Went in for my 3rd set of trigger point injections (read part 1 & part 2 & part 3) this past Tuesday. During the initial examination, was told by doctors (there were 2 of them) that the tissue around my shoulder blade (where the pain is REALLY bad) does not react like a trigger point. As one doc put it, “You’ve got a good, old-fashioned mechanical problem. The padding between bone, muscle and skin is very thin.” Essentially, it looks like the pain is caused from the wear and tear of my bone hitting the muscle, which then hits the skin. In my case, the muscle is weak and in constant strain (per the kyphosis) and I’m underweight, so there’s no soft tissue between muscle and skin. Therefore any surface my back touches only adds pressure and more pain. Try not resting your back, though. Can’t be done. This would also explain why the last trigger point injections only worked for about 2 days. BUT…the pain on the middle and left side of my back is gone, so a majority of the pain was trigger points, just not the remaining pain. Doc basically says they can give me another set of injections, but based on how the tissue reacted, it would likely only leave me painless for a day or so. Not worth it.
On Wednesday, I had my first visit to UC Davis’ Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Unit. Why they don’t just call it the physical therapy place, I have no idea. I met a pair of very nice and thorough doctors. First a nice younger lady MD interviewed me about the nature of my pain and went into my medical history. She checked out my back, poking and palpating. Gave me a neuro test (“Hold your arms out, don’t let me push them together” “Try to push my hand away with your leg”) and then excused herself while she went to get another doctor. Not much later, she comes back with a sweet, older MD. She also examined me thoroughly. Had me stretch my arms out, then she stretched them to test my range of motion. She asked questions throughout. Explained to me that there is a lot this particular department can do for me. Number one would be straight up physical therapy, which for me means a focus on stretching my upper body as much as possible, in an attempt to soothe the over-strained muscles/ligaments that are causing the pain. They set me up with a 2-month physical therapy course, where I’ll get stretched out and get set up with a home routine (woohoo!). Looking forward to PT. I avoid exercise now because I feel very stiff and afraid of hurting something. Most all standard exercise routines rely on good posture, something I’ll never have. So it will be nice to have the feedback of a professional to let me know what I should and shouldn’t do to improve overall muscle health. Before the appointment was over, I told the doctors that I’m taking a beating emotionally as much as physically. They said they have an on-staff pain management psychologist, who happens to have a spinal cord injury and is currently in a wheelchair. Well, I’ll be… This sounds like someone I must meet! So they set me up with an appointment for the psych chick. They tell me to wait for about a week for the office to get back to me with those appointment dates. Awesome!
UC Davis Physical Medicine & Re Physical Therapy Place calls me on Friday afternoon saying, “Remember that cool psychologist that you could probably TOTALLY relate to and perhaps learn a lot from? Yeah… well, you better call your insurance company and have them set it up on their side first…mmmk? Thanks.” Son of a motherfuckin’ bitchtard! Mental health always has to be different!
I couldn’t call my health plan on Friday since Davis called at near closing time. But I did look up the benefits and I get 8 free 1-on-1 sessions with a mental health provider (only 8? Come on now…) BUT as many telephone consultations as needed. I guess that’s not bad. So, next I looked up the same therapist the doctor team had recommended for me and she is an approved provider! Phew! On Monday, I shall call up the health plan and set up the first appointment to see her.