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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Hey Folks,

Havent been on this forum in a while. Been hanging out in the pain management section for the last few months learning about all the medications I am having to take because of my problem. I will try to make this short. Im stuck in a small town medical system with a GP that doesnt know what to do other than feed me drugs.

In 2003 I had been in two major car accidents, one really bad one where I hit the steering wheel with my chest and rt shoulder after breaking the seat belt upon impact. Airbag didnt go off even tho I was going 40mph. Once I healed from this bad accident my neck symptoms would come and go but my shoulder and upper back, under the shoulder blade always hurt to some degree. Most often I just worked though it. One day I went out golfing and took a really big swing and I felt a horrible tear and then burning sharp pain under my shoulder blade. I quit playing and went home and hit the ice and heat routine. At this point the neck, upper back and shoulder were in pain 24/7 and it was much worse than it had ever been in. I took a week off work a stayed in bed. It was springtime and my allergies kicked in gear. Everytime I sneezed, sometimes 20-30 times a day, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the upper back between the spine and shoulder blade, the rhomboid muscles if you are familiar with them. After a week of this I went to the Dr. They did all the basics like Xrays and PT and conservative meds. Nothing worked. Dr the sent me to a Nuerosurgeon thinking I had a cerivcal injury since all the pain follow the nerves out of the neck. 6 weeks later I had a cervical fusion or ACDF at c4-c6 with a titanium plate. It seemed to help for a while but in the end it was really the increased post surgical meds I was on that masked the pain. I kept telling my Neurosurgeon that my original symptoms were mostly unchanged. He wouldnt hear of it. He basically told me that it was a function of my addiction to Norco. I was taking 1-2 ever 4-6 hours, hardly a major issue. I gave up on him and sought care elsewhere.

A month later we were able to squeeze myself somehow into UC Davis pain management clinic. This is a staff of nuerologist, orthopedics, nuerosurgeons and the like. They did a whole bunch of "nuero" tests on me and came up with the conclusion that I had a torn rotator cuff in my rt shoulder. Seemed odd to me at the time as how can a shoulder injury cause upper back and neck problems?? But I went along and they sent me off to a Shoulder Dr. He went into my shoulder arthroscopically and saw no tears but did see some bony spurs so he cleaned them up. In the end, no change. So, time for a new plan again. UC Davis was a 3-4 hour drive for me and I couldnt take it anymore. I need to try closer to home.

I went back home and sought out a great GP Dr to take the lead and get me back on track. At this time everything started to look good. He was on my side and had ideas. He changed my meds around to provide me with more pain relief and contacted a couple of "fix-it" Dr's here in town to see if the would see me. One sad ok. I went to see him and hew saw all kinds of problems with me physically. My right shoulder hung much lower than my left, my right shoulder blade "winged" or stuck out when I motion in a hand shake movement. He immediately scheduled me for a nerve conduction study. The EMG showed problems with two nerves, the long thoracic and the suprascapular nerve. He came up with the idea to send me to a PM Dr. that specializes in injections and treatment to take care of these nerves. Off I went, another Dr.

I saw this Dr, a highly reccomended fellow, and he was great. He put together a 5 point plan of attack that included Epidurals, Facet Joint injections, Medial Branch blocks, Radio Frequency Leasioning and perhaps even Botox injections. I should have mentioned that I have had several MRI's and CT's over this whole period. They did find two moderately bulding disks at t2-t4. So thats why we started off with the ESI's or Epidural Steroid Injections. They were inaffective. We then were to procede on to the Medial Branch Blocks in the Cervical Spine but this Dr left the practice to do full time anasthesia for our two local hospitals. The replacement Dr was no where near as nice or as sharp and he had a bad reputation for being a drill seargent but he at least did the Medial Branch blocks and they worked as intended. They gave me pain relief for about 12 hours. MBB's are the diagnostic test for doing RFL's or Radio Frequesncy Lesioning. So we scheduled the RFL and I was handed a pamplet about the procedure that explained how it would go down. The main key issue to me was pain control while they are doing the RFL because I have heard and read they hurt really bad. Right there in the pamplet it says IV meds for anxiety and pain would be administered. It also had a link to there website which had a FAQ on the procedure and it said the same this. That put me at ease. So I show up for the RFL and get prepped for the procedure. They put the IV in and I asked the nurse what meds we would be using. I like to know in advance. I think we should all know what they are sticking in our IV's. The Dr came over and its one that I had never seen before. Seems the other Dr couldnt make it, nice of the to not call me as this is the second time I have switched Dr's without notice. So now I am on my 3rd Dr with this PM clinic. He want on to say that he doesnt use any medications while doing this. When I started to protest he said, "I have done hundreds of these and even the 13 year old little girls got by without IV meds and we either do them with out meds or we dont do them at all". Nice eh? He would be doing major local anasthesia so I made the mistake of going thru with it. Oh my lord did it hurt. I found out what 10/10 on the pain scale was I actually tried to get up off the table to leave. I was strapped in. Hmm, wonder why. He tried to calm me down and he proceeded. Well, he was only able to do two of the planned 5 lesionings. He had failed to notice that my MBB's were done in a sitting position so the Dr could get the lower cervical areas. Because I was laying on my stomach he couldnt get thru the muscle and couldnt pull my arms done low enough to gain access. Im a big guy at 6'5" and 260lbs. There was no way he was going to get thru the muscle the way he set me up. He then asked me how my MBB's were done and I told him sitting in a chair. All this did was show me he didnt read my chart and prepare for me. He decided to quit right there. 2 out of 5. Yippee. The odds of RFL's working when you complete all of them are only 60-80%. Only doing 2/5 really kills the chances of success.

So here we are now 1.5 months latter. The RFL's he did get done didnt help at all. My GP who sent me there doesnt want me to go back because the original Dr he wanted me to see was gone but also doesnt have any other ideas other that to send me to another PM Dr and its been 2 weeks since I talked to him about it. Im stuck. I can barely function. I need help dressing. I can walk around the house or go shopping for about an hour and I am done. Right now, after typing this long account I am in terrible pain despite the massive amounts of meds they have me on.

Anyone have a clue what I should do. I wish there was some sort of advocacy center that one could call to get help. Im stuck and in a lot of pain and at 37 years old it seems like my normal life is done. Im going to go to the new PM Dr when it happens but I am frustrated that at this point, after all I have gone thru, dont have a diagnosis.

THoughts are greatly appreciated.





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