Witin August, I've been to 2 different Neurologists.
#1 was at NY Presbyterian Hospital. I was amazed when I went to this hospital. It looked like a museum in scale. I saw a Neurologist there, he asked me questions for like 30min., and then gave me an extensive physical exam as well. Shortly afterwards, he called in his superior to go over everything that we had talked about. This more experienced doctor also did a couple of physical exams. The conclusion was that I should get back into doing exercise slowly and take meds that are prescribed to me for anxiety. I felt that they really gave a good effort. Their conclusion, "While we don't deny you have pain, we don't find anything to indicate that it is of a Neurological nature".
#2 was 2 weeks later at a Doctor's small clinic where the main office doubles as his bedroom, and there were even little roaches in the waiting area (kinda excuseable though as it doubles as his home, plus I have roaches in my home, so who am I to judge?). Anyway, this doctor did tests as extensive as the fancy doctor. His knowledge seemed strong too. Now, there was a point where he scratched by my toes and then scratched on my knees. He asked if it felt the same. I said "no". I mean, my knee flesh is a lot softer, than down by my toes. My saying that it felt different led him to tell another doctor to do an EMG on my legs. It was done, and he looked at the results and said "This shows something that I suspected you may have some problems with the nerves". Bare in mind that I've never had pain in my legs at all. When he saw the results to this test, he ordered an EEG, VNG, and EMG (upper, which is what I would've sought in the first place) for 3 separate visits. While I appreciate having testing done, I'm wondering why he would have me get all these tests done, while the other doctors that are supposed to be at the "top of the game", wouldn't have considered these tests? Is it possible that this new Neuro is just trying to milk my insurance for as many tests as he can get?
My complaints to both doctors were 1.) Off-balance feeling, 2.)Physical pain on right-side latissimus dorsi area
Trust your gut on the visits. I'll share a similar situation but both were highly regarded Boston neurosurgeons. Neuro #1 was in a fancy office and saw me himself...for 15 minutes or less. He had my history from my neurologist and did a few tests and talked to me a little bit then mentioned I had a history of depression. I told him yes...hadn't been in therapy for 18 years. Next thing I knew I was being told I wasn't a candidate for surgery and to go home. My neurologist sent me to him as she was positive I needed immediate surgery on my neck.
So then I went to neurosurgeon #2. A tiny office with 3 small exam rooms off by itself on the 5th floor with almost no waiting room. His resident saw me first for about half an hour doing all the exams. Then in came the neuro and announced I needed surgery ASAP. He had my MRI and all the test results and asked some very pointed questions no one else had asked.....like had I noticed that it has become easier to ***** my finger for my blood sugars in the morning(I'm a type 2 diabetic)...and I had. I had chalked it up to just getting used to it. No..it was my neck. Hands were going numb.
Doc #1 charged $330 for 15 minutes. Doc #2 with the better reputation charged $215 for 45 minutes. Doc #1 blew me off because I had a psych history although old. Doc #2 asked very pointed questions that no on else has asked and then backed up his assertions by showing me my MRI and explaining what I was looking at until I understood the situation.
My gut told me to avoid doc #1 as he was definitely not fond of anyone with a psych history no matter how distant. Doc #2 didn't care about the 18 year old psych history and told me so. He saw a problem and learned with his questions the extent of the damage and then educated me. He was the one who first told me to keep a copy of all my MRI's and get the reports and learn to read them.
My gut reaction to your visits is that doc#2 may be taking you. Did he show you the actual nerve velocity values and show you in a reference book what they should be? Did he give you a copy of the results? Here's a test....ask him for a copy of your EMG results for your primary and see what he does. If he's taking advantage of you, you'll know because he won't do it...or drag his feet until he's gotten more money. He knows your primary can look up the real values in an instant and bust him so how he reacts will tell you everything. If the values really are off then I'd take them to the docs at the Presbyterian and ask them what they think. They need to offer you an apology and start over working you up...don't they. Let them know they let you down.
Gut can tell you a lot but really good docs can be a problem if they think there is a mental illness problem involved. But lousy docs can suck you in as they give comfort only to want your money. They really don't care like you think they do. You need to test one and then use that test to test the others. You'll get answers one way or the other.
The Following User Says Thank You to jennybyc For This Useful Post:
I made a mistake, the test I got at doc. # 2 was not an EMG as needles were not used, it was some other form of test for the nerves. When the main doctor came into the room he looked over the results from the test, and then decided to set up more tests. The thing is that, I don't feel as if they are really "taking" me, because the tests he will perform will be of some use. The fact is that they may not be necessary, but if they were to show something, or raise a new question, oh, I would be so appreciative of them. I'm supposed to get these 3 tests done within 1 weeks time at the doctor's office, so after they are all done, I will ask him for a copy of the results. If the test results show anything awkward, then I will take them all to the NY Presbyterian docs and get their "Best in New York City" opinions on them.
I'm not really a fan of my PCP. If it weren't for the fact that he writes referrals quickly, and gives walk-in appointments. I would've changed him awhile ago. He wanted to jump to anxiety a looooooooong time ago, even before the Gastro. confirmed I had H.Pylori along with some other things. Now, Anxiety is present. But there was pain and an off-balance feeling (def. pain) a while before the Anx.
I'm not suggesting you actually give them to your PCP but to see if he'll give you the results at all. They can do a simplified version of the EMG that doesn't use needles, just a probe that presses against the skin....that would make me more suspicious of being taken. The only thing I know of that device being used for is carpal tunnel syndrome. The trouble is finding out if the results are real. It is very hard to quantify the speed that nerves travel and the charts are very tough but you can find out if they are off or not. There are neurologists that actually specialize in giving and interpreting EMGs and other tests.
And remember, they pray on people who are looking for someone to tell them what is wrong even if it's made up. And chronic anxiety isn't "nothing wrong". If the brain's neurotransmitters are screwed up and causing anxiety, then it's a real disease. It's just that the treatment at this time tends to be a combination of medication and talk therapy as we just don't know that much about how the brain works. Even Freud knew that schizophrenia couldn't be treated by talk therapy but we are just now starting to develop drugs to treat the condition. Until we know a lot more about brain physiology, anxiety will be treated with drugs and therapy as therapy does change the chemical workings of the brain and we haven't yet found a drug that can do the same thing. Someday, all so-called "mental illnesses" will probably be treated with a specific medication that alters the way our natural neurotransmitters work. I spent 20 years in therapy and I know it works. I also know anxiety can cause physical problems and pain. Not saying yours is...mine was. I don't see any shame in having an emotional problem or the physical side effects it causes. Just as I don't feel any shame at the emotional problems caused by physical illness or injuries. I suffered great anxiety after breaking my neck and I'm back in therapy to deal with it. Neck healed faster than brain and I make no excuses. I see it this way....you can't have a body without a brain or a brain without a body so the two are linked forever and all diseases, illnesses and injuries affect both. Period!
If anxiety might be the cause, it's as real an illness as cancer. If it's in your nervous system, it will eventually be found out one way or the other unless it fixes itself(which it can). Just don't get taken by someone who is willing to milk you due to your anxiety as it will just produce even more anxiety in the long run since you still will wonder what is wrong unless you trust the results 100%. And it doesn't sound like you quite trust this doc. Will you believe him if he tells you nothing is wrong or will you only believe him if he says there is a problem? And will your anxiety make you wonder if he was taking you or not and distrust any diagnosis?
I'd treat the anxiety first and when your brain is back to normal chemical functioning, then explore the neurological problems. You'll be a better frame of mind to do so. My anxiety got to me so badly this past spring that I was positive I had re-injured my neck and even my docs thought I had. But I was about to start Medicare so I waited 4 months to see my neurosurgeon and get an MRI only to be told I had had 4 "lacunar" strokes in the base of my brain probably from all my anxiety raising my blood pressure and my neck was fine. I was so nervous about needing more spine surgery I actually caused strokes. Back to therapy. And now I see where my anxiety about being re-injured can make me sicker in a different way. Back to controlling the anxiety and learning to live with the after effects of a broken neck and the fear of doing it again.
Good luck, my friend. You are in a "catch-22" situation. I hope you'll consider treating the anxiety. It's helping me and I hope it will help you too. Makes everything else easier to handle.
I actually got the 2nd Neurologist's report earlier today. I had an EMG, VNG, and EEG all done at the doctor's office.
His typed up reply to my doctor is: "(24) M w/ EMG-NCV proven peripheral neuropathy"
Now, I am not going to forget his diagnosis, but I will take what he said (along with copies of the test results), to the first Neurologists to see what they think of it. They just have better resources.
He told me that according to the tests my right ear seems to be a source of my "off-balance" feeling. This was of interest because in my life I've only had 3 major ear problems (and by major, I mean that they warranted a quick trip to the ER, but were cleared up within a week's time) and they all occured in my left ear. Is it possible that some other thing I'm suffering from (anxiety, fatigue, etc.) could've made my right ear appear as a culprit?
I looked up Peripheral Neuropathy when I got home and it seems like I could, and I can't have it. It seems like a very easy thing to get maybe. I was going off the MayoClinic website. I have 0 arm-hand-leg-toe problems.
I also had a massive amount of blood testing done. My White Blood Cell count came up low. It was 1 point out of range.
The doctor didn't prescribe me any meds. He said he would find a place that does "Off-balance Physical Therapy", I guess it's called postural or gait physical therapy, and that I should see him in 4 weeks. I don't walk awkwardly, but I do get off balance feeling, so I guess if I do end up going to this kind of therapy it won't do any harm.
I should be seeing the first NYPH neurologists again around September 19th. Thanks for reading. Any opinions?