So it’s back. My back pain. Although I always kind of figured it would return I had secretly hoped that I would never have to deal with it again. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and so now I’m back to suffering. About 3 years ago, I slipped a disc in my back. The lower L5 has been and will be a constant source of struggle with me. Since my first experience with this pain (in college back in 1990), I have been to chiropractors, doctors, physical therapists, orthopedics and just about anyone who wants to give me advice on how to deal with this ailment. The oft answered question is “How can I stop this from happening?” Well…usually I hear stretching and core development. So…I recently went to a yoga class to see if that might help.
As I stated in THIS post, I thought it DID help. I felt really good after going to the hot yoga class and the little bit of pain that I was experiencing before I went in went away for a few days. Then something went wrong.
I don’t know if stretching the way I did allowed the disc to slip out and then as days went by the spine began to go back into place or what, but now I have the same pain I had back in 2008. It’s naggingly uncomfortable and, at certain times, kind of feels like someone has shot me in my right buttcheek. It makes for painful walking and I can never get comfortable. So now that it has happened again, I figured I would follow a similar path in order to get it taken care of. The only problem is…well…it’s expensive to take care of issues like this one.
The real pain didn’t start until Tuesday evening. I barely slept a wink that night, trying to get comfortable in bed. The next morning I called my family physician and the orthopedic that had helped me the last time. My family physician got me right in and gave me medicine to help ease my pain. I was charged $35 and sent on my way.
The orthopedic was more of an issue. I’m not sure why but a single visitation ran me $175. Plus the guy who saw me wasn’t really a back specialist. He was a shoulder & elbow specialist. The doctor I saw the previous times wasn’t able to see me until the following week. Well…being in the pain I was in, I decided to see the shoulder expert. I figured they work in the same office, he could diagnose me and then forward the paperwork to the back specialist. So I paid my $175 and then he hammered at my legs and decided that I had a herniated disc. So he recommended that I go to physical therapy and gave me a number and I was done.
Now…I might not be the smartest guy on the block, but $175 to tell me I have a herniated disc (which I already knew) and that I would need PT (which I figured) seems a little steep. So today I called to see if I could get in to see the back specialist and was told that would be another $175. So now I am still in pain and the money is flowing like water down the drain.
Needless to say, I am now looking at other options. First off, it seems utterly ridiculous that I need to see another doctor in that office so that he can do the exact same thing the shoulder expert did. I know what’s wrong with me and I know what needs to happen. The last time this occurred I ended up needing 3 epidurals and physical therapy. The third epidural lasted me over 3 years. The physical therapy was, unfortunately, not all that helpful. So in the case of this situation now, what do you figure I would assume needs to be done?
Get an epidural. Or two. Or possibly three. And you know they aren’t cheap. Starting at anywhere between $750 to $1,000, having back pain is an expensive venture. And I don’t mind paying for it but I want results. What I DO mind paying for is return visits to doctors who are all gonna tell me the same thing. So I am hoping I can find a good doctor somewhere who really WANTS to help me and doesn’t just want to take my money.
Note to patient care clinics…if you’re going to allow your shoulder & elbow specialist diagnose other physical problems, there needs to be communication within the group. Forcing me to plunk down that kind of change for no reason is a load of BS. You know it, I know it and I’m not gonna let you make me pay for it again. I don’t care if I’m in pain for another 3 months, I won’t be going back to Beacon just on principles alone.
So here I sit, constantly shifting and moving in my chair, hoping to find some comfort that’s not drug-induced and I am making phone calls, trying to find a way to heal without breaking my bank account. You might be asking, “Why not just have insurance pay for it?” Well…because the last time this happened I was under Stephanie’s health insurance plan from her work. When she quit there, we tried to find affordable health care but I was rejected because of my previous back issues. So I took a chance and now I’m paying for it. And I don’t mind paying for it but don’t make me move laterally in order to get the problem fixed. At best let me move forward and do what I know needs to be done.
The people at Beacon Orthopaedics apparently don’t feel the need to do that. So I’ll find someone else. $175 to see a doctor should be enough to cover a few minutes of the back specialists time. All he has to do is make a call and I could get an epidural within a couple of days. But apparently they don’t see any reason to do that. So I’ll opt out of my next $175 appointment and $250 physical therapy session, thank you. And I’ll take my back pain somewhere else. Back pain is a real pain in the a$$…and the expensive folks over at Beacon can kiss mine.