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What exactly is wrong with me?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I am hoping that someone will be able to give me some information on my neck pain as I dont know exactly what the problem is! The pain started 5 months ago now on the left side of my neck, it was a hot burning constant feeling and then my left shoulder started to ache and really hurt. The pain also travels down the whole of my left arm and right through my fingers and I get a horrible sensation in my arm and hand with pins and needles at times too. I have seen my gp who said it was more than likely to be caused by disc and nerve problems but thats all I know. Last week I stretched as i got up out of bed and the pain was the worst I have ever felt before, I could not move my neck at all and I couldnt walk, sit or lie down comfortably at all. I went back to my gp who gave me some Diclofenac (anti inflammatories) and strong painkillers but the painkillers make me really drowsy so they are no good and paracetamol and ibuprofen dont do a thing for my pain! After 4 days it eased off alot but everyday my neck is still sore and I am restricted in my movements all the time! I am on amitriptyline for my neck and they do help a bit but I am still in pain! I just want to know what the problem really is and when will it go away if ever! Sorry my post is so long. Any help will be greatfully appreciated.


  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Hi and welcome to SH. I'm no doctor but it sounds to me like you may have a herniated disc or something. The only way to really know is to have some tests done. Your doctor probably wanted to try the anti-inflammatory meds. first to see if it was only a 'crick' or pulled muscle. If it continues to cause you pain go back and ask if you can get an mri. Take care and hope you feel better soon.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    to try to figure what the problem is without more information.
    Just reading your descriptions, the problem could fall into any one of these categories:
    - Muscular Muscle pulls, tears, etc
    - Nerve Pinched Nerve
    - Disc Could show all sides, but also more difficult to diagnose.

    When the problem is muscular in nature, normally rest and heat should help the situation, so that after a while you would expect to see better results. Pinched nerves can cause a lot of acute pain and can be very stubborn to control.
    The last one disc, well there are so many different possibilities here, I wont even go into them.

    Considering you have had this for a while, I would suggest discussing this in more detail with your PCP. If they even suspect disc, then I would hope that they would also recommend some diagnostic testing to verify this (ie, MRI)
    What has your PCP offered in terms of relief, treatment and any other action plan?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Debbie, thank you for your reply, I dont think it is a crick or pulled muscle as Doctor seemed to think it was a disc problem but what kind of disc problem I do not know. I will look up herniated disc to see if that sounds like what I have. Thanks again, Clair
  • Hi Ron, Thank you for your reply. At the moment my Doctor has not recommended any type of action plan at all, they just tell me to keep taking the painkillers! I have not been offered an MRI but it certainly seems worthwhile to suggest one so that they can at least know what the problem is and how to treat it etc. The Doctor did mention me having some physio but nothing has been arranged as yet and I am not sure if it would help. I am just so fed up living with this constant pain. I have bought a TENS machine and that does help some but once I stop using it the pain returns. If it is a disc problem then I am just wondering how they would treat it if at all? Thanks again, Clair
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    Clair that is basically how the TENS units work. I've used one for years and while I am using it, it feels good, but shortly afterwards, I hardly knew that I had any relief.
    Sometimes that is good. One of my therapists told me that while the TENS units can help with pain, you dont want to have any false thoughts that could cause you to do things that might cause more pain
    Ok, now if after diagnostic testing, it is determine that the problem is Disc in nature. That still leaves many different options for you.
    Take a quick look at our FAQ, specifically
    Difference between Bulging and Herniated Disc
    So much depends on the degree of a disc problem. Many situation can be handled using conservative treatments. The list is almost endless and they should all be tried before turning to the next option - Surgery
    Some conservative treatments include
    Physical and Aqua Therapy
    Massage Therapy
    Cold/Heat Therapy
    Passive traction
    Spinal Injections including ESI and Trigger point
    On top of that there are many different things you can do at home. I have been using one of those large exercise balls for years now and there are so many different exercises you can do with them. I believe in alternative medicine, so the use of Aroma Therapy and Music Relaxation has been beneficial.
    I think if I was to provide one word of advice to anyone dealing with spinal problems is : THAT IF you can AVOID Surgery, do SO!
    But please always remember these decisions need to come after discussing it with your doctor. Its easy for me to sit here and offer potential actions, but never assume that this takes the place of formal medical advice.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Ron, Thank you for all of your advice. You have provided me with lots of very useful information. Thanks for taking the time to do so. I will certainly read the link that you provided. Hopefully I can get an MRI so that I can get the right treatment for this pain! Thanks again. Clair
  • It's rough you're having so much neck pain. Your Dr. is starting you on meds to help ease some nerve pain caused by discs like amitriptyline and an anti inflammatory diclofenac but you need to ask your Dr for an MRI. I had to ask my Dr. After 5 months you need to see a Neurologist and a Pain Management Dr. But first get the MRI. I hope you're Dr helps you out. 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
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Good site for information on your symptoms


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • These things can take a while and perhaps a few different medical people to correctly diagnose.
    Not all doctors will reach the same conclusions. They also can have their own biases, outdated knowledge, lack of concern etc etc.
    So you may need to try other doctors until you find one who can help.
    If you are getting tingling in an arm and fingers, that sounds like a nerve irritation of some sort from your neck.
    You can find diagrams that will explain which C joints cause this.
    It may of course get better by itself in time, particularly if it is all inflamed, as this will put extra pressure on the nearby nerves.
    When the swelling dies down, the nerve is freed up.
    One thing that you will have from all of this is very sore and tight muscles in your neck and shoulder. The trapezius muscle.
    It can get very angry and give you all sorts of neck pains, headaches, sore shoulders and so on.
    So you must work on this problem as well . It is often a far bigger cause of neck pain than people realise.
    Try remedial massage, muscle relaxants, hot baths, heat packs-see what works for you.
    It may be that you have a disc problem that needs treatment. Or you may have just had an incident of some sort that has caused everything to get inflamed and sore.
    Whatever has happened, you must get the muscles relaxed.
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