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Back pain and my DR
Anon_228648 posted:
I'm 30 years old, and work in retail. Because of my job I've had several muscle strains in my lower back over the years. I'm also a gastric bypass patient, 4 years out. Before my surgery I was severely obese (5'6" and weight 275 lbs). My back pain has been manageable and hasn't affected my day to day life up until recently. In January of this year, I noticed that, accompanying the back pain, my toes would tingle or be completely numb as soon as I got out of bed. A little tingling in my arms would occur, but really the problem was on my left side leg. The numbness/tingling would be intermitten, not constantly, but would occur almost every day.

I went to see my primary care physician, whom I have had a good relationship with. He did an x-ray which came back with nothing. He ran some blood work, which came back with a flag for lupus. I have made an appointment to see a rheumatologist, but the earliest appointment that she had at this posting is in November (I made the appointment anyway, not wanting to delay treatment). He did an MRI, which came back with a bulging disc. He did not seem particularly concerned with this, because of where my pain seemed to radiate from. This caused some concern in myself, because he seemed to write off the fact that something had come back in the MRI that could have been related to the pain. He suggested I see my neurologist (whom I see for migraines) for a nerve conductor study. That came back with no real negative results, but because of the pain I was experiencing, he suggested that I go to physical therapy. He prescribed 50mg Tramadol for the pain and Reglan for the nausea that I can get by taking that med.

This week, prior to my physical therapy appointment, I started experiencing an extreme amount of pain in my back. I waited just a couple of days, not wanting to jump the gun, but it got so bad I needed a trip the ER. When I got to the ER, they didn't do much of an exam. Just asked me my history of back pain, and prescibed Prednisone to reduce the swelling of the tissue, Percocet for pain and Valium for possible muscle spasms until I could follow up with my physical therapist. This therapy seemed to help more than the previous, but I am nervous to bring this up to either of my doctors, because I feel like they weren't taking my pain seriously in the first place, and may think I'm just trying to get "good meds" out of them. I don't know the best way to approach this. I sincerely hope someone on here can help me.
davedsel57 responded:

Most likely at least your primary doctor is aware of what happened at the ER or at least should be. You do need to have an honest conversation with your primary doctor and explain how these medications are helping. Usually after an ER visit they strongly recommend a follow-up visit with your primary doctor which would be a very wise move.

Be honest and simply state your are looking for help with pain management. Work with your primary doctor to come up with effective methods for doing that. If he can't or won't help, then it may be time to get a referral to a pain management doctor and/or a new primary doctor.

Praying you can get the long-term relief you need.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story. Blessings, Dave
Kelly_30 responded:
Hi An_228648,

It is hard to tell which of the medicines that you received at the ER are helping extensively with your pain.

The prenidisone is a oral steroid and in the past I have taken a regime of this medication and it has helped my pain extensively. Prenidisone is not a medication you can take long term as it will do more harm than good. It is okay to begin a regime every now and then (perhaps once or twice a year? at the most).

I am also on percocet and valium and also morphine. I am also 30 years old as well. I was on Tramadol for 5 years for chronic pain before switching to stronger meds. I have been on valium for 5 years or so as well. I find that this combination helps considerably with my pain. I also take gabapentin and it helps a lot too. It is usually effective at relieving pain due to nerve damage. Gabapentin is a non-narcotic medicine so your PCP should have no concerns prescribing it.

I would be open, honest, and up front with your physician. Let him/her know that the medicines you received in the ER were extremely helpful for your pain but also tell them that you are still interested in the additional tests to hopefully find the cause of your pain. Keep in mind, finding the cause doesn't necessary mean a cure. So it is important that the physicians know that the percocet and valium help your pain so that may possibly become a part of the plan to manage your chronic pain should a cure not present itself.

Living one day at a time.

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