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    Severe back pain, drug intolerant, need help
    sbncmo posted:
    Twenty four years ago, I fell on some concrete steps while carrying my one-year-old son. I saw a chiropractor a couple days later & was told I'd compressed my lower spine - 4 vertabrae. He did a couple of adjustments & released me. A few years later I started having significant lower back pain, but didn't associate it with the injury. I would be walking or swimming & my back & hip would lock up & I couldn't move for several minutes. I didn't think much of it at the time since it wasn't a constant pain. A few years later, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue. The back pain started increasing & I associated it with the FMS/CFIDS. In the last 10 years, I have spent a couple of years in physical therapy, ending up in more pain than when I went in; I've had x-rays & MRI's of my hip; every sort of pain med possible as well as muscle relaxers, and the pain continued to intensify. Finally a student doctor felt my back & said something wasn't right. He sent me to chiropractor. The chiro took 2 x-rays of my spine, then asked if I'd ever had a back injury. I finally remembered the injury 24 years ago. He showed me a picture of a normal spine & overlayed it with my x-ray. My lower spine is curved in by about 30% more than it should be. Apparently it is pinching nerves. He started doing treatments. The first couple of weeks seemed okay, but then I was in more pain after treatment, sometimes barely able to walk out of the room. He wasn't doing the "bone-cracking" treatment, but stretching the muscles & using moist heat & "tens" units. I finally quite going because I was getting worse & couldn't afford the care.

    Now, 2 years later, I can't stand for more that a couple of minutes before the pain literally takes my breathe away. I can't fix a meal without sitting down a number of times. I can't clean my house like I want to. I can't take prescription pain relievers. I rub ben-gay into my spine & about every other joint every night, but even it does little to help. I don't know what to do. I don't even know if anything can be done. My mother & a few friends have had back surgery, but they are in just as bad of shape or even worse now than before. I don't see that as an option. Can anyone give me any suggestions?

    bj1208 responded:
    hi shelia - welcome to the support group -


    I don't believe you have been diagnosed properly and chiro's are not doctors - they can take x-rays and ASSUME what's wrong with your spine-

    you need to start out by going to your primary care physician - let him/her know what happened and that you have a current x-ray (get info from chiro) - let your doc know that you would like to have an MRI (with and without contrast) of your lower spine - then once that is done you need to see an ORTHOPEDIC SPINE SPECIALIST AND/OR NEUROSURGEON SPINE SPECIALIST - not saying you need surgery but they are the best at reading results - the surgeon will let you know what the best course of treatment will be - this could include going to a pain clinic (be sure they practice PHYSIATRISTS) and THEN maybe physical therapy or chiropractic care - BUT remember one thing - surgeons are the best at relaying what types of treatments you should have with physical therapy and/or chiropractic care -

    once you are diagnosed 100% then you will know what is going on and what your options are -

    please try to do this as soon as possible so that you know what is going on -

    let us know what you find out - take care - Joy~~
    sbncmo replied to bj1208's response:
    Hi Joy. I quit seeing the chiro about 2 years ago. I saw him for about 4 months & quit because of feeling worse after treatments. I let my family doctor know immediately about the results of the x-rays. We used to have an orthopedic surgeon in our area & he ordered x-rays & the MRI. He said I had a bulging disc, bone spurs & arthritis, but he didn't say anything about the bad curve in my spine. And he didn't recommend any treatment. That was about 4 years ago. I saw him after demanding that my family doctor do something to find out why I was in so much pain & physical therapy wasn't working. But the orthopedic sugeon a month after I saw him, was never replaced & I've just gotten worse. There is no question about the curve in my back - I could clearly see it myself. I really like my PCP, but she tends to associate all of my pain with FMS & forgets the back injury. I mentioned the back injury just a week ago when I saw her, but she didn't say anything about it, just put me on a new medicine for the FMS.

    Actually I was sent to a pain clinic for a few months at the same time I was in physical therapy. They were giving me some kine of injection & from there I went directly to PT. The therapists would try to work on me, but I would have huge bulging knots everywhere I had the shots & they couldn't work them out. It turns out that the injections had lidocaine in them, to which I am allergic (I didn't know that until months later when I was talking to my family doctor about it). But, like the chiro & PT, I just felt worse after the treatments at the pain clinic & had to stop going. The last time I went, I was in such bad shape that I had to call some friends to pick me up & take my car home because I couldn't drive.

    I just feel so frustrated. I've done what I'm supposed to do - the orthopedic surgeon, the x-rays, MRI, PT, chiro, meds - and I'm not getting anywhere, just hurting worse every day. What now?

    bj1208 replied to sbncmo's response:
    hi sheila - what i would do then is request to be seen by a neurosurgeon spine specialist - maybe you will get some where with them - they are good to and should be able to help -

    normally pain clinics that specialize in PHYSIATRISTS treatments will help manage your pains - they really go deeper than most pain clinics - i've been to at least 7 pain clinics in the last 5 years and each time they say oh yes we can get you treated and the problems taken care of - but then after all treatment have failed they say well we've done what we can just go off your meds and deal with it!!! OMG i can't believe they all said that - so then I found this place and had my PCP do a referral -

    they do great jobs and really have helped me - but one statement they said - which is the truth is - you will be a permanent patient of pain management for the rest of your life!! what a shocker - i knew that but to actually hear it - oh well - i do have grandkids wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters (my oldest daughter has 2 Autistic sons - that is a choir and wish I could help more)!!

    but please see if you can see a neurosurgeon spine specialist and see what happens - it's kinda looking for a needle in a haystack - we gotta keep searching for the right doc -

    take care - Joy~~
    maltlover replied to bj1208's response:
    Hello Sheila. I agree that you need to see a spine specialist....sooner rather than later. You saw an orthopedic surgeon but was he a spine specialist as well? Either way, you need to see a Neurosurgeon or Ortho surgeon who specializes in the spine. Be sure to take all your films with you and until then, don't see any chiro's or pt's or anybody else for treatment.

    These spine specialist surgeon have all the tools. They can read the results of an MRI or CT scan better than anyone else. The dr. you see should be willing to talk to you, answer your questions, and completely explain the findings on your tests. IF surgery is deemed necessary, be sure to get a second opinion not in the same group. For example, if you see a neurosurgeon, then try to find an ortho spine specialist and get another view point. It's only my personal opinion that neurosurgeons are faster to want to do surgery so after a few different doctors, I chose the Orthopedic Spine Specialist. Others here have neuro's that are wonderful.

    But you have to be pro-active in your care, meaning that you have to keep pushing and making appt's until you find the right doctor for you. If you dont like the guy, you won't trust him, and trust is vital when dealing with these kinds of problems. And never allow a doctor to brush you off or make you feel uncomfortable. It took me a while to learn that I had to "fire" a dr. and I did it more than once!

    Most of all, I wish you the very best and hope you will keep everyone posted. I am going in for a fusion and spur removal so I won't be able to sit at my puter for a few weeks, but I'll try to pull up your posts to see what has been going on with you.


    sbncmo replied to maltlover's response:
    Joy & Carol, thank you for your encouragement & advice. I've always tried to be pro-active with my medical care. You don't get any care if you aren't. As an example, my PCP sent me to a neuro thinking I was having seizures. The neuro just brushed me off, saying if I wasn't losing consciousness, I wasn't having seizures. He went ahead & ran a 24-hr eeg & it should numerous seizures. But he still didn't treat me with respect. I did a lot of research & went back. I was able to tell him exactly what types of seizures I was having & his attitude totally changed. I was ready to fire him, but things have changed for the better.

    It's been the same way with my back pain - I've had to demand that things be done. I thought about seeing the spine surgeon my mom saw, but after seeing how she turned out, there's no way I'd go to him. The other problem is finding a specialist that will take Medicaid. But I am going to keep pushing on this. My PCP tends to focus on all my pain being FMS, even tho I remind her about the back injury. And I know I am dealing with something else because of severe pain in all my joints - that isn't FMS or back injury. I'm so tired of having this much pain all the time.

    Joy mentioned doctors treating her, then saying "sorry, we can't help you anymore." I had the same experience, but it was in regard to my bi-polar. I had 3 psychiatrists tell me the same thing all within a 6 month period because I have taken every med possible for treatment with no success & a lot of bad reactions.

    But like I said, I will pursue this. I don't know if I can find a specialist that will work with Medicaid or not. I don't know if I want surgery after seeing so many failures, but I guess I shouldn't worry about that until that time comes.

    Thanks again. I'll keep you posted.

    Hollie55 replied to sbncmo's response:
    Hi Shelia,

    I agree with Joy and Carol (good luck with the fusion Carol).

    You need to let us in on what the MRI reveals. Chiropractors and PT's have their place in medicine but there comes a time when their treatment may be counter productive. They wont agree with that of course but its your body so let us know what the MRI's show and we can perhaps guide you in an alternative pain relief direction.

    I assume Medicaid is a type of medical insurance in your country? If so and it is limited, even more reason to investigate alternative treatments until you find one that suits you.

    Take care, Hollie55
    sbncmo replied to Hollie55's response:
    Hi Hollie. I totally agree with you that some treatments are counter productive - all have been in my case.

    As for the MRI, I was told that I have "sloppy hips", meaning my hips come out of place easily. The therapist taught me how to put my hip back in place on my own & I haven't had much trouble it for a while. They said Marilynn Monroe had the same problem & you could see it in the way her hips swung so much when she walked. I don't know if that is really true or not. It's good that they were able to teach me how to put my hips back in place, but the MRI didn't look at my back & the therapists never said anything about it, thinking all my pain was from my hips & FMS.

    I see my doctor next week & will ask about a spine specialist. Hopefully I can get some relief. I'll keep you updated.

    Chatten94 replied to sbncmo's response:
    Hi Everyone.

    I was in an accident a year ago where I fell off a rock-face that stood 30ft high. I hit into the rock-face numerous times before I landed flat onto another rock. I got up, seemingly fine. For the next week, I was stiff and had unrelaxed muscles, but nothing out of the ordinary. Naturally, the pain went away within a week of the accident. Then, 3 months later, I started having extreme headaches accompanied by neck, shoulder and back pain. It was so bad to the point where I couldn't think straight, I was losing weight, and my posture was terrible. I consulted with my Primary Care Physician and a Neurologist, got MRIs on both my brain and my neck, and was put on about 5 different pain medications. None of the medications worked, and my neurologist suggested I see a Pain Management doctor. I disagreed with the suggestion because I believe that medication is just a mask for a problem and consulted with my Primary again. He suggested I see a Chiropractor. After seeing a chiropractor for the past 4 months, I've had tremendous improvement. I found out that my C-1 vertebrate was flat instead of on an angle, and was straining the muscles, causing the extreme pain I was in. The headaches have subsided, but the muscle spasms are still evident in my neck, shoulders and back. The pain is not nearly as severe as before, and I'm feeling like my "old-self" again.

    Going to a chiropractor is really a matter of opinion; it works for some, and doesn't for others. Don't write off chiropractors because "they aren't real doctors" or their "methods were unsatisfactory". Chiropractors actually go to Chiropractic College for a span of about 6 years, and get a Doctorate of Chiropractic; so they really ARE doctors. Not all methods are for all people. Please take that into consideration. My chiropractor basically gave me my life back after being in such pain for 10 months.

    Hope this sheds some light on your situations!
    bj1208 replied to Chatten94's response:
    hi Chatten94 - we are not writing off chiropractors - yes they are great as physical therapist are great too -

    what we stress is that before seeing either one - it's best to get an MRI/CT Scan done - those results should be read by either an Orthopedic Spine Specialist and/or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist as they are the best at reading the results - they will see what is wrong with the spine and any disc issues -

    any prescriptions for chiropractic care and/or physical therapy care should be written at the hands of the surgeons and/or pain management doc (provided the surgeon says ok) -

    it's best to have 100% diagnosis before seeing the chiropractor/physical therapist as you want to be sure what is wrong with your back before any adjustments are done - as there have been many cases of people getting worse -

    the surgeon and/or pain management doc can give direct orders of which areas need to be worked on and which areas shouldn't be worked on.

    we have one member, Davedsel57, where is has reactions to most all pain meds and at his surgeon's approval is utilizing chiropractic care to control his pains - and he has been doing this for a number of years -

    our point to stress is to get proper diagnosis and approval before seeing chiropractors/physical therapist - I hope this helps straighten out our view points -

    I am glad this works for you and hope that you continue to post to let us know how you are doing -

    take care - Joy~~
    sbncmo replied to bj1208's response:
    I started a new post "Degenerative disc" since I just got a call from my doc telling me that's what yesterday's x-rays showed. I'm really down about this & very frustrated. I think it is great that some people are able to take all kinds of pain meds with no problem, or have success with chiropractors or physical therapy. Chiro's & PT's have wonderful training, but I just happen to one of the few unfortunates that do not have good results from them. So I'm being sent to a specialist. Don't know when just yet. The appoinment is being set up now. I guess I just have to wait & see what happens. Take a look at my other post if you want.

    An_189596 responded:
    My daughter has six crushed vertibrae's in her lower back. She is in extreme pain. These are old injuries and was told after e-xray's etc. that there was nothing that could be done for her. The D.O. she went to sent her home and put her on Oxicodone and Tramadol, and she has had nothing else done for her condition. I am so very concerned abou her becoming addicted to these drug's. She believes what the O.D. tell's her. Can anyone that has this condition or have had any type of the same thing give me some advice as what can be done to help my daughter? I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me to try and help her!! A very worried mother.....
    bj1208 replied to An_189596's response:
    Hi and welcome to the support group -

    I am sorry your daughter is in such pain - I believe that she is seeing the wrong type of doctor -

    She needs to see either an Orthopedic Spine Specialist or a Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they are the best at reading results of MRI's, CT Scan's, Myelogram's, etc., and if surgery is needed, they are the best to perform it.

    Please let your daughter know that she does need to see these specialist - and be sure that they are as listed above - there is a big difference. Once they examine your daughter they can give the best type of treatments available.

    Please keep us updated as to how your daughter is doing - prayers are with you - take care - ^ Joy ^
    templbi responded:
    I can totally understand your pain and discomfort. I was in the army and jumped out of planes for a living. On one jump landed hard and my pelvic bone hurt really bad. I was able to walk however, I was in sever discomfort. It took almost 3 years of going to doctors to figure out that I fractured my hip bone in 3 places. Due to the pain associated with my hip it also created a lower back problem. I've been given every sort of pain killer and muscle relaxer to no avail. The one thing that has helped me a little has been stretching. At first it's not fun even almost hurts but I built up to more and more. Now it hasn't completely gotten rid of the problem but at least made it to where I can pick up my daughters for longer than 5 minutes.

    Window Cleaning Phoenix
    An_189597 replied to bj1208's response:
    My support to all of you guys - I've been in pain for years still trying to find the remedy.

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