Doctor! Help!

My first post about my neck/back issues was written in October; at that point, I’d seen the inside of a multitude of doctors’ offices. First, I went to a chiropractor, who along with spinal adjustments added a massage therapist into the mix. I got x-rays and an MRI, followed by a consultation with a neurologist and time at physical therapy. After four months of no resolution, I continued on my journey for answers: what’s wrong with me? and what can I do to fix it?

Since then, I self-diagnosed my problem as stemming from me grinding my teeth at night. I took this diagnosis to my GP during my wellness checkup and she thought that I might be onto something, so she recommended a sleep doctor who could monitor how I sleep and if I’m doing anything unusual. Off to my sixth doctor’s office in as many months. Hooked up to all sorts of machines, I slept for a few hours while information about my sleep was recorded – do I grind my teeth, do I get into REM, do I fall asleep quickly, how long do I sleep, do I snore, etc. When it was time to review my results, the doctor informed me that I had a “beautiful sleep test.” In other words, nothing is wrong with how I sleep.

You may be starting to wonder if within in this time, I, myself, had gone to med school and finished residency. Not only were my answers taking an inordinate amount of time and effort, I had to figure out my own diagnosis and my own medical plan. I’m the furthest thing from a doctor, yet it’s been up to me to decide where to go next in my questions’ quest. I’m extremely lucky that I have a computer, am literate, am intelligent, have insurance and love Google, or else I’d be in even more constant pain.

Just to add to the complexity, a rib went out of place last month. I’ve had to get it re-adjusted three times by my chiropractor. The headaches have more or less remained and I have a nearly constant pain in my neck and upper back near my left shoulder blade. The only positive thing I can say about this whole experience is that the bimonthly massages for which I pay $70 a pop are amazing. My bank account still hates me.

Another stab in the dark is taking me to see an orthopedist next week. Once I explained the symptoms and my medical journey to the orthopedic nurse, she wasn’t scared away; actually, she had the “perfect” doctor for me: a retired spinal surgeon. I want to feel better and I wish it hadn’t taken so damn long, but if this doctor can save me from headaches and pain, I’ll be forever grateful. Doctor friends, if you’re reading this, help! Do you have suggestions? I have plenty of things to help the pain, but want to really know what’s going on. Please and thank you.

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