prolapsed disc and root nerve compression

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Was referred to Gym by GP in 2007 to lose weight. Lost 2 stone but the following year January 2008 developed pain at the back of my ankle which spread up my right calf, back of the top of my leg and lower back. Easter 2008 woke up with unable to move in excrutiating pain - took one week sick leave from work hoping I would be able to go back to work after rest and hot and cold therapy. Went into work the following Monday unable to walk without a walking stick, was taken home in a car as after about an hour I was in absolute agony and my pallor was grey. Telephoned my GP for a home visit and was refused. My husband arrived home from work at the end of the day and telephoned the GP to give me an emergency appointment and was refused and told I could have an appointment the following week and to take some paracetamol! The rest of the week I spent on my hands and knees unable to stand up and ended up crying on Sunday afternoon (I am not the sort of woman show cries easily). My husband took me to A&E where I was given Ibuprofen and Diclofenic by a Locum Doctor and sent home. I went through the next week living in my lounge unable to get upstairs. The day before my GP appointment the surgery telephoned to cancel my appointment as they said the surgery was closed for a training day. My husband took me to A&E again! This time I was taken to Triage where the nursing staff were wonderful and told me to complain about the lack of Duty of Care that is owed to every patient, however the Dr refused to comment. I was kept in hospital until the next day, given morphine for the pain and told by the Orthopaedic Surgery that patients were left for 12 weeks with this pain to see if it would resolve itself (my God, this is the 21st Century people should not be left in agonising pain like this!) The consultant told me that I probably needed an MRI scan and my GP would have to refer me for this. I went to the GP and complaining, I had an apology (big deal) and was told he would refer me for a scan but that there was a long waiting list but that if I would pay I could have one in a few days time. I was in such agony I agree and had my MRI after 2 days which showed a prolapsed disc with severe displacement of the root nerve and compression. My GP told me that he would refer me to an Orthopaedic Surgeon but that there was a long waiting list so again I said that I would pay as by now I was desperate for an end to this pain. I saw the Surgeon a week later who told me I needed a root nerve block and that he would put me down as urgent and hopefully it would not be too long a wait. I waited and waited and ended up having to pay for the nerve block myself after I told my sister I was feeling sucidal and I could not take any more and my sister herself told me she would pay for my treatment. I had the nerve block last Thursday. It is not 100% but has eased the pain. I will now surprise you - I am a Medical Secretary and have worked for the NHS all my life and have never been treated so shabbily, if however, you open your cheque book you are treated quite differently. I hope that I never need a discetomy as on my salary I cannot afford to fund this which costs anything between £20,000 - £40,000.

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    Hi Carole,

    Sorry to hear of your pain. Hopefully the nerve block will work well for you, it is just so awful that people have to go through all of this pain and suffering to get treatment. Of course if it had been left to the NHS you would still be waiting for treatment. It isn't right. But it is true that usually not much happens for the first twelve weeks, other than being offered analgesics of various types and strengths and if you are really lucky maybe some physiotherapy. Then after twelve weeks, you usually get to join the queue for an appointment to see a Consultant (which I'm sure you know under NHS guidelines can take 13 weeks from the date of receipt of a GP referral) and then from there a few more weeks for an MRI scan and then a few more weeks for the results. Then more weeks, or months if you need an op. The only way to cut through all this crap is if you develop saddle numbness and/or bladder and bowel disfunction, indicating possible cauda equina syndrome.

    It is a shabby service. Over 100 billion pounds a year and this is the best they can do???? For me it was a real battle to get help, including a formal complaint, but even that they couldn't deal with in 25 working days as their regulations prescribe. And when I did get a reply it was just detailing the government guidelines for this and the time limits for that. They conveniently forgot to mention all of the deadlines they had failed to meet!!! I have learned a lot about the workings of the NHS, but it has been an uphill battle, as they like to keep the rules secret and don't like it when you challenge them. Working inside the system it must be so much easier for you to complain.

    Have you seen that Jude is writing a book and doing a survey?

    Best wishes

    TFU

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    Hi truly fed up. My nerve block wore off a month ago and I am back to square one, only this time I have had to retire from work early due to the pain. I have registered with the Institute of Chiropractioners to see if they can help, we have a University in our area which is not related to the NHS, :cry: which trains them and runs clinics for training purposes and they said my case is unusual and that they would like my permission to use me for teaching purposes. I have told them of my shabby treatment by the NHS and they agreed with me. I am back on the waiting list with the NHS so I am not holding my breath! I have been reading up on microdiscetomies where they only cut away the bit of disc that is prolapsed does anyone have an experience of this? I have also heard of diathermy where the disc can be shrunk away from the nerve - anyone? What is Judith's email who is writing the book, I would love to talk to her? How are you at this point? Love Carole
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