- CASE FILE
Been dealing with chronic head and neck pain since 2003, the pain is worse then broken bones, kidney stones, & cluster headaches combined!
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
In 2003 I woke one morning, I could not move my head in any direction, my fiance at the time had to put one hand under my neck and one under my upper back to help me lift out of bed, my primary care doctor did an adjustment and I was able to move my head again. However soon after I developed severe pain in my head, when I describe the symptoms he sent me off for an EEG and I was diagnosed with cluster headaches. Up to this point I'd had broken bones which I thought was the worst ever that I have multiple kidney stones which were ten times worse than broken bones, the cluster headaches we're worse than both of those combined luckily though it only hit once a day about the same time everyday and would last for an hour hour and a half maybe 2 hours but it felt like somebody sticking a red hot poker into my right Temple about an inch behind my eyeball. With medication how is at least able to still function I had a good career & a family to support. When my primary care doctor retired I had to go through a number of doctors before I found one that would even listen to me most of them just treated me like somebody looking for medication. which was a bit ridiculous since I was only taking one pain pill a day. The doctors that agreed to treat me ordered an MRI and found that I had a bulging disc in my neck. Because of my job and my family financially I could not afford to take the time off work to have surgery so I put it off as long as I could. Eventually I had chiropractic and physical therapy done to try and alleviate the pain but it just made things worse 100 fold. The pain which used to be in only one place in my head and for only an hour or two each day was now spread out across my entire head and down through my neck the pain level itself also increased as did the time frame it was now 24/7 it never went away. I had a discogram done shortly after and it was discovered that the disc had ruptured. This was now around 2008 my wife and I separated and due to the pain my job give me a choice either have the surgery or they will be forced to let me go. I was a software developer and I loved my job. So I had the first neck surgery in 2008 unfortunately it just made things worse. I kept insisting to my doctors that there was something still wrong about six months later I got an updated MRI and found that I had another two bulging disc as well as pinched nerves. Since the first surgery made things worse I was a bit hesitant on having a second in addition the doctors reading the MRI reports kept telling me that even though I had some small issues there was nothing there to explain the kind of pain I said I was experiencing. For the next 8 years I went through a number of different doctors begging and pleading with most of them to help me get this fixed to take the pain away I asked for another discogram since I remember during the first that when they put pressure on the desk that was bad I screamed out in pain so I thought if they test the other discs that are bulging and one of them causes the kind of pain I was experiencing except much worse we would at least know where to focus. I was told over and over a discogram was not required. Finally I got a good primary care doctor who seems to really care and listens I asked him to refer me to a surgeon who would also listen. The surgeon reviewed the MRI images not the report, he ordered a discogram and it turns out I had a second ruptured disc one that the MRI reports listed as having nothing wrong with it.
My second neck surgery was February 2017, a month after the surgery the cage broke so the surgeon asked me to get a bone density scan. Turns out my spinal column is 30% less dense than it should be, blood work reveals my testosterone level is around 200 and the doctors are telling me it should be more like 1200. Over the years of dealing with the neck pain I've also had instances of chronic anemia having blood transfusions every 8 to 12 weeks that lasted for a couple years and then it just cleared up one day luckily it hasn't come back. I just want my life back I want to be able to go back to work to be able to go out to a movie I have relations with someone. With the changes to the states law recently doctors have begin forced cuts of every pain patient they have even though the law does not say that they're supposed to they're only supposed to limit new patients someone who just got into a car wreck or was just diagnosed with some illness that is causing them pain they don't want doctor starting them out on high doses of medication but for those of us who have been on medication for 5 10 15 20 years they were supposed to leave us alone instead they're cutting us down to the bare minimum as well. I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life but I also don't want to live in pain. A few years ago I was at least receiving enough medication that I could go out to dinner occasionally or go out to the movie have a relationship with someone. The last couple years things have gotten bad enough I can't even do any of those simple things that most people take for granted I can't go out on a date I'm sure I can run to McDonald's and grab something to eat and come back home but I can't go somewhere like red lobster and sit down for an hour and have a meal 30 minutes into it I'll be in the back of the vehicle laying down. Since November of 2018 it's gotten worse I given up on things like the movies and dinner dates but things like being able to bathe on a regular basis being able to do my laundry do the dishes things of that nature at least I could still do those. We've been receiving forced medication cuts month after month I was already having a problem being awake for days on end not being able to sleep because I'm in so much pain only being able to eat once a day. Now I eat once every 3 or 4 days most days I'm in so much pain I'm too nauseous to eat, I've lost almost 50 pounds in the past 2 months and for me that's a lot. Back in April the CDC came out and stated that the recommendations they had made in 2016 were only intended for primary care doctors still caring for chronic pain patients it was never intended for pain management doctors they also stated that forced tapering of someone who is already above their recommended minimum is actually worse than over-prescribing. But because our state used their 2016 recommendations which were not clearly written to update our laws in November 2018 the doctor still want raise anyone back up.
If I was given a choice that I could live the next 40 50 60 years however long I would live naturally with as many pain pills as I wanted 20 a day if I wanted OR, they could do surgery tomorrow and get rid of my pain completely but it would shorten my lifespan 2 between 5 and 10 years I would take the 5 to 10 years to live pain free, not have to take any more medication, and enjoy the rest of my life. Then to spend the next 60 years struggling just to do the most basic task around the house. And I mean that I want you to understand I'm not fishing for more medication but doctors are leaving people with three options either deal with the pain and for people who are truly in pain that is not an option, or they can turn to the streets, or they can commit suicide. There are a number of websites out there for people dealing with chronic pain and you would be surprised at the number of people who have loved ones like their husband or their wife or brother or sister who have taken their own life because the doctors have cut their medication down to such a low point that the pain is so unbearable they look at death as a release. I'm not suicidal I'm not ready to die nothing terrifies me more I guess because I'm not religious and I think this life is all we have so we got to make the most of it but I'm being tortured every second of every minute of every day.
It feels like someone is breaking a baseball bat across my neck every second over and over just repeatedly breaking every bone in my neck over and over, and my head feels like somebody's got a power drill stuck at the base of it hollowing it out just drilling all my brain matter out. It wasn't too long ago that I broke my hand I honestly thought I'd just dislocated a finger for three days I kept trying to pop the finger back in place I finally went to the hospital and discovered that my metacarpal was broken the pain in my neck and head is so bad that I couldn't tell the difference between a broken hand and a dislocated finger. Had this happened prior to the issues of my head and neck prior to 2003 I would have known right away that it was broken just by the sheer amount of pain but once you get used to dealing with the kind of pain that I deal with things like broken bones and kidney stones seem like paper cuts compared to what I go through. I just want someone to figure out what is causing me so much pain and to help me resolve it to be free of it.