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Cervical Disc Bulges, pain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but, here goes.

I've been experiencing moderate to severe pain through my neck and thoracic spine for the last year. I've had several tests done but the only thing that has shown anything has been a CT which showed disc bulges at C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, T2-3, T3-4 and I'm fused through T3-L4 (that area always turns up unreadable which is unfortunate considering the worst pain is between my my shoulder blades). Has anyone else had pain from disc bulges?

I'm only 22 and I'm honestly getting pretty fed up with being in pain and not having any answers. I've been doing cervical spine exercises, but I'm not noticing any change in the amount of pain I'm in daily. I'm having a hard time living my life and I'm also having a horrible time finding doctors that can figure out what to do from here.

Any insight will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


  • You said your ct scan showed bulges. Did it show any nerve impingement or narrowing of the spinal canal(stenosis)? Some doctors will call a herniation a bulge and vise versa. I've never had cat scans on my spine only MRI's. I think MRI's show more. An EMG might be helpful to check if you have nerve impimgement. Good luck to you, keep looking for the right doctor.

    Keep Hope,
    Faith M
  • Cervical disc bulges cause pain. A lot of muscle pain. The pain between your shoulder blades is most likely referred pain from your cervical problems. I have bulges from c5-6 through c7-t1. I get shoulder blade muscle pain. All referred. C7-t1 causes a lot of shoulder and shoulder blade pain.

    When and what caused your spine problems?
    I started having problems at 28. I was in a car accident.

    You posted that you are fused from T3-L4. It will come up unreadable because of the metal affecting the scan. I also think a MRI will be better. It will show more detail and maybe be able to read a little better the area of fusion. What sizes are the disc bulges? That is important.

  • I can't get an MRI. They have tried and there is always too much scatter from the hardware to be readable.

    I had an EMG, but again some of it was not readable. However, it did not show anything from what they could see.

    3 mild disc bulges and 2 moderate disc bulges. I'm not sure what cause them, between a car accident, falls off horses, and down stairs in the last couple years. I'm pretty accident prone.
  • I'm trying to think of other options. I've heard of people getting discograms, I think that's where they test the disc itself. Or I know I've had nerve blocks that were done to find which level is causing the pain. I've had fusions at C 4/5, C5/6, and C6/7. Each level gave me pain in my neck, shoulder, under my shoulder blade, pain down my arm, hand, and numb thumb/fingers. I have 4 metal plates and cages and screws, so far I haven't been told that I can't have MRI's. I am so sorry that you can't have one. The nerve blocks definitely helped to find which disc it was. Keep looking I'm sure you'll find an answer. Good luck to you.

    Keep Hope,
    Faith M
  • You can have an MRI but with hardware it would not be a clear picture. I now have CTScans and the last one was a mylelogram. It showed that I have a disc bulge above my fusion but my surgeon says that it is no big deal. Anything bulging is a big deal to me so once again it is a wait and see game.

  • I'll google up on this discogram stuff. I'm having trouble w/doctors trying to keep things as cheap as possible for me since I am currently unemployed and have no health insurance. So it's been hard finding the cause of pain between that and the fact that my hardware is surgical steel and has not been helpful with any of my CTs or MRIs. They just end up with too much scatter to be readable :(. I'm going to talk to my neuro on Tuesday about it and get a reference for a PM doctor. I should probably follow up with my ortho again since I have only seen him once since I got out of the hospital the last time.

    I've had DDD mentioned as well as fibro (and nerve issues and MS). I wish getting a diagnosis was a little easier. I'm kind of thinking spinal fusion has caused more problems than it was worse. But I am also extremely frustrated right now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a break through.
  • MonkeyLuv said:

    I've had DDD mentioned as well as fibro (and nerve issues and MS). I wish getting a diagnosis was a little easier. I'm kind of thinking spinal fusion has caused more problems than it was worse. But I am also extremely frustrated right now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a break through.
    why did you have fusion so young with DDD? my neurologist told because of my age 29, fusion might help but it could also cause me the worst depression of my life. It sounds like fusion works for disc injurys, but not spondylosis, stenosis or DDD. I wish there was an extra forum for people under the age of 35 with osteoarthritis.
  • I am 42 and for the past 6-8 months I have been in serious pain. The MRI showed c 3-4 and c4-5 are buldging, I have some arthritis and degenerative disc diseasee. I have done the drugs first, then PT, went thru several epidurals. My mom and sister gets those and it does wonders for them but unfortunately only slightly help me for about 8-14 days so the stress of the whole thing is not worth it for me. I will be going for a discography because my ortho thinks at least one disc is ruptured but he needs to know which one. Unfortunately I am getting married in about 10 weeks go we decided the best thing would be is to wait. If they need to do the replacement surgery he said I will be in neck brace for at least 6 weeks and I really do not want to walk down the isle like that! He did say if I want or need another epidural all I have to do is to let him know. I have started getting bad headaches and that is hard to deal with. I work on a computer all day and I know that does not help. I have pain killers for the days it is really bad.
    The best thing I can say id to find the right doctor. I really like mine and I trust him. He did tendon surgery on my arm a few years ago and did an amazing job. I trust his judgement and appreciate that he has tried everything else before the discography, he said it can be rather painful...has anyone had this done? I like to know what to expect.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Welcome to Spine Health. I'm sorry you're dealing with so much pain while planning for your wedding. I've never had a discogram so I can't advise you on that. I have heard they do hurt when they do the damaged disc. I'm sure you'll get lots of answers from the good folks on here.
    Good luck.

  • I'm really sorry you are going through so much as such a young age. I thought I was young...lol. Bulging discs can cause pain if they are pressing on your nerves. Maybe you have stenosis as well? Have they offered any pain relief like ESI's, pain management, or PT? Maybe you can get a referral to a pain clinic to help you deal with your pain better. Good luck in finding some relief.
  • I too have bulging disk as well in my c4-c5 and c5-c6 for past several years and unfortunately it is pressing my core and causes a lot of pain in my right arm including tingling and numbness that travels into my forearm and then my fingers. i have gone thru it all including 3 cortisone shots in my neck about two years ago which relived the pain for about a year or so and then the pain came back. I have also consulted two surgeon who offered to do the surgery to either remove the bulging disk or even shaving the bulging area of the disk and still not sure about having the surgery. I also have seen chiropractor and done some neck adjustment ,acupuncture, ultrasound and laser therapy with no help and I used to take several pain killer a day to relief the pain. . Now I have found a temporary pain relief from ICYHOT cream. They have an easy roll on applicator that makes it easy to use and for the past couple of month I have been using it a few times A day. As soon as I feel the numbness, tingling is coming in my right arm I apply the roll on on my neck where the bulging disks are located and makes the area extremely hot for several minutes then the pain and numbness goes away. Although this is not a permanent fix but it helps with pain without taking any medication. the facts is not to wait till the pain comes and apply it to the effected area as soon as there is a feeling of tingling and numbness appearing then apply the cream as many times as needed. i have checked with my doctor and been told that is safe to use it several times in a day and it has been tremendous help for me and allowing me to check other possible options before taking on the surgery option.
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