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Back Pain and Surgery

moore2010mmoore2010 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am having some problems with my back that I would like to discuss with others and see if they are experiencing the same thing. In November 2009 I began experiencing severe pain in my right leg. It would hurt all over. It was just a burning and stinging pain all of the time. In December I began passing out and was later told by the dr's that it was due to this pain. However, I was first sent to a neurologist so that they could determine if there was anything wrong with my brain that was making me pass out. They did an EEG and said that I had no problems with my brain. That dr was examining me and she started messing with my back and asked me if it hurt anywhere. When she pushed in on one certain area I felt pain shooting through my body and it was coming from my back. EVER SINCE THEN my back hurt. She was asking me if anything hurt and I kept telling her no and when she got to that point and pushed it in and I felt that pain I screamed. She ordered me to have an MRI of my back and my neck (because my neck had been hurting some as well).

I had the MRI done and when I went back to her she told me that I had a bulging disc. At this point no one had really done anything with my knee even though it was the presenting problem. They just focused on my back. She told me that the bulging disc could possibly go away with physical therapy, so I agreed to undergo the physical therapy. I ended up moving to a different state because of work but I had my new family dr refer me to physical therapy there and a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon did a myelogram and said that I had a bulging disc (L5 S1). So I have two dr's telling me the same thing. They had me on percocet 7.5 (4 per day) but I was only taking 1 on most days because they were pretty good with managing my pain and I don't like taking pills really.

I ended up having to move back home and when I did everything went majorly downhill. One night I was walking down the front steps and my knee gave a loud pop and I blacked out. My wife found me and my knee was black and bruised/swollen, although I hadn't hit it. I went to the er and they said I hadn't broken anything. I followed up with my family dr and she sent me to have an MRI of my knee. She also sent me to a dr for pain management because in the practice where she works they do not prescribe pain medication. I had to get copies of my MRI of my knee on disc. I went to the local hospital to do so and they put the MRI of my back on the disc also. When I went to the pain management dr, I was required to bring this disc.

The dr. opened up the images on the disc and looked at them and never even showed concern for my knee. He said his main concern was back and only my back. He said that I had a ruptured disc rather than a bulging disc and told me I needed back surgery. I told him I would like a second opinion because two dr's before had told me I had a bulging disc and he was saying it was actually ruptured and he actually told me that I could end up paralyzed. He told me there was no time and started saying things like "If you don't have this surgery you're going to end up in a wheelchair very soon and won't be able to play with your kids and it's going to be no kind of life for you" etc. He had me terrified thinking that this would be the way that it was going to be so I agreed to the surgery. Within two weeks of my FIRST office visit there he had my surgery scheduled. I went and did the surgery which was supposed to be a microdiscectomy but I ended up with a huge incision, much larger than what I was told it would be like. He took my staples out six days after the surgery and I really don't understand what his reasoning was for this because it looked TERRIBLE. Even the nurse was surprised that he took the staples out that day. After about another week, it was terribly infected. I ended up having to have another surgery just one month to the date after the first one because he had to go in and clean my wound because it was infected. He had told me he was just going to do the top because it was really awful looking and gapped open. Well, he ended up making the incision even LARGER and he had told me he wasn't going to cut into my muscle again or anything but he did. The first surgery left me feeling 10x worse and the second left me feeling 10x worse than the first one. I am in terrible shape now. After the surgery, he put me on Percocet 10's again. He had had me on Roxicodone 5's before that and then had switched me to Percocet after the first surgery for one week, then right back to the Roxicodone 5's, then back to Percocet 10's for a week. I don't understand that but he had told me to take two Percocet 10's at ONE time right before the second surgery. After the surgery he told me to continue doing this. Then I told him I couldn't take the Percocet like that because it made me feel high and I don't like feeling high. So for some REALLY strange reason he puts me on Roxicodone 30's. Of course if I can't handle two Percocet 10's I can't handle a Roxicodone 30 and I was feeling high and drowsy a lot so the last dr. visit I told him about this being too much and he dropped me straight down from those Roxicodone 30's to Lortab 7.5's. And during this whole time the dr's have avoided Lortabs for me because I used to have a prescription for them and I was left unable to eat and constantly throwing up because hydrocodone makes me really sick. So this dr knows the hydrocodone upsets my stomach badly and he still puts me on it and puts me on 3 zofran per day to take at the same time as my Lortab. He was very rude to me because I pretty much told him the last visit that I thought he just did the surgery to get money from my insurance. He actually looked at me right before he walked out and said "Next time you'll be lucky to get Lortab 5's from me. How do you like that?" And this whole visit he actually told me I was NOT in pain and that he has had the same surgery, that he knew I couldn't still be in pain (this was like 2 weeks from the date of the second surgery). I swear I think this dr has really messed me up and I don't know what to do because no dr will see me for 90 days post-op so I wouldn't have anywhere to get my medication or anything like that. So I have to continue going to him but I do have lawyers looking into the issue of medical malpractice for doing an unneccessary surgery. He won't refer me to physical therapy even though he puts on my Leave of Absence paperwork from work that I am UNDERGOING physical therapy. I AM, but it is not even from him. It is from an orthopedic surgeon over my knee because I am going to most likely have to have knee surgery, because they have discovered I have a very weak quad muscle and I am leaking all the fluid from my knee and that's what's causing the popping and the swelling and bruising. Besides that, I wasn't even going to physical therapy for that yet when he put that I was going, and he WILL NOT give me a referral to go for my back. He has put me off work until February, even though he says I'm not in pain and should be able to do everything I used to be able to do. I'm not getting paid, I'm in HORRIBLE pain, so much worse than before my surgery and it gets worse rather than better every day. Everyone keeps telling me it should be getting better by the day but every day it just gets worse and worse and worse. This dr won't even send me for another MRI, and I honestly think it's because he knows he didn't need to do this surgery on me and I am really questioning whether he even DID anything to my back at all like he was supposed to or just went in there and cut and scraped around and stapled me back together. I don't know what to do. My wound is healing pretty nicely but it is still very swollen and it hurts very badly when you touch it even lightly. It feels like there is a big knot on the right hand side of it. My leg now goes numb and it takes me about an hour and a half after I wake up in the morning before I get the feeling back and can actually get up and move. I am in terrible shape and this dr isn't taking me seriously at all and I really don't know what to do or who to talk to. I want to be to the point where I don't have to take medication to function. I know I will probably always have pain but I want to be to the point where it is tolerable without medication. I should have run screaming from this dr when he was telling me there was no time for a second opinion but he had me so scared and talked like he knew what he was talking about that I believed him. Before the surgery and after the surgery he has been a totally different person. Does anyone have any ideas of how I can get around this and maybe see someone who can correct whatever he has messed up, at least refer me to have an MRI to see if he HAS messed anything up or what they can do to help me?


  • I'm exhausted reading your story. So sorry you have been through so much.

    First, when was your surgery? Was it recent? If you are early out of surgery, then I am not surprised you are still having so much pain, especially since you had 2 surgeries and an infection.

    Second, I would call and get copies of all your medical records, as well as CDs of your MRIs, x-rays, etc. Make sure you get the records from the hospital, this surgeon and your out-of-state doctors. Should you need to go for another opinion, you'll need these. Your general physician would probably be a good person to go to for advice.

  • First thing is to find a good PM DR And go from there

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  • My first surgery was Oct 4 2010 and second was nov 4 2010. I do have all of my records now. My family dr, when I told her of my problems I was having, said that she couldn't refer me to anyone else because no one else would see me until 90 days post-op. And my surgeon doesn't seem to understand why I am in so much pain. Just keeps saying I am not hurting, as if he knows, and he really has no idea because I can't stand to take a pill, don't want to take a pill, and I let my pain get to the point where I will pass out several times before I will even take one. I have my records from him also, and he has put several statements in there that aren't true at all. That really bothers me. He always states in his notes that I report not having pain and that is far from the truth.
  • Also when I went back to him after he removed the staples from the first surgery, he didn't give me any medicine for infection, said I didn't need it. The next day they call me from his office and apparently in the middle of the day it hit him that my back was infected and he called me in some keflex which I had been on for over a month already. And on the records where it was called in you can clearly see where it was whited out the date they called it in and they made it look like they called it in the date before.
  • hey, moore2010, i'm really sorry about all you've been going through and i truly hope things start looking up.

    where i live, i use this website to look up information on my doctors. it won't help unless you're from florida, but maybe you could find something similar.
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  • Thank you. I have been trying to find something like that but this dr doesn't really have any info on him that I can find. I did rate him on one site though and he only had like two ratings but mine dropped it way down.
  • Can you find a new doctor after the 90 days? If so, I would run, not walk. This doctor sounds very rude! I can't believe that a doctor can treat a patient this way. Was he like this before your surgery? I am sure that you have been hurting like something awful. I am sorry that you are going through this pain. >:D<
  • Hi, moore2010. I'm really sorry about your horrible experience. Quite frankly, I don't think much of the medical profession as a whole. Finding a good doctor is a blessing, and they're worth their weight in gold. What you've gone through makes me think of my firm decision to avoid a fusion - a procedure the spine surgeon I saw last week recommended. When I saw the PT Friday, I mentioned my intention to keep doing the prescribed exercises after the treatments end (they along with e-stim have really helped me to feel better). Best wishes to you.
  • Yes Heidi, I can change dr's after the 90 days and I am already looking. Problem is my family dr still says it will be hard to find anyone else that will see me where I have already had the surgeries but I am going to give it a shot. No, he was 1000% different before my surgery. Seemed very caring and concerned and really seemed to know what he was talking about. He became a different person once I told him I thought my incision was infected, like it offended him.
  • Wow, what a story. I was talking with a fellow spiney the other day and it's so common that when you first have spine problems, you go to a surgeon and believe everything they tell you because you really are too new to all this to understand that you have every right to a second opinion, no matter what the surgeon says, and you tend to put all your trust in this one person because you don't know better. I'm so, so sorry it's turned out this bad for you.

    Maybe you can do some investigating on your own with regards to other surgeons or spine specialists in your area. When I started having my cervical problems, I was referred to my current surgeon by a fellow that had a botched cervical surgery, a story much like yours, just a nightmare for him. He found the surgeon I'm currently using because his biography states that he specializes in severe cervical problems and fixing botched cervical spine surgeries. This surgeon is also a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, an ortho, that works on nothing but spines and is part of a spine center that includes physios and PTs.

    So, whether the 90-day rule is valid or not, doing some research now might help you, both with this 90-day thing and finding a good surgeon. (By the way, I don't get that at all, but I'm not into health law or requirements regarding post-surgery stuff).

    I think doing your research now might come with a good payback when you can get to another spine specialist, whenever that might be. You can also ask for referrals on here, but you'll only be able to get reponses for specific docs or institutions via PM as a reply - we're not allowed to name them publicly on the forums.

    I'm so sorry to hear about the major issues you're suffering from and hope that you don't have to wait so long to get the respectful and decent treatment you need.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.
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