When I complain about my neck pain, I'm sure a lot of people just think I'm the pain in the neck!
Reading this forum, I'm doing pretty well really. Oh, I've had the almost passing out with pain stuff, but it's not been that bad since when it first went pear shaped.
In March 07, a bit of a sore neck in the morning had turned into excruciating pain by day's end, had to be driven home from work, and then got even worse overnight. CT then MRI showed bulging discs at C3-4 and more significantly at C5-6. Then started with numbness in thumb, tingling in arm and thumb/forefinger. 60% strength deficit compared to other arm (and it was my dominant arm, so should really have been stronger still). All indicating nerve root compression. But, it gradually got better with physio, and after 8 months was "cured" according to the medical profession. Though of course wasn't as good as it was. So would have days when was sorer than others, always stiffer. But ok. Numbness and tingling gone. No abnormal sensation. Strength ok.
Then in Jan this year, pain came back. Physio and massage, some acupuncture. Pain got lots better, but then tingling came back if my head in certain positions. Then got to stage my thumb sensation is not ever right, though can get considerably worse with position changes. Can't paint my toenails, and the basin at the hairdresser's is out of the question, and leaning into the mirror to do my eye makeup I have to be quick with eyeliner before I lose control of my hand LOL! Ok, somewhat trivial egs, and if it was just this stuff, not the end of the world. But of course, there's problems with doing other stuff, and it's this functional stuff that gets the doctors more worried than the pain. So it was off for another mri. Dr said not significantly different from 2 yrs ago. Said was happy to manage conservatively again. Well, I'm happy enough with that, don't really want surgery, but when prescription is just for more of the same we've been doing all this year and sensory changes are getting worse, not better, I'm not sure it's going to work this time. And I think it's probably been too long and the funny thumb is likely to be permanent now.
Back at work this week after a holiday, and obviously got out of "desk condition", because I am now so sore. Interrupting sleep and all. Got to watch I don't get grumpy with everyone, like I tend to do when in pain and sleep deprived. And really didn't want to have to start taking painkillers again. Also have IBS, and that just stirs it up more.
Tried a different physio in recent weeks. She got a copy of latest mri report faxed over (I had scans, but no report, and dr had just read scans himself). That had a fair bit of stuff that hadn't been mentioned before:
"a diffuse disc osteophyte complex causing narrowing on the spinal canal. This has more prominent left lateral disc osteophyte component that is causing narrowing of the left exit foramina, and given the clinical history, likely causing compression of the exiting c6 nerve root. Again, there is displacement of the cord. Mild cord oedema is not excluded, but does not appear to have progressed since previous scan. There is only mild disc osteophyte complexes at lower levels, not causing exit foraminal narrowing."
Haven't been back to dr to discuss this. Haven't been back to the surgeon, because he'll probably just recommend surgery and I don't really want to go that way unless I have to. I'm only 33. And the surgeon recommended traction, but all physios have said that's "old school" and don't really want to do that! And I admit it, I've been becoming slack about my exercises. When not getting any major indicator they're doing any good, it's hard to maintain motivation.
Relative to what some people have been through, my woes are relatively minor. Though I'm still frustrated, and can't help wallowing occasionally. This forum's great to remind me that I'm not the only one, and in fact have it pretty good.