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anniedeighnaugh

Anyone see a physiatrist for back issues?

Annie Deighnaugh
last month
last modified: last month

I've been having back issues and I think I've reached the end of what my chiropractor can do. I've had x-ray and MRI done and went to ortho surgeon who said he'd recommend a physiatrist first to give me a shot in the back. (!?!) and if that doesn't work, he'd fuse the bone where the spine meets the sacrum as that's where the problem is and the "slippage" is occurring.

Neither of those options sound particularly welcoming. Especially since, at this point, I'm not debilitated, but only in pain. I will be going for more opinions for sure. But just curious what others' experience has been.

Comments (96)

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Spanish, thank you for the heads up about hypothyroidism. Certainly injection is an option and being aware of potential side effects is important. And thanks for the recommendations for physical therapy/exercise treatments. My major concern with them...as with all of the options...is there is so much conflicting information. When DH was seeing PTs for his sciatica while he was in the hospital, one would come one day and say you must do X daily....the next day another would come and say don't ever do X. So who the heck knows? It all seems to be trial and error...if it works for you, great. If it doesn't, then try something else...and hope what you try doesn't make it worse.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    last month

    Annie, your concerns point exactly to why a physiastrist is the best choice. These doctors are trained in rehabilitation. They handle very complex problems which would leave people terribly disabled on e upon a time.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
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  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Honu, thanks for your questions.


    I have had x-ray and MRI and have received a diagnosis and have copies of the report and the images. I have reviewed them with my chiropractor who, unlike the Ortho surgeon, spent a lot of time with me discussing the findings and my options for treatments including medical ones and recommendations for which local specialists to choose from.


    I've had neck surgery over 20 years ago with an excellent neurosurgeon, and one of my options is to try and see him for a consult to see what he would recommend. I'm sure I'll have to pay out of pocket as he, like so many specialists, won't accept medicare and he's no longer in the area, but he'd be worth a consult.


    I am aware of what pain means and would love to see experts sooner rather than later, but so far I'm being told that, if they'll see me at all, new patients are being booked out 3 months. My cousin has a very similar issue to mine and swears by her PT who specializes in spine and cervical issues...but he too is booking new patients out 3 months. I have a dear friend who is completely bedridden having lost the use of both legs to spinal stenosis due to her severe arthritis. It is definitely a route I don't want to go down! I have heard of the McKenzie method as one option. My DH has a friend who went to a physiatrist for a shot and it didn't help at all. He then went to another one ... a top doc in the field ... who told him the reason why the first shot didn't work is they put it in the wrong spot. I want to make sure I don't go to him! Regardless of education or specialty, there are simply some docs who are much better than others at what they do.


    But I am researching my options and weighing the costs/benefits of each as I know, in medicine, there's no "undo" button. You can't try something and undo it if you don't like the results.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Elmer: "I should also comment, as a sign of my own frank honesty...I welcome comments..."


    In that spirit, I will say that, frankly, I've never interacted with anyone whose perception of themselves so differs from my perception of them.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Zalco, I understand, but there's still so much they don't know. They say that docs will see spinal structures that look perfect but the patient is in pain, and others that look horrible and yet the patient has no pain. So my biggest concern is whether or not the structural defect they've found which they say is congenital is actually the cause of my pain or not.

  • jmm1837
    last month

    Annie - I think you may be focussing too much on the "what ifs" and not enough on the "what next."  What next should be, is to see the physiatrist and hear what she or he has to say.  If it's a conservative approach - physio, Tylenol, an exercise program, tai chi or pilates or acupuncture, then your comment about the "undo" button doesn't really apply.  Some of these things may help, none will harm.


    As for physios, my GP told me to see one when I was having problems with back and hip. It's kind of the starting point for getting a suitable program going.  Check around: I'm sure you can find someone who can help (the physiatrist may have a list). I've had five  different physios in 7 years (I don't take the fact that they kept quitting  personally - two left to have kids, one to set up her own practice, and one decided to spend a season in Darwin).   All of them helped me, some perhaps more than others, but most physios have a pretty good understanding of back issues in my experience. One of the things I found most useful with all the physios I saw was their willingness and ability to educate me on the reasons for particular exercises. And of course they all drew up programs personalized to my needs and physical state.  As I progressed, the programs got more complex, but because I understood the rationale I was better able to keep going:   I'm much better at motivating myself if I understand why I'm supposed to be doing some particular thing.


    If the physiatrist wants a more invasive approach (ie an injection), there can be downsides as others have pointed out, and that's a decision you will have to make, but, injection or not, I imagine you will still need to follow up with exercise and physio.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked jmm1837
  • 1929Spanish-GW
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I forgot to add that Chiropractic was the very worst thing for my neck. It's what put me at the point I did the nerve block. And I'm a believer. After that point, I did go to someone I trusted for a while and he would stretch my neck, but never adjust it.

    Oh, and I forgot, the other really good thing is traction. It works so well for me that I used a bunch of extra FSA money one year to buy a pneumatic traction machine like the one my PT used.

    I'm sure I'll come up with more.

    ETA - And I did come up with more... to your comment about everyone says something different.... This is where you absolutely need to be your own advocate. Don't do anything that makes it feel uncomfortable. When you're in the acute pain phase, for me at least, I didn't let them push me on any exercise, but I did do the motion. For example, there's a stretch where you put your forearms on either side of the doorway and push forward. I started by putting my arms up and leaning VERY LIGHTLY so my body could feel what the stretch was like and SLOWLY did more and more while feeling comfortable. I also start by telling my PT that I'm not, never have been, never want to be an athlete and if they are althletic minded, then we may not work.

    ETA One more thing....never stop moving. In my very worst days, I still got out and found something I could do to move. I rested often. One day it was so bad, but I still took myself to an outdoor flea market so I could get some exercise in and not think about it....slow wandering....even if that's all you can do, you need to keep moving. At least I did.


    ETA ...you couldn't think I was done, could you?!? This is a massage technique that worked wonders for me too. First tried it at Miraval in Tuscon. Trager Massage

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked 1929Spanish-GW
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks Spanish. I tried traction with the chiropractor, but I couldn't see that it was helping at all and at times seemed to make things worse. So I've since stopped that. I will have to look into Trager Massage. I've not heard of that one. And I have been moving and will continue to do so. Before this happened, I was exercising 6 days a week including yoga, barre, dancing and hiking. I've had to cut out the dancing, switched to walking or gentle hikes only, and have focused the yoga on low back pain relief.


  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    I want to thank everyone here too for being willing to share your experiences with me. It's given me a lot of options and directions to go in. It's given me a lot to think about and good questions to follow up on. The time you've all spent to tell me your stories has been invaluable. Thank you all so much.

  • Ally De
    last month
    last modified: last month

    L5-S1 and I also have a tenuous relationship. I tried everything. Well, everything but chiropractic because it's clear to me they're quacks. I understand YMMV but I'm sorry to say some of what that profession pushes is pure bunk.


    I had a great neurosurgeon who said fusion was the only surgical option. However he didn't actually rush for surgery and said let's try some other stuff first. I did 2 rounds of PT, multiple sessions of acupuncture and nothing really helped. But then summer arrived and I started swimming.


    What the NS told me is that sometimes the vertebrae will fuse themselves over time too.


    As stated above, I agree one needs to keep moving. I do believe the key movement will be different though. Swimming helped me more than anything, but I've met people who swear PT changed their life. Some folks agree the injections tamp the pain down enough to get you moving again too. Swimming, and time, helped me more than anything. Now when it flares up I did learn some stretches and exercises in PT that give me the ability to work it out myself. And sometimes NSAIDS and heat/ice are a gift from heaven.


    I'd give the physiatrist a shot. Love that discipline, love their focus.


    Good luck!

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Ally De
  • 1929Spanish-GW
    last month

    One last piece of advice and I’ll stop. Because my experience was that chiropratic made my issue worse, I would suggest you stop those treatments and let it rest for one or two cycles, depending on how often you go. Remember, I’ve used chiropractic before, but don’t understand continuing any kind of treatment that is not helping move from point A to point B.

    For example, if you had an adjustment and then you also had traction, how do tou know which made it worse? (Assuming they were done at the same time).

    Then, adter talking with your MD, try some things individually to see what is making it better.

    Finally, I did start to look into artificial discs, which were very new at the time. if I have to have surgery, then I definitely would prefer that to a fusion if it was possible.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked 1929Spanish-GW
  • JustDoIt
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here's a somewhat unconventional option that my 80+ year old uncle swore by for body pains. He was tall and had back and knee pains from laying carpets for years:

    Bottle of rubbing alcohol, add some marijuana, let set for several days. Rub it on the sore area throughout the day.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked JustDoIt
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Spanish, I was having adjustments done and was not progressing so we stopped them. Then he suggested a few rounds of traction to see if they helped. They didn't seem to. So now he suggested seeing the physiatrist and maybe getting a shot. So it has been one thing at a time.

  • Honu3421
    last month

    I'm sorry you are going through this and very sorry your DH had a bad experience with with PT. We all have to learn how to be good medical consumers and our own advocates. A skill set for which there is no guidebook. I hope the "shot" you're talking about is this: Image Guided Lumbar Epidural Corticosteroid Injection. This is an injection that takes about 20 minutes to complete. Your doc will not hit the wrong spot if he uses real time image guidance and references your MRI.

    You are correct when you say that imaging and symptoms, or lack thereof, do not always match up. But it sounds like yours do match. So just think about yourself for now. Don't let any negativity take up residence in your brain. Make those doctor appointments now! Three months will go by before you know it. You can always cancel them later. And if surgery becomes the final option, don't be dismayed. Yes, back surgery can have bad outcomes, but it can also have good ones. Look into those positive outcomes, I don't know, but the percentages might be better than we are all lead to believe. And why can't you be one of the good stories? We're all pulling for you to find your solution and a healing. Wishing you the best.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Honu3421
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you Honu for your kind and uplifting words.

  • jmm1837
    last month

    Listen to Honu, who is, I think, spot on.  


    And one last thought: although my issues are not the same, I have found hydrotherapy sessions run by the outfit where I do my physio, to be extremely beneficial.  You might look into that as well at some point.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked jmm1837
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Update:

    • I made an apptmt with physiatrist: won't see him for 3 weeks.
    • I made an apptmt with my old neurosurgeon to get his opinion: won't see him for 3 weeks. But he is now part of a spine specialty group that include chiropractic and acupuncture so I may be able to pursue those options there if indicated.
    • I'm trying to make an appmt with my neighbor and haven't heard back but probably won't see him until Sept.
    • I'm trying to make an apptmt with another recommended physiatrist and haven't heard back though he's booked out for 3 months too (and won't take medicare).
    • I'm trying to make an apptmt with recommended PT but he too is booking out 3 months for new patients
    • I made an apptmt with my PC doc and will see her on Fri to discuss what pain meds I can and can't take and get her insight into the situation.

    In the meantime, I tried doing some McKenzie moves on my own...not good...my back is worse so I stopped. Instead I'm doing gentle yoga and trying to make sure I sit no more than 30 min at a time without getting up and moving around. Still think my primary issue is chiropractic, and just need to find someone who can do the right moves. Talked to GF about her chiropractor so he's a possibility. Someone else told me of another in another area who works with a spine center and her husband had much success with him.

  • Honu3421
    last month

    Annie, thank you for the update. Wow, you move fast, girl. When you talk to your doc about pain meds, be sure to ask about the new (to me) protocol of alternating Tylenol with ibuprofen. As I understand, one is cleared through the liver and the other through the kidneys giving you the opportunity to "double up" your dosage. I've read that this protocol is a good substitute for opioids - so it's worth a try. The other protocol is therapeutic doses of ibuprofen which can be hard on the stomach and should be done under dr. care and treats swelling as well as pain.

    WRT your comment on Mckenzie moves, you were right to stop. It's really not something you can prescribe for yourself. You need someone trained in the technique. And I don't think it's something you can do during your acute phase of pain and swelling. I had trouble with the therapy and was actually fired by my therapist for not making progress! It wasn't until I got the swelling and pain down that I was able to continue (with a new therapist) and get better. So don't give up on that one.

    Sending positive vibes!


    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Honu3421
  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month

    Wishing only the best for your care and well-being, I took a look at what the two medical schools in my area offered regarding the type of services you're looking for. These are the medical centers where we focus almost all of our medical services, with only a few exceptions.


    UCSF and Stanford are both considered as being in the select group of the most highly rated institutions in the US medical system. Both have well recognized neurosurgery and spine centers. Neither of the two seem to have chiropractors or acupuncturists involved with patient treatment. That says something to me about the spine practice you're going to; I hope it says something to you too.


    Hoping a speedy recovery will be in your future.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • maire_cate
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Annie - this may have been mentioned but have you tried water therapy? My hospital has a wellness center with all the usual equipment but they also have 3 pools - a lap pool, an exercise pool and a warm water pool that's used by PT for treatment. They also have warm water classes sanctioned by the National Arthritis Foundation that are low impact and help improve balance, flexibility and range of motion that are available for anyone - no medical prescriptions needed.

    DH has advised family members as well as patients to alternate Tylenol with ibuprofen in certain instances. They work differently and the combination may offer relief when taking just one doesn't. Last week our grand daughter had a nasty cold with a fever and Children's Tylenol didn't seem to be working so he suggested alternating the two - worked great. My dentist told me the same thing after dental surgery. He mentioned there were studies showing that it's more effective than some opioids.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked maire_cate
  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month

    "My dentist told me the same thing after dental surgery."


    Ditto. If you take the size of each that gets dosed every 4 hours, it is safe and VERY effective to take Type A, then Type B two hours later, then another dose of Type A (it's been 4 hours), etc.


    You should also check with your physician or dentist first, but I was advised that dosages on labels are often less than what's needed to be therapeutically effective. I was told after a procedure to take 3 Advil instead of 2 in the rotation for the first 24 hours.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    I am reluctant to touch an nsaid without dr's advice as I've already had a bleeding ulcer and they are known to cause them. But I appreciate the input.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Elmer, perhaps you didn't look at integrative medicine: https://med.stanford.edu/psychiatry/patient_care/intmed.html

    (Yes I'm aware it's at the dept of psychiatry.)


    "Integrative Medicine combines the best of “alternative” and complementary treatments with mainstream modern medicine and psychology to provide care for the whole person: mind and body.... We offer our patients a variety of integrative techniques including acupuncture, hypnosis and mindfulness, and information regarding dietary supplements, in conjunction with traditional medical care."


    And some of the issues they treat are chronic pain and musculoskeletal and joint pain.

    So it's not that Stanford doesn't make use of complementary treatments. It does.


    Other prestige medical centers also are studying integrative medicine, such as Harvard & Brigham & Women's: https://oshercenter.org/research/mind-body-movement-wayne/#current

    "Current work centers around the study of Tai Chi and related mind-body exercises, manual therapies, and acupuncture for the prevention, rehabilitation, and symptom management of a broad range of chronic health conditions including age- and Parkinson’s disease-related balance impairments, cognitive decline, chronic back and neck pain, cardiovascular diseases, migraine headaches, and cancer."


    And the Cleveland Clinic which is well respected for the quality medical care it provides does as well: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/wellness/integrative/treatments-services


    If you look at my list of appointments, I'm making full use of medical experts as well as alternative treatments in a way that hopefully leads to a successful outcome while pursing the options in a way that balances the offerings of both modalities while minimizing the risks associated with each.


    But I do appreciate the gentler tone and the expression of concern.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have a childhood friend who became an orthopedic surgeon. I left our mutual hometown and we've gone our separate ways, but I have some contact with him every 5 years or so. During one such dinner get-together, I asked how the sawbones work was going. He told me he'd become disillusioned with it and felt like he should do more to help people. He'd resigned from his partnership and was excited about a fairly good-sized independent practice would be joining that offered "alternative" treatment with both traditional and less-traditional providers collaborating to treat patients. We spoke about other things and mutual acquaintances, and I wished him well.

    The next contact was a longer interval maybe 7-8 years later. Again over dinner. We started catching up and I ask him how the practice he was about to join at our last conversation was going. He started laughing and said "Well, I only lasted a few years there". I asked why. He said something like "As much as I wanted to make it work and be part of treatments with broader perspectives, I came to realize that the non-conventional methods I saw being used were mostly BS. A few were helpful but it was likely through placebo effect because my conventional diagnostic assessments for patients who experienced improvements

    showed no measurable changes. I returned to my surgical practice and know that what I do improves people's health".

    I understand that research is being done in many different areas, relatives and others I know are so engaged. New looks at many traditional ways are among the thousands of things being explored. The way research works is that looking for useful new knowledge versus finding and demonstrating new understandings are two very different things. There's a lot of research done, in social as well as hard sciences, concerning far-ranging and far-fetched notions. That's what academia is about. The usefulness and success rates for much of it is very low. Remember that in science, the default for a hypothesis is the negative - "No, it doesn't work that way" or "No, that doesn't have that effect". That sticks until something otherwise can be demonstrated, and results are replicated by others.

    Devoting significant resources to having large and robust research departments is a core requisite for accreditation for allopathic medical schools. That's why you'll find research activities, published studies, and important findings coming out of any and all of them. Biomedical research is also done in departments and institutes that are not direct agencies of medical schools. It's my understanding that of the many Osteopathic medical schools (that produce DOs and not MDs) few and maybe none would meet accreditation standards because they don't conduct substantive research on a large scale. I think some do none. They have their own accreditation body, standards are lower and robust research isn't required. It goes without saying, chiropractic schools do little or no research at all.

    Trust the science. Reality is factual, observable, repeatable. Good luck.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Elmer, I hear you and recognize that a lot of what works hasn't been researched and tested. I think it's interesting that your friend was, even as a professional, disillusioned with traditional medicine. I'm sure there are lots of patients who are as well as they still suffer despite best medical efforts.


    A patient in pain won't care whether the relief has scientific or placebo or psychosomatic effects as its genesis...what's relevant is the relief. There are simply too many instances of people not being relieved by traditional medicine, and there are too many instances of people being harmed by traditional medicine that it warrants blind acceptance as the first and only line to pursue.


    One example: DH had arthritis pain in his thumb to the point where he could barely shave as he couldn't hold the razor. We went to a hand specialist who said it was bone on bone and his solution was to surgically remove the bone in his thumb and assured us he could live without it. We said thank you, no. I got him some Chinese anti-inflammatory herbs instead and 10 yrs later he's still shaving just fine with all his thumb bones in tact, his pain levels much improved. Perhaps at some point surgery may be warranted, but if we can postpone it with a low risk/high benefit alternative, more's the better.


    I'm not going to convince you of the power of alternatives, just as you aren't going to convince me that they're all quackery. But I appreciate your taking the time to share your point of view with me. And be assured I'm not walking away from traditional medicine, only integrating alternatives in my treatment.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks for a civil exchange. I'd like to respond to a few things you said:

    "recognize that a lot of what works hasn't been researched and tested."

    You have this backwards. Remember, the default in the absence of repeatable findings is: No, it - isn't/doesn't/can't/won't.

    It's not that "what works" hasn't been found. It's that "what has been hypothesized as having an effect, hasn't yet been demonstrated to do so, and until that happens, it doesn't". This is no different than people attributing a recovery or disease reversal to prayer, or to smearing marigold blossoms on their face, or whatever - if unproven, then the accepted explanation has to be that that isn't what did it. And, of course, problems do go away.

    "interesting that your friend was, even as a professional, disillusioned with traditional medicine."

    Actually, I think he resolved a question he had by doing a rational scientific and experiential investigation for himself, rather than dismissing the possibility without evidence. The answer to his question "Surely there must be better ways to treat these problems and maybe alternative, non-traditional techniques have something to offer". was "No, what these particular (not all) people are claiming is bogus and can't be demonstrated to do anything. What I was doing before was much more effective". (I'm paraphrasing the sense of what he said, certainly with these words being a verbatim account of a conversation that took place 15 years ago).

    "We went to a hand specialist who said it was bone on bone"

    I suspect this was a diagnosis using an X-ray. If you didn't pursue treatment with this doctor, you have no basis to dismiss his diagnosis and absent further investigation, have no basis to suggest that his approach was wrong. And no basis to suggest what it was or wasn't and why the pain went away. Remember the default is in the negative - if the effect of a substance you think was responsible for it feeling benefit hasn't been demonstrated, then there's no evidence supporting what you allege or think happened.

    "I'm not going to convince you of the power of alternatives"

    Faith or belief is not a basis for treatment choices or effectiveness. Promising possibilities are investigated and should be but in the absence of specific findings, there is no "power" or even effect to attribute to any "alternative". An alternative is not automatically good because it's that, any more than a traditional approach should be viewed by anyone as being automatically bad.

    I'm all for investigating them. It's the advocacy of unproven treatments and substances that's an unrecognize risk and, in my view, is the biggest danger people face when turning away from science based medical care. Because not only are so many substances, supplements, herbal items and the like potentially dangerous because they're untested as to their effect and unregulated as to their production, but seeing shaman practicing voodoo (including chiropractors) can stop people from getting real treatment, no matter how effective or limited the state of the art may be for their complaint in traditional medicine. There are sadly far too many cases like this documented.

    And, of course, there are far too many crappy physicians around. Too many pick their docs and other professionals for geographical convenience, not realizing that rural and small town practitioners are rarely their profession's best and brightest. It's worth it to take a drive.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Wow, Elmer, your arguments flipflop.

    In other exchanges, I post scientific data based evidence and you dismiss it saying that it's not personal experience. I quote you: "Passages like these found through internet searches are anecdotal and not personal insights." Clearly in this instance you put more emphasis on personal experience than facts and data. (Most recently with the "male clotheshorse" where, since you don't know any, none can exist.)

    Then you turn it around.

    You say it isn't true unless proven by science to be true. I can give lots of personal insights, my own and others, where alternatives have helped, even in cases where traditional medicine has not. Whether the effects of willow bark had yet been studied scientifically or not, the effects it had on pain reduction were a reality and continue to be now that we call it aspirin. That's reality, not faith.

    I am well aware of hypothesis testing as part of a scientific experiment...more personally familiar with statistical modeling than science experiments where you set a null hypothesis and apply certain criteria to data to disprove that hypothesis...but that's defining the method, not the reality. Just as "innocent until prove guilty", which begins at trial, doesn't mean the crook isn't guilty of the crime before the trial. It just means it wasn't proven by a jury of his peers yet to where he can be held legally responsible.

    Given the financial incentives to big pharma around patented medicines, they have little desire to study things such as vitamins as, if they find results, they can't make money off of it. Doesn't mean herbs or vitamins don't have effects yet to be proven, only that they haven't been studied. Red Yeast Rice, which was used for centuries in China, was able to be isolated into statins which big pharma has been able to patent and now it's standard treatment for high cholesterol. But that doesn't mean it didn't have a therapeutic effect before. As I was looking into treatments for my ulcer, I came across Zinc L-carnosine which is standard treatment for ulcers in Japan, but hasn't made it big here...probably because there are no detail-men pushing free samples on drs.

    Granted with the FDA that allows claims of "support" being ok for whatever anyone is peddling so long as they don't say "cure", and little regulation for the content of what manufacturers of these products sell, there's no doubt the world of supplements is very wild west. But that doesn't mean there aren't benefits to be had. I agree that there are crappy physicians despite whatever rigor there is in the system, there are more crappy practitioners in the alternative medicines as the rigor is even less. But when faced with a medical issue for which the treatments are spotty in effectiveness with big risks, to me anyway, it makes sense to look at more conservative alternatives first as part of the journey to a cure....the greatest benefit for the least harm.

  • eandhl2
    last month

    I have had epidurals, the first was cervical & i was nervous but

    I had gone thru so much over a year of verious treatments i agreed. it worked perfectly. it was not painful!

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked eandhl2
  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No flip flops I'm aware of. Can you provide a link to what you're referring to?

    "I can give lots of personal insights, my own and others, where alternatives have helped, even in cases where traditional medicine has not."

    Okay. I'm listening to learn about proven effects that were helpful, not n=1 or n=2 incidents or hearsay. If these effects have been conclusively demonstrated, why are they not in wide use?

    Most of us owe our lives to what pharmaceutical companies have produced in recent times. Costs for development and trials for approval are such that what results are expensive. Perhaps too expensive, perhaps peripheral financial burdens like advertising, etc, should be limited, and pricing in the US needs perhaps a governmental intervention. But I wouldn't like to be without them. The profit payoff drives the activity, public or non profit sector organizations could never fill the same role.

    "I came across Zinc L-carnosine which is standard treatment for ulcers in Japan, but hasn't made it big here"

    Has its effect been studied and proven? The medical world is always ready to adopt new tools proven to be effective. No conspiracies are involved. Amazonian shaman rub mud on sick people's heads to treat illnesses - that hasn't made it big here either.


    The male attire conversation is hardly comparable to the medical discussion. Apples and oranges.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • Sherry
    last month

    Annie, you are much more patient than I would ever be.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Sherry
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    Update, heard from my neighbor today and talking to him, he was speaking my language. He raised issues that I'd already had on my mind. He's given me some exercises to do, what not to do, some treatments to try and he's going to try and fit me in sooner rather than later and may even treat me at home. Yes! Thank you! He also suggested a medical test I should get from the physiatrist on my nerves, so that's something I'll ask about too.


    I see my PCP tomorrow and will put together a list of questions for her as well.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    Thank you for responding Elmer, but I can see where our conversation will go from here and it's well trod ground. But I disagree that it's apples and oranges...rather it's about principles being applied...data vs anecdotes whether you're talking about medical treatments or how many male clothes horses there are.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    29 days ago

    There's no end of data and information for the first, and no beginning, no scraps of available data for the second. Personal observations, what was normal in your experience had a different and contradictory solution in mine. There are no "principles" to apply as I see it and that's why I thought the insinuation that the two could be compared was odd.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    My personal observation is I know no one who has climbed Everest. That doesn't mean no one has climbed Everest.


    It's about recognizing that the plural of anecdotes isn't data and that there are natural and significant limitations to one's personal experience. That is why we collect data, do research and analysis which gets us much closer to reality.


    There again, just because you know of no data on men's clothing purchases doesn't mean there isn't any. Clothing retailers collect lots of data on who's buying clothing....it's essential to their survival. But if I start posting research that shows, eg, that men outspend women on clothing purchases, you'll just tell me I can't read, and I'm stupid to do internet searches, and I don't know anything and we're back on old well trod ground.


    So spare me.


    We disagree. Leave it at that.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    29 days ago

    "plural of anecdotes isn't data"


    That's a trite expression and I think off point. To be argumentative?


    We both know that at the heart of science and medical science advances and broadening understandings is data. Personal observations and experiences - not at all. Fish and fowl. If you want to insist that your favorite shaman recommends rubbing mud on foreheads relieves headaches, that's untrue/unproven BS without scientific analysis. That requires data. If I say that most men I know can dress themselves and don't of their own volition accumulate excessive amounts of clothes, that by its nature is anecdotal, no data is involved because it's just a personal experience.


    Fish and fowl. You can't insist that the unproven practice of rubbing mud on your forehead is effective, no data. We both, on the other-hand, can go merrily along sharing anecdotal personal experiences and observations that are just what they are.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • 1929Spanish-GW
    28 days ago

    Sounds like your neighbor is talking about the oh-so-fun nerve conduction study. Actually, their bark is worse than their bite.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked 1929Spanish-GW
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    My neighbor gave me a way to do traction specific to the area affected with a simple posture. So far, it seems to have been a major help.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Update on my back.

    I've been going for acupuncture and will do another session today. Not sure it's helped my back much, but it has helped me emotionally for sure. Today may be my last session, but it has helped me enough that I think a monthly session might be a good thing. Will consider it.

    I saw the physiatrist who said he could do a shot in the back and it may or may not help, but it would be a stop to take before going to surgery, which he believes is the only solution as I have a structural defect in my back: Hyperlordosis which only a structural repair will fix.


    I saw the neurosurgeon yesterday who said I'm not a candidate for surgery...or at least not yet. He said that the slippage in my bones will probably stop as the bones will start running into each other and prevent further slippage. He put me at about a 1 in 3 shot of ever needing surgery for this. He said if he did the surgery, he'd fuse both L4-L5 and L5-S1 as both are a problem, though the latter much worse. He said PT could help, but finding the right PT person is a real challenge as there's so much variation in them. I see a PT for the first time next week. He also suggested what to do and what not to do, especially twisting and lifting. He said smooth movements such as elliptical, swimming, yoga are ok. Much to DH's chagrin, he said weeding isn't a good activity. He also said to lay down more...don't sit or stand so much and change positions often.

    I also asked him about cbd oil and he said to take only at night as it can really knock you out.

    I'm doing more reading and do have pain in my upper right inner thigh and keep thinking tight psoas or piriformis muscles that may be contributing to my hyperlordosis and leg issue, so I need to talk to the PT about that and ways of stretching that area. I think if we can address some of the muscular issues, it may go a long way toward alleviating the pain. Or at least I'm still hopeful.

    Haven't tried massage yet either...

  • dedtired
    10 days ago

    Annie, i hope you find a good pt for your situation. I went for therapy on my lower back and it made a world of difference. She gave me exercises to do at home. I have not been religiuos about keeping up with them daily but they do help and my back is so much better. However, i dont think my problem is as extensive as yours.

    Acupuncture is interesting to me. I know several people who swear by it. Glad its working for you. Too bad about weeding. 😉


    Annie Deighnaugh thanked dedtired
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Thanks ded. Actually, weeding is not a favorite activity, but a necessary one. So to avoid it is less of an issue for me...just means more for DH to take care of!


  • Elmer J Fudd
    10 days ago

    It's nice to hear reports of docs who share honest assessments and who conservatively don't rush into treatments. I hope it gets better in whatever direction you go.


    "Acupuncture is interesting to me. I know several people who swear by it."


    I know some people who've sworn AT it. Maybe it depends on the practitioner but results seem to be inconsistent from person to person and maybe also from one ailment to another. As with many directions people go outside of traditional medicine, I'm skeptical about it and the variability of results doesn't suggest reliable efficacy. I tried it once and found it unhelpful. Others I know do like it.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Variability in results seems to be a characteristic of back issues...all of the treatments I've investigated have worked some of the time for some of the people, but not all of the time for all of the people...steroid shots, nerve blocks, PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, inversion, surgery, drugs, traction, yoga and other exercises, seat cushions, mattresses, pillows, heat, ice, pain patches... As best I can tell, it's all a crap shoot and if it works for you, go with it. If it doesn't work, try something else. The best I can say is, if you have back issues, you have *lots* of company!!

    I have to say that I will be continuing for another few sessions with acupuncture. Today during treatment was the first time in a month that I had some relief in my right foot. While it didn't last, even the short respite was most welcome and made me hopeful that I may achieve it again and for a longer period of time.

  • phoggie
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Annie, I do hope you find a solution to your baçk problems...I know your pain. I have done several back injections but I don’t find them painful. Some helped...some didn‘t. Be aware of your thigh pain...mine ended in an emergency Laminectomy for Spinal Stenosis because I was unable to urinate.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked phoggie
  • eld6161
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Thanks for the update.

    You are certainly leaving no stone left unturned.

    My 2 cents about acupuncture. All acupuncture doctors are not equal. I have been to several. Get recommendations from friends, doctors neighbors etc. I wouldn't necessarily trust online reviews.

    For me, one helped, the others didn't.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked eld6161
  • 1929Spanish-GW
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    My experience was that acupuncture for stiff miscles made a little positive difference, but the last time i did it my nerve issues had been kicking off and I had to call someone in to remove the needles early because they were acting like a trigger, not a relief.


    hit send too fast : glad you’re feeling better!

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked 1929Spanish-GW
  • ci_lantro
    8 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Annie, anyone have you tried an inversion table? (Some medical conditions preclude using one.)

    My brother raved about his but I dithered around for a couple of years before I finally got one. Even the least amount of inversion helps a good deal with both my lower back pain and SI joint pain. The next greater inversion stop helps even more. Have to start slow and work you way up on both duration and slope. Wish I had bought one sooner.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked ci_lantro
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    I haven't tried it ci-lantro, but the neurosurgeon did mention it as a possibility.

  • ci_lantro
    7 days ago

    If the doc suggested, I would darned sure give it a try. The cost of the table is probably less than the cost of one visit to a MD.

    If you do give it a try, IME, the first 30 seconds or so of each session hurts like the devil. After that, it starts to feel better.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked ci_lantro
  • jlsch
    5 days ago

    I’m currently dealing with low back issues as well with a number of identified issues. I’ve done a lot of researching too and ran across a PhD out of Canada who I found compelling. His name is Stuart McGill, and he has some video interviews on You Tube if you care to see them. As he says an MRI is only a static picture, and used on it’s own is not the answer for developing a plan for back pain. He does a 3 hour hands-on assessment! Unfortunately our medical model doesn’t support this, but it makes total sense in terms of figuring out the source of the pain, so you can develop an individualized plan. No cookie cutter answers. He has written a book for the layman called ’Back Mechanic’ that i just received but haven’t yet read. I have just started PT and feel like I have one that is good with working with spines. i just wanted to share this with you as another possible resource. I have no vested interest in him, but found his work to be research based, fine tuned, and practical. Best of luck in the healing process!


    Annie Deighnaugh thanked jlsch
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Thanks jlsch. That sounds interesting as I think I do have a mechanical problem. I have chronic soreness in my upper right thigh and think it's related to my piriformis muscle, which can aggravate my hyperlordosis...the muscle can pull on the lower spine causing it to curve too far...called piriformis syndrome.


    I start PT this week and continue with acupuncture. I want to talk to my acupuncturist about getting into herbs, especially those that might help with inflammation as I can't take NSAIDs .