Chronic Back Pain - New to HealingWell

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 2/23/2009 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello All,

I am new here and I started to write a post about everything that I have been through in the past year and a half but I just stopped writing it all down after I realized that it was over 5 pages long when saved in Word. I don't know that this is an appropriate place for a post that long. Here I will try to make it a lot shorter in order to see if any of you have any comments or suggestions.

I hurt my back after dropping and catching a car battery right before it hit the ground. I felt something let go in my back when I caught the battery (they weigh approx. 35 pounds). After I did this, my back started to spasm (a seizure would probably better describe it) and I ended up in the ER. After, I went to a chiropractor and ended up in the ER again. I continued to see the chiropractor several times (about 20 in total before giving up) and then got a family doctor to help with my back pain. I saw my family doctor for quite a while trying to manage the pain and ended up seeing a doctor at a pain clinic as well. I had been seeing my normal doctor for over a year before being sent to the pain clinic.

about 10 weeks ago I had an epidural/spinal injection at the pain clinic to help with the pain. I had other injections at the clinic before this that had no effect other than to make me sore for 4 or 5 days. This epidural injection procedure did something to my back. I was virtually incapacitated after the procedure and have had an elevated level of back pain ever since. This has increased my pain level by at least an additional %50 overall and has introduced new symptoms including: more acute pain, pain when bending/arching my back and has made it impossible to get into a comfortable position (including lying down). I saw my regular doctor 3 times in the 4 weeks following the procedure letting him know that I was having a great deal of trouble with this procedure and I let him know that I was taking more of my pain medication than I normally did in order to function on a daily basis. He was not concerned and discussed physical therapy as a possible way to help with this. When I saw him the third time and told him I was out of my pain medication (as I had told him the first 2 visits in as many weeks I was taking more than prescribed), he asked me to leave his practice. I was a little confused.

He gave me one more month of my long acting pain medication and asked me to find another doctor. I waited to see my pain clinic doctor and explained the situation to her. She told me that she did not know what was wrong with me, could not do anything to help me, that no one would ever be able to help me, etc. She then told me I was a drug addict and that I needed to check into the local ER and tell them I was a "junkie" and that I needed drug rehab. This sent me into a depression that I would rather not get into. I was getting pretty desperate with the amount of pain I was in and ended up in the ER the next day. The ER doctors gave me a number to call in order to find a doctor of internal medicine that might be able to help me. I called all 4 doctors within 50 miles of my house that were covered under my insurance. There was only 1 that could get me in within a week, the others were up to 3 months out before being able to accept new patients.

The 1 doctor that was able to get me in, I believe, has saved my life. At least so far he seems to be very understanding and above all, seems to believe that I am in a great deal of pain as I have been on a daily basis for the last 18 months. This new doctor has given me some hope. He hasn't been able to find anything yet but he seems to have a lot of ideas that no one has tried yet. My new medication is helping a lot and I can at least lay down now without being in agony. I am in no way pain free but I have some hope that I can at least have some partial relief at some points during the day. This is more than I have been able to attain thus far.

I haven't wanted to list any specific medications or what exactly I have told the family doctor, pain clinic doctor, or ER doctors. I do not know how much information I should put on here. I do not want to help people that are looking for ways to get drugs from doctors when they have no legitimate reason for them. When I try to find information or look for other people having the same problems online, all I seem to find are people looking for ways to obtain or abuse drugs. Am I right in thinking this way? I am really looking for other people that can relate to what I have been going through and can give me serious suggestions on what might help me. Please let me know if you have any other questions or any information that could help me.

I know this is a long post already but believe me, my previous one was a LOT longer!



Post Edited (skrape) : 2/23/2009 3:46:22 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 2/23/2009 11:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Skrape!

And welcome to out little oasis in the desert of pain! First off...yes, your decision of not list medications if very reasonable. Not everyone who comes into a pain forum is legitimate. I get some strange email, I must At least this forum is owned/run by a very nice and respectable man who takes every precaution possible to honor our privacy.

That sounds like your doctor was running scared for some reason when he dismissed you. Somewhere along the line he forgot those words in an oath he took..."cause no harm". What does he think making someone go cold turkey off pain meds does, when you were taking them with total honesty? If he didn't listen that's not your fault. At least you have a doctor now who's given you hope.

I currently am fighting insurance....seems like about once/year now...about the pain meds I take. Because it's one of the most 'publicized' one by the media they don't want anyone on it nor to have to pay for it...even the generics. They are not hounding me and my doc to make me to on morphine or meth. Did the morphine last year and it was awful! So, the fight goes on and I doubt it will ever end.

At least we all have each other here to help hold us up when times are tough. We can share ideas, hard times and even the good ones. It does make this journey a lot easier. So hang on.. (extending hand) and we'll enjoy your company as we travel this road together.

Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis and a few other side dishes.
Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for."

Stella Marie
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 2/23/2009 11:32 PM (GMT -6)   
First of all - welcome to the Chronic Pain Forum. Many of us can relate to your pain situation. I have a neurodegenerative disease that causes real pain, spasms, as well and neuropathy. For the first several years, no one could diagnose what the problem was - as no physical test showed abnormalities. I was told it must be in my head (ha ha little did they know they were right-my brain was rotting away) and referred my to psychiatrists. Pain control was out of the question for awhile. Finally, I get a dx, tx, and referred to a PM specialist. Because my final diagnose involves a shortened life span the PM specialist was very aggressive with my pain medication. I followed his plan to the letter - no deviation. A sudden death in his immediate family caused him to take an unexpect leave of absence out the the country. The referring PM doc was horrified at the meds and doses I was on and said he could not write for certain ones (Actiq) because they were being used out of indication and at inappropriate doses. He would Rx everything else. This is at a major teaching institution. Choices he left me - detox ASAP. I was treated like an addict for following another PMS treatment plan. Certain narcotics can not we written by Internists and PCP's, a special license is necessary. As for an ER, no way would they ever write for high doses of Actiq without talking to your PM specialist. Since my original doctor would not be returning for 8 weeks, I had not choice but to detox. I was forced to talk with an Addictionologist. So I understand what it is like to have the rug pulled out from under you.

My new PM specialist is great. He has a far better understanding with regard to treating pain and in the end the original PMS did me a favor by leaving. I can only hope that after the nightmare of it all is over, you will find a doctor with a good pain program for you.

With regard to your back, keep searching for a specialist who can help. I went thru several before I found one willing to take the time to make a proper diagnosis. I highly recommend a teaching institution, even if you have to travel for a good evaluation. They are exposed to a wider variety of illnesses and injuries and have better diagnostic tests and skills.

You are not alone in your travels. It is amazing how you can be labeled a drug seeker so quickly, even though you kept your doctor informed that you were using more medication then he had Rx'ed. He obviously did not have a issue with this the first two times you told him. Sometimes I think they forget to chart our conversations. If he had documented your medication variance then, when you ran short, this should not have been a surprise. I guess in hindsight, whenever the doctor is aware that more medication is needed, a new RX should have be written so that you are always using the amount on your current Rx. Again everything is easier in hindsight. The minute you take more pain meds than Rx'ed - you ran the risk of crossing a very delicate line in the doctor patient relationship. Without him documenting you conversation ---ouch.

Welcome again and you are among friends.

Stella Marie

Rare neurodegenerative disease called “Multiple System Atrophy”.  Wheelchair, O2, & Bipap, intrathecal pump, Neurostimulator, dystonia, neuropathic pain and spasticity.

Post Edited (Stella Marie) : 2/23/2009 9:39:36 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 487
   Posted 2/24/2009 12:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Skrape:

I am sorry for what you are going through. It is such a shame that there are so many "drug seekers" that make it so difficult for those of us that are truly suffering to get the help we need. I have a twin sister who has been abusing the system and prescription drugs for years and it really makes me angry!

It sounds like you have found a good doctor and IMO the good ones take the time to get to know you ando nce they do you will build trust and they know which people are truly in pain and which ones are just there for meds.

I have had almost every kind of conservative treatment/procedure out there + 21 (soon to be 22) back surgeries and I have a spinal cord stimulator and an intrathecal pain pump so if you have any questions/concerns that I may be able to help you with, I would be happy to.

I am new to this site as well, but from what I have seen, it seems like everyone is open and frank about their conditions as well what medications work or don't work for them.

I will be thinking about you and praying that this doc gets you some relief quickly and permanently.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/24/2009 1:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Skrape,
I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open at the moment, but wanted to welcome you to the forum. I think you've found the kind of place you're looking for.

We're not doctors, but you'll find this is a great support group. One thing I wondered was why it took so long for you to get a referral for physical therapy. That's something that's normally done in the first couple of months, if a problelm doesn't improve.

Bluejet2 - also want to welcome you. I'm usually not this tired, and if I find I can't sleep a little later I may be back and type more!

Also - both of you please feel free to join in anywhere, including some of our fun threads which are designed to help us take virtual vacations!

Again, welcom,


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 2/24/2009 8:03 AM (GMT -6)   

I still to this day have not had any PT. I have done exercises and have gone as far as finding an inversion table with many different things in between. Those inversion tables (my Doc actually wrote me an RX for one) really make your ankles hurt!

I was told to try PT about two months ago. I went to the local hospital and turned in my insurance card and information so they could figure out how to bill me. I guess, bottom line is that by the time I was sent to PT, my insurance had rolled over and some of my medications were in excess of $500 a month (this is just one of them, I have learned to go without several of my meds since 2009 began). I have a deductible of over $3,200 so I have been pretty broke since Jan. 1st. Anyway, the hospital wants over $250 up front to even talk to me about PT. After all the other medical expenses, I don't have it at the moment. The situation with my back getting worse and my doctor sending me into all out craziness has really effected the amount of work I can get done in a day. I am self employed (godsend in a lot of ways) so when I send out my billing, it can be months later before I get paid if companies dispute their charges. You can believe with all the media throwing around the R word and the D word, there are a lot of them looking to cut whatever costs they can. "That software upgrade a few months ago? Why do we want to pay for that?"

Well that was just a little venting about the situation, sorry. I had to choose between PT and two of my medications so far this year. I chose the only thing that has ever made a difference. Funny how that was the most expensive one ....

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