I'm wondering if anyone else is having the same problem as I am. The Pain Management Center that I go to is located in a "teaching" hospital, namely the Univerisity of Virginia Pain Management Clinic. Due to its' continuously rotating line of students, I don't get a consistant manner of care. The staff doctors that supervise the students also fluctuates, so I'm lucky if I see the same people two visits in a row.
My main diagnosis that I am pursuing treatment for is chronic back pain, due to digenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and various other problems that combine to make me fairly miserable on a daily basis. My lower back (S1, L4 & L5) is the worst, followed by my mid-back range. The original treatment plan was to resolve my lower back situation, then work up towards my neck. Good plan in theory, but because I'm going to a "teaching" clinic, I'm stuck in a cycle that's too slow to make any progress past my lower back.
The procedure that gives me some measure of relief is called a lumbar facet joint denervation, which essentially means going into the joints of the lumbar spine with long needles and burning off the nerve-endings with an electric current.(YES...IT HURTS as bad as it sounds) In order to verify that the procedure burning off the nerve-endings will be successful, I have to get a "test" procedure first, which goes into the same joint locations, with the same long needles, but instead of the electric current, I am injected with a combination of a temporary numbing medication and a mild steriod. If my back pain is relieved, then that confirms that the denervation procedure will be successful. Unfortunately, it takes six to eight weeks to get that appointment scheduled, or even longer if you try to schedule it with the same student and/or supervising doctor. Moreover, typically, they will only do the right or left side at one time, and you can only schedule one procedure at a time. By the time I finally get to the point I should be moving up to my mid-back area, I have to start over again.
So what I've finally figured out that is happening is this: The students have to learn all the procedures in a series. Therefore, even though I've had the denervation procedures done before successfully, I am subjected to having to go through the "test" procedures first. It finally dawned on me that it's not for my benefit, but for the teaching purposes of the student doctors, who need to learn how to do the procedure on a "guinea pig"...and that's me! I have to be stuck with needles for two additional procedures, literally extending my pain cycle by a good 4-6 months, for the benefit of someone else!!! What's even worse...my insurance/disability is footing the bill for the wasted procedures. AAARRGGGHHH!!! IS ANYONE ELSE HAVING TO DEAL WITH THIS??? ANYONE know of a good Pain Mgmt Center near central VA?
Thanks for letting me vent.
•On Disability for: Chronic Migraines, serious Back and Knee problems (will need surgery eventually), moderate Depression, Anxiety/Panic disorder, TMJ, stomach problems
•Divorced, 45, spawn-free
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