How to find a responsive doctor for chronic pain

59 posts in this topic

Just reading the OPs wife's post made me think of something I've had lately. I had pain in my leg from the shin, radiating to the butt area and so on, sometimes so bad I was unable to sit for more than 15 minutes nor sleep, and was checked out for varicose veins. Have you had a check like that, OPs wife? Sounds weird but you never know.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Uma,

 

You are doing great, just hang in there and don't lose hope. As husband of a chronically ill person, I know how life can come to a standstill under such circumstances.

 

Our situation was similar to yours, arriving in Germany 9 months ago hoping that advancement in medical research here will help us get to the root of her long-standing Gastro-Intestinal problems. We suffered a lot of set-backs in the beginning, with appointments only available months down the line, doctors not spending enough time or effort listening to us, suggesting very stupid basic treatment (like drink more water, stop drinking milk and visit back after 3 months), and so on. For someone suffering for 10 years and having undergone umpteen endoscopies, colonoscopies and what not, it seemed so absurd. But that's how it went (maybe due to the various reasons pointed out by others above).

 

We kept the follow-on visits going, even with the kind of doctors who would literally push us out of their offices. When the doctor finally said 'that's all I can do', with a shrug, it was time to find another one. Over the course of time, we now have a set of doctors who atleast try to communicate (both ways). Some even see to it that my wife understands how important a particular test is (my wife kind-of lost hope in western medicine long time ago, and it takes quite an effort to convince her for another test). Some are still jerks, but we are working our way through them, until we find better replacements.

 

Few points we realized:

 

 

  • Try to go to a multi-speciality hospital. Cross-reference within the same hospital helps in getting early appointments and the doctor can see previous results straight away or talk to the referring doctor if required.
  • Do not give-up on a particular doctor until you have a better alternate. When the doctor realizes that he cannot get rid of you that easily, he HAS to look into your case seriously.
  • Do a lot of research on your problems yourself. When doctors realize that the person they are speaking to is knowledgeable, they open up fast and tend to take more interest in the patient.
  • Start learning German equivalents of all English medical terms. That's one area where most of the doctors struggle, and so, give up easily.
  • Always ask for print-outs of all tests conducted. Insist if they are reluctant. It helps a great deal when you decide to change doctors.
  • DON'T GIVE UP! We haven't and are certain that there is light at the end of tunnel.

 

 

All the best to you!

...and keep sharing your experience.

 

 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I'm the OP's wife.

 

What I have is actually a severe pain in the butt...

 

so, how long have you been married?

 

:lol:

 

sorry... couldn't resist. Hope your back is getting better.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I really don't want to sound rude, but better get used to the fact that you live in Germany. They have to tell and ask everything of importance in German. It's Amtsprache, and you are lucky if you meet a doctor who is comfortable speaking English. And maybe they don't listen because they don't really understand you. Reading and understanding English and listening to a native speaker and understanding English are two different things.

No offense meant, but the body does not know I have to learn enough German before I fall sick and that I should have only one aching part at a time. Ironically, this doctor was very fluent in English, not once did he fumble for the right word in English. I have seen my fair share of doctors, this guy reminded me of some greedy gynaecs in my country who would take on more patients than can be handled in a single day just to rake in more money. He was so abrupt that it actually took a little time to sink in that our consultation was over and he'd moved on to the next patient. When you go with so much hope, especially having found a doctor who understands English so well, it's heartbreaking to deal with that kind of treatment.

 

I take a painkiller - ultracet(tramadol)..I think its sold as Ultram in some countries, that has helped cope with the pain. It is supposed to have some narcotic like effects. I had brought some from India but it's almost over.If I could refill prescriptions given in India it would probably make life a little easier.

 

I have been googling for some years now on the symptoms and I feel sciatica or piriformis syndrome is a possibility. Not many doctors in India know about piriformi symdrome or how to diagnose, hence we were very optimistic that we might get better help in Germany. For some mysterious reasons the pain has worsened over the last week and the only respite I get is from the painkillers I brought from India. I have no clue what I should do when they r over.

 

 

Off topic but I just want to throw in that your wife is a lucky woman to have such a caring husband.

Quite true, he has been a pillar of strength. There are days when I just want to give up and end it altogether, he keeps me sane.

 

@raddops - thank you for the words of encouragement. The pain and the helplessness makes it very difficult to remain positive even for an optimist like me. I think I would have to start over by lowering my expectations. We have seen 4 doctors here, 2 of them were for different reasons. Of the 4, one GP was good. I had recurring symptoms of an H.Pylori infection and he gave me the antibiotic pack instead of giving me antacids like the 1st one did. I do not understand why they hesitate giving you the appropriate medication. We really did not face much of a language issue with any of the 4, so that leaves us with seeing some more doctors till we find the right one who is willing to listen and prescribe appropriate treatment. We will definitely keep your advice in mind.

 

 

so, how long have you been married?

LOL..good one

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To the OP: I have to deal with German docs, in a professional capacity, regularly.

 

They do not, and I repeat NOT, treat pain as in the US and other countries. I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but your best bet is a dedicated pain clinic. Find someone to go with you and help get through the language barrier. I have never seen a GP here prescibing more than tylenol (and usually in suppository form). I think it is highly unlikely you will get any controlled meds from them.

 

However, you seem more interested in getting to the root of the pain not just treating it...which is always a good place to be.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone,

 

Finally, we have found a doctor for my wife who seems to be willing to listen. Thanks a lot for your support and suggestions. It helped us a lot.

 

We talked to our GP, explained the problems we were facing and he helped us. Our GP speaks a fair amount of English and he is very helpful. He spends enough time with his patients and doesn't rush through the appointment. He had his office make an appointment to see an Orthopedic in Bochum. We got an appointment for the next week. The orthopedic was talking only in German for a few minutes and we thought we were doomed. Once he realized that we had no knowledge of German, he switched to English. He also listened to the whole history and recommended that we start of with a series of acupuncture sessions and decide on next steps based on how she responds to the treatment. He was also willing to prescribe pain killers to take care of the pain when it becomes unbearable.

 

Again, thanks a lot to everyone who responded in the forum and in private. Your support helped us a lot.

 

- RPC

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to highly recommend the doctor that I found after 10 years of going to various doctors and physio in Munich. My Ortho (Dr. Pürckhauer) decided to share his praxis with this doctor as he had so many patients with chronic pain, he actively brought in a pain specialist to "compliment" his patients needs. Dr Mayer spent 90 min with me on my first visit - did a thorough history covering all aspects of life/medicine and then even called the private mobile of one of the best head pain doctors in Germany (as she had worked with him before) and spent a good 5 min alone on the phone with him going through history and option. She then on my 3rd visit when a more aggressive approach was needed - then called him again to work me in in 3 weeks (normally would take 3 months). Anyway - short story - in little under 2 months (after 10 yrs of visits) I have finally solved what and how to manage my non-stop pain because of her way of actually caring about the patient. I highly recommend her!!! Even if she does not know herself what to do - she has the knowledge and "caring" approach to find another solution.

 

Here is her website

Dr Mayer

Dr. Alexandra Katinka Mayer

Prinzregentenstraße 78

81675 München

089 41 77 68 90

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

piriformis syndrome and all sciatic pain can involve both legs. My sciatica was best treated with muscle relaxers. Here is some information which might be helpful My link

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone. I didn't realize that there were new posts. We have finally managed to find a pain specialist. His name is Dr. Neveling at Klinik für Anästhesie | Schmerzambulanz of Klinik Blankenstein in Hattingen, a neighboring town. He was recommended by our neighborhood Orthopedic, Dr. Hitzler of Orthopädie am Schauspielhaus. My wife had a round of treatment and we are happy that there is some improvement. We still do not have a diagnosis and need to find a more permanent solution as the pain is still there. Now, our GP can prescribe the pain killers based on Dr. Neveling's recommendation. Btw, the GP, Dr. Bernhard Grundhoff (jameda link) is a good doctor who is willing to listen to the patient before prescribing medicines. It took over six months and more than five doctors before we could find something that works.

 

@eurobabs: Thanks for the details of the doctor. If we move anywhere near Munich, we will definitely try this doctor. You are very lucky to find a good doctor who is willing to listen to the patient.

 

@Starscream: My wife was also given muscle relaxants and it actually helped. Unfortunately, they have the side effect of affecting her vision (makes it a bit blurry). She has a sinus infection as well. We are waiting for the infection to go down to see if the infection is causing the blurred vision. I hope it is not the muscle relaxant.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of patient's organisations which might be helpful in finding a suitable doctor. One example is this. That organisation should be able to help you find those associations. I guess it might also help already to come to know people with the same or similiar problem who might be able to point you into the right direction, recommend doctors they have personal experience with etc.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are publicly insured it might also help - if you can afford it - to ask your insurance to copay bills you get when visiting a doctor not in your capacity as a member of a public health insurance, but as a private patient. As far as I remember you have a right to do so (they will pay to you what they would have had to pay to the doctor if you had visited him as a publicly insured patient). However, you will be bound to that decision for 1 full year (IIRC). It used to be like that you could opt for certain disciplines only (like neurologists, orthopedics etc.) but I think this has changed and now you can only opt for all or none disciplines. There are private insurance companies which would cover the difference (but of course they might not want you as a customer if you are sick already).

 

For private patients doctors get paid more and are subject to less restrictions - so maybe some of them will be prepared to spend more time listening to you and prescribe therapies which they know wouldn't be paid for by public insurance.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

@Starscream: My wife was also given muscle relaxants and it actually helped. Unfortunately, they have the side effect of affecting her vision (makes it a bit blurry). She has a sinus infection as well. We are waiting for the infection to go down to see if the infection is causing the blurred vision. I hope it is not the muscle relaxant.

 

Try reducing her dose. Break the pills in half if possible. Refrain from activities which aggravate this pain (I used to get severe pain while driving). She should drink plenty of water, I cannot stress this enough. A couple big glasses of water within the first hour of being awake. Muscle stretching can help too. Crossing your legs (like a man, not like a woman) and leaning forward as far down as you can go. Maybe have a liver, kidney function test done and also rule out gout.

 

The good news is this may not be a chronic condition. I suffered from ,what was at times, very severe sciatic pain for about 2 years. A few times all I could do was roll around on the floor screaming in pain. But then all of the sudden it just stopped and for several years now I have been just fine.

 

I hope the best for you and your wife. You sound like good people.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well done on getting any thing stronger than paracetamol from a German doctor! I have Chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and all I get is a muscle relaxant ..um yeah thanks doc, Im now so at the end of my wick I have taken to buying up large quantaties of co codamol when Im in England and bringing them all back here.

<-@

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One word, "metamizol". Illegal in the US. Yet doctors hand out narcotics like they were candy in many US States.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Toytowners!

I wonder if anyone can recommend a good back docor in Berlin? I have been having chronic backpain now for a couple of weeks. It is an intense burning inflammation under my scapula. I have been having chiropractic care (from an Australian trained chiropractor, privately funded) which provides some relief for a day or so. I also have been having Thai massage which provides temporary relief.

 

I went today to an Orthopädie at Potsdamer Platz and was hopeful that I might obtain some advice and have a discussion regarding different options. After waiting an hour after my appointment time, I was whooshed in and out of the consulatation room within 5 minutes. The doctor was not interested in discussing options with me at all, cracked my back once and told me to come back in a week. I said I was hoping to obtain some advice and referrals to an acupuncturist, physio, masseuse, anything really to try to alleviate the pain. She was not interested at all and said she only refers to physios where there is either Lemmung, Rheuma or something else. I haven't been able to find the meaning of these words anywhere!

 

In short, it would be awesome if anyone could explain the system here - ie. should I be going to a GP (allgemeine Arzt) or continue to try Orthopädie? Can anyone recommend a good acupuncturist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, masseuse in Berlin (private or insurance funded)? I would very much appreciate help!

 

I do find that Bikram yoga helps but at the moment I am too unwell to be able to practise yoga. I can't sit in a car or a plane, I can't carry my handbag and, in essence, I am in too much pain with nausea to be able to self-treat. I am also flying to Australia in 3 weeks and am dreading the flight.

 

THanks everyone!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

said she only refers to physios where there is either Lemmung, Rheuma or something else. I haven't been able to find the meaning of these words anywhere!

 

Lähmung is paralysis and by Rheuma (think of the word rheumatism) she meant things like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis etc.

 

You could go to a GP and see which specialist he/she would recommend. I'm sorry you're in so much pain.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For other readers with chronic back pain, I ended up finding Anne Rampacher who was a godsend. She is a chiropractor who trained in the UK and is exceptional at what she does. Unfortunately, I was only in Berlin for a 6 month secondment so I have left again but am currently using the Chiropraktikzentrum in Westend, Frankfurt which is also a help. I have to pay all privately but it beats having chronic pain all the time. ;)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there I had completely forgotten about this thread, so currentley Im under Dr Franck on Kennedy allee in Bonn as my Reumatologist and Im honestley thinking of switching Diagnostically he is great as someone to deal with Chronic pain he is not so great , does anyone have any recommendations for someone a little more pro active?

thanks

Suff @->

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to add some updates here for anyone who might stumble upon this thread. Since the time the original query was posted, we moved from Bochum to Frankfurt with a short stint in Stuttgart.

What we have found is that, unsurprisingly, it is easier to find doctors in larger cities. No one was so far able to provide a diagnosis though they have done a lot of MRT and X-Ray investigations.

We were in Stuttgart region only for six months and although we found some doctors who appeared quite good and responsive, we cannot recommend any as my wife wasn't a patient with them long term.

As for Frankfurt, my wife is now in the care of a specialist pain doctor, Dr. Miles of SCHMERZ Zentrum Frankfurt. Getting the first appointment took over six months. The process required that we send a detailed questionnaire for the clinic to evaluate. It took them a few months and then they called us and gave an initial appointment. Once that was done, it is a lot easier to manage subsequent appointments. The doctor also listens to my wife about the treatment and medication options that she has found from other sources. Overall, we are very happy with this clinic.

Our Hausarzt, Dr. Dirk Messemer of Gemeinschaftspraxis Dr. med. Monika und Dirk Messemer is also an anesthesiologist and was the one who recommended the pain clinic. This GP is also very responsive to patients and spends enough time understanding the complaints.

My wife also had some pain in the shoulder that ended up needing arthroscopic surgery in the shoulder. She was treated by Dr. Vonhoegen and Dr. Lages of the Orthopädie department of Klinik am Ring in Cologne. This is also an excellent practise where the doctors listen to patients and the hospital was also very good w.r.t the procedure and care afterwards.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now