Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back Pain Diagnosis---Pars Defect

So I went to my doctor appointment yesterday, only to be extremely disappointed. After 3 hours of poking and bending, 6 x-rays in 6 different positions, and lots of sitting around I was told I have a "pars defect" in the lumbar region of my spine (I have a fracture in one of the bones in my spine, not the vertebra itself, but the part that sticks out). This is a degenerative disease in your spine that is caused by hyper extension over time (can be caused by gymnastics and cheerleading, both of which I have done). This causes your vertebra to grind together at times. When I asked what could be done to fix the pain, he went into a long speech about how surgery would be a temporary fix (but the degeneration would start to occur above where my spine would be fused). He gave me exercises to strengthen my abdominal muscles/stretch my back muscles that could possibly ease my pain but not take it away. He prescribed physical therapy to help me learn to do the exercises correctly. After that he told me that taking pain medicine would not help much, but anti-inflammatory medicine would (however, gave me no prescription for any. Does he really think ibuprofen helps back pain???). He basically told me not to come back unless the pain got worse or it started shooting down my legs again (which actually all his poking and whatnot made it do that again).

While I'm supposed to trust that a spinal doctor is an intelligent person, I don't trust this man's recommendations. I have good reason to. When I first found out I had a spinal problem, I was told it was probably spondylolysis. I told him this, but he dismissed it and said after looking at my x-rays I don't have it. When I looked up pars defect, everything I found said the two go hand-in-hand. Wouldn't a good spinal doctor know that? An ER doctor (in Tahlequah, no less) sure knew what he was looking at. Second, I have a rib that likes to be dislocated. Said rib has been giving me problems lately and is sometimes so painful that I can't breathe. I mentioned this to him. His response? He'd never heard of ribs getting dislocated. Um.... hello?!?! Anything that has a joint or is attached to something else with cartilage can be dislocated. You don't have to be a doctor to know that. So now I'm in double pain because he's not the brightest. Third, he told me I'm very overweight for my height. Now I'm not going to argue that I may be somewhat overweight at the moment due to being sick, so therefore inactive, the last few months, but very overweight??? Come on now. He said the majority of my weight is in my upper body and therefore putting pressure on my spine. My question there is, did he even look at how I'm shaped? Most of my weight is in my butt and legs, you don't even have to take a good look at me to see that one.

This guy was not very observant and seemed to not know what he was talking about. While he was right about the pars defect diagnosis, he was way off base about other things (spondylolysis, anyone?). I'm getting a second opinion as soon as I can find a spinal doctor with a good reputation in the metro area.

I just thought I would give an update to those who have known what has been going on and wanted to stay in the loop. Thanks for all the support, I love you guys!

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