Discussions that mention ibuprofen

Back Problems board

I see a chiropractor who has been doing wonderful things for me through PT type exercises and tips for around the house. I don't have a PCP in this area, though I went back to my old one while visiting my parents 2 hours away, and got scripts for what I call my "every day meds" Ibuprofen (I tried Celebrex for a while and it didn't work) Robaxin (unless it's bad and close to bedtime, then I substitute Flexiril) and Tramadol, which my previous docs and I found kept me pretty normal and functional except for the post dinner aches and pains that just become unavoidable to people like us. He gave me 5 refills of each, and quite a few each time, so I'm stocked up.

I just went for my first MRI on Saturday, and the tech pointed out two obvious bulges, at L 4-5 (which everyone assumed) and the one just above or below it (that one was a surprise.) and said though they were easy to see, they weren't "bad" as far as he had seen. The neuro, who saw me once briefly before ordering the MRI (wouldn't touch me until he had that thing!) hasn't gotten back to me yet.

Since moving out of the military system and to this area of the civilian world (which was apparently the site of a rather large pharmaceutical and doctor type bust just months before we moved here) I haven't found a single sympathetic doctor. Mostly because I'm only 27, and also because I can't pinpoint the beginning of my pain. My first sciatic episode was 2 months after a car accident (where my whiplash was pretty bad) and I forgot all about it. It got really bad with my first pregnancy, after birth, and even worse with my second.

I have what I call "flares" where for a few days, for no apparent reason, (or sometimes due to long drives, repeated motions etc) the sciatica and back aches get really bad. The sciatic stuff is what's awful. It can affect just one or both my hips, and I'm in the middle of one now. I went to the chiropractor, she said she couldn't do anything for me but recommend ice and NSAID'S and she wouldn't mess with my back tonight because she could feel the inflammation from the outside in a spot or two.

So, I'm sure you know how it goes, the sciatica/low back flares up, then you start "guarding" as the Chiropractor calls it (oh, and the chiro comes highly recommended by the neuro) and before you know it your whole back is in a mess, you have a headache, etc. I'm having difficulty walking, even changing positions when lying down hurts, which is why I haven't been able to make it to bed yet.

What do I do? I know from similar experiences in the past that this will last a few days, more than likely. Previously, I had a PCP who trusted me, and I could call him and he would script me for 20 7.5 hydros or something, and I would take them through the episode then not ask again for another 2-3 months. Should I call the neuro tomorrow? The MRI is there, so he does have proof that something is wrong. I'm just worried because when he saw me briefly before ordering the MRI, I felt great. I had just had a steroid injection (which is like a miracle drug for me.... I'm usually completely pain free after they take effect. Unfortunately, they end up wearing off after a week or so, and I can't get them that often) and told him so, that I didn't have much pain at all that day and I was doing fine. He said "Good." Then told me to go get the MRI and stick with the Chiro for my daily PM. Well, that's just fine for most stuff, but she can't write prescriptions!!! Plus the whole thing about the bulges on the MRI not looking "too bad" as the tech said.

I just want this relentless ache in my hips and lower back to go away so I can sleep. I'm already maxed out on my Tramadol with no relief. Should I call the neuro tomorrow? Should I call the chiro to see if she (since they coordinate on patient care quite a bit) can contact him and back me up? All I want is a few prescription painkillers, and it seems like asking for them is a surefire way NOT to get them. I'm pretty much sure I'd be labeled as having "Drug seeking behavior" if I went in to an Urgent Care or ER because, well, I'm seeking pain relief. If you do call your docs, what do you tell them? Hey, I'm in alot of pain and until we can decide on my next course of treatment, I need a few drugs. Just for the next couple of days. What is the right thing to say when seeking pain relief not to get yourself "branded" and out of luck on getting help in the future? My severe pain is sporadically episodic like this. Comes on suddenly, last a few days, gradually goes away, leaving me with the daily stuff that the therapy with my chiro is helping me with. I'm not one who will have to be on opioid maintenance or anything, but I still am worried about talking to anyone about it. I'm afraid either the doctor is going to label me on the spot and refuse further treatment (it's happened before, though not with a specialist) or there will be someone waiting with handcuffs when I walk out of the Doctor's office. What's the right approach? How do you seek relief for pain in today's world without being a "seeker?" I honestly would be willing to take something else that I knew would work. I just don't know of anything at the moment. This is the first time I've ever had to worry about this. At the Air Force hospital, even the pharmacy records were all in the same data base, so with a couple strokes they could pull up my drug history. Well, asks for one every 2-3 months, occasionally needs 1 re-fill, but usually doesn't. Then, bam, there's the script.

I know that doctors have to be careful nowdays, but I've encountered some who were just plain rude, some condescending, judgmental.... the ones who really listened and took me seriously is the CNP at the WalMart Check-Ups clinic (the only person who would give me my Tram prescription when we first rolled into town) and the Chiropractor. And neither of them can write for controlled meds. The CNP has said that she "can't" do stronger than Tramadol, so I assume that means by law. Well, I'll shut up now. Maybe I can go to sleep.
Okay, I'm losing it here. The nurse called me a little bit ago to tell me that he "can't do anything for me," she was very kind, especially when I was in such shock I began to cry, after a sleepless night and 48 hours of hurting. He supposedly sees no reason on the MRI for my leg pain. Some minimal degeneration of L4-5 and L5-S1 but nothing that he could see to account for my low back/sciatic pain. Also, he didn't know why my foot tingles and aches, as the MRI clearly showed perfectly working nerve signals. Though he did see some areas of muscle weakness, it was nothing he could treat. Honestly, I don't remember everything, and some of it seemed a little contradictory, but I was in such horrible shock, because I just KNEW I was going to be able to prove that something was wrong with me and I wasn't making it up!

So far, I'm holding up okay. As long as I get my ibuprofen in me every 6-8 hrs, wear the lumbar brace given to me by the chiro, and stick a cooling pain relief patch on each buttcheek, and don't stay in one position too long! I still don't get it. The tech mentioned the disks at those locations, and the chiro says she can feel the inflammation from the outside, in that area. I asked the nurse if the steroid shot would have made thinks look better than they are, and she said "no." The doctor says there is nothing surgical he can do for you. (Why couldn't he try a nerve block? Every doctor in the whole world has diagnosed me immediately with sciatica.) Or are they just like "if you don't need operating on, we don't treat you at all?" I guess the latter is true, because his recommendation was to stick with my Chiro, and if I needed prescription meds, since he's not treating me, he's not writing, understandable, but really like a punch in the gut to me. My hubby told me to get a second opinion. But I'm like "Is getting a second opinion the same as Doctor Shopping? Won't they just all stick together as fellow MD's and continue not believing me? Especially if I pick up my records and there is a big "Drug seeking behavior" label on there. I was especially casual that day at his office visit, because I felt great due to the steroids. And I told him about the shot, but now I'm wondering if he thought I was faking or exaggerating my pain. Which I wasn't. I actually had very little pain that day and told him so, so all of my answers were from memory. Now I just have this awful paranoia that he sent his opinion to the chiro, who I might have had on my side otherwise (she was referring me to a PCP and said she would advocate for me) and now my name is being circulated on the "don't treat" list around the area.

I know we don't have a state database, my state has remained pretty lenient on it all, but I just don't know how accurate my perception is. Remember, I spent the last few years in the Military Health System, where I got percocet for pelvic pain after child birth. Percs are the go to drug in the hospital. LOL. My friend had the dentist tell her after a complication "Well, I can only give you Lortab this time because I don't like to refill Percocet more than once." And she was PO'd. LOL. So I have no idea, in reality, how much of a sentiment has grown in the last 5 years or so against back pain patients. I do know I've seen signs in Urgent Care Clinics saying Attention: "back pain" patients. Physician does not write for..... in quotes. Like that!

Anyway, that's where I am right now. A little confused, a little lost, very tired, achy, and I think I'm getting to that point where I'm on the verge of something, I just can't tell if it's a revolution, like a loss of respect for and bitterness towards medical professionals, or acceptance of the psychosomatic-sciatica diagnosis.