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In pain and frustrated in Pittsburgh

SteelersFan52SSteelersFan52 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Glad to have found this forum. Any advice appreciated. Still getting bounced around the medical system.

Nov 2010 had dizziness & equilibrium problems. Felt foggy. PCP does a hurry up diagnosis of BPPV. Prescribes anti-nauseas med. Did notice sore neck trying to sleep. I think it may have started earlier than dizziness.

Dec - Felt like crap most of month including chills one night but dizziness & space cadet feeling. Neck still sore sleeping.

Jan - started getting pain between my shoulders, numbness, tingling, stiff, pain felt hot. Would build up during day. Relieved by sleeping then start cycle over next day.

Feb-Mar - Noticed weakness finger/grip strength right hand, PCP sends me to neurosurgeon. Brain scan ordered. Negative. PCP also orders MRI cervical. (Post results later here). Sent to neurologist.

April - Neurologist thinks MS - MRI with contrast - no markers indicative of MS in either brain or cervical MRI. RX Neurontin which does squat for the pain. Prescribes PT which helps some but therapists don't quite know what to do w/o firm diagnosis.

May - legs start to become unsteady. Fall a couple of times. EMG done on arm. I don't know result. Need to ask.

July - Neurologist scared crap out of me by mentioning motor neuron disease. Wants me to see another neurologist(he did EMG on me) ASAP which translates to 7 weeks later.

My lost summer symptoms grow worse. Right hand function almost gone. Left hand getting weak. Muscle atrophy hands/arms. Walk like a drunken sailor. At night I use a cane. Scared of stairs. Have some tremors thumb and index finger at times. Sometimes in arms, butt and quads especially if pressure on back/arms/thighs like in bed. In pain between shoulders, just below neck and now neck every damn day! Hands numb and tingling every morning. Dressing especially bras, buttons, zippers near impossible & I live alone. Trying to stay working. Also some bladder & bowel incontience problems.

Now. Finally saw neurologist again. Thinks like I do problem in cervical region. Another MRI with contrast. Calls, says I have issues in C5-T1 but not enough for my symptoms. Seeing him Mon for discussion/options. Glad it wasn't another 7 damn weeks. I'm still pissed about that delay! I feel it might cause me function.

First 2 MRI's showed. I don't have results of latest.

C5-C6: There is diffuse disc bulge resulting in ventral flattening of the thecal sac. Facet arthropathy results in mild neural foraminal narrowing, left greater than right.
MRI 2 - There is diffuse disc osteophyte complex resulting in effacement of ventral subarachnoid space and narrowing of left neural foramen.

C6-C7: Left paracentral left lateral herniation leads to narrowing of the left neural foramen. 2nd MRI There is diffuse disc osteophyte complex resulting in effacement of ventral subarachnoid space and narrowing of left neural foramen.

C7-T1: A mild disc bulge results in the ventral flattening and neural foraminal narrowing. 2nd MRI There is diffuse disc osteophyte complex resulting in effacement of ventral subarachnoid space. Neural foramina are patent.

Also - signal abnormality within the left T1 and left C7 vertebrae is consistent with hemangioma. There is loss of disc height and T2 signal throughout cervical intervertebral discs consistent with degenerative disc disease. There is diffuse loss of the expected intervertebral disc signal, however intervertebral disc space height maintained.

Sorry for the long post. In pain & I need to vent. To me it seems like there is enough there to expain my symptoms. I'd like to consult a surgeon. Hope I didn't wait too long screwing with the medical system.

I know medical advice can't be given here but I'd love to hear from those of you who have gone or going through this hell.

BTW I'm female, near 59, in relatively good health till now, a bit overweight but was physically active till now. Heck I did 27 years of martial arts and now I can't open a bottle or snack bag without an aid.



  • I had a fusion at C5/6. Prior to surgery I had dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, neck and upper back. My symptoms were predominantly on the left side with some minor aches in the right side. My symptoms started to get worse really fast and I ended up with surgery within a year.

    One thing to be aware of is that MRIs do not tell the whole story. Spine specialists use it to get a good idea of what is happening in the spine, but there are other tests that can be conducted to confirm where the pain is coming from. Seek out the best neurologists and orthos in your area and get different opinions. Good luck! :)

    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • a second look at all your tests by a ortho or neuro who work with spines would be a good idea. I had some of the same symptoms that you have had and ended up with a second fusion recently. Of course we can't comment on mri reports as we are not doctors and surely are not qualified to read an mri!!

    I'm about 4 weeks out from a revision of c5-c6 and an add on of c7 to my fusion. Jury is still out on the results. So far not so good, but it's still early.

    I wish you luck and some relief from all the pain and guessing, I know how it feels.
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