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CarrieMarie 03-14-2014 08:34 AM

New to boards and pain management but not to pain! Cervical & Lumbar Issues
Hi ! I'm new to the board but have come here for some time for information relating to all sorts of things! Its the first thing that pops up in a search! :)

I have had chronic issues with my back, mostly my cervical spine. This all began around 2007 or so. I was a retail manager and worked full time my entire adult life until my injury. I even cont. to work after injuring myself until the pain became too much to bear & finally resigned. I never told anyone the reasons why I left retail, I only said it was to return to school to get a better job where Im not working crazy hours and on my feet all day. My pride was a larger issue than my health at the time.

My injury occurred while stocking. I was on a very tall ladder in the storeroom and took a step back. When I did, my other foot came off the ladder and both my feet landed flat on the concrete floor. I thought nothing of it at the time but over the next several weeks I began to get knots all long the back of my neck. My neck became stiff and I had trouble turning it from side to side. Finally, after a month a regional manager came in and noticed I couldn't turn my head at all and told me I was going to the doctor regardless if I wanted to or not. I was forced to admit I was indestructible & something was wrong.

Blame it on being young & stubborn but I honestly had no idea I injured myself much less the extent of the cervical spine injury. To make matters worse, once I got to an orthopedist, which is where I was sent by workers comp, they did nothing but physical therapy and aspirations to relieve the pain and lack of mobility. I never once had an ex-ray, ct or mri on my cervical spine.

I have lived with debilitating neck AND back pain for years. I have rarely complained and only worked on occasion at jobs that were easy on me physically. When I tried other work I felt broken the days after and couldn't return. It was heartbreaking. Id never been able NOT to do. And admitting it was impossible.

Recently I decided, due to our family's economic situation and my boredom being a stay to home mom & student to return to retail because it was a job I had always loved. I figured something less stressing such as a lower position would be beneficial financially as well as mentally, getting out of the house and not dealing with children seemed like an awesome idea! I got a job almost immediately at a large retailer as a cashier. I went from temp to full time in NO time! They loved me and knew I had previous exp in management. So they worked me as much as possible.

But during my time there each day got harder. I worked every other day in the beginning so I was able to stay in bed on those days in between my shifts. Standing on my feet, bending, stooping, looking down made the pain in my neck and back resurface with a vengeance. As I was added to the schedule more & more, I was able to do less & less once home and on my days off. I spent most of my time in bed. I spent my breaks crying in my car because the pain was unbearable.

This past January after a short shift, I came home & decided to cook & clean for my family. It was my husbands birthday and wanted to be up doing something! I reached down to pick up an ash can, and in one swift movements of lifting and turning my back popped somewhere in the middle. I immediately went down in horrific pain.

I called my GP to let them know what had happened. I had been on hydro 7.5s for the past two-three years to treat my neck pain & arthritis (xrays confirmed). They didn't seem to care, saying I probably pulled a muscle & give it a few days. They prescribed some additional somas to help with the muscle cramps & mobic for inflammation. I continued working but came home & went straight to bed. No contact with my family because they can tell when I'm not feeling good & I dint want to scare my younger children.

Work was becoming harder and harder and I began dragging my left leg. A few weeks later I cannot move at all and wind up blacking out due to the pain. My husband rushes me to the ER, & the dr there says no films can be done due to the constriction of all my muscle groups. He administers some pretty strong meds, steriods, gives stronger pain meds & muscle relaxers for 5 days (hydro 10/325) & refers me BACK to my family dr. They read the report and say that's the problem and send me home. In the meantime I call and request an MRI be scheduled since my family dr had no intentions of doing so. I finally get one of my lumbar spine and confirm again that I have arthritis! But now I also have disc degeneration, a large lateral muscle tear and Ive ruptured two discs in my lumbar area/spine. Two months after my injury I finally take leave from work. The pain is unbearable. Ijm crabby and emotionally from all this back and forth a mess. My family is worn out as am I. Im thankful my new employer was so reasonable and understanding, they have allowed me to take leave as long as needed and cant wait for me to come back. We keep in touch frequently.

I am now in the process of meeting with a PM doctor at a PM clinic. I only want to be able to function normally, spend time with my family and work to help contribute to my family's well being. Ive finally come to terms that im not indestructible, I cannot fake it any longer and that its okay to ask for help when its needed. I honestly don't think that is asking too much but I've found NOW is NOT the time to have any sort of issues that involve pain or pain medications.

Im having horrible difficulty getting any sort of treatment, add to that a very low threshold for pain, a high one for medications, and it spells disaster. Fortunately my family understands and is willing to sacrifice for my well being but my doctors and everyone else is not so understanding and I am having problems at every turn. I am NOT ready fir surgery, its absolutely the last resort and I refuse to give up a job I love so much. I am holding out hope that somewhere, somehow someone will help me get back on my feet and back to my life that I love so much and have worked so hard for all these years.

My apologies about the length & subsequent typos. I have always been a writer and never a 140 characters type of gal. As you can see I'm not of the Twitter generation. ;)

gmak 03-15-2014 05:38 AM

Re: New to boards and pain management but not to pain! Cervical & Lumbar Issues
Hi carrie, Welcome & i was once in a similar situation once when my pm dr decided to be a hospitalist & i had to go to a new pm dr & i had anxiety because although i had been a pain mgmt patient for 14 years i had never been to a pm clinic with urine tests & pain contracts & i needed my meds refilled also and i always get nervous when seeing a new dr. I made the appt & they required some dr records,a copy of my latest MRI & although it was very different experience the dr did give me some medicine & wanted to do esi's then said no he knew they were contraindicated with my diagnosis but the office called to schedule it after i got home & i said no & asked to speak to the dr but they said i would have to make another appt to do that. I saw him again, he was an interventional pain mgmt dr but he used procedures, non narcotic & narcotic meds in his practice, a month later & he mentioned that i didnt have the esi's & scheduled esi's again & gave me 2 weeks of medicine & said i better not cancel the procedure. Thankfully my old pm took me back but i did feel pressure to have a procedure especially because i cant have any invasive spine procedure with arachnoiditis & thought he understood that. But, i did see my old dr again & still do but we were very careful not to break the pain contract & also not to fill medications from two drs at the same time. What i did not understand is that first i should have interviewed this dr, not signing a contract or receiving meds from him and obtain his treatment plan for me & then i would have quickly seen that he was not a right fit for me if i wasnt willing to follow his care plan but i was in pain & wanted my medicine to relief it. I could have saved myself & the drs time & the confusion if i would have known & wished i had familiarized myself with current pm practices because that dr was not uncaring i just wasnt willing to get esi's & also it takes patience & trial & error to find the right combinations of treatments to find what works best & i didnt give him a chance to do that I have since learned. My dr does pain contracts & random urine testing now & also has explained he has substantial testing, imaging, documentation, etc to justify my need for narcotic therapy. Its good advice to bring your MRI & other documentation of your diagnosis & it should help the new pm dr & i hope he will be able to take good care of you & that your new appt goes well & you find pain relief & answers for treating your back problems soon!

CarrieMarie 03-15-2014 08:00 PM

Re: New to boards and pain management but not to pain! Cervical & Lumbar Issues
Thank Gmak for sharing your story! It helps to know you're not out here all alone! :)

tuloud54 03-28-2014 05:52 PM

Re: New to boards and pain management but not to pain! Cervical & Lumbar Issues
Hey Carrie, Why not print a copy of what you have just written? You explained your concerns and aches and pains great.Doctors are not mind readers! You can read some of other peoples post so we don't repeat ourself but I know exactly what you mean when you can't even turn your neck.I got hit by a pallet upside my neck.It fell off a second shell and nailed me good. Had two surgeries and am grateful I was still alive Neck still hurt but I learned to live with it. It is really hard when you have a long fight ahead of you and you feel the worst you have ever felt! You can win. Interview this doctor like here is working for you. He is! We forget that when we really need our meds that they started us on ,then they get all shocked and shook when we ask for more please. I know very few people who would choose pain pills as a drug of choice. Population is expanding but kids don't do anything today I didn't do 40 yrs ago. It should not be this hard to get the medical help we deserve. Be honest with this man and lots of previous topics on the message boards cover exactly that.You are never Alone! Welcome and keep us in your prayers . God Bless you and yours. Tom

betterdayz4me 11-28-2014 11:15 PM

Re: New to boards and pain management but not to pain! Cervical & Lumbar Issues
I wish I could describe my pain journey as direct and eloquently as [email protected], Bravo. Hey, maybe you could make something of it, like a blog ect. Just food for thought.
Anyhow, I can relate a lot to your story and in my personal experience, finding a good pain management doctor greatly improved my quality of life and my participation in my children's activities. I am only now realizing how lucky I was to have found, a PM specialist that was a perfect fit for me. I am not saying, I got to hand pick my treatment plan. I am saying my concerns were heard and there was always good communication between us and genuine compassion for me as a patient. I went through all the yucky side effects, of many different medication trial and errors. The increased pain and worsening neuropathy caused by the overly aggressive PT exercises. I received the epidural and trigger point injections regularly even though I eventually had a bad reaction to one. I followed every recommendation and all the rules my doctor established for my treatment. By the first year I suppose, I had earned the right and had enough first hand experience to give my input, on what is working and what is not. My doctor patient relationship was solid and consistent for years. I am still in shock over his abrupt retirement and worried sick about finding a replacement. I thought I was being treated as all patients should be but the more I read on here. The more I realize, how blessed I was and how scary and bleak, my future as a patient, may very likely become. God Bless us All

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