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Talk to me about a Physiatrist

SoonerChrisSSoonerChris Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:58 AM in Pain Management
Long story short. Have been having headaches behind my left ear for over a month and went to PCP. Had MRI on brain, normal. Had MRI on c-spine, 2 disc protrusions and 1 disc bulge. Referred to PM doctor and neurosurgeon as well as PT. Been going to PT for three weeks @ 3x/week. Can't get into PM doctor for 3 months and PCP doesn't want to manage pain meds (has only given me enough Hydrocodone 7.5/500mg to last until next Monday). Went to neurosurgeon and was told I don't need surgery (good thing). Referred to physiatrist.

What can I expect? Do they manage pain meds?


  • I'm seeing a Physiatrist and she's helping by ordering tests and treating other issues besides my spinal issues like my knees, and just had blood work she ordered yesterday.

    My Physiatrist works at a well known hospital with several locations internationally and she's great. She told me that a Physiatrist knows more than half of what Neurologists have studied, that's what she told me anyways..They can order medications so hopefully you will get pain relief but my family dr. handles my meds.
    Take care. Charry
    More info from Spine Health..
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Chris,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. As far as the question of what to expect from a physiatrist, I hope and think you will be happy. I also see one and he does everything for me, including my medications, ordering test and when need be referring me back to see the surgeon. Physical therapy is the place you need to begin, so hopefully your seeing progress with your neck and headaches? Keep in mind though it might take a bit of time for this to show. They physiatrist I see also provides me with injections when needed. So if physical therapy isn't helping, they may decide to do a injection and then send you back in physical therapy. I have found the physiatrist is up to date on what medications that are coming out, and what medications may work better for my situation. I like you my primary didn't want to handle those medications, as he really doesn't follow any specific condition, he is a general doctor. Good luck with your appointment. If you have a long wait, possibly the surgeons office can call and pull some strings to get you in sooner, also ask to be on the cancelation list.
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  • Hi! I currently see a physiatrist. I really like mine. She is like a pain management doctor plus more. She manages all my medications, physical therapy, got me a tens unit, injections, offered accupuncture.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,771
    over the years was seeing a physiatrist. I first went to mine over 6 years ago. Since then, she has taken total control of my medical condition.

    She manages all my medications, coordinates any diagnostic testing, performs some conservative treatments (ie acupuncture) and has recommended several other medical specialists and non-traditional medical experts.

    One of the best recommendations she made, was sending me to a pure Thai Deep Tissue massage person. When most of the normal medical treatments no longer had positive results, the Thai guru made an impact. I am out of a wheelchair due primarily to the work that this Deep Tissue person did for me over the past 4 or so years.

    Thats why I always feel that physiatrist can provide help. The look at the total picture, the entire body, both physically and mentally.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Keep in mind that like any other specialty, there are good doctors and bad doctors. If you have the unfortunate luck of getting a bad doctor, don't give up...find a new doctor.

    After surgery, my surgeon INSISTED that I go to a physiatrist that he had previously sent all of his patient's to see. Worst experience of my life! His staff had crappy attitudes, the doctor listened to me for maybe 5 minutes then began checking his Blackberry as I was still talking, ect. I saw him for four months. The icing on the cake was the day I asked specifically about the ramifications long term of my ALIF. First, he saw me without having my chart with him, second he didn't realize that I had an ALIF and third, he didn't realize it was a 2 level ALIF.

    I immediately switched to my current PM office and they are great! They work with me when I say I have pain, order tests as needed, got my TENS and are willing to go the extra mile to see what works for me.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor when you see him. The only stupid question is the one that goes un-asked!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • Had my first appointment with the physiatrist today. I think it went very well. I had prepared a list of questions which he, along with his nurse, thought was very useful and said I was very prepared.

    He took ample time to talk with me about my condition, about 15 - 20 minutes. After doing some strength testing he said I most likely have facet joint issues since the pain I had was localized to my neck. He suggested facet injections.

    Although he not a pain management specialist, he did give me enough pain meds to last until my next appointment with a doctor who IS a specialist in pain management. This doctor is an anesthesiology who specializes in pain management.
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