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Saw my new neursurgeon today......

Amanda S YanisAAmanda S Yanis Posts: 124
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Lower Back Pain
Well of course I could barely understand him to begin with. He made very clear that I need to lose weight, so I asked him how can I? I wasn't being a smart ass, I need to know how. He told me to excercise! No crap. So after some more prodding he finally gave me a book of excersices to do, but made sure to tell me that it was normally for patients after surgery. Then he told me that all he could do for me is surgery, but he really doesn't want to do it until I lose weight, but he will if I want him to. He said it would be a laminctomy, and went through all the risks and stuff, then said that he would probably also do a three level fusion at the same time. Then when it was time for me to leave, he was just like, so okay what do you want to do, schedule today, think about it, get a second opinion. I said I would wait a few months so I can try to lose weight, and he was just like, I'm glad you mentioned that, that is a good idea. WTH??

So since he would do nothing for me with my meds that arent' working, I'm making an appt. with my family doc, and I'm gonna have her refer me for a second opinion. Although the weight loss i do agree with and that does start today.


  • Oh and I forgot to mention but when I told him about the arm/shoulder/neck pain I've been having, he said I probably had a bulging disc in my neck too, but I needed to decide which one was more important to deal with right now. Does that sound normal??
  • yes the surgeon normally goes after the area thats the worst first. so thats why he asked you what you felt was the worst.
    by the way i want to lose weight too....pete
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  • Sounds par for the course. When I was talking with my ortho prior to my fusion, I mentioned that I was having lots of tingling in my arms and that my hands were getting numb more and more frequently. His reply was basically "don't tell me about it. We have enough to deal with...(meaning my lumbar problems)". Now that I am more experienced, I understand what he was saying, but it would have been nice if he had explained things further, rather than making a glib comment!!

    The first consultation I had, when I went in thinking I would be told my problems were minor, the doc told me the only thing that would help me was fusion and that I needed to go home, lose 30 pounds and come back April lst. (this was in mid-January). At this point I could not walk to the end of my driveway to get the mail due to the pain. I said short of wiring my jaw shut, how was I supposed to lose 30 pounds in 3 months when I couldn't stand and couldn't walk? He shrugged and told me to make an appointment for April lst. Needless to say, I never went back!

    The remaining seven specialists I consulted with prior to surgery never mentioned my weight -- one way or another.

    I would suggest you get another opinion, and this time I would go to a fellowship-trained orthopedic SPINAL specialist. I found there was quite a difference in treatment plans between the orthos and the neuros. Do you have to get a referral from you PCP or can you do the research on your own and select who you want to go to?? In my case, the orthos were quite a bit more conservative in their approach.

    You might want to look into an anti-inflammatory "diet" or food plan. You can find the info on the internet. It is fairly common for those of us with spinal problems to have problems with inflammation. You could possibly kill two birds with one stone, so to speak -- lose some pounds and cut down on your body's response to inflammation --

    Good luck to you in your search for a compassionate surgeon!
  • It is standard procedure for a doctor to address "the chief complaint".

    It's like coming home from a trip and there's so many things that need to be done. If you don't have enough clean clothes, you have to do laundry right off the bat. Then you can take care of getting food in the fridge, and other errands.

    I think that it is a good sign that he is willing to help you surgically as well as recommend getting another opinion. A 3 level fusion is not something to sneeze at and if you have the resources to do so, another opinion is golden.

  • the trouble with some medics is they see our problem not the person .so all they want to do is fix the problem it you are over weight or smoke or what ever the medic wants you to be a fit and healthy as possible so you don't die on his table! what they forget is is bloody hard if not impossible to exercise when your back is knackered some people can't stop smoking .medics are very special people and i don't mean that in a god like way i mean the must be very special to be able to cut up a human and fix them in the morning then go home and have there tea with there family and do normal things chopping up people is not for most people you have to desensitize your self and detach the fact that you are dealing with a person not just 16 stone of meat.
    this is why many nurses are insensitive regarding pain .as a friend of ours told us if she was to get upset with every person she met on her ward she would not be able to cope with being a nurse and today's nurses have gone from the caring to the technical side of things and they are almost like the surgeons .when you enter hospital these days you are in and out with the feeling that you are just a piece of meat ..its just the way the world has gone
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  • I just don't see how I'm going to lose weight like this. I probably need to lose atleast 80 lbs to be a "healthy" weight, so even if i lose some weight in the next couple months, I will still be overweight. Plus I took a walk the other day to end of our block and back, and have been in bed two days from the pain.
  • So i went to an Orthopedic surgeon today for a second opinion. Talk about total opposites!! Well first I should say that I went to my family doc on Monday and she put me on Ambien to sleep, and also a fentanyl patch since my lortabs aren't helping anymore, so today is day two for that, and I really don't hurt much, but I do feel nauseaus. So the new ortho tells me that he doesn't see any pinched nerves or anything touching the nerves, so my leg/back pain must just be from the degenerative discs, and surgery would be crazy at this point. He also told me i should stop all pain meds because they are only going to get me addicted!! He gave me a slip for PT and also told me to lose weight, and get healthy.

    I realized after i left though that the orhto looked only at my MRI that was done in Feb. and never once looked at the CT scan that was done last month. It was the CT that shows the bone spurs that is the original neurosurgeon was most worried about.

    I don't know what to do now. I know I need to lose weight so I'm definatly working on that. And I'll go ahead and do the physical therapy if my insurance will cover it. But then what?? And I can't just stop taking my meds, or I'll never leave my bed and that sure as heck won't help me lose weight. But I'm also kinda worried about being on something as strong as the phentanyl patch, even though it is helping soooo much already.

    I just feel like I wasted my day, not to mention my money. (did I mention that they also did x-rays?!?) Plus of course this is the appointment that my husband could come too, and all he hears is that I'm fine. Which he has been very understanding, but I know that will bite me in the butt in the future!
  • Hi Amanda,

    I'm going to broach the subject of taking pain medication and becoming addicted. I strongly believe that if you're in pain and it's affecting your quality of life, you should not feel guilty about taking the medication prescribed by your doctor!

    So as for 'stopping all your pain meds', which is what the orthopaedic surgeon has suggested, if the pain is affecting your quality of life - and you say it is - in your position I wouldn't feel guilty about taking them.


  • So now i got my denial letter from SSDI. could this week get any worse seriously??

    I don't really feel guilty using the pain patch, I'm just afraid that next time I go to my doctor she's gonna see what the last neurosurgeon said and tell me I'm fine and not give me any more. So then i'll be used to them, and go back to laying in bed all day when I can't anymore.

    So now it looks like I'm gonna have to go back to work in October, and i guarantee that I won't be able to do it. Well maybe if I'm still using the patch but seriously should i be working with that on?

  • I seriously don't think your family doctor will pull you off Fentanyl patches based on one specialist's opinion. He believes your pain is real and you have tests to prove it, so don't worry.

    MRI's don't pick up everything. There was still a question whether the nerve was being truly compressed, and my surgeon had me do a ct myelogram which is better but more invasive. The impingement was more pronounced when I was tilted up on a table after they injected the contrast dye. The nerve compression is worse when you are standing and this can be missed because they lay you down when you have a standard MRI. After my nerve compression was confirm once and for all, my surgeon was comfortable with operating on me.

    So, don't give up. I would seek another opinion until you find the right doctor. The chances of getting addicted to pain medication is very slim when you take it as prescribed for pain. I also don't buy into the line of thought that pain meds cause more pain. I know there is a better doctor for you out there. Take care and I hope things work out.
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