Finding help in MA

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mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/7/2008 2:57 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm writing for my boyfriend. He has been suffering with severe neck pain and headaches for years. An MRI that was ordered by a neurologist showed nothing. Because of this, the doctor stopped treatment. Recently, he has developed numbness in both hands. We were in the same car accident in 2002 and I sustained a herniation at c4-5. He has the same symptoms that I have. I have gotten excellent treatment. I've taken him to the same doctors that have treated me and he gets the blow off. We can't find anyone to take him seriously.

He also suffers from depression and anxiety. I have watched him deteriorate and age before my eyes. It's just too much for him to cope with...the daily pain, sadness (he lost both his parents recently), and panic attacks.

His primary care physician told him he is "not a doctor that prescribes pain medication" and that he should take anti inflammatory medications. These medications do not work and upset his already sensitive stomach. The ONLY thing that has worked for him in narcotics.

We would like to find a doctor repeat the MRI and treat him with pain medication in the mean time. It's inhumane the way he's been treated. To have to live with the level of physical and mental pain he's in is just unfair.

Any advice would be appreciated.

mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/7/2008 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
The MRI was on his neck. He has a prescription for an x-ray which we will get next week. No labs. If he DOES have a disc issue...is it safe to assume that the MRI will show it?

What sucks is that the pain has got him flat out in bed 99% of the time. To get him up and dressed and out to appointments is so difficult that he cancels most times. He's giving up on getting help. I just don't want to waste anymore time on doctors that have no sympathy and treat him like he should be toughing it out. It's been YEARS! If it was something minor, I'd think it would have gotten better, not worse!

We even tried the ER in hopes of a referral to a specialist that could do SOMETHING! They gave him more ibuprophen and told him to ice it and he's be fine in a few weeks.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/7/2008 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Mstwisted1,
First, welcome to the forum. It seems to me your boyfriend has a lot going on, and it's great he's got you for support. I'd also encourage him to post here himself.

Has he had any physical therapy? The MRI will show disk issues, but won't show muscle problems. I've had neck pain for years but have managed it through a lot of physical therapy, and managing a lot of ergonomics. I've also had carpel tunnel surgery on both hands, and I wonder if your BF has been evaluated for that. Many things can cause the same symptoms. I would also try getting a second opinion from another neurologist.

I also hope he's being treated for his depression and anxiety; losing both parents is traumatic for any of us. And depression and anxiety certainly can be contributing to making his life worse, and even some of his pain - although I am NOT saying they are the causes of his pain. But they certainly can be what's causing his sadness. While he's getting referrals for another neuro., etc., I'd search for a good therapist to help with his emotional health as he grieves.

Keep us posted.

PaLady

Lindaloo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 6/7/2008 5:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome Ms twisted to the forum. I'm glad you brought your bf's issue to this forum. I too, would encourage him to post here himself as well. It may alleviate some of the sadness to open up and vent a little in person.

My question to you, is why hasn't he tried a pain management specialist? He obviously has pain and those physicians can perform the tests he needs as well as prescribe medication to alleviate the pain to help him with his suffering. Give this some thought.

I'm sorry both of you are going through this. I too was laid up in bed for two years with back pain and no clear cut reason for the pain. Finally a fifth CAT scan showed something and I went in for the surgery, which revealed a whole lot more, scar tissue, further stenosis and foramen impinging on the nerve root. After surgery, I needed physical therapy for one year due to the fact I had lost all my strength to my muscles from being laid up in bed for so long.

I will pray that you will find answers and treatment and for a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck!

Gentle Hugs,

Lindaloo
Moderator Chronic Pain
 
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.
 
Linda


mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/8/2008 2:57 PM (GMT -7)   
We have been referred to a pain clinic, but that clinic won't see him without a current MRI (his insurance won't pay for one), and proof that he's been treated by another physician for 6 weeks. He can't get treatment unless he gets a test result that shows the problem.

He is in the beginning stages of treatment for his depression/anxiety/grief. Still working out the meds. and getting used to not stuffing feelings like a guy (LOL)!

We both had some physical therapy and aggressive chiropractic care right after the accident. It's been suggested that my injuries my have been a result of the "adjustments".

I think we might try and get that second neuro opinion. And we are going for x-rays next week.

Shelter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 6/9/2008 3:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I feel for you both--

May all that is unjust- BE made JUST & RIGHT
May all that is wrong, Be righted
May all your rough roads, be made smooth


Hope you can find a Doctor who has Ears to HEAR
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run & not grow weary, they shall walk & not faint..."  Ish   40 v. 31 
~
Sjrogrens Syndrome, Asthema, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Head aches, Migraines, Gastro Intestinal Problems , Esophegial Spasms;   Fibro Myalgia , Kidney Stones,  & CP (SI joint,   low mechanical back pain..L4 & L5 Vertebrae Misaligned,  Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Disc Disease, Bulging Disc, anterolisthesis L4 L5L4 -- S1 pain  caused by osteoarthristis ,bone spurs, causing pinching or pressure on spinal chord)


SJH
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 6/10/2008 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I feel for him, I am having a hard time getting the medication I need in Arizona, and I have a report and an MRI and a fibromyalgia diagnosis to prove to them! When I was in nursing school, I was taught to NEVER be the way these Dr.s are to me. it is VERY frustrating. I wish I had a special power to touch someone and make them feel my pain.... THEN I wouldn't have a problem.

mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/11/2008 9:55 AM (GMT -7)   
We had the x-rays yesterday. The tech was very thorough. He was in WAY more pain after she was done. His primary care doc. will get the results today. Unfortunately, this doctor has made it crystal clear that he "WILL NOT PRESCRIBE PAIN MEDICINE". So what are we supposed to do? If something comes up that explains this horrible pain he's in, and his doctor has already said he's refusing to treat him....I'm afraid of how my BF is going to take it.

He's in such a bad place psychologically. Finding out he has a chronic condition that will cause him to be in this much pain with no end in sight is going to push him over the edge. It took so much begging and pleading on my part to get him to the doctor in the first place! I promised him he's get help and that he didn't have to tough it out anymore. He HATES doctors and never went willingly for anything.

We've already switched primaries one this year because the first doc was just like this one. It looks like we are doctor shopping. We kind of are, but not for drugs....just for help and answers. I feel like I have to get on my knees and beg just for the appropriate tests for him. I know my man and something is VERY wrong here. I've never seen him like this.

Insurance restrictions are another issue. We can't get an MRI, we are limited to how many doctors will see him, and the doctors that will see him can only get paid for so much treatment.

Well, thank you all for your support and suggestions. We are off to therapy. I'll keep everyone updated.

Toni

mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/13/2008 11:30 PM (GMT -7)   
So the reason we started going to doctors is that my BF has headaches, pain in his neck and mid back, numbness in this left pinkie and ring finger, and pain and numbness in his left thigh.

We got the x-ray report back and went to the doctor to have it read. It said he has some arthritis in his thoracic spine, some narrowing of disc space, slight scoliosis, and some disc degeneration. The doctor also said he has nerve impingement in his ulna nerve and another in his thigh close to the surface that are causing the numbness in his fingers and in his thigh.

The the doctor told us that all of the symptoms EXCEPT the pain can be explained by that disc/arthritis/scoliosis/disc degeneration/nerve issue. But he should not be in pain. So, because he should not be in pain, he gets no pain relief. YET, he did get a referral to a neurologist!

I am SO confused! I KNOW my man is hurting. I have never seen him in so much pain. This is the same guy that I had to drag kicking and screaming to the hospital with a raging throat infection. Saying he hates doctors is an understatement! He will NOT ask for medical help...ever. I had to beg him to go.

So what do we do now? We have been told that there is a long wait for the neurologist. We won't get in until next month at the soonest. This is so cruel. Watching him suffer is killing me. We even went to the ER once when it was REALLY unbearable. He was sent home and told it was a muscle spasm and to take Advil and he's be fine in a few days. This was after the pain had started 6 years before!

Is it unreasonable for him to be in as much pain as he is with this diagnosis? Like I said, the doctor told us up front when we first met him (before ordering any tests) that "he does not prescribe pain medicine". I was wondering what would happen if a chronic condition was discovered. I'm pretty sure an MRI will be next, but I don't know if he can take the extra pain involved in having more tests.

Between the depression, the anxiety, and the pain....I'm scared for him. He's been suicidal in the past. Having to face a life time of pain....I don't know.

Thanx for letting me vent.

mstwisted1
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/14/2008 9:55 AM (GMT -7)   
tspauld,

Thanks for responding. My BF sees a therapist and a psychologist on a regular basis. They are aware of his pain issues and while sympathetic, haven't offered any suggestions.

I am going to look up facet syndrome. It's funny, he has some of the same symptoms that I do as well. The numbness and weakness in his hand mostly. I have disc herniations at c2-3, c3-4, c4-5, c6-t1 I think, stenosis, and spinal cord compression that causes numbness and pain in both my hands. I took my BF to my neurologist and he did an EMG on his leg and a MRI of his low back and neck. Skipped right over the thoracic spine where his injury appears to be!

We did try to get into a pain clinic, but they said that he would have to be treated by someone for these issues for 6 weeks first, have a positive MRI, and then get on the waiting list which is at LEAST a month long.

Hopefully, we can get somewhere with the neurologist. Maybe he'll treat him for the 6 weeks, do the MRI , and then make the referral to the pain clinic.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/14/2008 10:21 AM (GMT -7)   
HI, Ms,
I will probably add more to this later, but I'm glad to hear your BF is seeing a therapist, but want to encourage you to not take on any serious depression or suicidal thoughts, etc. on your own. Be sure to call 911, or take him to the ER. There is also a national suicide hotline:
1-800-SUICIDE. Don't try to handle that level of seriousness by yourself.

If your bf has a relationship with a therapist that's helpful, that's not something to tamper with, but if it's not helpful he might look for or even speak to his current therapist about finding a psychologist/therapit who specializesin working with pain management. That can make all the difference. Not a majic, cure but someone who can give him some strategies to help, in addition to any medication he may receive in the future.

I know it's tough to wait, and to find a good pm doc. Read through the threads on this forum and you'll see it's very common. As has been said, it would be good if you bf would post, or at least start reading this forum. Then both of you could set some realistic expectations. If you expect everything to be fixed by the next doc you see, and are continually disappointed, that just makes things worse. But if you can dig in for the long haul, and commit to staying with it until you find help, you won't be so devastated when you don't find it. The neurologist should help, but still may not prescribe pain meds. A lot of docs - even pain management docs - don't. You really have to ask in advance, and if you do that too directly you'll look lik you're drug seeking. But a neurologist it someone who can help clarify things diagnotically. Most PCP's don't know enough, IMHO, even if they're good docs. But you could ask the neurologist if he/she'd be willing to prescribe something short term, to help your bf get through the waiting period for the pain management doc. They might be willing to do that.

It also seems to me your bf has reason to be in pain - although I'm not a doc, but pain only takes one nerve to be compressed somewhere to wreak havoc on one's life. Keep posting to us, but encourage your bf to at least read!

Good luck,
PaLady

crps
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 174
   Posted 6/17/2008 10:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello mstwisted1,
What part of ma are you from? I just joined a fantastic Pain Care Center in Waltham Ma.
They have a VERY strict medication management program there, so if he is hurting as you say, then this place might be good for him. It is definately not for temporary pain, or someone who has not gone thru all the other options to cure his problem, but very understanding about pain and quality of life issues.
 
They do urine drug testing to make sure no other meds are in the system besides what they prescribe. It also takes about three weeks before they start to prescribe meds. You must sign a form stating you will not use more than one pharmacy and not recieve any scripts from other doctors w/o thier approval. They are strict but, at this day and age it is very hard to get the meds that will really help you from many doctors or primarys. These people are not afraid of prescribing any meds and will keep switching until you feel comfortable with the meds and they are woking great.
 
                               Just a thought,
                      
                                         mike
 
Hope Everyone Has A Pain Free Day!!!
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