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I am at a loss, seeking advice

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
In 2003 I hit my head on the roof of a vehicle and damage c3-c4 and c6-c7. The c6-c7 caused great pain in my right neck, shoulder, arm and into the last 2 right fingers. Saw a surgeon, but pain had went away, so no surgery suggested. My symptoms now are lightheadedness, nausea, pain in the neck, stumble periodically, numbness ini left shoulder/chest into my left hand. Noticing motor skills slightly diminishiing, constant headaches. Best laying flat on my back or wearing a c-collar to work. New MRI show degeneration in c3-c4 with narrowing of the anterior cerebral spinal fluid space, osteophytic complex and mild mass effect on the anterior surface of spinal cord on left side. c5-c6 severe narrowing of the left neural foramina and broad based ostoephytic complex. c6-c7 large broad based posterior and right paracentral disk osteophytic complex, moderate to severe narrowing of the anterior cerebrospinal fluid space and right lateral recess. Moderate to severe narrowing of the bilateral neural foramina. C7-T1 severe narrowing of right neural foramen and right lateral disc osteophytic complex causing mass effect on the spinal nerve roots. Saw the same surgeon and now he says none of my symptoms are related to my neck. There is obvious change from 2003 to now. At wits end, any suggestions, besides a second opinion?


  • sorry but that is all that i would suggest. are you taking any medications to offset the problems? also something to consider. mri , xrays are just a snapshot in time. you are not moving so i wonder what your neck and spine are doing when you are moving. cannot really get a functional mri to anser that i am sure but that is the purpose of physical therapy to try to guess and stregthen the tissues to help you remain functional. what things help you reduce or deal with the pain other than laying down or getting support from a c collar?
  • Thanks for taking the time to read my message, I am really new to this stuff. I take Ibuprofen and that is it. If I wear a collar and work a full day, which is rare, my hands and lags are shaky by the end of the day on top of the other symptoms. If I don't wear a collar, within an hour I have this overwhelming feeling of passing out. I just don't understand how the same doc would suggest surgery in 2003, and as things have progressed, recommend nothing, not ever an aspirin.
  • I would say another opinion for sure...and I don't understand how anyone can say that your neck wouldn't be contributing to these symptoms if it is in the C spine~~but hey,I'm no Dr so what do I know?

    Well,I do know that anytime the words moderate[/u],or [u]severe are used in an MRI,X-RAY,or other report,that that is something to be taken seriously.

    Also osteophytic complex causing mass effect on the spinal nerve roots sounds like enough for another opinion alone to me.

    I hope that you find a good Dr soon and are treated for your symptoms.You do have to sometimes be firm in letting some Drs know exactly how/what you are feeling,how much pain and other symptoms you are having.It seems to me that this Dr might think that you are handling it better than you might be letting on..I don't know if this is the case at all,and please don't take this as me being rude,it's just that with your symptoms and what seems to me,your lack of care-ie;better medication,suggestions from Dr,etc.,that this may be the case.

    Welcome to S~H,and please keep us posted.
  • HI Michele, While pain is ever present, it is the other symptoms that I have a hard time dealing with. The lightheadedness, nausea, stumbling, headaches, shaky hands and numbness in arms and fingers. I have never been a pain pill person, and have tried PT with limited success. So, the only opitons I have found are laying flat, or wearing a collar. A good night's sleep helps too.
  • I can't imagine why your doctor is treating your symptoms so lightly but I do know that you have to be your own advocate often times because some doctors won't give proper treatment. I saw my family practitioner last year for severe shoulder/arm pain and he presumed a disc problem but only sent me for PT, didn't offer me the slightest help with the pain. Fortunately, with time and exercise, the pain went away. When it returned this February, I went in immediately, expecting some help with the pain and some diagnostic tests to determine what was going on. He offered me nothing but advice to do my exercises for the rest of my life! Said he wouldn't order an MRI unless we were considering surgery. I walked out of his office and went back to a doctor who had treated me in the past. Told him I was in trouble with my neck. To make a long story short, I left his office with a prescription for pain meds, a course of oral steroids and an order for an MRI. It showed a left herniation at C6-7, as well as several other bulging cervical discs and significant arthritis. Two months later, after two ESI's which did absolutely nothing, I had EMG testing and was scheduled for surgery the next week. I'm now six weeks post left posterior foraminotomy and feeling very good.

    I've related my experience because the pain I was experiencing was less than yours and my MRI didn't show nearly the degree of trouble that you are in but I went to doctors who were willing to help me. You need a second opinion by a neuro or spine surgeon you can trust. If I was experiencing the symptoms you are, I'd be very anxious to get things resolved before something worse happens.

    Best wishes to you! :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • A second or third opinion is warranted here. I can understand him saying that nausea or lightheadedness isn't caused from your neck, as they aren't "typical" symptoms, but the other symptoms could very well be. Your MRI sounds like you have a lot going on. Keep searching for answers, and like others have said, keep us posted.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Definitely!!! don't take that doctors opinion to heart. Get someone else to look at you because you do have alot going on there and i bet another doctor will see things differently. Dizziness and nausea although not typical symptoms of neck problems do happen. I had them too.I just had my therapist spend a half hour explaining to me how that happens in the neck area.So don't dismay there is still help for you. The next time you see your doctor and if he says he doesn't want to do anything for you then tell him that's fine but then you want to be sent to someone else who is interested in doing something for you, thats how i got to the neurologist who sent me to my surgeon.Hey if he's not interested in helping you then send you to someone who is. Good Luck.
  • Thanks to everyone for the advice. As it worked out I found another DR and he reviewed the MRI and wants to see me June 17th. So we'll see from there, he said he wouldn't see me if he didn't believe there was a problem in my neck, so he obviously saw something. Hopefully good news soon. Thanks again.
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