How to find the right pain doctor
I'm new to the message boards and have read with great interest so many stories that are just like mine. I have had chronic pain in my neck for nearly 4 years due to spondylosis and disc degeneration - I've also recently (within the past year) developed significant pain in my lumbar area. I've been to 11 specialists and have tried everything from accupuncture and homeopathic treatments to orthopedists to my most recent one year program with a pain management specialist, which involved multiple radio-frequency ablasions and epidural pain blocks - primarily, because I was told they couldn't treat the problem, only the symptoms. My most recent appointment, where I told my doctor that I was in what I considered to be breakthrough pain (worse than my normal chronic pain) for a four-day period, not only was I told that he couldn't treat my pain but he gave me a taper down plan for getting off of the Vicodin I'm taking - which is the only thing that has worked, though it has no effect on the breakthrough pain - and a referral for a "psych eval". I truly believe he just wasn't sure what to do with me next and this was effectively his way of moving me on. I should point out that I have no history of depression and am not depressed, anxious or otherwise have any need for psychological treatment, except maybe as an adjunct some real pain relief measures. My question is first, how do I go about finding the right doctor to help me treat the pain that I'm in on a daily basis? I feel like I have to start all over again after spending one-year with this doctor that ultimately didn't help me at all. I'm desperate - and I believe I've finally convinced myself that the right protocol of opioid medicine is not a bad thing if it's controlled - and so, my second question is, how do you find a doctor that is willing to consider this is an effective solution? I feel like, at least with my last experience, this was such a taboo subject, it was never going to be considered. Thanks in advance to anyone who might have any suggestion whatsoever. I live in the San Diego area, and any referrals or recommendations are also very much appreciated.