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Old 02-06-2010, 08:21 PM   #1
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So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Hello,
I will try to make this as short as possible and explain as best as I can.

To begin I have chronic, severe aching from my neck to the end of my calves, all the way down my body. It is so bad at night I barely sleep. The aching in the legs started approximately a month ago. My back has been hurting ever since the accident. My neck and shoulders have been increasing in pain. The trap muscles do not ever relax and are always contracted. They are so tight and painful. Now I will begin to tell you the events prior.

In 2006 I began to have pain in my right shoulder and migraines. This pain increased in 2007. I had intense shoulder pain one evening that brought me to the E.R. They took x-rays, gave me a muscle relaxant and sent me home. However I saw on the report that I had bilateral cervical c7 ribs. I was referred to a thoracic surgeon who believed this could be the cause of the pain and removed the rib on the right side. Recovery was slow and I was in physical therapy for a couple of months.

As I recovered I developed digestive problems which led to the removal of a gallbladder and a pancreatitis flare-up. I recovered but only a month later was t-boned at an intersection on the highway. I had resulting neck, shoulder and back pain.

I had a lot of physical therapy, aqua therapy, electrical stimulation, acupuncture, massage, steroid injections, and most recently a cervical epidural. I use heat, ice, patches, menthol type creams etc. Nothing has relieved the pain and the pain keeps increasing. I have been tested for Lupus but it was negative. My doctor also mentioned Fibromyalgia but I believe that was also negative. I am in so much pain and nothing is helping. I am not getting relief from any medication or therapy.

The MRI shows that there is an abnormality at L5 and disc bulging at L4-L5 and at T3-T4. It also says that neural foramina are narrowed bilaterally. It also states decreased T1 and T2 signal and a hemangioma at S2. There's quite a bit more technical stuff. I'm not sure what all that means.

I am wondering if I have some type of muscularskeletal condition or if I have something wrong with a nerve in my spine. If anyone has similar pain or has any suggestions at all, I would really appreciate it.

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:58 AM   #2
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

i also was hurt in not auto but bus accident resulting in fractures, herniated diesc, crush injuries and now have perm nerve damage;constant severe pain relieved minmally with narcotic pain meds,
i guess it depends on your qualit of life. if i take no pain med i cannot funtion do to sever debilitating pain. this may be the case w you, if so consult a pain management specialist for it has really helped me

 
Old 02-07-2010, 08:32 AM   #3
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Bama, thanks for replying. I just started seeing a Pain Management Specialist recently. She did a cervical epidural on the 28th of February. May I ask what things have worked for you so far to minimize your pain? I have tried a few narcotic pain relievers. I understand I will need to discuss this with my doctor. I really want to find out the cause of the pain. It seems from the MRI I may not have pinched nerves or fractures but this pain is just unbearable. It is so unnerving when you don't know what is causing so much pain.

 
Old 02-07-2010, 11:03 PM   #4
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
To begin I have chronic, severe aching from my neck to the end of my calves, all the way down my body. It is so bad at night I barely sleep. The aching in the legs started approximately a month ago. My back has been hurting ever since the accident. My neck and shoulders have been increasing in pain. The trap muscles do not ever relax and are always contracted. They are so tight and painful. Now I will begin to tell you the events prior.
I'm so sorry to hear about all your pain. It sounds as if you've really got it bad. You mention the "accident"....Did most of your pain begin after that? It certainly sounds as if you've got some some sort of pinched nerve, or hardware out of alignment.....The pain in your shoulder and corresponding migraines are an indication of such.

What type of Dr are you seeing? Has he/she gotten aggressive with meds? I hope you don't mind me asking questions, but I'm just trying to help. You seem to be a good candidate for aggressive narcotic therapy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
As I recovered I developed digestive problems which led to the removal of a gallbladder and a pancreatitis flare-up. I recovered but only a month later was t-boned at an intersection on the highway. I had resulting neck, shoulder and back pain.
Were the digestive problems related to your primary conditon(s) and / or recovery, or just coincidence? Sounds as if the second accident very well may have compounded any injuries / conditions from the first accident.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
I had a lot of physical therapy, aqua therapy, electrical stimulation, acupuncture, massage, steroid injections, and most recently a cervical epidural. I use heat, ice, patches, menthol type creams etc. Nothing has relieved the pain and the pain keeps increasing. I have been tested for Lupus but it was negative. My doctor also mentioned Fibromyalgia but I believe that was also negative. I am in so much pain and nothing is helping. I am not getting relief from any medication or therapy.
Sounds as if they've tried it all, and then some. Testing for Lupus can be difficult and not always easily caught the first time...You may try for a second opinion.

Re: Fibro, there isn't a "test" for it to the best of my knowledge. Fibro is often the diagnosis when everything else is excluded. You might try to located a highly respected Fibro Dr and go that route....At least for a one time referral / consultation.

When you say you're not getting relief from any medication, what and how much are you taking. The right narcotic therapy should be able to address most conditions, although high levels may be required.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
The MRI shows that there is an abnormality at L5 and disc bulging at L4-L5 and at T3-T4. It also says that neural foramina are narrowed bilaterally. It also states decreased T1 and T2 signal and a hemangioma at S2. There's quite a bit more technical stuff. I'm not sure what all that means.

I am wondering if I have some type of muscularskeletal condition or if I have something wrong with a nerve in my spine. If anyone has similar pain or has any suggestions at all, I would really appreciate it.
I have a few friends who have issues similar to yours and I'm going to contact them via email tonight and see if they won't drop by and see if they can help. For complex situations such as yours, it's best to get several people involved and generate some ideas.

As bad as you probably feel, please don't give up...Help is out there....It's just a matter of finding it.

Regards,

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 02-08-2010 at 09:26 AM.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 07:44 AM   #5
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Hi there! When I read your story, my heart just aches for you as I have a very complex case as well and it truly is hard to obtain a good group of doctors. I strongly believe this is the key to complex cases.

When you mention that you are seeing a pain mgmt doc, are you seeing an anethesiologist? If so, this generally is the best place to be because as a rule they truly understand pain. In my journey, I wish I would have been sent to them alot earlier as I am sure I would have suffered alot less.

Be sure to let them know just how much pain you are in. It is important that you tell them my pain is a 6 on a pain scale of 1 being heaven and 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced. When you tell them a 6, give them an example of the pain. For example: Right now I am in extreme pain, that when I walk it feels like I am walking on hot coals and I have oozing blisters. I would say it is 9 on the pain scale. Some other comparisons, could be labor pains, broken arm, gall bladder attack, closing a finger in a car door, abscess toothache, etc. If you are not doing so already, begin a pain journal. Include in that journal, the time, the level of pain, pain comparison, pain location, what you did to help relieve it (meds, heat, tens unit, etc.) and the result of the reliever (brought the pain down to 5).

What types of drs have they sent you too? Spine Surgeon, Neurologist, etc?

How would you describe your pain? (burning, shooting, etc.)

I noticed you complained of cramping which I suffer from alot. Have you tried a tens unit on the cramping areas? I find that the tens unit and hot soaks in my spa help with this type of pain. Over the counter, I have found some square sticky pads called salonas - they are in a green box and they help me tremendously. One of my docs, discovered that I had low vitamin D, thyroid, and low iron which added to my cramping. We also found that high cholesterol meds also added to my cramping. Just a few things for you to consider.

I will check back in later and see how you responded before I add more input. Please feel better and know that you are not alone.

Pepper

Last edited by ms_west; 02-08-2010 at 07:45 AM.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Thanks Pepper for dropping by to help....I appreciate you taking the time to help. It's good to see you on Healthboards!

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 02-08-2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

i am just wondering how old that MRI of your c spine actually is? believe me, time passing CAN matter alot when it comes to spinal injuries or just ongoing problems we can get in our spinal areas? when you got T boned, which side of the car got hit and where were you in comparrison? just want to know if YOU and your body took more of the impact or the opposite side of the car? were you belted? just some basic questions that would help knowing the answers to.

while i do not know much about lupus, i do know that when they actually Dx fibro its kind of based upon very particular 'pain points' where a doc who knows this stuff would push into and it would reproduce pain? but you are doing the best thing for you right now just being in a good PM facility where they can at least try many different types of treatments and modalities to really try and get your pain managed much better.

you mentioned they did only an X ray on that shoulder area? did they EVER follow that up with an actual MRI just to see how that very crucial rotator cuff area that just has a ton of tendons, muscles and ligemants going into it and that joint itself actually is? if your rotator tendons, even one which is more commonly the very top tendon that just gets more wear and tear has ANY real tears in it, believe me, it CAN reproduce pain and burning too among other things. i had what WAS only a partial tear in my R top tendon and had lots of pain and deeper burning in it but did not have a clue just how bad it actually was til it just snapped in half one morning on me and i immediately lost the ability to continue to lift up what i had been lifting, and also lost ROMs too. like in that very second. at the very least, you DO need that MRIed and depending upon just how old the other MRIs are and if they were done with a contrasting agent, should possibly also be redone too? time just does matter with spinal,in some cases, alot.

what your muscles are doing up in that neck area sounds alot like "guarding' among other things(the over tightening)? you probably DID suffer at least like a sideways whiplash effect and it WOULD most definitely impact those muscles. they would naturally kind of over tighten themselves to simply protect themselves and what is an area that could be damaged or traumatized that may not have actually shown itself upon any MRI right away? espescially if it was done without a good contrasting agent? you just have sooo many real symptoms that just about anything IS a possible here that just could all be somewhat contributing to the overall 'condition' your body is currently in? the one thing i would VERY highly recommend to you to simply try here ONLY becasue of the very extensive around my c spine on down thru my T spine muscle damage benefitted from this particular therepy like i just could NOT believe at all? its called myofascial release with craniosacral therepy? this really truely IS the ONLY therepy i have ever tried like out of the five therepists i have seen since my crap started in 2003 that actually has DONE some major 'undoing' of what was very significant muscle damage and a TON of seriously bad trigger points like i KNOW you just have to also be experiencing? not only does this therepy just loosen that outter fascia that simply does surround every single muscle and organ and blood vessel we have in our bodies, the crainosacral therepy actually 'unwinds what are real stored traumas that our CNS simply does store whenever we have any significant type of injury or severe trauma that reproduces alot of pain and injury? i saw my myofascial guy based upon a very highly recommended referral from my PMs NP that i was seeing(i got the impression from how she went on and on about THIS therepist that she was also seeing him for HER pain issues too?) and feeling very much like this was just going to be yet another complete failure? i mean seriously, over the past how many years i have had to have gone thru like hundreds of seperate trigger point injections that really never seemed to work, five therepists/therepys who did squat for me too and she is telling me to have this particular therepy 'done" now? much to my suprise, i started seeing this therepist who also just has well over 20 years of real solid experiaence in just doing the myo and cranio therepy, and he has done sooo freaking much for my pain and even brought down a very high level of 'tone' in my body from spinal cord injury too, so i have been getting this therepy now for well over two years only because my generators are still firing out very real signals to my muscles that keep this crap there. after one session i can usually get about five or six days of a lower overall tone and a reallly huge lowering of my muscle damage pain as well? NOTHING to date i have tried has actually worked like this therepy has for my crap.

but the one HUGE thing that you still need to simply do here is actually find out just what YOUR main pain and possibley movement issues from that damage actually are? that will take some in depth MRIs being done and on that rotator cuff too to really be abale to better pinpoint all of your very real generators? seriously hon, it sounds like you have been thru hell and back at this point. the one type of really great specialist i would tell you to see who just has a really great more in depth knowlesdge of how our bodies are supposed to simply move and the nerves and muscles and how they just work actually would be a physiatrist? this is a very highly skilled type of physical medicine doc with tons more training to actually just be able to know by testing with much deeper types of neuro exams and how things are what they are(or should be) and just by actually watching how you do things, like hand movements and walking(your gait overall can be very revealing) that really can help YOU in defining certain things. getting that assessment/eval from one with all your records there too would just help you to better define possible areas of compromise that can be contributing to YOUR overall pain process? have you EVER actually had an EMG done just to even really know if there is any deficiencys within the innervation to muscle and just whether or not actual nerves are being compromised? a physiatrist can do this too, mine does all my EMGs for me.

the bigger thing here for you right now is really simply finding ALL areas where there just IS very real damage? once that truely gets better defined, it allows to really hit the worst areas and make them better, or as much as can be with any nerve impairment. and that CAN be alot depending upon any therepies that just can strengthen weakened areas that do not move anymore becasue of the damage to muscle and the basic guarding that takes place that just IS the bodys way of protecting certain areas?

you simply have gone thru soo freaking much here hon that would ALL impact not only your CNS that 'can' be righted with the craniosacral part of the myofascial release therepy,but the surgeries too also leave their mark on you as well. and very easily can create theri own types of ongoing pain processes for alot of real reasons. but getting that one rotator cuff MRI done on that shoulder IS really crucial in order just to really 'see' what is and is not being impacted in there. believe me even just wear and tear that hits that top supraspinatus tendon over years of simply using it,and lifting and any other things we just 'do' with our arms really does take its toll over time. and if that WAS the side that got impacted with your MVA, it just IS more critical to have that area simply MRIed and looked into now too.

knowing how old your actual MRIs are anhd if you could just do one thing here for us? just look at that very last page where the 'summaries' are located and please type out that actual summary word for word per how the interpretting rad actually saw your level of injury would really truely help in better knowing just what IS beoing compromised in you right now. it IS the very words used by the rad that really tells alot about certain areas of damage,so the word for word findings really IS important for us to see to really know? you mentioned there were 'other things" that were found there too? this IS what we need to actually see here hon, all the 'words' used by that rad really DO make a difference in what your overall injuries just are and any contributing factors like stenosis,bone spurring or anything that can just truely compromise the nerve roots or even your spinal cord too.

but you DO need some better definition here in whats causing all this in you, no doubt. but allowing us to see the intial summaries of any MRIs done truely would help alot. depending upon how old these are, and if they are indeed over one year old, an update really needs to be done with that rotator cuff/shoulder MRI also added too. alot can really change in just a years or even six months time when we are talking spinal issues. trust me. the more solid info you can just give us,the better we can understand what it is your dealing with which would lead to much more accurate advise.

pepper above here asked some REALLY great questions, espescially about how your pain feels to you and just where that is located? we do need to know that too hon. hopefully between all the great knowledgable people here along with the MRIs we can help you in the best possible ways. marcia
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:29 AM   #8
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Hi..

I'm having brain fog so please bare with me as I wanted to reply as your post jump out to me.

I am very complex case. I have SLE (lupus) and MS among other things.

How was SLE ruled out? There is NO one test that forsure rules SLE in or out. That is why on average it takes 7 years to get a DX. So, a few questions...

1) Did you see a RHEUMITOLOGIST?

2) What blood work did they do?

3) How extensive was your physical exam?

4) Have you gotten a 2nd opinion?

I can write more later as my brain fog is kickin in big time but I want make sure you not completely rule SLE just yet. Not saying you have it but my gut feeling tells me that it needs be look at more closely.

Peace,

SW
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

It's time for my nap, so I didn't read every post in detail but I did want to mention a few things. Yes, dietdrpepper is right about those patches. I couldn't live without them. They have small and large sized one's. I don't think you can use them though if you are allergic to aspirin. The original's have Camphor, Menthol and Methyl Salicylate. I see now that they have an arthritic formula; I tried that one and it didn't work for me. They have another new one too, but I forgot what that one is called. Also, the pain relieving roll-on's or gel works well too.This is considered a cryotherapy or a "coldmethod". I can only find this @ a chiropractor's office. Mind you I don't go to a chiropractor;oh,no, not with this back;lollllll. Last, but not least, and long story short, I had a major flare up when I slightly bent over a trash bucket. My Nurse Prac. left(no love lost there), and was replaced by a new doc. My REAL, REAL PM doc who does the injections is over him. Makes sense....not really,huh?....anyways, he orders an MRI WITHOUT CONTRAST. I ask him why, and he says because contrast is for when you are looking for tumors and/or cancer. However, my last MRI was done WITH CONTRAST. I stew over this all weekend. So, today, hubby brings me to the MRI place, and the receptionist sees that the last time when I had my MRI I had it there WITH CONTRAST and she says, if you had it done last time with contrast, then it should be done this time with contrast as well. So, without even asking any doctor's there, she calls my PM doc and tells him this bit of info, and what do you know??......I get an MRI WITH CONTRAST.....LOLLLLLLLLLL.......So,MRI WITH CONTRASTS are better than without unless you have an allergy to the dye, or there is a specific reason why your doctor does not want you to have it. Feelbad is right about that. Really nice to hear from you again, dietdrpepper. ....janie08

Last edited by janiee08; 02-08-2010 at 10:53 PM.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 10:07 PM   #10
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Executor, thanks for your input.
To answer your questions, I have seen my family doctor who has referred me to physical therapists, chiropractor, and a pain management specialist.

The pain management specialist has sent me to a neuropsychologist as well to help me with the post traumatic stress of the accident. She doesn't seem to like to prescribe narcotics unless absolutely necessary but I've only seen her once so she doesn't know much about my case yet. She just recently got my MRI report and x-rays.

As far as the digestive conditions, I think most likely they were a coincidence but I'm sure all the stress and pain does not help my situation.

My body is not sensitive to the touch which makes me think it isn't Fibromyalgia but I wouldn't rule it out. I just feel it is something more.

I have taken everything that has been prescribed: muscle relaxants, pain medications etc. I have been given Tramadal, Cyclobenzaprine, Baclofen, Amitriptyline, Anaprox, Flexeril, Darvocet, Vicodin, Oxycodone to name the ones I can remember off hand.

I really appreciate everyone stopping by to take the time to read my post. I need some help and some answers. It is terrible living through this pain every second of the day.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #11
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Pepper, thank you very much for replying.
I do believe that the doctor I was sent to is an anethesiologist. My family doctor said she is the best in the area. She had me keep a pain journal which I have been doing. I log my pain level and what my pain was and if I took something to relieve it and if it helped or if my pain was worse. So I guess that I'm on the right track?

I have noticed that my pain level really never got lower than a 6. If it is a 6 or lower, I consider that a good day. The last few days I've logged it as a 9. I know what a 10 is and that was after my rib surgery. It was excruciating. I also have had a blinding migraine where I thought I had a stroke and actually almost lost consciousness so I reserve the 10 for something excruciating that I would go to the E.R. for.

I'll continue the log until I see her again next month.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 11:01 PM   #12
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Thank you for replying, feelbad. I have been told by my massage therapist and physical therapist that my muscles are guarding my injuries. The neuropsychologist that I recently saw wants to schedule some sort of evalution to see how my brain works.

I will look at the recent bloodwork and tell you what my family doctor ordered.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
TSH
Free T-4
CBC
Free T3
Ceruloplasmin
Antinuclear Antibody Screen
Adolase

The thoracic MRI was done in January this year. The other MRI's were done last August. Xrays have been taken in May of last year (the date of the accident) and a few months later. The CAT scan of my C-Spine was done in the E.R. after the accident and hasn't been repeated.

Now I will post the report of the recent thoracic MRI.

Findings:
At T3-T4: 2 mm left posterior paracentral/foraminal disc protrusion noted without spinal stenosis. No obvious neural foraminal narrowing identified.

Impression:
2 mm left posterior paracentral/foraminal disc protrusion at T#-T4 without spinal stenosis.

L4-L5: Mild circumferential disc bulging is noted. This effaces the ventral thecal sac. Mild facet and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is noted. The neural foramina are narrowed to a mild degree bilaterally.

L5-S1: Unremarkable disc. The facet joints are unremarkable. No narrowing of the central canal or foramina.

Impression:
1. Mild degenerative disc changes at L4-L5. This has not led to moderate or high-grade stenosis or foraminal narrowing.

2. Focal abnormal area of signal within the L5 vertebral body. This is of an indeterminate significance. The lesion is not pathognomonic for a specific benign process. If there is clinical concern for bony metastatic disease in this patient, particularly from a potential breast primary, further evaluation with whole-body bone scan would be recommended. This could better evaluate if the L5 lesion is metabolically active and assess for additional bony abnormalities. If this patient has not had a screening mammogram, one should be considered, as breast cancer can lead to a sclerotic bony metastases, which can present with decreased T1 and T2 signal.

Lumbosacral Spine alignment: Normal
Conus Medullaris : Normal appearance and terminates at the T12-L1 level.
Bone Marrow Signal: The bone marrow signal demonstrates a focal abnormality at L5. This abnormality demonstrates decreased T1 and decreased T2 signal and measures approximately 10x 11 mm in its greatest craniocaudal and AP dimensions. A typical appearance of a hemangioma is noted at S2. The remaining bone marrow signal remains within normal limits.


That's about all for the thoracic MRI. I will try to find the other MRIs at another time. My back and shoulder is in so much pain now. Thanks again.

Last edited by Alliecatt; 02-08-2010 at 11:14 PM.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 11:07 PM   #13
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Hi Silent Warrior,
You can see that I posted the recent blood tests in an earlier post. I believe the test for Lupus was the ANA test. I've been tested twice for it. It was negative according to the lab and my doctor.

 
Old 02-08-2010, 11:12 PM   #14
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Thanks, janiee08. I will have to look for those patches. I'm glad they help you. I will try anything that has helped others in pain. I don't know why they have not ordered with contrast. I do however have a reaction to contrast dye but I don't think that was the reason for them not ordering it with contrast.

 
Old 02-09-2010, 12:11 AM   #15
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Re: So much pain, what is wrong with me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
The pain management specialist has sent me to a neuropsychologist as well to help me with the post traumatic stress of the accident. She doesn't seem to like to prescribe narcotics unless absolutely necessary but I've only seen her once so she doesn't know much about my case yet. She just recently got my MRI report and x-rays.
Who doesn't like to prescribe narcotics....The PM or the specialist? Have you seen a Rhuemy Doc yet?

Whatever Doc you end up landing with, IMHO, I think you need one who will be compassionate and get aggressive with med therapy. Pain meds exist for a reason and one shouldn't have to suffer.

Also....A special thanks to all my friends for stopping by to help with this one.

Regards,

Ex

 
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