Hi there! I have some issues going on that I'm looking for some help with. Here is some background:
I've had issues with my neck locking up since my late teens. I'm 38 now. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was about 27.
In 2008, my neck pain and immobility became unbearable. I'd had to change primary care doctors because ours was no longer in our insurance network. The new doctor insisted I have an MRI and X-ray of my neck. This is what we learned from those:
X-ray Impression: Mild c3-4 degenerative disc disease; Moderate c4-5 degenerative disc disease with grade 1 retrolisthesis c4 on c5; Severe c5-6 degenerative disc disease with a grade 1 retrolisthesis c5 on c6. No osseous neuroforaminal narrowing...
MRI C-Spine Impression:
Unremarkable c2-3. C3-4 demonstrates a mild diffuse disc bulge that slightly displaces the anterior thecal sac but does not cause spinal stenosis. The disc bulge very mildly narrows the left neuroforamen. There is no right neuroforaminal narrowing. C4-5 demonstrates a grade 1 retrolisthesis c4 on c5 with moderage degenerative disc disease. There is a posterior disc bulge or very broad midline disc protrustion that displaces the anterior thecal sac and effaces the cervical cord slightly causing mild 8.5 mm minimal AP canal diameter stenosis. Mild bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing is present. The disc bulge or broad protrusion also extends in the caudal direction very slightly due to the sublaxation. C5-6 demonstrates a left paracentral disc protrusion with extruded disc fragment extending caudally or inferiorly in the left paracentral location all teh way to the c6-7 disc level. There is moderate left, greater than right stenosis due to this protrusion at disc space level of 7 mm midline minimal AP canal diameter. Caudal or inferior to the disc space there is certainly displacemtn of the anterior thecal sac and effacement of the cord but the stenosis is less severe. There is moderate left and mild right neuroforaminal narrowing. There is also a grade one retrolisthtesis c5 on c6 that contributes to the pathologoy. C6-7 and C7-T1 are unremarkable. Cord signal is normal throughout the cervical spine. The portions of the posterior fossa imaged are unremarkable. The paraspinous soft tissues are unremarkable.
Okay... So after this, I was immediately sent to a neurosurgeon who recommended we do cervical fusions on C4-5 and C6-6 as soon as possible. We did so a couple days later. After the surgery, I got some mobility back in my neck, but I still have immobilizing pain and stiffness in my neck, shoulders and middle back. Additionally, I am now having migraines at least twice per week and bouts of cluster headaches, too. About six months ago, My thumbnail went "numb" and about a month later, I've been having severe pain in my hands, fingers and arms in addition to the pain in my neck, shoulders and middle back. Plus, Every time I do anything with my right hand, it goes numb almost instantly. I can't grip things. I'm dropping things, and my hand and wrist are swelling.
My pain management doctor thought maybe I'd developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so he did an EMG/Nerve Conduction test. It showed no CTS, but it did show nerve damage "older than six months old" on C6 and C7 on my right side and C6 on my left side. As a result, he sent me for a cervical X-ray and MRI. They both showed nothing other than my fusions had my neck stable. They didn't even mention arthritis or degenerative disc disease as stated prior to my fusion. Here are my questions:
(1) Do I still have degenerative disc disease, arthritis and spinal stenosis after the fusions performed in 2008?
(2) What will be the likely next step since the EMG tests showed specific nerve damage but the MRI showed nothing?
(3) What conditions could cause this?
(4) My pain management doctor suggested I file for disability several months ago, even before this new round of tests. I haven't been able to because I haven't had the physical ability to sit and gather everthing and enter it into the computer, but I need to get it done. Do I still have the conditions I've been being treated before even if the new xray and MRI make no mention of them? I'm not sure what conditions to put on the application now.
Thank you very much for any help/opinions you'd care to share. I appreciate this forum. I've been reading a lot of the posts over the last year or so as I've been going through all of this again, and trying to learn as much as I can. I apologize for the length of this message, but I thought background was necessary to get my point across, and I talk A LOT. lol