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Phsyiatrist good thing or not? Experiences please

Issues to be brief...rear end accident 4 yrs ago many problems but most prevalent now is constant neck and shoulder pain that is a 9 most days and right hand numb. Neuro did MRI and of course nothing shows on a nerve that they can tell even tho there is bulging in a couple of discs. Referred to PM to have 2 epi/steroid shots to see if it helps any before doing a myelogram and also to see rehab Dr (physiatrist). Had 1st shot a week ago and second will be Dec 2 and 1st shot gave zero change or relief. Will see rehab Dr a few days after second shot and I have no clue what this one may plan as a course of action. Wondering if others have had the same protocol and could tell me what was done with this type of Dr. I have read all the topics about phsyiatrists already on here and googled it but there is nothing like hearing personal experience. I know they said he would be doing my meds, possible PT if warranted, and from what I read they can do pretty much everything that the PM and the neuro can minus the surgery.

Been fighting this for so long and am sooo hopeful that I may have latched on to the right group of Drs that can get me to a relatively pain free life but the lack of knowing what is coming is driving me insane and Dec 7th is a loooonnng way off.


  • Well, I wasn't going to contribute, since I'm messed up neurologically, but gratefully I am not that painful.
    My second opinion neurosurgeon, that I saw after a follow up MRI, referred me to a physiatrist. He told me I am basically a 'spinal cord injury patient' now (that was a blow), and I needed to concentrate on rehab.
    My first visit was amazing. He did a more thorough exam than ANY other doctor, including my neurologists, had done. The exam was an hour long. Very compassionate, thorough, and understanding. He did mention other things we could try for my worsening spasticity (botox injections), but said to not do anything since I had just increased my baclofen frequency, and had started PT.
    My second visit wasn't as great, mainly because my second opinion neurologist placed me on valium for worsening spasticity and spasms, which he obviously disagreed on. I opted to stay on the med, and wrote him an email why I chose to do so, which he appreciated the explanation. He did order a sleep study (I can't sleep without meds) and ordered new PT - which has been extremely helpful.
    I believe that if you have pain, strength, or functional issues, that a physiatrist can be helpful. They put everything together, instead of just concentrating on one certain portion of you. I also have had a few online friends with pretty nasty issues that their physiatrist was extremely helpful, and most listened WAY more than their regular doctor. Like my doc that referred me said, "it doesn't hurt to try it".
    Good luck!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • I need to refine my statements slightly. If you are a spinal cord injury patient and can not be fixed then injections are not necessarily a bad choice though I favor a pain management Doctor and pain medicines, I havent missed a day of work other than a few post surgery with them. If you have a fixable condition however I stand my ground and would steer clear of them.

    Best of luck,


    I am not a medical professional. My opinions are my own and not reflective of Spine Health
  • You have to ask yourself "what exactly is the psyhiatrist going to heal"? Is the injection, the Tens unit , the Naproxen, the physical therapy going to fix your failing disc? And if not is it going to relieve your pain and for how long? And even so is it possible that they are causing further damage or risking permanent damage by leaving your nerve impinged and sticking a needle into your spine?

    I am not a medical professional and this is my own opinion gained from my own experience and subsequent research, their treatments border on Tom foolery. Not only that but myself and many others on this site have actually had their necks turn to fire after injections.

    Now, if you truly only have a little tissue swelling an injection can help but only if the cause of that swelling is temporary and is not caused by something physically hitting the nerve such as disc fragments or boney material. If the cause of that swelling and irritation is still there after an injection then the pain and numbness will come back and sometimes do so with a fury.

    I would like to see their practices banned. Think I am overreacting? Medical history is full of treatments that in hindsight turned out to be both worthless and dangerous.

    Good luck.

    Wolfpack SVB

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Physiatrist , the art of Rehabilitation medicine.

    I used to see Orthopedic doctors, Neurosurgeons, Pain management doctors,e tc. and each one took a portion control of my entire situation.
    I always found that to be a problem,

    After I had herniated a number of thoracic discs and surgery was not being considered, I was pointed to see a Physiatrist. That was the best move I ever made!

    To me, they are like the quarterback of a football team. Directing everything that goes on the field. While the physiatrist does not perform any aggressive treatment (surgical) they do help with a number of conservative treatments / diagnostics .

    My physiatrist has total control of my medical situation. She provides me and overseas all of my medications. She coordinates any additional tests that I need. She will send me for ESI's when needed.

    I have been very happy with her and we have an excellent professional and medical relationship. Right now I am going through another thoracic flareup. She knows that the physical therapists I used to see , basically did not help me any more. It might have been a combination that I plateaued and there wasn't much she could od, or because they know me so well, they miss things. So my physiatrist referred to a different physical therapy group/therapy which is helping very much.

    Bottom line, I would have been lost without my Physiatrist... Finding a good one is so very important.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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