My back has been hurting, a lot. And, it’s getting worse.
My neck and shoulders are also quite painful.
So, I decided to go see a doctor for “pain management”. I showed up for my appointment, and was struck immediately by the resemblance to a methadone clinic. People were talking about how long they had been on medication, and how much they “needed” it. Very nearly all of them were unkempt and fit the stereotypical image of junkies…
Most of the patients were unkempt, and that’s being kind. I immediately thought of leaving, but I stuck it out. Turns out the doctor was behind because he was covering for at least one more doctor, and he was getting ready for his vacation (one week at home, one week in the Caribbean) which sounded lovely. He talked briefly, because I asked, about how nice and restful his vacation should be. He then quickly turned to the situation at hand, which was me…
We went over the locus of my pain (neck and shoulders, the entire spine and lower back). He asked which hurt more (lower back, by a fair margin), and said he’d like some x-rays.
X-ray technician came in to get me and off we went. A couple dozen films later (maybe more!) and we were done. I thought it might take some time to go over the films. In less than 5 minutes, the doctor re-appeared. He said; “You have arthritis, but I think you already knew that, and spinal stenosis and I think that was also already known to you. But, your spine is auto-fusing.” This, I did not know…
He then proceeded to show me where my vertebrae were fusing, from my neck all the way down to my lower back. Surgery was mentioned as a temporary solution, but the “auto-fusing” would continue, unabated. He said that in time this would cause considerable pain, but since I was already in considerable pain I was just a tad worried.
He again mentioned surgery to “clean up” some of the more affected vertebrae, but then he mentioned 2 more alternatives; narcotics for immediate pain management, and “radio frequency ablation” for a temporary solution, 1-2 years at best.
I’ve taken a few of the prescribed hydrocodone pills, and they last 2-3 hours at most. They’re supposed to last for about 8 hours. Good thing I don’t like these sorts of pills, as I can see why over-medication might be a problem. BTW, the doctor said it was ok to have a few drinks a week. I mentioned I like scotch, bourbon, and whisk(e)y and he said it would be no problem, as along s it was only 2 or 3 drinks a week. That’s more than I usually drink in a month, so I welcomed the news cautiously.
I’m calling now to set up the appointment for a second opinion, and will probably call to set up the “radio frequency ablation” very soon.
Thank for letting me rant about my pain.