key to managing the pain was to find which muscle groups were stressed (mine are trapezius, levator scapulae and sub occipitals), then begin stretching when I feel those muscles tighten up. I can manage about six hours a day ok, but during half the year, I'm working 6-7 days a week, up to 12 hours a day. It becomes very challenging and stretching is my best relief. The physical therapist gave me some good advice about working at a desk all day and suggested frequent movement.

    I know that doesn't help you with having to do PT and I know how difficult it can be when you're trying to get help without jeopardizing your career. Do you have the option of something besides running for PT? I know at one point, my hubby got to swim, which he enjoyed (he's been retired almost ten years now, so I don't know how much things have changed). Multiple docs and physical therapists all told me that it can take some time for stressed muscles to "reset" back to normal.

    Hang in there .....

    P.S. Don't know what state you're in, but check local laws. In my state, you have up to a year to settle an auto accident claim, so I told the insurance company I wanted to complete prescribed treatment before settling.

  • Last night was beyond excruciating for me and a first since the accident happened . I have to say the past week has been the most untolerable week in a long time and I'm so thankful I was able to see my doc today . Sitting in my chair at work is not happening and laying down in bed is not happening ... I think I finally had a breakthrough with my doctor on base.

    My physical therapist talked to my PCM and together they figured out somewhat of a plan of action. My doctor ordered more x-rays and an MRI which I will be able to get completed once the referral process is finished. Anyone who's been in the military knows how long the referral process can take. My physical therapist refused to touch me today because of all of the symptoms I have been having, not that I blame him...

    So for now I wait for the clinic to call me with the results from my x-rays and hopefully get to schedule the MRI. The meds that the doctor prescribed me today are definitely helping ease the pain. For that I'm thankful but I know there's a long road ahead... A very very very frustrating one.

    If anyone has any advice for me that would be greatly appreciated!!! And thank you so much for the advice that I've received so far all the support definitely helps when you feel like you're alone in this process.
  • I think MRI is best thing to see what is going on. Sounds worse than 'just' whiplash...tho 'just ' whiplash is very painful....
    Please keep us posted, we're on your side!
    Keep trying what you find helps, try to relax, but keep moving:)
    Hope your kids ok too x
    Kirsti x
  • Sholub153SSholub153 Posts: 18
    edited 10/28/2015 - 2:09 PM
    So I ended up going to see the doctor and getting the x-rays taken. X-ray results came back....Gallstones.


    I didn't see that coming.

    Then he ordered an MRI for my neck, he had questionable things on X-ray he wanted to look into.

    For now, pain meds and muscle relaxers till the U/S. I have soooo many questions on these "stones!"
  • Glad they've ordered the MRI for you! Hopefully, they'll get you in for it soon. :)

    Trying to logic my way through the gallstones diagnosis you got, but having difficulties in trying to see if there's any correlation between them and your neck pain, or if it's a secondary find. I'm obviously not a doctor, so just trying to "common sense" it.... Did the doc give you any info on that, or did you get the typical "wait and see" response?
  • The U/S showed gallstones and sludge ;( the doctor on base is playing the "lets wait for a flare up, you'll go to the ER or see a specialist...till then just live normally." Kinda hard to do that when I've got crazy symptoms...back and shoulder pain, heartburn, blackish colored stools, gas, and radiating pain.
    Worst timing ever.
    Is the pain from the accident or gallstones?
    MRI is scheduled, wait & see what comes of it. How long is this supposed to last??
    To boot, the insurance company sent the check for our kids, it was for p&s. It was wrong, short by about 1,500. Crazy. We signed a contract and everything so I'm not sure how that gets messed up. Add it to the list, eh?

    I'm starting to feel really bad because it seems like everything that comes out of my mouth is a gripe of these days. Pain makes me angry and irritable.
  • So since my last post, things have not improved.

    I'm now seeing a Physical Therapist off base, he's been trying to strengthen my shoulder and neck muscles. This process has been a mix of good & bad. I enjoy getting to physically exert some energy (I miss running & lifting a lot!), but I'm still in a lot of pain.
    Headaches are an everyday occurrence and are at the base of my skull and on my forehead/front of skull. It's rough some days, that's for sure.
    Back pain still radiates up and down, some days worse than others.

    I hope between the multiple X-rays, MRIs, CT, the PCM visits, ER/urgent care, chiro, and PT...something comes to light.

    The PT says the right shoulder muscles are constantly inflamed and my range of motion is limited more than left. Chiro was noticing that also but in regards to my neck always needing to be adjusted, things kept going back after a day.
    Doctor keeps saying we will follow up, I'm in the military. If I can't take a PT test then there's an issue. This will be the 2nd profile for waist only, it's a possible initiator for MEB if it goes on for long term these days. I'm concerned about my career, it means a lot to me.

    I'm happy that so far, this is a non surgical injury. If I'm having problems with muscle, bone, and nerves, then what specialist do I see? A neuro? A ortho? Or what??? This has been getting worse, not better.

    Thank you for any insight or advice.
  • Sholub153SSholub153 Posts: 18
    edited 12/27/2015 - 10:30 PM
    Well as of right now...

    Requested to swap PCM on base. Mine was just straight [EDIT] me off. He authorized another round of physical therapy & refilled meds for Tylenol 3. He recommended I stay away from Chiro, so it's a matter of opinion depending on who I talk to. It was the same thing, so I cut that cord and swapped to a highly recommended female doc on base.

    Blessed that the military docs finally threw in the towel and put the referral in for a pain management dr OFF BASE. I saw Dr A. On Dec 6th & felt he understood my pain and actually wanted to help find the root cause.

    He put me on Cymbalta ER 50mg, Tylenol 3 for break through, and we are trying Gabapentim 100mg every 8 hrs. He put a referral in for an MRI of my...gasp....entire back. That appt is this week, can't wait to get those done so we can see what's going on! Lastly he put in a request for nerve testing.

    Pain has been increasing slowly in elbow to fingers. Feels horrible. Muscles seize & I drop things. Nerves are going ape [EDIT] on me. Can't wait to get to the bottom of this.

    All because someone rear ended me.

    Husband has been doing so much more than he ever had to before. Primary cook & cleans 80% of the house. On good days I do my best to contribute.

    Work isn't good. Sitting at the computer causes so much more pain than being up on my feet. I get up every 15 mins to move...its aggressively taking over my quality of life.

    Thought about revisiting counseling. Through all this my marriage has been stressed, not easy on anyone. I just want my life back.

    Lawyer is doing good I think, the legal interns call every week or two for updates on doctor visits & tests. They contact all clinics for copies & deal with Bristol West.

    Question...should my husband settle with BW since he has no ongoing medical bills or issues? He is wanting the value lost on his truck included on his settlement. What is a typical pain & suffering for a non injured adult? I know it varies, but any help would be great.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    It sounds very good that pain management doctor will be working with you!

    My primary doctor tried working with my pain about two years and then referred me to PM doctor.
    Best thing for me!

    He did a variety of testing, most were never even mentioned to me before.
    He found additional areas of spinal issues...pain that I had brushed off since so much other pain was screaming louder.

    For me, EMG was very revealing and helpful to doctor in proper treatment for me.

    There is a post on this site,.. if you use the search, upper right on page, ...that speaks to ...how to prepare for appointment with pain management doctor. You may find that useful.

    PM doc may be interested about your gall bladder testing.
    He may want to review CD himself, or to read radiologist's impressions.
    It would at least be showing what other doctor discovered, with your described pain.
    Then again, PM doctor may not be interested, but I like to be prepared. :)

    Years ago, my sister was having severe shoulder blade area pain. When doctor followed up with testing, he discovered her gall stones. He told her that her pain was a referred pain from gall stones.

    Funny how the body is with a pain in one area possibly being caused from way different location.
    I've always thought that ruling out issues just as important as finding cause.

    I look forward to hearing how you like your PM doctor and what he may learn from your testings!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • The MRI revealed that I've got two discs pushing on nerves that are causing the pain in my neck & back, also explains the numbness & tingling in my hands and feet.

    Doctor is scheduling a Thorastic injection, physical therapy, and no PT. I'm in a great deal of pain daily, especially bad at night and when I'm seated at work doing computer work (my entire job)! It's aggravating and essentially taking a huge toll on my life. Pain has increased since the beginning of this whole thing.
    I'm terrified that I may lose my ability to retire in the Air Force. I've got 9 years left, that would be worst case scenario for me professionally. I'm so ready for something to work & give me my life back.

    Any advice would be great, it's been a bad night of no sleep, my body feels like it's a train wreck.
  • I'm so pleased you've got a definite diagnosis, it makes a huge difference psychologically I think...I'm not going mad!!!! ;)
    Don't think about retirement, you're young, you will recover with the right treatment.
    Please keep positive.
    Where are your bulging discs? Neck or thoracic?
    Keep us posted ....
    Any talk of surgery???
    Kirsti x
  • MRI results said T7-8 along with a few other things, but that was the big take away from my doc.

    Question, should I be seeing someone other than a PM doc at this point? He has handled things better than my base doc, so no complaints. Still waiting for my EMG referral to go through. I have a feeling those results will help a lot. I deal with shooting pain all day long. It hurts to type on a keyboard or even text. That can't be good, never ever had this before. I drop things sometimes from the muscle spasms and pain that just zing to my fingers.

    Trying to be positive, really honestly I try. It's hard when you feel like crap run over. How do you guys deal with this for years??? It's only been since May and I'm losing my mind.

    Was thinking of seeing a therapist for depression, I'm definitely not my normal self lately.
  • My sister (a former Physical therapy assistant) called and really got me upset. She asked "I'm just looking at more conservative treatment options before you go down the road of steroid shots and whatever else they are planning. Do you stretch? Do you do strengthening exercises? I think you should keep with Physical Therapy and get a 2nd opinion."

    Yes, sister, I've done PT. I've done Chiro. I've been losing my damn mind on how many professionals I've seen and nothing has helped yet.

    ER visit. Diagnosed with whiplash. CT negative. Meds & told to follow up with primary dr.
    1st PCM on base thought It was just a muscle strain/whiplash. Put me on a profile, meds, and no quarters for time off. This was the day after the wreck & I had to take leave since I was in so much pain.
    1st Chiro (begun immediately after accident & saw him for 2 months. Not helpful, he was doing too many adjustments and my muscles were spasming like crazy. No real relief.
    2nd Chiro was much better, he focuses on tying in PT with adjustments. He was a good doctor. Had to stop seeing him due to PCMs advice.
    2nd PCM- my previous Doctor PCS'd so I had to start over essentially. This doc at least got me an X-ray. Results showed questionable, doc ordered U/S of abdomin. Gallstones & sludge found. Lovely!
    Saw this doc a lot & told him I needed a MRI of my neck & back. He ordered a neck only MRI. Results showed misalignment and muscle spasms. Doc ordered PT.
    1st Physical Therapist did dry needling. Never again!!!!
    Referred off base for PT due to patient overload in med group.
    New PT was helpful & knowledgeable. Did PT 2-3x a week for 3 weeks. Stopped because pain was excruciating worse. Nights were the worst. Base doc felt pain meds were sufficiently covering pain, not true.
    ER visit #2-waste of my time. More meds tossed at me, no MRI ordered.
    PCM change requested. I had seen this dr probably 1-2 a month for 5 months, nothing was helping. He wasn't motivated anymore & I sensed he gave up.
    PCM #3 gave me a referral to PM. Hallelujah someone wants to help!
    PM doc-ordered Lumbar & Thoracic MRIs. Gave me ER pain control. I could at least sleep now!
    MRI showed 2 protruding discs in T7/8 among other things.
    EMG ordered, waiting for scheduled test.
    Injection #1 completed 2 days ago, no change so far. Steroid injections #2 & 3 are scheduled 2 weeks apart. I'm praying something helps.

  • I have personally experienced the right shoulder pain caused by gallstones. However, at the same time, I felt like someone was shoving a chefs knife through my right torso. Not sure you wouldn't have other gallstone related pain with the shoulder pain.
  • The medical advice I received was minimal.

    I have been having neck & back shoulder pain ever since the wreck, but some of these symptoms could be from stones/sludge.

    Dr said wait for a flare up, all pain is accident related.

    The thing is, every once in a blue moon I get intense pain in my abdomin, like a needle feeling going in & out. I've always figured it was gas. It takes 15 mins to pass & then I'm ok. It's a rough 15 mins though, sometimes I'm on the bed holding my stomach, other times not so bad.

    Doc doesn't seemed worried, sure hope he's right.

    At my next dr appt I'm requesting a referral to a neuro or specialist for the discs/numbness in hands. I'll bring it up if all goes well.

    Stupid gallbladder. Never even knew! Lol
  • So, are they going to remove your gallbladder then??
    I really hope things get moving for you soon.
    Kirsti x
  • The doc said I wait for a flare up (AKA when I keel over in pain without notice), then I'll have surgery. The tests showed sludge as well as stones, so I'm just at a loss.

    Sounds like roulette to me.

    Hey gallbladder, please keep doing your job.

    Or...I get a 2nd opinion. That advice came from a military doctor, no offense. They are known to give sketchy medical advice.

    I have my next dr appt on Fri, I think I'll bring it up!
  • Just left my doctors office and they said depending on the outcome from the EMG, I may be pushed into medically retiring from the military. The chronic pain I makes me non deployable, which I understand but had hoped wouldn't be as impacting as it is.

    Now I'm in a mental state of limbo. My future is on the line here...all because of a car accident. I wish the pain would go away, but it's not happened yet, it's worse as a matter of fact.

    I'm not here for pity, just solid advice. I have served 10+ years active duty and had FULL intentions on retiring from the military.

    Lawyers are calling me weekly for updates on appointments and test results, they are trying to protect my future income and I'm so glad I was smart from the beginning. I'm just hoping whatever happens, my future is secure. Has anyone dealt with a similar situation???
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