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neck injury don't know what to do!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I injured my neck and back on May 8th and am beyond frustrated with my pain and quality of life. The first doctor I went to only investigated the back pain and discovered I had fractured T7 and put me in a back brace for 6 weeks and physical therapy 3 times a week for several months and then washed his hands of me even though I kept telling him I had neck issues. The next doctor did an MRI of my neck and found the following...
Moderate cervical curvature convex right and straightening of the usual cervical lordosis.
C2-3 Minimal left sided facet arthritis.
C3-4 Mild lateral disc bulging and osseous ridging but no stenosis.
C4-5 Moderate left lateral disc bulging and osseous ridging causing mild left neural foraminal stenosis.
C5-6 Moderate disc space narrowing and disc desiccation particularly anteriorly.Moderate broad left posterolateral disc herniation/protrusion, extending into the left lateral recess and left foramen, impinging upon the left C6 nerve root, Moderate degenerative reactive endplate changes left posterolaterally at the uncovertebral joint/uncinate process.
C6-7 Mild disc space narrowing and disc desiccation. small left foraminal protrusion smaller than the one at the prior level, but still encroaching upon and potentially irratating the exiting left C7 nerve root.
I am in constant pain, the only med I'm taking is tramadol which does nothing. I can't work, I can't drive and cannot complete the daily tasks of life. I cry every day. I have neck pain, back pain, numbness and weakness in my left arm, headaches, muscle spasms in my left shoulder and I am actually crooked, left shoulder is much higher than the right. I just had my first nerve block on Tuesday which only seemed to irritate it more, no relief. So now what? I am tired of sucking up the pain. I am a single parent of three teenagers who are used to having a strong independent woman who was a manager of restaurant. Now I am a sniveling crying mess everyday and think they have about had it with me!! Any help or guidance would be much appreciated.


  • First of all I am so sorry you are in so much pain because I have been there. it looks like you have a lot going on and probably have nerve damage. I took tramadol did nothing for me either. I for one do not like taking strong narcotics but maybe vicodin or percocet might give you some relief because believe me when I needed it I took it !!! I am not sure if you are seeing an orthro doc or nuerosurgeon but they should be able to write you a script for pain and also if you have nerve damage neurontin did help me a bit made the tingling and numbness less in my arm and hand. Another medication you might try is a muscle relaxer for the spasms. Talk to your doc let him know how much pain you are in and you have to get better !! Best of luck and keep me posted hope you feel better soon.

  • Oh Boy. You are having a tough time. What kind of doctor are you currently seeing? Have you met with a NS or OS yet?

    The problem with spinal pain is that it "radiates". You may need to get new xrays to check on the T7 (see if it is healed) then they can rule out that one as a trouble maker.

    Where did they inject you? Was it a nerve root block? Sometimes these help in locating the exact source of your pain. It is a slow process bit surgery is a big deal and they want to make sure they get it right.

    What role is your primary physician playing? He may be able to order the tests and get you some better pain meds. I remember when I told mine that I wasn't going back for more injections that it was time to go to the next step. She had no problem sending me to a NS.

    Your mri report is interesting there is a lot of verbage and I am sure any decent NS/OS would want to see the films and talk with you.

    Back pain is aweful. I don't think any of us would deny that. Your patience will be stretched to new limits from now on.

    Welcome to Middle Earth.... :O) Humor Helps.

  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I would suggest seeing a fellow-ship trained spine specialist (either ortho or neuro), but someone who only works on spines. They will be able to offer you the best treatment options for your situation.

    If you don't know of one in your area, you might try the Find A Doctor function on this website, there's a button at the top of this page that will take you there.

    Good luck with your search for answers. I hope you find the right doc for you and get some relief. Feel free to PM me if you have questions or need to vent.

  • Moyen, seek a "reputible" neurosurgeon & he should be able to fix you!!! If all the conservative trmnts and the PT that they put you through, offer no relief, then there is surgery to correct the problem. Your MRI reads like mine did, suprisingly, I don't see many in here like mine. They did a Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy in C4-7 areas. 4" cut in back of neck. No hardware installed. Basically they grinded off any bone spurs (aka foramins) in my neck region. Recovery was very very rough with all the muscle spasms. It sounds like a simple little fix, which it is compared to others with hardware, but omg the recovery! I'll end on that note. You take it easy & PM me as to what your neuro says. I'll be on vacation.
  • Thank you to all who have commented. The two doctors I have seen have both been Orthopedic surgeons and I have not been to my primary. The doctor I am currently seeing is from a spine clinic. He has mentioned the possibility of surgery but wanted to try the nerve blocks first. I just had it done Tuesday and the earliest follow up appointment they could give me was Dec. 16th (my birthday!) The thought of suffering another month is frustrating. I have called and complained about the tramadol and all they did was up the dose. It's horrible that I feel like a pill seeker but I have been sucking this up since May and am so all done!! I heat and ice everyday and feel like I've been patient enough trying to work through the pain.
  • I believe tramadol takes a few days to build up in your system. I was put on it briefly during the lumbar troubles due to an adverse reaction to something else.

    I think (not certain) that my doc said to expect 5-6 days to build up. I switched off of it bc/it didn't work for me but others I know like it.

    Hang in there,

  • Again so sorry you are hurting I would try and get in touch with some doctor if not your primary even a walk in ER and if you have a copy of your MRI bring it with you and show them. I did this when I was first having a lot of pain and went for an MRI and did not have a follow up for two weeks after. Tried contacting both my primary and ortho doc could not get in to see them and it was on friday by sunday I was crying and could not move so I went to walk in and brought my MRI report and they did give me some pain medication vicodin to at least help until I could get an appt with someone. I am not sure what you can do with your insurance but this is what I did when I was at my wits end...hang in there the best you can
  • I know, and so do most of us using this forum, that pain is most understood by the one having the pain. However, a spine or orthopedic doctor who has seen your MRI should be more compassionate than the one you are currently seeing. If no better pain med is to be given by him, I would definitely seek out a new doctor. No one should have to suffer when there are better meds and better doctors.
  • I also take Tramadol is my primary pain killer, mainly because it is not addictive.
    But, for some pain it just doesn't work, and I find that only an opiate type works for me.
    So on a bad head day like today, I will start with a Trammy and see how it goes.
    If nothing after an hour or so, I'll take a codeine/ paracetamol tablet, and wait another hour.
    If still no good, I'll take a stronger one of those, and that usually does the trick.
    I try to avoid the codeine tabs because of the addiction potential, but as my GP said if the codeine equals the pain level, they cancel each other out.
    It is only when the codeine is way in excess of the pain that problems can develop.
    I also take muscle relaxants on the REALLY bad days. I throw everything at the pain.
    Mine comes from the shoulder muscles, mainly the left side, and they pull down my neck muscles, giving me a nice old headache.
    I have regular remedial massages which are gradually getting these muscles to relax a bit.
    You may want to try a series of these too, as you are bound to have a need of it.
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