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In Pain and my Doctor refuses to treat or help
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SouthernLace posted:
I'm 32 and work full-time. After giving birth 10yrs ago, I began having chronic lower back pain. I can pinpoint it exactly to an area the size of a large grapefruit in the center of my lower back stopping just about 1/2-1 in about the crack of my butt. When my symptoms are at their worse, that area swells out. Daily I would say the pain is 7-8/10. At the worst, it's 10+/10. Not only it's it painful, it also has a numbness/tingling feeling that spreads down both legs to my toes that makes me feel like I need to stretch till I snap and makes it impossible to be still, I have to move! I don't sleep when it's at it's worst. The worst times used to be spaced out, maybe once every 2 or 3 months or more and last maybe 2 or 3 days. Now it's nearly every week or 2-3 and lasting 5+ days. This current spell has been going for 7 days so far. Needless to say I haven't slept much. I can't stand long car trips. Riding for more than 30-45 minutes is torture. Sitting is even hard. If I am lucky enough to be free of numbness/tingling, sitting will trigger that every time! So I can't get a break!
I've had stomach surgery so NSAIDs are NOT permitted. I've tried Tramadol, Neurontin, Lyrica, and Savella with no relief. My GP was treating with Lortab and sent me to ortho in June. MRI, standard xrays, and nerve tests were clean (xrays did show a lot of inflammation). The ortho did xrays in his office that required bending that showed a problem with L4, L5, S1. He tried an epidural injection in August. It did not help but did cause a severe steroid flare reaction from which I am still having residual pain.
There is a hereditary problem with the L4, L5, S1. My maternal grandfather had it. My mother has it. She has had 3 back surgeries (her 1st was in her 30s and her last was 7yrs ago) and is sadly facing a possible 4th. My younger brother has a problem with his L4/L5.
My problem is my GP says there is nothing wrong because the tests were negative so she will no longer prescribe any meds necessary to help when things are bad (like right now). And the ortho has suddenly recanted his diagnosis and is now also saying there is nothing wrong and therefore is no longer interested in treating. How can he do that??
What can I do?
I have to work! Not working is not an option. But not being able to sleep due to the pain and not getting any kind of relief from the pain is making life difficult. I work retail. I am a manager for a retail chain. My job requires lifting freight and dealing with customers amongst other things. My patience is extremely thin. I just want to cry and hide because I can't take this anymore. I'm not crazy. It's not "all in my head". There is something wrong with my body and I need a real doctor who actually cares, understands, and wants to do his/her job to figure it out and fix it!! I don't want to be on pain meds and I don't want to be on this roller coaster ride any longer. I need someone to help me find a way to control it and preferably stop it for good. I really don't want surgery if all possible since that would mean missing work unless I absolutely have no other option. There has to be a doctor somewhere that can get to the bottom of this. I'm tired of being pushed around and pushed aside and being told I'm crazy. Treating me like I'm not worth your time is about to make me crazy. I just want help and a real diagnosis and a treatment plan that actually works!
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Peter Abaci, MD responded:
Southern Lace,

Thank you for sharing your situation with us. It sounds like you want to do everything that you can to feel better and stay active with your career and family at the same time. Hopefully despite some of the frustrations, your doctors admire your strength and motivation. I would like to give you some things to think about that you will hopefully find helpful.

Us humans are complex animals, and it may not be helpful to view your body like you would a car or a machine where you simply go in, find what is broken, and fix it or replace the part. If your doctor could do that, then he would be rich and famous. There are many different factors that can contribute to a chronic pain problem like back pain. Tests like X-rays and MRIs can give some information, but they don't begin to describe what a person is experiencing or going through who is dealing with pain every day.

Our healthcare system is not always good at understanding the many layers of the pain onion and providing effective and meaningful treatments for folks. When it comes to pain, modern medicine hasn't yet figured out tests that can understand a patient's pain at a deeper level, and as a result good treatments can sometimes be harder to find.

I think it would help to shift your view about chronic pain from just a symptom to seeing it as a chronic disease that you can learn to manage well. Try to think in terms of learning tools that will help you better control your pain and keep it in box as opposed to focusing on finding a doctor who can make it disappear. Start to seek out practitioners who can help you with management beyond the traditional medical walls if that isn't working. Things like developing a strong body, walking more, learning how to better manage stress, and finding the right emotional support to better deal with a very challenging problem can all help you gain tools that can help you feel better.
 
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dfromspencer responded:
Dr. Abaci's idea's are great, but I suggest you find a pain management specialist!!! A pain management doctor can figure out what is causing you pain, and hopefully, give you the relief you seek?! Unfortunately, you may have to be referred there by your primary care doctor? And if they don't want to help you, then you are screwed! Or, find another G.P. who will help you!!!

Hope this helps?! Good luck!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG-LOVE WELL!!!


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