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Appointment with my neurologist: the wait is driving me crazy!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
So hello everyone, I am a new member to the site. My name is Kate. Here is my story.
One day about 5-6 months ago I woke up with a stiff neck. I figured I had just slept wrong but three weeks went by before the pain subsided. Then a month later the same thing happened and no more than a couple of weeks after the pain went away it came back again. In November 2008 I finally went to the doctor. X rays were taken which came back normal. I was given Skelaxin(muscle relaxer)which did absolutely nothing for the pain however I did find that 800mg IB profen helped a little so I figured this is just part of getting older. I am 29yrs old...lol.
Then three weeks ago on the 21st of January as I was walking to my truck I slipped on the ice. I did not fall I just jerked a little to catch myself from falling. Immediately my neck began to hurt again. A week went by and I started to get shooting pains down my left arm and muscle spasms (twitching) in my forearm. That Saturday I went to the doctor and he decided to order a MRI. My MRI was scheduled for Friday 6 Feb 08. My pain in my left arm continued to get worse that week. I went from having sharp quick jolts of pain through my left arm to what felt like a "Charlie horse" pain that would last for several seconds to minutes. When the results came back the report reads as: Large left paracentral disc extrusion at C6-C7. Herniated disc projects 6 mm posteriorly into the spinal canal, effacing cerebrospinal fluid space and compressing the ventral aspect of the cord on that side. Disc material extends superiorly and inferiorly 2-3 mm each. The herniated disc also appears to have mass effect on the exiting left C7 nerve root. My doc said normally when he sees results this severe surgery is the only option.
Because I only want to be treated by the best neurologist in the area I have to wait a week to see him. In the meantime in addition to the pain I am starting to feel a lot of weakness in my left arm. The waiting is driving me crazy. Does anyone have any advice or insight? My biggest concern is if my condition is severe enough that I will need surgery. I am an Army helicopter pilot and single Mom. I worry about the effects on my life if I have or don’t have surgery.


  • Hi Kate. Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Surgery or no surgery: that's alway the question, assuming you have a choice. When my surgeon looked at my MRI, he told me it wasn't a matter of "if" I had surgery, but "when."

    The symptoms you're describing are almost identical to what I experienced before my surgery (I don't mean to scare you). By the time I had surgery, I had almost lost complete use of my left arm. The good news? It went away immediately after surgery. The only problem in waiting to have surgery is that the damage to the nerves causing these symptoms may become permanent.

    Anyway, I hope this helps and I'm anxious to hear what your neuro says.

    Take care and PM me if you have any questions or just need to "talk."

  • I would tell your PCP Dr. that you're having weakness now and he can get ahold of the Neuro or fax him the new symptoms and you may be seen faster. Any change in your condition warrants your Drs attention. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks to both of you for your input. Its tough talking to others who have not suffered through this and can not relate. I have come to expect Surgery as possibly my only option and I am ok with that. I have heard that meds, injections, physical therapy offer only temporary relief. So if it is really bad I would rather have it fixed permanently. Cath, I noticed your fusion was for C4-C5, C5-C6 and C6-C7! Wow. Did you have herniated disk for all of them? or is that just the way the surgery works? Forgive me for my ignorance..still new to all this cervical stuff. Charry, thanks for the advice. I think I will call my family doc tomorrow and see if they can bump me up. I will definately keep you posted.
  • No problem Kate. My three levels were all herniated with bone spurs pressing on nerves and spinal cord impingement. It still amazes me that I never had any problems before last April when I had "chilly" arms and wicked back spasms. I tried PT but it didn't help. So I got an MRI and *bam* on the fast track to surgery. My surgeon was surprised that I hadn't lost bowel and bladder control due to the severity of my cervical spine problems, so I'm pretty lucky, all things considered.
  • Hi,

    I am amazed that the neck can cause bowel problems. I will be having surgery on my neck this month, not sure of the date yet due to having to change doctors, but it will be on C4-5, C5-6 and C5-7.

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