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Is this pain consistent with cervical DDD?

endthispaineendthispain Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
FYI, I asked question a few days ago in chronic pain forum.
Desperate for help. My gp and neurologist said my MRI and ct of neck was likely not the cause of my pain in neck, arm and legs. Saying results typical of normal wear and tear for someone my age, 51. But everything else has been explored via blood work and imaging and am revisiting cervical injury? My pain has been chronic and severe for nearly 2 years, I’ve been unable to work and function. In year prior, I developed weakness in legs, arms and hands and the only pain I had was intermittent but excruciating in back of neck/base of head/shoulders/back of head. I continue to get this pain in back of neck (this is only pain that’s infrequent) and it causes intense nausea and vomiting.
In past 10 mo, I’m in pain nearly constantly, it’s located:
Front of neck, feels hard, stiff, knotted, like a hard painful cyst and sometimes burning. If only I could put ice inside my neck. Pain is in different areas primarily left front of neck but also other thyroid/tonsil/throat area, under chin and right front of neck. I have difficulty swallowing and speaking at times due to pain. Persistent cough and occasionally sore throat.
Ears, in ear canal and inner ear/inside head. ENT exam ruled out obstruction.
Pain in neck and ears/inside head is nearly 24/7
Legs, deep muscular pain mostly in calf and shin and tingling, numbness
Upper Chest, constricted/tight/painful, feels connected to neck/ear pain but is less frequent.

I’ve been on many pain medications including fentanyl, vicodin, ms contin. Gabapentin helped relieve some of the pain but I couldn’t tolerate side effects. Now on methadone and Percocet for breakthrough.

Before this I was healthy, active, athletic. The pain is agonizing and not having a dx is beyond frustrating.

Evidence of cervical spondylosis with straightening of cervical lordotic curvature and minimal reversal of cervical lordosis at C5-C6
C4-C5, minimal decrease in height of disc space anteriorly. Mild degenerative grade 1 anterolisthesis.
C5-C6, reversal of cervical lordotic curvature with disc desiccation and decrees in height of disc space. Mild degree of arthritic facet hypertrophy associated with left uncovertebral join. Mild left sided neural foraminal narrowing secondary to uncovertebral osteophytes.
C6-C7, disc desiccation with slight decreased height of disc space.

This is largely mumbo jumbo to me. Would this cause my symptoms? I would think that one would have to have more advanced cervical disc disease to result in this level of pain, but??
80% of pain inside front of my neck is on left side. I mention that because of left neural foraminal narrowing.
I certainly don’t want to pursue this go in direction of cervical ddd if that’s not what it is. I’m in a pain clinic now and in addition to pain meds I’m about to try trigger point injections. Even though my pain has worsened and is severe, my hmo has largely thrown in the towel. Ironically it seems that this happens the longer one goes without a clear dx.

Thank you so much for your feedback.
My question buried in this longwinded post is do I pursue cervical ddd or is that likely not the cause of pain.
Wishing all of you a no pain day or a very low pain day!!



  • I have c-spine DDD and a moderate impingement at C6-C7 but issues from C5-C7 and I have arm pain only one side especially at the elbow and get bad neck spasms at times.

    Lyrica and Cymbalta seem to help with the nerve pain and went to chiropractor for inferential treatments and ultrasound treatments back of neck and near shoulder blade and it helped with pain but no adjustments.

    I take a anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant also.

    Are you seeing a Physiotherapist also? As for leg pain I would see if your Dr. would do an assessment of your lower back.

    Have you seen a Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic Surgeon for consults more than one? Not necessarily for surgery but a treatment plan. Have you had an EMG/nerve test to see if the nerve pain is coming from your neck discs?

    I'm seeing a Physiatrist(Sports Med Dr.) right now who seems to be very thorough with testing so maybe find a good Dr. at a good Spine Hospital? I think DDD and other issues can be painful for some. I hope you find a Dr. to help you. 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
  • Thanks so much Charry for your welcome and advice. enormously generous and helful!!
    I have frequent neck painful neck spasms too.
    I haven't been to Neurosurgeon or Orthosurgeon for treatment plan nor have i been to Physiotherapist. I've been to so many doctors not even sure what discipline. but since so much of pain is in neck it makes sense. i'll also look into anti-inflammatory drug. my insurance doesn't cover cymbalta or lyrica otherwise i would have tried. Thanks again!!!
  • Hello, and sorry to hear of your troubles.

    I had herniated c4-5 impinging on cord and had a 2 level ACDF. It was the arm pain and muscle wasting that forced me to get surgery. From what I understand arm and shoulder pain and other symptoms are more likely due to Cervical problems. Second opinions help.

    The first Doctor I saw just went off why the imaging guy wrote and never actually looked at the mRI pictures. Then my second Dr. actually looked at the pics and thought the guy was insane for the report he wrote.

    He said "I do noyt know what kind of neighborhood this guy grew up in, must have been a rough one because this is no mild impingement" I'll never forget those words.

    Good luck
  • Sounds as you might need a nose and ear dr also to rule out other causes by the many symptoms you describe,
    Also a spine specialist who can rule out any serious cervical issues,

    You need to have dr,s sort it out because the body can react in many diferent ways to many diferent conditions and symptoms can be hard to pinpoint,

    The cyst in front of the neck and burning would lead me to believe its something other posibly then ddd , It can be autoimmune dissorder of some sort which sometimes can be hard to find,

    Find a dr who is willing to do a total work up on the body and who wont stop just looking for 1 thing,

    Best of luck to you,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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