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Pinched Nerve And Agonizing Pain Please, Help

CinnamongirlCCinnamongirl Posts: 51
edited 04/28/2014 - 9:32 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I'm in terrible, excruciating pain. Six days ago I had a knot in my back in the area of my right shoulder blade. I used a heating pad off and on. The next morning I woke up in excruciating pain. The back of my right arm felt like it was simply on fire. The pain was starting at what I thought was the knot in my back. It radiated down to my elbow and my forearm was aching. And my pinky felt numbish and tingly. I couldn't straighten my arm without the pain which was easily a 9 intensifying. I couldn't close my arm without the same pain.

As I went through the day I noticed the pain was coming down from my neck... out to what I thought was a knot in my shoulder, going to my shoulder itself.. down the back of my arm and forearm to my pinky.

I got in touch with a friend of mine who is a nurse. She said it sounded like a pinched nerve. Problem is I just moved and I don't yet have a doctor and am just setting up some kind of insurance.

For five days I've been in bed with debilitating pain. Using a heating pad and alternating to an ice pack and taking ibuprofen. I can't sleep for much more than 4-5 hours at night. The pain wakes me up in the middle of the night. The pain wakes me up early early in the morning.

I talked to a doctor's office and the earliest possible appointments aren't until the end of October or the beginning of November. I can't wait that long.

I'm having muscle weakness in my right arm, tingling now on my forearm as well and muscle spasms. I also, experience a tightening feeling in my arm. And when it spasms sometimes the pain becomes unbearable. Even though it's excruciating as it is.

I'm not able to use my right hand. Not for any kind of lifting, pushing, or pulling. I can hardly put pressure any where on my right shoulder, elbow, arm or hand. I struggle dressing myself and eating. It also, seems to get worse when I'm upright. Even typing this out is causing pain. I'm also, having a lot of pain turning my head.. especially, to the right. I'm not sure if one of the already injured discs in my neck is finally pressing on a nerve or if this is something completely different.

I've read that pinched nerves can't begin to heal until the pressure is removed. This makes sense to me but, I still have the question how long does something like this last IF it can heal itself?

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Comments

  • If you can't wait that long, I would try the ER. Maybe they can give you some medication that would help you with the nerve pain and help with sleeping at night. 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 whole month for a general/primary care doctor? Time to try to get a new doctor.

    You should go to the ER or an urgent care. They will probably order some tests and give you some nerve pain medication. They may refer you to a Physical Medicine and Rehab doctor or a pain pain management doctor.

    I see you already know you have a bulging c4-5 and a herniated 6-7. The shoulder pain sounds like what I had from 4-5, and the arm pain sounds like what people get from 6-7.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Sadly it can take awhile to get into a Dr as new patient.

    I agree go to the ER or to a local walk in "clinic". Maybe call your ER and ask if there are any in your area since you just moved.

    My husband GP does walk ins on Thursday's and will see anyone on that day.

    Please keep us updated :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • That's too long a wait to see the Dr. Is it the Surgeon you're waiting to see? Di you take Lyrica a nerve pain med or anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant? You need to see a Dr. and get some help. Is there a University teaching hospital in your area where you get health care for free or ER? I couldn't wait so long to see a Dr. Hope you get seen soon. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I really appreciate all of your responses. The doc I'm waiting to get an appointment with is a general practitioner. Before I moved I had an orthopaedic surgeon ..he'd sent me to a pain specialist when I wasn't responding to the treatments for my L5 S1 injuries the way he wanted me to. I need a fusion of L5 S1 but, he encouraged me to wait for surgery. Usually you hear the opposite from surgeons.

    Anyway, I'm not taking anything for pain except ibuprofen. I take what's here in the house which is 200mg tablets. And I take two of them at a time. The most relief I get is from staying in bed and propping myself on pillows at a certain angle. If my head is tilted too far in any direction it adds to the pain in my neck and shoulder, elbow and arm.

    I'm noticing muscle weakness in my hand and arm. And even just making a fist and opening it can cause pain to ache throughout my arm. What's wild is when the muscles twitch. It's really intense. Usually, either just before they twitch or just after I get a tight feeling in my arm and pains kind of shoot in my elbow and arm.

    I'm worried because, I don't know how long it takes before any of this would become permanent nerve damage. Does anyone know?
  • You need to get in right away. I agree a walk in clinic but I have a thought that they will send you to ER (probably with an Ambulance). It sounds like you have something more serious.

    Keep us informed on what happens. Where are you newly located at?

    Julie
  • Hey Cinnamon girl - I do understand your pain. I had been in a horrible accident in 1990. Did chiro and pain meds. 4 month ago had that knife in the back behind left shoulder blade pain, and completely numb left arm. only thing that helped was gel ice packs from walgreens. I used them non stop and literally had my skin peel from too much ice! for me it was 3 bone spurs completely grown into nerve root in 3 areas - from c4 to c7 - completely compressed. phys therapy did nothing. TENS unit did help to relieve pain, i bought a home version - LG elite. fantastic.. steroids just made me loopy. had 3 epidurals and they did help but wore off very quickly. i had 4 estimates on surgery - 2 were completely wrong. check the dermatome chart to help explain where damage is vs where pain is.

    http://www.backpain-guide.com/Chapter_Fig_folders/Ch06_Path_Folder/4Radiculopathy.html

    definitely call around to get a different doc, he'll likely send you to pain management doc, and then finally a neurosurgeon. it took 4 months to go thru all those docs and epidurals. i had my 3 level fusion on 8-29-11 do not regret it but still healing.

    I wish you well - just keep calling you'll find someone to help..

    Sandy
  • Hi Cinnamon,

    I also understand some of your pain. The end of May-June I had such terrible right radiculopathy I was at a 9 pain level. I had to wait almost a month to get in to see a neuro but did see my PD within the week. Do what you can to see somebody soon. My pain is a little better on meds but still way to far UP there. I fractured my neck in the 90's and had done fairly well until 2007. I had this intense pain back then but it came on one day and almost 3 months later it just left. No problem til now again. Uh. I know what you are going through. Find someone to help.

    Gentle hugs,
    Gracie
  • Hi everyone. I have severe degenerative disk disease at every level of my neck. The pain is far more than I can stand. I can't take narcotics and the ND,naturepathic doc has made my neck worse.. He pulled at my neck, pushed on trigger points, and had two minutes of acupuncture. The pain is now worse. I an desperate for some kind of help or advice.. Anyone have any information about this condition.. Thanks,,Darlene
  • Tomorrow I have an appointment with a nurse practitioner. I'm still dealing with pain. And now my index finger pretty much just stays numb. At times it gets intense and my thumb and forearm start tingling too. The weird thing is my index finger feels cold. But, it's not cold to the touch. It just feels cold to me. I'll let you guys know what happens. Thanks again for all of the input.
  • Hello Cinnamongirl. Is it possible for the nurse practitioner to get your films ordered and get you in quickly to see a specialist? Possibly you'll respond to injections or a steroid pack to get things settled down. We have a nurse practitioner here in our small town and she has a great work ethic with the local doctors. All she has to do is call one of them and they will see the patient, almost immediately. Try to push for some help. Good luck.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I just got back from my appointment and I'm not happy. The nurse had me hold my arms out and felt along my neck and upper spine. I told her what kind of pain I've been in. She told me she thinks it's a spasm. She told me to increase my ibuprofen to 600mgs to try flexaril, to continue icing and heating and to come back in 2 weeks.

    Now maybe I'm just irritated because, I'm in all this pain but, when she said that I wanted to cry. These 2 weeks have been SO painful. She didn't even check the range of motion of my neck. Or she would have seen I can't even lift my chin to look at the ceiling.

    My index finger on my right hand is totally numb for 3 days now. My thumb tingles too. As does my forearm. The pain isn't gone. And all the movement of typing and using things like silverware or pens is painful. I have to stop and start because, it hurts. I have muscle weakness in my hand to the point that I couldn't even open the bottle of ibuprofen yesterday.

    She asked me nothing about muscle strength or if the pain has gotten worse. I feel insulted. TWO more weeks of this. I'm so, angry. I know I'm not a medical professional.. maybe what she thinks is correct but, it still makes me mad. I even asked her if I could have an MRI and her response was that she needed to see the initial MRI before she could order one. That just made me wonder if she thought I was lying about about bulging and herniated discs in my neck. I mean I'm allergic to opiates. I'm not asking for vicodin. I'm asking for an MRI.

    Sorry.. I just really needed to vent. I'll keep you guys posted. And again thank you for the input and encouragement.
  • Hi cinnamon girl. Your story sounds very familiar to me. Back in late August I woke from a sound sleep feeling like I had a knife in my back and absolutely no feeling in my left arm. Very scary! I went to my regular doc - she too said it was a spasm. I do believe spasms can be incredibly painful, but with a completely numb arm I was not happy with her comment. She did send me for xrays that day, and that xray did show large bone spurs grown into my nerve root. Even with that, she wanted to try 3 different medications, and physical therapy that did nothing for my pain (I did learn about a TENS unit there, bought myself one on line and that did help a huge amount - if you don't have one, definitely look into one). Anyhow. After a month with me in constant pain my phys therapist recommends steroids, not my doc! Doc does put me on a medrol pack, but I had horrible results?! Only after that did she recommend me to a pain management doc. He recommended epidurals usually done 2 weeks apart - I had 3 of them - some a month apart as he was on vacation. Epidurals did help but only lasted a month before pain was right back. A month after my last epidural I finally got the referral to my neurosurgeon! I was still in crazy pain - I do understand your frustration. You have to keep calling the docs office, talk to the nurse leave messages. I knew the nurse by her first name. It was crazy. In my case my pain started in mid April and I finally had my ACDF on 8-29 - and that was with a lot of pushing on my part. In my case I had completely compressed nerves and bone to bone for 3 disks from a car accident 20 years ago. I had definite proof of major damage and the surgery had made a huge difference. I'm almost 6 weeks post op now. Don't give up, or change doctors. Worse case, you can go into an ER and they will run the tests for you. It all depends of how your insurance is set up. I ended up doing a self referral to a surgeon to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion rather than wait for my doc to give me them. My insurance allowed it. If your does it may save you some time..

    Good luck and I hope you are feelin better soon. Might want to see if anyone you know has a TENS and try it. Mine was amazing at helping to block my pain.

    Sandy
  • Hi Cinnamon,

    Hope you are feeling better. Uh, I know. Probably not. I do hope you have been finding out some answers to your pain and dilemna. My neck is getting worse again, the nerve pain seems to be all over my body now. You need to take action as soon as you can. I have been a little slow as my husband is not doing the best either.
    Perhaps your doctor is following what he thinks is the best protocol for you. If you are in this intense pain however, I might look to see another doctor as well. If you are delegated to only the nurse, which some are really good, if you think you need more help definitely seek it. I am hoping you find some relief from this pain.

    Hi Sandy, hope you are doing okay.

    Gracie
  • sandycreech said:
    Hi cinnamon girl. Your story sounds very familiar to me. Back in late August I woke from a sound sleep feeling like I had a knife in my back and absolutely no feeling in my left arm. Very scary! I went to my regular doc - she too said it was a spasm. I do believe spasms can be incredibly painful, but with a completely numb arm I was not happy with her comment. She did send me for xrays that day, and that xray did show large bone spurs grown into my nerve root. Even with that, she wanted to try 3 different medications, and physical therapy that did nothing for my pain (I did learn about a TENS unit there, bought myself one on line and that did help a huge amount - if you don't have one, definitely look into one). Anyhow. After a month with me in constant pain my phys therapist recommends steroids, not my doc! Doc does put me on a medrol pack, but I had horrible results?! Only after that did she recommend me to a pain management doc. He recommended epidurals usually done 2 weeks apart - I had 3 of them - some a month apart as he was on vacation. Epidurals did help but only lasted a month before pain was right back. A month after my last epidural I finally got the referral to my neurosurgeon! I was still in crazy pain - I do understand your frustration. You have to keep calling the docs office, talk to the nurse leave messages. I knew the nurse by her first name. It was crazy. In my case my pain started in mid April and I finally had my ACDF on 8-29 - and that was with a lot of pushing on my part. In my case I had completely compressed nerves and bone to bone for 3 disks from a car accident 20 years ago. I had definite proof of major damage and the surgery had made a huge difference. I'm almost 6 weeks post op now. Don't give up, or change doctors. Worse case, you can go into an ER and they will run the tests for you. It all depends of how your insurance is set up. I ended up doing a self referral to a surgeon to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion rather than wait for my doc to give me them. My insurance allowed it. If your does it may save you some time..

    Good luck and I hope you are feelin better soon. Might want to see if anyone you know has a TENS and try it. Mine was amazing at helping to block my pain.

    Sandy
    You're right. Our stories are very similar! Thank you for posting! That's horrible that you had to go through as much as you did! And for that long too! I do know what a tens unit is. When I'd go to physical therapy for my L5 S1 injury one of the physical therapists would use a machine just like that on me. It was a little bigger and a little stronger. I'd asked him if I could have one at home and his response was that he wouldn't even kid me.. that a tens wasn't strong enough for the kind of pain I was in. I did end up getting the other machine. I've recently moved and looked all over only to find that I think the machine is in storage 2000 away miles from here.

    I'm sorry you had to go through what you did but, your story validates what I'm going through. My injuries are from an accident too. The accident was 4+ years ago now. And for all of the injections and months of physical therapy ..especially, with my L5 S1.. to have to be facing this kind of pain with my neck shoulder and arm is such a defeating feeling.

    I hope you're feeling better and that your recovery continues to go well.
  • Link removed, solicitation not permitted
    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz


    I got mine from LG medical supply direct, this post is from amazon but it is the same thing. True it is different than the one at therapy of course, theirs is commercial - but this is FANTASTIC. I usually only use it on setting #19 or 20 - I think it goes to at least 50 so it is very strong. This one has 2 settings TENS for nerves and EMMS for muscles. I used the TENS since all my pain was nerve related. With the commercial one, it felt just a bit different, but honestly not much. Try putting the electrodes in different places - I always had them right behind my neck and then on my left side by my shoulder blade which is where I had the knife in the back feeling. I promise it is amazing - I don't know how it does it but it blocks the pain somehow. Much better than the crazy pain stuff they had. I would put those electrodes on me in the morning and walk around with wires hanging off of me all day - I looked wierd! The TENS can run on battery and clip to your belt. I work at Full Sail university so there is students everywhere boy would they look at me! who cares.

    I've only used it a few times post op and that tells you the big difference in pain now vs before surgery.

    I went to doc yesterday - got my xrays (looks so wierd!!) doc says hardware looks good. still get muscle spasms and issues mostly with right arm now - not as bad as before surgery, and pain comes and goes. doc said they found huge bone spurs on both sides and they had to clean all the nerve root out, it was complete compressed in 3 places. since pain comes and goes it is good indication that it will eventually go away. coming and going is a sign of nerves slowly healing. when the arm pain is bad i wrap a heating pad around it and it works great. i still take my muscle spasm meds when needed. try not to take too often as i get the spinning effect like being a chicken cooking. and the floor seems like it is moving!

    I'll be 6 weeks monday. i got back to work at 8 weeks - 10/24. he said best to start part time working no more than 4 hours a day for 3-5 days a week. that gives me lots of flexibility to see how I feel. he left it open that for the first month that is my schedule and i can work more hours if i feel up to it. I called my job, they believe my disability can be extended for part time work based on how much i work. Win win situation for me! But my husband just got laid off, so it will be good to have a bit more money coming in..

    Scariest for me is driving. I tried it yesterday - hard as of course I can't turn to see behind me! I did buy a huge 17" rear view mirror before surgery - again on amazon and boy does it help. I can see blind spots on each side. I'm in a convertible so I have huge blind spots where the material is to make the top go down in the back! I do not feel comfortable with reverse! I'm going to look into a rear view camera, but have to find one that doesn't install the viewing part on my roof and I sometimes don't have a roof! : ) I'll start physical therapy in another month and go for another set of xrays and see doc again on 11/15 at 3 months.

    That is my update - I hope some of that info helps you both! I still sleep with heating pad as it really helps with back pain while trying to sleep. I'm on a futon as our waterbed is bad news for me. I may have to look to buy a new mattress and give up on waterbed. Do you have any suggestions on a good but not ungodly expensive mattress type?

    Hope you have a sunny day!

    Sandy
  • sandycreech said:
    the TENS unit I got is from LG medical supply - LG Elite - here is a link


    Link removed, solicitation not permitted



    I got mine from LG medical supply direct, this post is from amazon but it is the same thing. True it is different than the one at therapy of course, theirs is commercial - but this is FANTASTIC. I usually only use it on setting #19 or 20 - I think it goes to at least 50 so it is very strong. This one has 2 settings TENS for nerves and EMMS for muscles. I used the TENS since all my pain was nerve related. With the commercial one, it felt just a bit different, but honestly not much. Try putting the electrodes in different places - I always had them right behind my neck and then on my left side by my shoulder blade which is where I had the knife in the back feeling. I promise it is amazing - I don't know how it does it but it blocks the pain somehow. Much better than the crazy pain stuff they had. I would put those electrodes on me in the morning and walk around with wires hanging off of me all day - I looked wierd! The TENS can run on battery and clip to your belt. I work at Full Sail university so there is students everywhere boy would they look at me! who cares.

    I've only used it a few times post op and that tells you the big difference in pain now vs before surgery.

    I went to doc yesterday - got my xrays (looks so wierd!!) doc says hardware looks good. still get muscle spasms and issues mostly with right arm now - not as bad as before surgery, and pain comes and goes. doc said they found huge bone spurs on both sides and they had to clean all the nerve root out, it was complete compressed in 3 places. since pain comes and goes it is good indication that it will eventually go away. coming and going is a sign of nerves slowly healing. when the arm pain is bad i wrap a heating pad around it and it works great. i still take my muscle spasm meds when needed. try not to take too often as i get the spinning effect like being a chicken cooking. and the floor seems like it is moving!

    I'll be 6 weeks monday. i got back to work at 8 weeks - 10/24. he said best to start part time working no more than 4 hours a day for 3-5 days a week. that gives me lots of flexibility to see how I feel. he left it open that for the first month that is my schedule and i can work more hours if i feel up to it. I called my job, they believe my disability can be extended for part time work based on how much i work. Win win situation for me! But my husband just got laid off, so it will be good to have a bit more money coming in..

    Scariest for me is driving. I tried it yesterday - hard as of course I can't turn to see behind me! I did buy a huge 17" rear view mirror before surgery - again on amazon and boy does it help. I can see blind spots on each side. I'm in a convertible so I have huge blind spots where the material is to make the top go down in the back! I do not feel comfortable with reverse! I'm going to look into a rear view camera, but have to find one that doesn't install the viewing part on my roof and I sometimes don't have a roof! : ) I'll start physical therapy in another month and go for another set of xrays and see doc again on 11/15 at 3 months.

    That is my update - I hope some of that info helps you both! I still sleep with heating pad as it really helps with back pain while trying to sleep. I'm on a futon as our waterbed is bad news for me. I may have to look to buy a new mattress and give up on waterbed. Do you have any suggestions on a good but not ungodly expensive mattress type?

    Hope you have a sunny day!

    Sandy
    I'm glad to hear you're doing so well! That's encouraging. I miss my HWave machine. It's the one I mentioned before that is like a TENS.

    I'm so bummed out with this pain that I'm almost depressed. My index finger is still numb. And now my thumb is starting to feel the same way. Today I noticed the pain pretty intense in my elbow. I spent the day watching movies with the heating pad.

    I feel bad because, the pain is pretty much all I talk about lately. Maybe because, I feel constant intense pain. But, I'm pretty sure my family is getting used to hearing me say "it just hurts so bad".

    At one point today I decided to switch from the heating pad to an ice pack. And I learned that my neck wasn't happy with that. Almost immediately the pain started intensifying. I'm guessing it's because, my muscles got all tense around the nerves from the cold.

    I put the heating pad back on and then sat there and started crying. I don't cry easily at pain. It was a combination of how bad it hurt and knowing that I've got another 2 weeks of this before I can take the next step. It makes me feel almost defeated.

    It's frustrating that the lightest touch to my fingers, hand, wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder make the nerve react immediately. Not to mention gravity if I have my arm resting one way or another. And if I turn my head too far to the right ..forget it. I just want to scream. Or cry. Or both.


    Link removed, solicitation not permitted
    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz


  • I'm in so much pain I can't stand it. I just need to vent for a minute. It's days away from being in this pain for a month. There's no position that I can hold my head where it doesn't hurt my neck. I've taken 2 bottles of ibuprofen in the past 30 days trying to get relief. All it does is take the edge off and make it somewhat bearable if I don't move or tilt in one way or another. Friday I have another appointment with the nurse practitioner. If I could afford the trip to the ER I would go right now. I have actual swelling that I can see. That kinda freaks me out. I don't know what to do anymore. I can't take this pain anymore. I ice. I heat. I take ibuprofen. I rest. I sit in a hot tub. Nothing is helping. I'm desperate for medical help. This is terrible. And I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.
  • You are not alone. I TOTALLY feel your pain!!! Sounds like we are both in a very similar situation.
    I just moved a few days ago & my OS was supposed to get me a referral here but is being painfully slow about it...and in the meantime wouldn't refill my pain meds, so it's just an extremely frustrating waiting game being in between doctors. And it took me a month just to get into to see THAT doctor. So I am fully expecting to have to wait ANOTHER month.
    I am in so much pain that I am not sleeping & can barely get out of bed in the mornings. I am experiencing the same problem with pain in my neck/shoulder blades radiating into the arms. Like you, I don't know what to do. I don't know how much more I can stand. I hope it helps you to know that I understand what you're going through, because believe me, I do. I feel for you, I know how you must be suffering. Keep in touch, I will pray for some kind of relief for you.
    Junipurrwind

    ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
    ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
    Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP
  • junipurrwind said:
    You are not alone. I TOTALLY feel your pain!!! Sounds like we are both in a very similar situation.
    I just moved a few days ago & my OS was supposed to get me a referral here but is being painfully slow about it...and in the meantime wouldn't refill my pain meds, so it's just an extremely frustrating waiting game being in between doctors. And it took me a month just to get into to see THAT doctor. So I am fully expecting to have to wait ANOTHER month.
    I am in so much pain that I am not sleeping & can barely get out of bed in the mornings. I am experiencing the same problem with pain in my neck/shoulder blades radiating into the arms. Like you, I don't know what to do. I don't know how much more I can stand. I hope it helps you to know that I understand what you're going through, because believe me, I do. I feel for you, I know how you must be suffering. Keep in touch, I will pray for some kind of relief for you.
    Thank you so much. I'll say a prayer that you get relief quickly too. I know that other people deal with this too and people deal with worse things too but, in the moment when I'm in excruciating pain it feels like I'm alone. I talk to my family but, there isn't anything anyone can say or do. So, most of the time I put on a brave face if I can. And sometimes I come here and try to vent and get some support which has been wonderful to get.

    I too recently moved. And getting set up with new docs when dealing with something like this is hard. And I have to say that I really didn't like telling a nurse practitioner about the pain and numbness and how I have two bad discs in my neck in the SAME LOCATION where I'm having the pain in my neck now ..to have her tell me it's probably a spasm. I know spasms hurt but, really? A two week long spasm that causes numbness and tingling? Ugh. Something has to give. I laid on my bed and cried for 20 minutes from this pain a little while ago. And I should be going to sleep. At least then I can almost feel like I've escaped the pain for a little while. But, my neck is doing that thing where it's aching really strong and feeling like there's a hot coal being pushed against it. Ouch.
  • Hi Cinnamon and Junnipurr,

    I all too well remember where you were. My horrible pain started in April, and it took till the end of August for my ACDF 3 levels. I remember the frustrations waiting for the doctor to do something and the long wait for appointments. Do check to see if you can self refer yourself on your insurance. I called and found out I could and that definitely sped things up for me (and still took 5 months!) Do either of you have an MRI yet? For me that was my first big step to seeing how bad my insides looked to explain the horrible pain and numbness. No over the counter meds works, and the Rx simply made me dizzy, sleepy and didn't help much. I used the muscle relaxer cream icy hot and flexall non stop. So much that the skin on my neck and upper back was literally peeling non stop. But it was the only thing to help the pain, besides my TENS. I hope you both can get an MRI and a referral to someone soon that can help you.

    A word on spasms. OMG can they hurt. Even at 7 weeks post op - they come and go and some are brutal. For the worse ones I get ice and literally lay on it till I can't stand it. Then the spasms die down. And I still sleep on a heating pad. No fun at all. Doctor says it is normal to have these on and off after the surgery. I wish they were more off than on.. Thankfully I do have good days too. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel..

    Hang in there - gentle hugs for both and prayers today will be a bit more pain free for you.

    Sandy
  • Those spasms don't sound like any fun. But, it looks like I'm going to cave in and go to the ER tomorrow. I'm scared. I'm scared of surgery. And I just don't think that anything else is going to take care of this pain. But, I also, can't live like this. I'm just scared now.
  • I'm glad you are going to the ER. You can't live with pain like that on a daily basis. You desperately need to get an MRI of your neck. When I went to the ER for the first time, that was when they performed the MRI. Before that I had only received an x-ray that showed DDD, but nothing else. I wish you much luck tomorrow and please let us know what happens!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Lili_Inu said:
    I'm glad you are going to the ER. You can't live with pain like that on a daily basis. You desperately need to get an MRI of your neck. When I went to the ER for the first time, that was when they performed the MRI. Before that I had only received an x-ray that showed DDD, but nothing else. I wish you much luck tomorrow and please let us know what happens!
    Thank you so much for saying that. I really needed to hear that. I know I need an MRI and I want one. I'm just scared of surgery. And I'm scared they're going to take one look at the MRI and rush me off for surgery. I can't live like this so, on one hand the idea of that relieves me. But, on the other hand surgery scares me. So, you saying that gives me some validation and comfort. Thank you. And I'll keep you posted with what happens.
  • I hope the ER gives you some relief, cinnamongirl. Don't be scared of surgery, it helped me for a number of years but the doctor said my discs could herniate above or below the fusion, which they did. BUT I did get relief for quite some time. It was worth it to me because it alleviated the radiculopathy in my arms & hands.
    I just had a myleogram done right before I moved so they are in the process of mailing the test results (on disc) to the OS where I live now. But she said it could take a week before they can even schedule me an appt.

    More waiting...

    On top of that I've been suffering from a spinal headache from the myelogram for 12 days now. I'm told to lie flat which aggravates my neck/shoulder pain. It's a lose/lose situation. I'm about ready to go to the ER my d*** self!!!

    I really don't see them rushing you to surgery. It takes a bit for your test results to come back, then if surgery is necessary they will schedule it. I wish you the best, hang in there. If I can do it, so can you!
    Junipurrwind

    ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
    ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
    Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP
  • Oh, if you had any idea how scared I was. I was crying non stop. When I said goodbye to people at my job I was a waterfall of tears. The weekend before was my birthday. My husband took me to a swanky hotel with wonderful lazy rivers and pool, and then a day at disney. Anything to keep me busy. I still thought about it, cried some, but the weekend went much easier than I thought it could. The day of the surgery I was a complete disaster, wreck. My surgery was postponed 2 hours. Finally the doc came and said to me, we don't have to do this, it isn't an emergency. I held out my IV and said to just knock me out and get it over with. I bet I was the biggest baby he ever saw. But I'm 7 weeks and very happy I did it. Yes I still have spasms, but for the most part I'm in much less pain than before. I have whole days of no pain now. I do have some days of numbness and tingling in my arms but it is less and less each week. Biggest thing is to not do anything that can hurt the healing. Ice and heat are my friends still, but compared to where I was before this, I'm like a new person.

    Hopefully you have someone with you who can be your rock like my husband was for me and still is.

    Sandy
  • Hi Cinna,

    The unknown is always scary. Get some answers and you'll feel better about what comes next. This MRI should tell you and your doctor what options there are. Just realise that you are doing what you should be doing to resolve your situation. Good luck and get it done! Thinking of you.

    Gracie

  • How did it go? No one wishes to have surgery. I had fooled myself for months that my pain was muscular and that I could manage the pain without surgery. But months passed and all the doctors said that it had to be coming from the spine.

    I chose surgery due to quality of life issues, not wanting to be on heavy meds and the cord compression was causing bladder problems.

    I suspect they will give you steroids to decrease the inflammation and then you will have to follow up with a spine specialist. Hope the ER can provide you with some pain relief, even if it's just for a few days! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Thank you everyone for the encouragement and support. It really means a lot.

    I didn't go to the ER. I got the pain back down to somewhat bearable and decided to suck it up and wait for my nurse appointment if I could. I told myself if the pain got that bad again I was going to ER no matter what.

    Today I had my follow up nurse appointment. The nurse still thinks that I'm having nerve pain from a muscle spasm. I think I'm having muscle spasms from the nerve pain. When it all started I was having nerve pain. I didn't start having muscle spasms for about 5 days after the nerve pain started.

    She said I can have an xray and an MRI. The referrals for the tests come in 3 weeks. And in a month I have another follow up appointment. In the meantime she wants me to take 600mgs of ibuprofen 3 times a day and flexeril. I'm worried that's a lot of ibuprofen.

    My promise to myself stands. If the pain gets like it was the other night.. I'm going to ER. End of story. This whole thing is frustrating. I feel like her mind is made up and I'm still having problems with all of this pain. I mean I can't even use a pen and write anymore. The movement of bringing a fork to my mouth is so, painful that I have to eat with my left hand. I feel placated. Can I scream now?
  • So it sounds like you didn't make any head way with the nurse after waiting to see her except to be told you can get an xray and mri, and you have to wait 3 weeks to get them done?

    I don't know what kind of doc you are seeing, but it doesn't sound right. My primary doc ordered my xray the first day I saw her. She too thought it was muscle spasms at first. She ordered the xray the first day, I went to the hospital and had it done literally 30 minutes after the aptm. They saw the bone spurs in the xray in my case. I did drugs and physical therapy right away too. After a month of that no helping, on 2nd aptm she send me for MRI - probably about 4 weeks after trying several meds, physical therapy and then finally steroids. I went for the MRI a few days after 2nd aptm. Once seeing the MRI, I was refereed to the pain specialist who did the 3 epidurals - either 2 or 4 weeks apart.

    Sounds to me like you definitely need a new doctor. I can't see any reason to wait for an xray or another aptm with this nurse!

    I don't think 600 mg of ibuprofen is bad. I've taken 3 otc pill of that or tylenol so many times. I'm not familiar with flexeril.

    Big question, why not find another doc. Call your insurance, see what can be done. Don't continue to wait and do nothing.. If your pain was anything like mine was with the knife in the back feeling and no feeling at all in my left arm - I didn't stop calling. I called my doctors office literally every 3 days to help push things along.

    Hope this helps.

    Sandy
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