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Discogram, Fusion, RFA

Hi Everyone, 
Brief background - 11 years with lumbar and cervical DDD, moderate stenosis cauda equina, arthrosclerosis,  6mm retrolisthesis l5-s1, facet joint disease (l5 & s1 totally gone, l4 60% gone, l3 30% gone), l5-s1 disc tore years ago and is now "completely gone". 40 yo  female

I'm on disability now, which I can't take not working, but since moving from AZ to KS it's been nothing but a fight for pain mgmt. I've jumped through every hoop, have been cordial and nice, listened to the numerous differing diagnosis (I've only been here 5 years, first 6 in Phx same diagnosis all the time), listened to how my previous doctors were wrong, and finally hit a boiling point last year. Yes, I finally fought back and let more then one doctor know that they had no idea wtf they were talking about.

Long story short. Went to yet another neurosurgeon in April. Sent for discogram which the anesthesiologist said right then the l5 disc was completely gone. Follow up with neurosurgeon which gave me an open door for a 2 tier fusion with discectomy. After discussing pros and cons and the fact that I'm 40 we agreed to wait and see if it could naturally fuse or when I'm ready. Referred to pain mgmt which happens to be same anesthesiologist that did the discogram. First thing he said was pain mgmt was not an option because I didn't live inside city limits. He asked if I had a KS license, which I don't because AZ licenses do not expire until you turn 65 and we're planning on  moving back. I challenged him on since my disability was approved by KS. He then said that I'm high risk for addiction but would do an RFA because it's joint pain. 

Um..since when does a surgeon suggest replacing a blown disc with a satellite if it's joint pain that I'm having? And since when has a discogram been used to determine joint pain? I'm confused and fed up with doctors. Idk what to do or where to turn. I'm tired of being in pain but apparently no one really cares. Is this RFA thing the new craze? I'm really think8ng of taking out some loans answer moving to Belgium! 
DDD, facet joint disease l3 through s1 & c3 through c6, grade I retrolisthesis l5-s1, moderate lumbar stenosis, mild cervical stenosis, mild scoliosis.


  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,772
    Avi - Welcome to Spine-health  It seems that you have had more than enough diagnostics to determine the nature of your issues.  Have you had MRI and or CAT Mylelogram also??   Just curious.  When getting "mixed messages" from potential physician providers - the best thing to do would get second or third opinions from other providers.  When you get two or three that all say the same thing .... then that maybe the direction to follow.  Just as three different radiologists will all read an X-ray or MRI slightly differently.

    I know little or nothing about KS or vehicle license law .... but the physician may know that the pharmacy wont provide RX's to you with an out of state license.  Whereas your AZ license maybe good till your 65 .... KS law may state that if you are a KS resident - after X many days you are to get a KS license to drive .... and get your RX's.

    Oh what a wonderful world we live in !!

    Keep us posted!!

  • Thank you for taking the time to read.

    I have had 3 MRIs in 2 years, post discogram CT, a total of 16 epidural injections including facet joint, various medications including Percocet 10 MG (honestly, I can't handle anything more then 5/325) in Kansas alone. I told my pharmacist about the license issue and she said it was a crock that it has nothing to deal with anything especially since my disability is through KS. 

    After writing this it dawned on me that 1) the surgeon suggested the medication pain mgmt since the pain is due to both facet joint and disc impingement and 2) RFA addresses one of the two so undergoing it would be futile since  I'd still have impingement pain from the disc.

    I did more research and found that even cancer patients are being denied access to medication pain mgmt here. I'm just so frustrated and feel like a test rat. I get turned away from physicians outside my immediate area or am instantly labeled drug seeker. I'm backed into a corner and am seriously contemplating either getting relief from the street or ensuring I don't wake up. Idk what else to do..
    DDD, facet joint disease l3 through s1 & c3 through c6, grade I retrolisthesis l5-s1, moderate lumbar stenosis, mild cervical stenosis, mild scoliosis.
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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,772
    Hello again - Good Morning?  I agree that the license thing is a crock!!  as I was able to get a script called in from Illinois to California - and only had my Illinois license.  You certainly HAVE had your share of diagnostic and therapeutic "work ups".

    I have noticed over the past several years that what used to be "pill mills" are now becoming "needle/injection mills".  Our US government has scared doctors away from treating chronic pain with appropriate systemic medications to having a needle/injection for every spot of pain on our body. (Is this really a cost effective answer)?

    I myself having recently moved from North Carolina experienced this trying to find a PM in Detroit and in my case I was needing to restart med after about a year break.  It took me 3 different "Pain Clinics" before I found one that would simply provide an RX as opposed to lay out the path of 100 needles as THE solution.

    Don't give up on yourself or the medical community.  I believe and hope that you continue to search for a physician who will review your case and advise you accordingly - to include medication and other potential realistic treatments.

    Tenacity and repetition are the unfortunate tools needed these days to manage our conditions.  Don't let them have their way with you.  Keep searching ... ask new friends in the area for referrals and worry less about being labeled and more about your relief and needs to move forward.!!

    Keep us posted !!

    Warm Regards,

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