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Looking for advice

Hello all,

I am new to internet discussion board but I am feeling pretty frustrated right now. I thought it might help to speak with people who may understand. I will try to make my story short.

I have had very bad pain in my lower and upper back for the past 4 years. That is the earliest I remember where the pain was bad enough that I took action. I threw out my "soft" mattress and got a "firm" one. This did not do much.

I did not go to the doctor for my back until 4 months ago. I was morbidly obese in my teens, and while i did achieve a normal weight during college, I often fluctuate between various degrees of overweight. I assumed that the pain in my back was due to the extra weight, and therefore the doctor could not help me.

I am 30 years old now and had been taking 800mg ibuprofen 3 to 4 times a day. I went to my doctor because I was concerned I was developing an ulcer and was still in pain despite the ibuprofen. He did an x-ray and the findings were; scoliosis in upper and lower back, bone spurs, and early onset arthritis. He said there was nothing to be done besides pain meds and i declined.

Fast forward 2 months and my wife had our first baby via c-section. I was in agony the second day, doing all the bending and picking up for 2 people, carrying around a 9lb 6oz newborn, and constantly bending over changing tables. I called my PCP and the nurse called in 20 x 5/325 hydrocodone. I was told this was a 20 day supply, even though I had been prescribed more for a wisdom tooth...

I made an appointment with a "Spine Specialist / Pain Management doctor". 3.5 month wait... during this time, my PCP refilled my script a couple of times, with increasing anger it seemed. About a month before i got to see the specialist, he said he would no longer prescribe any medication.

Spine specialist orders an MRI over lower back and I have been waiting 2 weeks for it to clear insurance. When I asked if he could give me a pain block, he said he had to wait for the results to know what kind to use. I asked for a script in the mean time, and he would only give me "Tramadol". I have never had this before. It actually worked well for pain for unfortunately it conflicts with 2 routine medications and triggers asthma attacks at night.

I called today to follow up on MRI schedule and asked if the dr. could give me a different medicine. Two different nurses at the office told me that this doctor does not prescribe meds (besides the fact he already gave me a script) and to refer me to my PCP. My PCP tells me the specialist should monitor pain. THEY BOTH TELL ME TO CONTACT THE OTHER :(

I asked the nurse to please have the doctor call me and tell me what i should do for my pain. I have never gone through such an experience before. Everyone at both offices treats me with disdain and suspiscion and it has had a very dehumanizing effect. I have gone back to my extreme dose of ibuprofen and added tylenol, but have been very close to getting sick at work.

I am willing to try any alternative pain treatment. I just wish i didn't have to be in so much pain while waiting 4-5 months for some doctor to finally suggest one. I can't avoid shoveling the snow, or caring for my child, or sitting 10 hours a day at work, so i am in more pain each day.................sorry for venting, but i am so frustrated that the whole situation seems out of my hands,


  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 766
    edited 02/24/2014 - 3:58 PM
    Hello and thanks for sharing your story. I know how it feels to be in severe pain and not seem to get anyone to care about it enough to get you the relief you need. I also know how much lifting, bending and twisting is associated with caring for a newborn. Things are very, very difficult right now.

    Here's my thought: one of the best therapies for me in intense pain was walking. A slow walk, just the kind newborns love. I don't know what part of the country you're in, but if you're somewhere warm and it's decent for a newborn to be out in it, you may get some relief and also help your newborn have a great nap. Dad gets some low-impact exercise that can help shed some pounds while also keeping you moving, and baby is happy and sweetly sleeping. If it's too cold, take your baby to a mall after dinner and just walk a loop. This isn't a huge way to feel better, but it's a start. When I was in too much severe pain, walking was all that I could do and it is helpful.

    You can tell your PM that you've been working on maintaining a good, active, modified exercise regime in the hopes you'll start to see some benefits. I've found that doctors are more willing to work with you of you're also working with them. Make sure you have an open and honest discussion when you finally get in and be honest. I saw another user suggest bringing a second person - a family member perhaps - to your appointment to verify your pain and how it is affecting your life right now. I did this at both of my surgical consults as it allowed for a more full picture of my pain, told by a second party and helped to express some of the pain I didn't know how to express.

    Make sure your PM knows your plans to revert to the high ibuprofen regimen. Keep your positivity up of you can. Life will get better once you have your doc and yourself on the same page.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,518
    welcome to spine-health and how to get started

    it can be very frustrating trying to identify what your medical problem is. the diagnostic tests that have been ordered and performed for you should help with this issue.

    but the concern regarding medications. once a patient, any patient starts to ask for medications to help them, many doctors will view that as a potential problem. doctors will not order pain medications for a patient that calls for it over the phone.

    narcotic pain medications need to be justified by the doctor. therefore, they need to ensure that the writing of any prescription can be explained and have the rationale to go along with it. that proof, generally is in the form of diagnostic tests. but in addition, doctors rely on clinical examinations. there are a series of short simple tests that doctors can do with patients to help isolate the problem. plus, the one on one contact is the best method for a doctor to see and understand the pain a patient is having.

    a patient may be telling the doctor their pain level is 8, but from the examinations by the doctor and watching the way the patient acts, talks, walks, etc they feel the pain level should not be more than a 4. there lies a problem. the patient is in pain and wants medication to relief that level of pain, but the doctor provides medications to reduce the pain level they see the patient at.

    here is where the doctors can come up with a full frontal attack on managing a patients pain level. narcotic pain medications are not always the answer. there are nerve medications, muscle relaxers and more that can help with the total package. in addition, there are number of conservative treatments that can also be given to help with the patients pain.

    a key in working with the medical field, is that you do not want to tell them what you want that approach just sends the wrong message. instead, the best method is to talk with the doctor, explain your problem, how it is impacting you and ask them if there is any treatment that could help the situation. theres a big difference doing in that way.

    but, even before that, you have to have an idea on what your medication condition is. from what you have written, it appears that you do not have that at this point. that is what i would be focusing on. then, everything else should start to fall into place.
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