I am brand-new to this Forum and am more frustrated with my pain situation than ever before. Every doctor visit leaves me angrier than the one before. My pain situation includes:
1) Bulging disc (stenosis/spondylosis/facet arthrosis/ligamentum flavum hypertrophy/bilateral neuropathy of lower extremities): L4-5
2) Disintegrated disc (annular tear): L5-S1
3) Cervical fusion (disc replacement) due to severe degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, diffuse myelomalacia (C3-7), and neural forminal stenosis: C5-6, C6-7 (2008)
4) Angulated disc: C4-5 (loss of normal lordosis)
5) Dislocated rib (top/right, near sternum): sharp, stabbing pain - comes and goes - sore to the touch
6) Hip pain: worse on right side; radiates down legs with numbness and tingling in toes (intermittent); pain seems to go all the way through to my lower right abdomen
7) Low back pain: More severe at spine in area of L4-5 and tailbone - sharp at times
8) Neck/throat/jaw/tongue pain (SCMs, scalenes, levator scapulae): Burning sensation accompanied by nausea, dizziness, memory loss, loss of balance (on occasion), feeling exhausted/tired
9) Migraine Headaches: come and go several times a week
10) Severe shoulder pain: In upper/lower traps and under shoulder blades/rhomboids/along spine - radiates down both arms - sometimes accompanied by tingling in hands/fingers - definite burning sensations in various areas of arms, hands, and fingers - sometimes intermittent stabbing pains - very sharp!
11) T-spine: some discs sore to the touch - some mild scoliosis - ribs hurt
12) Morning stiffness: hands are like claws, knees ache
13) Ear pain: deep, burning pain inside both ears, first one side, then the other
14) Tooth pain: Very sensitive teeth - especially upper molars but now lower jaw area is involved
15) Sinusitis: Constant stuffiness, blockage in passages varies from side to side
16) Feet: Flat left foot - torn tendons and sprains throughout the years; hammertoe on right foot; heels of both feet very sore - especially in the morning
The severe migraine headaches I was experiencing 24/7/365 before the surgery have subsided a little but have not gone away entirely. The neck had been slowly going south for several years (headaches since high school) and a round of PT with a very ignorant/arrogant practitioner in late 2006 pushed it over the edge to the point where my spinal cord was actually bruised, my pain was constant, I was dizzy - even while laying down (to this day I can no longer sleep on my back on a bed!), and I kept seeing flashing/popping lights, lost my balance backwards - very distressing - especially when so many of the doctors I saw to try and get help treated me like a head-case. 2007 was a nightmare!
My neurosurgeon ordered another MRI of my C-spine in 2009 and told me that my C4-5 was angulated or curved the wrong way into the head. He said that this was what was causing the headaches - and all the other upper body pain - and referred me to a pain specialist for an epidural at C4-5. My neurosurgeon and his PA assured me that this procedure would do the trick for the headaches but that I would need further surgery when I get older to replace this disc. I spoke with the pain specialist by phone today and he told me that he felt the epidural would help to alleviate some of my symptoms - but I'm very skeptical. If C4-5 was the culprit causing the headaches - why in God's name didn't my neurosurgeon fix it along with the others back in 2008??? I can't seem to get an answer on that question.
I have tried without success to find a reliable/reputable practitioner who will diagnose and treat my trigger and tender points in a more comprehensive manner. I have already endured facet injections at C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7, bilaterally; I had a migraine headache for a week afterward. Epidurals at L4-5 proved ineffective. I've had numerous rounds of PT, TENs, ultrasound, Rolfing, acupuncture, acupressure (helped a very little bit), heat/ice, myofascial massage; tried yoga, Tai Chi, supplements (Magnesium), counseling, various meds, etc. Am currently on a low dose of Zoloft (50 mg/day) since most meds make me sick, sleepy, and I gain weight. The only thing I haven't been able to get any of my doctors to do are trigger point injections into the muscles themselves. The things they push are more meds, surgery, or epidurals. My neurosurgeon wants to operate and fuse L4-5, L5-S1 but I'm not ready for more pain and suffering after my neck surgery. My new cervical discs took and the neurosurgeon said everything looked great at the surgery site but I'm still having pain. The more I stress the more pain I have. If I do routine tasks around the house, my neck and lower back act up. I'm pretty fed up!
Thanks for listening - off to find a solution!