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herniated disc - dh in a lot of pain and doctor not helping, opinions?

(16 Posts)
gingernutlover Sat 04-Oct-08 11:10:43

around the middle to end of july, dh did a lot of digging at our house (having extension and he is a builder) which resulted in him having bad back pain

this got worse and worse and he went to the gp who confirmed it ws sciatica and gave him pain killers, telling him it would get better by itself within 6-8 weeks

he has also been to the chiropracter who is helping him to stay mobile but not really helping with pain as such (altho we cant compare ...)

anyway here we are at beginning of october with the poain getting worse everyday, so dh was sent for an mri which showed a herniated disc, he went to gp again and saw a locum who referred him to surgical consultant for a microdectomy operation.

but, our own gp returned the following week and overruled the locums decision saying the disc would heal itself within a year and is sending dh for pain injections which may or may not help - no other options offered.

dh feels he has been totally dismissed and the gp not taking him seriously, he is not sleeping (maybe 4-5 hrs a night on a good night), and is also having to take more than the recommended dose of painkillers to be able to work

the appointment for the pain injections is at the end of this month but i can see he is getting depressed. He has been told the injection may help for anything from a week to a year, or they may have no effect at all

do we have any othe option?

I suggested going to see another gp at the surgery but he thinks our gp will just overule anyone who might disagree with him

i am beginning to feel so desperate about this, if he cant work we will lose our home, i cannot earn enough to cover it even if i went back full time, and i really think he is goignt o become seriously depressed if this really does just go on for a year.

gingernutlover Sat 04-Oct-08 11:13:10

obviously his health (mental and physical) is worth much much more than a house but i dont think being repossesed will exactly improve his mental outlook

he is self employed so gets no sick pay from work

Buda Sat 04-Oct-08 11:16:05

Go to another GP - your GP cannot rule anything out and if he does then change GPs.

gingernutlover Sat 04-Oct-08 11:17:02

but he has overruled the locum

should he do it now or wait for the pain injections?

Buda Sat 04-Oct-08 11:29:51

Well thinking about it any surgery carries a risk - the injections may well help. I suspect the GP will not be willing to refer for surgery until your DH has them.

Don't know what to advise really.

gingernutlover Sat 04-Oct-08 16:39:02

fair enough, i just wish he'd put him on the list to see the consultant as he could easily be removed if it wasnt needed, as 3 weeks down the line if the injectuons dont work, he'll be spending 3 more weeks in pain than necessary.

its the doctors attitude that is peeing me off more than anything, its as if he's saying "heres some painkillers, they dont work but go away and dont bother me, I'm not willing to do anything to help you because i personally dont believe in surgery!"

but thank you for your rplies buda

Chaotica Sat 04-Oct-08 16:52:21

I had this. Steroid injections came way too late to do me any good so I can't comment (although my surgeon wanted me to try before he would operate - the success rate is not that high). Surgery worked in my case.

I second getting another GP to refer to a surgeon, with the proviso that you will cancel if your DH feels well. Also (which area are you in) a specialist back pain physio was the most useful person I saw as she was able to do a full assessment and saw the surgeon every week. She was much more experienced in dealing with this than a GP and she helped post-op with exercises to sort me out.

What pain killers is he on?

gingernutlover Sun 05-Oct-08 08:49:34

he is on naproxen and tramadol at the moment

had co codamol and they didnt work

its 3 weeks til the injections and we are crossing fingers they help a bit, have chatted it over with dh and he agrees if they dont help and our gp refuses to do anything else then we will see another gp

Buda Sun 05-Oct-08 10:30:19

Saw an add on tv this am for a Lloyds Pharmacy tens machine - half price - 20 quid. Would it be worth a try to see if it takes the pain down a notch or two?

tissy Sun 05-Oct-08 10:48:22

it is true that the results of surgery equate with the results of no surgery for disc prolapse by a year- your gp is absolutely right about this. Surgery carries significant risks as well- risk of further damage to the nerve, and does nothing for any back pain (can make it worse), only deals with the leg pain.

The pain clinic may well help, I would give it a shot. Surgery is always an option if that fails(but bear in mind that he would be advised not to work for at least 3 months after any op).

pigleto Sun 05-Oct-08 11:01:25

Change your gp, you should at least be able to discuss the op with a surgeon. the surgery may not work and the risks are about 1 in 500 of it causing further damage (incontenance and impotence). Which is why my dh decided to it a miss.

gingernutlover Sun 05-Oct-08 13:30:16

okay thanks fgor that

we are well aware of risks of surgery but to have the option compleetly taken away from him has not improved things

he has tred tens, it doesnt help

he doesnt have back pain anymore either, it just the leg, to the ppint where he walks on tip toe by the evening

Miggsie Sun 05-Oct-08 13:42:50

Have you tried acupuncture?
I am a long term back pain sufferer, conventional nedicine was useless...chiropracter helped a bit...then I went to an acupuncturist and the pain went from acute (agony) to chronic (shitty, but pain killers did actually work then).
I then had osteopathy and a bit more acupuncture.
But you have to find a good practitioner that you like, I tried 3 osteos before I got one I really could get on with.

RockinSockBunnies Sun 05-Oct-08 14:16:10

I had a herniated disc last year. I tried painkillers, osteopath...nothing worked and I was getting more and more depressed as the pain was never ending and affected everything I did. I had a steroid epidural injection which did the trick in the end - see if you can switch GPs.....or, would going private be an option at all? I did this and the total came to around £800 (covered thankfully by health insurance at work but that's the rough cost if it might be an option).

However, in the meantime, can the GP not prescribe tricyclic antidepressants in a low dose? These target the referred nerve pain (sciatica) amazingly well, so that although it doesn't cure the problem, the pain is minimised by about 90-95%, allowing a bit of respite whilst better treatment is sorted out. I was taking Amitriptyline at a dose lower than that which would be prescibed for depression and it really helped.

tissy Sun 05-Oct-08 14:59:28

there's a drug called Gabapentin which works well also. Very good for nerve pain.

gingernutlover Sun 05-Oct-08 15:42:29

hank you this is all very useful, will print out and take to gp i think, but we are going to give the injections a go, i think they are the epidural type you talk about rockinsockbunnies

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