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caseyreedccaseyreed Posts: 16
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have as follows;

C3-4 Large Left Foraminal disc extrusion, Predominant soft disk. Significant uncinate process osteophytosis, severe left neural foraminal narrowing and is indenting the left lateral aspect of the cord.

C4-5 Another Focal Left Forminal disc protrusion with disc osteophyte complex formation. moderate neural foraminal narrowing. Disc osteophyte complex appears to focally indent the spinal cord and is displacing the exiting nerve root.

C5-6 Mild to moderate left foraminal disc protrusion. moderate forminal narrowing and is indenting the spinal cord.

This is the MRI report that i got from my neck, I am 26 years old and the doctor is telling me he wants to do epidural injections of the cervical spine and some neurontin.

Does anyone know a doctor that can get me out of pain and save me all the headace of temporary relief of these painfull shots? Do the shots really work on a case of my severaity?

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks Casey.


  • Welcome to Spine Health Casey,

    First off what kind of doctor are you seeing? How long have you been symptomatic? What are your symptoms?

    There is a good chance the the ESI's will give you some relief. I didn't have them on my neck bc/ for me they would have only been a waste o money (no steroids are going to disolve my osteophytes) and they were expensive when I had them on my low back (doctor did mine in the hospital with the florascope and each injection was $1400 (x 6))....

    I had about 3 weeks of good relief and excellent energy after #1 & 2, 3-4 nothing, 5-6 hit the nerve or something and I was not a happy camper.

    If your injury is fresher you have a better chance of shrinking the herniation, plus you are younger.

    I can only tell you to be patient- being in a hurry for diagnosis and treatment doesn't work in our world. Most new spineys have to wait weeks or months to get into a NS/OS....

    While you wait the PM docs like to help out. At least if you end up having surgery you will have some history of failed treatments. I imagine they will want to do the injections and start you on tractions/PT. Expect 2-3 months of this, (it is pretty standard).

    What are you taking for pain now?

    Hang in there :)

  • I am seeing a neurosurgeon, Dr S a MD. I have been on tractions and things but I have been having bad headaches and the works. symptoms come and go but mainly burning from the top of my neck to the middle of my back and my shoulder feels like its on fire, Hand and arm go numb with tingling.

    Is there a way I can post the picture of my MRI on here?

    Post edited by Tamtam Doctors names are not permitted.
  • Welcome Cassie,
    First let me say welcome to spine-health. It is really hard for any of us here to comment on your MRI findings as we are not medical doctors. While it sounds as though you want surgery I would talk with the surgeon first and see his recommendations and I would also get multiple opinions. When you go changing the structure of the spine it is forever changed. Keep in mind surgery comes with it's own risk. So I would explore all options and get enough opinions and learn as much as possible about your condition before making any decisions. There are many whom have gotten relief from injections and have long moved on back to busy lives. Unfortunately wether they will work for you is another question that we are not qualified to answer here.

    If you look in the FAQ section you will find instructions on loading pictures onto the site. They needed to be loaded onto another site first like photo bucket or facebook. Also you might want to check out the video section that has cervical conditions and you will find lots of information. In addition in the FAQ section is a article preparing to meet with a spinal surgeon and some questions you might want to ask.

    Anyway just wanted to stop by and welcome you to spine-health and if there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me.
  • I’m not really looking for surgery I just know that is pretty much the only way not to get back in pain again and continue to have the shots for the rest of my life or some kind of pain management.

    Thanks so much for letting me know the info, getting a second opinion on Tuesday so ill repost the findings from the second surgeon!

  • Ok guys got something for you to look at! Take a look and let me know your opinions! Thanks so much Newbie Casey.

  • Hi Casey

    Treatment is usually based on what you are feeling and not what a test shows. Seems strange but it's something like "if it ain't broke don't fix it". You doctor should be doing a full exam and then looking at your films to see what could be causing your complaints.

    You said you are seeing a neurosurgeon. Have you seen a neurologist? Usually that comes first. They do a much more comprehensive test of your whole body. Then they will usually recommend treatments like meds or injections or if they feel nothing else will help they send you to a surgeon.

    In my experience surgeons are only interested in you if they can do surgery and only if they feel they can successfully do surgery.

    If you haven't seen a neurologist I would start there. If you have one then go back to him and ask what he thinks. If he sent you to a surgeon then he must have thought you were a surgery candidate. If he still feels that way go see another surgeon.

    You will find that you have to keep asking questions and fighting for yourself. To doctors and their staff we are just one more patient in their busy day.
  • Wow Casey.

    Those look pretty significant to me (I am no doctor). I don't think there is a lot of options for you.

    Do you have the axial views? I would like to see the bad ones.

    I thought mine were bad but yours are much larger.


  • Hi, thanks for the post!
    Yes I have seen one neurosurgeon and he wants to do injections he said if it was one or two disk he could just go in and fix them but with all three like i had he said lets do injection and see how it goes.. Dosnt make me feel good, there are alot of risk with those injections not to mention he wants to give me three the first month and start me out taking them monthly.

    Im looking for a permanant fix not just temp this probley wont work but lets try it approch. I own my own company and half of my work is manual labor so i need to get back to work asap. Any help you guys post is most appreciated!

    Your Friend in Christ Casey.
  • Getting information from this company about fixing my back just wondering pros and cons any help?
  • Casey,

    Please do a search on the Lazer Treatments. I am not familiar with them as I once was but there is a reason for it.

  • Casey you need to take a step back. A surgeon does surgery - that's it. He either does it or doesnt he doesnt do other treatments. Find a good neurologist who can give you a full assessment. It will also give you another opinion on whether surgery could be an option. Some surgeons are more conservative than others.

    Another thought about surgery is what your limitations will be after surgery. A three level fusion of your neck will put a severe kink in your manual labor. (sorry couldn't resist the pun). Also at 26 this is a very serious surgery. Many people develop problems at other levels in the years after surgery. This is one of the reasons they try to wait as long as possible.

    I know you want to get back to your life but don't make a hasty decision that will impact the rest of that life.
  • Casey,

    I have been here for several years and there hasn't been many post about using the treatment in the cervical region. Before we switched the forums over there was a excellent thread on others using laser treatments. There were some success stories in that thread as well. Try using the search feature at the top of the page and there should be some threads that come up on it. As julie said, do your research on it, thoroughly. From what I understand insurance companies are not paying for the procedures and those having that procedure are paying out of pocket. If I remember correctly they offer a free consultation for you to send the films in. Like I say do your research on it, not just their research but from others who have no interest in the procedure and no gains to be made.
  • Kris is right. Surgeons usually only do surgery (mine orders test but some do not).

    However there are some "spine clinics" that put you in with a NS or OS who wants to try the EPI's first- they have them done by Pain Managers in their clinics, along with other tests and procedures. They might even offer PT through their clinic.

    I have a poor opinion of these kinds of clinics. My opinion is that they want to milk you for all your worth. I am sure not all of the groups are like this but there are plenty that are.

    If you can get a second opinion from another NS/OS or Neuroligist that would be a great. You may find out that you have options or that others may not recomend the injections and why.

    Hang in there :)

  • I went to another nerosurgeon today and i feel way more confident with him, he is going to send me to my heart doctor to see if im good for surgery then do a MYELOGRAM TEST. Does anyone know much about these test? He said he would do thant and he thinks he can just go in and fix the disk. I have another appointment tomorrow with another nerosurgeon so im gettin several opinons and the doctors are across the board on treatments... Really scares me, where will i be in 20 years with these surgerys?

    Thanks casey.
  • There are several ways to think about the future. The first is the one that drives people to surgery quickly - will there be permanent damage if you wait. Another consideration is that if they remove material without supporting your spine you are risking reduction in space height which can cause rubbing of vertebrae and nerve pinching. If you go for a fusion you are restricting your movement and risking problems up and down the spine because you are shifting the workload on the spine.

    Nothing is simple. Only you and your doctors can decide what is best for you. Be honest with your doctors and yourself. Take your time. And be wary of a doctor who has a "quick and simple" fix.
  • How did you guys out there deal with mva's and your insurance companies? They want me to pay everything out of pocket...
  • The myelogram is a pretty straight forward test. You will need a driver for the test. They will inject die into the spinal space with a epidural needle. Then you are placed on the table with supporting straps. The move the table and you just have to be still. They will tilt the table so the die goes into your neck. It will give them the best look at the nerves and the cord itself. Mine have always been followed with a CT scan. After the test they will have you remain in recovery for whatever that protocol is typically a hour or two. For the remainder of the day you should just lay flat and not do anything. For several days following the procedural they will have you not lift or bend and twist for the most part. Then you can resume your normal activities. You want to be sure to follow the orders to the letter the last thing you want is a spinal headache. It is like no headache you have ever had. However should you get one they can put a patch in to take care of it. But sometimes the headaches will linger for a long period afterwards.

    As far as your MVA has fault been admitted yet? What type of policy do you have is there anyway they can pay for it and then have them recoup the money? Typically the insurance company is not going to pay medical up front till they go through your medical records making sure you have never had any treatments prior to the accident for your condition. But car insurance runs differently in all the states. The best thing to do would be call your agent and ask them what to do and how to handle it.
  • Car insurance and accidents is a whole world of it's own. There are about a dozen states that are no-fault which means you are insuring yourself for medical treatment. In that case as long as you don't have a previous similar injury they pay until they get a doctor to say you don't need treatment or your policy runs out.

    Other states can be a pain in the butt. If fault has been determined then that policy should cover some of the treatment as long as it is tied to the accident.

    The first question is what state are you and the other driver insured in and where did this happen? And what have they told you so far.
  • Yes i was hit by a woman from behind while i was turning and she had no insurance so my uninsured insurance is paying... anyone had dealings like this one?
  • What state are you in? Makes a huge difference
  • Casey,

    you are doing all the right things: going to several doctors, getting the right tests, etc.

    But you said something in an earlier post that I think bears correcting:

    "I’m not really looking for surgery I just know that is pretty much the only way not to get back in pain again and continue to have the shots for the rest of my life or some kind of pain management."

    I don't want you to think that if you have surgery you will never have pain again. I'm not trying to discourage you but trying to gently open your eyes to the reality that for some folks one surgery doesn't fix it all. Obviously, every person is different and I know that you're a Believer and yes, God is the ultimate healer and can do great miracles.

    However, most doctors and insurance companies will want you to try to the least invasive approach initially because surgery is serious. I know where you are coming from: you want to get on with what is going to work and not do the "let's try this first and see if it works." But in many cases that is just what must happen.

    And while I think God doesn't give us illnesses or injuries, I believe He can use them to teach us things. I know since my back issues I've become much more humble and patient (well, I'm still working on that one).

    Anyway, my prayers are with you as you explore the best treatment for you!
  • Well unfortunately Arkansas is not a no-fault state which makes it harder for you. Make sure you stay up on your medical coverage. It is very important because if you end up with surgery you are talking about tens and even hundreds of thousands in bills. You don't want to feel better but be in bankruptcy if you can avoid it.

    Ali is right about surgery. THere is no guarantee that surgery will work and there is a chance that you will develope new problems later in life because of the changes that would be made in your body. DOn't think this is an easy decision. It should be your last option.
  • Thanks for all the help as I hop down the pain trail! Got a new mri though a myelogram check it out let me know what you guys think! I have now had shots and this myelogram both are extreamly painful and the shots took the pain away for 3 days and now its back in full force kicking but! Ontop of that now the other side of my back hurts to because i think they got a nerve with the steroid shot and my lower back is hurting from the dye test , man cant win for loosing.

    Much thanks for the help. Casey

  • Anyone been through the same?
  • What did the report say that goes along with the films? The myelogram is done to check the space around the cord and to get a better look at the nerves themself. Have you had a emg study done yet and what was the result of it. If your lumbar is still painful after about the third day call the facility back that did the test and inform them. I have had a total of 3 myleograms and none of them created any long standing pain from the procedure, a sore injection spot that needed a little ice is about it. What kind of shots did you have? Sounds to me like they were nerve blocks? Nerve blocks are not done for any long term relief just as a diagnostic tool. Did they have you keep a journal during that time? Often times in the cervical region they use those over discogram to see if that is indeed the nerve that is causing the problem. Going through the diagnostic process is a long period and hard that you don't get measurable relief, but hang in there. When do you go back to see the doctor who ordered the test? keep us posted as to what you find out. Take care.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Based on what you have communicated, it sounds that from your MRI image and report that your doctor does not find it so severe.

    The fact that they are suggesting conservative safe treatments such as Epidural Spinal Injections does indicate that they believe there are other options for you.

    In only the major severe cases and/or when a nerve is being impinged is when doctors look for surgical solutions to start with.

    If you are not satisfied with some of the information you have received from your doctors, then you owe it to yourself to seek second opinions
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • thanks for the help guys, i got a Epidural Spinal steroid. Yea since i posted this the place that gave me the myelogram called and said it wasnt normal for me to hurt like i have been but i just take more perks. well don't know how serious it really is but i have been looking the latest mri over and it shows a spot that is pushing very hard on the spinal cord and the spinal cord covering is very thin. Can this push through and actully cause severe problems with my spine? will post a pic as soon as i can!

    Thanks for the help your friend in pain. Casey.
  • Casey I think the space you are referring to is the thecal sac. That sac is very tough it actually has three layers to it. What did the accompanying report say that goes along with this. The other thing is was this taken on a T2 weighted scale and it also needs the comparison to the disc above and below this to see the signal intensity. From my understanding those are very important indicators. Your best bet is to see what the doctor has to say whom ordered these test. There is no one here that is qualified to interrupt a MRI film. There is a reason it is done as a series of pictures as the surgeon will look at the over all images as a whole to come up with the best type treatment. What did they say to do about how bad you hurt from the myleogram, when they called you. The myelogram itself can cause pain when they tip the table and places pressure on the injured area. But typically that pain will subside in a day or so. But my concern in your situation is you have pain from the injection itself. What were the results of the myleogram? Keep us posted.
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