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StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I know this has been covered so many times on this forum.  I have read a lot of posts by people in similar situations.  I just really wanted to write down what's going on and see if maybe anyone can offer some words of advice.
 
I have had chronic pain caused by three-level cervical disc disease for 15+ years and now SI joint dysfunction from a car accident a year ago.  I've been to every doctor imaginable.  My family doctor has always given me pain medicine, usually Norco 1 or 2 per day.  She retired and that's where my problems started.
 
After she retired, I went to her partner.  Because his wife is a pharmacist, he will not write for pain meds long term because obviously he thinks everyone is an addict.  So I next went to my ortho doc, who also professed to be a pain doctor.  He said he would treat me as long as I came to him for follow-ups a few times a year and did his drug tests. 
 
Fast forward to about a year later.  I called last month to tell him the usual pain medicine doesn't seem to be working as well and only lasts about three hours.  So I was being honest instead of taking more than he instructed.  I figured he would change the medication or maybe increase the frequency.  Nope.  Instead he basically kicked me out and said he would write for one more month of pain medicine but then I have to go to a pain management doctor for long-term care (which is what I thought he did). 
 
So I called the PM doc.  After going through the phone screening, I was scheduled with the nurse practitioner in SIX weeks and was told I will be given no pain medicine at that appointment and will have to see the doctor for that IF I am approved by the nurse practitioner to enter their program.  I called my current family doctor to see if she would write for pain meds while I am waiting for my appointment.  She said sure, no problem.  I went to the pharmacy and see called in 15 pills.  Yes, 15 pills!  When I called her to see if there was some kind of mistake, her nurse said no and to take Advil or Tylenol to get me by until I see the PM doc.  Very funny... 
 
I'm now five days away from my appointment with the nurse practitioner and out of pain medicine, so I will sit here in severe pain and not be able to function for the next five days.  And then what happens if she doesn't accept me or says I have to wait another month to see the doctor?  I really can't take this anymore.  I'm so sick of being treated like a criminal.  BTW, my insurance is an HMO, so there is only one PM doctor in the network and out of network is zero percent coverage.  I do not have the money for self-pay. 
 
Has anyone had an experience like this?  I don't want pain medication to use for fun.  I want it so I can be somewhat pain free and work and take care of my kids.  I don't want to be disabled at 35 years old.  Ugh....

Danielogrady222
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/22/2012 5:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi sorry to hear about your problem

Does the pain change with certain positions?

Have you seen a physical therapist that specializes in chronic pain?

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 5:42 PM (GMT -6)   
No, the pain doesn't change with certain positions. That's the problem. It's fine in the morning, but by the time the afternoon rolls around, the pain starts. By the time I go to bed, I can't lie down, I can't sit up, I can't stand. It's awful. My muscles spasm so bad. No muscle relaxer has ever worked. The Norco used to work very well, but I guess I've built up a tolerance to it, so now my ortho doc throws me out because I was being honest. I don't know who else to talk to if I can't tell my doctor what's going on and be truthful.

I have been to several physical therapists with no help on my neck. I've been to ortho, rheumatologist, neurologist, chiropractor, and physical therapy. My ortho said my disc disease is moderate to severe but not severe enough for surgery and he said they couldn't even do a three-level fusion, so he wouldn't know where to tell them to start and where to tell them to stop.

I'm just so sick of being treated like this.

Danielogrady222
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/22/2012 5:45 PM (GMT -6)   
what do you do for work?

Can you sleep ok?

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't want to post my profession, but I will say what I do aggravates my condition because it's high stress and I have to sit in one spot for extended periods of time. I sleep okay when I have my pain medicine and Ambien. Otherwise, I am up most of the night. Like I said, if I get a good night sleep, I feel good in the morning until I start working or doing any kind of activity. If I could just lay around all day, I don't know if I would have much of an issue, but laying around is not an option for me, as I have a full-time job and two kids.

Danielogrady222
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/22/2012 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I am passionate about helping people to become self-empowered - you don't need to rely on drs or therapists to help yourself. In fact you'll be much better off in the long run, if you learn how to help yourself.

Just a couple of ideas, to get you started...

OK, so if we can somehow try and alter your work condition:

- regular breaks (20/20 rule - stand and stretch for 20 seconds every 20 minutes)

- naturally sitting all day increases the tightness in the pec muscles in the front of your shoulder - try and stretch the front of your shoulder with an arm against the wall and then turn your body outwards - every hour

- your upper back (thoracic spine) is most likely very stiff too and that can increase pressure on your neck. Do the cat-camel stretch (all fours, arch and then hollow your back) at least x10 morning and night

-do as much walking as you can when you're not as work (20 mins during lunch even?). walking helps loosen the mid and upper back too. Walking/exercising will also help your body produce endorphins and serotonin - hopefully that could help with the stress

- keep your chin tucked in when your sitting - you should have your ear in line with your shoulder basically.

Stay positive - a little fine tuning and you will be able to overcome this!



-

opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 4/22/2012 6:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Starmama- Sorry to hear how difficult it is for you to be seen and helped. Daniel's ideas sound like they may help. I have done many of these same things when I had to work under a car dash for extended periods. They did help me some.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Daniel, I will send you a private message. My job doesn't allow for most of that stuff and I'll explain why in the message. I do have several exercises I do that I've learned at physical therapy over the years. The exercises along with pain meds help very much, but I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal for asking for pain medication. I've had this problem since I was 19. It's nothing new, and I shouldn't have to explain myself to every new doctor. I feel like I'm starting at square one every year.

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I can't figure out how to send a private message on this forum.

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Starmama,

Welcome to the board! I'm glad you are here.... but I'm also sorry you are dealing w/ so much. I'm 38 years old w/ a variety of health & pain issues - and - like you - I just want to be stable enough to care for my kids and just maintain a decent quality of life.

I've been in a very similar situation as you.... where I was being passed around from doctor to doctor.... where the old docs thought they were doing a "favor" by writing a prescription (I can't believe they wrote you for 15 pills....well, I can believe it, that's the sad part).

Also - do you know more about this "pain program" that you are entering? I would want to know more what it involves... way back when, I did go to a place similar to this... where they wouldn't give scripts on that first visit... you had to jump through all these "hoops" and so forth... I don't know - it just wasn't for me.

Anyway, you said you called your family doctor to see if he would script you for the meds to "bridge" you until the PM appt... and, as you said, they might not "accept" you.... or it may be a couple of weeks. I'm wondering if you could call the ortho doctor doc and explain your situation.... that you are willing to give this a PM clinic a try - but you can't go w/out meds and that it may take a few weeks to get established w/ the new clinic.

Re: being honest w/ your doctor - I completely understand your frustration - especially considering you were doing the "right" thing. I personally think what happens is that some doctors are ok w/ prescribing narcotics to a point... but when a certain level is reached and it's not working - they get nervous and just want to pass that patient onto someone else. I've had this done to me...

At this point...I would try to make it through until your appt w/ the nurse practitioner. Meanwhile, if you can't handle the pain - maybe you can call the ortho and see if he will script you something to bridge the gap.

Frustrating!
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 ask

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Re: e-mailing someone.... you "click" on their member's name and it will take you to their profile.... their e-mail address will be listed there, if they've made it available.
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 ask

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks a bunch for the message! My ortho doc told me they would write for one more month, which I used the last of today. That was over a month ago, so I can't even call them now as he's pretty much discharged me as a patient. I did tell them the appointment was going to be after I would run out, but they didn't have any sympathy for that whatsoever.

As far as my primary doc goes, I've only been going to her for a few months since my other one retired. She is not familiar with my neck/back problems other than what I've told her, and I'm sure she didn't even take a look at one of the five or six MRIs I've had done.

The nurse at the PM doc who did the telephone screening did look at my history from my ortho doctor and said she doesn't think I will have a problem because I have very valid, legit problems but could not guarantee anything.

I am pretty upset that I can't find anyone to help in the interim. It's ridiculous that it takes six weeks to get in to see the nurse practitioner and who knows if they'll even pass me on to the doctor at that point and how long that appointment will take to set up. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here hurting and trying to get through my days.

I really despise the people who have used pain medicine for things other than pain and have caused the people who actually need it such grief.

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 4/22/2012 7:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Danielogrady222,

I see that you've already had a couple of posts removed due to violating forum rules.

You said you want to see people become "self-empowered".... that's a great goal... but, for most of us here, we also need a medical doctor as a part of our team.

You also wrote - "Stay positive... a little fine tuning and you'll be able to overcome this". I wish it could be this easy for most of us here.... Most of us try to stay positive, despite dealing w/ complicated health/pain issues. And most of us will not be able to just "overcome" our pain issues.... it's not a matter of overcoming them - but learning to live w/ them and have the best quality of life possible, through a variety of treatments and so forth.

--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 ask

Fusiongirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 608
   Posted 4/23/2012 11:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Star Mama

Oh how I feel for you. I can't believe in this day and age the medical profession can treat people like that. The Uk NHS sucks but you would never be treated like that. Nor would you have to pay for medication. Where I live its free, as is all NHS treatment. There must be someone you can go to if you are desperate, even your local hospital.

Good luck, I hope you have some success and don't have to wait weeks. Maybe you need a change of medication, rather than an increase. Sometimes you get used to one and a change works well. Can you keep pestering the pain clinic for an earlier appointment.

Best wishes

Jane

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 4/23/2012 12:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi StarMama and I too would like to welcome you to the chronic pain forum. I am so sorry to read all of the problems you are having with your drs. It just stinks, the very ones that are suppose to help us tuck tail and bailout when we need them the most.

Whats worse is this upcoming appt and its with the nurse practitioner, ugh. Yes, I totally agree with you that you have built up a tolerance to the Norco no doubt. Working in a high stress job also keeps everything triggered. I worked in a high stress job too and it was rough.

Pain mgt has been ruined in my opinion with all the new rules and guidelines set out by the DEA. Our primary care drs will limit how long they will give pain meds and its always something a step above a Tylenol. Primary care drs say they do not want to be involved with giving narcotics because they do not want the DEA coming in to their office and doing an audit. The drs are scared to death of them and even PM drs are really backing away. Meanwhile because of all of the politics involved the CP patient gets hung out to dry by the very people that is suppose to help them.

I know you said you are on an HMO. You said there is only one PM dr on there too. What about going to another town to see one? That happens to a lot of us when we are limited in choices. Sure we don't really want to drive but if the dr is a good one, then its worth making the drive to see him/her.

I have a lot of arthritis, it is in all of my joints. One thing that happens with me a lot is what I call sore spots, its like I have hit that place on something when I haven't and they can be quite painful. I get this a lot with my neck, shoulders and hips. I am a big fan of Tiger Balm which a rub like BenGay or one of them, Tiger Balm comes in a really small jar and sold in grocery stores & drug stores. They have come out with patches and I decided to give them a try and to my amazement they work. I mean the rub has always helped me to a certain extent. A physical therapist used this on me, that is how I found out about it. If you get sore spots this may be something for you to try. Also alternate using heat & ice. Do not use heat for long periods of time as that can aggravate inflammation. I make my own hot packs by wetting a hand towel & nuking it in the microwave a few seconds being very careful because the towels will warm up and get too hot. I use a lot of Ibuprophen and found it works better than anything for inflammation, found that out when I broke my arm. My BT meds which is Dilaudid did nothing for the pain when I broke my arm, but 4 Ibuprophen at a time did the trick. I was shocked. My neighbor is an RN and told me to try it since my other meds did not work. He said your arm is innflammed and needs something for that. I know non of this is a cure just some things that has helped me over the years.

Since you will not be scripted meds at the appt with PM office, ask this NP to write you a note to give to your dr stating that you were not rx'd meds and will not be until the dr see's you and agrees to take you on as a patient. Then I would call this primary care drs office and make an appt for ASAP, go in and take that note and just say, look I have done everything that has been asked of me and I am still getting no help. I have to be able to get up and go to work every day to support myself, the pain is getting so bad without any kind of medication, I am not sure how much longer I can continue like this and I need my job. Can you please help me until I find out if this dr is going to accept me as a patient. Worse case scenario is wait one evening and go thru ER and see of you can get a script for a small amount. If they ask why you have no meds just tell them you are waiting on an appt with a PM dr.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing, as we really care. Take care...Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

StarMama
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 4/24/2012 2:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, good news (I hope).  I got in a few days early to see the nurse practitioner who does a screening appointment to see if you will be accepting into their practice.  She told me that she doesn't see a problem with me becoming a patient of theirs as long as my drug screen comes back okay, which it definitely will.  That being said, I won't get to see the doc for a few weeks, which means no pain meds for that long.  She did say she will call my family practice doctor to update her and ask her nicely to write a prescription to cover me for the next few weeks but she can't guarantee anything.
 
I'm just dealing with the pain right now on my own and hoping it doesn't get too out of control.  Luckily I haven't had any withdrawl symptoms, which I thought for sure I'd have given the length of time I've been on Norco.  I guess I wasn't taking too many, so maybe that's why.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get accepted, because this is probably the last resort for me.
 
Oh, one funny thing.  I was getting all my paperwork together for my appointment today and I came across a referral from 7 years ago to the same doctor I'm trying to get in to see now!  Apparently, my neurologist wrote this referral and I didn't understand at the time what it was or something.  So if someone would've followed up with me on that, I probably could have been getting better care all along. 
 
Thanks for listening and thanks for any advice.  I've been trying to deal with this on my own for so many years, and it's nice to at least have somewhere to vent.
 
 

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 4/25/2012 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi StarMam, I am so glad to hear you got the appt moved up a little. Who knows perhaps with a call from the PA to your primary care dr, he/she will write a script for meds until you see the PM dr. This is why I suggested asking the PA to write a note for you.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Take care....Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

LexiRae
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 828
   Posted 5/4/2012 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Now I'm wondering how you're doing StarMama. How are things? I really hope you ended up getting some meds to bridge you. When I was between drs. I had to go to a low income clinic...and that dr. wrote me a script for 30 lortab 5's to last me a month...when I was on percocet 10's at 90 a month.

The lortab did so little at that dosage and amount that I was feeling stupid for having wasted my money on the clinic and the script. It was a MISERABLE 30 days for me, but luckily after that I was recommended a wonderful doc by my boyfriends mom.

Best of luck to you! Please update us.
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