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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I had a frustrating experience yesterday, and am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. My MRI (which I wrote about in Newbie forum) basically says I have a couple of small herniated cervical disks, one with mild cord impingement. I also have a hemangioma, mild disk degeneration, osteophytes (causing minimal foramen (sp?) narrowing) and arthritis. I am 28 years old and in constant pain, so I asked my doc for a referral to a back specialist.

The nurse called, gave me a name of a spine specialist, and I made the appointment. Ten minutes later she called back and said the doctor would not approve the referral. They will not refer unless it is clear I need surgery, and, she said, I don't. It seems careless to me to deny the referral, especially when I have been in so much pain for so long, and there is something going on in my neck/back.

I do not trust this doctor...she would not refer me to an ENT when I asked, then when i finally got a referral (from someone else in her office) and I saw the ENT, I had my tonsils out the following week, and had complications, for which I ended up in a second surgery and intensive care (probably because I waited too long).

I guess, besides expressing frustration, my point is: how can a doctor deny me a referral? Is there a reason my doctor is so unwilling to refer? I know I could get a second opinion, but it is not easy to go through the steps of finding a new doctor. I am in my second round of PT, and this time am doing cervical traction, so I am hoping to find relief that way...

Thanks for any insights.




  • Physiatrists are trained in the spine, and often work with patients prior to surgery and then follow them with the recovery period. I loved mine, and am now working with another one. Don't confuse them with a mental health doctor. A Physiatrist is a sports med/physical med rehab person. Good luck

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,033
    hey Meredith,

    Your third paragraph says it all, "I do not trust this Dr." You need to seek other opinions, get copies of the MRI's and move on. You need to be your own advocate and get the answers to the relief you deserve. Do lots of research, ask lots of questions, and don't stop till you are confident you are receiving the proper treatment.
    Take care and keep us posted here on what you find.
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  • Ranger, you hit the nail on the head. Meredith, you have to be confident in your doctor. It's ridiculous that your doc won't let you get an opinion from a spine specialist. What harm would it do? Totally ticks me off.

    You really do need to seek other opinions until you're satisfied that you're going down the right road.

    Hang in there and let us know what the next doc says.
  • Take your time and find the right doc, you might have some DDD im 29 going thru the same stuff, rest all you can...
  • Meredith, This sounds like it might be an insurance issue. If you are in an HMO, your doctor may actually be charged for referrals. If that's not the case, you need to find a different Primary Care Physician.
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  • Thank you all for your replies. You are right, I do need to be confident in and trust my doctor. It may be an insurance issue...I had no idea that my doctor might be charged for referrals! Anyway, I will update you when I get another opinion.


  • I tend to agree with the others as far as seeking a second opinion. Ok.. even if its an insurance issue that doesnt give any doctor the right to possibly compromise a patients well being. Especially in a situation that is as touchy as a spinal issue.

    I have a friend that has congestive heart failure. I talked to her a few weeks ago and she was livid. She had a doctors appointment set at 4:30 one afternoon. When she got there she was told that her doctor couldnt see her that day because the office closed at 5 pm and her appointment would take longer than normal office hours. Then they said they didnt have an opening for until almost 2 weeks later.She ended up in the ER later that evening due to the complications she was suppose to be seeing her doctor about earlier that day and she came very close to dying.

    Insurance issue or not.. this is YOUR health and livlyhood on the line. I hope everything works out and you get a good second opinion from someone that can help you.

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