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Why did it take over 5 years to finally get the right diagnosis

Moveebuff1953MMoveebuff1953 Posts: 3
edited 12/03/2015 - 10:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everybody;

I'm 8 days post surgery for L4 L5 spinal fusion...
For over 5 years I've been going to my family doctor complaining of pain. At first it was pain on one side. Gradually it went to the right side then pain down both legs. By the time I had the surgery my pain level was so high I could barely walk a few steps. I couldn't sit for more than 5 min. or stand for more than 5 min.

Why??? did it take this long? Why did I have to suffer for so many years? Why did each specialist diagnose me with something different. I had bursitis one doctor told me so he gave me cortisone shots in each hip. Didn't help at all.
Then I got sent for heat seeking pain scan...didn't show anything. I went for electric probing...nothing.
Well if it's nothing then why am I in such pain???? I asked my doctor for pain killers ( T 3) I was put on antii-inflammatories ...nothing...
Why was I made to feel like I was a hypochondriac when I knew my pain was real?

Out of sheer luck my husband happened to mention to my neighbour Lisa who is a nurse practitioner all about my pain. Lisa said to have my doctor refer me to Dr. Henry Ahn at St. Mike's here in Toronto. She did try but I was turned down b/c I guess he didn't think my condition was serious enough for him to take me on. Lisa then begged him to see me & he did finally agree. I was ecstatic. His office called to arrange for an MRI prior to my seeing him. I made a mistake not bringing my husband with me because I had been to so many doctors I was not prepared to what I was going to hear. He came in the exam room and told me he knew exactly what was causing my pain and that I need surgery on my L4 L5 lumbar decompression & fusion with disc replacement and integrated cage for support. I don't think I heard anything he said after that.

I can't stress enough on how you should never trust a doctor's first diagnosis. Keep asking for more tests. Actually had she sent me for an MRI on my spine it would have showed what was causing my pain. I had bone on bone movement which pressed on my nerves. Every step I was feeling the pain from the nerves being hit.
Was I not worth sending for an MRI? Suffice to say I am changing my family doctor as soon as I find a new one who understands pain.

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/03/15 16:54est



  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    edited 12/03/2015 - 12:21 PM
    Yeah it can be frustrating sometimes but it sounds like you are now finally on the mend. It took at least 5 years for the doctors to properly diagnose my Psoriatic Arthritis... man talk about horrible joint pain... but now is all good. You didn't mention how you are doing on your recovery... 8 days post op is only the beginning of your recovery... but how are things going???
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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