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    Steps For Getting Back Pain Diagnosed And Treated
    davedsel57 posted:
    Many people come to this WebMD Back Pain Community looking for help in getting a diagnosis of a cause and relief from their back pain. Most of us are not medical professionals that are members in this community, but we have personal experience in dealing with chronic pain due to multiple different spinal conditions.

    I've decided to post this tip that lists the steps a back patient should be following for obtaining an accurate diagnosis and getting an effective treatment plan.

    1. Talk to your primary doctor. Describe the symptoms you are experiencing in detail and how it is affecting your daily life — keeping you awake, preventing you from functioning normally, what your pain level is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, etc.

    2. If required by your health insurance, have your primary doctor give you a referral to a local spine specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. When seeing the spine specialist, make sure to again provide all details of your symptoms.

    3. The spine specialist should send you for (or do in the office if they have the equipment) a CT scan or an MRI of your spine. An x-ray will not show soft tissue such as discs and will not show all that could be causing your back pain.

    4. The spine specialist should then review the results of the diagnostic testing with you. Make sure you understand everything and ask questions until you do understand.

    5. The spine specialist should then provide a recommended treatment plan. This could involve seeing a pain management specialist, a physiatrist, or something simple like OTC medications and applying hot and/or cold to the area that is painful.

    6. Some people benefit from physical therapy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, injections, exercises, or other traditional and/or non-traditional therapies. Surgery should always be a last resort but may be needed in some cases.
    7. Don't do any treatment you are not comfortable with or causes you more pain.

    8. Do your research on-line and be armed with knowledge about spinal conditions. Here is a link to a resource I created on this WebMD Back Pain Community that lists links to good spine sites:[email protected]@

    I hope this helps people to know how to go about getting help for their back pain.

    Was this Helpful?
    226 of 343 found this helpful
    davedsel57 responded:
    The link to my resource listing links to good spine sites does not work. Let's try this:[email protected]@
    Blessings, -Dave
    bj1208 responded:
    Dave!!! That is wonderful how you outlined everything - right to the "T". I couldn't have done a better job (you've all seen my posts! LOL )

    Thanks, Dave!!!! Great Job!!
    davedsel57 replied to bj1208's response:
    Thanks, Joy! I realized we were giving these steps to new people all the time, and you even created a post a few weeks ago similar to this. I figured a tip would something we can easily find and refer to when giving advice.

    Glad you like it.
    Blessings, -Dave
    Chris_WebMD_Staff replied to davedsel57's response:
    Love it, thank you both so much for all the info and support you show on this community. It's priceless!
    firtex responded:
    Have you been operated yourself? What is your connexion to back pain as you explained it so good. My prime advise would always be to avoid operation! Unfortunately I had to undergo an urgent one some 12 years ago with no alternative. I kindly ask you to have a look at my website as we developed a revolutionary textile and myself I have so much benefit out of it as I do not use anymore pain killers and so.
    Cheers, Iwan
    sbncmo responded:
    Hi Dave. I'm at a point where I can barely stand the pain anymore, even throwing up since the pain is so bad.

    I've tried the steps you recommend. I've been in pain for over 20 year, every year getting worse. I went to my family doctor 1st. She sent me to therapy. When I got worse, I quit. A year or two later, we tried it again with the same results. Then we tried a pain clinic w/injections in conjunction w/therapy. Again I got worse & quit. Somewhere in the middle of this, I demanded that x-rays be taken. The orthopedist said I had arthritis & bone spurs.

    Well, I've continued getting worse & asked my PCP to send me to a spine specialist. The specialist requested new x-rays, which were very painful as they had me twisting around & put in very bad positions. The report came back for the specialist that I have mild DDD & to go to PT & pain clinic. My doctor agreed this would be useless as we've done it before. She wants to run an MRI or CTscan, but insurance won't pay for it unless I've had recent therapy. Thankfully the therapist said tradtional therapy would not work & I'm doing hydrotherapy. But even that is making me worse. My pain is worse after getting out of the pool because she has me standing thru most of it. The 1st time I kept telling her I felt like throwing up because the pain was so bad, but she didn't seem to hear. The 2nd time I repeated it before getting in the pool. To her credit, she is more alert, having me take frequent breaks, floating in the water to get off my feet. But the pain still get incrimentally worse. Each night after therapy, I wake myself up, whimpering & moaning from the pain.

    I went grocery shopping 2 nights ago, leaning on the cart for support (to no avail). I think we were there for 30 minutes. When I got home I started throwing up from the pain. Last night, I put the dishes in the dishwasher & got to bed as quickly as possible to get flat on my back because I was about to throw up again. I didn't even wash my face or brush my teeth. The pain was too severe. (I had therapy yesterday morning too.) I lay there gasping for about 15 minutes before the pain let up enough for me to roll over. Then kept waking myself with whimpering & moaning again. And don't even get me started about trying to fix meals or clean house!

    I've posted about this on my other discussions. I disagree with the diagnosis of DDD - my symptoms are totally opposite of what I have read about it. What do you do when your pain is beyond a 10, when you are throwing up & can't do the slightest of daily activities & the specialist refuses to see you? I can't stand this any more!

    Keep up the fight!
    davedsel57 replied to firtex's response:
    Hello, firtex.

    I'm sorry I did not see this post sooner. When a post is "pinned" on a WebMD community, the new replies do not show.

    You can read my whole story by clicking on my user name or avatar picture. I have never had surgery and probably never will. My conditions are too advanced for any surgical procedure to help.

    I will go to your website as soon as I am able.
    Blessings, -Dave
    davedsel57 replied to sbncmo's response:
    Hi, Sheila.

    I'm sorry I did not see this post sooner. When a post is "pinned" on a WebMD community, the new replies do not show.

    I am sorry you are continuing to suffer so much.

    The only further advice I can give you is to keep doing your research and keep being assertive with your doctors to get the care you need. In the meantime, do whatever you need to do to reduce your pain levels.

    I will continue to pray that you find the answers and relief you need.
    Blessings, -Dave
    bolson84 responded:
    I have had 3 surgerys The first one in 99 wich was a blow out The second one a 2 level fusion with instermentaion 2002 was better for about 8 years. Then the disk above the fusion went out and with a diskogram 2 more were fused and the 3rd was secured. Since the surgery feb 12 & 16 2010 my back problems have gotten WAY worse legs and feet going numb as well as my hands/leg aches left leg burning and weak. I have been on narcotics for a year and if I dont take them I cant function, hurts soo bad. I am scared because the surgery did something to my heart. I need help fifguring this out. It seems like no one is willing to go the mile as my 12 year back problems are to complicated
    davedsel57 responded:

    When a discussion is "pinned" and always at the top of a WebMD Community, new replies do not show. To ensure your questions are seen and replied to, please start a new discussion.

    Thank you very much.
    Blessings, -Dave
    Deb825 replied to sbncmo's response:
    I just came upon this forum and wanted say how sorry I am that you're going through this.

    I've been there myself but ended up with 2 surgeries. The 1st was for a ruptured disc in '97 and I healed right up and went on with my life. Would never have thought I had any problems. I never even had a back ache in my life until then.

    Almost 7 years later, in late '03, I woke up one morning with a very familiar feeling. I went directly to my primary doctor who in turn sent me directly to the neurosurgeon. They had me go for an MRI, which wasn't read correctly, and then for a myelogram (which I highly recommend) that showed everything. According to the MRI, I was fine. According to the myelogram, my vertabre had collapsed because the remaing part of the disc that ruptured, had disappeared.

    Almost 6 months and many tests later, I had spinal fusion surgery. I would be fine except for permanent nerve damage due to the extremely long wait. Had the MRI been read right and I had the surgery right away, the nerves wouldn't have been crushed between the vertebre.

    I'm now disabled due to chronic pain. There are days I can't move and I haven't slept more than an hour straight in over 6 years. I take many pain pills that hardly work due to the low mg dosage and I now have high anxiety because I'm afraid I'll be like this the rest of life. I do go to a very good pain clinic and have had some relief but I know there's no cure.

    If you can and if your insurance covers it, please ask your doctor to send you for a myelogram. I'm not sure I'm spelling it correctly, sorry. I sure hope you can find some relief!!! There's nothing worse than being in constant pain.

    Please keep us posted

    Toni60 replied to sbncmo's response:
    Hi. I've been in pain for 30 1/2 years due to an automobile accident. I have herniated discs in my neck, T spine and lumbar spine. When my pain is severe in my neck and T spine I also vomit. My doctor gave me a prescription for Fentora 200 mcg which helps immensely with the nausea. It was initially marketed as a drug for cancer patients that are on opiates, however, it is now being used for patients in chronic pain that are on opiate treatment. Before I got that prescription he gave me Trimethobenzamide 300 mg which gave me minimal relief from the nausea. I am so incapacitated from the nausea I have to lie on my side and barely move.
    On really bad days I set an alarm for 1/2 hour and cry as hard as I can and when the alarm goes off I calm down and start over trying to deal with the pain.
    Good luck in getting relief.

    jpkaiser replied to sbncmo's response:
    Shelia, My name is jake and I/m in the same boat,I don't throw up with the pain but do get tunnel vision when it gets that bad,I had surgeory on my neck,fused 3vitabre,I have bulging discs all down thoractic and athritus and bone spurs through out.above knee amputee and can't get any relief.I don't know what to do and tell my pain doc this every month,I feel totally useless now to my family.They help me alot and it is hard not to feel like a burden alot of the times. every year seems to be worse,I'm sorry every month it seems to get worse were it is almost impossible to get out of bed due to pain numbness of arm and hands.some times I avoid going to bed for the pain when I wake up can be very dibiltating.I have worked hard scince I was 13 yrs old,I can build anything with my hands,even tools that has and stiill being used in space.
    I'm sorry I'm rabblin, I am new here and hope to find away to help me find somthing to help or to help some one like yourself.
    Thanks for letting me vent my flustration and to let you know you're not olone in this,you post showed me that!
    Thanks Jake Kaiser
    jules0809 replied to sbncmo's response:
    I want you to know you are not alone, I have been dealing with lower back pain and what they say is fibromyalgia since 2002. I fell on ice in Feb. of 2002 and woke up the next morning with foot drop, back pain and right leg pain. The foot drop eventually resolved on it's own but the pain in my leg and back just got worse over time. After about a year of dealing with back and leg pain I began having a bunch of other problems. I had an good job in cardiac surgery as an OR tech that I had to give up. Fast forward 9 years and two spine surgeries later and I am still suffering. The pain in my right leg is gone but now I have pain in the left leg.
    I am not over weight, I exercise 5-6 days a week, I eat right, I do everything they tell you to do and I still have pain. I put on a brave face and for the most part pretend that nothing is wrong but I am suffering. I have an amazing life, I have a supportive husband, a wonderful family, I am really happy but this pain is driving me nuts. I have tried everything and the one things that helped a little bit is being discontinued. My PCP left the practice and the new MD does not believe in pain medication so she is weaning me off. She has never asked about my pain or anything relating to my medical history and she told me she does not care how I feel. I am trying to find a new doctor but that is easier said than done. Although, I am pleased to have d/c'd some of the meds I was on and reduce the amount of the things I still take, I would like to stay where I am and the doctor says she does not care, she just wants me off all of the meds. She says that she too has back pain and I just need to learn to live with it. I am feeling pretty lost right now, I don't know where to turn.
    I spoke with the practice manager about my concerns and she told me that my PCP is weaning all of the patients she inherited off of their medication, which leads me to believe she is not interested in patient care but only in her belief that pain meds are not something she cares to deal with. I do not know where to turn, I have tried everything to ease my pain.
    I hope you can find some treatment that works for you but know you are not alone.
    Best wishes,

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    Steps For Getting Back Pain Diagnosed And Treated
    Many people come to this WebMD Back Pain Community looking for help in getting a diagnosis of a cause and relief from their back pain. Most ... More
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