I motivated the neurologist to make one more call to the insurance, and, suddenly, the other test was approved. Completely clean, didn't find anything.
Went to an orthopedic specialist in Houston. Speedy place, meant swift service, but also hurried. Felt almost more like a walk-in clinic and less like a specialist. I started to explain the source of the pain and everything I'd tried so far, and he quickly shuffled me to a set of x-rays. Once they were read, the results are... "mild early arthritis, and inflammation". Ortho says "go to physical therapy, it'll all be okay". I explained it's pretty painful, some activities make it worse, some better. His response? Even though riding doesn't increase the pain, or cause pain, quit doing it. Instead, "Just take it easy". Uhm.... I have been, and that doesn't help, either. I asked what pain medication solutions there might be until the physical therapy starts working. "Advil", he quipped back. I responded, "Advil tears up my stomach", and went back into details I won't mention here.
His response floored me. "Well, Advil can give you a bleeding ulcer, but it would reduce the pain. A bleeding ulcer can kill you. Pain won't kill you. There is nothing else I can do."
I turned in the PT request yesterday. September 4 is the first appointment. What I'm supposed to do in the meanwhile, I have no clue.