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Doctor conversations

LasVegasLLasVegas Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Pain Management
Not sure where to post this, but is regarding pain mgmt dr, so thought this might be a good place to post. If not, please direct me and I will repost in more appropriate section.

Most doctors only see patients for a brief 5 minutes or so to discuss what is going on, etc. My pain mgmt dr is no different. 1st visit...I walk in, she comes into room, asks me how about my situation, history, etc, writes me a script, orders an MRI, leaves.

2nd visit, she says MRI results show some issues with neck and lumbar, I knew that from pain/stiffness, and recommends facet inj in the neck and epidural inj for lumbar. I say ok, we schedule inj appt, I leave.

3rd visit was at surgery ctr where I received the facet and epidural inj, too groggy to talk about my concerns, questions, etc.

4th visit is scheduled for next week as a follow-up from inj procedure. I have no idea exactly what my MRI reads, as I am not trained to understand. I have a copy of it, but do not know how to interpet. Is it customary for a pain mgmt dr to interpet each and every finding of these 2 MRI tests (neck and lumbar) so that I completely understand my situation? I feel as if I am rushed w/ every appt and want her to take the time to interpet MRI/educate me so I know I am receiving the best treatment and taking the best precautions in my daily activities to better myself. Also, we never discussed details of how long these inj should last, if they do not work then what, how long is typical healing, if this is something that will be long term, etc.

Does anybody know how to read an MRI? Besides Xray, is an MRI the most reliable resource available for medical findings of the neck and spine?


  • LasVegas,

    Unfortunately none of us are doctors, and therefore can't interpret a person's MRI. The doctor that ordered them should give you a really good report in lay terms of what is on it. Most of us get the CD after the imaging is done, and too later on follow up with getting copies of the reports. Saves a lot of time and money if you need to go to another doctor for an opinion.

    You can also Google search terms in the report to see what specific words mean. "Moderate and Severe" are obviously not good to see on the reports! Most doctors use the MRI for seeing what is going on with spines. Depending on what is going on, they may do CT's, myelograms etc., again, varies on what they are looking for. Hope that helps.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I will get a CD and copies of the report for my own records, great idea. I will have her explain in lay terms like you mentioned, there is just so many terms and findings that I just don't see her taking the time to explain it all to me so I completely understand.

    i.e. At L2-3, there is...
    At L3-4, there is...
    At L4-5, there is...
    At L5-S1, there is....

    Many big words not in my daily vocabulary. Will start the Google Search, thanks for your reply

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  • LasVegas,

    A lot of us keep a binder or folder with all our medical tests, records, images etc. I've also scanned all my reports, doctor's notes, surgical notes etc. onto my hard drive. You just never know what 'piece' of information might be the big key to solve an issue going on with you that they otherwise might not figure out. Not fun to initially organize, but it gets easier after it's all put together. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • When I have felt rushed, I made certain that for the next appointment, I had a list of questions and concerns for the doc and handed a copy to the doc and had my copy and we went down the list one by one and discussed each item. The doc actually liked that since it showed initiative and taking responsibility for my own recovery. Certainly made things go much easier and was placed in my records as well.

    So I found that basically if I let them, the docs will just "get you in and get you out" as expediently as possible. So I can help slow things down and set a different tone by a small amount of preparation.

  • It's true.Making lists help,though some Drs might not like that,some don't mind,and either way you have the list there and know / remember what your concerns are.
    A good patient gets the best care and I have found it's best to be prepared,know what you want to ask,your symptoms,and any new concerns.

    I have been a CP patient for many yrs,but it was only a couple yrs ago whenever "C" told me to let the Dr do the Dr'ing and me be the patient,that I learned how to be a good CP patient.It has made a world of difference in my medical treatment,and even in getting proper referrals and Dx's.Some patients can be too complacent and others too controlling,but learning how to be a good patient,for me,made all the difference.

    I don't think I ever said thank you for that C,and I'm not just blowing smoke (you should know me better than that-if infact you even remember me),but I did learn how to let go and it has been successful-so thank you for that advice!!
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  • Thanks for the nice comments. While I don't remember the specific instance, I do recall making the recommendation. It is something that has worked very well for me and I know my docs appreciate the approach. Glad to hear that it is working for you as well. I appreciate the feedback.

  • got all my ?'s answered today from my pain mgmt dr who was very thorough w/ her explanations taking plenty of time w/ me and not rushing me at all. in a nutshell, there is plenty of bulging discs, some arthritis and some narrowing. like others have mentioned, the report sometimes looks worse than it actually is.
  • I so agree with C. I also understand the feeling of them running in and out. I have told one Doctor that he needed to come back and sit down to discuss a med change with me.
    Since brain surgery memory issues have gotten worse so one of the tips that i have done is to open a file in Word and write the questions as they come to me., and then hit print for doc visit. That way i have it all written down when i see the doc. Only problem is i have to remember on my way to lap top...........lol .......getting better.

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