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  • Welcome to modern medicine. You are your best advocate. As such it is up to you to learn everything you can about your problem and possible treatments. This forum is a great start. The internet is a wonderland of info. Just remember that not everything you read is the truth.

    When you go to the doctor you should have a written list of questions and room to write answers. Also it is good to have someone with you. Two views are better than one. Often we tend to hear what we want and not the whole story.

    Second and third opinions are essential. Every doc has a different idea. Don't be surprised that one will say do nothing, one will say emergency surgery and one will book you for a month from now when they need to fill. And there can be good reasons for each answer.

    Seeking medical care is not easy and can be very frustrating. The problems we have can't be fixed with two aspirin or a bandaid. But don't give up. There is an answer and help to feel better.
  • HI Kris..
    Agreed& thanks

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  • On April 7th I'm having PLIF to fuse L2 to L5 due to severe DDD and Scoliosis. I'm also not too happy about what has to be done, but as I've said before on other posts, I've run out of options. I'm nervous about the whole process but I've gotten lots of encouragement from this site (it helps). My next problem is: how much will this procedure limit what I'll be able to do mostly mobility. Will I be able to bend over at all, tie shoelaces, blow dry my hair, pull a polo over my head, etc., simple things?

    Glad I mentioned the Cat-Scan to you. Hope you get good info on what to do!!! Marsha
  • AMEN!!!!!
  • HI
    I see. I agree too, i'd wonder the same things. have you asked your doctor about limited mobility? I'm afraid thats what eventally i'll need too (fusion)...
    All the best of luck


    And, thx for the cat-scan advise, I'm going to ask about it
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  • Oh, I know all about horror stories in diagnosis and treatment. I am SO sorry to hear you're dealing with it.

    Allow me to commiserate:

    It took me an agonizing five YEARS to get my problem diagnosed. Had surgery. Didn't work. Took me another FOUR years to get a competent doctor and health coverage to take care of me.

    My problem was spondylolisthesis at L5/S1 which got progressively worse after the initial physical trauma that started it suddenly at 17 years old.

    I saw a multitude of specialists nation-wide, had xrays, MRIs, the works. Nobody had an answer. I had given up, and then after a year one unlikely doctor decided to take xrays with me bending forward and backward, instead of standing/laying straight. Lo and behold, my injury was obvious. After all that time, all it took was me bending a different direction.

    After my first fusion which ultimately failed, I moved to Oregon from Maryland. I got some free xrays done at a local hospital and sent them to my old surgeon to get looked at. He was amazing enough to keep tabs on me after I moved since I didn't have health insurance anymore. He said there was evidence of pseudarthrosis and loosening of my hardware and told me to go see a local doctor asap.

    The first neurosurgeon I saw left me in tears. He took one look at my recent xrays, said they looked "fine" and dismissed me. His receptionist even had the moxie to tell me I was just DRUG SEEKING (probably because I'm young, tattooed/pierced, etc). I couldn't believe it. There I was, now 24 years old with a failing spinal fusion, in chronic pain and not being taken seriously for even 10 minutes.

    I called my old surgeon in Washington DC, in tears. He told me to go see a doctor at a TEACHING HOSPITAL. Best advice I've yet to receive.

    So I took my xrays to a doctor at OHSU, who had the sense to do a CT (whoa, no way!) and it was then glaringly obvious that I had a screw coming lose from my spine.

    This was followed by a series of fiascoes and disappointments regarding health coverage to get the surgery I needed to fix the problem. It was medically coded as "clinically insignificant spondylolisthesis" which was considered an ELECTIVE procedure. None of the low-income/free healthcare options I had would even consider covering it.
    24 years old, screw twisting out of my spine... elective surgery, yeah right.

    I got married last year to a friend so I would have amazing health insurance. That's the point of desperation I reached. And now I've got a great doctor, and I'm having my second fusion in 8 days.

    It's been 10 years of hell, but I think it's going to work out this time.

    So don't give up. If you don't like the treatment you're getting from one doctor, go see another. You know your body, you know your pain, you know the severity of your injury (whatever it may be), so don't let anybody write you off.

    If I'd have been taken seriously from the get-go there's no way I'd have just spent more than a third of my young life in chronic pain. But that's modern health care for you.

    Stick with it! Do NOT give up!
  • Hi,
    Thanks a lot for taking all the time to write that. Thats a hell of a story for sure. "Drug Seeking?".....I know about that nonsense too..In fact thats what the neuro said to me just recently.."I'm not perscribing you narcotics". I told him I have them from My PCP and wasnt asking for them.He is an arrogant F**k in my opinion but right now I need him. But ur right, I'm trying to get a referral to another Dr for 2nd opinion, I wont give up, I fell and have a herniation that I shouldn't have. Now I might require surgery again.....someone's gunna b held accountable for this injury as it was a case of property neglect that caused my fall.This surgeon i just saw gave me a script for the medrol steroid pack, didnt help at all,so he said if it didnt't we'd do ESI in the Op.rm..I know thats game too cuz I had them in my cervical spine....temp relief, if at all !

    I wish you all the best of luck w/surgery.. I hope for you it's your last one and permanently corrects the problem.It's no fun at all, I know.

    Good luck

  • Def get a second opinion, but with my experience, I have been 18 yrs in pain and the last 10 years being the worst, but my MRI's didnt really show anything significant enough to operate until just recently, also my age stopped my PCP from referring me to a Neuro for surgery...Might take some time for it to show a more progressive stage...I know what you are going thru!

    Wish you luck!
  • These doctors and office staff throw around the term "Drug seeking" behavior too loosely in my opinion ESP with ppl like us who are in much need of some sort of relief from our pain! I go thru doctors EVERY 2 years cuz they are afraid of the DEA I guess! But they cant deny me pain meds because of what my MRI's show...I hope to hell they dont have to experience what I have had to!

    I had a Neuro wayy back when I broke my back and they use to make me stand, and lay down for my monthly MRI's...
  • Hi
    Thanks for the comments. I agree that they use that term too loosely.It's ridiculous to put it mildly. I've been on Narcotic pain meds for nearly 2 years and i still have apprehension each month when i see the Dr, that he's gunna "cut me off". I realize they dont want u on these drugs and they can b abused however, when legitamately needed, there should be no issue. I get long acting meds, and the short acting for B/T pain...NOw, they r beginning to wein me off the B/T...each month they are reducing the count...it was 90..then 75,then 60, now 45...
    Guess I;ll need to go black mkt....if i have to.
    I assume u r fairly young as u mention they didnt wanna send u to Neuro cuz of ur age. I am gunna get that 2nd opinion...I wish you all the best and again, thanks for replying.

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