10 Minutes of Nothing New

I was saving an update on my back until today, when I was supposed to have a wonderfully enlightening visit with my physiatrist.  Unfortunately, the words “enlightening” and “wonderful” could not be applied here today.

I have seen this doctor once before when I first had my MRI for the herniated disc.  She prescribed me some medicine and physical therapy.  She told me that if things did not progress well conservatively, I would have to start thinking about a steroid injection.  I have not seen this woman since and have worked solely with my physical therapist for the past many, many months.  I should note that I really love my PT and feel he is very helpful and encouraging.

The doctor, however… Not so much.  I spent ten minutes with her today.  Ten minutes in which she told me the following:

  • I could have re-herniated the disc a couple weeks ago. I could also just be one of those people who is prone to doing such things.
  • I should finish physical therapy. Despite my questions, she did not give me a time frame for this, only said that my PT would know when I should be done.
  • I don’t need another MRI because she would only need that if she were going to give me an injection or have a surgeon look at it. Neither of those things are necessary unless my leg pain gets worse.
  • If the pain in my leg gets worse or if I have another episode, I should call her.
  • Do not bend, twist, or lift things for six weeks.

My internal monologue:

  • I was already told that by your colleague at urgent care when it happened. Read charts much?
  • I have been in PT for a really long time now. A really long time.  And this still happened.
  • Thanks for not making me spend a whole load of money on a diagnostic tool for treatment that is not in consideration. This is not sarcasm.
  • If the pain gets worse or I have another episode, I am going to find another doctor.
  • Duh. Seriously and completely: duh.

I really appreciate the focus on conservative treatment.  I don’t want the shot or surgery.  I really just want to feel like I can do something to get better and protect myself against this happening again.  It’s frustrating to hear that I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing and even then, it could just be for nothing and I could re-herniate again. Maybe another doctor wouldn’t tell me anything different.  The position I am in is just not the best one.

There is good news though!  Yesterday, my physical therapist told me I could start going on walks.  I did for about 30 minutes and added a little very slow, light jogging.  I had no problems with my back or legs during or after! I am really excited about that.  He also gave me the clear to at least walk the quarter marathon for Cap City.  I figure that in a month’s time, if things keep going well, I can probably run some of it.  Good news! Good news!