Pain Psychologist (Especially for the Spinal Cord Stimulator)

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 4/13/2010 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Okay I am posting this because I feel that it needs to be said.  This is my own opinion and if it upsets anyone I am totally sorry and do not mean to make anyone upset.  That I go.  I do not believe that in having a Pain Psychologist have any thing to do with the decision as to whether a patient in Chronic Pain should be rejected or accepted for a procedure such as the SCS.  Any procedure, whether it be a Laminectomy or a Fusion surgery, or even the trial for the SCS should be a decision that is decided by the Pain doctor and the patient!  By placing the decision onto the pain psychologist is like giving an outsider permission to babysit a child IMHO!!  There is no reason for it and its totally wrong!!!
Secondly, the commitment by the pain patient as to whether they are prepared for the stim should be a commiment by the doctor to BELIEVE that the patient has prepared themselves for the procedure.  With the wealth of info out on the web and that that our doctors give us, it should be a given that the Pain Patient can give a honest opinion as to whether they are ready and prepared for the procedure.  Otherwise, what I am saying is this: BELIEVE IN YOUR PATIENTS DOC!!!!!!
Also I have seen a rise in Psychologist that believe that they will soon be able to tell if a patient is ready and can accept the changes when it comes to Fusion Surgeries.  My first Psychologist told me that soon the psychologists will be involved in when a patient is prepared for Fusions as well.  When the world allowed (or whoever it was that allowed this redicilous situation to happen) for Psychologists to be involoved in CP patients procedures and surgeries the doctors lost their trust that a patient was telling the truth.
In conclusion............PSYCHOLOGISTS should NOT be involved in Chronic Pain surgeries or procedures.  Remember this is my own opinion.
Scarred_For_Life/ aka: Vickie
I live to "Tame My Pain!" 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 4/13/2010 2:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I truly am sorry to hear about everything you have gone through...

I was curious and just went to Medtronic's website to look at all their qualifications for the SCS...and sure enough..that is one of them, completing the psychcological evaluation...(I didn't know much about it whether it was up to the Dr. or not)

The sad part is it's all about lawsuits...Someone, somewhere (or many) have sued Medtronic and a Dr. for implanting this device and having a patient have 'psychological' damage for thinking it would cure them or whatever...

So that is why Medtronic, being a mult-million dollar company has the right to request this since there are thousand of Drs that actual do the they are covering their own behinds...

I'm not sure if it will ever get this way for spinal fusions and such, since it's up to an actual surgeon..and not the nuts/bolts being put in us..for those type of surgeries...just like appendectomies, gallbladder, etc...the surgeon has their malpractice insurance for anyone who isn't they make the final decision on whether a fusion surgery is necessary and have us sign a ton of paperwork stating that nothing is guaranteed..

Again..I truly am sorry for the pain you are going through..and I would certainly ask to have another PM Dr. to evaluate and send you to a different pain psycologist if you want to continue on the path to getting the SCS since unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyway around it:(

But I agree with you that the system stinks!!! I hate the fact that there are some great Dr.s/companies out there and then the one's that only care about being sued or worried about the bottom line and not the suffering of the patient...
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Dec 2006

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/13/2010 3:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Scarred! I understand your feelings on this. I had to kinda of chuckle, as my sister has put off the fusion surgery like myself for a long time. Well she called me and she is at her wits end, and cried "I'm Ready"

No need for a DR to tell her that!

SE :)
DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) S1-L4-L5, Heart Attack 2002, Angioplasty to clear blocked Artery and to implant Stent. Six Epidurals, Disocgram, Melanoma Cancer 07, Lumbar Fusion March of 2010, Four cortisone injections Tendinitis in Elbow.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 4/13/2010 3:50 PM (GMT -7)   
SE that is probably a good thing that she is finally ready. I know when I did my fusion that I called off the first one, mainly due to the fact that I was scared to death and that the doc had me wait for 6 hours before he did the surgery. A month later I was back screaming for the Neuro to do the surgery.

I wish that I was not in such a hole here! There has to be something I can do that will make this better.


I live to "Tame My Pain!" 

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 4/13/2010 4:52 PM (GMT -7)   
You know what's weird... My PM had me go to one session with their in-house counselor about 2 years ago. We chatted for about 30 minutes about a bunch of random stuff, and she said, "ok. You're handling this just fine." I was never sent to see her again before my SCS trial. Considering that is one of the requirements for Medtronics, I was kind of surprised that I never got the "go see a shrink first" call. Maybe they would have told me to see one before I had the surgery (which I'm not going to have at this time). Just seemed odd to me.
DDD (4 levels- L2-3 thru L5-S1)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 4/13/2010 7:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Scared, I was not aware that the SCS makers demanded the psy. eval. When I had my Boston Scientic implanted, the PMS sent in a referral for an eval but I was never contacted. It came time for the trial and the PMS told me that if my insurance company did not require one then it would not be necessary. A simple call to my work comp and they said to bypass it. I know that the discouragement is unmatched right now but don't give up. I do agree with you that it should be a matter between the patient and the dr.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 487
   Posted 4/13/2010 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Scarred:

I totally agree with you. The only reason I was sent to see one was because I had a nervous breakdown (all due to my inability to cope with the pain), it was one visit just to make sure I didn't have unrealistic expectations of what the SCS would or wouldn't do for me.

The hoops they've made you jump through are just rediculous. If it is the doctors doing, then I would highly recommend finding another doctor. If it is WC, I know you don't have much choice.

I really feel for you, it has to be so frustrating to know that there is something out there that may help you, and it keeps getting dangled in front of you, and then ripped away. I'm so sorry.

Hang in there,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 4/14/2010 6:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, I can tell you this guys. after a nights sleep and thinking it over..........I am more determined now then I have ever been. When I get mad I cry, its a trait that I got from my mom (lucky me). Another of my faults is that I have a tendency that when I do get mad I just want to be left alone with my thoughts for awhile so that I can figure it out. I do not believe that a Psych Eval tells a whole picture of a CP patient. I don't think that we can just turn off our pain through meditation. This may work for some but.....not for others. I can get myself into a calm place.....but the pain is always there. I wish there was a switch where we could all turn off the pain, but this is unrealistic. And for a Psychologist to think that we can is just beyond reason.

Okay off my soap box :-)


I live to "Tame My Pain!" 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/14/2010 12:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I know you're frustrated with the psychologist right now, but psychologists and therapists don't think we should be able to completely turn off the pain - at least not someone trained in pain management. The point is to be able to dial it down, though, so it isn't always on the front burner of our life, but at least at time can be put in a kettle on the back burner so we can do something else and at least somewhat enjoy it. There are times when the pain will be bad, and even all the tools in your kit won't work, and those are the times we just endure - and if we have too many of those times we need to be talking to our PM docs about adjustments in medications, etc. Of course, you're trying to get there with the SCS.

I think (just my opinion) that it might be more productive to direct your anger at the WC company and, as the saying goes, don't get mad, get even! LOL Ok, it's not funny, but the only way I think you can level the playing field is with an attorney who knows what your WC company is and isn't allowed to get away with.

Hope you don't take this the wrong way!



New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/28/2013 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I am trying to find a phy. so that i can get my spinal cord stimulator trial, i can't even find a dr.   If anyone knows of one in the Hudson Valley  (NY) area i sure would appreciate the help.    Newburgh, NY area.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6706
   Posted 1/28/2013 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
I dont know why that is such as a surprise to anyone. The city councilmen,the police,the DEA,the RPH,s, pharmacy techs,Congressional members,the FDA,and I probably left out a few,all have a say in how I get treated or dont get treated for pain.

Might as well add a psychologist to the mix too!

This battle gets old.
" The best thing to hold onto in life is
each other"

Disabled since 1998 on SSD
DX: lft knee TKR. 6 rt knee surgeries for meniscus repair. Pars defect L-5 ,ddd at L3-4 S1. disc collapse at L-3 with nerve impingement. legally deaf,rt shoulder repair 06. post encephalitis/migraines
MEDS: methadone,xanax,lyrica,zantac,maxide,K+,lasix,prempro,flexeril,indocin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 1/28/2013 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey all, This is a very old thread that was brought back up..... Most of these members aren't even on here anymore....

Take care. --Tina
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

Health/Pain Issues - too many to list; feel free to e-mail me or ask on the board. Thanks!
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