Hi Everyone! I've been a lurker for a long time, but don't normally post. Reading about other people experiencing chronic pain helps keep me sane. Thanks to you all! I have a dilemma I'd like suggestions on:
My hx -
I broke my tailbone in childbirth 20 yrs ago
Whiplash from an accident 21 yrs ago
Was in a car accident 10 yrs ago and had 3 compression fractures in my t-spine
Chiro in 2006 adjusted my neck and my head and neck went numb for 2 days (he told me not to ever adjust my neck again)
Late 2006 I woke up and my right arm was numb
Early 2008 had 1 lvl Cervical Fusion
I've been in chronic pain since car accident 10 yrs ago. All the drs. I've seen have said my injuries don't explain the amount of pain I have had and treat me like I'm a crybaby. I've been trying to deal with it the best I can and I never really got any treatment until after I retired from the military in 2006.
Since 2006, I've still been a military dependent so was required to go to base hospitals for treatment. My primary care mgr was a nurse practitioner who tested me for a few things (lyme disease and MS), but when when she didn't find anything - referred me to a Neurologist, Pain Mgmt. and PT.
The Neuro started out optimistic - thought I had some unusual headaches or migraines. I told him I didn't have head pain, but he insisted he was on the "right" path. Well, after about 5 medication not working, he gave up and told me to go back to PM.
The PM Dr. has tried all types of NSAIDS (which don't help), different injections and nerve burning. It seems that anytime he sticks a needle in my neck or back, my muscles spasm and my pain increases. He also prescribed several other types of drugs of which the only one that helps is Cymbalta, which I've been taking for over a year now. It helps reduce the buring pain. Since most of the pills and injections haven't helped, the PM dr. doesn't want to prescribe any "pain" meds and makes me feel like a whiner and/or a drug abuser. The most I have ever gotten from him was percocet, and in a very limited quanity. I save them only for days when I am curled up in a ball crying and want to die. Otherwise, I'd run out in a couple days.
I went to PT for a while. They were also very optimistic when I started, but eventually realized that my muscles lock up and are painful regardless of what they do - so they gave up on me too.
The PM referred me to a Neurosurgeon after the 1st yr, and he found disk degeneration with some nerve impingement and lots of bone spurs throughout. He did the fusion surgery and i was a little better, but when I said I still had problems, he seemed frustrated and said maybe I should see a different neurosurgeon. (gave up on me)
Current: I'm taking just motrin and robaxin or skelaxin and cymbalta. I have severe muscle spasms in my back and neck. I have stiffness to the point that I walk like a really old lady if I stay in one position for more than 15 minutes. I have sharp stabbing pain in my shoulder, arm, hand and back of head (not constant, but several times a day - feels like someone walked up behind me and stabbed me in the head with an ice pick). I have burning in my shoulder, arm, head and side of my face. Exercise used to help, but now even wking will make my right arm go completely numb and overall pain increase. Yoga helps some when I can do it.
Sorry for being so long - but now my dilemma is that I've changed my insurance and can choose a doctor. I tried to choose a Family Practice dr. I heard good things about, but the office asked me questions when I tried to get an appt and they called me back and said the dr. will not be accepting me as a new patient.
I really need to find someone who will help. I have no idea what's really wrong with me. The PM said it could be degenerative arthritis and that the joints above and below the fusion fail frequently after a fusion. He also said that muscle spasms like I have usually mean there's still an injury somewhere.
What kind of Dr. do you all think I should try to see? Do you have any recommendations on what to say or do so they take me seriously and dont give up on me? And - if the PM dr. is correct and short of more surgeries, there's nothing that can be done - how do you recommend dealing with chronic pain like this without regular pain meds?
Sorry again for being so long winded - and if you've read this far, thanks for taking the time! I'm getting really discouraged as it seems things will only get worse with no help in sight.