Shocking.....totally shocking.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 10/1/2010 11:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Last Weds I went to see a spine specialist figuring it would be more of the same old same old BS that I get every time I see a new doctor for my back pain. The only reason I agreed to see him was to placate my PCP so she wouldn't end up writing me off, but I came out of that appointment shocked beyond belief. It really was not the same old visit and this spine doctor seems to have his act together. He is not a surgeon but specializes in no surgical treatments and care of the spine.

My first surprise is that when he came into the exam room he had 2 pages of notes with him that he made from my medical chart. It was quite plain that he had spent a lot of time reviewing my chart, my entire health history, xrays, CT scans, MRI's etc. He then proceeded to go over his notes with me line by line to make sure he had a complete picture of who I was and what my problems were long before commencing with any kind of exam.

The next shock was during the exam. He had me take it easy as he didn't want to do any more than absolutely needed. He was concerned about aggravating anything.

The third thing that really got me was his diagnoses and recommendations. Turns out that beyond that herniated discs, stenosis, spinal arthritis that I have known about for a long time that I also have degenerative disc disease, and not just in the L5/S1 area that all the other doctors keep focusing on. As far as what he recommends he says that any more injections as well as any more physical therapy is a waste of time for me since none of it has helped and in many cases have only made things worse in either the short or long term. Also while he suggested I talk to a surgeon he strongly suggested that I talk to 3 of them as he is not sure if surgery will actually help with the pain. He said it might help, but it might not since I have so much going on with my back and there really is no way of telling for sure of what is causing the pain. His final suggestion was to continue with pain management and to do so at a level that offers substantial relief.

The final shock I had was that before he left the room, and with me sitting right there he picked up the phone and dictated his notes. I have never had a doctor do that before. At best I have seen them scribble some notes in my chart or make a few brief ones on the computer but never fully dictate their notes with me present.

All in all I came away feeling like he was very honest and knowledgeable. Sadly he does not do pain management and since what he does do I am not a good candidate for he will not be treating me.

Pete trips again!
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1899
   Posted 10/2/2010 8:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Very cool to meet one of "The Good guys!" They are so far & few in between! Your back problems sound a lot like mine. about 8 or 9 years ago I had a doc suggest I see some surgeons for my lower back. I went to 7 different ones from neurosurgeons to otho guys and everyone in between. They all told me somethuing different!!! One said "we can't fix this" and another wanted to build a big cage around 5 vertabre and attach it to my pelvis, w/ an 8 month recovery time!!! Well I did nothing and still have my pain & pcp both wanting more MRI's and surgeries. I just keep telling them when I can't walk at all anymore, then I'll deal w/ it!
Good luck Jim!
Your friend,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 10/2/2010 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Jim, I'm so very sorry about your back issues...Sounds like this doctor really cared about you,
and that there are not many out there that care...I sure wish they had a magic cure for our
spinal problems, so that no one would have to deal with the pain...
Lots of healing Hugz...
think a lot about what your going to consider, but from what people have told me is once surgery always surgery
well wishes to you...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 10/2/2010 10:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Jim sounds like you really did find a good one indeed. Its a shame you cannot be one of his patients. Well friend your back is wearing out with age like the rest of us. At least this guy documented it. Perhaps now your current treating dr will look at you with a different set of eyes. I know it has not always been the best patient/dr relationship and you have come away many times disgusted. When do you see your dr, again? It will be interesting to see how that appt goes.

Take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 10/2/2010 12:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so glad you found a great doctor who listens to you and cares. It took me many many doctor and appointments to find a doctor who will really listen. They are few and far between, but when you find one, it's so worth all the other appointments.

Great News!!
-We must be the change we wish to see in the world-
(Mahatma Gandhi)

*Scoliosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis, Loss of Lordosis, Endometriosis, Kerataconus, Flast back syndrome, TMJ, loss of bladder func. indwelling cath. for 6 months.*
*20 surgeries- 8 spinal including 6 fusions and 2 for staph infections, 9 pelvic including full hysterectomy, 1 knee, 2 cesareans*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 10/2/2010 12:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't see my PCP again until November.

It really is a crying shame that Doctors like the one I just seen seem to be the exception instead of the rule.

Oh and get this. He is the first doctor I have ever spoken to who actually said that the risk of addiction is very low in people who actually need them. He also talked about how there is a big difference between dependence and addiction.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 10/2/2010 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   
There are some good Docs out there, the problem is finding them! My Pain Doc alway dictates his notes in front of me and often in the middle of it he will stop and ask me if it is right so far, and if he needs to add or change any thing! He has sent me to numerous different doctors, and some of them has been real duds, and incompetent and he gets really upset when I come back and tell about it, he often will then send me to some body else. He has done that with the surgeon on my neck and also the surgeon for my hip. He is the type of Doctor that treats the whole patient! ( a rare find now days especially in spinal pain doctors!) But it really does get frustrating when you are sent to see some of these clowns that claim to be Doctors, when you know that there are real Doctors out there that care! Yes it is a shame that these doctors seem to be the exception rather than the rule! You know what you said about ("Oh and get this. He is the first doctor I have ever spoken to who actually said that the risk of addiction is very low in people who actually need them. He also talked about how there is a big difference between dependence and addiction.") I was taught that in nursing school back in the early ninties! Even then it was said that allot of Doctors and Nurses had misconceptions and the wrong ideas about the proper use of pain meds, but attitudes were changing about it! Working in Oncology we had to administer allot of pain meds, and we were very familiar with the dangers and all the hazzards of these medications. It is amazing to me that allot of these fears and misconceptions about the administering and taking of these pain meds still exist! Even with all the current knowledge about pain, it is unfortunate that the changing of Doctors attitudes about treating pain is not changing very fast!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 10/2/2010 2:09 PM (GMT -6)   
   Hello Jim!
     Most of the Dr's and the surgeon I have seen also dictate their notes in front of me. I think this is a pretty coman practice anymore, even though you may not see them do it.
      Lets hope you can avoid the surgery, and get some relief with a good PM.
       SE wink

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 10/2/2010 9:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jim,

I'm so thrilled that you were able to find good medical information and support. I know I have had both the good and the bad. They both (good or bad) leave a lasting memory with you. I'm looking for a really good surgeon again now, but only for a small surgery. I have found a wonderful surgeon who did my bladder surgery, an excellent endo working with my HGH problems, a great reumy trying to find out what is going on and still testing, a super neurologist for my last testing, an amazing psychiatrist, and a very good PM (with exception of his office staff). I also love my PCP, but her office staff is LOST! It has taken me more than 15 years to get this group together and I've had some seriously bad surgeons and other "specialists" along the way. I thank God these people came my way when it was so important. The other surgeons have left problems that may never be fixed, but these peope seem to unerstand me personally and to know that I am involved in my medical care and want to do what is necessary to communicate with them about all of my medical conditons.

Congratualations on finding the right one!
Retired Mom
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