Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

recommendation for orthopedist to consider more than the obvious diagnosis?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By:
  • August 6, 2007
  • 05:48 PM

For nearly four years, I've had a series of problems that started with a lower back injury. I've seen two orthopedists who have not been very helpful, and now my primary doctor has given me a referral to see an orthopedist. Can anyone recommend a good orthopedist - one who will listen and consider more than the obvious diagnoses (or at least spend more than five minutes with me) - in the Washington, DC area? Or recommend a way I can go about finding one?

More about my condition: Nearly four years ago, at age 26, I had lower back trauma that occurred while moving a box. My first symptoms were tingling in my right leg and lower back pain. Aleve helped, but then my upper back started hurting, too. A lumbar MRI showed a herniated disc at L4-L5. A few months later, I also started having tingling in my left hand and the lower left quadrant of my face. A neck/brain MRI showed no abnormalities. Lumbar and neck X-rays showed no abnormalities, either.

The first orthopedist I saw suggested lumbar steroid injections, which didn't help. Posture improvements did help. The third physical therapist I saw diagnosed hip misalignment (right hip lower than left hip) due to lumbar inflammation. He gave corrective exercises for that plus abdominal strengthening exercises, which have helped a great deal but not corrected the problem. When my previous primary doctor expressed concern about the effects of extended daily NSAID use, I saw another orthopedist who said I needed to exercise more. I increased my aerobic activity, but was unable to do weightlifting as advised because it aggravated wrist and elbow pain that I've had on and off for 7 - 8 years. I also saw an neurologist who recommended an EMG, which came back normal.

I have been taking NSAIDs and muscle relaxers (Flexeril) and doing my PT exercises, plus water aerobics and brisk walking, and been careful about not sitting for too long, having proper workstation setup, getting up and walking every 20 -30 minutes while at work, etc. This, plus monthly massages and PT appointments, help me manage my condition. I have not been able to correct it, though, and I have started to get increased tingling in my feet and left hand/face, plus occasional tingling in my right hand. I've also been having more and more trouble sleeping, because lying on my side often causes pain and irritation that shoots down my leg and foot (problems are mostly in left side; they're worse when I lie on my right side but sometimes occur when I'm on my right side, too).

Other health issues that might or might not be related: severe year-round allergies, which I manage with nasal steriods, loratadine, decongestant, and nighttime air purifier; wrist and elbow pain (diagnosed as tendonitis) that responds to ergonomic improvements and NSAIDS but keeps recurring; low-normal B12 levels (I now take a B12 supplement, but haven't gotten re-tested).

If anyone has any advice - doctor recommendations, referrals, etc. - I would appreciate it.

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4 Replies:

  • Please consider acupuncture - it should not only help your low back pain but it is also brilliant for chronic allergies/sinus problems. Acupuncture actually promotes healing of bone and tissues, and is better than chiro or PT for certain things IMO. You live in DC, so there should be a host of practitioners to choose from...visit www.acufinder.com and type in your zip code. If you can find an acupuncturist who is also N.A.E.T. certified, this would be best to help eliminate your allergies. www.naet.com for more info. NAET can test you for your B12 deficiency, and also is the only treatment I have found that will actually ELIMINATE allergies. It is noninvasive and most people notice improved symptoms after the first treatment. Since you have been experiencing this pain for over four years, there is no quick fix, and it may take quite a few treatments before you notice an improvement. My experience is that most of my patients see improvement after the first and second treatments. Even chronic conditions can heal, they usually just take longer. Please consider this approach - long term steroid and NSAIDs use can really cause further complications down the road. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • InDC, I live in DC as well, and I have a recommendation that will help out a lot. Try NAET. I have the best NAET TCM licensed specialist in town, she is an acupuncturist and also Jaffe Mellor trained practitioner. Jaffe Mellor alone works wonders on pain.She will spend 2 hours with you and send you home with your first treatment that very same day. Most doctors will do the same. Just ask when you call.Go to NAET.com
    Eatafruit78 960 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks, acuann and Eatafruit. I've gotten some acupuncture treatments, and they've made me feel better in the short term, but the benefits fade within the first 24 hours and then I don't feel any better than I was before. The NAET angle is new, though - I'll look into that. I appreciate the recommendations!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I second Eatafruit's notion...she recommended I go to NAET. I found a local practicioner who does Bioset....which is actually an off chute of NAET. The practicioners for this are world wide and I know why...It works...better than just accupresure and the effects of NAET/Bioset last....not just 24 hr relief!! I read your original post.......the NAET/Bioset will help with allergies too!! Best to you in DC.....mommy cat
    mommy cat 1654 Replies Flag this Response
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