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Help Needed

seetynukemssseetynukems Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
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


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    I used and always recommend a Disability attorney. There is no charge to you. They help you with the forms and with how to communicate with your doctors.

    Disabiliy attorney worth every penny that I did't give him :) And yay! mine came within 6 months.. very quickly!

    My feeling was as you expressed. I don't feel well. Taking care of myself is a full time job. So if I had to give too much thought to all the paperwork without the lawyers assistance..I'd probably still be at it....

    As for the rest of your questions..I'm not a doc. Your doc should be willing to answer your questions and explain.When I go to doctor's I take a friend sometimes, to take notes for me and to help me understand all doc is saying to me.

    Best of luck! Keep in touch!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • As far as the numbness I can tell u about mine. I was in a car accident and ended up havign a ACDF of c5c6c7, which the damage caused by accident ended up causing me to have a brachial plexus injury which was the cause of my numbness and weakness in my left arm and hand. You might want to look this up it might help some. You can also friend me and PM me if you would like to talk anymore. Just trying to help, tc.
  • Hi There :H,

    And let me say welcome, too. First of all, I agree with Savage. Medical questions should be answered by your doctor. If he/she does not openly offer explanations, please ask questions. I usually take my hubby, unless it is just a routine med check. Sounds like your post is an MRI findings. I have a couple myself :))) .

    Secondly, I filed for SSDI (Soc Sec Disability Insurance) Aug 2008 on my own. This was after losing my job in June 2008, but I had already gotten the ball rolling. Probably impeded my approval by at least a year. After (2) denials, I went to an SSDI Attorney and let him handle it. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork etc, but atty must have to make his case. My PCP and Neurosurgeon were both ask to fill out a brief questionaire which I took to them and I returned to SS myself, along with a history of what I had been through and current condition and meds. It took me 19 months from the time I filed until my approval in May 2010. Nice thing is no payment to atty until you are approved and payment retroactive to whatever time disability was deemed to have begun. My case, it was when I lost my job. Soc Sec website (www.ssa.gov) explains procedure. take care, Good Luck, and Please ... Keep us posted >:D<

    Rassy's Story
    Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
    The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.
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