I was told in February of this year that I have arthritis in my lumbar spine. This was a year after I started having severe lower back pain. I also have a herniated disk, early DDD and stenosis. I was sent to a neurosurgeon who said I was not a surgical candidate due to my age (26). My doctor then sent me to pain management because he had nothing else to offer me. I never had blood work done. Only an XRAY and MRI. I've taken oral steroids, NSAID's and had 3 ESI's and nothing provided relief any longer than 2 weeks. I'm now thinking that I should see a Rheumatologist. I've been reading about ankylosing spondylitis and it really seems to be my problem. My pain is gone when I'm walking but as soon as I stop moving it all seems to come back full force. I can't stay in one position for more than 5-10 minutes without horrible pain. The only thing that takes the pain away is a hot bath that no normal human would get into. I come out red but feeling better. I have a heating pad on me pretty much 24 hours a day. When I wake up in the morning it takes me a few minutes to get out of bed and then a few minutes to straighten up. This happens anytime I get up from a resting position. I've had extreme fatigue since my back pain started. I sleep 8-10 hours a night and feel like I never slept at all. In the past few months my vision has gotten extremely blurry. My knees also hurt pretty bad making it difficult to walk up and down the stairs to my office at work.
I just want to know if anyone with ankylosing spondylitis had similar symptoms to mine and how they were diagnosed. My PM doctor seems to think that she can fix my problems and insist that I keep taking the NSAIDs Mobic. Which does nothing and makes me worry about my stomach and liver. I am prescribed opiates but it's on a needed basis as she thinks I should not take them at all. I'm supposed to get a TENS unit soon (actually last week but it still has not shown up) and she wants me to try the spinal cord stimulator trial. I think I really need to get a second opinion before I consider the SCS. I think that I'm not getting the best care possible and that there could be many more reasons for my pain and I should look into all possible options. My only problem is the insurance is an HMO and I do not have a Rheumatologist in my group. I'm not even sure if I can see one or be referred to one or how to go about asking for one or even who to ask, primary doctor or PM doctor. I'm confused and need advise basically.
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