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New and trying to understand

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello, I am new to this board and am trying to be positive but it is not easy. A little background first before I start shooting off questions.

I fell at work in February of this year. I was first treated for wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee contusions. During this time I had PT, Meds, and what I like to call Electro shock therapy. I was also still working full time (50 hr weeks) but with restrictions. While everything else got better my shoulder got worse. Pain with numbness running down my arm into my thumb and first finger. Was finally approved for an MRI of shoulder and an EMG which showed shoulder fine but neck is not, I think it is C5-C6 with active denervation. Approved for Spine Doctor and his reaction was concerning to me. He said I showed Hoffmann's and Hyper reflex something which would possible indicate that the disc is also pushing on my spinal column. Got the word today that MRI of neck and follow up was approved and will have those next week. Case worker thinks I might need surgery (scary thought).

Was finally told not to work and have been off since May 1.
I guess the thing that I am most concerned about is returning to work. I am the sole provider of my household and my job requires lots of physical activity, (work for a gas station / convenience store). How long will I be out of work approximately or will I have to find another job that is not so physical?

Thanks for listening


  • i guess thats really a question for the surgeon,when do you see him?or do you even have an apt. yet? I had hoffsman sign also its a neurological symptom,and helps show them where the problem is in your spine.It should be interesting what shows up on your mri. they probably don't want you doing any kind of lifting right?It could make things worse for you. Well let us know what happens.good luck with the surgeon.Hopefully things go quick for you and your not off for a long time.
  • Now I am really confused. Went for my MRI today (they took one of my back in error so I had two done.) When I saw the Doc (the second time after correct mri) he was in quite a hurry. Showed me where discs are bulging into spinal cord in three places but mainly C3,4 and C5,6. Showed where there was only little bit of white (spinal fluid?). I was told that they will not do surgery because I smoke (started Chantix yesterday)but will try injection. Will this help the hyper reflexes, hoffman's, and arm issues?

    The things that bothered me the most is that he said If I want surgery after I stop smoking, he will do it. But, to keep in mind that people who have surgery and are workers comp cases do not recover as well as people who do it on their own. He then proceeded to ask me if I liked my job.

    All I can say is that I want my neck fixed, my arm to stop going numb, and my strength back.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Hi Soleprovider,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Many of the medical questions you are looking for answers to can be researched here on the boards. So use the search function at the top of the page and you will find the results.

    Your smoking is a definite must stop. Check out the stop smoking forum and there are many to support you as you work your way through. A very difficult thing to do and more than likely the hardest thing you will do. Many surgeons will not do surgery until you test negative. The reason is it is proven that smoking prohibits bone growth. In the cervical spine BMP(bone morphogenic protein) is not been approved and warning have been issued by the FDA.

    You have a bigger issue here i see that concerns me. Not sure which state you live in, but you need to read the laws of your state in reference to work comp. You can find them by googling your state and work comp. If you are not bound by the state law to use a work comp doctor, i would seek help else where. My concern is the behavior of your not healing because your work comp. Should he/she do anything or you have issues sounds to me as they surgeon is going to blame the fact that you are work comp. Statistics do show that worker's compensation cases to take longer to heal. The part missing from those statistics is the degree of the injury prior to surgery and the length of time from the injury. Furthermore worker's compensation cases are the only ones that are being fully studied for those statistics because the law requires it. Furthermore if you are on workers compensation they force you to be better or not. Where as private pay you can work see the doctors and have no worries about big brother trying to clear a file from their desk. This surgeons only responsibility is your medical well being and the extent of your injury. I hope he discussed your options with you and any alternatives you may have and why or why not as well. Furthermore what type of procedure he was considering doing. You also have the right to a second opinion and I would force that on them at this point and time. Also just to let you know you have a right to those medical records and I encourage you to get them and read for yourself. So you can learn and understand what they are going to do and what risk you maybe for.

    You are speaking of a injection? What type of injection are they going to do? I also don't like the fact he state if you want surgery? He is not giving you some gift? If you have levels into the cord it becomes serious. Did they mention anything to you about myelopathy? Did the surgeon offer you any other conservative treatments to try first?

    Anyway wanted to say welcome to spine-health. Look forward to reading more of your post. If i can be of any help don't hesitate to pm me. Sorry for my rant but that makes me very upset when they are not concerned for your well being.
  • Thanks for the post Tamtam. Some of the words that were thrown around the first time I saw the surgeon were Hoffman's, clonus, hyperreflexia, and myelophy. The case worker that was assigned to me has been great. She was really concerned as were the Doctors when I showed these signs.

    On neck MRI day she was in with me the first time but had to leave after she found out I had to have second MRI due to error. She did ask the Asst. Dr. to call her if surgery is defiantly needed (which she assumed would be the case) so she could start the approval process. The response she got from him really took her aback. He pretty much blew off any urgency that was there before. I could actually see the surprise in her face. I then called her later to explain the events following my correct MRI. We will hopefully sort things out Wednesday.

    Sorry I had to try to clarify things before I relayed my new weird possible symptom.

    I woke up this morning with a major twitch in my Right Leg (same side as my arm numbness etc.) Now that I have been up and around a bit it only twitches (jumps) sometimes but can be a bit scary when it does it when I am walking. Only new med I am on is Chantix, pain med is only 800 mg of Motrin. Could this be the Chantix or more compression on Spinal cord?

    Thanks for listening, this is quite frustrating.

  • when you have spinal cord issues you can have a massive array of symptoms.hopefully the doctor doesn't put this off too long after you quit smoking.
  • Hello,

    I am new to the boards as well, and I have a worker's compensation case too. I live in Missouri. My NS is a wonderful man and surgeon. He worked with me for about six months before performing the surgery on my neck. We tried physical therapy, traction, and steriod injections. When all of these did not improve my ruptured disk, he asked for surgery and it was approved. I smoked too and I had to quit for 6 weeks prior to surgery. I am slow in healing, and I still experience pain in my upper left arm, neck, and upper back. My NS recommended me to see a pain management doctor. This doctor sent me to physical therapy for muscle spasms in my neck. My physical therapist says that I did not have any muscle spasms in my neck or upper back. Once I completed my 6 weeks of therapy, he released me at MMI for my neck, and recommended that I see a specialist for my shoulder pain. He wrote that I was to remain on a 20 pound lifting weight limit. Well, the worker's comp administrators saw those three little letters and released me back to work. My attorney said that this was a mistake, and they should start paying me again. That was 6 weeks ago, and I still don't receive a check and I cannot return to work. I too have bi-latteral hoffman's sign and hyper reflexes that did not improve with surgery. I have not yet been released MMI by my NS.

    What you need to do is follow the doctor's instructions to the letter. Do not pick up more than what he recommends and do not look for work or return to work, as this will cause them to dismiss your claim with a very little settlement. Keep your head up and focus on recovery.

    I hope everything is going well with you and your family since it has been a while since you posted this.

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