I saw my PM doc yesterday. I was kind of reluctant to discuss a certain event with him (description to follow), but reading on here that we should always be 100% honest reinforced my decision to do so and just let the chips fall where they may.
The issue was this: a little over a month ago I had an appointment with the physical therapist at the facility that my PM is associated with. I was in the middle of a flare-up, and had an epidural injection scheduled a few days later. Anyway, when I saw the PT, he "measured" my range of motion and saw that it had decreased from earlier visits. He acted like I had not been trying to do my exercises, and told me that if I had been doing them that I would have improved. I told him that I had in fact been doing what I could to the limit of my pain tolerance. He responded with more of the same, and insinuated that I didn't want to get better. Now I know they are supposed to challenge us, but this guy was out of line. I asked him what he wanted of me, and explained what it was like living with constant pain, the loss of things we experience, etc. He then asked me when my last MRI was. When I told him about a year, he said that I needed a new one. He told me that I needed to see a neurosurgeon because if "his" exercises didn't "remodel" my back, that only surgery would be appropriate. He said that if I continued to see my PM and get pain medicine and a few epidurals a year when I flare up, I would never get any better, I was wasting my time, etc. He then told me that he wouldn't see me as a PT patient - I was not, in his mind, a good "candidate" for PT (even though I had an order from my doc for a few more visits).
I was afraid to tell my doc, to be honest. I was afraid he would think that the PT was right, that I was a bad patient, noncompliant, a drug seeker, whatever.
Anyway, I told him everything, as accurately and completely truthful as I could be.
He reminded me that we had discussed my surgical options more than once, and that my only option covered by insurance was a multi-level fusion, which he said didn't have a good enough outcome rate to risk at this time, since I am still working and enjoy a decent, if not perfect, life. He told me to continue my exercises at home (which I am diligent about, BTW, along with using my PM-approved inversion table). He said if I need further PT, he will send me to someone else.
He then told me that the PT had been extremely inappropriate, and that he would take care of that "situation". He said that the PT should never have "diagnosed" me or told me to have surgery, and that refusing to treat me under his orders was "reprehensible".
It just felt good to be believed by a health professional when one of his own had treated me like a liar, a lazy patient, or a drug seeker. I have been seeing the same PM for years, and never ask for early refills, "lose" my prescriptions, etc. - never. To know that he can see that I deserve to be treated as a patient and not a criminal was very reassuring.
47 YO Male, chronic back pain. Herniated disc L5/S1 2003. Discectomy with partial laminectomy 2004. Now told I have Failed Back Syndrome with discogenic pain.
Pain level varies from disturbing to nearly intolerable.