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PC ignoring acute worsening of SC LBP, now what?

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Hi all, relatively new here and in desperate need of advice. I am rated 10% for lower back pain (since 1998) and, though I have mentioned it worsening in passing at my PC appointments over the last few years, I never pursued treatment beyond Motrin and sucking it up. Basically, I get it that I am getting older and the nature of DDD is that it gets worse over time, so that combined with being overweight (due to other medical conditions) and not being as active as I should be, I knew it was "normal" for my back to hurt. Recently, though, in the course of normal activity, I felt a very painful pop in my lower back and since then have had my daily pain increase exponentially, as well as a grinding feeling (like bone on bone). If I move the wrong way, the grinding is accompanied by a sharp "shock" that shoots pain around my left side and down my left leg, which has buckled under and nearly dropped me to the floor on several occasions, then my back hurts horribly (an 8) for a few days before calming back down to normal (5 or 6)... My problem is this. I explained this to my PCP, who proceeded to blow me off and say that arthritis is normal and to take more Motrin to reduce swelling. When I mentioned that arthritis does not typically have an acute symptom onset like this, she asked me if I wanted x-rays and begrudgingly ordered them. X-rays for back pain are rarely useful, but I know there is a process they have to follow now to try and solve the problem at the lowest level (i spent over a year just trying to get to Ortho for my knees only to be told I'm still too young for replacements), so I had them taken. No big shock, they claim the film shows no abnormality and that's it. No further testing, no further treatment, just dead in the water because a PCP with only basic knowledge and a useless x-ray say there's nothing wrong.  Does anyone have any advice on where I can go from here? I am scared to death that I'm doing more damage to my back or that I'll end up with permanent nerve damage, and frustrated beyond belief that I'm not being taken seriously on this. 

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any guidance!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

you should seek a private Dr to examine you and state his opinion on your condition as to what it is now vs when you were first S.C. For it at 10%

This is called an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO)

You take your medical records from the VA for past treatments that pertain to this condition  and ask the Private Dr his impression of your condition at preset  and the Dr will need to give his credentials and his opinion that your condition in question has actually worsen   ''upon examining  this veteran it is my professional opinion this Veteran Back condition has indeed worsen in the area of  (give his impression to this)  you submit it with your claim of increase and your lay statment is support of claim  ...look up  the criteria from your condition as the New Dr states it is ..> and you ask for this rating  or be rated to to fullest % allowed by the CFR Reg's and by Law.

 Note: duh.....

be sure and seek a specialist in this field, a foot Dr would not have any credit ability for your Back....so seek a Back Specialist.

I am not an Attorney or VSO, any advice I provide is not to be construed as legal advice, therefore not to be held out for liable BUCK!!!

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Thanks for the reply, I may do that if I decide to request an increase to my rating. Right now, though, I don't have private insurance and cannot afford to pay out of pocket for a private specialist, so I was trying to see what options I have for "forcing the issue" within the VA. My biggest concern at the moment is ensuring that I'm not at risk of incurring any further or more permanent damage and, of course, getting my pain back to a more manageable level without drugs (I refuse to take anything stronger than Motrin)...

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The VA in Orlando now has a walk in clinic.  If you have one near you, go. If not, walk in to your PACT.

Delaying treatment is not a good idea when it comes to your spine.  You often will find numbness and weakness in your legs.  The longer this condition persists, the less likely you will have a complete recovery. Start studying information about lumbar disc herniation.  I had the pops and grinding for 20 years, but when I left the Army, they said it was lumbar strain, and congenital scoliosis.  The truth was, I had a herniated disc and that caused scoliosis, DDD and eventually it wore away the disc between my L5 and S1.  So I was walking around with bone on bone, and it would shift from day to day, and that was very painful.  

If they dont get you some help, keep going back.  If you have had back pain for over 6 weeks, and are getting sharp pains that shoot down your leg, the VA should get you an xray and an MRI. That will be the first step to getting proper diagnosis to see what treatment you need. You are the only one that can make it happen, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!!

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Thanks, I have been getting more and more dissatisfied with my PCP (who I have been seeing for 10+ years!) because she has started shutting me down anytime I have a complaint outside of what health concern she wants to concentrate on. It's like a knee jerk reaction now to tell me it's my weight, or my age (in only 41, gimme a break, lol!) and try to shove meds down my throat. I think our "relationship" is no longer repairable after the fight I had to put up to be seen about my knees. Maybe it's simply time to move on to another PCP... BTW, the x-rays were allegedly normal, so not even arthritis. Not sure how they are justifying not pursuing further testing given the severity of the pain. 

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I would just ask (claim) for an increase as the problem has gotten worse.  You will be given a C&P and the examiner will re-measure you range of motion.  I was rated at 20% because of range of motion.  The 10% you got was probably for x-ray evidence, DDD and or DJD, etc.

You would not need a private doc for asking for an increase.  If they deny the request for increase, they will give you a reason why and then you can appeal with an IMO or IME.




“There is no hook my friend. There's only what we do.”  Doc Holiday 

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