New user/ Questions about chronic pain symptoms and quality of life

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 1/12/2012 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
So I'm a 30 year old male. I play soccer 2 nights a week, work out regularly, take vitamins/supplements, eat healthy, don't drink, don't smoke, and I have been suffering with chronic pain for a few years now.

My question is what kind of doctor should I see to address this issue? I've been to a GP, psychiatrist, ortho, pain management, dentist, and physical therapist with not much help. I've been diagnosed with with TMJ, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Degenerative Disc Disease, have 2 impacted wisdom teeth, 4 cavities, and the beginning of periodontal disease. I know that the obvious is to at least get the wisdom teeth out and the cavities filled but my main problem is financial. I've spent a large sum of money in the past year on several doctors. I've been through 2 GP's who didn't really seem to be very interested in doing anything more than a blood test and ct scan. My ortho told me to "suck it up" and work out more, which I did, and just gives me some tramadol and sends me on my way. I'm a full time student and my quality of life is deteriorating. I can't concentrate, I go through bouts of depression, I intermittently have body wide pain that keeps me in bed, and my mood is dependent on how I feel. The only doctor I see who seems to really care and see that there's a problem is my psychiatrist. I'm really just trying to use my resources wisely by seeing only the most essential doctors for now. As soon as school is over I'll be able to afford to get my dental work done but for now I need to figure out a way to get through school.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm not sure if a neurologist, physiatrist, rheumatologist, pain doc, or something else is a step in the right direction. I saw a pain doc awhile ago and he did a quick reflex test and told me there's nothing he can do. I was infuriated to say the least. I know that with such little information it will be hard to give me very solid suggestions but I will elaborate if need be. Thanks in advance.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 1/12/2012 8:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Matt,

Welcome. Sorry you are dealing w/ so much, though.

For me, I'd figure out what you feel are your biggest issues right now. A general doc or a psych would be the best to work w/ you on depression issues. Many of us here have depression/anxiety issues, on top of the pain. Have you tried anti-depressants before?

If your pain is your worst thing - a good Pain Management doc is the best thing... but, sometimes, a compassionate general doctor will help too. Have you ever tried medications to help w/ your pain?

A good PM doctor won't just say "there's nothing I can do" and send you on your way (that's a horrible way to deal w/ any patient - and, trust me, I've seen those type of docs). A good doc will to you and your circumstances (that you have ongoing pain... that you're a student w/ limited financial resources, etc.). The hard part is finding a good PM :)

I'm not sure about all the dental work issues - but there a couple of others on here that might be able to help you in that area.

Hang in there and keep posting! And, again, welcome.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 1/12/2012 10:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Matt,

Pain doctors are often divided into two groups: interventionists and pain management physicians. The first focuses on or limit their practice to injections, ablations and other procedures. The second focuses on pharmaceuticals: opioids, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, etc..

It sounds to me like you went to the former. Perhaps your GP or psychiatrist can help you find the latter.
Regarding the dental issues, one option is to go to a dental school where students "practice" on people who need care but can't afford it. That may sound gruesome, but one way or another, you should address your dental issues. Unlike your spinal problems, there is a very reliable solution. To help you fight the periodontal disease, add mouthwash to your daily routine as well as find a type of floss that works for you. I hate putting my hands in my mouth so I buy these flossing sticks that are quite cheap at Walmart.

You should also consider whether your exercise routine may be exacerbating your spinal issues or pain. Weight lifting, distance running, etc. can cause further damage to your spine or joints.

Welcome and I hope you find some helpful suggestions.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 1/14/2012 11:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Matt,
And welcome to Healing Well.
I've read your post and do not have anything new to add except to say hang in there and if it were me I would seek the help of a new Pain Management physician.  I have gone to one for five years or more and I suffer from fibromyalgia and lower back pain and right side radiculopathy.  She listens and prescribes Pain Medication accordingly.  That's what you need and deserve, I do believe.  But that's just my humble opinion.
Please let us know how your journey goes and where you eventually recieve the help you need.  I have every confidence you will
God bless.
Co-Moderator Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Forums
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 1/14/2012 3:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Matt, I am nini/Kathy, I say go straight to a Pm doctor, sadly that could get costly unless the guardian angels shine on you and you get a good one right off the bench, since you are an athlete, thought I would use that term, lol.  I am sorry, I am not making fun or being silly, but I think maybe you can us a little lightening up.  Believe me, I know all to well the importance of getting the right doctor.
I have not much use for neurosurgeons, they tend to have god complexes.  Of course alot of pm doctors are getting that same complex, as they know all to well how much they are needed.  Have you had an MRI?  If not, and again, I realize the expense involved with them, but it could be helpful for a good diagnosis.  So, I still recommend a pm doctor, do stay away from the "block jocks" they are very expensive and usually do not give meds if there main thing is "blocks, of any kind, faucet, epidurals, etc.", of course I am sure there are exceptions.
Good luck to you, and I would look at all the responses you have gotten and will get, weigh in on them and choose the one you feel best would do you good and suit your needs.
Again, good luck, take care,
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 1/14/2012 4:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Matt!

Welcome to our little world of Chronic Pain! Not fun…is it! shakehead

I will only add one thing here, and that is, if indeed and you wind up going to a PM….they may require the latest MRI of your spine before treating you for it. It is also common for them to try an "Epidural" first, unless of course you have reports that say you had no luck with them in the past.

I realize that you have several problems that contribute to your pain…and an MRI might not provide enough information there, but if your main pain is the spine, then Yes, they may want images less than 6 months old, and do be prepared for them to try an "Epidural" first. It is a good possibility!

Take care,

SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/14/2012 6:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Another idea that could help financially is to use your college/university student health clinic, if you're this is the type of school you're at. Nursing & med schools (mostly nursing) typically have faculty who provide free care at community free care clinics. If you don't know where at free care clinic is, you can call your public health dept, or nursing school.

I recognize this won't help with your clinical 'specialist' needs, but wanted to mention it as a means for accessing quality care for free/low-cost to handle general health issues, and possibly for blood & diagnostic tests.
Spouse of partner with RA diagnosis (2010), lupus (20+ yrs) and a host of other auto-immune diseases.
Started Humira 12/2011 (weekly); previously no response to Enbrel or MTX.
Upper extremity joint involvement: wrists & shoulders (+bursitis in right shoulder) primary; neck, ribs, knee, feet, intermittently.
Struggling with pain, fatigue & functioning.

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 1/14/2012 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   

How were you diagnosed for TMJ? By a dentist? Hot,moist washcloth to the joint that hurts the most. Take a muscle relaxant and ibupropen to try to break the spasim. If that doesnt work then the dentist will take an impression of your lower jaw and send it to a lab where they will make you a hard acrylic mouthquard to wear to bed.

Dont open real wide to yawn or eat big sandwiches, your jaw might lock open. That is painful but fixable.

I use to work for a dentist for 38 years.Im not knowledgable in medical but dental that is my field.

Nice to meet ya
crushed lower knee and vertical fx of tibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected leg continously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/ metal removed in July//then total knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take oxycontin,flexeril,cymbalta,vicadin for BT
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