Back Issues - Looking for Specialty Doctor Recommendations

Updated on September 15, 2010
P.L. asks from Ashland, MA
9 answers

Hi All,

My sister has had a tough go of it for the last 4 years....she was in a car accident that has since given her some pretty serious back issues (potentially slipped disks). She's gone the PT route, has seen about 8 doctors and occasionally takes pain meds (although she doesn't like to so really tries to limit it). Not one doctor has been able to give a solid answer/solution to her situation. The specialist she saw today told her to go on disability and a pain med schedule - suggesting that surgery could potentially make her 30% better or 70% worse. I thought I'd reach out to this forum to see if there is anyone with any specific ideas on how to help her...this has taken a toll on her emotionally - she does see a therapist to help her through that part but it's not helping - i'm very concerned for her - she is in her mid 20's and is too young to be on disability and pain meds for the rest of her life - it's killing the spunky spirit she once had in her...and is so hard to watch that. I told her i'd stay positive for her when she feels like she can't - but I want to try and do more - so I'm reaching out to you all for any advice - referral info, etc....... thanks in advance.

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answers from Dallas on

chiropractor and vitamins and minerals. I struggled for two years with pained back supposedly from degenerative disc. I, too, went to a PT and learned strengthening muscle exercises that I continue to do. I was so afraid I was doomed to be limited in activity forever because everything caused back pain. I went to a chiropractor once and learned some stretching exercises. Helped a little. Then I started a vitamin and herb regiment and got relief in 1-2 months. By 3 months I was back to all old activities. I am such a believer this is now what I do for a living. Let me know if I can make some suggestions.

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answers from Seattle on

I've been there! I wish she would have seen a chiropractor first. Doing pt while discs are out of alignment can strengthen the muscles, keeping the discs in their improper place :(

so it may take a while, but I strongly suggest chiropractic, massage therapy, maybe acupuncture (will help emotionally too), and lidocaine (not steroid) injections for pain. It took me two years after my accident to feel better. I did do pt and craniosacral therapy after 3 months for the rest of the two years too, but only after starting chiropractic to realign the discs.

When discs are out, not only is there pain, but nerve impingement is possible. The nerves in your spinal cord control every function of your body, so if left uncorrected, can cause many more problems. I hope she can find some relief soon!

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answers from Boston on

I would have her see a physiatrist. There is a great doc in Framingham. Dr. Darren Rosenberg at Spaulding Framingham on Rt 9. I'm a physical therapist and if PT is not helping, I usually recommend they see a physiatrist (they don't do surgery), he may recommend she have an injection to decrease the inflammation and pain. She should certainly see a more conservative doctor before giving in to surgery (she's so young to be having spine surgery). At least have her get a few opinions before having surgery. Good luck. She's lucky to have such a caring sister :)

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answers from Shreveport on

I noticed you said "potentially slipped disks" does that mean she hasn't gotten an accurate dx about her issue? Has she had an MRI done? If she hasn't she needs one ASAP. Her issue might not be slipped disks at all. It could be a case of syringomyelia which can be hard to dx let alone treat. I'm appalled that she has gone this long without a proper dx. I thought going a year was bad and blamed it on crappy military drs. I have a syringomyelia and they tend to occur in people with spinal injuries or certain birth defects. Mine we have no idea how I got it but I'm stuck with it. I'm in constant pain every day,granted some days are better than others.
Hopefully some other replies will point you in the right direction for referrals. I just wanted to stress the importance of an MRI if she hasn't had one.

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answers from Boston on

An absolute saint of a man and Neurosurgeon/ Neck and Back Specialty Dr. .....Chima Ohaegubalem (sp?) from NE Baptist Hospital.....saved me...and I have referred others that were in the same wont regret meeting him and getting his opinion...if anyone can help he can!!
Tell him I referred you
K. R.


answers from Boston on

I have a friend whose back issues were so severe, she was on disability and was actually housebound for 7 years (in her 30s). Her family had to make her bed, do her laundry, grocery shop, etc. She could not sit or stand for more than 5 minutes, and spent most of her time lying on the floor. She did everything - meds, PT, acupuncture, you name it. Also many holistic measures. The thing that made the difference for her was Reliv supplements. She is now active, pain free, and has her life back. She'd be glad to talk to you or your sister about what she did.



answers from Chicago on

My husband was injured at work. He did originally go to a chiro. Unfortunately that did no good. His job sent him to a place for check and they said he had a lumbar sprain. He was sent back to work. He ended up in more pain and a few months later when a physiatrist was trying to help, worse. She ordered additional tests and an MRI showed a broken disk. He had surgery to fix it. THen he was in even more pain a few months later. Additional testing--much stronger resolution xrays--showed his bones were on top of each other. The discs had no fluid. He had another surgery to put spacers in his spine. He will be on pain meds for a very very long time, if not the rest of his life. My husband is in his forties though, not just starting life in his 20s. Because there was a long time in correct diganosis, he has permanent nerve damage. While other suggestions to go to a chiro are excellent, it is not necessarily the best thing to do. A good chiro will order xrays and MRI to see what is going on. A good chiro will also admin that they cannot help. The chiro my husband was seeing called to see how he was doing. When we told him what the total injury was, he admitted that the problem was not something a chiro could help with. He might have been able to help ease some pain but the problem would continue. If your sister thinks a chiro cannot help, she should consider a neurosurgeon. I hope she gets relief. It is really hard to deal with life on meds, whether your body adjusts to them or new.


answers from Modesto on

I have some herniated disks and the chiropractor made them worse. I've used chiropractic in the past with great results but sometimes having your back manipulated when you have something severe going on isn't a good thing. Right now I have some prescribed pain killers, but like your sister I don't take them unless I absolutely have to because of the whole addiction thing and I'm sure they are not great for your liver. My pain doc put me on Magnesium, fish oil, and vitamin d3 as these are supposed to remove inflammation in the body. I gave up coffee and only drink brewed green tea. Google "antiinflammatory foods" and you will get many suggestions for a diet that eliminates swelling inside the body that causes pain. It is working for me. I havent gone to any PT, my doc just told me to baby my back as much as I can and eat right. He also told me the same thing about the surgery..... and I'm so not into being cut on. The pain was excruciating and it has totally ruined my summer since my husband and I love to hike and swim and I cant do either this year.... but my goal is to be able to next year.
Good luck.



answers from Boston on

Hi P..
I just helped someone in your area last night with her pain. She heard stories of others who have gone the medical (pain) route with little or no relief-who have tried Reliv nutritional supplements and have now had relief for many years. Safe, effective, and 30 day money back guarantee. Reply to me on this website and I know we can help your sister. And God Bless you for caring enough to help her.
J. H

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