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Switch doctors? What type?

I've been with my Dr(Psychiatrist) for sciatica for over three years. Before going to him, my family physician was sending me to physical therapy. My family physician got me an MRI and sent me on to the PT. I did a few 6wk sessions with them, but eventually, I felt I needed a better DR. So I found this DR who is a family friend.

After three years, of doing everything he says I'm not getting any better. He keeps sending me to PT. That seems to work about as well as if I do nothing. With PT it takes me 6 weeks to recover. Without it, 6 weeks. He prescribed me massage and chiro, but I found it to be no more effective then anything else. It also took the full 6 weeks for recovery at the chiro.

I keep asking him to give me an MRI or an X-ray, but he's confident he knows what it is. As far as I know, he has never seen my MRI. Does this sound right? Why would he not want to send me? I was pretty firm last time, yet still no MRI.

I keep doing the same thing expecting different results and I'm growing frustrated. So if I were to switch to a different DR, what type of DR should I find? Another psychiatrist, orthopedic surgeon or even a neurologist?

If I do switch, will they start me all over again with PT? In other words, will I have to prove to them that PT isn't working? I'm not looking to get surgery, but there have to be some things that can be done short of surgery, correct? And if a Dr was confident that surgery would get me back the 3-4 mo a year my back is out, I'd have to consider it. I have never been presented any options, or told exactly what is wrong with me.

I am stressed to say the least. I cannot sleep, because that is when the pain is worst. I'm also 33 and have two young children. I'm missing the best part of my life because of this stupid pain.


  • waltfwaltf Austin, TXPosts: 19
    My opinion is that I would look for a good pain management doctor. Usually these doctors are good at understanding your pain and recommending appropriate treatments; including (but not limited to) medicine (drugs, both by mouth as well as by injection or pain pump), physical therapy, steroid injections (i.e. Lumbar and Facet joint Epidural Steroid injections), implanted Pain Med. pump, and implanted SCS (Spinal Cord Stimulation)...

    I personally started with an Ortho doctor because I had hip pain (I didn't know I had herniated a disk) and he referred me to the Pain Management (PM) doctor. The Ortho doctor sent me to PT while the PM did some Lumbar Epidural Injections as well as my oral pain medication.
    When all that didn't work my Ortho doctor sent me to another Ortho in his practice that specialized in Spinal surgery and I had a discectomy - but my advice is to not start with a Spinal Surgery Specialist because they are going to want to go to surgery a little quicker than say, a PM doctor would.
    L5-S1 Discectomy
    L4-L5 Discectomy (four times)
    L4-L5 TLIF Fusion
    L3-L4 Posterolateral Fusion
    Revision L4-L5 Posterolateral Fusion
  • SharpmamaSSharpmama Posts: 2
    edited 02/14/2013 - 11:17 PM
    pain management dr, rheumatologist, orthopedist or family practitioner; s/he must be good in their field and seek to do the best they can for you, their patient. Their concern must be to send you to the appropriate specialist, based on their core medical training.
    Unless you know someone you trust who can recommend a good pain doctor, you may want to FIRST find a good primary care doctor (family practice, general practitioner or internist). It's simply much easier to find a recommendation, though it's obviously not a perfect method, unless you are willing to ask many questions and be as honest with a new doctor as you want him/her to be with you. They need to know your history, even if you were seeing a doctor who clearly was less than helpful for so long. Be sure to bring any test results and films (if requested) with you, tho usually only surgeons, or maybe a neurologist, will want to see any MRI's, etc.

    I will tell you this much about MRI's and time intervals: three years is a very long time in some situations, though it can depend on what it is. My lumbar spinal stenosis got dramatically worse in a space of two years; you shouldn't wait.

    Good luck to you!
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